SoCS – ‘Children’

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “apparent/a parent.” Use either one or both. You choose. Enjoy!


My niece, Imogen and me

I’m not a parent and although I could say that on the whole my life has turned out pretty well and I’ve reached a stage where I can look back and feel happy about what I’ve achieved and the life choices I’ve made, one regret I can admit to is not having had children.I’ve always had maternal instincts. When I was younger I figured that having children would be something that would naturally happen when I got older, but when I had a real chance to settle down with someone wonderful that I loved (way back at the tender age of 22), I simply wasn’t ready. I was still restless and felt I had a whole life to live till I was.

When I reached 30 I went travelling for a year in Australia and the other day I found an old diary with a list of my future children’s names scrawled in red pen at the back that I’d compiled while sunbathing on a catamaran in the Whitsunday islands. At that time I still believed I’d have children, and in the years that followed, I dated (a lot), partly because I was panicking that I was running out of time. But I realise looking back, that I wasn’t terribly happy. I was dating compulsively and for the wrong reasons, and it was only once I reached 40 that I started to relax a little. I had nieces and nephews by then & I was tutoring children so that in part went some way to relieving my maternal instinct. I now have a cat and that helps further!

I will always want children but I think it’s just one of those things that I have to learn to live with. I manage to deal with it by focusing on other things that are important to me such as writing and friendships. I suppose I could have settled down with several different people in the past but it simply didn’t feel right at that time and that feeling of ‘rightness’ is what has always guided me in life and will continue to do so.

This was my post for SoCS


SoCS – ‘Ha!’

A tiny post from me for SoCS as I was a little busy with the A-Z Blogging Challenge. Didn’t want to not do it though, so here’s my humble offering!

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “ha.” Use it as a word, or find a word that starts with those two letters. Enjoy!


It’s funny how the letters, ‘ha’ start words with contrasting meanings. Take ‘hateful’ and ‘happy,’ for example. H and A put together sound very different in these words and suggest very different things, but written down they are identical. The sound, ‘ha’ in ‘happy’ is an open, almost joyous sound reflecting the meaning of the word. Having said that ‘ha’ can also be used sarcastically as in ‘ha, told you so.’ In this phrase ‘ha’ has a kind of smugness to it.

When using whatsapp, I often write ‘haha.’ I prefer it to ‘hehe’ or ‘lol’ as, in my opinion, it seems more similar to a genuine laugh, although I do find that ‘ha’ is the kind of word that needs to be voiced in order for the meaning to be properly understood.

This was my post for SoCS


SoCS -‘Be’– #AtoZ Challenge

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “be.” Use it as is or at the beginning of the word you decide to base your post on. Enjoy!

Being rather than Doing


To be or not to be? In the past it was ‘not to be’ as when I was younger, life was all about doing. I travelled constantly, ran hard every day, enrolled on course after course, dated obsessively and generally tried to cram my life with as many activities as possible. I felt that if I wasn’t doing something then I wasn’t truly living. Now, however things have changed a little. Although prone to the odd bout of apathy (see previous post!) when I have a tendency to beat myself up for not accomplishing anything of note, I’m more able to recognise the value of simply being, without feeling the need to ‘do’ anything. Take today for example. I had plans, lots of them. I was going to go for a long bike ride, I was going to work on my novel, I was planning to tidy my flat etc. etc. but that was before I went out last night.

Last night was relatively unplanned but I ended up having a beautiful evening with one of my best friends and her boyfriend. We went to a lovely little cafe around the corner, where we ate tapas, drank wine and danced to Spanish music. I hadn’t planned to drink much but .. today I woke up with a hangover and a feeling of general laziness.

It’s a gorgeous day here so all I feel like doing is chilling out and enjoying the sunshine – my plans have changed, but I feel fine with that. Being present to the moment is all about focusing on what is happening right now, without worrying about what you feel you ‘should’ be doing. I might try a little meditation later and luxuriate in the fact that I don’t have to do anything today if I don’t want to.

This was my post for SoCSB.jpg


SoCS – ‘Keeping it real’

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “real.” Use it with a prefix and/or a suffix, or just as it is. Have fun!

Keeping it Real

As I get older, I like to think I’ve become more real, but what does ‘real’ mean? To me it’s a matter of aligning yourself with what’s important – the activities, people and environments that truly make you tick. It wasn’t always this way though. When I was in my twenties I was desperate to fit in, to do what others wanted and what society expected and as a consequence, I was angst ridden and irritable much of the time. I felt a need to meet someone and get married by the age of 30 with the view to having children before 35, and the years leading up to that age were stressful as I felt an urgency to ‘sort things’ out before it was too late.

