in which Grandma doesn’t get a kitten

The referendum on Scottish independence is over: 45% Yes, 55% No. Great Britain will continue to exist. The level of public engagement has been remarkable and the desire for change clear, so what happens next?

My niece, Little Miss Awfully Grown Up, was clear about why a Yes vote would be a good idea, “because then Grandma will get a kitten.” I don’t know if Grandma was aware of this deal. Perhaps it was negotiated with the leaders of the Yes campaign in a last minute ‘tell the people what they want to hear’ moment. You know those moments. If you’re a parent, you really know those moments- a child is playing up, displaying personality and a desire to be in control of things, and you, the grown up, make a random suggestion to shut them up. You haven’t thought it out well, you’ve just tried out various combinations of words to see if they will ease the chaos. Sometimes they cheer up immensely, behave the way you want, and then you’re stuck. What did you say? Is that possible? Does Grandma even like cats?

not actual Grandma
not actual Grandma

Early this morning, as the No dominance was clear, I saw a telling exchange on television. Yes campaigner Hardeep Singh Kohli asked No campaigner  Man in Grey Suit (it was early, I can’t remember his name) what, exactly, the promised DevoMax was going to look like. The man demurred, it was early days yet, they still had a lot of work to do. The comedian nearly exploded, “You’ve had years to prepare, how can it be early days?” But we all knew how. The ‘vow‘ was a last minute, cobbled together, ‘shut them up’ statement, and now they’re going to have to step up and deliver. Against the wishes of many in parliament, without any actual plans, and under pressure from the whole of Scotland. Closely watched by all in the UK who wonder about the constitutional situation.

The referendum is over, but the conversation isn’t. Scotland continues to lead the way.

Updates on the kitten situation as I get them.


“Have you ever considered self harming?”

She hadn’t expected that one.

What was a true answer? In these circumstances, what was a ‘right’ answer?

Her child, home sick from school, sat to one side; her husband the other. The questioner was a nurse, a government assessor, sitting in judgement. What was safe to say; indicating the truth of the thing, without being too explicit?

“I told you that I went to see the GP recently because things were feeling worse… That’s what I was worried about.”

The nurse paused before she resumed typing.  What was she writing? Would the official report of this assessment be anything she recognised?

She fidgeted, and rocked a little the chair. Nothing made up about this anxiety. Her hands were cold, clammy. When was this going to be over?

“What stopped you?”

Divorce, miscarriage, bereavement; she’d never felt as vulnerable as government assessors made her feel. The last time, she’d cried nonstop. A gibbering idiot, uncomprehending of the mechanics of ‘systems’. There were no tears this time, just a feeling of being cut open and bleeding across the grey carpet of the anonymous building.

The Christmas lights across the street flashed with council cheer: pink, red, green, yellow, blue.

The keyboard silent, the nurse waited.

She gathered herself, and raised her head.

“The other people in the room”, she said quietly.

Meanwhile her body language screamed, “Move on, ask about something else, stop making me worse.”

731 days

Well, get us. We’ve made it thus far, just by getting on. Putting one foot in front of the other.

family b&w

You knew we’d manage.

You knew the pain would dull around the edges, that the physical pain would fade from my chest.

You knew that there would still be days when I’d waken, lost and confused. Still be days when I’d cry.

But then, we’re criers- you’d expect nothing else. I never did learn to drip discreetly, in an unblotchy fashion. I sniffle and snort, and scare the dog.

You’re still pushing me on- upward and outward.

found at:
found at:

Thanks, Ma.

(2012 was a leap year)