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The Path We Walk

I started out full of hope
travel, people, cuisines
adventure and experiences

I never lacked male company
men were falling for me
I could not see it

you wooed me, manipulating
I tried to resist that, stay myself
you were a bully, I didn’t see

until too late, although
I wept with joy at our wedding
my love was too blind

you wanted me to be happy
it’s true, but your seed made
a child inside me, a life

I nurtured, but you made war
the conflict was too much
you made holes in my soul

or fitted in the ones already there
poison spilled in as I chose my child
not you, who never honored me

you undermined until the hole
swallowed me, finding I was hiding
cash to make an escape

when I told you to go you blamed me
for your past, I never realised
I would pay for it too

take your past, your disrespect, your blame
it is not mine, though I fought your battle
no more, no more, no more

I will walk alone rather than with you
who mocks, disrespects, has no regard
alone is far richer, more peaceful

I choose it over you, who destroyed
my self belief, my confidence, my being
peace is mine now, joy comes my way

Published in Contemplate

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Painkillers for breakfast again…

I am still getting pain from having to plant plants in haste, as I was let down at the last minute. I went to bed at 9pm last night as I was so very tired. It can take up to a week for me to recover from gardening, especially when I have not planned ahead to do manageable tasks.

As a friend pointed out, free often comes with a catch. I just did not expect to be slandered so cruelly on a website. People I have never heard of joined in, saying bad things about me or sympathizing without realising there are two sides to every story. Even saying they’ve met me. I’ve actually only met three people from Nextdoor, and two became very good friends.

A jealous person has tried to use the website to speak ill of me, and later accepted an invitation from me. I know where they live now.

I actually care not what people think of me. The people that matter know me to be kind. The rest mean nothing. I help strangers all the time. I help whoever I can on Nextdoor.

It’s funny, the guy I welcomed to Nextdoor and later mentioned free gardening was, I thought, a school friend of my daughter, who I had also welcomed that day. I know he would never have broken his word, or slandered me all over a website.

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Do You Respect Your Employee?

In recent years I have found the need to employ a cleaner because of several changes in my life. I’ve gone through a few. Changes and employees. Some stopped coming because the parking is difficult — a boat would be able to moor nearer. Some stopped coming because I would chat with them. I had to let a few go because they were not doing an effective clean.

My cleaner now is a man who did some work in my bathroom and garden. He had seen my advertisement for a cleaner at a certain price. He had come to do a job moving some heavy stuff in my garden, and because he had finished early we had a cup of tea.

He said that he would like to be my cleaner. I responded that I could not afford his hourly fee every week. In reply he said that cleaning for me at the pay I had advertised would guarantee two more hours of income each week, and that because I had recommended him to others for various tasks, it would be of mutual benefit.

This kind of thinking is very pleasing. I only found it odd to adjust to having a man in my home. Not because I think it is a woman’s job, but because it involves my laundry. I have never before had a man who was not a lover handle my laundered clothing or strip my bedlinen.

This guy works really hard. He cleans very well. He is far more efficient and thorough than any previous cleaner. Sometimes, he arrives and I can see that he is tired. I try to chat with him for a couple of minutes so that he can recuperate. Other times, he has finished all the cleaning early and if I don’t have another chore for him, I tell him to go home and have a cup of tea.

Of course, there are times I notice something could do with a wipe. I am not helpless, so these things I do without complaint. Other times, I might mention it if it’s something out of my reach.

I believe there are several types of cleaning; spring cleaning, maintenance cleaning, and focused cleaning.

Focused cleaning is the cleaning of things that don’t need weekly cleaning. So we have a Week A and Week B but fluidity reigns. Sometimes I ask him to clean for one hour and help in the garden for the second. The second hour is then paid at his normal fee.

Because I know that some people give him very labor intensive jobs without thinking about his need to stay hydrated, I generally ask if he needs a drink. He carries water with him. At this time of pandemic, he often asks to use my bathroom, as other people are terrified they will catch Covid-19 from him and won’t let him inside. This is fair enough. I know he is careful, washes his hands and wears a mask, and keeps a distance.

Today, I asked him to schedule two hours of gardening work for me. I have raised beds to clear for growing tomatoes, plants to be planted, and a shrub that needs to go back into a pot. I also need to clear the finished Evening Primroses that have seeded all around my footpath. They are lovely, and will come back in the summer.

I know he will have two hours of work that is good for his mental health, satisfying, and companionship. Soon he will construct my new swing seat which I got in a sale.

Published in Contemplate

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Pain and planting…

This morning the pain I had seemed to prohibit any productivity. I found an old poem on Facebook a few days ago, so I reworked it a bit and submitted it to a publication. I was in tears, both from pain and the events of yesterday. I”ve been in touch with my friend Judy a bit more than usual.

On my mind were the plants I needed to get planted. I took a strong pain killer, and sent a text to my cleaner saying I would need help in the garden, after they had done the most important tasks.

