Directions – Day Thirty – #NaPoWriMo21

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So we are at the end of another NaPoWriMo! How has it gone for you, if you’ve been writing this month?  Has it been a fast or slow one for you this year?  Do you feel like you got into any grooves?

My auntie bought me this very apt tee!

Here April 2021 has been a weird month because Eldest has only managed to be in school for four days of it, due to the Easter holidays running from 2nd-18th inclusive then him just getting back before his whole class having to unfortunately isolate for 10 days due to a positive Covid case being found in their midst.  Today was Eldest’s last day of isolation, and we have been extremely lucky in that the test he was asked to take on his 5th day came back negative, and he hasn’t developed any symptoms in the several since.  He’ll be loose just in time to have his first haircut in 14 months tomorrow 😉

The last prompt for this year’s challenges said:

write a poem in the form of a series of directions describing how a person should get to a particular place. It could be a real place, like your local park, or an imaginary or unreal place, like “the bottom of your heart,” or “where missing socks go.” Fill your poem with sensory details, and make them as wild or intimate as you like.

With my recent experiences, I couldn’t really think past homeschool-y stuff, but Hubby reminded me of the mocking directions we received from Venetians while on our first holiday together.  So the second poem I wrote incorporated that, and probably meets the brief a little better than my first.  It still doesn’t adhere very well, mind you!


Venturing out in the warm marbled streets, we took a wrong turn.

Eagerly tried to jump into our map, then asked a native:

          “left, then right, then over the bridge…” said he.

Nice gentleman, we thought, and bumbled down more architectural alleyways.

Ice creams in hand, we stopped another person, who looked exasperated too.  Where to go?

           “left, then right, then over the bridge”

Could it be we’d heard that before…? A sumptuous shawl here, a pastry or two there,

Enraptured by the setting sun, but no closer to home (our hearts sinking too) we went:

             “left, then right, then over the bridge”


Left our wits in the bottom of a red wine glass.

Offered too many Euros for the right to be photographed by other tourists.

Spun around, laughing at our predicament.

Trip-trapped over water, and miraculously arrived.


We’re obviously in the mood to reminisce about holidays in our house this week 😉


The first poem I wrote, as I said, shows my recent preoccupations (this is the second time Eldest’s class has had to isolate since October) but it is again an acrostic one.


In a daze, I read the notification –

Surely not again?!

Eldest’s 11 year old fingers are getting long! His thumb has already surpassed mine.

Oh the sad face as he realises

Long days in the house

Are here once more!

Tangled feelings knot

In stomachs and foreheads,

Outbursts abound.

No corner of the house is safe.


Fasten in for a bumpy ride,

Regular active stuff takes a hiatus.

Energy slumps, but there are cuddles,

Even silly giggles over the

Drudgery of comprehension sheets.

Out of posters and maths and

Microsoft BLOODY Teams, we emerge thankful.


Hubby and I have not been offered any of our vaccine doses yet, plus it is always horrible to watch either of our kids go through any kind of illness, so it has been a bit of an anxious watch-n-wait game here.  It really does make you think about what contingencies you can rely on, it’s such a scary thing having to send your kid into education for their own mental health, but to also have to weigh up in the back of your mind whether they would see it as worth the risk if they did lose a parent this young by bringing Covid back with them! How well could Hubby or I coach them through that eventuality?!

Plus, with all the variants, it feels like only a matter of time til the virus starts hounding the school age population.  I try to turn my head off from those paths, but 2am thoughts are not kind…

So I am choosing to just be grateful that we dodged this latest threat, and not to fixate too much on how busy the town will be when we go to the hairdressers tomorrow 😉  hopefully Eldest and I will get a walk or two this weekend and the weather will be kinder than the downpours that my app predicts. 

Eldest has done really well with his homeschool work and attended the (once a day) short calls with the various teachers, even though he didn’t really want to.  He has been a star despite being cooped up and I think he is secretly proud of himself.  It’s a good result in a less than desirable turn of events.  And that is fab.

Thank you for stopping by during my NaPoWriMo 2021 exploits. Please continue to take care of yourselves, and I will attempt to write a post about the big hair-lopping session over the next day or so!

