And Our World Keeps Turning…

As 2018 begins, I look back on a momentous 2017 for my family, and reflect on some major milestones passed and within reach…

2017 was the first year without our parents and we realised that we had become ‘the older generation’, feeling the loss of the last generation and their place in history, as well as our loved ones. Indeed, the year started with my older brother taking on the role as ‘family elder’ on his 60th birthday, and ended with the first grandchild reaching 30, and the youngest becoming 21 in November. But no sooner had all our children come of age, than we learned the exciting news that the next generation is on its way – with a baby due to my nephew any day now, and the latest news that my son is expecting a summer baby. So my sister and I are about to be Grandparents! In just 12 months, so much has changed and moved on, and we have finally grown up as well as growing older.

It was also a year for seeing the world, and some of its wonders. My husband and son flew half-way round the world to Auckland on New Year’s Day, for the trip of a life-time, sailing with my nephew across the Tasman Sea to Sydney. In August, we made the trip to the USA for the solar eclipse. We experienced the cosmic coincidence, and splendour, of totality, from the river plain of Grand Teton National Park. Then, having loosely arranged to meet up with others in Yellowstone, without anticipating the absence of wifi or phone coverage, we set off anyway and amazingly found each other at the ‘top of the lake’! Meanwhile my husband, younger brother and nephew watched the eclipse from a car park! while visiting the space centres in Georgia and Florida – a treat for my brother’s 50th birthday.

After a big family BBQ and fireworks for my youngest’s 21st birthday, we spent the last month on a working tour of Australia – visiting Singapore and having breakfast with Orangutans (wow!), before coming home for Christmas. But being on the other side of the world meant that I was disappointed to miss out on my niece’s 30th birthday and a surprise 75th birthday weekend for my god-mother.

But there are more big birthdays and events to look forward to in 2018 – brother and brother-in-law joining the ‘over-60’ club, our youngest son graduating and another new person joining the family in the summer.

In a world of depressing politics and prospects too dismal to dwell on, I take comfort and joy from my amazing family, and can’t wait to see what else 2018 will bring.


Dear EU

Dear European Union,

Despite everything that has happened this last year, I still believe that a democratic Government’s responsibility is to make the best decisions they know how, in the best interests of their citizens.

The demented behavior of the minority May Government must surely be a blip – a temporary knee-jerk reaction to fear, ignorance and short-termism, spurred on by right-wing media and extremists. Surely they will come to their senses and realise that they have a responsibility to go above and beyond the petty, punitive stance of “well you said you wanted it, now you have to live with the consequences!”

But just in case they don’t, I call on the European Union, and all the democratically elected Governments of our European colleagues, to do everything they can to protect the British people from the madness of Brexit. I call to mind all children, and parents of those children, who ever shouted “I hate you!” but didn’t really mean it, or understand what the consequences would be if their parents took them at their word.

Will the European Union stand in ‘loco parentis’, and rise above the petulance of our British Government and the tantrums of a few, and do what is best, in the long-term interests of the majority?


A Proud European


No Words

No words tonight
To describe our sadness and our grief
Not even douleur is right
No words enough to convey the horror and distaste
For thugs who, in misguided belief
Use the pretence of god, to hate
And through vile acts impose their will
No thought for the innocents they
Subjugate and maim and kill
No words to convey how much I detest
Blind faith, the root of all evil
Where should be love, and compassion and respect
No words enough to express our sympathy
To our brothers and sisters in Paris
A minute’s silence to show our solidarity
No Prayers – the world has heard enough of religion

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Secrets and Lies

Secrets and Lies –
a birthday surprise

“A boy’s own adventure –
Sailing round the world
To visit rare islands and creatures
And people from different cultures
To have some fun,
While I’m free and young”

“I miss my boy, my joy and pride,
18 months he’s been away,
out of touch for weeks at sea.
a map and pen to work out where.
And now he’s reached the other side
maybe we can visit him there”

He’s hatched a plan
to catch a plane.
24 hours he flies
for a birthday surprise.
Sshh! keep Mum
and tell no-one.
Countless times we lied
the secret to hide,
and all worthwhile
for hugs, and smiles
and tears of unexpected joy,
and see my sister
hold her boy.


Don’t Get Your Hopes Up!

On desire and disappointment…….

There is something I want
A glimmer of interest has become an obsession
The more I think about it, the more I want it. My possession

Take your time, plan carefully.
Plenty of hard work and trust to fate
Good things come to those who wait

The anticipation is killing me
What if something goes wrong, gets in the way?
Maybe today will not be my day?

You can only do your best
Act cool. Keep your head
Think about something else instead

I can’t get it out of my mind.
I’ll be shattered if it’s taken from me
What if I can’t do it, if it’s not to be?

Everything will work out right
Don’t worry about the rest
Just as long as you do your best

I have to get it.
Who else is better than me?
Will they get there first? Maybe

Then how would you feel?
How will you cope?
Will this failure mean the loss of all hope?

I can’t imagine life without it
It has to be mine.
I have to believe it will all be just fine.

So don’t get your hopes up
We’ll have to wait and see
Que sera! What will be, will be………..

So that’s it, all over, its done
My chance has gone
How will I ever get my hopes up again?

Con te Partiro

I do believe in intuition
A week’s schedule of meetings, appointments and interviews. A tidy plan
Suddenly doesn’t feel right
There’s something else, something urgent, something urging
Me to be somewhere else tonight.
Its time to go.

One by one we all arrive,
And soon we’re all here
We don’t want to think it, can’t acknowledge it, daren’t speak it
But even so, it becomes clear
It’s time to say goodbye.

This is the day
The last day we will all be together
To support each other
To say it’s OK to leave
Its OK to grieve
Its time to go.

Its not luck, nor fate, that brings us here
But love and fortune. A privilege to share
One final moment
A wonderful, terrible, aweful
Unique moment in time
Time to say goodbye.

Please Stay

In deciding whether to vote for Scottish independence,
Please pay no heed
To the politicians and the media
Peddling their own dogmatic stance.
This is a decision for the heart and common sense.

We are family, with a long shared heritage;
Like step-brothers with mixed parentage.
We’ve had our fights, against and for each other;
I stole and ruined things that were yours
So I don’t blame you for going your own way – you have just cause.

But can we leave our chequered past behind?
And rise to meet economic and environmental challenges, our resources combined
Our commonwealth – together we are both great and British
Without you I am only England, and so diminished –
As much as I love my green and pleasant land,
There’s a northern flower I admire and cherish.

So while you’re deciding whether to vote yes or no
Please bear in mind that your brothers and sisters don’t want you to go.