I sat in the garden with a cup of coffee, a kneeling pad and filled a window box with pinks, and forget me nots. I took this down to my neighbours’ who are so kind to me. As I came around the corner, I heard my name and saw a red Audi sports car. I wondered who it was. The woman took off her sunglasses and it was Juliet, the neighbour whose house I was heading to. John, her husband was waving and they said they were off to fetch their little daughter. I told them I was on my way with the the window box. We all laughed and went our ways. On Friday, John and his son put together some chairs for my garden.

Getting back to my garden, I asked my cleaner to tip soil into a planter. I then planted five plants in it with their help. I’ve had to order more soil. The rest of the plants are in the shade waiting for the soil to arrive.

I surveyed the weeds left in the garden. It was a heart sink moment. Especially as the forget me knots were gone. I will have to get in a pull them up. There’s nothing else for it. I simply can’t afford a gardener.

My cleaner said that he knows nothing about plants. But he does as he is instructed. And does it well. I can’t name every plant there is, but I can tell a lot by the foliage to put it in the right place.

I need another painkiller now, as this afternoon is adding to the pain from this morning. I don”t know how I’ll be in the morning. I don’t want to think about it. I’m usually asleep by now, but pain prevents.

He’s not just a skilled handyman. He’s Pete Lambert.


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Protest

We unfurl

Day by day

From our birth

Learn to touch

Want to smile

And we laugh

So we grow

World expands

See the sky

Why what how

Start to ask

And we trust

Won’t you shout out loud with me

Why is that, what’s it do

How do you know it’s true

We feel pain

Someone hurts

It’s unfair

We see life

Differently

No more trust

So won’t you scream out loud with me

Why is this world unfair

Why are there rich and poor

Why are some crushed when I am free

We want change

We want light

Equality

So just please shout out loud with me

Let’s revolutionize how it works

Let us all be free

No more poverty

So come and scream with me

Give us equality

We bring peace

Published by Comtemplate

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I am in such pain throughout my body…

Last week a guy offered to garden for me for nothing. He wanted to garden for anyone for nothing. That he was coming by train bothered me, so I said I would reimburse him. He declined, so I gave him a bag full of eco friendly toilet roll, which is larger than a regular roll. And he asked for my wine barrel water butt. I told him it was rotten but he wanted it, so he got it.

He had said he would come again to plant. I have quite a few plants that have been given to me by family and therefore are important to me. His friend came with a large car and took stuff to the dump. I paid her for her petrol. Later, I was told the dump charged them. I said I would repay. He did not come to plant as he said. He told me he would come today instead.

I thought of all my plants waiting in the garden. I replied to him that I was confused because he said he was working for free. For everyone. Turns out he makes $110 a day. I don’t get that per week.

So he was stewing at his end, I was uncomfortable as I knew something was wrong. Instead of cancelling with me then, he waited until yesterday. I might have been able to plant some plants by then. As it is, they are still unplanted.

I am racked with pain from watching him slander, and invent things about me on a community website. And of course, people lapped it up.

My neurological disease, by definition, reacts when I’m distressed. I can barely move. All because a guy chose to break his word.

These days, it seems people’s word means nothing. Mine does.

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Keeping my word…

I have just been let down by someone I had hoped would become a friend. In truth, I knew they would let me down early last week. They are a person who thinks it is OK to break their word if money is involved.

I don’t often give my word, but when I do I keep it, even if I ‘lose out’ somehow, because my word is what defines me. I will be known as a person of character or one of none.

I value being a person of character because I have positions in public office. It is a privilege, and very humbling, to serve the people I serve.

It was my Dad who instilled in me what character is. Not that we talked about it, but I watched him from early childhood. He treated royalty and refuse collectors the same. I never heard an angry word towards him, or he utter an angry word to others. In the Army, his men loved him. Many visited our home and gave my sister and me sweets or a pound.

I have realised through life that it is important to keep a promise or to do what you say you will do. So choose wisely what you say.

I repaid a neighbour $3 when I was terrified of approaching their front door. I have kept my word even when opportunities to have fun, be taken out for dinner, or have paid work, because to break my word is to disrespect the person to whom I made it. I try to honour people. I am not about dishonour or disrespect.

I am frail. My health is poor. I need to people in my life who will keep their word. I am blessed indeed to have discovered neighbours who are kind. She will pick up bits of shopping for me when she goes shopping. He and their son put together two garden chairs that arrived as flat pack. I did not expect them to be flat pack. I was felt cross. But I asked, and my neighbour said yes, and kept his word.

I am not doing drama with people anymore. If someone breaks their word, I will give them a second chance but will know they are unreliable and not trustworthy.

Of course, if they are ill or a member of their family, that is different. I don’t demand to be first priority. I don’t demand anything.

Trust is fragile. It takes a while to become, but is broken in a flash.

