Paintwater

My mother’s eyes looked as though they were full of black smoke. They looked like this a couple of times a year. Ordinarily they just looked muddy, like the paint water I would always leave too long before refilling when I was a child painting at the kitchen table, for whole days.

She would moan at me then for waiting until the water was a foggy brown smudge before heaving herself up from the sofa, grabbing the glass, and emptying it down the plug hole where it would create a swirling kaleidoscope pattern on the cream plastic sink. She’d then run the cold tap while she looked ahead out of the window, nearly always filling the glass until it overflowed with clean clear water.

Perhaps it bothered her so much because it’s what she did too. Perhaps she waited too long herself before she grew tired of the smudge in her eyes and that’s why she’d empty herself of food and open herself up fully to all the narcotics she could stomach until her eyes were a solid black soot, thick and heavy like the tangled mass of hair that used to hang lank down her back like splodges of black ink on white paper. Her pupils were spreading in her eyes and I wanted to reach out to her with a tissue, pinch the edge into a point and dab it into those eyes to blot away the darkness.

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How to make a cake for someone who likes nail varnish

This gallery contains 50 photos.

Get hold of some silicon cake trays. Get hold of loads of different colour food dyes. Make a huge batch of sponge mix. Scoop some mixture into each of the silicon trays.  Put in the oven and bake for the usual time. In the meantime make upside icing. Make plenty. When the sponge is ready, […]

Pain is…

…spending hours of your life in double-pointed needle hell to create beautiful cashmere Rowan Finest gloves, only to get to the end of them and realise that you have made TWO LEFT HANDS.

So, you count to ten for three days then bite the bullet and undo the one, and start it again.  You make a right hand. Everything is perfect. Then you wear them out and lose them within the first week.

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Cognac

My glass is taken around the corner
to be warmed,
and brought back to the bar.
A bottle of cognac
is dusted off and I’m poured
a long
unmeasured measure.

I hand over my money
and once I let go of the cold coins
I’m rewarded
with a warm glass
against chapped skin.

I handle it
as though it were a crystal ball,
with its bulbous bottom
in the palm of my hands.

I feel the muscles in my fingers relax,
and as I circle the drink
under my nose
the solitary ice cube spins
around the edge of the glass
before melting
into the toffee coloured liquid.

I take a sip, and think
about how good this drink
always looks
against burgundy coloured nails.

I hold the drink on my tongue
for a second
and let it warm every part of my mouth.

This amber syrup
with its golden fumes
melts away my ashen memories
of an air-conditioned day
in a grey office.

I think about
nothing but crispy fallen leaves,
and chocolate Labradors
pawing unfamiliar snow.

I think about hanks of wool,
piled into bookcases
ready to turn into gifts.

I think about matches
rattling in their tatty boxes,
waiting to envelop
the corners of logs in flames.

I think of fur collars and hooded coats,
antique fountain pens,
and sepia ink.

I think of the unassuming brown second class stamps,
lined up on the bottle green leather of my bureau,
ready to send
my warmest wishes
across the world.

Unashamedly bragging…

…about the fact that the inimitable blogger behind the ‘Surviving in Italy‘ scenes has allowed me to place words that came out of my head, onto her little patch of cyberspace.

Grazie mille, and I hope you all like it. Click here for my flash fiction memoir called Spoonful of Sugar. Below is a little sample.

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