Monday, 27 March 2017

My Baby Girl

She’s agitated, constantly running her hand through her long, lank, brown hair, pulling at the ends; “Is he out there? He’s out there, isn’t he? I saw him. He’s waiting, he tells me he’s waiting, ALL THE TIME.”

Jumping up, Ellie’s hands grab the bottom of the stained blue t-shirt, tugging at the hem. She snatches up her tobacco tin with the smiling emoji, which appears to be sarcastically grinning at her distress. Pacing barefoot over her dirty, sticky tobacco strewn floor, she rolls, or attempts to roll, a cigarette. Her hands shake too much, she slams the tin and her papers down on the table top, scattering more tobacco leaves on the floor.

I sit perched on the edge of the ripped faux leather sagging sofa, watching Ellie, observing her distressed state. Her red-rimmed grey eyes, pale skin, beads of sweat forming on her forehead, are physical symptoms of her distress at the visual and auditory hallucinations that I know she’s experiencing.

There is nothing I can do to help ease her fears. I used to naively believe that telling Ellie they aren’t real would help her. It didn’t, nothing helps. Meds, if she takes them, can calm her for a bit, make them easier for her to deal with but nothing takes away the voices in her head, the paranoia.

Ellie kicks an empty lager can across the room causing lager to flick up onto my boots. I watch the drops remotely. I don’t need to tell her that drinking makes things worse, she knows this. Ellie has tried so many things to find her ‘oblivion’ as she calls it. Some doctors say her drug taking caused her psychosis to kick in. I think she started the drugs to try and manage the scattered thoughts that were already in her head.

“You could play that new Ed Sheeran CD you like Ellie? Just focus on the words in the songs.” That’s my lame suggestion, or so it seems in my head, even as the words come out.

Ellie stops pacing, still moving her hands, wringing them together, and stares at me. She starts banging the side of her head with her hand, shouting “get out, get out, get out.”

My stomach twists, and I hold myself back from pulling her hand away, from stopping her hurting herself. I know it won’t help, just make her more agitated, so I just sit there, watching, feeling useless.

Then Ellie stops the banging and picks up the tobacco tin again in another attempt to roll another cigarette.
“Ellie, come and sit down, it’ll be easier to roll the cigarette.”

Surprisingly she does sit down, on the sofa next to me. 
Her smell wafts over to me. The mix of stale tobacco smoke, unwashed skin and the alcohol on her breath, but it’s so rare for Ellie to sit close to me now, that I push down on my queasiness. My hand is itching to reach around her back and pull her to me. I miss her, the Ellie I used to love, so much. This Ellie, she breaks my heart every day but it’s not her fault. I don’t touch her though. She doesn’t like to be touched, anymore.

The little girl I knew loved hugs. My throat thickens and my eyes fill with tears as I remember her running towards me, yelling ‘Aunty Eve, Aunty Eve, Aunty Eve’ over and over as I would grab her up in a big hug. “I love you baby girl”, I whispered in her ear as I tickled her. Ellie would giggle, then squirm to get down so she could take my hand and get me involved in her latest game.

Then she stopped hugging me.

She would still spend time with me but her attention became scattered and she withdrew into herself. Everyone said, “oh she’s just being a teenager”. I knew something was wrong. No-one would listen and Ellie wouldn’t talk to anyone else. Then eventually she stopped talking to me, and started taking drugs and drinking. I lost my baby girl then, but I never left her, unlike the rest of the family.

Now, Ellie is lighting her cigarette. “Someone comes in my flat you know, in the night. I know they do. They move things.  I don’t feel safe, it’s not safe in here.” Her voices breaks, and she looks at me, “I’m scared.”

My tears fall out and roll down my cheeks, “baby girl” I whisper and I instinctively reach out to pull her towards me. “I’ll keep you safe, I promise”, as Ellie grabs me round my waist and cries on my shoulder as I hold her so tight, selfishly savouring every second of her fear, knowing she’ll pull away soon.

And then it’s over.

