Hoods And Sashes

When you are being supported by the hood or sash brigade

You should know you are in trouble, on wrong tracks

The torches and the batons that the hate league like to carry

Are legacies of nations out of whack

Spouting vitriolic slogans, cultivating fear

Joyous in their robes and ordered rules

Beating up a fervour and marching blind to facts

Dangerous to just dismiss as fools

Tolerating troublemakers hidden from our sight

Or marching on the streets in drunken glee

Grandiose of gesture in dress and chosen stripes

Obedient to chants that laud supremacy

‘Fenians’, ‘papes’ or Jews are used, minorities, Muslims, blacks

To justify existence of their bands

Do we really want or need the hood and sash mentality

Influencing decisions in our lands

Aprons, lodges, flutes and drums, grand masters and their crew

Promoting blinkered, biased, one-track song

What we should be, what we should do, follow, follow fools

March and beat, don’t think, just follow on

If you are being supported by the likes of all above

And encouraging division for your case

You’re no more representative of me in whole or part

Nor others who support one human race

Remove the hoods, the sashes, societies and sects

Disband the teams that thrive on hate’s divide

The future of all people and the hope of justice, truth

Depends on more than stupid taking sides

Progressive Winds Of Change



troglodytes with paint pots

in caverns where they dwell

raking through old tunnelled rock

those backward ne’er-do-wells

reliving former glories

in the etchings daubed to prove

that progress is parietal

a wall that cannot move

denying wind through apertures

eyes squinting in the dark

ritualistic, prehistoric

resistant by their marks

but progress is inexorable

though hindered by the trolls

essence of enlightenment

offensive to mere moles

repudiating changes

misfortune ’twere it fact

but art that’s manifested light

has led counterattack

evolution’s history

brooks no backward glance

freed from caves, progressives

reject regressive stance

sarcophagal appetite

to the death of stone age script

buried in the rubble leave

benighted, ill-equipped

crude and savage legacy

the writing’s on the walls

some delay may be inevitable

but brutal stonework fades and falls

elemental, fundamental

primordial process

the winds of change sweep steadily

with turbulence, progress

Labels – More Of A Guideline

I don’t like labels.
I don’t like labels a lot.
You could say, I hate them.
I don’t advertise brand names on my clothes. I’m not anyone’s free publicity machine.
And as for clothes’ size labels? One shop’s size ten is another’s twelve.
Labels are a gimmick. Or a guideline.

