Jean hated to clean, she could see the dust but just couldn’t be bothered with it. Quentin Crisp once said “There is no need to do any housework at all. After the first four years the dirt doesn’t get any worse”.

Jean reached up to the bookshelf, pulled his book off the shelf and wiped a layer of dust from the spine. She opened it and looked at the inscription “To Jean from Quentin Crisp” she had been a true fan of his. She agreed on the dust, dirt is dirt, however much of it there is, however it doesn’t go away unless you do something about it.

Jean needed a cleaner but she also needed a holiday, she longed to travel see some more of the world before she turned to dust herself. She thought she might start in New York and see what, if anything, would open up from there.

Jean put her little house on a holiday letting site, the place you would put your home for short term lets, she was very careful about the photos she took. It wasn’t long before a six month let was agreed and Jean paid for her vacation with the deposit, packed up and left.

Jean just closed the door on the dust, this she thought, was a much better option than getting cleaners in to do a deep clean. References she had received for the tenant, described her as an exceptionally clean young woman. Jean just knew she would return to a spotlessly clean home in six months, now all she had to do was to work out how she would find the already spent deposit!

“The very purpose of existence is to reconcile the glowing opinion we hold of ourselves with the appalling things that other people think about us” Quentin Crisp


I wrote this story after helping my sister clean her new rental for two days before moving in. I couldn’t quite believe how much we had to clean and however messy she is over the next six months the owner will still be returning to a home that has been deep cleaned! I suggested to my sister we were paying forward, that she wouldn’t have to clean on leaving, but that is silly, it is not in her nature, after all she was well chosen!

The owners name wasn’t Jean of course, this is a book that used to sit on my mothers bookshelf ūüôā





She turned the toothbrush away from hers, she didn’t want the bristles meeting. Those bristles that touched his mouth, she didn’t want them touching hers.

She thought back to when they first met, how she had loved everything about him. she remembered watching his mouth as he ate, remembered how it looked so beautiful, so warm, so tender. But that was then, all those years ago, before the words were spoken, before those words of hate left his mouth, left both their mouths.

They stayed together now for the children, well for Charlie anyway, as Faith had left home now. Shacked up as she was with Jack, in love as she once was herself.

She thought about their toothbrushes, she wondered if they faced each other, was this a sign of lasting love, could you tell from how toothbrushes were placed, the state of a relationship. It wouldn’t be long now until Charlie left for university, another year and she would be free. They had agreed that they would wait for the children to leave, give the last one a year to settle.

She picked up her shopping list from the night stand where she had left it the night before. Glanced through the things she needed to buy and took a pen from her bag. New toothbrush she wrote, in bold letters.




They called her brassy, big, loud and larger than life. Maude was a gentle and loving soul but this is not how she portrayed herself. Maud liked to wear tight fitting clothes over her well covered body. The more gentile women would tut as they walked past, they had decided from a distance that she was a woman of a certain kind and best to be avoided.

Maude fitted into the mould she had created, she wore far to much make up, far to many chains around her neck and wore her hair up with an added hairpiece, a look more fitting for a girl than a more mature woman. Maude created the personality she believed would get her through life, it had, it gave her the confidence she needed but never the love she desired. Maude always met the wrong man because she had no idea of how to attract the right one.

Maude’s childhood had been difficult, she had not experienced love from her parents, she always felt and was told she was an accident. She wasn’t wanted, she was ignored for the most part and verbally and physically abused at others. Maude left home at the earliest opportunity, falling for a local lad who showed her more interest than she’d experienced before. Maude was pregnant at fifteen and married at sixteen, a girl herself, she found herself responsible for a family.

Maude learnt how to work the system, her husband Bob put what money they had over the bar of the local tavern and if she was going to feed her family Maude needed to tell the odd tale or two. She realised early on that to be listened to and noticed she had to create something quite different, she had to hide any vulnerability, show no fear and charge at the world head on, Maude was certainly a force to be reckoned with if ever there was.

Maud had so many layers that she didn’t really know who she was, so many walls around her that even she couldn’t break them. Maude believed she fitted the lies she had created, she recognised herself in the person she had become. Maude had tried to cover her fragmented and difficult beginning in life in an attempt to become whole and yet the whole Maude created had nothing to do with the person she was. Maude was her own work of art and yet it was not in her original style, quite simply, Maude was a fake.