Ellie jumps up, her cigarette end long with ash that scatters over me as she rushes to the window and peers out.
She turns and says, “Aunty Eve?”
“Yes baby?”
“He wants to kill me. He wants to come and stab me and I told him no! I told him get out my head.”
“Well done girl, you tell him, you fight him.”
Ellie giggles, and draws from her cigarette. Then jumps as there’s a knock at the door.

My stomach knots as I look from Ellie, to the door, and back to Ellie. And I know she knows.
My heart shatters as I see the look of hatred in her eyes, and the fear.
I stand and rush towards the door before Ellie can stop me, all the time hating myself. And waiting for the begging to start.
I open the door and let the psychologist and the police into Ellie’s flat, into her space.
No! I’m not going, I’m not crazy.
You can’t make me go. They’ll hurt me. Aunty Eve, please, you can’t let them. You said you would keep me safe.”
“I am baby, I am keeping you safe. From yourself. I love you baby girl.”
And I leave.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015


This year, I'm going to treat myself to a day at London Comic Con. Why the hell not?!? The event was suggested to me due to my love of all things geek! I checked out the website today and decided I was definitely interested as it seems a larger version of a similar con I'd attended in Brisbane called Supanova.

My first Supanova attendance was decided upon purely because Felicia Day was on the guest list. I couldn't resist the chance to meet her as I had been watching her youtube series 'The Guild'. I had developed a bit of a girl crush on her that still exists today! I expected there to be other Felicia Day fans but I honestly had no idea how huge her following was in Australia. Her queue was a long as the queue for the actor who played Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter movies! That impressed upon me just how well known she really was. I joined the massive queue and started to chatting to people near me. So many fellow geeks in one place, that was a new experience for me! I met one lovely lady in the queue, who kept me company for the two hour wait. She's an artist and I bought these three pictures from her that day.

Jemina Venter sells her art through Redbubble and if you love YA novels and geek tv, you are going to love her work.

Then it was my turn to meet Felicia and ask her to sign a copy of The Guild graphic novel. She was so lovely and even noticed and commented on my arm sleeve (she stroked it! Swoon!). I also paid to have my picture taken with her, which I would show you but all it does is show up how awful I look and how stunning she is! I am shallow enough to not do that on my own blog!
I met one other guest that day for an autograph and she was not friendly at all! And considering I was the only one at the time, you'd think she would have at least smiled!

I restricted myself at each Supanova I attended to only pay for one or two autographs and I've only paid for that one picture so far. I think you can get carried away and end up hundreds of dollars down pretty quickly for the sake of a few signatures.

The main guests I am willing to pay for autographs from are the Firefly cast as I am slowly getting my Firefly dvd signed. My hope is to one day complete the collection. So far I have 3 cast members (Morena, Adam and Sean) and am impatiently waiting for the day I can meet Nathan and Joss!

I am always surprised by how high the calibre of guests are at these events. The fact that they travel around the world to meet their fans enduring jet lag, sitting for hours signing and making inane chit chat with a bunch of strangers some of whom think they are either funnier or wittier than they really are! I'm so pleased they do it! Which actually, come to think of it, might explain why the lady I met after Felicia was so miserable!

I consider myself lucky enough to have met George R R Martin who signed my copy of Games of Thrones and he didn't charge, which I felt was lovely and I thanked him for that! Considering he wrote all the books and the G o T actors upstairs only played out some of those words, you'd think if anyone had the right to charge for his time, it would be him!
Unlike Peter Dinklage, who was going to charge twice the price of everyone else for an autograph and a picture and there were stars there that I considered more well known than him. He did cancel last minute, which makes you wonder if he even wanted to go in the first place!

I saw The Hoff which I was ridiculously excited about, purely because it's The Hoff! But I was disappointed to miss out on meeting William Shatner when he was in Australia.

