#atinylife Rain²


Today I have been thinking about…rain. It makes the crops grow, my mother used to say. I bet yours did too.

I’ve got to say that it’s small comfort when you’ve left for the school run in brilliant Rain Squaredsunshine, and are therefore unprepared for the deluge of – ouch, is that hail? – appearing halfway up the road.

When the jackets are still wet from yesterday and you can’t find the waterproof trousers: and the car’s in the garage, before you ask. I’m not voluntarily walking in this downpour. When the children are actually screaming with outrage as their non-soluble skin has been exposed to the horror of pure water. You drag them on, trying to remember whether Acid Rain is still a ‘thing.’

Just dreich, cold, dripping, numbing: horrible.


But…it does make the lush, green, sustaining, miraculous crops grow.


#atinylife Swimming

Today I have been thinking about … swimming.

Euch, swimming. A necessary evil in the holidays, outstripped only by requests for Minecraft, or for me to finally relent and download Pokemon Go.

‘But swimming, really?’ I ask. ‘It’s such a lovely day.’

I am informed that lovely days don’t have flumes in them. Not yet. So off we go. I stand out of the IMG_9009water, wearing less than I would ever voluntarily clothe myself in. My teeth chatter in time with the anxiety ringing in my ears as they whoosh down the flumes. Then another ten minutes of queuing. Fun, right?

The worry lessens after the third go. I find some tinyspace and float peacefully. The heavy weightlessness buoys me up and away to a pleasant dreamland.

I love the post-swim clean feeling too. (I know, I know, it’s just chlorine.)


#atinylife Vote

Today I have been thinking about…voting.

Last week we all got dragged out to vote.


There are two halves to my village, but tensions between the communities are rare: those who have lived here for a long time, and those who moved here recently, get along mostly fine.FullSizeRender (20)

The sun shone all day. People crossed the bridge over the Tyne-river, safely, to cast their votes.

Our polling station is an ex-Temperance Hall, a piece of our narrow-minded history, now used for toddlers, lunch club. The kids came with me: I know they are safe here, their Eastern European heritage doesn’t matter, isn’t noticed.

They wanted to remain in the polling station – to see how other people voted – but we had to leave. ‘We need to go now. People want space, and peace to vote,’ I said. ‘Let’s go.’

#atinylife Knee


The warmth of his comfortable weight.

His hand fiddles

with my thumbnail,

his feet dangle

to my knees.


His hair as 

soft and fluffy as

the inside of his favourite jumper,

a perfect mess of haywire strands,

always in need of a cut.


His breathing inhales, exhales through my body:

lift, then relax.

The angle:

a view of angelic eyelashes.


He leans into my chest,

content, safe.


being pinned to the chair

by this sweetest of distractions,


all the other things I could be doing,

should be doing,

I stay here.



Let me savour this moment,

for those for whom the moment never comes,

for the years and years beyond this day

when he won’t sit on my knee anymore. FullSizeRender (15)


And 140 words is not enough,

to describe this,

the feeling

of my son

sitting on my knee.

#atinylife Pee

Today I have been thinking about…pee.

In a house with two boys under ten, it’s all about the pee. Banning ‘toilet talk’ from the table doesn’t help with the other 23 hours. The word ‘butt’ reigned: until last week, when they graduated to the word ‘booty.’ I’ve gone to zero tolerance mode on the state of the toilet. If I arrive in the bathroom and it is not even up to my lax standards of cleanliness, that’s bad.

And last night I received the least favourite of night time visits – ‘Mum, I’ve peed the bed again.’Pee

Stripping and griping, I wondered if I could squeeze out some positivity, along with the pee, from these experiences. Of course I can. Some people don’t get to have any children, and others don’t get to snuggle them into their own beds every night.