Flash, part-stories, short stories
This isn’t a post about battles between farming folk and city-dwellers.
Sorry if you were expecting one but as I find I have a foot squarely in both camps, I can see both sides of most arguments waged around subjects here.
I’ve been married to a farmer for 24 years and 4 months (do you think he’s planning something big for October) but I’ve never lost my yearn for city-life and exploring new places.
We know that Man of the Woods is happiest when surrounded by his trees and clods of dirt (some of which fall from his boots when he pops his legs up on the corner of the kitchen table after most meals.
He’s very specific about his food. I used to moan he was difficult because I couldn’t just rustle up a sandwich of my choosing and deliver it to the tractor. It had to be whatever his thing was at the time. His thing at the moment is “ten of my special biscuits sandwiched into 5 with peanut butter, no butter, thank you. And a coffee.”
Once I’ve made sure the ingredients are in the cupboard, it’s surprisingly easy to keep him happy so I’ve altered my view of him being awkward to predictable, and that’s quite refreshing to work with. Imagine having a husband who wanted a gourmet dish designed and prepared each day?!
It always amazes me that within minutes of turning a foot’s depth of soil over on a field which has been stubble all autumn and winter – ploughing – that seagulls appear from nowhere and swoop in for worms.
I mean, the coast is fifteen miles away. How can they smell, see, sense that a farmer has hitched up his plough rather than a drill or a sprayer? Do they send a scout out to roam the skies for brown fields?
Covent Garden last night. Walking towards Leicester Square; just that whole West End lights and buzz vibe. You can’t beat it in my book 💙
Luckily these days, MoW accepts (rather than let’s me go) that I adore being there and knows an occasionally ‘fix’ makes me happy, so no longer do we have the conversations where he would query the need to leave the village boundary and I would get defensive from the feeling of judgement or being restricted.
Does that make sense?
This was a roiboos tea in a cafe in the centre of Covent Garden, before we ‘women of the family’ garnered for a show to mark the 70th birthday of my mother in law.
I’d assumed for years that I knew Tina Turner. I was aware of someone called Ike being a ‘big name’ in music a long time ago and I’ve been vaguely aware of their union.
I was wrong.
All I knew was the facade which Anna Mae Bullock chose to portray to the world during the 80s onwards once she had finally split from Ike.
She’s been through the bloody lot. The crap that is racism and which was still ruling those times; domestic abuse from her husband of 16 head including regular beatings. She was ‘used to’ the way of life having been brought up by her father who commanded his way in the home via violence, which her mother walked out on but leaving Anna Mae with her father.
I did clap. Here and there. But not like most of the audience who saw it at face value.
I felt the expected vibe towards the end when she finally found love with a man sixteen years her junior, a white German to whom she is still married.
But the majority of the show I found incredibly disturbing. Five years ago I’d have watched it at face value also. But spending those weeks doing self esteem courses at the Women’s Aid refuge two years ago meant I no longer see things at face value.
I’ve been alongside, sat next to, women who have suffered physical abuse at the hands of their supposed protectors/husbands and seen the emotional damage those wounds still cause long after the bruises have gone.
I’ve never experienced physical abuse. Although it is only one of seven recognised forms of the domestic abuse umbrella … listed in the 2015 Coercive Control Law which was passed in the UK in December of that year. Makes for incredibly interesting reading if you are unfamiliar with what constitutes being assertive and breaking the law.
At the end of the show, I wasn’t so much elated for Tina Turner as sad for Anna Mae. The years spent hoping things would change, praying she would make it big because she needed to escape her ‘norm’ . The systems which were not in place then to help or recognise there was a problem. As her sunset years approach her, I hope she is still happy with the love of her life.
The romantic writer part of me is relieved she found Erwin.
The dark thriller writer part of me wants to finish Ike off in some grizzly way.
But for now, let’s just make do with a superb view of sunset over West Hampstead.