Category Archives: snippets and soundbites

Y & Z & over & out


Y is for Yes

I have said Yes to ;

A third helping of chocolate cheesecake

A line of coke on a Wednesday morning

A job I didn’t want, but it seemed rude to say no

Sex [ see above for rationale]

A Marc Jacobs dress- improbabaly on the clearance rail at TK Max

A kitten – the combination of kiten eyes and daughter eyes were over-whelming

A huge box of books, only for a few weeks they said, it took up residence, became almost sculptural, filled a tiny box room

Loans, far too many loans and even when the fiscal cliff loomed, again it seemed rude to say no

A scarf, blue & red, flowery, I never had the heart to tell the giver that I had given it to her six months ago.

A book, another book and then some more – I never read them, but it seemed to please you to leave them on the pine table in the whitewashed room in the house we didnt own.

And Finally…………………………..

Z is for Zero and Zorro and

Zabaione
Zabajone
Zacatons
Zaddikim
Zaibatsu
Zamarras
Zamarros
Zamindar
Zaniness
Zapateos
Zappiest
Zaptiahs
Zaptiehs
Zaratite
Zareebas
Zarzuela
Zastruga
Zastrugi
Zealotry
Zebranos
Zebrines
Zecchini
Zecchino
Zecchins
Zelkovas
Zemindar
Zemstvos
Zenaidas
Zenithal
Zeolites
Zeolitic
Zeppelin
Zeppoles
Zestiest
Zestless
Zibeline
Ziggurat
Zigzaggy
Zikkurat
Zikurats
Zillions
Zincates
Zincites
Zincking
Zingiest
Zippered
Zippiest
Zircaloy
Zirconia
Zirconic
Zitherns
Zizzling
Zodiacal
Zoisites
Zombiism
Zonation
Zoneless
Zonetime
Zoochore
Zooecium
Zoogenic
Zoogleae
Zoogleal
Zoogleas
Zoogloea
Zoolater
Zoolatry
Zoologic
Zoomania
Zoometry
Zoomorph
Zoonoses
Zoonosis
Zoonotic
Zoophile
Zoophily

Zappy
Zarfs
Zaxes
Zayin
Zazen
Zeals
Zebec
Zebra
Zebus
Zeins
Zerks
Zeros
Zests
Zesty
Zetas
Zibet
Zilch
Zills
Zincs
Zincy
Zineb
Zines
Zings
Zingy
Zinky
Zippy
Ziram
Zitis
Zizit
Zlote
Zloty
Zoeae
Zoeal
Zoeas
Zombi
Zonae
Zonal
Zoned
Zoner
Zones
Zonks
Zooey
Zooid
Zooks
Zooms
Zoons
Zooty
Zoril
Zoris
Zouks
Zowie
Zuzim
Zymes

Zoophobe
Zoophyte
Zoosperm
Zoospore
Zootiest
Zootomic
Zorillas
Zorilles
Zorillos
Zucchini
Zugzwang
Zwieback
Zygomata
Zygosity
Zygotene
Zymogene
Zymogens
Zymogram
Zymology
Zymosans

Read them out loud – let the pleasure of Zs slide against your tongue.


V, W & X


V is for Vintage

Her daughters’ clothes puzzle her, enourous, bagy 80s jumpers, some with shoulder pads.
Tie -dyed t-shirts with rave slogans and mad smiley faces.
Army boots, black, scufed, the laces replaced with pale pink ribbons.
Silver wedge sandals, they leave a trail of glitter as she stopms up the stairs.
Prom dresses, imported as emormous expense from specialist web sites, worn, not for parties, mixers, hops, but to the corner shop, the park and ocassionally to sleep in.

W is for Waking

Every morning when I wake, i am horrified that the night has already gone, that sleep is over, that another day is ready to begin.
i bargain with the dieties of early morningness – just 5 more minutes, just another 5……..
I calculate complicated mathematics in my head – if i get up in 10, 15, 20 minutes, I can still walk the dog, feed the cat, skip the shower, make up at work, eat later.
There is a second, a pause and then shake like a dog, feet on floor, head hits knees, the last moment of denial [ be careful here, its all to easy to reverse the process at this point] and then up.
The secret is movemment, constant movement.
Corridor, bathroom, bedroom , stairs, kitchen, pets, coat, bag, keys and out.

X is for X-Ray Specks

Polly Styrene – almost prety, a diva for the unconfident, I wanted your hat so much it almost hurt, but had just enough sense to know that i would be even more inane than usual, so bought a army greatcoat instead

The remaining minutes left for this story were used up in watching this instead,

Sorry.


S, T, U


S is for Secrets

One for sorrow
two for joy
3 for a girl & 4 for a boy
5 for silver
6 for gold
7 for a secret never to be told.

