About Lizzie

Hello, I'm Lizzie. Thanks for visiting! I write about life from my perspective, in the hopes that my words will resonate with you and, if needed, help you to feel heard. I'd love to hear from you, so please do comment or drop me a line!

Grandma’s Bowl

  Grandma’s bowl is a deep, rosy pink. Exuberant yellow, mauve, and blue crocus flowers adorn the rim and the hollow. On its bottom is the maker’s stamp, Maling, Newcastle on Tyne - which means nothing to me. What captivates me about Grandma’s bowl is its opaline lustre. Its surface is alive with reflected light. And memories. It was by far the prettiest object in my grandparents’ rather spartan, sepia-toned living room, where its colours were jarring against the palette of brown, beige, and nicotine stains. Grandma used to keep her keys and bits and bobs in it, along with the odd humbug. In the same way as the scent of Pear’s soap, Grandma’s bowl conjures up not her ghost, but her flesh-on-bones presence; if I gaze into it, I can give myself over to believing that all four-feet-ten-inches of her are standing right there beside me. Grandma… Why do the words dart away from me like speckled, cunning fish when I try to describe her? How could I have spent so much time in her company - getting under [...]

By |2022-05-25T06:26:41+00:00May 24, 2022|Reflections|4 Comments

A Dog Walk

Ah… Ginger pom-pom dog approaching, we’d better wait here where the pavement’s wide. Bella, it’s very rude to lick your lips like that, it’s not a snack. Leave… Leave … Good girl. A young couple up ahead, very young, pausing, looking at the view. Young love. Will they still be together in thirty years? Three weeks? The girl, woman, casts her eyes downwards as we pass. She doesn’t look unhappy, just not happy either, as if I’ve caught her midway through a small agony of indecision. Glasses. Pale skin. Long, mousey hair and long, mousey skirt. The boy, man, has dark straggly hair, his faded jeans sit low and loose. They draw closer together, almost imperceptibly, as we pass. Claiming the space between them. The breeze lifts my unbuttoned coat as we round the corner, cools my face, feels nice in my hair. Beyond the rooftops, in the slanting fields, a solitary cherry tree foams white against green. Such bravado. At once vulnerable and defiant. A Range Rover growls by, making me flinch. Smoked windows, bodywork glinting oil-black. The shadow [...]

By |2022-04-26T09:53:16+00:00April 26, 2022|Reflections|8 Comments

Polzeath

year after year I have stood here hip-deep in churning water shoulders hunched against the wind shivering, scrutinizing, flinching from the ocean’s cold fist too fearful of submersion to join in my eyes are trained on you, and you alone out there in Neptune’s fairground where the sun makes mischief casting stars onto briny day board poised to mount the next foaming wave your body is a mirage of mercury and saltwater hungry for the wild alchemy of flightless bodies made winged I watch you plunging back, further back long-limbed and laughing so liquid with rapture that you are almost one with the moon-bridled tide windmilling my arms for warmth fleshy sand mouthing my bone-white feet I take deep, brackish breaths and wonder what strange creatures inhabit the heavy silence beneath this bellowing throat and not all of them benign ride each wave, my boy boldly, triumphantly joyously to the shore… the ocean is vast, glorious, terrifying, thrilling brutal - out there, far from the beach when you rise up for air I will be standing here would that it [...]

By |2022-04-07T14:11:44+00:00April 7, 2022|Poems|2 Comments

Joris en de Draak

“Well, they’re going to have to inject me with enough sedative to knock out a rhino. There’s no way I’ll get in that scanner otherwise.” “It won’t be any different to the tunnel on that ride in Holland…” “What? You mean that godawful rollercoaster? There was no tunnel on that!” “Of course there was! We were in it when the photo was taken!” “Well, how would I know?! I had my eyes shut!” Actually, I had my eyes shut for the entire ride. It was, categorically, the most ghastly experience of my life. Apart from that time when, with two small children in my charge, I was suspended above the French Alps in a halted, solitary cable car, screeching ‘Aidez-nous!!’ at the tree canopy… Or that time in the tatty hotel in Ibiza when we got trapped in a tiny lift, with a sizeable German family and a finite oxygen supply… Or, indeed, that time I got vertigo after climbing to the top of St Paul’s Cathedral with my Dad and, having flattened myself like a starfish against the domed [...]

By |2022-03-22T16:58:02+00:00March 19, 2022|Reflections|0 Comments

Sempervivum

It’s been nearly three weeks since I posted any writing to the blog. I have been working on a piece but, as if dragging a sack of gravel, I’m struggling to get it over the finish line. Ironic, as the subject is quite light! Like the writing, today each of my extremities feels at once heavy and light. My son is off school with a second dose of covid in three months. Since the first bout, in November, he has been easy prey for every passing pathogen. Understandably, he is feeling fed up, as he coughs, splutters, and sneezes, launching spike proteins at me and the dog, who is spending her days concertinaed on the sofa beside him. She must now be a four-legged, pot-bellied petri dish. Although my latest lateral flow test assures me otherwise, I am pretty certain I have caught covid too, as I have symptoms that mirror my son’s, and transferring the laundry from washing machine to tumble dryer just now has left me feeling like one of those wobble-necked felted dogs that used to nod [...]

