07 January 2018

on travelling

There are things you miss, travelling
Absent things recalled
I miss having my own coffee up,
buying machined hot brown something
No anticipatory smell from opening the bag,
coffee scented with hazelnuts and familiarity

I look at a different menu most nights,
restaurants and hotels, I choose quickly
and eat alone, observing the company
Sometimes a colleague will join me, and rarer, a friend.
I miss cooking at home, or buying a pizza,
heating it up, adding toppings and calling that cooking

I see countries, cities, streets and villages,
Hills and mountains, enclosing forests, shores
Bridges spanning firths and estuaries, and clouds
from the plane. Skies and skies, and more skies and
driving in rain, spatters of red lights and headlights
And always the road, a grey thread sewing the routes

But I sometimes miss my roof terrace.
The decking is slowly rotting because of the rain
but when the sun shines it is a little oasis in my city
Overgrown tubs, grasses and herbs returning to wild
Sitting sipping coffee under contrails and hearing the traffic
knowing that I don’t have to be in it

I sleep easily, in four poster beds, under chintz
or in a modern family room, blandness acceptable
for a night or two. It’s rare to get a view, a horizon
I miss my bed too. For two nights a week, I sleep there
with nowhere to go when I wake
Yet still, I resist the rooting of routine

28 December 2017

Ellis 015

For Prediction fiction here
This weeks words: gutter, rime, thrift

Jasper had sneaked to the old gypsy caravan when I was sick one winter, I was twelve. It was a quarantine measure, putting me out there, to stop the rest of us getting influenza. It was quite cosy inside, with old quilts and blankets that spoke of love and history more than thrift, and in the fat guttering candlelight (and fever), I was warm.
Jasper picked his way across the rimed yard, supposed to deposit the soup at the door for me, but he came inside and stayed with me. Ghost stories now, they always make me remember that cosiness.

20 December 2017

Inverted Yggdrasil

I reach my branches into the ether
  of zeroes and ones, a binary cloud
  organised and fractal
My twigs twitch and clutch
  the information overload
  taste the ebb and flow
Trolls don't hide under bridges
  but stomp in the open here,
  broken sludge in their wake
My buds are repelled
  the darkness frosts the edges
  turning them inward
Down I go, my roots
  reaching for earthiness
  away from illiteracy, politics
  blasting rhetoric
My toes quest like worms
  and push for warmth, goodness
The fires are raging above
  minds turned inside out
  thoughts splashed everywhere, corrosive
I become a stump
  and wait in the dark
  for the storm to pass

 Written in response to "The Almond Tree" by D H  Lawrence  at the Cardiff Bay Writing Group

19 December 2017

Ellis 014

For Prediction Fiction here
This weeks words: pride, quirk, wedge

After they had both left, I tucked my wounded pride under the blanket with me.
I never caught Jessica actively trying to drive a wedge between me and Jasper, but that’s how it felt.
Jasper and I had grown up together as siblings in a commune, an amorphous bunch of kids and adults on a farm. He was my adored big brother, he was daring and right and full of purpose. I followed him, into the police. By some quirk of hard work and talent, he made it to Sergeant and became my boss. Jessica just didn’t get our closeness.

Litany against fear

I was afraid of you
I knew you would upset my equilibrium
I knew you would
I knew we would make memories
  to hoard, a jewelled rosary for later years

I was afraid of you
I  knew you would open up my heart
I knew you would
I knew we would walk on, squeeze a blossom of baby's breath
  and twine fingers and thoughts through our lives

I was afraid I would not be good enough for you

Written in response to Sharon Old's "To our miscarried one, aged thirty now" for the Cardiff Bay Writing Group

13 November 2017

Batter my heart

You wore yellow, when we met
by appointment, for our first illicit kiss
You, with a bottle of wine on the table
two glasses, though you had not waited to pour
You wore yelllow on your finger
your wedding ring, a guilty gilty gleam
We spoke circles around each other
(will we? shall we?), coiling certainty with doubt
We leaned closer, willing
and unwilling to close the deal
You, like an usurp'd town to another due

(Prompted from John Donne's holy-sonnets-batter-my-heart-three-persond-god)

There is no try...

I believe in failure
  waiting to trip me up at every opportunity
Do nothing, the easy way to fail
Try, and yet, fail again
  at something different
I try to do the right thing, but there is no reward in heaven,
  only the world turning around to bite you
    somewhere new
I stopped believing

11 November 2017

Driving to Tesco

Driving this time of year, wet tarmac and skies all blunt greys and the verges sombre evergreens, with shivers of egg yolk and copper, nodding as cars swish past.