Except, last week I bought a pair of blue suede Doc Marten’s and I love them. But, they have a label tag at the back for getting them on. And it sports the brand name.
Choice. Keep them? Or not? Well, they are lovely. And they’ll be really hard-wearing. I’ll get my money’s worth from them. And they’ll be great in bad weather. And, did I say, they’re lovely?
So I’m keeping them.
I redid my political compass the other day too.
Just in case anything had changed with me.
You know, there’s been a lot of changes going on and my mind’s been all over the place trying to assimilate the meaning of it all.
But no change.
I’m still a liberal leftie.
Nearly off the chart, as it happens.
I seem to have become more liberal as I’ve gotten older. More accepting of the diversity of people and the many permutations that that diversity casts up in life.
Do I like that label?
Not really.
Labels are a gimmick. Or a guideline.
I’m a something. The label attempts to describe that something.
It also puts me in a box.
Fascism puts people in a box too.
If the label fits.
I haven’t liked seeing that word being thrown around recently. It’s a word that belongs in the history books and to be ever aware of – lest we forget. It’s a word with such potential for destruction. Potential for division. And should not be used lightly. It has been used to describe many different people and the choices they have made, based, at times, purely on a vote.
We’re a bit more complicated than that.
The many different reasons why we feel, believe, act in one way or another. The circumstances surrounding the reasons. The upbringing. The input from other people, our experiences. The cruelty we have known. The kindnesses we have been shown. The sum total of our lives helping to determine how or why we will act in any given circumstances.
Being the person I am – my liberal leftie leaning ways – I tend to try to understand why people do and say the things they do. Try to make allowances for mitigating circumstances. Some might say a bleeding-heart leftie. And there may very well be justification for them saying so.
Perhaps I tolerate things that I ought not to, in the name of, ‘What if that were me? There for the grace of god.’ And so on.
Perhaps I should have zero tolerance for the children I teach who are the product of their upbringing, of the society in which they live. Or the one they have left. Perhaps I should not try to understand what makes them tick. Or help them overcome the barriers to achieving their fullest potential and development. Perhaps I should refuse to teach any rude ones. The violent ones. The persistent latecomers. Those whose absences run into double figures every term. Those whose parents never attend a parents’ evening, don’t help them with homework, feed them rubbish, don’t provide them with clean clothes or a healthy environment. Those who feed their addiction before their children. Perhaps I should punish the children. Blame them. Cast them from my sight so that I might better focus on the ones who have more of a chance.
But I won’t.
Perhaps because I’m a liberal leftie.
Or perhaps because, with a bit of effort on my part, some love and understanding, the right methodology, guidance and determination, loads of humour, some hugs when required, I might just make a difference. Perhaps they might remember that someone cared and they might do the same for someone else. And the world may turn on a happier axis.
Perhaps not.
I probably will never know.
It’s rare to get feedback at a later date.
I just have to believe that I’m doing the right thing.
But the belief is based on what I know of children. What I know of people. I was one. I am one.
How difficult is it to imagine how you would like to be treated then do accordingly to others?
Why is that so difficult for some? For many people, it seems. For so many in positions of power. And now, it would seem, even from those who are, and will continue to be, in need of the same tolerance and understanding.
Some of those who have shouted loudest in support of cruelty and have ‘othered’ factions of society, based on a label, are some of the most needy there are. Their needs are economic. They need work. They need to earn. They need the sense of pride that comes with being self-supporting. They need out of the spiral of fear. They need to feel security. They need to feel a sense of society and growth. They need to feel a sense of worth. They need to believe they are here for a reason. They need to have hope. And these needs have not been met.
They have been termed the forgotten citizens. And they have spoken. They spoke in the UK. Brexit. They spoke in the USA. Trump.
Will they speak in France too? In other countries in Europe and around the world where global economic policies and politicians have let them down?
And when they speak or shout their disaffection of the status quo, who will be their saviour? Who will step into the breach? The man or woman on the corner who feels the same? Not likely.
Or one for whom the power of change holds possibilities for themselves and a cohort that have waited their time?
And what shall we call them? What label apply to those who will not tolerate the other? Who will not mitigate for poverty or cruelty? Who will not thole the stranger? Who would diminish the human rights of others? Who seek superiority? Who believe themselves superior? Who would not do unto others as they would have done to themselves? Who walk the walk that has been walked and rejected before? Before we forgot to remember.
What label shall we apply to the box that has been opened wide?
And if the rise of ‘neo-nazi’, ‘alt-right’, ‘fascist’ refuses to return to its box, what then for those who cried, ‘Help’? Will they know tolerance from their leaders when they are in further need? Will they later fall victim to a rule that encompasses some aspect of their beings? Will anyone mitigate for them when the time comes? And it comes to us all.
Among the voices that spoke there are many others whose raison d’etre is being realised and is making them brave as all cowards are brave. As part of a crowd. A crowd that becomes mob in its voice and actions. A movement that shouts down opposition to intolerance. Ones who have waited the opportune time. Ones who have embraced their label secretly. Until now.
How shall we know the measure of their cloth? By the label? By its size when it fits? By the uniform it once wore? If the cloth does not maketh the man, his actions do. He or she. Labelled or not.
I’m a liberal leftie by nature. By actions. By experience. By label, so it seems.
But, tolerating the intolerable, I will not do.
That would be off the chart.

Meanwhile…In Not So Sunny Scotia

In my absence here I have been reading and researching. I have been engaging with social media and clicking on links to papers and documents, to videos and newsreels. I have been trying to find out more about what is making this world tick in the particular manner it is currently ticking. Like a timebomb.

One of the things I enjoyed about studying history when I was at school was when I realised that nothing happens in isolation. My older brother was the one who helped me see this.

The night before an important history exam he offered to help me prepare by quizzing me. I failed. Miserably. If I remember correctly he asked me how the First World War started. I can’t remember my answer now.

I do remember he said, ‘No. You’re looking at this all wrong. You have to look at what was going on elsewhere. One place wasn’t operating in a vacuum to another. Think about it. While you’re up here studying, the rest of the family are doing other things. Some of those things will be unimportant to you. But some of them could be rocking your boat. What if mum is arguing with dad? What if ….’

