15 Minutes ….

They said the best way to exercise your brain and to get your creative juices flowing was to ensure you write for 15 minutes every single day without fail … ideally on rising.  ‘They’ being the very lovely local poet and author,James Nash, and accomplished author Alison Taft.

Hmm … I grumble at my daft busy life and wonder when that’s ever possible – but just sometimes on occasion I manage to fit it in.  Usually just nonsensical blurb recollected from dreams or just anything to put pen to paper – but this morning was different.

I was up at 5 with no dreams to remember and a ridiculously busy day ahead of me – but when I logged into my emails there was a competition that got beneath my knuckles and urged me to type.  It asked for a childhood memory, a first memory perhaps of a holiday or somewhere I’d visited.  Straight away I thought of the picture framed in our hallway of all my family together.  It was outside Bingley Show at Myrtle Park in the early 70’s.  Now I don’t know if I actually remember per se or it if was just that I remember so well the wonderful stories my Mum and my Dad have recounted of that day.  There in my buggy, by the entrance, when approached by a man who had a couple of monkeys (not dissimilar to ‘Marcel’ Ross’s monkey in Friends) and a parrot.  The man was asking for donations in a metal bucket and for people to befriend his animals – whilst his friend was then asking for money to take a photograph.  It was a sunny day and our family were calm and relaxed it would seem … See my Dad with said parrot on shoulder!  My Mum said initially I wasn’t at all happy about the monkeys, but after a minute or two they nestled with me in my pushchair and when it was time to move on I bawled and bawled and bawled and I believe that was my ‘status’ for the remainder of the day!

Anyway .. this is what I wrote this morning …  (It’s rough and unedited, but I hope it paints my picture – oh and also it’s not supposed to be quite so maudlin as it sounds).


I’m SO GLAD that my parents had a picture taken,

(because I know it was a huge deal back then),

Paying for such a luxury treat,

– and then in theory paying again,

I can remember being quite scared,

– yet quickly turning that foe into friend,

Then crying, and screaming till my face was quite blue,

– not wanting that friendship to end,

I feel much the same of my brother,

– just shy of 2 years more than 3,

That I lost one fine day – oh so quickly,

When he’d meant all the world to young me,

I still see his face and his fondness,

 and the way he would readily share,

And despite that the loss is just so long ago,

I still can’t believe he’s not there,

My poor mother she never recovered,

From that fateful day in my youth,

Two losses in one,

Her father and son,

Her strength and her love living proof,

She passed on her brave and her able,

‘Cannot do’ wasn’t in her remit,

When I want to give in,

Her steed sets in my chin,

And I can’t – though I could… I admit,

But the cancer that finally killed her,

Broke the rulebooks and me all in one,

They call it the silent killer,

It deafened and extinguished my sun,

I loved her with all of my heart,

(With exceptions for those equal shares),

One day she was laughing and lovely, and then,

She was taken from me unawares,

I’m blessed I see her in my children,

Creativity, beauty and strength,

I’ll ensure that for me her memory never fades,

And I’ll recount all her stories at length,

As my Dad too he fades now I ponder,

– I’m the last in my line standing strong,

As I smile often times at this photo and think

…. Life’s a monkey … and then it is gone!

young france family

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