A Right of passage #FGM.

She wears the scars of the divine

They think she’ll forget given time.

that she’ll bow to the pain

And pray in his name.

But she won’t, instead,

she will cry in her bed

For God, on a mission,

Or ancient tradition.

The girls In her tribe

Just frown.

At the stain they see

On her gown.

The heat in her face as

Infection slots In place.

Death is often the way.

Not saved from the cut,

Like a kick in the gut,

Her Mother held

Her hand that day.

It happens In a home

Just like yours,

carried-out behind

Closed house doors.

When blood seeps

through the cracks,

it’s covered with a mat

Never to be mentioned

Again.

I didn’t think it could be,

Because I was too blind to see.

Not in a house that’s

Next door to me.

The piece below was taken directly from Feb 2017 ITV news.

A case of female genital mutilation (FGM) is either discovered or treated in England every hour, according to the analysis of NHS statistics by a charity.

Between April 2015 and March 2016 there were 8,656 times when women or girls attended doctors’ surgeries or hospitals and the problem was assessed – the equivalent of one every 61 minutes.

Did you know this barbarity was so prevalent in the UK?

Can ordinary people like me, with art, stories and poems be heard … make a difference?

Any acknowledgement or comment on this will be responded to with honesty and speed.

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Liking Autumn

I love the crunch beneath my boots,

Crisp mornings and coloured trees.

Fingerless gloves and owl hoots,

Long scarves down to my knees.

Conkers burst their, spiked armour,

Spill their seeds for conker wars.

Scarlet and golden paint a scene,

To cover paths and forest floors.

Without Autumn there’d be no respite

a harvest moon would not appear.

No Halloween or cosy suppers

To bring us all our Autumn cheer.

So many of you asked, ‘what are conkers?’ I have popped this link for you. Here . The shaddow fighter picture above was found un credited on the internet and depicts a conker war. All other shots are of my own making.

What do you like about Autumn? Have you played Conkers? I’d love to hear … go on, you know you’d like to.

A Frantic photo.

Capture 1

 

I watch a very attractive twenty-something girl, (youth is beauty after all) she poses outside a well-known emporium in London. I sip my tea as I catch a glimpse of the figure through the steamy window, across the street. Her task became clear as pedestrians moved on, leaving her in view.

She shot five, ten maybe twenty or more snaps, all with different sections of shopfront. The window dressing backdrops, all varieties of poses. There was lipstick on and off, a chin down and up, head to the right then left. One which surely was one side only with a book covering one eye. Hair combed, twisted, tucked and pulled.

My tea finished I walked across the street curious to see her closeup. I couldn’t help it, I smiled and said ‘the first one, you were far more beautiful in the first one.’ She came after me; touched my arm. ‘Sorry. but how do you know?’ She was agitated not quite cross but rattled. I pointed across the road ‘I was in the tea house and saw you clicking, taking shots with your phone … you were perfect in the first one.’

She scrolled fast through her gallery as she tip-tapped alongside. Until she shoved her i phone under my nose. ‘This one … why would it be the best, my nose looks long at that angle and my lips look dry, it isn’t the best at all.’ She was quite frantic, rushing her words, pushing her chest forward. ‘But your nose is the way it is, besides in the first one you were twenty-five minutes younger than the last, so it must be the best.’ I left her baffled as I went about my day. We are what we are regardless of the persona we show the virtual world. Our looks constantly change so each picture depicts a flash of what was; not a perfect shot of what is. The worry on the face of the young woman bothers me. Why the image was so important, it appeared imperative so stressful that I swear I heard palpitations and saw a fear in her eyes. I suppose the term ‘selfie syndrome’ will soon be another condition that parents have to watch for. It seems appearance is all, and ageing humans such as myself, women and men that have lives and deaths etched on our faces will be invisible. At least to the people

We are what we are regardless of the persona we show the virtual world. Our looks constantly change so each picture depicts a flash of what was, not a perfect shot of what is. The worry on the face of the young woman bothers me. Why the image was so important, it appeared imperative, so stressful that I swear I heard palpitations and saw a fear in her eyes. I suppose the term ‘selfie syndrome’ will soon be another condition that parents have to watch for. It seems appearance is all, and ageing humans such as myself, women and men that have lives and deaths etched on our faces will be invisible. At least to the people whose faces, they believe are the measure of them.

thank you unsplash for the use of the picture.