Then my dad died. I was immensely sad that he hadn’t lived to see me ‘settled down’ and happy, and I was also frustrated and finding it impossible to focus on one job, as I couldn’t decide what I really wanted to do. Consequently I was teaching, translating and working as a massage therapist, all at the same time. It was crazy. But strangely, after my dad’s death, I started to slowly calm down. Although I still wanted to meet someone, I felt less pressure to do so and ten years on, even less. I’ve let go of the need to have children and accepted what’s come my way. This has made my life so much more enjoyable and real as I’m no longer ‘fighting’ things. There’s a line in the Desiderata;

‘Whether it’s true to you or not, the universe is unfolding as it should.’

This is what realness means to me. It’s acceptance of ‘what is,’ rather than how you feel things should be. I’ve finally committed to writing and cut down on work so I can fit it into my day. I have less money, but I’m immensely happier. My life feels real to me now.

This was my post for SoCS


‘Boiled egg?’

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “egg.” Use it as a noun or a verb. Enjoy!


Some time ago, Mum came to stay with me in London. My dad had died a few years before that and Mum wasn’t managing well alone so I invited her down for a few days. Of course I loved having her to stay but she brought with her some rather orthodox values. She found it very difficult to accept that I was in a relationship which involved my boyfriend spending the night with me, in my bed.

‘It would never happen in my house,’ she said.
‘But it’s not your house, it’s mine,’ I said. And so it went on.
Anyway, my boyfriend at the time happened to be a drummer and his hours of work tended to be rather anti-social, with him very often not turning up at mine until well after midnight. I told Mum this and mentioned that I wouldn’t be needing tea in the morning as I probably wouldn’t go to bed until late.
She pulled a face and nodded and nothing more was said on the matter.
Adrian appeared at around 3 am and we collapsed into bed.

The next day there was a knock on my bedroom door at 7. I dragged myself up to answer it, only to find Mum standing outside with a stony face and two mugs.
‘Cup of tea?’ she said.
I couldn’t believe it, especially after what I’d said the night before, so I had a go at her and went back to bed.
‘I can’t believe you spoke to your mother like that!’ said Adrian. ‘In Jamaica we have respect for our parents!’
‘Yeah but I told her you were coming over late…’
‘There’s no excuse, you need to apologise.’
I hadn’t been seeing Adrian long and didn’t want to ruin anything so I wandered through to the kitchen to find Mum sitting at the table, looking rather dejected.
‘I find this all very difficult.’
‘What exactly?’
‘Men that you’re not married to staying the night. It’s not done in our family.’
‘Well I’m sorry but this is my flat, Mum.’
‘Yes I realise that and I’ll try to get it used to it but it’s not easy for me,’ she said.
Anyway, I tried to comfort her and eventually when she seemed happier, went back to bed. By this time it was 7.30. I’d just got back to sleep when at 8 am, there was another knock at the door. I got up to find Mum was standing there with two saucers.
‘Boiled egg?’ she said.

This was my post for SoCS    (slightly late this week!)

(If you’d like to join in, here are the rules)
1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing, (typos can be fixed) and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.
2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.
3. There will be a prompt every week. I will post the prompt here on my blog on Friday, along with a reminder for you to join in. The prompt will be one random thing, but it will not be a subject. For instance, I will not say “Write about dogs”; the prompt will be more like, “Make your first sentence a question,” “Begin with the word ‘The’,” or simply a single word to get your started.
4. Ping back! It’s important, so that I and other people can come and read your post! For example, in your post you can write “This post is part of SoCS:” and then copy and paste the URL found in your address bar at the top of this post into yours. Your link will show up in my comments for everyone to see. The most recent pingbacks will be found at the top.
5. Read at least one other person’s blog who has linked back their post. Even better, read everyone’s! If you’re the first person to link back, you can check back later, or go to the previous week, by following my category, “Stream of Consciousness Saturday,” which you’ll find right below the “Like” button on my post.
6. Copy and paste the rules (if you’d like to) in your post. The more people who join in, the more new bloggers you’ll meet and the bigger your community will get!
7. As a suggestion, tag your post “SoCS” and/or “#SoCS” for more exposure and more views.
8. Have fun!


Two SoCS musings on the prompt, ‘ball’

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “ball.”

Hockey ball


When I was 11 a hockey ball hit me on the nose. This was before dangerous hitting was banned (a long time ago!) – now there are more rules. I used to love hockey but I had a tendency to daydream and this particular match was clearly no exception. The last thing I remember is Claire Fairbairn whacking the ball high up in the air. I then found myself lying on the ground, and looking up to see a bunch of people around me asking if I was okay. My nose was pouring with blood and very sore. Somehow it hadn’t broken but it had moved slightly and was slightly squint. Thankfully my mother had the foresight to demand an operation in order to bang it back to how it had been and it actually ended up even more beautiful than before (!)
I continued to play hockey and even represented my university when I was older, but I’d lost the fearlessness I needed to excel at it, which was a shame really. I now prefer safer forms of exercise such as cycling and long-distance running.

