Archives for posts with tag: Pendle

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I used to love chicken, with a hint of salt, the way it melted in your mouth and whenever I went out to lunch, which to be fair, didn’t happen often, I would order a chicken salad sandwich and peer inside in case any of the meat dared to be pink. I could only do white meat, not grey, or darkened near the bone. If I was feeling reckless I’d have a Cajun chicken salad and pick my way around the bits that were too hot.

I can see the white ceramic bowl from the first meal in the Fat Cat restaurant where we checked each other out over my drizzled rocket and basil. And the radical chicken carbonara that I ate on one of the early visits up the motorway when we went to a new place by the garden centre that I’d found. I found bits of bacon in the creamy sauce and was surprised at how much I liked it.

And when I’d relocated South, Saturday mornings became the trips into town, a visit to the book shop (obviously) followed by a baguette stop in the café on the long main road. We looked out from a window seat, on high stools where I would have sliced grapes and green peppers in my packed chicken salad roll. I can see us leaning into the melamine, spotting strangers. I wonder how their lives have changed by now, those abstracted people we never spoke to. They wandered past, oblivious, heads in the air, wrapped in their own universe, unaware of the couple in the cafe looking out.

And far beyond them, up the road and miles away to a Christmas table, precision laid with finely sliced turkey in a lean-to on the edge of the hills. A gong still reverberating to summon us to the table and the best cut-glass glinted as we sat with napkins on our laps waiting for dessert.

I seem to have anchor points in my life secured by one foul or another and they lined up with me recently as I stood by the deli counter, waiting for the nylon hatted assistant to rip it from the bone. I thought of the cottage pies, the diced turkey hid away under my best leek filled mash, how it scalded your mouth if you bit in deep too soon and in those days we had table mats, procured from various places, usually scribbled on in crayon with images of trains and random birds.

And then the tasteless chicken came, the thick white bread stuffed with something rubber on a platter, in the visitor’s room, when other people said that I should eat – when I’d fainted on this day back then. I tried to eat chicken but couldn’t swallow, so I sipped water and stared out into space.

***

It’s raining today, an ambivalent, half-hearted drizzle. It feels like it wants a downpour to clear the stale air, but it can’t. Waves of cool drops come in then leave, the patio is dark grey and in my peripheral vision the robin nips in, grateful for the earth I’ve turned, hopping amongst the fresh seeds.

At the deli counter the other day I stood staring at the samosas, the premium quality scotch eggs and hunks of meat. How I used to relate to the image of a carcass, in the early months and years, something left over from the creature it used to be, something strung up on a hook with its insides hanging out. I’m more a piece of reformed meat these days, changed and reconstituted, shaped into something different, fit for purpose and as I stood on their sanitised floor by their gleaming glass, I thought of my absent face years ago at the same counter, going through the motions, ordering food. An assistant who I half knew said she hadn’t seen me for some time and had I been away? I remember staring blank at her moving mouth, not really caring what she thought, not being able to form words and I made some attempt at an answer then held it all in and rushed home.

I rushed home the other day too when the foyer of their store was full of a school trip with staff I used to know. An even though I was wrapped in my best hat and scarf, even though I was the best version of myself that I could be. I couldn’t walk up to them and say hello, I couldn’t even hurry past and nod but then I wasn’t having the best of days. Instead I took my reformed shape and hid behind the clothes and bags peeping at them through the 20% Off bright red tags. And when they moved down the shop I took my chance, I chucked the basket back outside and ran for home. My short shopping list could wait. It was a day when I couldn’t handle the old world pushed into my face.

Today it’s quiet, inside and out, it’s grey but my hyacinths are being delivered soon, I look forward to their pungent smell and buds searching out for the sun. My road beyond my windowsill is often full of vans, plumbers and Outreach men, fiddling with wires, landscape gardeners who live nearby and my neighbours’. Their extension is nearing completion, the huge grey wall out the back will he be rendered in a white finish. And although it hems me in, I see such potential. I will hang garden mirrors to reflect the light and I will grow clematis and buddleia for the peacocks. I will sit in the bee-loud glade when summer comes but for now it’s still my winter. All the vans are away today, the building work has stopped and the road is empty, it’s almost as though they know I need some silence, as though the dankness of the day is just for me. Memories come and go like the showers, I top up my earl grey and wait for my flower delivery. The only sound is the whirring of my dishwasher and the chuntering of my head.

