Tag Archives: marriage


I was in Manchester Art Gallery a while ago, in the small cafe at the back and a woman came in pushing a wheelchair in which was a man about her age. He had no coordination, no control and she fed him juice or water from a blue child’s cup with a lid. He was her husband. She asked me just to keep an eye on him while she went to the loo. She looked grey, exhausted, tearful and I wondered if she’d come back.


She parked him near the window

rasping at the light

circling his head

his neck straining tendons

the juddering pulse of jaw in his temples

as he spoke but didn’t speak

the shock of a fox-scream of a chid

in a gallery of

quiet, low bass murmuring.

She put on the brake and went,

a minute or so alone in the ladies.

Locking the door

she rested her head against the cold metal paper dispenser.

‘What if you just left?

What if you pulled open the glass doors and

walked in your soft soled shoes

across St Peter’s Square to the library

and on to the place where the Halle used to be and

to a train and the parallel lines of track reaching into the distance?’

No. Go. Don’t come.

Don’t come here into my head

gorgon, tempting, curling your finger.

Not today.

Her arms spanned the cubicle, bracing wall against wall.

‘They’d look after him.

You could sleep,

walk with bare feet on grass,

pick blackberries,

fly soar into clear blue.’

She washed her hands,

avoided the mirror and went back to him.

The door, soft hinged, slow-closed,

the hand dryer unfinished.



Filed under poems, poetry, writing

Tales of the Unexpected

It’s not quite what you expect – no eerie intro, no Joan Collins bouffant hairdo, no suspended terror…just a quite serious proposal of marriage from a large shouldered, vaguely attractive Viking propping up the bar in the French House (fine Soho institution).

It’s late. I’m half cut. But boy have I had a nice birthday. An excellent night with the Hub: the French…Bocca di Lupo…Ronnie Scott’s bar (apart from the rather nice gin and the spectacular dreads of the cloakroom chap, very forgettable)..back to the French and voila….

A marriage proposal.

He was a bit squiffed but terribly earnest…and quite unsure of himself. He has a beautiful girlfriend. Lovely cheekbones. But she has a temper, apparently. I told him to find someone who will be kind to him when he’s old and who will make him laugh. I think it struck a chord. Anyhow, he did offer marriage. I had to turn him down. He’ll get over it. 

I’m married. But I’ve never been proposed to.

I got fed up of waiting and, pissed under a grand piano in 1996 in a Worcestershire farmhouse, I popped the question. We sort of agreed and passed out.

So, it came as quite a nice 45th birthday treat, to have my first proposal. And he’s only 32. Can you even start to imagine someone being even vaguely within radar who was born when you were in Lr IV?

I love stories of love and proposals…tell me how yours happened?

Leave a comment

Filed under oddbods


There must be some subliminal thing going on, American storms and all that. It’s only now that I’ve realised it as I was screwing up my eyes trying to figure out where this one had sprung from. And it really did happen, the Wigan tornado.


It came at us from across the field

its cobweb strands spinning a furious

whip of leaves and twigs

and stone.

We watched, unmoving and ducked when it hit

and ripped off the soffits and threw them splintered high above the house.


by comparison to the one in Kansas

the one that killed that witch

and all hell broke loose

Her unconvincing feet bent in glittered shoes.

It was at the time he didn’t care

and it was up to you to put it right.

It was a Friday.

I know that because on Fridays

he came home reeking of classrooms and staff rooms,

of chalk and science labs:

of cobalt blue and sulphur yellow,

and instant coffee and the grime of other children.

And he couldn’t wait to wash off this weekday smell

and back out of the drive ’til Sunday.

We watched him go,

even waved

and then breathed again,

mother-daughter arms around waists.

We shut the door,

and phoned the man to fix the soffit.


Filed under poems, poetry, writing