Getting Touchy

A sharp intake of breath. My peripheral vision catches the first flail of the loose rope, then the sudden grab and snatch as her hand is yanked upwards. We stand our bells and wait in silence for the tower captain to seize back control of the escaped number three. She hovers sheepishly to one side;... Continue Reading →


January.   Gloomy mud-slick Northern days slither by, almost unnoticed, with barely a ripple of light from dawn, through noon, to twilight.  The lamp in the dining room stays on all day, but who knows, or even cares what day it is? Some days slip past without me even setting foot outside, apart from to wrangle the teetering bags of recycling that patiently await collection. Even with the colour-coded timetable blu-tacked to the kitchen cupboard, we still manage to miss the anomalous... Continue Reading →


Don’t they say to young bucks ‘If you want to know how your future wife will turn out, take a close look at her mother’? As a maid, I might have considered applying that adage to the opposite gender and given these words careful thought on that dark night when, waking suddenly to the terrifying cacophony of a not-too-distant jackhammer blasting with metronomic regularity, I saw an ominous vision of the future.... Continue Reading →

Mission Impossible

‘Hey, kids, it’s Harvest Festival in church on Thur—‘ ‘NOPE!’ And that was it. No more discussion. Finito. Period. Fin. As we approach our thirteenth anniversary of resident status here in Nunburnholme I cast my mind back to the ways in which we have become enveloped into the bosom of this tiny rural community. The... Continue Reading →

Fork Off

At 0800h on Monday it occurred to me that my family might benefit from a quick lesson in breakfast cereal portion control. I confess that in an effort to dodge the misery of sullen breakfasting (or worse; hunger strike) I sling a packet usually decorated with squirrels, monkeys, tigers or alligators into my weekly shopping... Continue Reading →

Pack Up Your Troubles

Once or twice a year I suffer the irrational and nauseating anguish of ‘pre-expedition anxiety’. I wonder if I am alone in this. There must be other mothers who know what I mean. It is the feeling you get when you have decided to take your family away on holiday and they unwittingly go along... Continue Reading →

Suit Yourself

"Do we HAVE to go?" I might have been insisting on a family visit to a mortuary, or worse still, expecting them to accompany me to a Cliff Richard concert. But no, it turns out that my children have simply reached a point in their lives when the prospect of a trip to the seaside... Continue Reading →

Midsummer Murmurs

The day started with an exhilarating plunge into the deep cool waters at Allerthorpe where I swam long and hard, imagining myself as The Lady of the Lake, a sleek creature, clothed in white samite, mystic, wonderful, gliding through the murky water. In fact I must have looked more like a Donald McGill fat lady... Continue Reading →


“D’you want a bag for that?” I half detected a sneer and glanced up to check her face for the thinly veiled contempt of a Topshop sales assistant, but what I saw was the sweet young girl just doing her job. “I think it’ll go in my handbag, thanks” Relieved, I stuffed the wayward tentacles... Continue Reading →

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