By |2022-03-04T11:49:33+00:00March 1, 2022|Serendipity|4 Comments

A Dream

Hello, Mum, how are you? Did you go to see the swans in Worcester yesterday? Yes, it’s lovely to see you too. I’m OK. Busy. Oh, Sean’s doing fine, moans about school though he’s enjoying it really. Dad says you’ve been helping him with the jigsaw puzzle. The rain looks pretty set in, doesn't it? Shall I make you a coffee before I start work? By the way, Mum… I had a strange dream the other night. Dad and I were living in a house next door to very rowdy neighbours, who argued and played loud music all day long. It was summer, their garden was daubed with cheap, gaudy plastic, my thoughts all had jagged edges and my nerves wanted to crawl right out of my body. I couldn’t stand it any longer, I had to get away from them. I ran off, and found myself on a steeply slanting lane, scabby with moss. The surface was slippery, the lane so narrow that I would be clipped by any passing car. My fingers, my arms, the nape of my neck [...]

By |2022-03-03T09:53:42+00:00February 10, 2022|Conversations with Mum|6 Comments

January

Oh January, I hate to sound clichéd, but I am relieved to see the back of you. You’re a much-maligned month and I have been your staunch defender. Your arrival is like plunging into a cold, clear pool. Your lengthening days are free of the chaos of purchasing and planning that lays siege to December. You are such a beautifully bare month. My son’s birthday is also approaching. He was born on February 2nd, and announced his impending arrival on the 1st, the pagan festival of Imbolc that welcomes the return of the light. What auspicious timing, along with tentative signs of spring – although I am indulging in a fat slab of poetic licence here. The day of his birth was savagely cold, and spring’s heartbeat was sluggish beneath a skin of ice. Snow fell as I lay with my labour pains, and the weeks that followed, if I had to draw them in crayon, would be scribbles of black, grey, and red. For me, new motherhood was the most astonishing and terrible of things all at once. The [...]

By |2022-02-02T15:19:56+00:00February 1, 2022|Reflections|14 Comments

There Is Comfort Here

Here we are, after everything, sitting with memories warmer to the touch than those frail hands that you caress with shaking fingers. Here we are, after not enough time, seeing those gaudy years flapping there like flags on a showground empty since the caravans moved on. And yet – there is comfort here, in the stillness of the frosted garden, in the sun falling flimsy, in the grey winter branches, in the ribbed socks drying on the airer, the purr of the steel fridge, the cool, carpeted hall, in the photographs of people familiar and fabled, pictures of places imagined and real, gifted trinkets and tea-towels. In this home you have made. In the space that separates each tick of the clock. In the silence between us. Let us not crowd it with words. Let us not disturb the comfort that is here.    

By |2022-01-23T19:14:24+00:00January 23, 2022|Poems|6 Comments

A Very Peculiar Politeness

One recent afternoon, in the pay & display car park next to my favourite book shop, I was merrily depositing surplus 5-pence pieces in the ticket machine, feeling more and more pleased with myself the closer I got to my fifty pence target. We can all relate to the disproportionate relief of purging a purse or wallet of those low-value coins that you never get around to spending in the corner shop because, being British, you have a horror of being tutted at or, more woundingly still, eyerolled by your fellow citizens in the queue. I was a tantalizing fivepence away from the prize of a parking ticket when the machine, like an unwilling toddler at dinnertime, simply refused to swallow a penny more. I kept offering it alternative, tastier 5p’s, but it was having none of it and, in the end, vomited the whole lot back out at me, triumphantly declaring the transaction cancelled (machine-speak for “now naff off”). Aware that somebody was waiting behind me, I stepped back and invited him to chance his luck with the mulish [...]

By |2022-01-01T18:24:27+00:00January 1, 2022|Reflections|13 Comments

Merry Ex-mas

I spell Xmas with two exes. Friends invariably find my Christmas arrangements extraordinary. Both my son’s father (from whom I am long divorced) and my ex-partner (from whom I separated two years ago) spend the two days of 'Christmas proper' at my house. My ex-husband no longer lives locally. Our son was very young when we separated, and it became a verbal contract that, for as long as he wished, he would not be denied Christmas with both parents. The days of Sean rising before daylight to rip open and summarily discard Santa’s bounty may now be gone, but this family time still matters to him. And so, our atypical Christmases continue. We are able to do this because my ex-husband’s new partner is admirably accommodating of his desire to spend Christmas with Sean. My ex-partner, with whom I now enjoy a robust if frequently fractious friendship, remains single like me, so can choose to still spend December 25th with us. Crucially, he has always got on well with my ex-husband. In fact, his presence can help keep the atmosphere [...]

By |2021-12-30T11:30:29+00:00December 29, 2021|Reflections|4 Comments
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