A mum wakes in the middle of the night

Away from home

She glances around and sees her family

Husband and 3 slumbering babes

She sighs contentedly

And then it comes

She wakes up properly

Her husband dives out of bed

Two boys look bleary-eyed


A rush

A recognition that this moment has been long practised for

It needs to be seconds ideally

It takes precious minutes

Mum seizes her sleeping daughter

Throws her over her shoulder

And they run

A door is kicked down

They find themselves freezing on grass

And finally they wake up to just how precious life is

And they will remember


Linking up with Wednesday Words for the first time


The theme for the Gallery this week is November.

November’s theme for our family has involved a lot of job-seeking activities.  Every day has involved trawling job sites.  Most days have involved sending off application forms and CVs.  In November, most week days have seen job interviews all over the country.  It is proving stressful and very expensive.

My husband is looking for a job.  His skills are as follows if anybody hears of anything.  Remember he is prepared to locate anywhere in the United Kingdom for work.

* Advice  – debt, welfare benefits, housing, employment

* Negotiation – with third parties on clients’ behalf, with funders and partners

* Court representation

* Outreach work – prisons, health clinics, community centres, housing offices

* Grants processing and benevolence work

* Volunteer and staff management

* Training – design and delivery

* Media relations – writing news releases, acting as a spokesperson for an organisation

* Great IT skills

Here is what he would like from potential employers

* Please pay expenses if possible and invest in your recruitment process

* Please do not interview merely out of curiosity – we do have evidence that this has happened more than once

* Please read what he has put on the job application form

* Please make decisions quickly rather than prolonging the waiting agony

* Please allow travelling time to interview if at a distance thus saving need for overnight stays

* Please do not offer an interview and then change your mind and withdraw that offer

* Please offer feedback in a way that will inform future job-seeking

* Please consider alternative ways of interviewing initially – phone, Skype etc


I thought the photograph taken during a family day out to relieve the pressure of the hunt for a job summarised this month.


Working together

Trying to figure things out.






I am joining in with the Gallery for the first time in ages.  The theme this week is Nature.

I love getting out and seeing the natural world.  I love to be in wild woods sharing my late mother’s love of trees.

When I need to get things in perspective, I head for the sea, my late Dad’s great passion.

I remember staring out to sea when I realised Mum had very little time to live and feeling for the first time that I could live on without her or perhaps integrate her spirit into my life.  It comforted me.

We headed for the seaside at Norfolk recently determined to have fun despite our current worries about my husband’s ongoing unemployment.

Nature worked its magic again.

Here is a picture of my youngest son which shows his nature as well as the grandeur of the natural world.


Living Arrows

I am half hoping nobody reads this as I feel awful about keep going on and on about the tough stuff.

I know so many people are facing harder times but we are struggling a bit to keep upbeat all the time with this so-and-so ing redundancy situation.

We have both had redundancy situations in the past but always because of funding issues in the charities we worked for.  That is hard but not hurtful as in the current situation where the Royal British Legion have dumped my husband after so many years of loyal service and whilst recruiting other staff to do very similar roles (they would argue that point of course).

My husband has had two weeks of travelling up and down the UK trying to find work.  Interviews most days and sometimes twice a day.  No job offer and he is clearly struggling emotionally.  And he hates that.   He is not a person who is comfortable in sharing his feelings so they get bottled up and then express themselves in anger and impatience.

He is tired.  He is worried about finances.

The final straw came when we were told our car can only be put back on the road if we spend £1000 or more.  We need the car really to attend interviews.  Also it is my late Dad’s car and somehow that still matters to me.

I feel like I am walking on egg shells.

And I am a proud person who does not react well when I feel got at or put down.  To much like my late Mum in that regard.

Am I the most supportive wife in the world?  No – I have always been better at taking practical action to help rather than doing the “there, there” stuff.

Also when someone struggles to tell you how they feel, it is hard to know quite how to support them.

So I have put my efforts into trawling job sites and helping with job applications (quite a lot as it goes).

I am also trying to find bits of work for me to keep the wolf from the door.

There is also the underlying resentment that I was not listened to when I saw the warning signs that my husband would have been better to jump ship from the Legion months or years ago.  That makes me rotten I know but it is there and sometimes it is expressed by me in perhaps not the most ideal ways.

I have suggested my husband sees the GP.  He is probably depressed and maybe needs a little help for now.

How terrible of me who has experienced depression to not have a clue what to say or do to support someone in its grip.

We will be OK in the medium to long-term.  We have to hold onto that belief but sometimes it is hard to do.



Here is my poppies poem dedicated to the Royal British Legion after their harsh treatment of my husband and our family.

It is of course inspired by Wilfrid Owen’s poem.

Hard-working, totally committed to the task

Flexible, working for clients, he put in extra hours

Until people distant from the frontline turned their backs

And, ignoring families’ plight, used their powers

He phoned home. His wife lost all hope.

But they limped on, wounded. Not the same; all sad

Confused with it all; deaf even to the messages

From online, real and new friends that got behind

Help! Help! Why us? – A muddle of feelings

Getting organised with job search hoping in time ..

But the family are still calling out and stumbling,

And wondering why the others did this crime

Heartbreak, as birthdays come and hardship bites

As under a sea of poppies, you see us drowning

In all my days, before my helpless sight,

The children look at me, not understanding what went wrong

If in some other reality you too could face

The tears the man and child do cry

And feel how the man feels he has let us down

His morose face, who can’t quite believe what they have done to us

If you could see the travel and effort across the UK

The money spent, the hopes dashed

The obstructions placed, in a way that is not OK

The lack of checking in

My friend, you would not tell with such belief

Based on years of being misled

The old Lie; the Royal British Legion cares for our service people and their families.

Not this one, they don’t.

My favourite poem is Wilfred Owen’s “Dulce et Decorum Est”.

It tells the truth about war and its horrors. It calls on people not buy into the “Old Lie”.

Little did I know that one day I would write a poem using that one as my foundation on the Old Lie that the Royal British Legion care about all service and former service people and their families.

We remain very hurt, bitter and let down.

We will not be defeated.