The Trick Is…To Keep Thinking

Mental Health, Random poetry 2 Comments »

Hey there 🙂



I felt like this Jimpix selection took a little more ‘cobbling’ than usual to give me a poem!!  Maybe I should just present you with what I came up with and see what you make of it, before I colour your view by telling you how I did it…?


Evaporate  Blaze  Erosion  Galloway  Competing  Menorah  Cheshire  Draconian  Beel


As I felt the will to create


I took a packed train

To blaze a trail

Through the erosion of my wits.


I stuck with Galloway:

Kept breathing through the voices

Competing for dominance

In every carriage –

Channelled the menorah within:

My attention branching,

All wicks getting low…


But the golden buds were forming

Even as I read.


I’ll shine

From the highest point in Cheshire

After traversing rough terrain

In Draconian weather.


I will then face the heat,

Stir up some beel –

From still waters

Cultivate a crop worth harvesting.




Well, here are mine:

One of my favourite authors is Janice Galloway, so when I saw her surname come up, I knew she had to feature somewhere!  Her best-known novel (see picture) is also one that I focussed on in my university dissertation, so I refer to that in the poem, too 😉

The origins of ‘menorah’ are described in a Wikipedia entry, and it goes into detail about how Moses was instructed to fashion the first one; so I borrowed some of that imagery.

Moses was told about this lamp construction while on a mountain.  The highest peak in Cheshire is called Shining Tor, which went well with the light theme 😉

The above link says there is ‘mixed terrain’ on the mountain walk, so I modified this and threw in some bad weather to use ‘draconian’

I read about where a ‘beel’ could be found, thought about the climate and how it could fit into my theme, then made use of the information I had gleaned about rice-growing in Bangladesh.

Hopefully, all these images meld together ok, to leave you with a poem about: feeling creatively drained by my situation; travelling to Cheshire (the ‘train’ representing both my thoughts and the actual mode of transportation); finding inspiration in Galloway’s words and feeling that sprout into other creative thoughts; then wrestling with my depressive tendencies and writers’ block etc, to finally come out on top, face new challenges, and present the world with fresh work and renewed faith in my writing… 😛


Three days to go until the next Jimpix workout 😉


P.S – am I the only one who has ‘Walking in Memphis’ (Cher’s version) stuck in her head since reading ‘beel’?!

P.P.S – I love that the link for ‘draconian’ also has an option to explore other words that had their first known use in the same year! (‘Buckshot’ and ‘Clotheshorse’ are two, if you’re interested)



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Copyright © 2017  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!


Appreciate The Depressed

Mental Health, Random poetry, Relationships No Comments »

 Hi 🙂


Again I had a nice easy set of words!! Amazing!

From Randomlists

I have been thinking recently about the realities of listening, versus what we actually hear. I have been looking for patterns in people’s interactions over the past few weeks.  It is interesting when I see them surface, because I realise that I’m not that different and yet everyone is messed up in their own beautiful, raw, and tangled way.

Also, it’s not crucial that you react to their views.  A large proportion of the time, what others say is not actually about you.  I have needed that clarification repeatedly in my life – I am very bad at not instantly wanting to bite back!

I think the hardest part to deal with is when someone belittles your feelings, or tells you that you are coping (when you are with yourself all day and so are pretty damn sure you’re not).

When you are a person that other people rely on, it can be difficult for those people to shake the image of you as a ‘keeper of the norm’.  Their equilibrium would be upset if you fell from the pedestal they have made for you, so they trap you there, ignoring all evidence of change.

If you are a young person, it can be hard to be taken seriously; schooldays being billed as ‘the best of your life’, for instance.  What do you have to be sad about when everything is free and you have lots of time to yourself…?

I imagined an Uncle as the speaker for the poem.  I thought he was probably making unkind remarks about his teenage niece at a wedding.  Something about her being bullied at school and that if she just lost some weight and cheered up a bit she’d be fine…

I think it reads like his sister has dragged him over to apologise later, and he’s not doing very well 😉


Count  Observation  Maniacal  Tap  Relation  Bomb  Dreary  Appreciate  Depression


Does it count

That my impertinent observation

Was followed by the maniacal laughter

Of alcohol?


If it performed a nerve tap

Surely the relation of booze to views

Is quite irrelevant?