Magpie was common, a bit trashy, the mens’ trousers just that little too tight, their hair just that little bit too long.
I watched it at Karens’ house, her mother seemed impossibily young, wore a patchwork skirt and a matching head kerchief.
She didnt care what we watched, so we sprawled on the sofa, racing green school skirts rolled at the waist, rust coloured ties knotted extravagently with not one but two shirt buttons undone.
We had our secrets, some, secret light, secret latte – easy to share, smoking, being in love with Bryan Ferry, using a toothbrush to throw up after every meal.
Others harder, kept close, seven for a secret never to be told.

T is Teeth

Brought up in a country with little health care and a relaxed attitude to preventative medicine she only went to the dentist once. He, large, red faced, didnt believe in anasthetics for children and removed two teeth by brute force alone. the memory stuck with her and she decided that dentristy was not for her and that she would adopt as more DIY approach.
Her tools of choice – neglect, hard toffees, a persistent probing tongue and when all else fails, a finger, pushing, proding, twisting.
Occasionally she gets it wrong, an abcess sets in and then, face swollen, world shrunk down to just this pain, this throbbing, she crawls to a friend, a GP, who, slightly in love with the girl with the bad teeth, digs out half used boxes of anti-biotics.
The infection healed, the tooth or the stump that is left falls out and she moves on, careful this time to keep a few tablets back, she doesnt want to seem needy.
She has learnt to smile without every opening her mouth.

U is Undulating

The three smaller children are packed into the back seat of the bright orange mini, all available corners, crannies, footspaces are heaving with bags, boxes, loose escaped items. The trunk, almost as big as the car itself, is tied to the roof rack using the fathers’ special knotting skills.

The journey starts as 3 am, so as to avoid the traffic.
Sandwiches have been made, bottles of squash diluted and there are those special travel sweets, which the mother doles out at hourly intervals.

The oldest child, the son, gets to sit in the front seat in recognition of his role as navigator and reader of the AA route map.
The children never question why the father never accompanies them on this annual trip or why their mother orders a new route map each year.

It always arrives 2 weeks before the exodus, kept safe with the important documents and handed over the brother as the mother reverses the car out of the drive.

At the top of each page of directions is a brief description of the landcape they will dive through.

Gently Undulating.


P, Q, R


P is for Poverty
This then is the new poverty, the new austerity. The heating only turned on when guests arrive and their arrial another financial anxiety, 4 days of no lunch, no breakfast to pay for 2 almost drinkable bottles of wine.
Shoes mended, heels super glued back on, clothes e-bayed, freecycle checked daily as the washing machine makes more and more noises indicating near death.
Social inviations neatly parryied, so busy, so so busy, no time for anything but work.
Penny pinching become the norm, the discovery of a forgotten fiver in a coat a cause for celebration.
But outwardly, still good, clothes remain smart, car creaks through another MOT and the 3 remaining handbags, soft Italian leather match most of the remaining shoes.

Q is for Queer

Queer, the notion of Queer, the Nation of Queer freed me.
Gave me identity when no -one seemed willing to let me in.
Reclaimed the word, reclaimed the streets
“we’re here, we’re queer – get used to it”
Unlikely allegiances – Dykes and Trannies and Bears and Bikers, Disco Bunnies. Butch & Femme.
Never really a joiner, more an active tourist, I marched behind the banner and wore the t-shirt
[ a little bit] gay and proud.

R is for Ruby

Rubys Jewel – best and biggest of all horses.
Named not after the stone but the man who bred you, Mr Martin Ruby who when I tracked him down, decades later, had become old, in bed at 8 pm when I rang, didn’t hold with the inter-net or the phone, his daughter said and she wasn’t sure if he would remember the horse, but thanked me, her voice quiet, blurred on a bad rural line.
And by then, you were old too, stiff, a little tired, happy to stand in your field and watch the world go by.
We took photographs of you on your last day, my head buried in your neck, your ears pricked to the sound of my tears and then chocolate produced and you snuffled in my pocket, convinved, as always, that there was another piece just waiting fro your attention.


M, N, O


M is for Motherhood.

The mother looks at the daughter and wonders how they have come to this.
This terrible, terrible silence.
They sit at the table, eating separate meals, the daughter refuses to eat meat, but also spurns most vegetables, so eats slightly over-cooked pasta with badly grated cheese, the mother, setting a good example has added tomatoes, onions to her bowl of pallid spaghetti.
She wonders if it is too early to open a bottle of wine and decides that it probably is.
She remembers other meal times, the child smaller, desperate to help in the kitchen, carefully setting a place for the stuffed bear, the floppy tiger cuddly toy.
The daughters’ phone ring and they both heave a sigh of relief.

