The Road To Radiance – a course in painting.

I’ve become addicted to blog hops. I must have participated in four or five this month alone, and I have just found another one! This one is really worth hopping for – it’s to win a free place on The Road To Radiance course which features teachers such as Effy Wild (the hostess), Tamara Laporte (of Lifebook fame), Jane “Danger” Davenport and Christy Tomlinson to name but a few. If you love to paint faces in your art journals or on canvas, then be sure to check this link out.

Good luck if you go in for it! And remember, even if you don’t win, you can still do the course (starts October 1st).


The Woolliest Baby (Part 3) or The Demented Ballerina

another demented ballerina

Another Demented Ballerina

(image from: )

From within the confines of the womb I had apparently overheard the doctor telling my mother when I was due, because despite the fact that the waters had broken and contractions begun, I refused to be born until the appointed date, at 3 o’clock in the morning. As a consequence, the initial humiliations of the first day in hospital were only the beginning of four days of constant pain and abject misery without respite for my poor mother – with the added torment that no-one could even giver her a small modicum of comfort by being able to say when it would finally be over.

When the pain of the contractions became unbearable, my mother would leap out of bed and grab hold of the nearest radiator, which was conveniently fixed to the wall by her bed, and bear down for all she was worth, teeth clenched, sweat pouring down her face in rivulets, holding on to the radiator looking rather like like a demented ballerina practising pliés after breaking both legs. This was, the doctors and nurses told her, one of the worst things she could do, as it certainly did not help the baby (me) on its journey into the world, but for her it was the only way she could lessen the unrelenting agony.

Of course, the constant sweating made it necessary for her to drink copious amounts of water, but this innocuous liquid was to be the cause of yet further distress, because try as she might, my mum could not pee. The first time this occurred, a catheter was swiftly introduced to siphon off the excess urine – a blessed relief which, sadly, was to be short-lived. The next time my mother felt the need, she rang for the nurse, her bladder at bursting point, only to be told that the doctor had decided she could rid herself of her own bodily fluids. The nurse helped my poor mum onto a bed pan where she remained for an unfruitful half hour. Desperate beyond measure, she finally climbed out of bed and went into the nearest toilet and sat there for another fifteen minutes, again without success.

Pregnant women are prone to inexplicable mood swings and a host of other strange behavioural changes. My mother’s subsequent actions could most likely be attributed to this fact. She went into every single lavatory she could find, with the unmitigated belief that, were she to stumble across the right toilet, her distended bladder would gush forth it loathsome contents and she would be able to return to her radiator. Alas this was not to be, and the pregnant form of my mother shuffling along the hospital corridors crying in utter despair, pain and frustration, eventually brought her hospital-wide public acclaim. After my birth, and the subsequent ward change, she was faced with a new group of health care workers, who would look at her and exclaim, “Ohhh! You’re the one who had trouble with her waterworks, aren’t you dear!” and a triumphant grin would replace the frown of uncertainty on the face of the astute medical worker.

Plie on
Coming in Part 4: The Birth.

The Woolliest Baby in the Wirral (Part 2) or Short Back and Sides

To the reader: If you haven’t already read Part 1, you may like to before reading this, as this is a continuation.  See the link below or on the right of this post.

Short Back and Sides


You BET they do…

Due to give birth in mid-September, my mother was relieved when her waters broke four days early. She was duly rushed to the hospital and swiftly tucked between crisp white sheets.

A few minutes afterwards, a nurse came along with a towel draped over her arm and holding a bowl of soapy water and a razor. The nurse smiled sweetly at her rather bewildered patient and drew the privacy screen around the bed. She then folded the top sheet neatly down to my mother’s knees, hoisted the hospital gown up a few inches, and, to my mother’s abject horror, proceeded to divest her of her “short and curlies” (it was only much later that it dawned on my mum that this was standard pre-natal procedure).

When the nurse had finished, she took a step back, and admiring her handiwork she removed a mirror from a pocket in her uniform and angled it so that the “shavee” could also see the result. With a dazzling smile she said, “I do hope you like it!” (my mother was later told that this was a ploy used by that particular nurse to put first timers at ease). My mother, shy and eager to please mumbled, “Erm yes, it’s very nice. Thank you!”

“I always did want to be a hairdresser!”  added the nurse wistfully, only to double up in gales of laughter. My mum soon joined her, but her hysterics were more due to relief than mirth.

