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Thursday, 17 October 2013



You are somewhere, doing something,  noticing something, when somebody, something an incident, from the past suddenly jumps into your mind

I was bending down to pull some stalks  of green from the lawn for my daughter to paint,  when for a second it seemed  my mother was there standing beside me, young again with that hair she had the colour of shining conkers.   Then the moment had gone. 

She hated gardening.

And yet as I walked back to the house I was still seeing her:   walking fast and cross with those shoes that make her cheeks wobble;   on the lilo in dark glasses with a Boots Library book open on her tummy;   swinging a tennis racket as that sand crunched  and hissed underfoot at Eastbourne, a scarf round her head blowing, beyond that the straight line of the sea;  covering her head with a cloth and lowering it into the basin of steam to get rid of a sore throat;  suddenly laughing very loud, mouth open, when the man’s trousers fell down;  at the side of the bed when I’d had my tonsils out, back of her hand on my forehead;  on stage singing Ave Maria at the Wintergardens Theatre in Cliftonville, complete silence in the hall and just the single spot on her face -  like a halo.

Where did all this come from?

In the hall, I am still holding the bits of weed, moss, and grass.   Green,   origin of the name Phyllis,  the embarrassing name she never used.  

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