The day Maud was knocked over on that crossing was the day she went home, home to her childhood and home to who she really was. Stripped in hospital of her clothes, jewels and make up, Maude found herself. She found herself in the people she spoke to, she found herself in the kindness of the nurses and she found herself in the girl in the next bed who was interested in what she had to say.

Maude was in a coma for six weeks, it was felt unlikely she would survive, but she did, she did more than that she broke down her own walls. Somewhere in the space of the coma, in a place she was safe and at a time just right for her, Maude found home. A lifetime of being someone else, a brassy tart, evaporated. Maude survived and in surviving realised she didn’t need to create anymore, she could be herself.

Something about the respite from life gave Maude a second chance, gave her opportunity to recreate and in doing so she chose to be herself. Surrounded by care and love she felt at home, she allowed the love she had buried to resurface, the gentleness to cross her brow.

Maude’s recovery was slow but her transformation miraculous, a lifetime of lies got knocked over that day but Maude stood up.

The moral of this story is we all get knocked down, but each time we get up we are closer to ourselves.





Watching You Play

Have you been here before little one, I think to myself as I watch you play. Lost in your own world as you sit in the corner of the room with your toys. The sun steams through the window upon you, as if lighting you up for the world, but you my darling, are lost in your imaginings and I am impossible to see.

I try to connect to your thoughts, link in with your world but it is impossible to reach that place in childhood that is just too innocent and wonderful for adults to enter. The cat lifts her head from the sofa and looks at me, I must have disturbed her but you my lovely one, are still lost in the wonder of your toys.

I want to cry as I hold you in my sight, my love for you being so strong. I feel a tear upon my face but I don’t brush it away, letting it fall into your world. I think this love will last forever, I feel it throughout my being. From the moment you were born, the love I felt for you became part of me, it defines me, it explains my very existence.

I roll a marble across the floor in your direction, it rolls to the left of you and stops. I see you momentarily glance at it before resuming play. You are not interested in the marble today. I sit in my chair in the bay of the window and watch you, I have all the time in the world.

Your play is disturbed by the sound of the ice cream truck, playing its tune as it turns the corner of the street. You stand for a moment, coming closer to the window, to watch the truck go past. Do you remember your first ice cream, sitting as you did in your high chair with chocolate ice cream everywhere? Oh how we laughed, there are pictures of it somewhere, your chocolate kisses all over my face. We must get granny to sort them out for you, they will make you laugh.

As if by magic granny enters the room, your warm smile greeting her. You throw your doll to the corner and run into grannies arms, to be picked up and swirled around. The cat lifts itself and stretches, it’s dinnertime and she too wants to be noticed.

In grannies arm you head to the mantle piece to look at the photographs displayed. Granny gently touches my picture as she does every day and tells you again about your mummy who loved you very much. You listen again as you do every day and kiss her eyes and cheeks. Although she is smiling we can both see the sadness in grannies eyes as she talks of me, keeping me alive in the memories.

Granny does not notice you as you point to the chair in the window I am sitting upon but I do.







She liked the rain, it washed away the dust and grime of her life and freshened her surroundings.  She sat  for a while and listened to the gentle patter on the window, watching the long streams of water as they trickled slowly down on to the rotting sill.

It had been a long time since it had rained here and it brought about a new and interesting mustiness to the air.  This was the change she had been waiting for, this gave her something to think about and broke the monotony of a Sunday, the longest of days.

The garbage would have a better scent she thought to herself, it was a long time since it had been collected and the stench of fish guts and babies nappies trailed through the walkways like a cancer.  Tomorrow the air would be cleaner, the concrete washed of muck and the flower pots washed down and flowers fed.

A crack of thunder lit the horizon and the lights went out.  She sat watching the shadows of the trees in the distance bending, as beaten by the relentless and torrential storm.  Behind her door she heard the unmistakable crash of gates closing and further in the distance cries from the murky shadows.  She watched through her prison window and thought about the fresh dawn of tomorrow.



The Reading


Daily Word Prompt – Playful

The energy was different, almost playful¬†she thought, she couldn’t quite work it out. ¬†Sparks flew through the air in magical colours, dancing and twirling in the light. ¬†‘I wonder’ Cassy thought as she placed the silk on the table and laid out the tools of her trade. ¬†Crystal ball in the middle, tarot cards to the left, a candle to the right and a selection of crystals.