I bounced that bomb

But didn’t run from the blast;

I was keen to see

Whether your dreary take

Could be shaken!


I don’t think you appreciate

How often I’ve seen that work…


What do you mean you’re “depressed”?



[Picture credit: Pexels ]


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Copyright © 2017  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!

Casket Consciousness

Mental Health, Random poetry No Comments »


I got a nice, straightforward set of words from Textfixer today 🙂

It even threw in two words it had come up with on the first day of our Skye trip


Casket   Conscious   Pipe   Frustration   Block   Basic   Disease   Door   Lemon


I bet:

Even when they toss me in my casket,

I’ll still be conscious on some level.

(Maybe I can buy one

They can pipe music into)


I’ll motionlessly writhe

In my eternal frustration

That even death can’t block:

My basic, whirring, disease.


If only there was a door I could close tight

Inside this lemon of a brain,

Without the absurd and fanciful

Finding a way to seep out!


Place notebooks in my grave,


Ones that I can etch upon

Through thought.


Not the cheeriest of topics, but one I am sure the creative/worrier types among my lovely readers can sympathise with!

I do love thinking about things, reading about a variety of topics and (obviously) writing my poems; but I lose a lot of sleep and downtime reliving unsettling conversations and scenarios from life when I’m meant to be relaxing.  I can really be a pain in my own posterior!

Having said the above, I also live in fear of my memory deteriorating and me forgetting the things I  haven’t committed to ink/print/film/tape/digital backup…or indeed the names of my children, or the voices of the people I’ve lost along the way.

Do you often feel that your brain is both a treasure and a curse?!




[Photo credit: Pexels]


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Copyright © 2017  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!



Mental Health, Parenting, Random poetry 1 Comment »


Graffiti  Advisor  Concert  Hobby  Dreamer  Condemned  Decontamination  Wilderness  Common


Graffiti on the walls of my life

My emotional adviser

Unable to concert the voices

Tuning in my head – a hobby choir.


This wisened dreamer stands up, blinks,

Once condemned to silence –

Faces decontamination now –

A wilderness of maybes.


Happenstance: not altogether common.


I opened my Spotify app on my phone, and chose some tracks by Pink to play whilst making the kids’ dinner this evening. The door to the playroom soon slid back, and revealed an enquiring little face. 

“Why are you singing that song, in here, now?” Youngest asked.  He seemed puzzled when I said I just felt like listening to it.

Hubby puts the radio on if he is making the family meal, and no one questions it.  The boys have joined him in the diningroom for a boogie many a time, but when I indulge in my music it is seen as a novelty. 

It is just a small reminder of how many of my releases I have curbed in order to focus on being a mum.  I try to keep my ears open and my other senses sharp around the kids at all times.  I have a long long list of things reciting in my head that I am yet to get to, that pushes out thoughts of what I would really like to be doing with my evenings or weekends.

I rarely feel as though I am justified engaging in whatever activity I have in front of me at that moment.  If I am cleaning I feel I should be spending time with the kids; when I sit down to play, I worry there will not be enough of my energy/hours left to complete the laundry/vacuuming/tidying I need to get done by the end of the day. 

I spend a large  chunk of my waking hours with one or both of my children, but they always seem to want more of me: more one to one, more listening to the stories from their day, more ‘special’ mummy things like how I take off their plasters or help them with their trickier board- or tablet games…

It all takes a focus that seems at odds with the reveries I usually find myself pursuing when I open the door to my creative side, so I consciously bolted it and fell headlong into the cuddly merry-go-round of motherhood. 

However, that had side effects as I have explored before.  

Can you relate to today’s poem? 

Have you had a job, or parenthood, interfere with your creativity or sense of individuality? 

Do you feel like you need to curb your flights of fancy in order to focus on your life better? 

How did/does it affect you long term?


Photo credit: pexels


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Copyright © 2017  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!



Mental Health, Parenting, Random poetry No Comments »

Hiya 😊

Today was one for the history books (drumroll please…) Youngest not only walked all the way to nursery, he also walked ALL the way back again!  He was so chuffed with himself!!  Eldest was pretty impressed when he heard, too. 

From Textfixer

Youngest made fairly good time as well, I was surprised to find that it was around the usual hour  for lunch when we stopped taking celebratory pictures, and went in.   Unfortunately I didn’t take any blog-safe snaps, they were all crazy-face/fist-pump ones that would lose their flavour if I cropped his features out of them!