At the deli counter I chose roast turkey. It felt appropriate, the finely sliced pieces, carved and weighed, wrapped in thin paper, neat and contained in my basket. But how I empathised with the bird, with the assistant’s hand inside it, and she wrestled and ripped, her hand full of giblets and I winced as she tore and looked away. How I wish I’d asked for a scotch egg instead.

So, it’s lunchtime on the 15th, my mind playing its little games. I drink tea and write as the rain falls, now a chicken goujon in the memory of my carcass. And so it goes.

xxx

hyacith

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Suddenly I’m in her room, that little narrow room over the gardens. And it looked down the road, over grey houses and all the doors had buzzers and I remember the little conservatory to the side and the place where she sat in the sun.

And the women called Janet who didn’t quite belong, played cards in the corner and we talked to her in those days. The days of waiting and sitting and I tried so hard not to let my feelings show but always failed miserably. And right now through my own window in this false world it all comes back and our son was a few years younger and we bought her the soft toy when the connections started to break.

And I’m sat on her bed, by the pillow while he played on the floor with his pens and we rearranged the photos on the sideboard in the empty competition with your brother.

And right now I have her fog and I’m trying to find my way out of it, swirling it’s fingers around my mind, a steady grip of confusion and I see her and her mothering and her unstable walk and I feel the pressure of her arm, coated in her bright red fleece, on the walks to nowhere near where she used to live. And she leans on my right side and you walk ahead. And I’m thrown by my window, looking out, like she did, surrounded by the things she cherished, held by the warmth and the love.

And she came back so brightly, bringing my old world with her and I see the span of her life, her
mothering, her gifts. And I fragment in the pieces, a cut up mess of memories, trapped in her photos smiling out, her sepia world and mine now. Somehow stuck, indelibly living in that room, living with trinkets of thoughts, permanently who we were, and her hill was nearly a mountain.

And somehow, years from now, I sit somewhere in an old home, looking out over my life, a folded old lady, with layers of silk and moments, surrounded by warmth and love and I see a thread of mothers, through the dust and sunlight.
Ours, creating us, forming who we became and me now here, not old, not just yet, sitting in the light looking out.

My own birth story, my continuation of our family, shining through the debris in my mind. Through these March moments, reconnecting with it’s subtle light, in these days, in these hours that twirl me dizzy.

Different rooms and views.
Universes layering.
Unravelled, in this place,
this thread of mothering.

Ps
A fly revs up behind me, I should look, it could be a wasp. My left knee and arm are warm as the sun creeps round, should be reading, research to do, but my head is lagging out the back the hedge looks black under the brightness of the sky. Feel like I’m in a tardis, secluded from the world in this vast tumbled down place but on the outside I’m still just small, me, a collection of atoms in a current form.
The heat brings out the dust in the day, everything is teeming. I need to do justice to this space, need to work.
The fly, (it was a fly,) tries valiantly against the glass, it’s fat furred body thudding in the light, tiny hairs quivering, protesting at his obstacles. I spot two other flies, quietly looking for answers. In my cell surrounded by prisoners. Sun hot on my shoulder, light framing the clouds.
The buzzing starts to annoy me. I need to do some work.

March 20th
(Showers)
I let the hail pierce my skin it’s white stoned ice cutting the surface. My feet buzz from the cold concrete, my hair plasters down. I try to feel, I seek sensation. I turn into the wind, it bites my face. it’s good. Everything is grey, grey falling, saturating me and the earth. The tiny birds carry themselves to food, hang upside down despite the swinging movement, I’m jealous of their instinct, I crave their animality, their hunt and song as I stand here, calling storms, losing myself in the pain x
The sun comes out, another gun fire takes an unseen rabbit, the ground shines white, water pulled up into steam and my shadow almost blue against the white washed bricks, glaring in the grateful heat. My hair drys out as I tap and in the distance, nearly out of view I see the wind farm for the first time, pure, uncomplicated, turning circles as the clouds pass overhead.