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Take Back The Streets

They are planning to curtail our right to protest
Priti Patel is black but values empire statues the best
we have a right to be heard and that you know
who ever thought a woman would stoop so low
we won’t be silenced, we won’t give in
don’t you realize what you’re doing is sin
women aren’t safe so we take to the street
black lives matter, so we keep the repeat
democracy is ours we won’t let you steal
we’ll take back our rights from under your heel
equality for all not just the rich
we need better pay, now ain’t that a bitch
we have human rights they’re well writ
so stop oppressing you hypocrites
nuclear warheads have no place
you ignore what’s staring you in the face

nurses need money in order to live
give them their due, they keep giving and give
care to us all. Dirty money is rife
that’s why we’re giving you strife
Boris’’s friends got a secret deal
that’s unjust so we want you to feel
our anger and power in reclaiming the streets
Myanmar is screaming you’ve done nothing for weeks
Hong Kong is swallowed by China in one bite
we all know for sure that isn’t right
but you buy Chinese goods and want their trade

you can’t have it both ways, you’re too afraid
to tell China to take a hike
we’ll do for you that is our right

we take to twitter and make it plain
people have rights everywhere the same
we will seize the statues of men who sold slaves
and teach our kids true history, that’ll make waves
we won’t give up our peaceful rights
no, we’ll come out in force and all our might
black lives matter, or no lives do
we won’t be crushed before equality is true
and women can go home without fearing death
we’re committed to justice, don’t fear arrest

Published by Writers Blokke

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Waking

Joyously I see buds unfurl their bloom
color pops up around my garden
summer plants renew their growth
slumber has ceased, all is waking.

I smile at each new discovery in turndelight in return for tending each one
bees drift between petaled pots of pollen
their hum, mingled with birdsong, is peace.

Published by The Lark

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Take Nothing For Granted

All my friendships are unique. Some I see a lot and it may be fairly superficial, but trusted. Some I may see less frequently but it is deep. I have several friendships that are decades old, and have survived several continents, life changes, children growing up and other things that come our way.

This morning, my heart grew heavier when I read the WhatsApp from a friend I had heard from the previous evening, replied to at length, and then decided to wait until morning before opening her reply.

Sometimes, it seems life just puts a brick wall in front of you as you are running along.

My friend’s husband, who is also my friend, has been diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease. You just don’t see it coming. His prognosis is about two and a half years, and at some point he will become completely helpless.

I once knew a teacher in the last stages of MND. He travelled in a camper van on a type of gurney. I was too young to realise the indignities he suffered as a man. I do now.

I was once driven to Gatwick airport by a close friend who had been lent a vehicle. It was a van all kitted out with bed, TV, fridge, and a few other comforts. It belonged to a godson of Prince Philip, who had advanced MS. All he could move was a thumb. My friend was one of his private nurses. She had also nursed Jacqueline Dupres, the famous cellist who died of MS.

I know the heartbreak of losing a much loved family member slowly as disease progresses. It is a relentless grieving, the death of expectations. The deterioration is torture to observe.

We must live life on life’s terms.

That is to say that we learn to accept what we cannot change, and have gratitude for the joys that come our way. A daffodil opening gives me joy,watching a ladybug make it’s way along a stem. The sun catching on water, the bright spinnakers of yachts, birdsong. There are so many things to be grateful for.Today, another friend helped me sort through the family collection of coats that are no longer needed. We talk a lot, she more than me, and she replies to to every single text. This at times drives me nuts but my affection for her is enough to not want to be around her.

Live each day in the moment. Be present. Even when you need a nap, enjoy that nap. Time is not wasted if it is blessing you, helping another, making memories. Laugh when it’s good to laugh. Weep with others who are weeping.

There is a season for everything.

Don’t let yourself down. Stay true to your personal convictions. Tell the truth to your own hurt- that you were wrong, that you did a thing. I don’t mean confessing everything like some blurb, but owning up and taking responsibility when it matters.

Get out there and protest about racism, make changes in your lifestyle to preserve the planet. Ask your friends to do that too, and your family. Plant plants, plant trees, don’t use plastic.

Be ready to leave this earth knowing you are at peace. That although there’s stuff you haven’t done yet, you’ve done good.

We can take nothing for granted. Money can be defrauded from us, homes can be destroyed by fire or storm or earthquake. Health is a precious gift and must be maintained and nurtured.

Our health is mostly determined by our genes. We have a huge gene pool of ancestors. Some genes are faulty and it’s pure chance which ones you inherit. But having a faulty gene doesn’t mean you are bound to get a certain disease, it just means you are predisposed to developing it. There are diseases which are determined by genes and the children of two certain people will have a one in four chance of having it.

Don’t corrupt your body with drugs and smoking. Drink in moderation. Don’t overdo coffee, skip the soda. Drink lots of water.

Love and be kind at all times. You don’t know the struggles others are going through. Smile at strangers, it may be the only smile they get that day. Give a dime to the person ahead of you who is short of change. A young woman was raped and beaten because she didn’t have the right amount of change to buy a bus ticket. People heard her saying she had no other way to get home.

Be soft, not terse. When people tread on your grief and pain, mark it up to experience and be less vulnerable with them. Trust is hard to earn but easy to lose.

Live well. Have character. Principles. Morals. Don’t take what isn’t yours. Speak up for others. Be merciful, because you may need it one day. Treat everyone with respect. Keep short accounts on quarrels, forgive easily even when it costs a lot.

Keep sex special. Don’t treat it like a shoe. Never use anyone sexually. That’s so hurtful for the other one. Sex is not a transaction.

Take nothing for granted. One day it may have all changed.

Published in Grab A Slice