PARENTING

Paint pallet on wooden table covered with colourful paintings and doodles

As I sit, rubber-gloved, in the back garden, contents of the shopping delivery scattered around me on the grass, I disinfect a cucumber and reflect on how quickly this strange state of affairs has become the new ‘normal’.

Everything has changed.

Major shifts in my personal circumstances are coinciding with the global pandemic.

I left my family home around the beginning of lockdown, moving, with our two children, from one country to another, and leaving my partner of 20 years, on his own (if you don’t count the dog and a couple of cats). That part doesn’t feel good.

It…


Graffiti heart with eyes looking quite sad plus figure 52 in corner — black and white
Image: Author’s own

An unusual name. Not one I’ve heard before.

When I say it out loud, your voice lifts. ‘You’re the first English person who said it right first time!’

Surely not… the first English person in… 52 years (not 50 like your profile on the dating app states — do lies come so easily?)

Your name means ‘light’.

So does mine.

It must be a sign.

You tell me you’re an actor.

‘Probably waits tables,’ my friend jokes, ‘between jobs…’

So I look you up. ‘On the market’ after a 20-year relationship. It’s new to me to be able to check…


Pebbles forming large heart on sand with lots of footprints
Photo: Author’s own

Love of my life… it’s easy to remember when I met you. The roundest of round numbers (in our lifetime).

The year 2000.

It’ll be just as easy to recall the end. Another round number.

The beginning of a decade, bringing with it so much new hope, to then dash it to the ground with the coronavirus.

Our relationship, too, ends at a beginning. Lockdown.

I’ve lived abroad for over half of my life yet have felt an increasing pull to return to an English-speaking country, where I ‘get’ the nuances of the culture.

You, not so much. But you…


Image: Author’s own

‘For every decision you make now’,

our friend told me in the hospital waiting room,

‘ask yourself one simple question, “Will this help him to survive?”’

I stood by that guiding principle. For dear life (yes, literally), I clung to my new mantra.

But now, as I watch him slowly dying… still, I begin to care a little less. Or so I tell myself.

I wonder whether I’ll still love him when I’m strong enough to help again. Will he last that long?

Am I dragging out my own recovery — because, I suppose, that’s what this is — and…


Photo by Julienne Erika Alviar on Unsplash

Planning an escape from your joy-sucking, spirit-crushing job? Here’s a model to adapt as you like.

Subject: Resignation
Reference: Staff Number 12345

Dear Mr. Big Boss Man,

Per Article 5.4.3.2.1 of the Staff Regulations, I now tender my resignation from The Grey Sheep Mind-Control Corporation effective from today’s date because:

Here you may pause for a second, but no longer than a second. Take a deep breath.

Now, stop thinking. Just let your fingers fly back and forth across the keyboard as if it were a scorching hot piano (or your pen flit across the page as if you had a flight to catch and a life to live ).

I am more than just a number. I am a woman (or____)…


PARENTING

Whenever one of my kids asks to invite a friend round, I get a bit nervous. You could call it playdate anxiety. My knee-jerk reaction is to say ‘no’. But I’m working on it.

Playdate disaster

I think I was traumatised in early parenthood when the first playdate I arranged turned to disaster.

The memory of the crumpled look on my four-year-old son’s face as his ‘friend’ (let’s call him Jacques) destroyed him with words, still brings me out in sweats.

‘It’s rubbish at your house!’

…and it got worse. Jacques had brought his evil twin. …


Image: Author’s own


POETRY

Smiling child in sparkling sea ready to splash
Image: Author’s own, ‘Good Vibes’

It’s hot inside
We’re cramped, heat stifles
The kids need out
Mountains from trifles

I’ve loads to do
In overwhelm
I just need out
escape the helm

I flick a switch
radio on
The Beach Boys sing
that catchy song

Of waves and sea
happy Cali
Of course they’re right
it’s time to flee

We grab our towels
and deck our slides
And jog on to the beach
to ride

The waves a crashing
We’re a splashing
Laughter, fun and those
Good Vibes!

© Eilidh Horder

This poem is in response to Neha Sandhir S’s prompt, Good Vibes, from her…


Twinkle the cat with flowers
Image: Author’s own — with permission from my daughter, Lily

She was so tiny she fitted under the garage door when it was closed. Fair enough, the door was at a wonky angle. But still.

There were clues an animal was using the garage. Fluff on an old pillowcase stashed among the paint tins and brushes. And of course, the garage was her toilet.

I began to leave water and cat food out in the evenings. Not a scrap left by morning.

The first time I saw her, I was carrying food into the garage. She spotted me at the same instant. A tiny little tabby and white feline, trotting…


Photo by Patrick Hendry on Unsplash

I’ve always felt the benefits of a bit of yoga. And I’ve practiced for a variety of reasons.

Yoga is a way of getting to know a fascinating person: yourself.

Nina Anais Klein

I used to do it to lose weight and become that perfect 10 (before the days of size ‘0’). A close relative was to shift cellulite. Yoga was just one card in my extensive hand of lose-weight/get-fit obsessions, slotted somewhere in between Jane Fonda Workouts (yep… a long time ago) and the Cindy Crawford Shape Your Body program (it hurt a lot!).

I enjoyed yoga because it…

Eilidh Horder

Just picking up pebbles and gazing out to sea. www.eilidhhorder.com

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