And on he went, describing what other people may or may not be doing that may or may not be impacting on my life.

I got it.

I finally got it.

He then went on to describe a series of events happening around the world at the time leading up to the outbreak of WW1. I was hooked. Every story he told, he would say, ‘Meanwhile….’


I’ve had ‘meanwhile’ in my mind a lot this while back.

The USA is bitterly divided on who to elect for president. Why? What’s on offer and what’s coming out of the closet around each candidate? And how much of what is revealed is true? How trustworthy is the established media? Whose corner are they fighting and why? How much of alternative media can be trusted? What is the source of information, do they have an axe to grind and what might that be?

Meanwhile, Britain has decided to leave the European Union. The Tory party seem intent on going for the so-called ‘hard’ option despite all evidence that suggests it’s the wrong option. No access to the free market if it means having to accept uncontrolled borders. Why is the Tory Party so intent in going for the most difficult option? Why would the Tory Party – capitalists of the first order – attempt to embrace the centre ground and sacrifice the pound in the name of immigration? Why is the rhetoric emanating from that quarter embracing xenophobic speech and helping, by their rhetoric, to cultivate antagonism towards the immigrant population? How many of the decisions made by UKgov are independent of that ‘special relationship’ with the US?

Meanwhile, in Syria, atrocities are being carried out against children. Why? In whose interests is it to control that area and why?

Meanwhile, in Israel and Palestine, what was done to one is being done to others. Why? Apart from history, is there psychology at play? Abused becoming abusers? Why are we so divided on seeing the connections?

Meanwhile, back in not so sunny Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon has promised the possibility of a second independence referendum for Scotland. Why? Is she a power-hungry politician intent on breaking up the UK to the dissatisfaction of those who value its togetherness at all costs? Why are there still so many Scots still against it? It surely makes sense to support something which allows the Scottish people to determine their own course in the world. Why are some then still resistant to the independence that would allow their own voices to be heard by virtue of having a government that they actually voted for as opposed to always having the government that the rest of Britain votes for?

Meanwhile, 40million citizens in Russia are mobilized to prepare for nuclear war.

Meanwhile, Scotland is sitting on Trident. Rejected by Scotland. But housing it, nevertheless, because nowhere else on the British Isles is capable of accomodating it, apparently. And it would be too dangerous to house near a large city. Greater Glasgow (population just over 1million) is 39 miles from Faslane, the Trident nuclear base.

Meanwhile, the Scottish Government is doing everything it can to enhance renewable energy as the best way forward.

Meanwhile, oil, Syria.

Meanwhile, new sources of oil discovered off the west coast of Scotland.

Meanwhile, some still believe that Scotland’s last referendum on independence was rigged. You think for a minute you’re walking out of here? We need your tax receipts.


It goes on.

The one thing that I am sure of in this muddle of information is that we are being manipulated. All of us.

How is it possible that so much of mainstream media sings from the same hymn sheet while there is evidence to the contrary?

How is it possible that so much anti-immigrant speech is being allowed? Not only being allowed, but being poured forth, in some quarters, like an avalanche of putrid vomit.

How did Hitler rise to power? Why were so many susceptible to his particular brand of fascist rhetoric?

How did World War 2 begin? What was going on elsewhere around the world that culminated in yet another war to disprove that the first would be the war to end all wars?

What is all the fighting about?

Is it fear of ‘the other’? Is it notions of a Caliphate? Is it protectionism of borders?  Is it humanitarian? Is it oil?

Is it, in fact, about who controls the means of providing their citizens with the sources of energy that allow us to switch on that TV? To run that car? To have the life that we deserve? At all costs?

Meanwhile, here in Scotland, a nation of just over 5million, some of us have a dream. The dream is that when we gain independence – and we will, eventually – we will pursue policies that reject nuclear weapons wholesale, embrace renewable energy as the means of safeguarding our planet while still allowing us to function in the world. We reject xenophobia, reject homophobia, reject austerity that hurts the poorest in the country. The poorest whose voices are not heard and yet must pay the cost of failure of fiscal policies and the austerity needed to balance the books. Whose fiscal policies? Whose interests are they representing? Where did all that revenue go to? Who benefited?