I would love your answer to the question … why was the perfect shot so important?

Genetically Challenged.

Fourteen weeks ago we moved back to Suffolk. Those who follow me will know this and I won’t be boring you with the story I promise, just a reminder of how we moved away to Somerset, we didn’t find our forever place so after four and a half years we sold up and moved back.

We threw ourselves into the refurbishing of our house. Eventually, we thought to find a doctor, a dentist and an optician etc. A week of changing addresses, doing paperwork, joining electoral roles and collecting information took place.

During my new Doctor consultation (I thought him very thorough), a gamut of questions were fired at me, from under an arched and knowledgeable brow. Lots of poking and prodding, weighing, measuring and listening occurred. Squeezing, knocking and the questions went on for an exceedingly long time. Next, I was given bottles and forms to both fill and present to the hospital. This is where I cut to the chase and leave my usual shaggy dog story peacefully in its dog bed.

I had been to the doctors over the last four years with, the pains in my joints, falling asleep that we all laughed about, the getting lost and the misty or foggy headedness, the heartburn and the chills I had when everyone else was warm. All the above were individually poked fun at, none more so than by me. Silly me, getting old, winding down getting a bit quirkier than I was before. It seemed, the harder I tried to get myself fit, the slower and crappier I felt … the more often I stayed in my pyjamas the more it became an Ellen thing, to be laughed at.

I had my thyroid checked several times, my blood, cholesterol and sugars, to no avail. I was told to lose weight, about 20lb was suggested for optimum fitness. At this point the doctors (I had seen a few) I felt, were beginning to think I was lazy and maybe wasting their time. They said, maybe it was taking early retirement, or I was depressed missing family and familiarity, but losing weight and getting fit would help. So on I struggled a sleepy, chilly, foggy headed woman who was more and more muddled, weak and in pain.

Well, I can tell you that I am not lazy, fat or a hypochondriac, I have a genetic condition that has been very gratefully spotted by my new GP. How lucky was I to have moved back and to have seen someone who knew what he was looking at?

I have Haemachromatosis, basically, I store iron, my blood then chucks it into my organs, the brain, liver etc. This toxic stuff causes havoc where ever it lands. There is no cure … but there is a treatment for which I am very grateful. And though scared, I will suck it up and get on with it. I won’t let it win or change me, it won’t define who I am.

In the past few weeks, I have had needles and cameras in orifices I would have preferred not to, I’ve seen pictures of a few places … even I hadn’t seen before. I have been humbled by the kindness of medical people and scared by the condition and the vast amount of knowledge that I am unable to take in, but I am loved thoroughly by those who matter.

Here is the joke, you knew there would be one … I have a needle phobia, always have had and the treatment, the only treatment is Venesection. Blood letting, phlebotomy, removal of my toxic blood. Before we left for the first treatment the husband thought he would … relax me, he wore a wicked grin when he searched you tube and had to wipe his eyes for the thirty minutes he played me Handcocks Half Hour, a comedy radio skit from 1961, where Tony Handcock donates blood.

One Venesection down and I didn’t disgrace myself, I am sucking it up! What the hell else can I do? So I guess right now, according to Tony Handcock I have an empty arm ‘Tah Dah boom!’

Every ten days a pint has to be removed until numbers stabilise (how long is a piece of vein/ string). Then the gaps will widen to monthly and in a few years, maybe I can get to four times a year with monthly blood tests. But basically … ‘If you want to live, you got to bleed, forever.’

The husband, he suggested leeches, we have a well in the garden so it could be an option. Someone actually said ‘You must wish you could self-harm.’ Then some people are sick! I became upset when a family member said ‘So what, it’s not a biggie,’ easy to say when it’s not you, said from that place of comfort. Another writer/ bloggy person unbeknown to him gave me an idea *Thinks*.

An advert!

Wanted! A Gentle Male Vampire with sharp teeth.

The successful applicant would be required to come to my home under his own steam. To be dressed in traditional uniform and to specifically partake of dinner twice a month, until further notice.

Wages will be in the form of warm B rhesus negative

Iron enriched the oxygenated blood.

Conversation will not be necessary,

Though good oral hygiene is a must.