March 21st
The heating is off, my feet are cold, everything is silent, waiting.
I wonder where he is by now, how far along the long road to school, nearly my height, in my morning bare feet, with those eyes and your walk.

Stuff to do on his own walk, things to catch up with, to get down to. He has day two of exams and I don’t feel the weight like I did with SATS. I see him older like me, shifting into a new form, doing what we do now.

Feel strange I suppose, asleep somewhere in this version of being. I should make the most of the space, of this quiet. He’ll be up by the trees now, looking for Jack, his new good friend who knows us now. He has what he needs for today, and tomorrow isn’t relevant yet.

I feel like I’ve docked in a harbour, throbbing and grimy from the journey, covered in barnacles, a sea stained slime of weed. But the harbour is foreign, unfamiliar, though calling me into drop anchor.
I am here, I should pause, though it’s just a port, a resting place between the storms.
He’ll be putting his things in his locker, bubbling and buzzing, a world away from here in this cold room. I wait and view the scenery. Beneath me, the depth of ancient places, darkness slopping up my bows and out there,
hidden trenches crawling in things we can’t see, under the weight of this place.
My sea. Quiet waves, for now.

(and our explorer, out there, charging, steely eyes and cutlass. Doing it.)

x

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They’re back again with their grey whiteness, the bright helmets, the giant gnawing hidden teeth, blasting wood. They bend and feed unseen pieces into jaws, wrapped in protective layers, risk assessed and safe while their vile beasts fill their tummies, metal splattering spitting, whirring churning, droning destroying, buzzing burring, cackling into sawdust.  And they work in pairs, in unison and they are soulless relentless merciless, sent from the Council to let in more light but they stalk around looking for the orange spots, the cross on their door, to take out the life. 

And the engine stops, the silence loud, the birds long gone, for now and they prowl around.  An old unsteady man, new to my view, shuffles against the weather, uneven unhelpful right foot, swinging briefly bought bits in his orange plastic, his thick anorak inflating, filling him out against the day as he weaves through their carnage.

And I wait to see what’s next.
Me and the crow look out on them.
A nervous surveillance, his shiny black dulled in December skies, waddling, hands behind his back.
And yesterday I warned our son that his path would be blocked by the visitors and as he changed route at the last moment he complained that they’d taken his favourite tree, one out of sight, on his game on the way, that hung invitingly, to duck under and I wanted to hold him when he walked by the logs that remained.
And this morning they stealth their route along behind us, wreaking change near the playground of earlier times when he clambered carefully and I watched you from the window making something secret on the bench. Where you sat on guard occasionally, half reading half watching, in the closing of the old life when I started to loosen the strings.

And from my side window I see raw sap seeping wood, a shocked pale circle against the dark day, it’s thick hour rich coat greened with life and time, lying torn while their chainsaws sever limbs and I’m drawn to watch though it hurts and I wonder how long before they get to our gate.

I have to go out later, it may help to leave them to it. We checked out their route months back when the orange paint first came and I know the spaces they’re planning and as they drill a little deeper I move away to the front of the house.
And your Mum loved trees so much, tucked away in her little back yard with one plant, you know the one and the jokes we made and she always lifted on the moors in the weather swept openness while the moments ticked into memories and photos. And she visited once here, as her transition picked up pace and I see her in the garden, pink jumper, stick and our son leaning, grinning on his 6 year old truck and the life in the trees hummed around us. Rich chaos filled universes, worlds supporting worlds, layers of matter, mattering to those that paused or lived there and my hours listening through the old windows, orchestras rustling through our noisy atumum days.  And we hesitated on double glazing as it would drown out the calming stirring and they were our trees, my trees, her trees, where trees were backgrounding our place. 

And I feel the atoms spinning in the microscopic legs that crawl their needled stickiness, darting away before nail hard beaks jab into their juicy body, a pop bite burst to nothing, a speck of food or a wriggle of warm jelly into the waiting throats and a clatter of feathers through leaves, in between and up and out, away for the next moment, soaring catching the shape of the wind, carried, spying over the garden with black bead shinyness, the beating muscles connecting, webbing out between us all, making the links in the force. 

