The mystery of the Colman’s mustard tin

‘Mrs. Johnson. Dr Smith will see you now.’ I am in the queue at the family clinic waiting to help Mother show the doctor her right leg which has turned blue like an uncooked lobster and ballooned up again.  ‘Mrs. Johnson?’ The doctor’s surgery makes me anxious. The people in it are ill or withering away.Continue reading “The mystery of the Colman’s mustard tin”

Never look your mother in the mouth

Mother has a silver salt cellar cupped in her hands which she holds out towards me as if she were a beggar. Her gesture reminds me of the scene in the musical Oliver when the young Oliver asks for a second portion of gruel. I am unsettled by her gesture and my reaction to it, butContinue reading “Never look your mother in the mouth”

Walking boots, sweaty socks and scary phonecalls

I take off my walking boots and sweaty socks in the porch of the cottage and hobble bare foot to the kitchen mantel piece, where my mobile phone is charging below a map of the Brecon Beacons.  The family and I have been out walking along the River Usk for over four hours and weContinue reading “Walking boots, sweaty socks and scary phonecalls”

My mother wants to know what existentialism is

Breakfast. Mother licks her index finger and pats it onto the crumbs of pain au chocolate on her plate, while casually asking my daughter what existentialism is. ‘It was all the rage thirty years ago. But you don’t hear people talking about it anymore,’ Mother says, as if mourning the end of the golden ageContinue reading “My mother wants to know what existentialism is”