Today was the village fair and she had been asked if she would do some readings for charity, it was for a good cause so she willingly accepted. ¬†Cassy hadn’t done readings for some time in public, she wasn’t sure she was up to it after the embarrassment of being called a fraud in the local paper by that reporter. ¬† She had toyed with the request for a while when she was initially asked, but reasoned what was the harm, it was for charity anyway.

Cassy had retrieved her crystal ball and bits and pieces from the box in the back bedroom the night before. ¬†She had put them away after the article was posted through her door, she didn’t want to be seen as the oddity in the village. ¬†That had been several months ago and now she had been asked to get them out again. ¬†She did hope it wasn’t just to mock, she didn’t want to ask the cards if it was a mistake to go ahead, she wasn’t even sure she could anymore.

These last few months had been difficult, the long dark evenings and on her own again.   It would be good to be out again today, mixing with people.  She would love to find some friends here in the village, to hope for anything else was beyond her wildest dreams.

The fate was well under way before Cassy had her first customer, she had been sitting head lowered in a dreamy state when someone sat down in front of her. ¬†She looked up and caught the playful twinkle in his eyes, she held her breath for just a moment longer. ¬† ‘I know this is just for fun, but would you give me a reading’ he said smiling across at her. ¬†Cassy handed him the cards, knowing even before she turned them over this guy was going to be special.

The Cane

‚ÄėYour just too soft on them‚Äô she blurted out ‚ÄėHow will they ever learn right from wrong if you always let them lull about like that?‚Äô She wouldn‚Äôt usually have got involved but this was just too much to bare, they were out of control and downright messy to say the least. They needed boundaries, they needed to be pointed in the right direction, he just wasn‚Äôt doing them any favours at all.

Last year they had lined up neatly, bowed their heads, they were a delight to see. Today they looked a mess, there was no uniform and they were beyond control just sprawling on the ground as they were. It was disgraceful and more than that it wasn’t fair that she had to look out at them all day!

Frank didn’t say anything, just chewed on that cigar butt and looked out over the garden. He had switched off, he wasn’t listening, she would have to show him it was the only way he would get it. She didn’t want to appear cruel telling him how horrid they were but you had to be cruel to be kind and he needed some help.

Sandra disappeared into the kitchen, returning moments later with a book in her hand. This will help, just follow the instructions and use the cane like it says, if you do what it says you will have a fine, tidy line of perfect green beans in no time at all’.

The Find



Ella saw the carpet at the car boot sale. It was draped across a chest of draws, there was something about it that drew her in. On inspection it was covered in dust, but it kind of spoke to her.  She could see the rich reds underneath the dust and grime, it spoke of adventures.

A man who had come along to the stall after Ella was also trying to look at the carpet, but she was there first and therefore had first dibs. ‘There is a beautiful carpet over the way too’ he said, pointing off across the boot sale, ‘Why don’t you take a look if you like carpets’. ¬†Well there are no flies on Ella and this was all she needed to give her the push ¬†to make up her mind. ¬†Ella paid ¬£40 for the carpet, as that was the very lowest the trader would accept and left it with him to continue her walk around the boot sale. ¬†It was meant to be she thought to herself, she never had more than a few pounds on her when she visited the boot sale, she came for a walk in the sun and a rummage usually. ¬†Today she just happened to have the money she owed her sister in her purse.

When Ella returned later to collect the carpet, the trader laughed as he told her the other guy was really upset to have missed out on the carpet.  He knew all about it from its markings, he knew it was a good carpet and knew the region it was made, he had been furious to be beaten on this find.  The trader told her he now thought he had been mistaken to let it go so cheaply, Ella laughed and shook his hand as she left with the carpet.  Luckily she had help from her friend carrying it across the boot sale to where the car was parked.  She noticed the guy who had wanted the carpet too, and the scowl on his face as he saw her with her prize.

Laid on the floor in her lounge it was clear it needed a clean but even so she could see it was meant to be.  It fitted perfectly with her decor, it almost appeared that the furniture around it had been placed there afterwards to compliment it.  Ella thought this was a little like her life at the moment with pieces slotting in finally to where they were supposed to.

Later, after much scrubbing and vacuuming Ella looked at her beautiful carpet and sighed. she was really happy she got out of bed to go to the boot sale this morning.  Ella grabbed a cushion, lit a candle and laid out on her new carpet.  As she did she had a funny feeling that she had come home, how strange she thought as she dropped off in exhaustion on the  floor with her hand gently stoking the weave of the rug.