We reject the sectarianism that is still rife in this country of ours. A sectarianism that divides the population into Catholics and Protestants. Into two colours of two football teams. Into ‘yoons’ and ‘cybernats’. We reject the idea, repeated by mainstream media and successive UK governments that we are ‘too stupid, too small, too poor’. Despite evidence to the contrary. Evidence deliberately hidden by successive UK governments.

Natural resources are gifted throughout this world of ours. There isn’t a place on this planet that could not be self-sufficient in safe energy if the will were there, by those who wield the power, to invest in research and production. Why is there no will? In whose short term interests is it to safeguard the status quo? Where there is the will there is a way. I believe that.

But the will is lacking. Why? That is the billion dollar question. The Rockefeller Foundation renounced fossil fuels in favour of pursuing renewables just prior to the Paris Climate Talks last year. From what I’ve read of the Rockefellers that sets alarm bells ringing. Has the agency, founded on snake oil, become so altruistic that its main concern now is to preserve the planet? Or just some of it?

Scotland has already shown that it is possible to produce energy through many different, safer means. Research and investment into wind, into tidal. Feckin’ kites for god’s sake! This country – rich in oil – wants another way. The research needs developing. But the finances available to further that aim have been cut by UKgov.

For yes, we receive pocket money from Westminster. Scotland may be an oil rich nation but the revenue from these many years of production has gone south. Privatised and misused. Successive UK governments – regardless of party politics – have used the revenue to give tax breaks to the rich or develop selected areas of England. All other countries can fend for themselves and then take the blame when what is allocated does not – cannot – counter policies made elsewhere for the benefit of some.

I recognise that large swathes of England have been neglected at the expense of a select few. I’m as heart sorry for them as I am for us. Wales. Northern Ireland. For Scotland.

I recognise that money rules the world.

I recognise that those whose sole pursuit is money and power don’t give a damn about anyone else but their own interests.

I recognise that people are considered collateral damage by those who wield power.

I recognise it. And I reject it.

I will fight for Scotland’s independence till the day I die. Not because we do actually contribute more to UK’s coffers than they advertise and we want to keep that to help our nation in the way we see fit. Valid though that reason is, it is, for me, not the main one.

It is because we are ignored.

It is because our values and aspirations are ignored and deemed unimportant.

It is because we are deemed expendable. It is because UKgov allows and encourages, advertises, an erroneous image of Scotland to sustain their power base.

It is because successive UK governments have allowed and promoted the notion that we are a nation of scroungers.

And they have not done that for no reason.

Double negatives aside, how does one conquer?


Divide countries in a union – any union – by the language and information you use. Manipulation.

Blame ‘the other’ for failings in economic policies. Manipulation.

Control the media. Manipulation.

Lie. Manipulation.


Yes, this is my conspiracy theory.

But what is a conspiracy but what we are NOT told?

And we are not told plenty.

So I will continue to search. I shall continue to seek answers to why it is, apparently, imperative that wars are carried out in the name of one thing while ulterior motives are present.

I will continue to question why US and UK still sell weapons then cry foul when they are used. Why regimes are undermined then controlled. Why lives are unimportant in pursuit of something else. Anything else. Whether that be religion, oil, land or power for power’s sake.

Our world is a fucked up mess and we are all culpable. Every last one of us. We let our governments play by standards and rules that we are not privy to. We let them build the weapons of the future to maintain supremacy.

We let them.

Is Nicola different?


I don’t know.

I think she is.

I believe she is.

Her actions suggest she is.


But, no matter, it is not the SNP that drives the voice of independence.

I am not a member of the SNP.

I am not a member of any political party.

Been there, seen that, done it. Scottish Labour. The northern branch of Westminster. I did not leave them. They left me. They left all working class people in pursuit of something else. Something now indistinct from what the Tories stand for.

I abhor party politics.

They’ve proven time and again they do not work.

Except for themselves.


SNP? They, for me, are a vehicle that will give the people of Scotland the independence they need to change our corner of this globe and, hopefully, the wider world.

If I were to be a member of any political party I’d be Green.

It is the natural choice for someone who wants to protect our planet in oh, so many ways, from the worst excesses of ourselves.

Oh, one of the things that my brother and I disagreed on way back then.

