Saturday, 8 March 2008


I really have had more than I can stand and it's not being overly dramatic to say that my son is slowly breaking my heart.

This child, the one I have nurtured, loved, fed, and worried over for eighteen years is on a slippery slope and I just don't know what to do to stop his fall.

On Thursday he told me that he was "worried about his legs." I really could not work out what he was saying to me - did his legs hurt, I asked. No, he said, I mean that I owe somebody for some drugs and I haven't got the money.

Devastated is not the word but, terrified that he would get seriously hurt and having got him to swear that he would no longer be involved in this world, we paid the £135.

Later that day, my boy arrived home in his car completely legless. The one thing he has always been sensible about is drinking and driving - he has never driven his car whilst drunk, until now.

If that is not enough, he had beated 7 shades of shit out of some poor boy who tried it on with his girlfriend. Then later that night, he was arrested for driving under the influence.

So, in the course of one day, I have paid my son's illicit drug bill, listened to him boast about beating somebody up, and discovered that he is drink driving.

That is why to say that he is breaking my heart is no exaggeration.

My husband has thrown him out of the house, but I worry about him. I saw him today and begged him to get help. Sadly, he can't see that there is any problem.

I don't want to think about the future.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008


I set this block up as a bit of an experiment really - it seemed that the world and his uncle was in on some sort of secret, and I wanted a piece of the action.

What have I learned over the past couple of weeks - well a lot and nothing, all at the same time!

I've learned that blogging isn't just about writing but if you can write, blogging is easier. As far as I can make out, blogging is about understanding the digital revolution - how to make yourself attractive to the spiders that crawl the world wide web. It's a huge learning curve.

I have chosen to learn in public and, from now on, this particular blog will be my 'practice piece.' Watch and learn as I make my mistakes in public!

Monday, 3 March 2008


It's an inevitable fact of life that I've been trying to avoid. I love books, I adore the way the feel, the way they smell, and snuggling up in bed for a good read. You can't easily do any of these things with an eBook but, it seems, eBooks and digital publishing are the future. If I want my work to reach a wider audience, I will have to embrace that future with open arms. With this in mind, I've decided to go into PLR writing. That is, I'm going to write packages of articles on tightly focused topics - and I'm going to let others do with them what they will! I might even write an eBook!

I've set up a new blog to market my PLR articles (but I still need to write the damn things!) Meanwhile, if you want to join this communication revolution, I can thoroughly recommend
Write Ebooks and Make Money - it's wonderful for setting you off in the right direction. Why not click the link and see what you think?

Wednesday, 27 February 2008


I've spent the day looking for writing gigs. I have a couple of long-term jobs but they're certainly not enough to pay the mortgage and I really don't fancy being homeless.

I've signed up with a new agency (see the link top right) and I'm already with Elance, so I make a bit of money; it's certainly not enough though. The problem is that folk don't understand the true financial worth of the writer's art; it's like that old comeback you get when telling somebody you have written and published a book - 'oh yeah, I keep meaning to do that too.' Well, if it's that bloody easy, go on and do it then!

I am not the only jobbing writer who, on more than a few occasions, has worked at far below the national minimum wage. I suppose if I'd written a best seller I could name my own price.

In my experience, writers write because they're the quiet dreamers of the world; not the sort of people who take financial negotiations in their stride. Oh, we may come across as assertive and confident on the surface but all of us tend to prefer our own inner worlds. Perhaps that is the root of our problem - we're not in your face enough to demand our true worth.

I shall try to turn over a new leaf (geddit!)

Meantime, I'm busily knitting a pair of socks to enter into the Ravelry Sock Knitters Anonymous February Sockdown.

If you knit but haven't yet discovered Ravelry get on over there at once! It's a wonderful place for all knitters, whether you are a real beginner or a dyed in the wool (I'm on a roll obviously!) supertricoteuse.

Monday, 25 February 2008


What a bloody awful weekend - it all ended with me (well my DH really) barring my eldest son from the house. Do you know what? I bloody hate kids!

That being said, my eldest child is coming to stay from the end of this week (just in time for Mothers' Day). My daughter and I rediscovered one another last summer after 30 years of estrangement. If I tell you that she will be 34 this year, you can work out for yourself that she didn't walk away from me at the tender age of three! There's a huge back story there for both of us - my daughter lost her mum and I lost my daughter; it creates a sort of soul hole. I've written a book about it, which is now in the querying process with agents. For me, the querying process is more painful than the writing process!

Anyway, I digress. The reason for my daughter's visit is that she is moving down to the West Country to be nearer to us. Her and her partner had already planned to move down her but our reunion has just brought the relocation forward. And, as my daughter is about to make me a granny, we do want to be closer to one another. I'm not too sure of the wisdom of that move - I'll have to learn to keep mouth shut and ears open and remember that, although I am a midwife, I am not her midwife. Eek!

As ever, I console myself with knitting, which does bugger all for the bank balance! But that's another story...

Friday, 22 February 2008


My daughter, who is 34 weeks pregnant, collected a prescription for Gaviscon on Tuesday for dreadful heartburn. Later that night, with acid burning her throat and searing her chest, she took a swig from the bottle that, with great foresight, she had left by the bed. An hour later she awoke with griping stomach cramps and spent the rest of the night on the loo.

The next morning, out of curiosity, she looked at the newly prescribed bottle and was shocked to see a small, very faint label that bore the legend "opened on November 29th 2007" - what's more there was far more missing from the bottle than she remembered taking overnight.

