A Letter to Winter

I had the great good fortune to listen to the amazing Salena Godden last week whilst running around the rolling Wiltshire countryside.

What an inspirational, intelligent, funny and sexy woman Godden is, I cannot wait to hear and see her live. Salena I salute you!
She read this:

POEM :: A LETTER FROM LONDON TO WINTER

Dear Winter

There is no easy way to say this but to come right out with it – We are finished. I will be honest there is another, I confess I have been flirting with Spring and this new dalliance has been in my thoughts for some time now.Now, this cannot come as a surprise Winter. You must have noticed a change in me, you have seen me blush at hints of buds, the nose of crocus poking through my frosted mud banks. Winter, its not that we didn’t have some great times. And when you snowed! Winter, you made me feel so Dickensian – And I mean that in the nicest way – Everyone says that, Oh London, look at you, you are so Dickensian. But I have never wanted anything or anyone more than Spring. The longing for this embrace distracts me day and night. How happy I will be in the arms of Spring.

Oh Winter you understand don’t you, we couldn’t carry on like this? We couldn’t keep up the pretence, I know you want more, you take over me, you keep my ponds frozen and ice up my pipes. We made sense once, but not now.

With Spring I feel I will be able to be myself again, my architecture will shine with a new golden light, my lakes and rivers will shimmer and mirror the swans, all the birds will come home to roost. I will be whole and green again. I need to feel young and new again, you do understand don’t you, Winter? I need to move on. I wouldn’t be surprised if you go running back to that Moscow. I’m sorry but she is so brassy with her Red Square littered with furry muff and sable coats. Please don’t try to deny it Winter, I know you better than you know yourself. I know how you feel about Helsinki too. Looking back I cannot believe I left Autumn for you, I want my ground to be soft and yielding again, I want greenery and finery not this starkness. Winter – You are so minimalist!

The fact is that lately I have been thinking about the lambs and the bunnies, Winter, yes I know we talked about this, and I said, I didn’t want lambs and bunnies, but I do now, oh I sorely do, I feel its my time. So please leave my key and go quietly. After you have read this I will decorate my Heath with daffodils, my parks with snowdrops and my canals with ducklings and trees in blossom of pink.

Kindest Regards,

London, England.

I almost killed my old man

He was lying on his back screaming in agony. “What in hell is wrong with you?” I lovingly enquired.

“Argghhh, ohhhhhh, OMG.” He replied.
I have no time for this kind of bollocks, I thought, and went back to my sons bedroom, he was mid-way through a stomach bug and was inadvertently puking up. Meanwhile, the washing machine was going bananas and my one-year old was busy sitting in the, dead and cold, ashes of the fireplace.
“SHIT!!!” We had friends arriving and my plan had been to scrub their bathroom and bedroom and put clean linen on the bed. This was scuppered by one puking child and one screeching husband.
I went back upstairs to the screamer. “What is wrong with you – your still on the floor…”He declared that his back was in agony and every time he tried to move; it hurt like hell so all he could do was lie there: unmoving…”Bloody Hell – We do not have time for this shit today,” I informed him and wondered off leaving him in his noisy agony.
Fortunately, we had a very thoughtful neighbour who kindly drove my man to the doctors – we eventually managed to get him out of the house and lay him horizontally in the boot – like a plank of wood.
When he returned he was still in great pain having been subjected to a quack doctor who declared the pain was in his mind, told him to think himself better and sent him home. The next three days he continued to screech until we realised he should go to hospital.
At the hospital – the French staff were shocked he had coped for so long without painkillers and prescribed him a shedload of strong tranquilizers.
That evening as the sun set I doubled his dose and gave him a beer to swallow them with. At the time I had no idea the staff at the hospital had already given him a large dose of morphine.
An hour or so later he crawled onto the kitchen floor, his eyeballs rolled into the back of his head and he lay there absolutely comatosed. I assumed I had killed him and watched horrified; my children’s father was so doped up; would he ever resume consciousness again?
He did. And spent the next few days enjoying his legal drug haze sedated and lying on the sofa smiling in his dreamworld.
We later learnt that the British doctor he had originally seen had been struck off in Ireland but was, legally, treating people in France.
The drugs do work.

UP la duff avec twins

To actually give birth to twins? Giving birth, twice, IN A ROW?? Who exactly does that kind of crazy shit? Well, me actually…seven years ago to be precise.

The long months of pregnancy and the actual giving birth are two entirely separate entities. One talks to mothers, ‘on the other side’, so to speak, but it is like calling to an alien species…you say one thing, they say something back and you cannot even begin to fathom what it is. As you stand there and shout to them on the other side of the river, it dawns on you, the reality, that you’ll never comprehend them until the moment you yourself plunge into the deep waters of childbirth…