Other than queuing to meet famouses, I explored the venue, met unknown authors and was always fascinated by how much effort everyone puts into their cosplay outfits. My favourite was a couple dressed as Ghostbuster characters who had adapted their pushchair into a mini Ghostbuster car with sound effects and lights. The baby was dressed in a mini Ghostbuster outfit sitting inside the little car! 
I just don't have the imagination, talent or commitment that cosplay guys have. My husband had a workmate who spent hundreds of dollars on each outfit. He had a storm-trooper outfit, a Ghostbusters one and a Captain America outfit. I would rather spend it on books and meeting Firefly cast members. 

I'm looking forward to seeing the guest list for this years London Comic Con and really, really hope there is a Firefly cast member who's autograph I don't have yet! (Please Nathan Fillion-make my year!!)

I am starting to read more comics lately so I want to check out the Comic Village. I am going to, for the first time, try and attend some of the talks and I also love the idea of the VidfestUK events and getting the chance to meet the people behind online videos and various web series.

Really, I just want to walk around, meet some authors, check out the cosplay and enjoy spending time with fellow geeks!

Monday, 3 August 2015

Paperback summer reading challenge - June-July

Since starting the paperback summer challenge in June, I have deviated somewhat from my original list, as I suspected I would! I have added 6 to that original list of 21 books! It's no wonder I'm going to struggle with completing the list by the end of August! As well as the above, I have also read the 3 e-books below -

My absolute favourite book that I have read so far this summer is To Kill a Mockingbird (my review of which is here) but I also really enjoyed the following. Randomly all of which are science fiction/fantasy!:-

Deviants by Maureen McGgowan - the writing was only ok but the plot and characters were very strong and I was thoroughly involved in the story. I can't wait to start the next book in the series.

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss - I was asked to read this for my friend's bookclub and I was excited as it has been on my to-read list for years! It is a large book (661 pages) so I was a bit intimidated but couldn't put it down until I had finished. Now I need to find the time to read the rest in the series!

Station Eleven by Emily St.John Mandel - you can find my review of this lovely book here

My to-read shelf now looks like this -

I have a feeling that this shelf will take me onto the end of September. I'll be lucky if I finish 3 or 4 of them by the end of August but at least I have made a good effort to reduce my to-read shelf! It's just a shame that I keep adding to it by buying more!

I am most looking forward to reading All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr and The Lives of Girls and Women by Alice Munro, mainly to see if they live up to the hype. 

I always love reading Dorothy Koomson, she is one of my favourites, and an author whose books I never miss. I have been wanting to read Joanne Trollope’s version of Sense and Sensibility ever since it as first published and I’m currently hunting for Val McDermid’s version of Northanger Abbey.

How are you all getting on with your paperback summer reading challenges?  

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To Kill a Mockingbird and Go Set A Watchman reviews

Can you believe I made it to the ripe old age of thirty-something without ever reading this book? All that time wasted reading crap books when I could have been re-reading this wonderful book time and time again.

If you have never read this book, or even heard of it, well then where have you been hiding? The story is about a young girl, a tomboy, called Scout. She lives in Maycomb County, Alabama with her father, Atticus, who is the town lawyer. She has a brother, Jem and they have a cook/housekeeper/surrogate mother figure called Calpurnia. The story starts off with Scout telling us how her brother broke his elbow, or at least that is what she tells us the story is going to be. The events leading up to that end up following several years in Scout's childhood. During those years, the most significant event is the trial of Tom Robinson. I won't go into the story any more than that as I read it with no prior knowledge and I think I enjoyed the book all the more for that.

Why do I like it so much? Because the main character, Scout, has so much innocence, good old-fashioned gumption, a wonderful imagination and that innocent love that children have for their family and friends. I loved the stories of her and Jem's antics as well as her view on all the wonderful characters living in Maycomb. I thought that Harper Lee did a fantastic job of writing about the trial and the politics surrounding the case from the observation of a child. I particularly loved the character of Dill, I felt so sorry for him but at the same time found his individuality and strength heart-warming.

I then, of course, like millions of others picked up my pre-ordered copy of Go Set a Watchman. 