The applicant/ Sanguineoue being, will not be permitted, in fact, will be forbidden to partake of any other beverage from any source whilst in my employ, or my home.

Once the task has been completed he will depart the way he arrived, leaving no sign that he ever attended.

If interested in this position please reply by email/ sonar or echolocation … at your soonest opportunity. Only experienced thirsty practitioners need reply.

P.s. no sympathy required I am lucky, I at least can be helped.

My explanation for erratic posting and absence needed explaining. Sometimes I can’t focus enough to grab my words and writing or talking coherently is not happening. It hopefully will improve and I will be back, talking, writing and reading regularly.

P.S. When the specialist said, “You’ll see, we will get you back feeling normal, it will take time; we will improve things.” He was looking into my eyes holding my hand. That’s when the husband laughed aloud and said: “That will be novel, nobody’s accused Ellen of normality in years.” Both men were in hysterics, I think that says it all. I have always risen to a challenge and Genetically challenged will be no different.

Absent.

Wait for me when I’m gone,

Don’t forget I was here.

Come and read a while

There’s nothing to fear.

Life has other idea’s

That keep me away.

But please don’t

stop coming,

I still have a lot

To say.

I am having to take a break for a while. I can’t say for how long, but I hope to pop back and read any comments and reply when I can. I look forward to continuing to read your posts and banter on your blogs where possible. I will be back once I am fit and able.

But when life gives you lemons … you need to stand back and take in the scent, look at the whole tree; not just the fruit.

A Suffolk Festival.

The motorhome thumped up the lane rocking and jerking over the hardened earth that shook our jaws. As the last curve was negotiated the campsite spread before us. Flags flapped against the mackerel sky. Swags and flags swirly Twizzlers rattled and spun as did novelty air filled sperm. Campers tugged miniature trailers, all polished looking their best. Unicorns flapped, bunting tangled and faces lit up and grinned.

We strolled around, caught a knowing look or two. Smiles and nods tossed our way, a greeting of strangers linked by destination and sounds. Kids and pups were happily pulled along in trailers packed with stuff for the day.

A squeal from the stage shocked our ears as the thump thump of a base backed the ‘ one two, one two’, called over the mike.

Flowers and glitter in hair and on faces caught the light as hula hoop girls spun in tiny sequined shorts. Toned bodies of aerial dancers arced and rolled precariously. Dancing under steel frames, suspended on strands of purple ribbon.

Goods displayed on trestle tables and rails spewed from the mouths of canvas shops. Old tut from dusty lofts became prized merchandise once more. Hats, bags, wigs and wings, wands and make believe; all at a price. Clothes from eras past with stories sewn into the weave. Love’s lost and consummated in the seams of an old mini skirt and psychedelic clothes. Cheese-cloth shirts and bell-bottom jeans, wait in hope as rushing winds flap at hems, like silent adverts vying for attention.

Giant robotic installations jerked and flashed to the beat. Bubbles shot across the giggling crowds and flames intermittently roared from an arm that shot skyward. Ooh’s and ahh’s join the music at each glow of the flame.

A folly watches from her view point snuggled in the trees. The festival and its entourage playing at her feet. Not so far from the days of Jousts and Jesters that took place in times gone by.

Girls danced with a freedom I long since lost. Dreadlocks and rainbow dyed hair mingled, with the French plaited girlies. Shaved heads bump and grind with hipster bearded men. Some smoke weed or swig artisan gin together. One place, one time, a shared experience. The music built up and bodies moved in unity, the youth and the aged together. All made new connections and memories alike.

Rain splashed bodies ran for shelter and kids tried to catch drops on their tongues. Even the weather became a game. Sticky and tired we turn in and watch the sun setting over Suffolk.

Until sizzling bacon awakened our taste buds then the enthusiasm bubbled up, begging us to do it once more, at a Suffolk festival.

#WhiteNoiseVwFestival #EaustonHallSuffolk

 Dr Who?

This week there were tweets and news reports, conversations and flips about the New! Doctor Who. For the first time ever, or so I have been led to believe, a woman is to take the starring role. I have watched many Dr Who’s come and go my favourite has to be John Pertwee, mostly because I adored Worzel Gummidge.


