say it again

pink background with speech bubble
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say it again, say it again,

say water, listen to her say water,

my voice comes out

in a wondrous string

of english syllables

met with a wall

of gleeful laughter,

they love that sound,

they’ll never get bored.

I have nearly always lived in the south of England so I feel like I have quite a boring voice. There’s no distinctive Scouse twang or Geordie lilt. There is nothing that sets me apart from the people that I work and live with; not vocally anyway.

However, there was a year and a half back in the early naughties when I lived in South Africa, and for once in my life, I was different. I remember working in a bar and all of the other waitresses would ask me to say ‘please can I have a glass of water’ over and over.

They would then laugh and look at me wide eyed, as though I had just landed from a new planet. It was a very strange experience, but one that I actually quite liked.

I really enjoyed feeling different. I liked it when customers stopped me and asked me where I was from and then seemed impressed. Back then, everyone wanted a British passport so it was quite the magnet for South African boys!

I don’t understand why people would ever get upset about their differences and I keep thinking that maybe I should move up north so that I can sound ‘dead posh’. Maybe I’m just craving some attention after being stuck in a tiny radius for so long.

For me, accents are the most amazing thing and we are so lucky to have such varying accents within the UK. I just miss the travels within my country and hearing all the lovely different people. One day I dream of meeting a Scottish person in their natural habitat. Wouldn’t that be nice?

Much Love

Rachel xx

pancake heaven

stack of pancakes with strawberry fruits
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Light and fluffy

Topped with sweet cream cheese

And berries in a compote form.

Or there are the paper thin

Crepes that let through light

And flip in oily pans

Squeezed with lemon, sugar sprinkled

Eyes are always closed as lips

Part for pancakes made with love.

I made pancakes today and I had forgotten just how much I loved them. I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed everything, not just the eating. There was something so lovely about making the batter and pouring it into the pan. It was lovely to see them slowly pile up on the plate as they were made.

Since lockdown, Noah and I have been eating a hell of a lot of red meat for breakfast. We decided early on that because we were stuck inside and not going to school, we would treat ourselves by having either bacon or sausage sandwiches almost every day.

It’s been really nice, but that is a lot of red meat and that plays on my mind. So for the next few days, I’m going to enjoy that process of making that batter. It makes me feel a bit more homely; a bit like I know what I’m doing in the kitchen.

Much Love

Rachel xx

PS I have peanut butter and jam on mine. Anyone else? Or is that a bit weird?

the sound of the swimming pool

We line up in our rows of eight

Waiting for the call to arms, to strip

And fold our tracksuits, neatly in the plastic box,

Swinging arms to loosen muscles, taut and ready

For that moment when we spring to life.

But noises are the thing that still

Haunts my dreams and brings that heartbeat back.

The sound of man, saying ‘take your marks’,

The beep and splash and cheering crowds,

The pool itself, a living life that breathes

And hurts and moves like me, waiting for

The moment when I’m on that block, in the water

Underneath the surface of, muffling the crowds that scream,

Their voices just a distant rumble of

Thunder that will dwindle as

The race draws to its painful end.

happy news is always good news

Love can shine through photographs

And joy should spread like sweetest viruses

That pull us in and crack a smile

And smiles are all we need to move

Through this world of hurt and pain.

So soak it up and don’t turn sour,

You need this healthy medicine

To soothe the aches and pains of life.

I saw this photograph and my heart just melted with happiness for them. The love and joy just seems to shine out from the picture and my immediate thought was how similar the shot is to the one at the end of the movie, Notting Hill.

I kind of just wanted to put the picture on my blog because I like to flick through the pictures every so often and it’s nice to have either a fond memory or just a nice feeling in the pit of my stomach.

I do think that, as a couple, these two have taken a bit of battering and it’s nice to see that they have something lovely to celebrate. I’m a huge fan of the royals and I think it’s so sad that they felt the need to leave, but I think that we should all be respectful of their decision. After all, it is a job of sorts, and nobody would make you feel ashamed for leaving a job that made you miserable in a normal situation.

I’m sure that most people can really wish them well and feel happy for them. We are in the middle of a pandemic and I think that we need to grab onto everyone’s happy news. We need to stop being nasty and bitter because we are hiding behind a screen and a keyboard. In my opinion, good news breeds more good news, so let’s not stamp on this.

Much Love

Rachel xx

it’s like watching paint dry

sacred heart of jesus painting with brown frame
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Those painted strokes of rugged sight

That mark the page, the surface of the cloth;

They’re all so different in their light,

Their loving take on life that shines

From a sitter, still for hours in the chair,

Burning for the final turn

Of canvases for him to see.

I am a massive fan of the Portrait and Landscape Artist of the Year shows that are on Sky Arts at the moment. I never thought that I would be old enough to literally appreciate watching paint dry; but there you have it, I am officially old and boring.

But the reason I love watching them so much is the fact that the artists all have the same person or scene to paint and yet they all come up with something totally different. Whether it is the way that they put the paint on the paper, or the colours that they choose, or the angle they are looking at the subject; there are never two images that are the same.

I do wonder how well I would fare in the competition. I like to paint but I don’t have a lot of practice, or a style. I’m one of those people that just likes to throw paint down and see how it lands. You never know, my free and easy attitude to art may well go down well with the judges.

Much Love

Rachel xx

i got an interview!

fresh flowers with green stems on blue background
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Pride, it blooms

Like a flower in the chest,

Petals curl, unfurl

And fill the body

With the strangest positivity.

I got an interview!!! It may not lead to a job but it is a step in the right direction. After every person on my course got a job by Christmas (with the exception of muggins over here), I was feeling a bit sorry for myself. I was feeling a bit like I’d get to the end of the course and then have to go back to working at the petrol station.

