Victorian beach holiday

Ladies shade themselves with parasols,

Lace and silk to filter sun

In starlight bursts upon their china skin,

The children queue for the thrilling drop

Of the helter skelter ride,

And fluffy clouds of candy floss,

Cling to sticky fingers that

Pull at whisps and coat their mouths

With sugar flares, before they swim,

The sparkles on the rhythmic waves

Lapping at their tiny toes.

These are days that live forever

In the silver sheen of film,

That captured such a perfect time.

writing in a roadside inn

Sitting on the well worn bed,

She pens the song that one day wins

The Grammy and the praise that came

Upon her diamond sparkle dreams,

But now the trucks will thunder by,

The light from Starbucks blinds,

Denying her the sleep she wants

And so she scratches at the paper,

Fetid air pushed around the room

By the single fan, in a shady corner.

This is not her gold dust dream,

But on the wind that whisper’s there

Is word of penthouse rooms one day.

parental pride and first dates

The crowd is hushed, waiting

Breaths held for the magic moment

When she dives into a glaring light,

A golden times that glitters loudly

As the men from papers shout-

‘Look this way! Over here!’

But all she does is scan the crowd

Looking for the only man that counts.

Yesterday, Andrea Spendolini Sirieix won a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in the 10m platform diving competition. She is only seventeen so this is a marvellous achievement, but it has received more attention because she is the daughter of somebody considered to be a celebrity in Britain.

Her dad, Fred, is most well known for being the maitre d in the popular First Dates show. But it was Andrea that took the spotlight last night as she put in a brilliant performance in the pool.

But for me, it was the pictures of Fred, beaming in the stands that made me smile the most. There is something so special about the close bond between a father and daughter, and when a dad is proud of his girl it makes your heart feel fuzzy.

I spent a lot of my twenties feeling really awful about myself because of the drinking that I just could not kick. I tried to overcome this shame by doing stupidly difficult challenges like swimming the Channel – anything to make myself like a worthwhile human being.

I genuinely thought that my own father hated me and was ashamed of me. However, one day I was working at the gym and I was signing up this guy who I thought I recognised. It turned out he worked with my dad and I had remembered him from my parents’ wedding.

“You’re Dave’s daughter, aren’t you?” he said as he signed his membership form.

“I am,” I replied.

“I work with your dad,” he confirmed. “Your dad always talks about you and what you’ve done. You’re a bit of a legend in our office.”

I was lost for words. It’s very British of us, not to talk about being proud of each other, and my dad is VERY British. However, I wish he had told me that he was proud, perhaps it would have stopped me from beating myself up with alcohol.

I obviously don’t blame my parents for my drinking – that’s all on me – but I’m glad that Fred shows his pride so publicly. And I hope that Andrea appreciates it and has a far healthier mindset than I had as she goes into her adult life.

Much Love

Rachel xx

the campsite shower block

line of tents on outdoor camping in forest
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We shuffle across the dewy grass,

Flip flops sinking, lost in depth

Our toes so cold they crackle and burn.

Our towels are tucked with gawdy washbags

Underneath our youthful wings, we laugh

And shush each other as we slalom through

The tents and ropes and rounders bats.

We reach the block, the smell of bleach

Heavy in the strip lit air, flourescence

Lights our naked bodies locked in cubicles,

She sings next door to me

As soapy water swishes past, like rapids

That we ride in rubber dinghies.

Scrubbing at our reddened skin

We balance on one foot to dress,

Flamingoes in our native land,

But with our sodden socks we cut

A saddened, greyer version in the camping world.

I have things I like about camping, and things that I really hate. Last time I camped I had to sleep in my jeans every night because I was so cold. I must have slept for about three hours a night as I tossed and turned on that inflatable mattress that slowly deflated throughout the night.

However, I may be in the minority here, but I really love going over to the shower block each morning. I know that a lot of people probably find it a bit scummy, but having slummed it for a whole night, I love popping on my flip flops and trekking across the campsite with my towel under my arm.