Youngest was feeling the determination quite a bit this afternoon, actually, because we also had this conversation:

Me: Don’t stand on the ants! How would you like it if a giant came and squashed you?!

Y: *no hesitation, so I feel he may have considered this scenario before…* I’d chop-chop-chop dat beanstalk, and it would go “arrrgh!” and fall in the water!  Dat what I’d do…!

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about the persona we show to the world, as opposed to our true selves.  Today I had a friend over for impromptu tea and sympathy, and I liked her even more by the end of our chat.  It was one of those conversations where I was gifted more of the background pieces that make up the beautiful caring whole; and hearing her passion and reasoning just made me so happy to know her. 

I hate my friends being at all conflicted, but sometimes I look at them while they share their heart, and just feel immensely proud that I have such complex and strong women around me 😉

All this good feeling did not really fit with the words I got today, however, so instead there appears to be a darker side to presenting the world with a certain image of one’s self…


Binocular  Jump  Equal  Messiah  Bacteria  Guru  Empire  Balcony  Dynamic


Under his binocular microscope

Everyone’s life would squirm.

He would jump to conclusions

And make himself out to be

Equal to the messiah of reason.


Each bacteria he spied blooming

He would offer a cure for –

Assert that his guru empire

Was brought about by solid principles,

Meticulously adhered to.


Only his close associates knew

The many times he’d teetered

On a lofty roof or balcony;

His loose morals tearing at his conscience,

Those dynamic words but grave dust in the wind.


There is much written about social media making people anxious because of perceived inferiority,  compared to their colleagues and friends.  The more I read into running a blog, advertising and ‘building a brand’, the more I realise that perception is everything.  This is isolating, and intimidating, if we analyse it a bit.

I do seem to spend a lot of time chatting to people on the return school run (whether I know them or not!) and one thing I hear myself repeating is assurances that I don’t mind hearing their disquiet at things in their life.  That the other person doesn’t need to apologise for having a less-than-positive outlook, because it is actually allowed

We are not able to wander about with a spring in our step all the time: people get ill, circumstances grow bleak, hearts become heavy.  If a raincloud is following someone around, I don’t want them to feel I’ll judge them for it.  I am not as fond of fair weather as some, I walk in all climes.  I’m Scottish, after all 😉

[“‘Mon the melancholy! Welcome, yah Moanin’ Missy!“]

It’s the words that I get lost in, the stories that burrow into my subconscious and let me feel what it is like to be in someone else’s life.  There is a vibrancy to a tale that’s soaked in feelings less palatable to society.  There is a real truth in the things that make us rise to challenges and face parts of ourselves that are not ‘safe’ or broken-in properly – parts that might say something that can’t be erased…and might not actually be too sorry about it…

It’s a big journey, and we are all pretending we have a clue as to how our accoutrements are packed; but we all rock up at our destinations with ransacked baggage and dirty laundry. 

It’s silly to pretend we don’t!!


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Copyright © 2017  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!

The Disappearing Village

Childhood, Mental Health, Parenting, Random poetry No Comments »

Hey there 🙂

Today was scorching!  I thought yesterday was hot, phew!  We walked down to the school this morning, and I did not need a jacket, but tied a fleece around my hips, anyway.  Old habits, etc…

I actually made the decision to have my arms out in a vest top, which I never do, but it was to get up to 25 degrees today!  I put on factor 50 a few times over the day, but unfortunately I missed a bit across the back of my shoulders (black bra strap – bad idea…) and now I am sporting very ouchy red patches!!

The heat affected Youngest on the way home from nursery, after his long walk this morning and frolics in the nursery back garden. He got in the buggy and fell asleep about a third of the way home!  It was then a huge saga trying to wake him up and get him out of his mucky clothes so that he could have his lunch.  He spent 45 minutes lying on the floor refusing to budge, while I ran about tidying, shoving laundry on and putting our food together.  Then Youngest got up and became his amiable self again: throwing his dirty clothes in the basket, changing his own pull-up, washing his hands and scrubbing his nails with the ‘brush 😉

Youngest took ages to fall asleep in the buggy on the way to collect Eldest but, once he was sleeping, he slumbered  through me chatting to Eldest’s teacher; and Eldest gambolling about telling me about his day on the way home, as he usually does.  I put more cream on Eldest, though I could see that he had put some on the back of his neck at lunchtime, which made me very proud!  His teacher said they have been teaching them about sun safety.