04 November 2017

076/100 days of aspirin

Waving parents off on a trip from the family home. Must be twenty five or more years since I did that. Back to bed with stomach ache. Watching Alias Grace, all six episodes one after the other. Reading, cooking partly succesful, using a different hob and microwave to my own. Sleep and sunshine, yellow and cream curtains and walls make the light glow in some of the rooms here.

03 November 2017

075/100 days of aspirin

Back at the family home, life is low key and precious at the same time.  There's an awareness that life is moving on, and some day, spending a day walking to to the supermarket, or sitting chatting with my parents won't be an option. Partly because of the accident, I'm more alert to risks and see more danger in everyday activity. Partly because they are more concious of the passing of time, wondering when they do something significant (or perhaps not), if if will be the last time.

Reflective, I suppose. Certainly less fraught than the last time I was here, straight after surgery. Going upstairs or downstairs isn't so exhausting that once a day is enough.

02 November 2017

074/100 days of aspirin

Musing on personal impact today, I've been working at a new site, which means getting to know a whole new set of people. Meeting new people and having to work with them on key business projects straight away, and getting them to trust you, a person who's just walked in off the street. Giving out the "we're here to help" message without being patronising (which is just one of my manyy delightful character traits according to my MBTi profile!)
For all I like to think of myself as a self aware person, I'm really not that good at assessing my impact on others, but yesterday I felt I clicked with a key person.

Arrived at my parents house late evening, and smiled, looking at the porch step that caused so much consternation and trouble eleven weeks back, the effort it took to haul myself into the house. The stairs I spent a week going up and down on my bum! My ankle may be a long way from perfect, but it's also a long way from where it was in a cast. Phew!

01 November 2017

073/100 days of aspirin

Letchworth is very leafy. Faded greens and all the golds and brasses and coppers. Are the leaves not "normally" gone by November? It feels like the trees should be bare, but my memory isn't that reliable. A late morning start, meeting a colleague after his commute. Theoretically time for a swim, but just didn't get into the mood for it. Fried breakfast, yum.
My first day in proper shoes!

31 October 2017

072/100 days of aspirin

On fitting in groups, and standing out. A full company meeting to celebrate being five years old, and the impact we've had on British industry. Good stuff, mostly stirring stuff. A reassurance that we, including I, are making a difference. On meeting my replacement who wouldn't meet my eyes. Hugs from some team members. Being asked to stand at the back for the team photo by the marketing bitch as not wearing SiG colours. Being the EHS "safety statistic". Networking, slightly.
Driving to the next hotel, and reading until I fell asleep.

30 October 2017

071/100 days of aspirin

The physio says I am doing well, still. I feel my leg is stiff and unwieldy a lot of the time, but she seems to think I am making at least adequate and sometimes good progress. I think I miss mentally knowing what the path is, what the steps after these ones are. But it does mean I concentrate on achieving the near objectives. I am being well managed.
More balance exercises, and some for my hip to loosen up the stiffness there. More effort, through the pain for the heel raises. More wobbling to help proprioception.
And a slow drive to Derby to finish the day.

Ellis 013

For Prediction Fiction here
This weeks words: devote, eviscerate, tab

Jasper’s phone rang, the sotto voce conversation stilled his face.

“Girls, I have to go.” Aww, I had pictured an afternoon watching crappy daytime telly, punctuated with him devotedly fetching me tea, crisps and chocolate.

“A girl has been found at the top of Victoria Park. All hands on deck,“ he explained. “Ellie, write your report from yesterday, including tabs or other drugs you can remember seeing. We’ll go through it at work tomorrow.”

“What’s happened?” Jess asked.
“Attempted evisceration, but she’s alive.”
He left, determination and excitement thrumming through him.
Jess and I managed to exchange a thin smile.

29 October 2017

070/100 days of aspirin

Achieved around six (overdue but not impossible) things around breakfast time today, eat your heart out Alice. The extra hour helped. A walk in sunny and occasionally blustery wind, up to the barrage, punctuated by a nice sit down and a "play" in the outdoor gym. And a Sunday lunch in the pub on the way back.

Distracted by re-reading "Angels and Men" by Catherine Fox for the first time in at least ten years. Still fascinating.
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