Monday, February 01, 2021

Spread a little happiness

It gives me a warm glow to discover other people adopting the Singular Cake mantra.

For instance, over at Positive News, young people battling climate change encouraged adults to:

1.     Change your diet: Cut down your consumption of meat, and if possible adopt a vegan or vegetarian diet

2.     Reduce travel in private vehicles: Try other means of transportation like walking, biking or using public transport.

3.     Quit flying: Train travel has a far lower carbon footprint, or you could go Greta-style and take a solar-powered boat

4.     Create a wildlife habitat in your garden: This will allow the ecosystem in your area to thrive but also give you a kinder relationship with nature

5.     Slow fashion: Buy clothes only when you genuinely need them, and try to opt for second hand or sustainable brands

Five ticks for me! Come on, it's easy, we've got this!

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

 After Bukowski


You know,

that’s when I need it

When I’m in the rose garden

after a funeral

and they say ah, the Tequila Sunrise

and all I’m thinking of

is you leaning on the wood

behind the oak bar in the living room

hands slick with Grenadine

laughing over the twisted neck

of the Galliano bottle

making Wallbanger’s, sunrises, stingers, Negroni’s, ‘hoppers, spritzers,

getting juiced on pinky Mateus, Dubonnet, Campari

sending me out for ice, tongs a-jangling in the ice bucket

‘Pen, pop in parasols for the ladies’

plop in an olive, a maraschino cherry, a lemony twist

clinking glasses, reflecting the pastel tones of

evening dresses with rows of cloth covered buttons

the size and colour of chickpeas

while Uncle Ronnie plays darts badly

leaving pock marks in the wall

and falling off the bar stool

when you flick him with the wet bar towel.


In the Jack Daniels mirror,

their reflections are not kind;

as any poet knows but especially the Barfly himself

whose poetry I will not discover

for another ten years

when I get sent a copy as a half-arsed apology

after an embarrassing scene at the flicks

with you when you were still Dad and a few too many

Hartsman lagers in a plastic bag

and too many mouthfuls of dewy apricots

whose combined fermentation



is not contained

by your jeans

escaping looks in the darkness

as you exit the plush rows

to isolate in the loo cubicle

mopping pointlessly

while I watch the film



Charlie would get it;

that you can miss

that which you did not love -

the sound of family


and put-downs, slurred vitriol, scuffles

after which, drinking,

drinking, dancing

and smooching and eye-rolling looks

while I sit on our red velvet sofa

watching TV

in my knee-length patterned socks

with a book.


Drinks were lurid, exotic,

the colour of fun,

tantalising, desirable, lined up in rows,

reflecting dilute shades of vermilion,

sherbet lemon, neon blue,

like adult versions of the 

jam-jars for painting at school,

before the stained glasses became

familiar, painful, tasteless

evocative reminders of you

at every event after

and especially


you ask me to switch

you off

and after

you are gone

but the drinks are still here.


“Have a cocktail, Penny-love,

A fancy mixer?”

Just the thing.


Tequila Sunrise 

is an orangey red-stained garden rose

growing after someone else’s funeral

with trays of pyramid sandwiches

and twiglets and chitchat,

and pastel colours in the faded garden

and the best dresses

and the clinking glasses

and they are

no fun at all.

There's no fun in funeral -

despite the jokes in the car,

despite clasping hands,

and lips pressed to damp cheeks.


Our stab at history

is here upon us


and in the moment –

in the wine on the tongue

breath fogging the air

your words in my ear

his tongue (and more) in me

and I guess, in the end,



wouldn’t have it otherwise.



Reflections, after reading about Matjames Metson while in the garden at a wake

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Monday, July 20, 2020

Sign in - post apocalyptic notes July 2020

It could just be because it's a Monday

Or because the world is appearing particularly fuckish today. Stories of heartache and conflict and climate disaster.

So, it's good when a new zine drops in the Inbox, followed by new funding opportunities for the not-faint-hearted, undeterred by rhyme/reason, coping with post-apocalyptic terminology writer. It's SO hot off the press it's not even digitally online yet, so here's just a tease of the cover. Until such time as I can share it more generously.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

New plan, old plan, no plan - Lockdown 2020

I am used to functioning with no plan. I am a mother of three. But this government is taking 'winging it' to a whole new level.

Times when winging it is good (from personal experience): 

When you forget your lines for the Cheshunt Comprehensive  School play (points for original context)
When you run out of Italian truffles in a Nigella recipe and use Asda meatballs instead
When your neighbour asks if you used that macrame pattern they gave you

Times when winging it is NOT so good:

At a NATO peacekeeping conference
To resussitate the school gerbil you brought home for the holidays
During a global pandemic (Note to Govt.)

The original context, I hear you ask? Well, the writer Phillip Godfrey described it in 1933 in his book about contemporary English Theatre as "He must give a performance by 'winging it' - that is, by refreshing his memory for each scene in the wings before he goes on to play it."

Uha, okay, got that. Not a way to stumble through life then.

So, I think it is abundantly clear that anything in a global context, relating to health, safety or the welfare of a whole population (maybe even species), is when you Woman UP and make a To Do List, at the very least. Ideally you have previously prepared oh, I dunno, a pre-emptive plan in the event of any global crisis? Something that is now known as having a 'Jacinta Ardern strategy'.

But this is all well and good with hindsight, but what do we do now? 

Does anyone think we need a global body to make the big decisions? A group that specifically does NOT include politicians, but rather the scientists, educators, strategists, humanists and world healthcare providers? People with vision and compassion?

Let's save 'winging it' for the comedians, eh?