Ciao for now, lovely readers!


Monty X


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Please do not use any of my content (posts, pictures, poetry etc) without my permission, but feel free to link back to my blog if something catches your eye. Thank you!

Looking to the Skye – Day Twenty-Nine – #NaPoWriMo21

#NaPoWriMo21, Childhood, Mental Health, Other Poetry, Parenting 4 Comments »


Hope you are all ok?

It is after Midnight and I haven’t got this post out yet because I’ve been reading about our Skye holiday on the blog!!

The prompt on for Day 29 was to:

Imagine a window looking into a place or onto a particular scene.

So I thought about this pic and then just had to read all the surrounding text, and subsequent  other posts…

I did then write a poem, though 😉


Ah, Skye…

Our children in raptures

at the sight of so much sea

from multiple windows.

Boats and people

to make up narratives for.

A ponder or two about

a ‘staring’ red phone box.


How different the world felt then,

and yet we didn’t know

that even the small amount of exploration we managed

would be a wealth of freedom

to our ‘20s selves.


The air!

The clouds!

The beach trips!

Sunsets that stretched around bridges

that lead out

and joined others to us.


3 and two thirds years later

those views speak volumes,

whilst Eldest and I

tackle fractions,

praying for a reprieve.


Eldest was 7 and Youngest was 4 back in July 2017.  How did time move so quickly?! Eldest is now staring down the summer before his last year of Primary School!

Which windows would you rather be looking out of right now?

Take care and I’ll meet you here tomorrow for the last poem of NaPoWriMo 2021!


Monty X


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Please do not use any of my content (posts, pictures, poetry etc) without my permission, but feel free to link back to my blog if something catches your eye. Thank you!

Sorrowful – Day Twenty-Seven – #NaPoWriMo21

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Hopefully no one is feeling too sorrowful today? 

I was forced to contemplate the ‘dark side’ a bit for my poem, because my prompt said:

I’d like to challenge you to write a poem inspired by an entry from the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows. The entries are very vivid – maybe too vivid! But perhaps one of the sorrows will strike a chord with you, or even get you thinking about defining an in-between, minor, haunting feeling that you have, and that does not yet have a name. [from here]

I decided to poke around P7 of the assigned dictionary, because that is a lucky number for me. I found the words “Gnossienne” and “Adronitis” bookending the page.  The first (roughly) means a frustration with never getting to know someone completely, the second (again roughly) is to do with feeling exasperated that you have to work on someone for a long time before getting to the deep stuff.

I am a person who can get others to spill their life stories with a tilt of the head and a heartfelt “are you ok?” at times.  So these words spoke to me 😉 click on the words’ links to get to their fuller meanings.



comes creeping in

a gift of sight

my cycles bring to light.


There are just some crazy days

all thoughts become ablaze

with everything you didn’t say;

I’m tapped into that frequency

and all pretence gets blown away.


I’m banging on locked doors

and searching for loose boards,

how can I adore

someone I can’t explore?



I’d rather catch a lift

into the great abyss,

and hold a hand or two

ponder what we’d do

in the ‘perfect’ world,

our righteous minds unfurled


(Where pain would not exist

and we’d follow our bliss…)


Intense, and scarred by falls,

I’ll scale all of your walls;

disarm you with friendly glances

convince you I’ll take my chances.


Well, I have no idea whether I like that or not, it’s a crazy hour of the morning and I need to backdate this and get to bed 😉 take care, and ‘see’ you soon!



Monty X

[pic is from here]


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Please do not use any of my content (posts, pictures, poetry etc) without my permission, but feel free to link back to my blog if something catches your eye. Thank you!

Fear-al – Day Twenty-Four – #NaPoWriMo21

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How you doing?

So who doesn’t like reading about sharks and Megalodons?! I turned to P16 and 20 of a book called World Of Animals Book of Sharks and Ocean Predators that I found on the Readly app to fulfil the brief for Day 24’s Napo prompt:

Find a factual article about an animal. A Wikipedia article or something from National Geographic would do nicely – just make sure it repeats the name of the animal a lot. Now, go back through the text and replace the name of the animal with something else – it could be something very abstract, like “sadness” or “my heart,” or something more concrete, like “the streetlight outside my window that won’t stop blinking.” You should wind up with some very funny and even touching combinations, which you can then rearrange and edit into a poem.