Youngest was popped on the couch when we got home, and Eldest sorted himself out with comfy clothes, and grabbed the tablet while I shoved the coffee table up against the couch so Youngest wouldn’t tumble off, then went for a very quick shower to cool down (that’s when I noticed the sunburn!)  My parents did not visit us today, because they are hoping to come and see us with my Grandma on Monday.  This freed me up a bit because I did not have to do any tidying up.  It also meant I could just collapse into the couch and keep an eye on Youngest after my shower (and an ear on what Eldest was up to) while I read some fan fiction on a blog from one of my Twitter followers.



When I saw ‘village’ as the first of today’s words, I immediately thought back to those early days of babyhood, and the whole tug-of-war between being everything to the child at that time, and yet each ‘experienced’ person I met seeming to imply that one can spoil babies with too much love; and should make them as independent as possible, very early.


Village  Five  Gimmick  Glamour  Cold  Pin  Wept  Controversial  Freakish


“It takes a village” they say

But ‘they’

Are not around at five in the morning.


It is all very well

To spout the gimmick-like phrase

And point out how

It’s not all glamour

(Like I hadn’t guessed)

But I’m living it,

And there’s no end in sight…


I’m not asking

For no-one to take the child

Unless they prise him

From my cold, dead hand.

Don’t pin that on me!


I have wept about this

Many times and

(This may be controversial)

Although I NEED a break,

My son has needs, too.


It’s not that freakish a concept.


I’m not trying to smother him

In maternal love,

He’s a baby

And it’s me he cries for most.


Mothers should, apparently, hand the baby over to other people to get the kid used to not always being with the sole carer – but first get bubs into a fixed sleeping routine to make it easy for those ‘other people’, show these kids at every step of the way that they are here to fit into adults’ ideals. Not to flail out of line or need extra attention.

The NHS recommend sleeping in the same room as your child for at least the first six months, but do not seem to like the idea of having a child share a bed with any caregiver, being quick to point out the risks and not highlighting the safest way to co-sleep after that. 

Needing someone to hold in the night should be stamped out of us as quickly as possible, of course…

Then there are the WHO guidelines that state that a mother should consider breastfeeding until 2 years of age (exclusively til 6 months, then with other foods).  The reality, in the west, is that that advice is a double-edged sword.  If there are feeding problems, it seems like an impossible goal, because formula is pushed while women are at their most vulnerable.  If a mother does manage to get to breastfeed for the magic two years, she is seen by most in society as a bit strange and ‘only doing it for themselves’ (which is ludicrous because watching a mum feeding a toddler, while the child appears to be doing complicated yoga poses at the breast, would put paid to that notion in a heartbeat!). 

Also, it is common (and desirable) for mothers to return to work while the child still feeds regularly during the day, and therefore the mother requires facilities to pump milk (which is not always provided adequately) or the opportunity to visit their child in their childcare environment, during the working day, to feed them (which is also rarely possible).  Of course, cows’ milk powder fits better into this ‘village’ idea:  “How can a mother expect support if the child can only be fed by one person?! Do they not want a life…?”


Then there are the people (Daily Mail article alert!) who say that a mother’s milk after the baby stage holds no nutritional or developmental value for the child.  As a species, the natural weaning age for human young is between 2 and 7 years old.  This is why our first teeth are called ‘milk teeth’ and do not fall out until we have started school.  There are many benefits to natural-term weaning for the child.

I have learned not to go into much detail about me ‘still’ feeding Youngest, however.  If I do, I must be trying to make other people feel guilty, or (worse) be pampered and have no ambition in life.  Though I personally think the comfort and connection I have provided through breastfeeding has helped to grow Youngest into a very capable, verbal, empathetic and sociable individual, who is confident when away from me…it’s not something all women can or want to do, and I respect that.

Eldest has a strong bond with me, too, even though he was mostly given formula due to our birth experience (and subsequently refused the breast from eight months and even the taste of my milk in a bottle by ten months). 

I didn’t sleep train him (but he slept all night in his own room from 2.5 years old)

I didn’t aggressively potty train him (but he was still dry, day and night, before he started school) 

I never fed him pureed food, or worried about how much he was getting – he fed himself real (minimal salt) foods from when he was six months old, and ate loads, well before he was one. 

