Adultery By Carol Ann Duffy

I came across Carol Ann Duffy’s poem, Adultery while leafing through “The New Poetry”, edited by Michael Hulse, David Kennedy and David Morley (Bloodaxe Books), yesterday evening. It is a powerful poem which speaks of the guilt and excitement of adultery,

The Blind Victoria Cross (VC)

The latest edition of RNIB’s Vision Magazine contains an interesting interview with Lord Ashcroft about his collection of Victoria Crosses, one of which was awarded to a soldier who went blind and after World War I went on to practice law as a lawyer. For the podcast please visit

The Choice

How dare he speak to me like that

“I’ll tell your mum, you’re lying there on your arse while that thing grows inside you. Get rid of it”.

I can’t believe it. He was walking along in the middle of London shouting into his mobile. Anyone within half a mile could have heard him. I told him

“Shut the fuck up, people will hear” but he just said that no one knows him in that part of London. That’s probably true, the chances of anyone who knows either him or me overhearing him is very unlikely, but that isn’t the point, he has no right to shout about my business all over London.

The implant is highly effective, only 1 in every thousand women get pregnant. I can feel it now, like a little match stick high up under the skin of my right arm. It releases some chemical, I can’t remember the name, which prevents pregnancy. I’m a real scatter brain always forgetting things. I’m the kind of girl who goes shopping for groceries and comes back with a handbag and makeup minus anything to eat or drink. That’s why I went for the implant, I would have forgotten to take the pill so the implant was the logical solution. It lasts upto 3 years and once inserted you don’t need to worry about getting pregnant . Well you don’t unless you are the unlucky 1 in 1000 where the bloody thing fails to work.

Funny isn’t it (not funny ha, ha but funny peculiar) that when a guy sleeps around he’s a stud, one of the lads but when a girl does it she’s a slag who can’t keep her legs shut, and we live in the 21st century! Its surprising just how many people still seem to believe that women don’t like sex and if we do then there is something wrong with us. Well I love sex, I’m 18-years-old, all my hormones conspire to make me horney. Yeah I know I should use a condom to protect myself from disease and as an extra precaution against getting pregnant. But after a night out clubbing and some gorgeous bloke wanting me and me feeling horney as fuck, well these things happen which is why, as I say I have that useless match stick stuck in my arm.

At first I thought it was the implant making me late with my period (it can be one of the side effects apparently). Anyway when I was 10 days late I got worried and bought one of those pregnancy test kits from Boots the Chemist. I nearly dropped my sample when it came back positive. My doctor confirmed the result so here I am well and truly up the duff, stuffed like a prime Christmas turkey.

I don’t want to give up college. I’m in the middle of my a-levels and my teachers predict good grades. Christ I want to be reading geography at uni not changing dirty nappies.

That hurt. He (or she) has a strong kick. Its part of me, how can I have it ripped out and thrown away like a piece of rubbish? It isn’t alive, that is what my brother says, well not alive in the sense that it has all it’s faculties. It’s just, basically a bundle of nerve endings according to him.

Sometimes, when I close my eyes I see a happy smiling little girl or boy sitting on a swing. “mummy, mummy push me higher, higher, I want to touch the clouds” he calls. Then I want to keep the baby, I can’t throw it away.

God I don’t know what I want. I always wanted kids but when I was ready, perhaps in my late 20’s or early 30’s, certainly not at 18. I can’t throw away the chance to go on to uni, but there are childcare facilities at universities now, I could study and still have the baby. But that would be such hard work, I’d have no social life. But it’s a life, how can I put my own pleasure before the baby growing inside me. No it isn’t, it’s a bundle of cells, get rid of it, don’t wreck your future over a freak accident, a 1 in 1000 freak accident when an implant failed to work.

My stomach hurts. Maybe it’s that Indian I ate yesterday. Its as though someone was twisting a knife in my guts. Will it hurt when I have the baby I wonder? You can’t have it Chelsea, what kind of life will you have and what kind of existence can you provide for a child? you can’t even look after yourself sometimes. Jesus I’ll need to go to the toilet in a minute but its so comfortable here under the sheets, I’ll get up in a moment.

I’ve always believed in a woman’s right to choose, no one has the right to tell me what I should do with my own body. Yeah no one has that right but one part of Chelsea is telling me to keep the child while the other is saying to terminate the pregnancy ASAP. I feel sick, I can’t move otherwise I’ll throw up. Lie still Chelsea, relax and you will feel better in a minute.

I don’t know who the father is. It wasn’t his fault. He had the decency to ask whether I was on birth control, I said that I was and we had sex. I guess I could find out his name if I really wanted to. He’s a friend of Linda’s brother I think. Yes I could ask Linda to ask her brother to get in touch with his mate. But then Linda, her brother and the whole group would know. I’m not even sure if I want to keep it so whats the point in telling Linda. I didn’t tell my brother. He wouldn’t have found out accept for the fact that I left the bathroom door ajar, he came in and saw the test results. Stupid scatty Chelsea.