Him: If I have to die I want everyone I know to go with me. I don’t want to think that everyone’s here while I’m not.

Me: Oh, God, no, when I die I want to think that there are people here I know and love keeping the story going.


I feel I should apologise for this post. Not the content, per se. But the hurried together, rather manic way in which it has been written. But, you know what, I’m not going to.

I will not apologise for being worried, for caring about people all over the planet, for wanting my children to have a future. For all children to have a future, no matter their race, creed or colour.


I also wanted to take the time to go back and insert references/links to what I have been finding. But, I’m not going to. I’m not going back. I’m going forward. The information is out there. The reasons are there. Find them. If there is one thing that the internet was surely invented for was to help save us from ourselves.



It’s Friday. I’m on holiday from school for a week. Thank heavens. What a week!

May your god or none go with you.

May you know peace wherever you are. May you know peace in your heart.

We’re just this tiny blue dot.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in space….

A Different Table

sitting at the same table

watching while

food disappears from my plate

a recognised

invisible hand

reaching across my shoulder

another from beneath a tablecloth

patterned in red white and blue

feeling the hunger

but waiting for decency and manners

to acknowledge that what is served



by me

I have a right to

realising, eventually, that

the currs will feed first

be favoured

that, in that dining room


kitchen staff


are by the by

ignorance is indifferent

much flaunted manners

a learned behaviour

that breeding will out

the pilfered silverware laughs as it clatters

among the nonsensical chatter

lives brokered and bartered

leaded receptacles fall


and death becomes invited


its toll growing

while the same knowing hand

sprawls messages


and obviously

that counter truth

my table

my plate

my food

stolen from me

while calling me


and thief

the parasite

peddling lies

breeding disharmony

and hate


Waited too long

We leave that table

We leave those plates

We leave the inhospitable

We leave

In our kitchen

We have all the ingredients we need

To make a new meal

A better meal

To season it

According to our tastes

We serve it

Share it

Sit at a different table

A round tablecloth of multi-hued



Consumes fairly

Mutualism moreso

We need

A different table


To continue the analogy, I am currently consumed by politics and news. Scunnered by it, to be honest. Like I’ve eaten too much and want to barf. The taste of what is being served inter/nationally and globally has me retching. And I know I’m not alone in this. Between school work, family, writing and following politics and news like a demented disciple, I’m not on WordPress at all at the moment. I even thought to delete my account, thinking ‘what’s the point?’ but I can’t quite bring myself to do that. There’s too much of myself here.  Forgive me please for not visiting. I’m sure the urge will return. Until it does, may I offer you all my warmest wishes and blessings and hope that everyone is doing what they can to change the menu.x 