In case you have missed it, this was Harper Lee's first manuscript, which she set to one side before going on to write To Kill a Mockingbird. Go Set a Watchman is told from the viewpoint of a grown up Scout, who returns to Maycomb for a visit from her new hometown of New York. There has been a lot of controversy surrounding Harper Lee and her lawyer, and whether or not this book should have been published. I'm not going to speculate on that here as, quite frankly, I don't really care! I took great delight in opening this book up and seeing 'other books by Harper Lee'! 
I dove straight in and at first, I was not overly enamoured by it but as I moved through the book, I found myself really enjoying it. I do have to say that I think she made the right choice in writing the novel again, in the form of To Kill a Mockingbird, from Scout's childhood. The flashback scenes in this book were, by far, my favourite scenes. The politics in this book went way over my head as politics usually does! Especially as it was told from the view of an adult Scout, whereas in To Kill a Mockingbird, it is written from young Scout's view and therefore I were not bogged down by it all. I did not see the point in the character Henry. I failed to see why he was there at all. I do understand he might have been a tool in which Scout could be seen as throwing off the expectations of her Aunt and Maycomb society, to become the doting housewife and compliant lady. This did not really convince me though. I felt Harper Lee would have been better to have kept Scout’s brother in it and used him as the young male character for Scout to bounce off instead. However, it is all a moot point as Harper Lee re-wrote this manuscript into To Kill a Mockingbird precisely because this story did not work. As to other critics calling Atticus a racist in this story, I think they have failed to see the point of the story at all! I can only say to them, please re-read this book as you were obviously reading a different book to me. I am not saying he wasn’t, I’m just saying you obviously did not understand the last few chapters. One highlight for me, apart from the flashbacks, was the character of Uncle Jack, who I loved purely because he was so sweet and funny.

I probably will re-read this again one day but not for a long time. I am really glad I have read it though. If you love To Kill a Mockingbird, I wouldn't say you have to read this. I would say, have a go if you are intrigued, just for the hell of it.

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Saturday, 25 July 2015


My cousin sent me the way of Bloglovin' today. I'd heard of it before but hadn't really looked into it. Well, today I decided to pull my finger out and get productive, if I want to get serious about blogging. So I signed up, added widgets to my blog and the app to my phone and followed blogs. Done, now what???

Humm, then I realised how long it had been since I wrote a post. Lately I just haven't had any inspiration to write. I've read lots but cannot think of a thing to write about book reviews, geek stuff or just in general.

It doesn't help that a friend of mine has shown me some beautiful writing they have been doing on the sly, I feel so intimidated by how talented they are and I am not! At the same time, I'm so honoured that they have shared this with me. I'm hoping they can inspire me to write!

I accompanied someone to a folk sing-a-round the other night. A group of people sat in a room taking it in turns to sing, play instruments or read poems. I wanted to join in and read some of my poems but that I'm just not confident enough in them yet, but I'm working on it!

I have an option to take a creative writing module in January, at Uni, but once again I'm feeling too intimidated. This module counts towards my final marks, and I just don't think I'm good enough to keep up among my standard 60-65% grades if it's reliant on my writing ability.

What I need to do is give myself a mental slap! Reading this blog post back, I'm obviously just having a pity party!

I'll get back to you when I've sorted myself out!! Hopefully tomorrow....

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Writing Again!

It's been a long time since I posted any of my writing on this blog. 

The original plan was that every Friday I would post short stories, poems and extracts from my novel attempts. 

However, life just got in the way, and my confidence took a nose dive but if I plan to take Creative Writing at Uni next semester, I'd better get used to criticism!

I warn you though, I am not brilliant at this so if you have a weak stomach for crappy writing, move along now!

I am also rubbish at grammar and quite frankly don't care either! 

I write as I think regardless of the sense it makes. 

Plus I love exclamation marks, a lot!

Today I'm posting a rewritten version of a poem I posted here back in March 2013.