I can’t look now. 
The throbbing has started again. A mass displacement, tearing through the morning, a landscape of unseen refugees, bagless homeless  disorientated by imposed change. Bewildered and dazed, some still breathing, edging on in the stark new world.

I’m going out, I can’t listen anymore, can’t feel this familiarity, the anticipation of loss, their Council driven metaphors, the gapping spaces, rich with history, relocating energies around the hacking chainsawed misery.
The Council leaflet tells us it’s been carefully considered, it will aid the trees that are left, they will grow and spread out differently, they will stretch up stronger. Changed through the ripping, but ultimately bringing growth.

I don’t see it at the moment.
I’m aware of dates, obviously they would have to come now, of course.
I’m aware of the sun shining out, winter cold but energising, webs of sawdust dancing in it’s light.
Wood warming up in the photons.

I’m going to have one more look.

I’m tired of endings.
X

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November 30th 2012

Tomorrow is apparently December. Today it smells like it,
it smells like Christmas and the roads are full of petrol fumes from earlier engines and the air bites you if you’re out there, easing the lock against the ice with the cold seat up your back, the satisfying connection as it turns over into life. And I used to prepare it for you, always up first, then our son, and while you crawled to the bathroom for another day of their politics and nonsense, I rush outside, in-between breakfast and turn the key. And when you come downstairs to put your briefcase in the back, it’s half ready, steaming up the drive and the morning thawed in the winter sun and we went about our life.
And though I’m very much here with my pillow up my back, strong black reaching the places it needs to, the weather and rhythm of the year draws me away through my wormhole to stuffing the Rover with parcels and weaving up behind tail lights to Birmingham for early Christmasses and you always tried to finish early and that song always played and we got there late to the faces and warmth at the door, with the necessary jokes, the normality of driving home. And the Boxing day onslaught North to the things we wanted and the things we had to deal with, the anticipation, the issues, the doilies, the tall freezer not quite hidden behind the folding screen, the conservatory that was really a lean-to, so he didn’t have to get planning permission, and the storage heater off to my right. And she always winked at me when the conversation went it’s usual way and the meat was beautifully sliced and he always asked how your Mum was doing.
And back to the Travel Lodge enjoying the sickness that I kept to myself for a while and I only had toast that morning and sparkled and tingled on the inside, potential lit up like the decorated trees around me. And back up to Pendle, stark, cold and perfect, weaving up the inclines to find our spot, and we huddled as you took us in your old proper camera that’s under the bed as I tap this, and froze us into a favourite photo, the two small mothers, (your rock before she shifted and me at the point of transition though we didn’t know it then). And we smiled towards you in the beautiful bleakness, a timeline of love, a moment.
And I’m in it now before we head South.
For train filled toddlers who rustled in boxes with the paper strewn floor and we laughed at his sweetness when the carriages kept coming, while I was too organised and you preferred the chaos.
And my memories are scrunched up around me, ripped and messed with half stuck bows, ribbons hanging off. And they’re slippy under bare morning feet with the warm house smelling of cooking, sausage rolls at breakfast time, just because you could, while I sort through the images
coming fast and jangling, a loud insistent jingling of our hours.

And now my coffee’s gone cold and the heating’s gone off and I consider coming back to the present, with the calling of the day ahead, the distant sleigh bells of planning.

The tentative being of now.

The last of November frost is melting and taking my time travel up in the warming wavelengths.

The sun burns white into the back right window highlighting the moisture in it’s brightness, eight years to the day it rolled up outside our old home, after Mike picked up the Rover, I think. Then I remember us sat in the show room, and some issue over insurance, our son feeling sick while you sorted it.
And our cars changed shape today, the ruby lowness filled with balloons that we tin-canned away in, that I creased myself into in labour, that took our newness around the country, Christmas packed with babies by the nearly there lights of Newton Abbot. And it had done it’s job and morphed into your new choice that continued the journeys, took us to other places, thank-yous with high zipped up jumpers, warm, oil swished turkeys on the front seat, steaming up the windows and the endless moments frozen, love etched inside.

It’s cold today
It’s nearly December
I’m surrounded by everything

We are held.

X

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