I remember when I was a kid, loving putting the 20p into the timer and then racing to get washed before the water cut off.

And then there’s something so refreshing about walking back to your tent with your hair freshly washed and the coutryside air on your face. It feels very wholesome.

I was just taking a shower today and my ankles were really muddy from going on a run on the trails, and I just had this little memory bubble up, of being all mucky when camping, and enjoying scrubbing myself clean. It inspired me to write a little something and I kind of felt it necessary to explain why.

Much Love

Rachel xx

the poets typing in central park

writer working on typewriter in office
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She sits with fingers at the ready,

To paint a world for passersby

In words that dot the postcard face,

The bullet holes each key stroke fires,

As powerful as weapons, deathly too,

But she shapes them into sunset hues

And mirrors back the love between

Her muses stopped to here her song.

I’ve recently discovered TikTok – I know I’m late to the game. I have obviously heard of it before, but I thought that it was only for doing dance routines.

I have found that I really like watching the spoken word TikToks and I’ve come across some really beautiful poems. I think that the marriage between poem and images works really well.

I then stumbled across these videos of the people who sit in Central Park with a typewriter. They ask passersby if they would like a poem written especially for them and then they just type something out on a postcard that the person can keep.

It’s possibly the most rmonatic thing I can think of, and my little INFP brain adores everything about it – especially the fact that it’s typed out on a typewriter.

I live on the side of a park and I want to go out and do my own poetry generation. Unfortunately I live on a pretty rough council estate so I have a feeling that most people would take a wide berth around me, thinking that I may be high on something.

Even if I can’t do it for other people, I may need to purchase my own typewriter and hammer my own little word gems.

Much Love

Rachel xx

hot days and graduation photographs

newly graduated people wearing black academy gowns throwing hats up in the air
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

She sits quietly, underneath the baking sun

Her gown heavy on her shoulders, as she scans

The stands for a face she knows, anyone friendly

To gently cheer her on, to make the weight

Of cap and gown so worth this agony.

They’re calling names as sweat begins to trickle

Down the slender line of her aged and curving spine,

These clothes that have been worn by hundreds,

Smelling musty, their history palpable,

She just wishes that the heat would die,

Its sting taken out of this enfless day,

That the photographs would be taken

So that she can shed these layers like

A butterfly, spreading its wings and taking flight,

A new world there, in the sepia images,

A fleeting moment, before she begins the fight.

I try to stay off Facebook as much as I can because it just makes me angry, but when I have taken the time to sneak a peak recently, I have noticed that there have been loads of graduation photos (please note, these do not make me angry).

I do love a good graduation and I wish that we did it for more than just finishing university. I know that in other countries kids have a graduation ceremony at the end of almost every stage of their school career.

Here, we do have the big shirt signing event that is normally done out on the school field at the end of secondary school. We wear uniform in this country, so it’s fun to get our school shirts signed by all our friends and teachers on the last day. As a teacher, I’m looking forward to having a Year 11 class so that I can do the whole shirt signing thing as a grown up.

I do feel sorry for some of the people who have had their graduation ceremonies over the past few weeks as I can imagine that it was incredibly hot. Wearing those caps and gowns must have been unbearable.

I do hope that despite the weather, that they all had fun. For my first graduation the moment felt so overwhelming as I’d studied with a baby in tow, and it felt like such an achievement to get to the end. It was also held at The Barbican in London which has had so many amazing people and orchestras perform there.

Much Love

Rachel xx

just let me do my job, please

burning newspaper
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I’m here to do one thing,

That’s what I’m paid for,

That’s what I’m trained for.

So why are we talking about things

Irrelevant and useless,

Draining the life from me?

We can all do better,

So stop with the sniping

And let me get the result that you want.

We have the Commonwealth Games going on in Birmingham at the moment and there has been a bit of a fight between the Australian press and the swimmers which I have found really interesting.

It is Kyle Chalmers, the Australian 100m freestyle champion, who put out a statement on Instagram asking the Australian media to just back off if they really want the team to perform to their best.