I chose to use the world ‘fear’ to replace ‘shark’.  P20 has a nice illustration of how Megalodons would measure up to humans and explains they fed on whales.  I chose to play about with my word substitution in an excerpt from P16:

Nearly every stereotype of the fear is wrong.  They aren’t primitive animals, they aren’t mindless killing machines and they don’t prey on humans.

Fears are elasmobranchs, meaning that they are fish with cartilage skeletons instead of bones.  Far from being an evolutionary leftover, however, this evolved to save weight so large fears could still be fast and agile swimmers.

Cartilage also lets fear conserve calcium and phosphorus, which is important because they need both for making teeth. And they get through a lot of those.  Fears treat their teeth as disposable weapons and can lose a couple with every bite…

[ISBN 978 1785 461 187]


As the last step, I wrote a poem using what I had learned about ‘fear’ thanks to this prompt.


Whale-cries from my stomach.

Some Megalodon

has risen from the depths

to finish me off;

its blunt nose in my business,

its looming shadow

the movement at the corner of my eye.


Sharp serrations.


Ossifying oddness left behind.


Prefrontal! Prelimbic!



Prehistoric predator prevails.


If you are interested, I read an article about Fear and the brain’s responses to it here.

The kids are away out in the back garden playing footie with their dad and will want my laptop when they’re back.  I have been giving out a lot of hugs and talking about sharks, so again this has taken a while to construct 😉

I hope you have sunshine and good things to look forward to whatever your Saturday brings.  Take care and have fun!


Monty X


[pic is from here]

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Please do not use any of my content (posts, pictures, poetry etc) without my permission, but feel free to link back to my blog if something catches your eye. Thank you!

Alas – Day Twenty-One – #NaPoWriMo21

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Hi 😊

Hope you are all well? It is a glorious sunny day here, but I have entered spooky territory with today’s prompt:

Have you ever heard or read the nursery rhyme, “There was a man of double deed?” It’s quite creepy! A lot of its effectiveness can be traced back to how, after the first couplet, the lines all begin with the same two phrases (either “When the . . .” or “Twas like,”). The way that these phrases resolve gets more and more bizarre over the course of the poem, giving it a headlong, inevitable feeling.

Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that, like this one, uses lines that have a repetitive set-up. [from]

I kept thinking about Poe while writing my answer to the prompt, and all the associated ponderings and thoughts this gave way to helped me get the ending to come out in a rush 😉


Alas, she came to marry me.

Alas, the me she chose to see

Was (alas!) not worth her time.

Alas, I became naught but slime.

Alas, this slime it chose to stick,

Alas! This sticking made her sick;

Alas! This sickness cost her mind,

Alas! Her brain then chose to find

A sick, sticking place; dark and gruesome!

(A horrid, putrid, TOMB this twosome!)

A thorny bed, a sick-stuck head,

A MURDER, then, was committed…



So it really is a lovely day out there.

I’m off to get some lunch (!) take care of yourselves, and I’ll be baaaack 😉


Monty X


[Pic is from here]


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Hi-ho Sijo – Day Twenty – #NaPoWriMo21

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Hiya 😊

The NaPoWriMo site said:

Our (optional) prompt for the day is to write a sijo. This is a traditional Korean poetic form. Like the haiku, it has three lines, but the lines are much longer. Typically, they are 14-16 syllables, and optimally each line will consist of two parts – like two sentences, or a sentence of two clauses divided by a comma. In terms of overall structure, a sijo functions like an abbreviated sonnet, in that the first line sets up an inquiry or discussion, the second line continues the discussion, and the third line resolves it with a “twist” or surprise. For more on the sijo, check out the primer here and a long list of examples in English, here.


I found this tricky.  I wanted to write something quickly because I started late, but I had to slow down and think about how I was supposed to construct this Sijo.  How annoying, huh?


3-4-4-4 (15)

3-4-4-4 (15)

3-5, 4-3 (15)

is the syllable pattern outlined in the first link the site gave me, and it has to go: line one = theme  line two = elaboration and then line three = twist and conclusion.

this was my first one:

A perfect, well-positioned, all mod-conned out, marital home.