All of this was untidy (so too was the house!), and most of this was child-led.  This meant I rarely left the children’s side.

Thankfully, I didn’t have a job outside of the home.  Hat’s off to those who manage to stick to similar parenting regimes and attend (paid) work!  The Daily Mail would say that if my kids have been advantaged by this approach, it’s because I am middle class and reasonably well educated, not because any of this is what our kids actually prefer, of course…

So the ‘village’ idea, for me, is a distorted one.  In the west, if a mother chooses to embrace the messy schedules that babies naturally keep, she is fairly isolated.  She is made to feel that in some way she has failed, right at the beginning of her journey.  Other people rarely offer to carry a baby in a sling so that the baby feels safe and secure while the mother get things done, or to take the baby overnight with the promise that they will be kept warm against the caregiver – and that the caregiver will be fine with numerous wake-ups.  It would not even cross many people’s minds to offer that!

In some cultures, this is exactly how a ‘village’ operates, however.  Children are looked after by everyone, there is a parenting practice consensus.  Kids are carried on the guardian’s body, so are part of the working day, families sleep as units and everyone invests in the community.  In the west, we seem to view this as a ‘primitive’ way of life, but still want to use the phrase!  If a mother wanted this kind of support in the west on a regular basis, she would have to employ a nanny – and search hard to find one that is comfortable putting the baby at the centre of any childcare decisions!

I probably have the closest I could ever get to the ideal, it must be said, as I live in a small community; and have done for the past decade.  I have met some amazing mums here, and we have shared our highs and lows a LOT in the last seven years.  I do not drive, and there has been many a lift offered and things dropped off or picked up by these fabulous people.

I could have utilised this support network a lot more had I been backed up by the medical profession, however.  I slipped into a twilight world for swathes of my parenting journey, and spent a lot of time on the fringes barely functioning, when I should have been out there making even better memories.  It was not all a result of my parenting choices, and others have said the same.

Seven years in, however, I do feel I have come a long way as a mum.  There are still things to learn and many many challenges to overcome in the future, but I think the foundations are there for me to be able to handle things as the kids get bigger.

To any mums out there who are reading this and feeling isolated and/or like they are not doing their best – I send such huge hugs to you.  Babies have not fundamentally changed, but society’s expectations of mothers fluctuate with the times.

In the age of overwhelming information, it is still valid to listen to your heart and do what works for you.  You don’t need to answer to anyone’s ideal.  Not even your own before you had that squalling bundle and realised what the reality of parenting actually looks, feels (and smells!!) like.  I hope that you are given all the support that you need and, if you are not, you go out and meet the angels who will try to fill in the gaps for you!

We are given instincts for a reason, and I find it sad that we are asked to ignore them so much when doing something as important as bringing up the next generation.  There are all kinds of mothers with all kinds of tolerance levels, and some babies naturally sleep longer than others, etc etc…but fundamentally: holding and loving that child is never the wrong thing to do, no matter what time of the night they want you to do it! If your instincts are telling you to go to that kid, go.  Their brain development and your lifelong parenting relationship, actually depend on it 😉



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Copyright © 2017  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!

Problems (Remuda Pt 2)

Health, Mental Health, Parenting, Random Short Stories, Relationships No Comments »

Hiya 😉

From Jimpix

I was excited when I saw that ‘problems’ and ‘crumb’ had shown up on today’s Jimpix offering!  It was surely a sign that I was to carry on and extend yesterday’s prose piece?! It was a nice mild selection too, so not that tricky to work with (strange…?).

Having read both of my pieces back a few times, I don’t think they sound like an American girl is narrating, really – or at least to my mind it reads as though she may have been brought up by an English nanny!


Eminent  Problems  Gunnells  Mammet  Volume  Zero  Childish  Infatuated  Crumb

Mum was very encouraged by the fact that some eminent psychologist or other had taken residence at the ranch.  The answer to all my problems.  Mum looked hurt when I’d tried not to snigger.

“What’s so funny?” she’d snapped

“Well…did you say her name was ‘Gunnells’?!”


I laughed outright; “So! At this hallowed place that treats people with eating disorders – they hire a shrink with a name that is synonymous with being full-up?! Talk about subliminal messages! I love it!”