Anyway I digress, The lovely Jodie Whittiker, ‘I know her from Broadchurch’. Just saying, anyway she has got the title, won the coveted prize, stepped up to evolve the cult programme further into the realms of wonder. Now don’t shoot, my hands are up. I became bored witless at the naysayers, the chauvinistic complaints and the Agg-Gh ahh! It was everywhere, the moaning. So I switched off unplugged and refused to look any more.

Personally, I think she will be an iconic Dr Who. A conversation with a good friend had some days after the self-imposed ban,  was to bring up the question once more of should the Doctor be a woman? That was when we took it to the pub. Yes, two women took a convo to the village pub to do what men have done for centuries,  and why not! If a woman can be The Doctor… we ordered fizz as we would, a pint of John Smiths (any other beer could be substituted in this spot) is not our taste after all. The following is my version, maybe embellished, but mine none the less. Of an overheard conversation.


Two Men In A pub
.

Stan was slurping the froth from the top of his beer when this exchange took place.

Stan looks at Tom… ‘I suppose it will be exfoliate what they say now’. Wipes his mouth on his sleeve and sniffs loudly.

Tom. ‘What, what do ya mean’

Stan. ‘Them Dalek’s … now it’s a woman doctor’

Tom. ‘Ave you gone doolally, exfoliate’.

Stan. ‘Instead of sayin exterminate as they’ve  always done’.

Tom shakes his head slowly ‘Tha’s a daft bugger; exfoliate’.

A few minutes pass, both men finish their beers and Stan says. ‘You for another’?

Tom nods, and as Stan lurches unsteadily towards the bar you can hear a penny drop when Tom begins to guffaw.

Tom. ‘ Dalek’s exfoliate that’s reet funny that’.

I would like to thank a dear friend Anna, you know who you are, for the gift. Nuf said, “I owe you some fizz now we have moved back”. The pictures courtesy of pixabay  and unsplash and the land of lost internet photos. And you tube for the marvleous vid of Dr John Pertwee, forever in my heart as the undeniably wonderful Worzel Gummidge and in this bit Una Stubs as Aunt Sally.

P.S.

For Dr Who aficionados out there…  the relevance of John Smiths in the pub is that it  was the name the Dr took while being a human in The Family of Blood. Coincidence? Or did some helpful blogger (Gary Jefferies ) unaware of my dastardly dealings let my coincidence become a clever twist? Thank you  cue time lord music and …cut!

I couldn’t resist writing this post and I hope I captured the scene. What is your opinion on women taking it to the pub? Or woman being the lead in a cult programme? Have you ever overheard a gem when you least expected it. Leave me a comment I love to talk.

Look what’s Coming on July the Twenty Fourth !

This is me being both excited and invincible.

I guest post on The recipe hunter press    Here  if you would like to peruse her fabulous foody blog in advance. Or if like me you would like to contribte I am sure she would love to hear from you all. 

 I want to thank Esme for inviting me, it will be my first guest post ever…  EVER! sorry just felt the need there to be excited in advance. 

I just love this world of blogs and blogishiousness. 

And it is my birthday what a better present could I have?

Happy happy birthday to me on July the twenty Fourth. 

The Bird Was Witness.

 

ALERT! This flash does contain two swear words, I do not wish to offend therefore am letting you know before you read. This is a refreshed  #flash from Nov 2016.

Photograph by permission of Derrick J knight. Thank you once more.

blackbird-photo-by-httpsderrickjknight.com_.jpg.jpeg

bird sat high on top of a telegraph pole, its black shape stark against the sky, I watched it through the steam on the window. With my palm flat against the glass, I cleared a better view; while my novel was clenched snug under my armpit. Sitting in the window seat reading I could zone out the sounds of the room and breathe easy.

Then it started… “Ange, Ange, come here now! come to me bitch”. I looked at the bird looking back at me and placed my book on the windowsill. The card game was getting rowdy, ”Angie” he shouted, warily I approached, “What Tom, what do you want? “ He grabbed my waist and tugged me into his lap, laughing, that sneery false laugh I grew to hate. Fear ran up my neck as he made a show of me in front of his mates.