Village life, four gorgeous kids, decent cars and a well-paid job.

Alcohol.  Covid takes its toll. Sudden lay-offs – depression.


Unfortunately, it’s clunky and cobbled together.  I had one more try:

In my tree, the fluffy clouds form pictures and sometimes birds come.

I stay still, listening hard.  It smells like rain and foliage.

My children call me down for tea.  I hid my pills by the swing.


There’s so much to poetry that I only learn through these prompts!  I like the second one better, but I’ll still not be winning any competitions with a Sijo just yet 😉

It’s nearly kid collecting time again!

Take care and I’ll ‘see’ you on the flip side…can you believe that’s me two thirds of the way through NaPo for another year?!


Monty X

[pic is from here]

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Please do not use any of my content (posts, pictures, poetry etc) without my permission, but feel free to link back to my blog if something catches your eye. Thank you!

Ranty McRant Face – Day Nineteen – #NaPoWriMo21

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How Do?!

This was’s prompt:

Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a humorous rant. In this poem, you may excoriate to your heart’s content all the things that get on your nerves. 

I’ve spent a lot of time talking/texting with another of my inspirational friends over the last three weeks or so.  Her commitment to taking action and working through problems is amazing.

So, what is getting on my nerves the most?

Yours truly!

It’s actually quite often the case, if I burrow down into my disgruntledness.  Endlessly boring, but there you go.  I wrote a rant anyway (not like me, lol).  It’s not particularly funny.


I’m sick to death of being ‘me’

the things I think about! I see

the worst that could go wrong, and yes

the grains of truth in every jest.

(To hear me speak you’d never guess

that I’m incredibly blessed)

I analyse the faintest hint

someone has found out that I’ve lint

where one would oft expect a brain.

My indolence provides no gain.


My reticence is in the spots

it shouldn’t be, and I have lots

of places where I should hold back

and don’t; so they then all attack

my sense of worth.  I talk too much

without any true point as such,

and think too far, but get nowhere;

hoard crafty stuff with undue care;

cry buckets at the simplest things;

hatch schemes that never comfort brings;

toil for hours with no pay, but

claim employment churns up my gut.


Watch all the influencers list

ways to catch up on all I’ve missed,

so get fired up, do twenty chores

(for which I’m usually too bored)

and end resentfully, in bed,

my pelvis aching, and my head.


But Jordan Peterson extolls

the best way to myself enrol:

it’s just to bargain (not to rule

as if I was thrown back in school

would even listen to the gist

when standing shaking cranal fists).


Just be fair (and even gentle)

on myself, and don’t go mental!

He doesn’t get my game is lost

before it starts, despite the cost:

Self-sabotage is waaaay too fun –

who doesn’t love a frantic mum?!


Just to underline some of the points above, this poem took so long to construct that I am going to have to throw this on the blog and scarper to collect the kiddies (I’ve done some housework today too, however 😉 )

Take care and I’ll ‘see’ you for Day 20. Byeeeeee!


Monty X


[Pic is from here]

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Please do not use any of my content (posts, pictures, poetry etc) without my permission, but feel free to link back to my blog if something catches your eye. Thank you!


Catching Myself – Day Eighteen – #NaPoWriMo21

#NaPoWriMo21, Childhood, Mental Health, Other Poetry, Parenting 3 Comments »


Hope you are all well?

The prompt for today was:

to write a poem based on the title of one of the chapters from Susan G. Wooldridge’s Poemcrazy: Freeing Your Life with Words. The book’s table of contents can be viewed using Amazon’s “Look inside” feature.

[from here]

I chose the title “catching myself” and actually wrote a few poems trying to ‘catch’ a thought.  None of them please me, but the below is probably the best of a bad lot:


I can’t trust my reality:

staring into eyes that are not mine.

Wearing dull clothes.

And a generic, pouched skin

(as if I bought it

with some giftcard)

My movements: backwards.

My motives: blurred.

Catching myself thinking: “that reflection must be me…?”

I gravitate instead

into the arms of my children’s chattiness.


I drink them in,

wishing 40 years could fall from me.