Now, I haven’t done too much research into what has happened but I think a lot of the attention that has been stirred up has come from the fact that Cody Simpson has joined their team. He is an ex-pop star who toured with Justin Beiber and dated Miley Cyrus and and one of the Hadid sisters.

I’m kind of torn about how I feel about the way press intrude on athletes, because Chalmers has a point – they are there to swim, and the press are riling them up and making that difficult.

On the other hand, these guys are professionals and I think that everybody in the world has a responsibility to manage how they react to others. These swimmers are trained to get on with the job no matter what is going on in the outside world, and I’m actually quite surprised that Chalmers has got so upset about it.

I’ve never had the press intruding on my personal life though, so I can’t really comment and say that I would handle it any differently. I do wholeheartedly believe that people should be respected though, and perhaps the press need to back off and just judge these guys on what they are paid to do.

Much Love

Rachel xx

what a day to be a woman

sky sunset field sunrise
Photo by Markus Spiske on Pexels.com

No, we won’t go back to the kitchen sink

Or sit quietly in the background,

We won’t just be here to have babies,

We’ll be here to be inspirations

To all the little girls who dream of more

Of a world where the unimaginable is in store.

Wow, England just won the Euros, the first time any England team – male or female – in almost 60 years. And what a feeling to watch the girls bringing it home for us.

Women’s football in this country has been a bit of a joke until very recently, nobody took it seriously and it didn’t get the attention that it deserved. I don’t know whether it’s social media that has helped this squad connect with everyone, but something special has happened this summer and the country has just got on board with these women.

The commentators were saying that fifteen years ago the women’s game was begging stadiums to let them stage Euros matches and nobody would take the risk. And now they are selling out Wenbley Stadium.

The little girls that are watching this now are going to be entering a world where they aren’t laughed at because they want to play football, and one day they may even get paid the same as men.

Well done to those ladies, they have paved the way for so many and it’s made me feel really proud.

Much Love

Rachel xx

cricket on the village green

people playing cricket on green grass field
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The thwack of willow on wood

Echoes dull, through the summer air

As children squeal and wives will clap

Over English tea and sandwich triangles,

Sat upon those tartan picnic rugs.

The women look so wealthy as they cheer

For men in whites, running stump to stump,

A gentlemen’s sport played in cableknit jumpers,

With grass stains on knees

That will be soaked away soon,

As cold beers are swallowed in cricket club houses.

I live on the edge of a lovely green park and during the summer it is used for all sorts of activities. There are tennis courts that are always busy and a Junior Parkrun takes place every Sunday morning.

But one of my favourite things about the park is the cricket that is played all Saturday afternoon. There is something so quintessentially English about that sound of the ball hitting the bat and the slightly restrained clapping of the spectators.

I used to go to the cricket with a friend of the family when I was about seven. I used to love the vibe of the club house, with the women in beautiful summer dresses serving tea and sandwiches as we played on the edge of the green.

These summer days are so special and I know that it will only be a matter of time before the hot weather is blown away and the greens turn to the golden browns and reds of autumn. Until then, I will enjoy those endless summer afternoons of tennis and cricket and running. Autumn will bring its own joys in the form of hot water bottles and crochet blankets to read under.

Much Love

Rachel xx

good morning TV

black audio amplifier
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Lights, camera, action!

It’s 10am and time for skin care

Followed by five ways to use avocados,

And we all can’t wait to see

The woman who claims to see the future

Through the medium of asparagus,

Or the TV doctor that will answer the phone in

And tell you what that rash is

In the embarrassing place – you know that one 😉

And then on comes someone from Love Island

To run through the best jumpsuits

To wear to all your summer barbecues.

Finally we end by crossing to the Loose Women

And learning what hard hitting stories

They’ll discuss in that ‘hard hitting’ way,

But my head is already a cloud of wet wool,

Soppy and gloopy with mid morning drool

That I’ll defintely watch tomorrow again.