Ella’s dreams were beautiful, she travelled the universe and understood it was meant to be.

Password to Life

Michael entered the password numerous times, in every format possible. He knew his password for goodness sake, why wouldn’t it work! He tried it in countless ways, big B, little b and with a 4 and then a 7 but to no avail.

This was ridiculous, he slammed his palm on the table. It wasn’t him, it must be the other party’s end, that, or he’d been hacked! ¬†Michael let out a loud groan and held his head in his hands in despair.

‘Is there something wrong my dear?’ Michael looked up to find a woman standing over the table. Michael had forgotten he was in a cafe, he had come to try and see if he would have any more luck with a faster internet connection. ¬†She looked about his age, maybe a little younger as she still had a softness about her.

‘Oh I’m sorry, I forgot where I was, it’s this damn contraption that’s driving me crazy’, he mumbled pointing at his iPad. I’m trying to top up my Skype credit so I can talk to someone, I wanted to call my son in Indonesia, but it won’t recognise my password. I don’t think I’ve changed it but maybe I did and forgot as I sometimes do. ¬†Please do sit down, I am so terribly sorry for my outburst, let me buy you a cup of tea’.

Mary sat down and smiled across the table at Michael ‘perhaps I can help you remember, let me think. ¬†I believe that most of my own passwords are connected to memories of my life. ¬†I think from speaking to friends they are usually connected to ones life, an event, place, name or number with significance. ¬† I know they recommend you shouldn’t do this but my memory just isn’t what it was’.

Michael nodded in agreement, ‘I have tried most of the places where I have lived, I have used these before but that just doesn’t seem to be working. ¬†I have also tried my children’s names and businesses I have had, but the password eludes me’. Michael thought once more about what the password could be. ¬†‘I’m sure it is Mississippi and a year, but the year escapes me.’ ¬†Michael thought about his time in the US with his wife, they had a wonderful time wherever they went, she had told him she had loved their life together before she died. ¬† Michael was lonely, he depended on his iPad to be in touch with people, he knew probably drove them mad, but it was better than loneliness.

‘Tell me a little about your life, we might come up with the password if we are lucky’ Mary suggested. ¬†So Michael spoke and Mary listened, laughing at times and dabbing her eyes at others. ¬†Mary shared some of her own life stories, it was so good to talk to someone she thought.

They were the last to leave the cafe, arranging to meet the next day and talk some more.  Both had smiles on their faces as they parted, they had thoroughly enjoyed their afternoon.

Later that evening when the iPad beeped to indicate a Skype call coming in, Michael was able to tell his son about the lovely afternoon with his new friend. ¬†He told him about how he had been reminiscing and remembered things he hadn’t thought of in years. ¬†Michael said he would be meeting Mary the following day and wanted to take along some photographs. ¬†He didn’t stay on the call as long as he usually did and when it ended, strangely he didn’t feel sad.

It wasn’t until much later he realised he still hadn’t remembered his password.

The Foundation

Take a deep breath in and release. Watch closely as one by one, on each breath, the cares of the day are let go. Feel that moment of stillness, feel the silence around you and know you are at one with the universe.

Any thoughts that pop up for you, acknowledge and let them pass you by, watch as they dissolve into nothingness.


Now see a staircase in front of you, create the staircase. The steps can be made of whatever you wish, visualise it now. Know that there are ten steps and you are on the top step. Slowly now, step down.





Five, you are half way now..






Now you step from the staircase you find yourself in a field, a summer meadow, full with colourful wild flowers. Look at the tiny heads blowing softly in the wind. What colour stands out for you?

On the other side of the field, there is a seat. You know what the seat looks like, it’s your seat. On the seat there is a brick. I want you to take a seat, lift the brick and put it onto your lap. I want you to look closely at your brick, what is it made of, it could be stone or maybe it’s a crystal, it’s your brick only you know.

This brick is your foundation stone, you are going to lay it, this is your foundation to your future. I’m going to leave you to this task but think carefully about where the stone should be laid, lay it and do it with ceremony. Leave a marker so that you can return again when you feel the need.


You have a few minutes now and then I want you to come back to your body. When your ready open your eyes, move your hands and feet and feel your connection to the earth.

Does anyone have anything they wish to share?