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Unravelled

You pursued me, pretended to love me, when all you wanted was control.

The day you met my kids in that cafe, you encouraged them to misbehave – made believe it was a harmless game. You played like a fun guy to make them like you, but you were a fungus of the most poisonous kind, killing my mind.

Your behaviour changed on the day you moved into my place, taking control of every corner of my life. You held the money and you chose my clothes. Soon I was clad in ugly rags. You bought the food, yet said we had no money for my children’s shoes.

When I wanted to stop eating meat, you bought half a pig.

When I planned to give up chocolate, you showered me with the goo. You even bought me a man’s tee shirt that said “Dip me in chocolate and throw me to the lesbians”. How could I possibly have worn that?

You bought me another that was steeped in chocolate fragrance.

You asked me what was my favourite fragrance, bought it for another woman and made sure I saw it. You wanted me to think it wass for me, and I did, giving you the opportunity to tell me it was for Kaye.

You had fun with that nasty little game, and Kaye always played along. I was meant to see the expression on your face when you spotted her in the street, and you both intended to make me feel humiliated as you flirted with each other.

I saw Kaye try to play the same tricks with other men while their wives were present, but none of them played along.

You made me sell my house, and we moved. You adult son came to live with us, and the two of you made it clear that me and my children had no rights. You ganged up on us, making the most unreasonable rules. We were there for over a year before I discovered that my name was not on the deeds. You had stolen the home that I paid for. Meanwhile your son was stealing money, and you were blaming my oldest child. I laid a trap, and proved it was him. When I spoke to you about it, you stammered, looked lost, and then became angry.

“What abot Sarah,” you yelled, “she left her bag in the hall when she came home from school.”

That was one of the rules; my girls were not to leave their bags in the hall even for a moment. Sarah had gone to the bathroom before putting her bag away.

You fathered my two youngest children, and used them as a weapon against me, spoiling them and bullting them in turns, being deliberately inconsistant, making empty threats so that they ended up confused and warped by you.

You made me feel ugly and unappealing. I did my best to please you, but that only made it worse. Other men found me attractive, and even tried to steal me from you. At least three of them went to great lengths, but ai came to the conclusion that they were all crazy – why would they want someone as disgusting as me?

I shut myself off from friends as you humiliated me whenever there was an audience. If anyone came to dinner you would push you plate away, saying the food I’d carefully cooked looked too horrible to eat.

If I made an effort to look nice, you’d glance at me then turn away, as if my repulsiveness made your eyes hurt. The more I tried to please you, the worse you became. I could tell a thousand stories of your dirty antics, but I’m bored with talking about it.

You denied your warped psychology – tried to make me believe I was paranoid, and it worked. For a long time I felt too pathetic to leave you. You made me think I was too useless to survive on my own. It was only after I finally got away that I found out the worst of your crimes.

I must have been blind not to have seenwhat you were. The clues were there every time we walked down the street.

You should have gone to prison; for a while, that was what I wanted, but it was not my choice to make. When the secret reached the ears of the man who broke your ribs in revenge for what you did, you thought his sin was greater than yours, which goes to show just how sick you are.

You tried to unravel me, and for a while it looked as if you had, but I survived, and now I understand, it was you who was unravelled. My mother once said you were inadequate, looking sad as she spoke those words. She was a kind woman. I wonder if she knew what an understatement she’d made.

The Daily Post #Unravel

©Jane Paterson Basil

Every evening with Laura

Last night, Laura and I made savoury tarts – a heavenly melee of aubergine, tomatoes, peppers and onion on flaky pastry, topped with delicious mascarpone. For accompaniment, we prepared creamy coleslaw and potato salad in vinaigrette. A salad of baby leaves, rocket, sundried tomatoes and olives finished off the meal.

It was quick, easy and delicious. We followed it up with a high quality shop-bought Cicilian lemon cheesecake which left our mouths feeling as if they had been spring-cleaned, then brewed coffee and settled down to watch a movie while the milk for this week’s yogurt slowly heated to 200 degrees in the slow cooker.

This may all sound like pretty routine stuff, but in the company of Laura it becomes supreme fun. Every evening spent with Laura is a treat.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Circle

territory

See my feet?

Imagine them being at the centre of a circle two meters in diameter.

Intimate friends and family and may stand toe-to-toe with me, within the ring. They may reach for my hand, put an arm round my shoulder, and in greeting or for comfort, give me a hug.

Those in need are also welcomed in, if my presence may help.

Aquaintances and associates may place their heels several centimetres within the line, but not come too close without my willing agreement. Fake affection is not permitted.

Those who would do harm to me, my loved ones or even an innocent stranger, must stay away from my territory, lest I invade theirs with my tapping fingers.

Written for The Daily Post #Territory

©Jane Paterson Basil

How high is the fridge

 

I was with my friend, Elaine, this afternoon, when my son rang me to tell me about an achievement. He had some free time on his hands, as his girlfriend, who likes to be called Krusti, (though she’s not crusty) wasn’t around. Mid-sentence, he suddely started making “Ugh! Errr! Yuck! What the…” noises. I asked him what was wrong, and he shouted:

“The cat’s done a crap on the fridge. What’s going on? Why would she do a thing like that? It’s horrible. It’s a classic cat-shit – you know, the kind that can’t be anything but cat shit. I’ve got to go now. I have question her about it. She’s got some explaining to do.” (He has a close relationship with his cat, and thinks he may have been a cat in a previous life, so he was probably serious.)