Her joy was short-lived and soon dampened – quite literally – when she was carried off by two other nurses and deposited into a steaming hot bath. They scrubbed her clean until she was red from both the scalding water and the stiff bristles of the brush. To add insult to injury, back in bed with the screen still in place, a different nurse with a towel draped over her arm arrived with a bowl of soapy water, but instead of a razor this nurse was wielding a tube… She bent down and retrieved a bed pan from under the bed, shoved it beneath my mother, and inflicting a rather undignified operation upon my mother’s bowels, divested her of anything unsavoury that might have the audacity to pop out during my birth.


 I admire nurses for the things they have to do when working, and so often they do it with a smile.

Coming in Part 3: The Demented Ballerina 

The Woolliest Baby in the Wirral (Part 1)

For me, today is one of THOSE days – you know, the ones where we add yet another year to our age. I don’t like birthdays, well not my own at least. However, as I think about what to write for today’s assignment for Blogging 101, the thing I most want to blog about is my Birth Day. Not my birthday – the day of my birth. I think it’s something I’ll enjoy writing, and to hit two trees with one stone (killing birds is just cruel!) I’ll feel like I’m telling you something about myself, therefore doing the first day’s assignment at the same time!

I suffer from infantile amnesia, but don’t we all? However I have heard enough bits and pieces about my birth and the days leading up to it from my mother to be able to imagine what happened as if I’d actually been there. Well, I WAS there – but you get the drift.

I’ve always been an awkward person, a right royal pain in the proverbial ass. Due to give birth in September, my poor mother suffered one of the hottest summers of her life, although I suspect any summer would seem a real scorcher to a heavily pregnant woman. I have no pictures of her from that particular time, but I can see her in my mind’s eye, sitting in a deckchair in our back garden, her feet resting on a low stool, ankles like sausages straining to break free of their restrictive skin, fanning herself with the copy of Women’s Own she had clutched in one hand while she sipped iced lemon tea from a tall glass held in the other. My grandmother would have been fussing about everything, clucking like a hen, muttering that her daughter was a silly girl for having chosen the deckchair to sit in and where did she think she was anyway? New Brighton beach? Now the impending grandmother would have to ask one of the neighbours to help hoist the mother-to-be from out of the offending contraption, as God only knew when her good-for-nothing son-in-law would be back from the betting office to help her. My mother would be nodding in agreement, not wanting to cause any trouble, blanking out the tirade by concentrating on the rhythmic clicking of her mother’s knitting needles as they rattled away furiously like a demented metronome, churning out bootees, vests, bonnets, jackets and leggings. If the title had existed, I would have been named The Woolliest Baby in the Wirral!

The wooliest baby_02Another woolly baby.

(Image from Hallowe’en Costumes)

Coming in Part 2: Short back and sides.

Who I am and why I’m here.

Writing your first ever blog post is, at least for me, an extremely daunting task. The blank “page” looks at me, and I look back. It stares at me. I stare back. “Hello, blank page! Please be kind and inspire me!” The page still says nothing. I glare at it defiantly, but nothing worth writing comes to mind, and it glares back at me, seeming to revel in its starkness, so I get up to go and make a coffee. Caffeine in hand, I sit back down at my PC. The page is as it was, white and pristine, but most obvious of all is that it will stay that way until my Mojo decides to come and play. Where does this “Mojo” of mine reside? How do I find this elusive creature when I need it most? As an art journaller and painter I really should know, but I don’t. Mostly it baffles me to distraction in its reticence to appear, yet at other times it startles me by suddenly rushing in out of nowhere. “Hey Mojo! Not that I’m unhappy to see you or anything, but where the hell did you pop up from?” I wish forlornly that it were a physical being so I could tap its phone number into my contact list. Wouldn’t THAT be a cool situation! Sitting in front of this blank page, I can imagine speed-dialling my Mojo (I mean who wouldn’t have it on speed dial?) and saying, “Come on over! We need to chat.”, and seconds later my head would be infused with arty/crafty ideas, or inspired words of wisdom, my fingers would flit wildly over the keys, always too slowly to write the thoughts that fly rampant throughout my brain, my mind, my heart – my being. But my Mojo isn’t around today,  not yet at least, this blank space testament to its absence. So why blog if I can’t even write a simple intro? I love to write, but if I can’t even do that then why am I here?  I’ll let you know, but only after my Mojo has paid me a visit.