I was inspired by articles and eyewitness accounts of life during the Great Dust Storm of 1935 in Texas.


dropping on you with a roar 
as if you have no right
to be alive

suffocating blackness
cloying foulness
enveloping all things

darkness bellowing out
ripping at your senses
all you can taste see feel smell hear
is dust

nothing but dust
filling your nose
your lungs

blinding you
choking you
blistering your skin
leaving you alone

all alone
yet still surrounded by others
somewhere maybe
a touch a hand takes yours

takes you away
darkness lightens
the thundering whimpers away
for now

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

I have been too busy to follow the Tournament of Books this year but I thought I would at least catch up on who won. Having seen that 'Station Eleven' had won hands down over the 2015 Pulitzer winner, 'All The Light We Cannot See', I thought I'm going to have to check this book out. I ordered a copy from my local bookstore and dove straight into it as soon as I got home.

The premise seemed really interesting; a virus comes along and wipes out a vast majority of the world's population and those remaining, in North America at least, attempt to develop a brand new civilization.

The first thing I discovered was the structure is not as straight forward as you would expect. It jumps about between a number of different characters. They all seem to be connected to an actor, Arthur Leander, who dies in the first chapter. At least that is what I thought at first. On further reading, I realized they are all connected through his first wife, Miranda. Every character either met her or read her graphic novel, Station Eleven. The time also jumps back and forth between before and after the deadly virus. Oddly, this jumping about did not irritate me in anyway, it only made the book more intriguing. I was fascinated by each of the main characters and was always pleased to find out more little nuggets about each of them and to slowly watch their stories tie together.
The writing is fast paced and definitely not boring. I loved this book

Monday, 8 June 2015

The Paperback Summer reading challenge

I'm a bit slow on the uptake and I've only just discovered the Paperback Summer reading challenge.

This is run by Sophie and Suze, fellow book bloggers. Their challenge is for us to read as many paperbacks as we can in June, July and August (so, over the summer).

Now, I came back over to the UK a year ago with 3 books and have somehow managed to accumulate about 90 more in that time. Some of them are Uni books, more have been passed on or given away in that time but I have 54 left to read. And 8 graphic novels. And in July, my shipment of books should arrive from Australia. When I left I had around 500 books, of which I had 90 on my still TBR pile.

Somehow I can't see me making my way through 162 books in 3 months, so I'm going to settle for a far more easily obtainable number of 20. That might seem low to some people but trust me, try my job for a week and I challenge you be able to find the mental capacity to handle a book after one of my shifts! All you want to do is sleep!

So the books I plan to read are (and I am cheating by including the three books I'm reading at the moment as I started them in June!):-

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Obsession in Death by J D Robb

The State We are in by Adele Parks

The Gospel of Loki by Joanne Harris

That Girl from Nowhere by Dorothy Koomson

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing by Eimear McBride

The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence

We are all Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

The Celebrity at Home by Violet Hunt

Longbourn by Jo Baker

Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid

Lives of Girls and Women by Alice Munro

Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead

The Ruby Circle by Richelle Mead

The Truth About You by Susan Lewis

Call The Midwife by Jennifer Worth

An Astronaut's Guide to Life by Chris Hadfield

I will probably chop and change this list though depending on my mood! That's what I do! I'm a fickle soul!

(Just nipped into Waterstones and picked up -

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

So make that 21 books on my list now!)

Friday, 29 May 2015

Uni summer break

I just handed in my last essay of this first year at Uni. I have to say I was a little disappointed that there were no cannons of glitter as I walked up to the box! Trust me, I deserved it, every student does! Maybe we should suggest it at the next student/faculty meeting.

I was up all night re-writing this essay as I felt it just wasn't going in a direction I was happy with. I came into Uni to print it off, decided to edit a couple of areas and then saved in cyberspace. I have no idea where it went. All that extra editing and I had to leave for work. You can imagine my relief when I remembered that I had printed off a copy! 15 minutes later to add in the edits again, discovering a few more things to edit along the way, a printed copy and as saved copy I can find. Uploaded on Learn and handed into to the ever efficient and unflappable Lucy!

My treat to myself for all this-in bed by 8pm!! Ha the life of a working student is soo exciting!

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

3 essays to go and I can read all I want. And I cannot wait!