Hope Sings And Dances



Hope springs eternal in the fields where freedom grows

Gushes forth forever and, with liberty, it flows

It dances and it frolics while it buds and builds anew

Pleasures in the pastures where the words are strong and true

It glories in a garden that will always foster fair

Edifying, magnifying, everyone who’s there

It weaves and wanders wondrously, pervading every dream

Paves the way with petals that are always what they seem

It does not lie to have its way, though despairing may accuse

For it’s allied with the future and a world it won’t abuse

Hope springs and dances for the right to live again

In the hearts of all who seek it and feel its longing pain

Hope smiles and witnesses, will not abandon you

But dances still because of life and dreams it won’t eschew

Remember, in that garden, there is room for all who see

That winter cedes to spring that blooms each and every year

We nurture it and take it with us everywhere we go

And tag the dancers, one and all, so hope its seeds may sow

With hope that never dies a death, for eternally it springs

We build a world that starts, right here, where hope will dance and sing

Give hope a voice that reaches far and fills the hills and glens

A voice that touches one and all, transforms their lives and then

Let hope be in the notes of every song it can conceive

From island homes to city streets for, with hope, we may believe

So when hope asks for permission, for it never will impose

Let all who hear the voice of hope sing all the songs hope knows

The Grandmother

she doesn’t know what happened to the life she planned and hoped for

but somewhere on the route she lost her way

somewhere, over time, years voided girlhood and her reasons

while she watched and waited for those better days

those halcyon of yore that she was promised

by the fairy tales she’d heard and read, imbibed

where the prince is true and saves deserving maiden

and the perfect ending meets the perfect bride

instead she is the tarnished, disillusioned

more imprisoned now than then and saviours few

passed her way or loitered with intention

she was trapped inside and still the briars grew

confined inside a castle of contention

sojourner in a land that sees unveiled

every yarn that once began with once upon

nullifying happy ever after tales

a cinderella always, now grandmother

no fairy guardian to relieve the mess

pumpkins flourished, rats were rats and lizards reclined

there was no transformation, no new dress

surrogate to another willing victim

still the stories spun like threaded silk to bind

while she wondered what had happened, where salvation

where relief for careworn, worried mind

she fretted now and quite forgot to hope for

a future since her past had cast its spell

as she meditated where had all that time gone

then promises no more fables will she tell

she’ll let the child run ragged, even barefoot

oblivious to vows and promises that fail

she’s the mother of the son of errant daughter

and the child, though wild, is carefree, this tale tells


This morning I shall finish procrastinating.

It’s time, I feel, to tackle what is weighing and waiting to be done.

I had thought I would do it on Friday night but I knew I was kidding myself. Friday evenings are not for doing work. That, surely, is a universal given.

I did think I would begin on Saturday. Jump right in and just get it out of my way. But. There was shopping. There were washings. There was cooking. A little bit of taxi service. And a lot of, ‘But it’s Saturday. It’s the freakin’ weekend.’

So, I didn’t.

The worst thing about being a teacher is the volume of paperwork that has crept in over the years.

No, that’s not the worst thing.

The worst thing is the number of subject areas that now have to be taught. And planned for.

My speciality is literacy and numeracy. Every aspect of the two, woven into interdisciplinary learning. You know, plan a theme, incorporating many facets of learning. Drive your lessons through that. Easy peasy, once you know how.

That’s no longer good enough.

As a result of the neglect of some sections of society, and a political scene that will not tackle the root causes – or cannot- it is now incumbent on primary school teachers to incorporate, within their remit, a host of subjects that parents used to do. Some of them still might. But, just in case they don’t, we have to.

This term I will have to make time for the kitchen in school. Yes, the children will be learning how to cut up bananas, make smoothies, try their hands at washing up and, hopefully, keep their fingers intact in the process. They will be charged for this. I’ll have to pay for it first and then collect the money from them. That’s not going to happen. Not doing that. I should go to the shops, buy a variety of fruit that they probably won’t like or eat and then hope they reimburse me? Nope. Cheek.

In addition to exploring the wonders of the kitchen, perhaps using one of the microwaves that now sit on the worktops of what was once the teachers’ conference room, some bright spark suggested that the children would benefit from running five miles per week.

An area in the playground has been duly measured, to the mile, and the panting of both teachers and children can almost be heard, through my window on the ground floor, as they bust a gut not quite belting round the yard. I don’t think I’m going to be doing that. I don’t run. Now and again my nose does. But that’s usually because I’ve not been careful with my fruit consumption and have succumbed to a trivial cold. Bring on the vitamin C. I can peel an orange because my mum taught me how.

Health and wellbeing is the thing, you see. Not content with having teachers supervise teeth brushing – I mean, have you ever! – we should take on the role of parental responsibility in every field.

There is now toast on offer in the morning, a couple of days a week. Why not every day? Don’t children need breakfast every morning? Why not serve dinner too? Get the kids into their jammies, a bed time story and the parents can pick them up around nine.  A good twelve hours at school should solve all society’s problems.

What else? Ah, yes, drug awareness, massage (no fecking kidding!), and the thing that is pending this week for me and mine. The showcase.

On Friday coming, the whole school, together with parents of the children in my class, will gather in the hall while my children take to the stage and perform some highlights from the book study we have been working on. I spent last weekend writing parts for them all and burning music to a disc. It’s been a while since I’ve done that – the disc part – and there was some swearing involved until I remembered.

This week, all the work that adorns my walls from the topic, will be removed to be displayed in the hall for the perusal of the parents. Then it will have to be put up again in my class because, in a week or so, we’ll have visitors – pretendy inspectors from the education department will descend to see if we know what we’re doing.

Quite frankly, I’m no longer sure I do.

