When Francis and I got married last year we were careful to
make no promises, exchange no rings. It shouldn’t have made any difference,
except legally. Yet it did. We fell in love 27 years ago; have been together
and happy ever since. We have children – two as a couple and three from my
previous (failed) marriage. Our wedding was adorned by my grandchildren, our children, brothers & their families – and also by Francis’s mother, who was living with Parkinson’s dementia and has since died. (I am so glad that this was still in the period when families were welcome to keep a proper vigil with the dying person, not, as is sometimes proposed, pop in fo 15 minutes to 'say goodbye'. Our collective care of Patricia in hospital gave her an easier death, and also supported the nurses. But that's not my subject here.)
Why didn’t we marry before? For a long while it had felt
important to me that if either of us wished to leave the relationship we should
be free to do so – though…
Over the past months in lockdown, I’ve had the opportunity to chat with several writers via video. One of them also writes for Authors Electric — the lovely Bill Kirton. We’ve known each other nearly a decade through our stories and have collaborated on numerous flash fiction pieces. He’s responsible for my joining this esteemed group. This past week, we’ve been writing another story together. We boldly write in an unconventional method. It's served us well, given we've created nearly a dozen joint stories! If you wish to know more about how we write, feel free to hop over to Bill’s website to learn more.
This post, however, is not about our writing process, but about how working with Bill has contributed to my use of words. I’ve always felt that the fewer the words I need to say something, the better, that compression makes my stories more powerful for the reader. Why tell a story in a hundred words, when I can do it in fifty? Economy of words. We’ve all been in the presence of…
As I get older, I realise, as I’m sure we all do, that our biggest battles tend to be with ourselves. I am not going to run myself down ( I’ve given that up.) There are some things I do easily and well, but my kindest supporter would have to admit that I am not a person who keeps track of things I don't care about. I can rarely find a matching pair of socks, am as likely to have five new tubes of toothpaste as none and have run out of space for notebooks I never use. I am a restless kind of writer, inclined to get excited by something new only to abandon it for a better idea. Anyway, the upshot of this character flaw is that I don't keep track of my own writing very efficiently. (Don't worry I am very efficient with other people's) Last week, I found a whole cache of poems I'd forgotten I’d written and I’ve lost count of novels I have written but done nothing with, or ideas I have come up with but never worked on. My main problem is that once I have wr…
for this month's post my paintings ok?" I got this sudden WhatsApp text
one evening, earlier this month. It was sent from my dad's phone. The sender
was in the drawing room and I was in the bedroom - a mighty distance of -----
meters separating us! This is
her latest excitement: sending me texts from a different room, using Baba's
phone - "I am hungry"; "When will you have your tea"?;
"How am I looking here (in a selfie)"? Since I am trying to restrict
her screen time on my mobile, she has now caught hold of Baba’s. It actually
works out far better for her: since he doesn't know what to do with it beyond
phone calls, she has all the space in the world for taking selfies and typing
texts to her heart's content. I don't
indulge this habit of hers a lot, but it was a commission I couldn't ignore,
especially as it was made way in advance! What follows is a photo essay of the
artist's latest creations!
It's over now. Isn't it? Is it? What's the R number?
You might still be in lockdown or partying on the beach -- I suppose it depends on how susceptible you are to brand new viruses that no one has any immunity to. Or how many susceptible people you love. Or how much you believe we're 'all in this together.'
At the very end of January, to celebrate his birthday, my lodger went on an outing to Cosford Air Museum. Exactly one week later, in early February, he became quite ill: fever, headache, joint aches, tiredness and a terrible dry cough that went on and on for weeks. He doesn't remember his senses of taste and smell being affected, but he certainly lost his appetite and says that he can't remember being so ill for, well, decades.
At the time, we'd barely heard of Covid-19. Even if we had, there was no effective way he could have isolated himself from me. Many members of this Tory government will be astonished to learn that we only have o…