He looked at them and pinched my chin as he forced my head to face them. Tom wrenched my hand between my shoulder blades. “Here boys, have you ever seen such a miserable cow… eh eh?” his grasp was cruel, his breath thick with stale booze and cigarettes. I felt the spray from his mouth warm as he spoke against my ear. Tom released my arm and pretended to tickle, but he dug and prodded with force, my cheeks flushed and prickles ran up my spine. My legs jerked as he stabbed his fingers deep between my ribs. The table caught by my ankle shifted, cards scattered as it righted itself with a thump. I struggled, kicking my denim clad legs in retaliation his fingers jab jabbing painfully; as his temper deteriorated.

The mood instantly changed, Stan leapt up threw his hand on the table, he kicked a spent chubby and took the Iou’s in his calloused hands and tore them; throwing the pieces like confetti in the air. “Fuck this you knob”, he booted the table over…”I’m off” he shouted. Pictures rattled as he banged the door. Mark and Des were worse for wear, swaying, they glanced from one to the other and back, both stumbled to the door in pursuit.

One swift movement had me flat on the floor with a swaying Tom above me. “You fuckin bitch, you just had to, didn’t you? Each word was punctuated with a kick and a gob from his mouth. The first one caught the bone of my hip the second connected with my thigh as I struggled lobster like across the carpet. A flurry of pokes, punches and kicks came thick and fast, he crushed my lips into my teeth with a direct punch. Stubbies bounced and rolled about like Otters at play, I spat two teeth onto the carpet which got his attention, it gave me a chance to swallow some air.

From the corner of my eye, I caught sight of the bird, me looking at it, it looking at me. Ashamed at this spectacle being seen. Me, a weak victim, small and helpless. Somehow the thought made me gather myself. I grabbed a bottle and scrambled to my feet. Holding the neck with cramped fingers I drew my arm out to the side. I remember screaming “No” He lunged forward teeth barred.  I screwed my eyes tight and swinging right to left the bottle connected. Phlegm hit full in my face and mingled with the tears and blood that dripped from my jaw. As if I was a character in a novel,  in slow motion the bottle cracked him below his left ear and flipped from my grasp. His eyes bulged, snot flew from his nose as he fell back. Stretching myself forward fingers splayed I tried to grab him before he fell, but only caught air. His head thudded against the leg of the upturned table and he dropped. Blood puddled behind his head and a lone trickle dribbled from the side of his gaping mouth.

Unable to look, I turned my head to face the window. I could see him, the bird, looking at me. He seemed to bob his head like a gentleman does when he catches your eye in acknowledgement. He ruffled his feathers and continued his pose.

 I felt the vibration of feet through the floor when I dialled 999. “Police and ambulance, I can’t hear you… I think he is dead, we are at 42 Granby street, come quick *hiccough* please”. Still holding the phone the door flew from its hinges the room filled with uniforms and bodies. A policeman shook me, grabbed the phone and spoke into it. My ears and head were ringing but I could only see angry faces as lips moved silently and Tom lay still, and only the bird was witness.

 

What do you think, was she in the wrong ?  please leave any comments as they are my wages for writing and each one is valued and replied to swiftly. Have a great week.

I’m Only Human After All

I called, but your name lodged below my voice box and like a bubble, it floated until it popped.  Slowly I turned back the bed, cotton sheets now held the smell of stale lovemaking sweat and perfume. Bare feet kissed the wooden floors leaving a mist; an impression of where I walked. Across the room down to the utility with my arms full. Once loaded I glanced down, my nose curled, my mouth sticky and memories flooded back. I peeled my dishevelled stained night shirt from my aching self and it joined the sheets. My mind was busy trying not to think as I scrubbed and soothed my flesh, steam covered the pointless tracks on my cheeks as Rag n Bone man’s lyrics pounded over the sound of the shower ‘I’m only human after all. I dropped a pill, swigged stale coffee left on the drainer and sat wrapped in a towel. The dusk alerted the back of my mind it snook in to disturb my … nothing, my emptiness.