Once upon a time, my job was to make sure that the children in my care could read and write and count. I was good at that. Still am, if I get the chance. We’ve always taught P.E., Drama, Music, Environmental Studies, R.M.E., Social Studies, Art, Science and whatever else escapes me right now. But, the focus was always numeracy and literacy. The essentials.

The time now available to do justice to those subjects is being eroded by the additional responsibilities that were once the privilege of parents.

I made lasagne and crusty bread with my two youngest recently. All of my kids can cut a banana and know which buttons to press on the microwave as well as how to turn on the cooker and make something for themselves. I’ve always been under the impression that that was something I had to do so that, one day, I could wave them goodbye knowing they wouldn’t starve or set themselves on fire. So far, so good. Touch wood.

In the interests of not procrastinating further, I will end with one last thought. Why is it that the only subjects the children are tested on is numeracy and literacy? Simple arithmetic, that a moron could work out, but not, apparently, the powers that be, (bit worrying that), makes it plain that less and less time is available for the essential PRIMARY subjects. I’m a primary school teacher.

As wonderful as I am at integrating the essentials into multi subjects – and I’m really not too shabby at that – I’m no wizard with time. There are only so many hours in the day to achieve planned aims. There are just too many aims now.

I shall now go and spend the rest of Sunday planning for the current term and trying to bend the parameters of time. Someone’s got to do it.

P.S. (still procrastinating) I just discovered, this week, that my salary, for doing all of the above and then some, has been eroded in the region of £13,000 in the last six years. So, that’s nice. Very motivating.


the stories that need telling fall clumsily

on trails where tributes lie in winding lanes

on cobbled streets of needle-darkened alleys

in shop doorways where sad stories lurch in pain

the stories to remember stumble onwards

resistance plied while truths they serve to give

truths that need the hearing and the telling

giving voice to thoughts of those who barely live

the stories that need telling cause much grieving

these stories they are mourned while others dance

on bloodied, bended knees scarred stories whimper

begging, fighting, pleading, one more chance

the stories we’ve forgotten haunt our dreamscapes

filling us with fear that those we love could be

a story on the corner there but for graces

someone’s child or parent, you or me

the stories sprawled on walls are unenchanting

apoetic in their prose and permanence

these monuments that matter, disassembled

the humblest stories lost to prominence

unhinged of wing they travel like their namesake

foiled phoenix burnt to ashes must reform

soul stories scattered, littered, on rough pavements

barred temples to the place where freedom’s born

the stories in retelling at the tables

where gathered poets present and from past

conserve the memories among the negatives

cave paintings whitewashed over sketched in last

hid among the amulets and tombstones

walking tourist trails or calvary

wounded hearts still beating where they perish

amid stories where condemned fought to be free

a cross upon the cobbles falls embarrassed

that liberty was won by their blood spilled

to keep the stories living, rising ever

that changed the route by courage and by will

the stories that need telling need new focus

perspective in the telling here and now

to those who write the stories worth the telling

the fallen, inglorious, tell us how

their stories find a purpose in narration

where nations find their dignity and poise

old stories sung, retold, with hush and reverence

need new stories magnified by many with one voice

the stories of the rising and the fallen

the stories of the families who yet weep

the stories of the falling mid the rising

such stories thus preserved that we may sleep

Practice and Performance

tread lightly on the path of least resistance

on wooden toes, find strength, one must perform

balance on frail bridge without assistance

bright light in sight, no ligaments yet torn

plie, pirouette, without extension

trained for timely twirls to softly land

faster, faster, dizzying dimension

unruffled skirts, poised lithely, final stand

unapplaused in practice and performance

musculature, well-versed, its memory

carries through, determination’s dominance

treads lightly, choreographed, till finally free

Apologies one and all for being an absent blogger. Didn’t even hand in a sick note! Final leg here of around thirty thousand words in reports due in for tomorrow. No sweat. Well, maybe a little glowing – I’m a lady. Except for the swearing that has accompanied using an online reporting programme only barely fit for purpose. Bring back pens, I say. I’d have been done two weeks ago. Hope you’re all well and I haven’t missed too much. What’s the gossip? Oh, wrong forum. Been off everything. And all without withdrawal symptoms. Bit of a surprise, that.

Now, back to last of the reports. Any euphemisms out there I haven’t used to temper bad news? Just how many ways can you say, ‘you’re wean’s a lazy, blethering tike’?