I spent the first five months of my pregnancy oblivious to the fact the I had twins inside my blooming belly, I thought my regular exhaustive collapses were simply to do with being up the duff; I had never done it before.
Living in Barcelona, meant that I had no idea what the Spanish medical profession were saying to me. I lived in a dreamworld of utter innocence, utter naivety with no concept of childbirth, down syndrome, injections, measurements, pregnancy yoga, holistic tummy rubbing, scans, NCT; I just thought it would all go along as it was, with me slowly getting bigger and bigger. I didn’t, or possibly, I couldn’t, or, more likely, I wouldn’t, consider that there was only one outcome of this process, just one conclusion that must and would happen.
In that fifth month we had, by some stroke of sheer good luck, managed to get further into the Spanish system and they invited us for a scan. I hopped on to the back of my honeys bicycle, clutching my tummy and his, we staggered off across town.
At this moment in my life, I had just met and fallen in love with my boy, none of my friends had children or were pregnant, most of them were snorting great lines of coke and going to festivals all over Europe. So we were quite alone in our experience, quite alone in our bubble of love and the seriousness of a baby was not really considered.
That day, the scan revealed two babies in my stomach; Romulus and Remus. We were dumbstruck. The Spaniards declared I would have to have a C-Section. Whatever that meant.
It is at this point I begin to realise that childbirth is the inevitable out-come of this pregnancy lark and one that I should, possibly, begin to consider perhaps, more seriously?
What is it with middle-class British women, that they just assume they should have a natural birth? Because that is just what I did, having had zero, conscious, thoughts about it before, suddenly that was exactly what I should have and a c-section was just not an option.
Very bloody strange considering many, many socialised and well-adjusted cultures including the Spanish and the French think it is just LUDICROUS to put oneself through a great deal of pain, when medical science has developed drugs to deliver a child sans agony.
But I am indeed a middle-class British chick and therefore coursing hellish pain, sweating, swearing, screaming in fact, is the (sub)consious choice I must and do make.
With this new fearsome reality slowly expanding in my damaged mind, I realise that the only way I could make this concept a possibility was to go back to Blighty. So at 34 weeks that is exactly what I did.
Woooaaaahhhh – suddenly it all becames real; as I understand EVERYTHING they are telling me, but of course, by this point it is all too late.
Having had no NCT or any other birthing advice I just carry on in my own, unique, oblivious way. Fortunately for me, I am actually very fit as I have just been living in a very accommodating city, which is small enough to walk around. This has kept me fit.
The day before my waters break I walk to my local Dr’s surgery some 2 miles away, where they tell me all is fine; bugger off, so I walk the 2 miles home.
That 4mile round trip is, I think, what did it; as the next night my waters suddenly break. And within the hour I am in a hospital delivery room. My boy has left me there and gone to park the car, when he comes back no less than 20minutes later I am almost ready to push. My first child is textbook – she is ready to rock – no questions asked and within two hours of my waters breaking I have hit full dilation and my baby is crowning. Nobody prepares you for this pain, but thankfully the contractions give you time to breathe and prepare for the next ARGHHHHhhhhhhhhh contraction – it hurts like hell but luckily for me – she slips out fairly quickly. And there she is my first beautiful child, seemingly just a huge pair of eyes and a tiny wee body all 4lbs of her. She is healthy and, as far as I can see, perfect. They put her into a clear plastic bassinet and focus back on me…oh shit – this is the point where being a twin mother clears into stark reality.
Time for round two.
As I lie there exhausted, stunned and disbelieving the medics begin to confer…
They, so it seems, would prefer it if my contractions could, well, continue, but like a normal single birth they have concluded since pushing out the first baby. I am given a small amount of time to get on with this naturally and I am silently willing my son to turn around and head south.
He has, since his sister vacated the spot, had a good stretch and begun to enjoy some well-earned space. He has no plans, as yet, to leave, thanks very much.
So, they decide to jump start me. A drip is inserted into my arm, which pumps pure, unadulterated pitocin into me – holy shit – I go from sedate recovery to full blown intense contractions within seconds. It hurts like hell and I feel incredibly angry and distressed…I’m suddenly, inexplicably back in the full hell-fire without so much as a cup of tea between sessions.
It is at this point that the doctors kick out the mid-wives, turn the lights on and roll up their sleeves. They are not happy. My baby son is in the wrong position. So some so-called pediatrician, who at the time I thought was just: f***ing b**ch; (seriously pain makes you do these dreadfully unsocial things), thrusts her arm deep within my womb and attempts to turn him around – this is so incredibly painful – I loose control and start shouting at her and physically try to yank her arm out. During the brief lapses between contractions, I apologise to all for my coarse and unnecessary behaviour, but during them I slip straight back into mad screaming lunatic woman; spitting foul words as these evil, incapable fools.
They try to calm me, they threaten me with a c-section if I don’t stop panicking but, goddamn it – it bloody hurts, I’m shattered and my new baby is lying just feet away listening to this uproar. I am basically, like most new mothers, I assume?, totally terrified and am completely out of control of a situation, that I think belongs to me, the terror and fear render me helpless to common sense or reason – the contractions make me weak and desperate for them to finish I beg, beg them to end it all for me right here, right now. Of course, they are completely, and, very sensibly, ignoring me entirely.
Twin babies are expected to birth close to each other, preferably in one continuous birth? Is that really true is anything human actually so text book? Of course not.
They wheel me to the theatre and some poor anesthetist tries desperately to read all the rules and regs out to me; a demented, crazed spitting animal before he is legally allowed to fill me with drugs. I say: Yes, YES, Yes whatever. And the poor man has to try three times before he can get the needle efficiently into my spinal chord.
Bliss – instant bliss. Suddenly, they are in control and I stop fighting, they get out the tools and whip out my son in seconds.
He is healthy, he is alive, he is undamaged, he is mine; I have two! His sister having been abandoned an hour before in the previous room.
Phew, its over. I did it. And all is back to normal..?