With a sick feeling in her gut, she realised that the bottle of Gaviscon had been opened for over three months and that somebody else had also used it. Had they also 'necked' it from the bottle as she had? Yuk, it doesn't bear thinking about.

Okay, so she should have checked the seal but when stomach acid is coming down your nose in the middle of night, things like that aren't at the forefront of your mind.

Needless to say, she returned to the pharmacy to complain but the pharmacist didn't seem to understand the seriousness of the situation. Any bowel contraction at this gestation of pregnancy can initiate labour - not really what we want at 34 weeks. The consequences of sharing saliva with the previous imbiber of the Gaviscon don't bear thinking about; the area in which she lives has a very high incidence of HIV.

I've insisted that she complains to the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and I have written a very strongly worded letter to the managing director of the national chain that owns the pharmacy. But this event just highlights how vigilant we all must be - do check that seal before you take your medication.

Thursday, 21 February 2008


bollocky couple of days it has been. Things can only get better eh? I have some new yarn to play with too! Jaeger Aqua cotton, which I got very cheap indeed because Jaeger have discontinued all of their yarns apparently. The color is called pumpkin, a lovely burnt orange. It had to be sneaked into the house of course!

Feeling better already.


Well, my rampaging teenage son eventually returned home at about 9 o'clock last night - a full twelve hours after being arrested on suspicion of possessing cannabis with intent to supply. He did have some grass on him, but far less than the amount allowed for personal use and, as you already know, there was none found at our home.

When my boy finally walked through the front door, he looked pale and drawn and very like the little boy he used to be. He had a difficult time persuading that bottom lip not to tremble, and was very shaken indeed; but then so would you be if you had been roughly manhandled from your car by four burly drugs officers and then handcuffed.

I am not making excuses for him; as I have so often warned him, it is pointless to make an enemy of those in authority - they will always have the upper hand. Nevertheless, despite my shame and disappointment with him, he is my son, and I love him.

Shortly after his homecoming, he was vowing that he would stop being friends with the 'bad influences' and would take his car off the road (the police now look out for him - he is a target). Great, I thought.

Experience is the best teacher, and I'm slow to learn.

Less than two hours later, my son was out in his car with the 'bad influences.' Despite his promises, he didn't come home last night, and he couldn't phone me to reassure me that he was safe because the police have impounded his mobile phone (not that he would have done, anyway).

Homecoming part 2 was at 9.30 this morning and, yes, he was paralytically drunk again.

I can't help feeling that I am standing by and allowing him to self-destruct.

Powerlessness stinks.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008


I confess - I am the mother of one of those rampaging youths you read about in your daily newspaper. He hasn't stabbed or shot anybody but he is a binge drinker and his behaviour is very antisocial.

Why am I telling you this? Well, a number of reasons really. The first, and the one that looms large for me at the moment, is that I have just been visited by the drug squad. Four scary looking men and a dog have searched my home from top to bottom. They didn't find anything, but then I never thought they would. I am, however, very shaken up by all of this.

My son's antisocial behaviour is connected to alcohol - he sees Friday and Saturday nights as being for one purpose only - to get paralytically drunk. Most Saturday evenings are spent in custody at the local police station; they know me so well now because, when he doesn't come home, it is the custody office that I phone first - before I start panicking about him lying hurt and bleeding in a gutter somewhere. He is eighteen years old now and, to all intents and purposes, can do as he pleases.

What has happened to our society? Can this apparent breakdown have anything to do with the fact that we can no longer clip our children around the ear, for fear of being 'divorced' or charged with assault. What about the police? It seems to me that their hands are tied too. From what I have seen, what is missing is respect; respect for the law, respect for one's elders, respect for professionals. As a registered midwife, I have seen this lack of respect up close - it is not nice.

Along with you, l watch those news programmes and television reports about binge-drinking, gun crime, and rampaging teenagers. Like you, they make me feel angry. But my anger becomes overwhelming when they put the blame on the parents.
I have brought all of my children up to be decent, honest, and caring human beings. They have all been taught right from wrong and they all know, from example, that we should care for others. I am very ashamed of my son's behaviour and feel, somehow, responsible; I love him so much yet he is the cause of such anguish and upheaval for others.

My boy comes from a good home, he has parents who are still together, and he knows beyond the shadow of a doubt that he is loved. Tell me - what else can I do, or could I have done, to prevent this?

I am at my wits end. As sure as eggs is eggs, my son is going to end up in prison. It is not what I wanted for him and this is not how I dreamed my fifties would be.

Believe me - it is not always the fault of the parents.

Tuesday, 19 February 2008


For years, I dreamed of giving up the day job. In my dreams I'd sit at home in a shaft of sunlight, golden retriever at my feet, and write for England (and Scotland, Wales, and Ireland too).

I eventually achieved my dream by default. I was diagnosed with some little known syndrome that was totally incompatible with working in the British NHS; although, of course, most things are incompatible with working in the modern NHS.

My escape came in the form of Behcet's Syndrome, of which more later. The dream sort of came true - I do sit and write all day but not, as I had imagined, in that shaft of sunlight. Instead I write in the murky mist of a waterlogged west country. The golden retriever, by the way, is a ginger tom.

Words are wonderful, playing with them is peachy, paying the mortgage is tantamount. Now I write to pay Northern Rock - or should that be the Government?