He came out with a few shock-horror expletives, then tried to excuse her by saying that maybe she’d been unable to get outside in time. He repeated that he was going to find Rusty and interrogate her about it, and put the phone down.

Roaring with laughter, and with tears in my eyes, I told Elaine what had happened. My explanation went something like this:

“(Ho ho hee hee), Rusty (gaffaw), Rusty’s done a (hahahahaha) crap on the fridge, and Paul has gone off to (roar, choke, cough) question her. I expect he’ll try to make her clear it up.”

Elaine looked at me stonily. “I don’t think that’s funny,” she said.

I carried on laughing, at the same time trying to remember Paul’s exact words, so that she’d share the joke. I mentioned that he thought Rusty may not have been able to get outside.

Now she looked puzzled.“Jane. It’s not funny… how high is the fridge?”

I’d never seen Elaine so po-faced. She usually laughs at the things I find funny. Being too slow to come up with “Dunno, but it smells pretty high right now,” I stood up, and held the side of my forefinger against my forehead.

“How did she get up there?” she asked.

I explained. “There’s a window beside the fridge. She’d have jumped onto the sill, and then onto the fridge. She often gets up there.”

“What?” She shook her head as if to loosen the dust of disbelief. “Has she ever done anything like that before?”

I couldn’t understand why she was so upset by my hilarity.

“No, she’s usually very clean, apart from all the hairs on the carpet. She’s long-haired, so it’s a bit of a nightmare hoovering up after her.”

“What?” she said again, but she must have decided to gloss over the hair issue, since she added “Why would Krusti crap on the fridge? Is she mad?”

That finished me. It took a while to splutter out the words “not… Krusti… Rusty…. the cat.”

Finally she saw the funny side, but by then, I almost needed medical attention, and by the time she’d stopped laughing at the misunderstanding, so did she.

You may call me squeamish, but in the interests of good taste, I chose to forego an image for this post. 😉 🙂 😀

©Jane Paterson Basil

Be Bold

internationalwomensday

Don’t be too nervous to challenge inequality.

Today is International Womens Day. There are many ways to support the causes of women throughout the world. Find out more HERE.

For me, two issues stand out above the rest; they are ones which already have a lot of my attention, but I plan to:

  • Take more opportunity to campaign against violence and abuse, whatever the age, gender or race of the perpetrator

“For most of recorded history, parental violence against children and men’s violence against wives was explicitly or implicitly condoned. Those who had the power to prevent and/or punish this violence through religion, law, or custom, openly or tacitly approved it. …..The reason violence against women and children is finally out in the open is that activists have brought it to global attention”. Riane Eisler

  • Focus more on education for women in developing countries

“If you educate a man, you educate one person. If you educate a woman, you educate a nation”.

What will you do? It doesn’t have to be a lot. Having the courage to calmly speak up against injustice – when the opportunity arises – will help fertilise the soil in which other seeds may grow.

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world”.  Mahatma Gandhi.

If you’re interested in doing more, you can find a list of

  • womens rights organisations HERE
  • human rights organisations HERE

Written for The Daily Post #Nervous

©Jane Paterson Basil

Urith

chittlehampton-from-southImage credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:ChittlehamptonFromSouth.JPG
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

So often in my childhood days, I lay upon that ancient hill.
I knew its every dip and crag, and even now, by force of will
my spirit feels its rocky soil dig deep into my fleshy frame.
Though years have passed, the sacred space remains the same,
a tribute to its virgin Saint, so cruelly cut down in her prime
by farmhands of the tender sex, a faith in God her only crime.

The sun shone bright, a gentle breeze fluttered in her yellow hair,
the day she walked that track, with loving smile and ne’er a care,
to carry out her guardians task, with no suspicion in her head,
that ‘ere the morn’ was done, in bloody pool, she’d lay down, dead.
The hay was ripe, but it must wait; the scythes had wicked work to do;
grasped by evil hands they hid, until their prey came into view.

As she tripped round the bend, with slashing blades they cut her down.
While angels watched, she passed away, her beauteous face not marred by frown.
As her blood seeped through the earth, a spring appeared where she fell.
Pimpernels grew o’er death’s stains, to mark the place, and mark it well.
In bloody hue, they told the tale, and evermore, uphold the truth
of Chittlehampton’s martyr; Saint Urith, murdered in sweet youth.

I grew up one-and a-half miles from Chittlehampton, very close to the farmhouse Saint Urith was reputed to have lived in. I often walked along the public footpath which had been named for her. It was the path that, according to legend, she had walked. Saint Urith’s Holy day was the 8th of July, and our school mark it each year by visiting the well, en masse, walking in pairs, a snake of about seventy or eighty children, ranging from five to eleven years old, with the eldest at the front. I resented the glorification of this modest monument, as it wa my belief – and the belief of many others – through a tradition perhaps passed down through the centuries, that the well was elsewhere, on an unspoilt hill towards my home of Stowford, covered by scrubby gorse. To the edge of the hill was a small spring, and scarlet pimpernels grew all around it. They were the only scarlet pimpernels in the vicinity. I used to sit there and secretly imagine I felt the spirit of Saint Urith, dispite my atheist upbringing.

No scarlet pimpernels grew anywhere near the well to which we made our little annual pilgrimage.

This is my second attempt to do justice to the story of Saint Urith – I won’t give up until I get it right.

  ©Jane Paterson Basil