Must go to the loo. Make a dash for it Chelsea. Oh that hurts, oh god so much blood. Oh know I think I’ve lost it, poor, poor little thing, so much blood. I’m so sleepy, just want to put my head against the sink and sleep.

“Someone help please” I call weakly.

Lets Hear It For The Excentrics

It was a lovely summer’s evening. The birds sang and I felt the need for a convivial pint in my favourite local. I harnessed up the large brindle wolf (sorry guide dog) and set out in search of a cooling beer.

On the way through the churchyard (the church stands directly opposite my luxurious penthouse, sorry flat), I was accosted by a gentleman sitting in his car

“Excuse me, how do you spell Tudor?”


“Oh I always thought it was Tuder with an er”.

“No it’s definitely Tudor”.

I have no idea whether this gentleman was attempting to engage in japery of some kind (if so I fail to see the joke although the incident was bizarre in the extreme). Perhaps he was participating in one of those research projects in which the researcher asks random strangers peculiar questions in order to gauge their reactions. Alternatively was he (how can I put this politely) err, “away with the fairies”, or “a few sandwiches short of a picnic”. On balance I am inclined to the view that he fits into that long and honourable tradition of British excentrics, those men and women who enliven our often humdrum existences with their interesting and often bizarre mode of living. Lets hear it for the excentrics, long may they continue.

To Blog or Not to Blog


I find my blog the best way of communicating. I do have accounts on Twitter and Facebook but the ability to write longer posts fits better with a blog in my experience.

Originally posted on Have We Had Help?:


In this day and age, if you are a writer, one particular tool you definitely should make use of is a blog. In my case I have been regularly contributing to this blog since February 2010. A few days ago the number of my posts finally exceeded one thousand, something I never envisioned happening way back then.

Your readers want to know what makes you tic; maintaining a blog helps to ensure that. Despite what some may think we don’t spend every waking hour at our keyboards writing several thousand words each day. We’re not automatons. Like you we also lead normal lives.

A lot of writers still don’t make use of the humble blog claiming it is a waste of their valuable writing time. Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s a far better medium to advertise your work as well as engaging with your potential readers than…

View original 644 more words

A Mother’s Appeal For Help- Disability Hate Crime


This is beyond words that one human being could do that to a fellow human.

Originally posted on Same Difference:

This mother is desperately trying to find the people who did this to her son- to give him his confidence back.

The mainstream media haven’t picked it up yet- can we get them to? Kindly reblog retweet share everywhere possible.

Didn’t want to post this, but I’m really beginning to think that the boys who tried to kill my son are going to get away with it.
I can’t help but feel that if I’d illegally parked I’d soon be found.
They did far more than stab him, they’ve also taken away the only bit of independence he had, which took us almost two years to prepare him for. I’m now too frightened to let him back out, and I‘m getting the fallout from that too.
The media are totally uninterested in the attempted murder of an Autistic boy, not so much as a reply to my emails to…

View original 189 more words

Something Lurking

Lurking in the headmaster’s office, the unspeakable punishment which awaited we unruly boys and girls. A thing joked about, part of school mythology but, deep in our subconscious we half believed (feared) that it was real.

I can not recollect, at this distance in time, from whence this fantastical object which aroused such terror mingled with glee in the minds of we children came. Perhaps it was the headmaster himself who first mentioned the existence of the thing. Equally plausibly it may have been one of us children who invented the instrument of punishment in order to strike fear into the hearts of his fellow pupils.

“If you are very bad you will get the …”.

I smile, removed as I am in time from my school days, at the remembrance of the ultimate punishment. No one, to the best of my recollection ever experienced or admitted to having experienced the full force of the headmaster’s displeasure. I among others received the full force of his wrath expressed in tones which brooked no opposition. We stood outside his office not daring to speak for fear of arousing the fearsome power which lurked within.

What was it which inspired such dread? and dread it we did despite our protestations to one another that such a thing could not possibly exist. Was it the swish of the bamboo prior to it bringing out welts on our unhappy legs and arms?

Imagine the most homely of objects, a slipper. Grandfather sitting by the fire in carpet slippers drinking tea or maybe smoking a pipe. Warm red slippers, now there is nothing to alarm one in such a homely sceene. Ah, but wait a moment what if grandfather in a fit of anger at the misbehaviour of his grandchild where to remove one of those homely objects, bend the child over his knee and slipper him? Not such a benign object then.

In our case it was no ordinary slipper we boys and girls feared. It was a slipper of demonic proportions, one possessed of an inner life which would deliver a slippering never to be forgotten by it’s unfortunate recipient. We feared, my dear reader the electric slipper.

Now I have no idea whether the slipper plugged into the mains or whether it was operated by batteries, none the less the demon slipper was the talk of the dormatories, the malign presence, always lurking just out of sight but waiting to wreak a terrible vengeance on anyone who aroused the ire of the headmaster sufficiently.

Did I and my fellow students really believe in the existence of the electric slipper? It was, largely a school myth designed and perpetuated by we boys and girls to add a frisson of excitement to the relatively humdrum existence of school. However I well recall passing by the headmaster’s office as night fell and feeling a shiver at the thought that something terrible might, just possibly be lurking inside.