Keeping the ball out of my court


I always make sure that the ball’s never in my court. I’ve become pretty damn good over the years at whacking it back over the net so that the other person has to deal with it, in theory at least. But that person, whoever he happens to be, seldom does. Usually, he either allows the ball to disappear into the brambles at the side of the court, or when he thinks I’m not looking, picks it up, shoves it in his pocket and conveniently ‘forgets’ that it’s there, so if I have the audacity to yell over to him,
‘Oi, the ball’s in your court. Make a flaming decision!’ he says, ‘No, it isn’t. It seems to have disappeared. Funny that, isn’t it?’ (Well, he doesn’t say that, but his look conveys the emotion nicely.)
The great thing about lobbing the ball away from your side of the court is that you can travel pretty lightly. You haven’t got that annoying burden weighing you down, so you can happily get on with your life. So my advice to anyone with the ball in their court is to deal with it head-on, not by allowing it to be absorbed by the bushes or by pretending it’s not there. They’re short-term solutions and in so doing, you may create a long-term problem.

That was my post for SoCS


This is the day

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “this and that.” Talk about this, talk about that, talk about this and that, but here’s the catch: make either “this” or “that” the first word of your post. Bonus points if you can end with “this” or “that.”


This is the day when I was woken up at 6 by my kitten, Polly who never seems to know when it’s Saturday and I want to sleep.
This is the day when the sky is clear, the air is cold and the birds are singing.
This is my favourite day of the week. It’s a day when I don’t have to work, I can do exactly what I want to do and at 8 am I feel I have a long stretch of glorious time ahead of me.
This is the day that my friend Andy was born. We met 24 years ago in Japan and I’m thankful he lives in the same city as me.
This is the day that he’s having a party to celebrate, a boozy one starting at 1 pm in his flat. Can’t wait!
This is the time that I’m starting to feel hungry and I wish I’d been shopping last night. This is also the time that I start considering whether to go to the gym or not as I don’t feel like it and would rather lounge around in bed, reading and writing.
This is the day when I’m experiencing a mixture of emotions. Happiness as I’m free to do what I like and sadness as I just read about Joey Feek who has died of cancer at the age of 40.
This is the day that I’m consequently feeling grateful for the incredible life that I’ve had and continue to have.
This is the morning when I began to write a short story on an interlining trip I took with my sister around Europe in the early 90s. I found an old diary last night from that time and this is the day I remember having to hitch from Athens to Thessaloniki as there was a state of emergency in the country and no trains were running.
This is the morning when I remember almost being attacked by the lorry driver who picked us up, and it’s the morning when I think about all the lucky escapes I’ve had in my life.
This is the time when I can hear my cat miaowing and my clock ticking telling me I need to get on with my day.

That was my post for SoCS. So that’s that!


Dining out on prawns (the Japanese way!)

th-2.jpegTwenty years ago I went to live in a small village in rural Japan, ostensibly to teach English, although my real reason was to learn Japanese. As I was working for the Japanese government, my first few weeks were crammed with rather formal parties known as ‘enkai‘ which were mainly attended by middle aged Japanese men and the odd token woman, whose primary purpose was to flutter around serving the men food and beer. As the foreigner (with long blonde hair and blue eyes to boot!) I was the star guest – a lovely position to be in as everything was free and I was treated like a princess. However, the difficulty of these events was that no one could speak a word of English, and at that time I could say little more than konnichiwa!

On one particularly stuffy occasion, after having been subjected to a multitude of tediously long speeches, I noticed a tiny, kimono-clad woman shuffling across the room towards me. As the star guest I was the first to be served. ‘Dozo,’ she said, bowing very low. ‘Please help yourself.’ And she proffered a large basket filled to the brim with shellfish. The speeches stopped and everyone turned to look at me. Still not au-fait with chopsticks, I tentatively leaned in and attempted to pick out one of the prawns. With relief I succeeded in extracting it from the basket and dropping it onto my plate. But no sooner had I done that, did it jump off and scuttle to the end of the room. I shrieked out in shock and the whole room erupted in laughter. I later discovered that once the prawn is on your plate, you’re supposed to take off the shell, dip the poor creature in soy sauce then stuff it quickly into your mouth, breaking its back with your teeth. After that you swallow it. My friend tried it once. ‘Never again,’ he said afterwards as he couldn’t forget the sensation of the wriggling legs as the prawn disappeared down his throat. Having said that, you can’t beat live prawns for freshness, cruel though the manner of death might seem by western standards.

This post is part of SoCS