N is for Nudity

She slips the swimming costume off, the straps catch slightly on the oily slick of her shoulder blades, the dealy make the movement less casual than she had hoped for.
The sea is still, that stillness that comes at the end of a beach day, as if the sea itself was tired of constant movement.
she has choosen her position on the beach carefully, close enough to the waters edge to allow a quick entrance, far enough away from the last family, delaying their inevetiable exit, laden with toddlers and sandy towels and soggy swim suits.
She stands up, towel draped descretley around her and walks purposefully towards the sea.
Dropping the towel and her modesty on the damp sand, she plunges in. The water is colder than she expected, takes her breath away, but then she is emerged, small waves lapping at her. She cannot believe the difference the removal of such a small piece of clothing makes.

O is for Orange.

On not eating days, you allow yourself 3 small oranges. You line them up on the desk, move them around, re-arrange them according to size or levels of shineiness, edibility.
You try and decide the best times to eat them, they have to last 24 hours and you have learnt the hard way that this minimal eating must be paced carefully.
At 11 o clock you start the peel the first one, painstakingly, you remove every tiny piece of skin, use a finger nail to pull at every trace of white inner peel.
Then you separate each segment, make petal shapes, act out tiny dramas with slices standing in for characters.
At 11.30 you eat the first slice, it is less juicy than you hoped.
You tell yourself that you can eat another slice at 11.45.


J, K, L


J is for Jokes
Horse walks into a bar, barman asks “why the long face?”

Horse walks into a bar, “ouch”

Horse walks into a bar, barman says ” I’m a frayed knot”

I’s the way I tell them.

I fell in love with you because of the jokes, long, complicated, usually pointless.
My only response a groan and a punch to your arm, but secretly I loved them, loved the craft of your telling, loved the wait for the hopeless punchline, responded with my own punch of course.

Most of all, I loved the idea of your remembering them and carrying them carefully, wrapped in your mind, a night time gift.

K is for the KLF
Justified and Ancient
Soundtrack to a hundred late night sorties.
Too clever by half, ageing disco divas re-vitalised, careers re-born,touched by your genius of repetitive beats
You burnt a suitcase of money,your protest against installation art and made your own anti-installation, installation.
Ironic, eh?
You live on some Scottish loch, collect tanks, make films where nothing hapens,
Clearly, you should have married me.

L is for Lepers.

Once upon a time, a grandfather took his little grand-daughter to the cinema, an evening treat and with unheard of extravagance allowed her to choose anything from the usherette, neck bowed from the weight of the confectionery tray.
The grand-daughter took her time, weighed up the choices and finally pointed, daringly, to the most expensive choice, a box of butterscotch, each sweet wrapped individually in silver paper.
The film began, the grandfather settled back, the child leaned forward, cheeks bulging and took in the chariot races, the sword fights and then the horror. In half darkness, a blue black screen, faces hidden in shadows, the lepers.
Afterwards, the child silent, they drove home, the box of butterscotch, half eaten, cardboard damp, the sweets sweaty, clumping together.
In bed that night, the child lay completely still, eyes wide open and finally, unable to bear it any longer, she leapt from the bed and taking a deep breath, she flung open the cupboard door, expecting to see the hidden, ruined faces of the lepers.
Re-assured, but not convinced, she took care to check all bedroom cupboards for the whole of that long warm summer.


G, H and I


G is for Girl.
My mother still refers to her friends as ” the girls”, women in their 70s, early 80s, the term should be patronising, offensive, but there is something completely girlish about this group, which simply makes the term accurate – they are the girls.
They meet each month in central Dublin, although the journey from the bijou suburbs [ their houses bought long before the Celtic Tiger, long before the new austerity still worth amounts that keep us, the children, the grandchildren on our toes] has begun to frighten them, but still they meet in Bewleys and Brown Thomas, sip coffee, hit the National Gallery and Kilmanin for the modern stuff.
My mother looks at her oldest friends and wonders if she too has aged as badly as they seem to have and then tempted, agrees to a second piece of cake.

H is for holidays

A true story.
She drives her 4 year old to Devon, the car is bright red, her daughter call it the tomato car and years later cries when it is sold.
It rains every day for a week and she exhausts all the possible indoor activities in a 30 mile radius.
The holiday apartment is tiny, once the only bed is unfolded and the child put to sleep, the only place to sit where she cannot see the child is perched on the toilet seat. She spends most evenings here, trying to read.
The boy who comes to clean the apartment stinks of weed and on day 5, convinced that she may actually die, she offer him £20 and spends the next 3 days in a smoke filled daze. It seems to help. She & her daughter spend 2 hrs making sandcastles on the beach in the rain. It is their best thing. They talk & laugh about it for years and years afterwards.

I is for…… Ice cream and Iguanas and the Internet and Inter-Continental missiles, somewhere, somehow, no doubt all these things collide, conspire, create a perfect mad moment.
The joys of Inter-connectedness, Interweb-ery, Inter-rail, Inter-city.
Only Connect.