Running wild and free,

two madcap big brothers

showing me the ropes.


I’d still be a third wheel,

but I’d probably squeak less.


Annnnnd tomorrow is another day 😊


Take care, and hopefully I’ll get the rest of the week’s posts out before lunchtime each day as the kids are back at school as from tomorrow!  I can’t really believe we’re going into the summer term already, the last of P3 and P6 for our boys ☹ They are getting far too big…


Monty X

[author’s own pics]

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Please do not use any of my content (posts, pictures, poetry etc) without my permission, but feel free to link back to my blog if something catches your eye. Thank you!


Dear InstaMama – Day Eleven – #NaPoWriMo21

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My poem prompt for today (see here) was to write a letter to a fictional or famous person and then for them to write back. 

I am a sucker for watching people give me their opinion on how to live a better life (particularly other mums) on YouTube and Instagram.  Most of what I see I really admire, some of it I cringe at and some I never subscribe to because it has a vibe I can’t really get with. 

At the outset, I will stress that I know these are legitimate businesses, I have purchased and read a lot of books (and enjoyed them!) from and because of people I have followed on different platforms (whether they be mum vloggers, psychologists, decluttering experts, crafters, TED talk givers, business gurus, artists or whatever) and I am always fascinated by the discipline and thought that has gone on behind the scenes.  I know it sometimes takes hours for me to construct just one blog post, so I don’t know how they can put out so much content and not go crazy!


Dear Mama,

Your pretty kiddies in a row

Your business – thriving!

Husband – jiving!

All your cupboards out on show…


Thick make-up, in a hospital:

a quick procedure,

tweaked some feature,

home again and chores corralled.


I see you smiling, through their noise –

Planned activity

“neat” proclivity

exercises ‘midst the toys.


Inside this blessed benevolence:

kids’ private lives?

exhausted wife?

No camera trained in evidence.


You – weeping ball of stress, unseen?



Just extrovert in the extreme?


P.S.  I do not ask in ‘hate’

with your work upon my plate

I’d crumble; so I ask in awe,

and really hope your human flaws

have space, are honoured just the same

as other mamas’ in this game;

This life of service that we have

You guys sure make look pretty suave…


Dear Monty,

Thanks for your interest

in us –


Can you please invest

in this course, this tee, this new set

of homewares – oh, and don’t forget

my new book launches in two weeks!

(I’m so excited ‘cos it seeks

to change bad habits into wins

and all these other fabby things

So please buy…)

Oh, now, where was I?

Yes!  Your letter! I can tell

that your comments do mean well

but, really, I am one smart girl,

I’ll teach you how to get great curls,

Whip yo’self into fab shape,

Tone your abs, portion your plate,

Fix money worries, clean your house,

Menu plan, crochet a mouse

D.I.Y shelving, paint your rooms,

Find 15 uses for old brooms

And still get my kids’ outfits neat,

conquer my laundry, feed the street;

attend meetings, scrub my floors,

put home-made wreathes up on my doors!

So really, when you look at YOU,

Then all the things that I can do,

There is no contest – is there, chick?!

So quit moaning,

and pay me



Please don’t take the above personally if you feel I am trying to drag other people down, (though I see a lot of the first letter’s stuff posted in comments etc and sometimes do think it myself, depending on the video).  Most people I follow are very open about their mental health and how “imperfect” life can be vs Instagram or YouTube ideals, however, and most look at advertising as “icky” in the early days of them gaining traction, but then begin slipping it into everything and it becomes “normal”. 

Every business has to advertise, and this is just the new model of doing it that society has adopted in the digital age.  I fully believe these mamas work hard for the money they get, and part of me is cheering that we are maybe finally recognising that the act of child rearing definitely needs stategy and planning – which isn’t easy!

There’s just part of me that wonders if we are falling into a new trap with it all? Hence the satire. But I still consume a plethora of this content myself 😉

Again, who am I to pipe up though, sitting on my backside writing a poetry post, whilst my hubby and Youngest sleep in til past 10am on this truly Sun-day morning?! My Eldest is whooshing about free-playing in our ‘sunroom’ with some superhero toys, and the only childreary/housework stuff I’ve done so far today is: hugged  my Eldest loads, denied him some screen time, listen to his long complicated ramble about Minecraft – and put in a laundry load full of underpants.