This was ridiculous I am a grown woman Out loud I said ‘pull yourself together’. For the next week or so I was working on auto, walking to work doing my admin answering when I had no choice, until  Friday night backpack on ready for home I felt him watching. A damp trickle formed between my breasts as I scanned left to right, I knew he was there somewhere. Head down, my shoes slapped against the damp tarmac, three, four, slap slap, counting, walking determined not to be startled. ‘Hi toots, I thought it was you, fancy a drink’? His voice I was ready for I let a smile touch my lips. ‘No thanks, busy busy’ I strode on. Almost jogging now alongside me breathlessly he stopped me with  ‘Hey hey what’s the hurry, come on we can continue where we left off,’ he twisted a strand of hair by my cheek as he bent at the knees to peer into my face. ‘I said I am busy now please just’ I snatched my shoulder from his grasp and carried on. I didn’t look back, slow down or think about him I just allowed my feet to pound the pavement slap, slap, slap. Ashamed that’s what I was, ashamed and regretful and I couldn’t accept what it was I had done. Weeks had passed since he met me from work but I still felt uneasy, he hadn’t called or text or poked me on Facebook, but still, I was wary. Maybe he didn’t know my name either, I couldn’t remember him using it.

Angie and Jack had been arranged for months dinner with friends that would get some normality back. I tousled my hair and dressed casual but nice, I pouted in the mirror checking my lippy, that was the most relaxed I had been for a month or more. After fajitas, we had tequila and chilli chocolate buns with mallow topping her food amazing as always. Ange and I laughed and reminisced about school, Jack cleared up and Angie and I began to talk freely. ‘What’s doing girly? You have been somewhere else for a while, I thought we trusted each other, told every grizzly detail like we always have’. Jack called through, he was walking to the pub leaving us to our stuff while he indulged in a lairy game of pool. Ange followed for a kiss she grinned and mouthed thanks as she closed the door. ‘Well … I’m listening’. She did that thing, that glaring eye staring folding arm thing that she does when she’s mad.

‘Nothing to say really, I just, well I was stupid, a slut and I, I am ashamed. After Todd and I finished I felt lost, God that is so cliché, but I didn’t feel attractive or wanted…’ I dropped my head in my hands roughly rubbed my cropped hair and grunted.’ Ange plopped on the edge of the chair with me rubbed my shoulders as I released a  yowl so guttural  I startled myself. ‘C’mon you’ll feel better, I won’t judge you-you know me better than that’.  I scrubbed my face with my palms and wiped them down my thighs. ‘I went to that club on the corner the one with the tattooed bouncer the cut gay guy… I had some jagger bombs and I … began to dance winding myself round guys legs rubbing up behind them. They didn’t know me nor me them, it was sort of a freedom a liberating sexy I know, a slutty thing to do. The bouncer Jason pulled some guy off me for stuffing his hand up my skirt, he tried to call a cab but I wasn’t having any of that. In my head, I was showing Todd even though he wasn’t there. Next thing I know is I take this guy Marks mouth in mine and he mouthed a wafer under my tongue… don’t get me wrong I wanted, I was reckless. I’ve been having flashes come back to me of the stuff we did, the table the kitchen outside the front door for god’s sake. He met me from work one night a week or so later it freaked me out, how could I be so stupid, it was fine he just wanted … more he hasn’t been back. I’ve been petrified, I took him home, the things we did, don’t say anything I can’t cope with your disgust too.’ We sat for a while with a box of tissues between us Ange crying for and with me, me crying out of self-pity and shame. ‘I went to the clinic on Duke Street and had tests… well you just don’t know, do you. I find out in a fortnight but so far several are back and I’m clean just waiting on Hepatitis and HIV. I would not hold it against you if you never spoke to me again.’

Clearing the dinner debris and emptying the dishwasher although together, it was completed in silence. We made coffee and Jack came in the front door pink-faced, smiling and relaxed, he pulled a face pouted his bottom lip and said ‘I am going up bye then’ and he gently closed the door. Red-eyed and nervous I said ‘I can not cope without your friendship please don’t hate me’. I held both her hands and stared into her face. ‘For the last time I will not ever hate you, but I am hurt, hurt because I was too busy to see the effect Todd’s affair had on you because  you felt you couldn’t come to me, I  let you down and you put yourself at risk’. Sometimes we do stupid things, sometimes it is no one’s fault but our own… and sometimes we are lucky enough to walk away unscathed. I Jane Masters, head of finance, single thirtysomething female, should have known better but I won’t get it wrong twice, but as the song says … I’m only human after all.

Flower photo borrowed /thieved temporarily from Geoff LePard I thank you, Geoff. Press here to visit the master🔜 here🔚

A new venture into a different genre yet again inspired by the magnificent  Rag n Bone man song I hope you enjoyed both the song and the story I look forward to your comments *waves*.