But getting a nice email at the end of a pretty tough half term just made my heart swell with pride. Even if there are five applicants and I end up being their least favourite, they are taking the time to see me.

It had just taken a lot of pressure off and made me feel a little bit less like a failure, which is something that my head often tells me that I am. I can pull myself down before I’ve even begun and I need to stop that before I go into this interview. They are giving up their whole morning to see me and they wouldn’t do that if they thought that I was a waste of space.

I am worthy. I will do OK. Nobody will laugh at me. And I won’t get kicked out (the interview is on Zoom so there is no chance of getting kicked out, but they could quite easily decide to terminate the call).

I think we should all be a little bit kinder to ourselves and stop with that chain of insults that can run through our heads and sabotage our happiness before we have even had a chance to begin.

Much Love

Rachel xx

when you realise you’ve refreshed your emails twenty times in five minutes

silver imac near white ceramic kettle
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Refresh, refresh,

That little rounded curve, an arrow of the kindest hope

But really there is nothing that it offers

Other than the feeling of a broken heart.

All that comes up to the top is adverts

For a holiday at half price rate and dodgy pills

That claim to make my life all shiny new

And ready for the Instagram.

But as I press it once again, my heart will sink

As I know deep down that I’m not good enough,

That email will just never come.

I’m waiting for an email for a job that I applied for. I have seen that the interviews are on the first Monday back after half term, so I know that I really need to hear from them today for me to know that they’re giving me a shot.

So, like a good little anxious jelly bean, I have been sitting here refreshing my emails over and over and over. I have been in this state of unrest so many times before and I know that almost everyone in the world must be the same.

Gone are the days when there was one post that arrived in the morning, delivered by the friendly postman. Now we can get news at any time of the day or night and it is down to us to stay alert and watch out for it. Or that’s what it feels like, when you are waiting impatiently for the news.

Unfortunately, I have learnt to not get hopes up, so I’m not going to crush myself if this news never comes. It would be nice to know either way though. So, on that note, I’ll sign off and go back to refreshing my email every thirty seconds!

Much Love

Rachel xx

mum, i think i’m gay….

You’re love no matter what, dear son,

I’ve watched you grow into a man,

I’ve fed and clothed and washed out bloody knees.

How could it be possible to turn that rooted love

Into something festering and hateful too,

Just because of who you love?

My son came to me after several days of being really down, and he told me that he thinks he might be gay. He had been down because he was worried about how I would react and the more I think about it, the more I wonder whether there is a correct way to react.

My initial reaction was a bit of surprise. He’s not a rough and tumble boy, but he’s also not camp, so it wasn’t ‘expected’. But then I very quickly went into a very flippant attitude.

I’m open to anyone loving whoever they want. I strongly believe that we’re all on a bit of a sliding scale. I think we’d be lying to ourselves if we said that we have never felt something for someone of the same sex, no matter how fleeting.

So I kind of just smiled and shrugged and said that I really don’t mind. Which is the truth. But is it what he wanted to hear? He had obviously built it up in his head and I don’t know if my attitude would have seemed a bit flat.

It did remind of the time I told my mum that I was pregnant with him and that fear I felt before I did it. Her reaction was perfect, but who knows how you’re supposed to do these things. I guess this has just taught me that we just have to try the best we can and give each other the love and support that we’d want if we were in the same situation.

Much Love

Rachel xx

romance fraud

roll of american dollar banknotes tightened with band
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The money drain through wires on fire

With lies and words that burn through skin.

She trusted him, his deep blue eyes

And promises of heartfelt love,

But really it cannot work out,

The distance and the age for one,

The cruelty of the scam.

I was listening to Jeremy Vine today and he was talking about romance fraud. For those not in the UK, Jeremy Vine has a radio show and he talks about things that have been in the news and takes calls from experts and the public to talk about their opinions and experiences.

Now I know what romance fraud is, I had just never heard it being given a name that was solid and real. It is where somebody gets scammed on line by a person that they thought they were in love with and I think most people have at least heard some of the horror stories about people losing thousands of pounds because of it.

A lot of the time, we listen to these stories and just shake our heads and think how stupid these people must be. But are they? Love is a bloody powerful drug and it can make us humans do some pretty crazy stuff.

I listened to the stories these callers had and I could feel my insides turn, thinking of the pain that they must have gone through. It must be such a shock to lose all that money, but they’re not just losing the money, they’re also losing love. And that must really hurt.

My ex husband saw me coming and he took a fair bit of money from me. Luckily, I didn’t have a lot to give because I was in my teens when he got his claws in. I came out of it with my savings account looking much lighter and the embarrassment of a failed marriage and it is always the loss of the love the hurts the most when I think back to that time.

It’s hard to know what to do in these situations because I think that it’s important we let our defenses down and try to find love, but it can also send you doolally. I guess I’d just say be careful. Don’t harden your heart (which is what I have done), but don’t put yourself at risk.

Much Love

Rachel xx

reaching out of my little hole

I’ve been slowly retreating inwards over the past year and as an introvert, that hasn’t really felt so bad. I quite enjoy sitting on my sofa with a book and my cat. That is my happy place.

However, I could feel myself wobbling around a bit over the weekend and it was only then that I realised I’ve cut out all of my support networks. I didn’t really have anyone to lean on and I found that a bit scary.

So tonight I made sure that I jumped on a zoom call with a bunch of people that I haven’t seen since last Spring. It was so calming to just sit and listen to people like me and draw some strength from their stories.

This week has just taught me that I really can’t do it all alone. We all need to stick our hand out every so often and grab onto somebody else. I don’t like socialising and even I need it every now and then. There are times when the cat just won’t suffice.

Much Love

Rachel xx