Plus my hair is a mess

Take care of yourself, and I’ll catch you tomorrow 🙂


Monty X


[pic is from here]


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Please do not use any of my content (posts, pictures, poetry etc) without my permission, but feel free to link back to my blog if something catches your eye. Thank you!

It Ain’t Junk – Day Ten – #NaPoWriMo21

#NaPoWriMo21, Mental Health, Other Poetry, Random poetry, Relationships No Comments »


As I said yesterday, I’m now a third of the way there! It’s felt a bit strange this year, writing after so long away.  It’s nice to get a post out before the day properly starts, to feel like I’ve accomplished something for me, but I don’t know…it still feels like a tug in a dangerous direction?

My prompt for today said:

It’s called “Junk Drawer Song,” and comes to us from the poet Hoa Nguyen.

  • First, find a song with which you are familiar – it could be a favorite song of yours, or one that just evokes memories of your past. Listen to the song and take notes as you do, without overthinking it or worrying about your notes making sense.
  • Next, rifle through the objects in your junk drawer – or wherever you keep loose odds and ends that don’t have a place otherwise. (Mine contains picture-hanging wire, stamps, rubber bands, and two unfinished wooden spoons I started whittling four years ago after taking a spoon-making class). On a separate page from your song-notes page, write about the objects in the drawer, for as long as you care to.
  • Now, bring your two pages of notes together and write a poem that weaves together your ideas and observations from both pages. [From]


Well, I chose “The Beautiful People” by Marylin Manson 😉 because who doesn’t need some industrial/alternative metal to listen to before 7am?! This song was one I was introduced to around the time I decided to go do a University Access Course (at the age of 20).  I was hanging around with some 2nd year students that were friends with a flatmate that the letting agency had thrown into my life.  They signed me into the student union before I even got my own card, and there were glorious rock nights!

This song brings them all back, and that feeling of being in a bubble from life where we circulated thoughts and theories and dress rules were broken, but it was ok because we were young and intelligent and could write/speak our way out of most things…

It’s weird to me that there are so many milestones that I haven’t recorded about my own life.  I really should be my intrepid biographer, using this so-called love I have for writing to document my time on this planet.  But it wasn’t until I ‘had a Google’ that I re-learned that my graduation day was the 3rd of July 2003.  As I had spent the best part of 5 years prior to that aiming for it (not to mention the 13 years of schooling 1982-95), you would think I would be smiling at that date every time it appeared on my calendar. 

But no. 

I had an inkling by then that my intended launch from it into High School teaching wasn’t for me, and I kind of slunk through it all in my head, feeling adrift again. Like I had, in reality, failed. 

The associations with the groups of friends I had accumulated dulled afterwards because it was as if I had broken the covenant that was between us: that we would talk trash and pretend we could be this way forever, but still emerge with degrees and take our places in society with growing modicums of respectability, etc etc.

But hey, the song also reminds me of the early days with Hubby, whom I met on 27th of March 2005, less than two years after I graduated.  We listen to a lot of rock in the car even now. Plus we’ve made two cool little people, and weathered all the ups and downs before and after, so there’s that 😉

Anyway, I have taken a pic of our kitchen junk drawer and I’m sure, if you look hard enough, you can see how heavily my poem is based on its contents!




Let’s cut up a dance floor

with our bag of bands –

from rock, to cheese, and back

we’ll measure out our alcohol trips.


Stick our photos in albums,

string our past along with us

through permanent mistakes

and marked successes.


The best days of our lives

form on us like lint

whenever life tries to brush us off.


We’ve no instructions, but

our memories are beautiful.


It’s getting late and the kids are wanting to watch something with me (I’ve wandered away from  this write-up loads and Hubby has returned from his Saturday morning foodshop already) so I’m offsky til tomorrow…take care of yourselves 🙂 


Monty X


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Copyright © 2021  Montaffera All Rights Reserved

Please do not use any of my content (posts, pictures, poetry etc) without my permission, but feel free to link back to my blog if something catches your eye. Thank you!