You see, I’m really NOT one of those sad mammet types who want to take up as little room as possible and shrink out of life. 


Turn it up to full volume, why don’t you, and throw some groovy shapes on that dancefloor!

I watch my weight, obviously, but I am not a size zero.  I’m not some waif with a childish desire to stay little forever, stop my periods, be looked after by my parents…

I like what I like, and I do what I do.  I’m not infatuated by every fashion model out there, nor am I suspicious of every crumb on my plate.  Plus, I hate throwing up. 

I don’t think this place is really ready for me, as beautiful as it is.  I don’t play nice with other girls.  But then, that could be fun!

I shook out my bun and squared my shoulders, hoping the crick in my neck would soon leave. 

“Let’s go then” I said, cheerfully, looping my arm through my dad’s.  Mum looked delighted.


A very full notebook page today!

Is the girl a reliable source of information?  Does she really feel as she says she does, or is she in denial? I suggested yesterday that she had moved to the other side of the US from her home town…what was she running from?  Has she aspirations she wishes to chase, or just demons she’s hoping to leave behind?

Or is it the mother who is in denial, hoping that putting her daughter in for this kind of therapy will be much easier to talk about at the tennis club? Is she hoping that any other mental health issues will be mopped up at the place as well if she just throws enough money at them?

What is in the past with the father?  What renegade moves has he pulled recently?  Is he even with the mother any more, or is he there for the daughter?

Let me know what you got from the emerging story, in the comments!

**Disclaimer: I have only done rudimentary research on Remuda Ranch, and the services it provides.  The pieces I have written are entirely works of FICTION and the characters are not based on anyone I actually know or have ever met!  The area of expertise that the place in question specialises in is a very emotive and delicate one – I in no way wish to belittle that, just explore it through the characters I have created.  The characters’ views should not be taken as my own**


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Copyright © 2017  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!



Health, Mental Health, Parenting, Random Short Stories, Relationships No Comments »

Hey-lo lovely reader!

So! I was putting off my Jimpix dealings yesterday, as I have been pretty busy trying, trying, trying to catch up on housework and the washing pile, since my pelvis decided to give me a lot of pain and make me take it slower last week. 

From Jimpix

But today I bit the bullet and just went for it to see what the god of Jimpix would give me.  I had already decided that I was going to attempt to write a prose piece with the words and see where it took me.  I had the idea at the back of my head that I might do the same tomorrow with another Jimpix selection and see if I could carry it on with the same characters?!  Is such a thing even possible with this wild generator?!

I was surprisingly nervous about writing the piece at all.  Blank page syndrome really kicked in!!

**I must point out here and now that I have only done rudimentary research into what the place I will set my piece in the grounds of looks like, and the services it provides.  The following piece is entirely a work of FICTION and the characters are not based on anyone I actually know or have ever met!  The area of expertise that the place in question specialises in is a very emotive and delicate one – I in no way wish to belittle that, just explore it through the characters I have created.  The characters’ views should not be taken as my own**

I had to look up ‘remuda’ and just underneath it on the search engine appeared ‘Remuda Ranch’ – a treatment centre for women and girls who have eating disorders.  It is in Arizona, so I immediately had to look up how long it would take to get there from Connecticut (as it was one of my words)…and so a wee story started coming together in my mind.  I started the timer and off I went:


Anchor  Remuda  Flank  Connecticut  Kissing  Stoic  Renegade  Offensive  Triathlete

It had been a four-hour flight, then the drive, and now my head floated as if finally released from its anchor.  Remuda Ranch, at first, looked tipsy.

Pins and needles scuffled in the whole of my left flank, but the air smelt like freedom after Connecticut.  I stretched my arms towards the big blue sky, and got sudden images of a stubbled stable hand, pungent from leather and horse sweat, kissing me like his life depended on it…

Dad had been such a stoic through the whole journey, listening to mum rattling off all the benefits this beautiful place boasted for people like me.  How much the other girls would take to my sweet nature and we’d get through it together.  Dad already knew there was a high chance I’d turn renegade.  I took after him, so he never found it as offensive as mum did.

Not even after I’d ditched the hunky triathlete at that Vegas alter last year…


Scribblings…gutted because my purple pen ran out half way through my time! Hoping I have another one somewhere…

Las Vegas is next door to Arizona, but waaaay across the map from Connecticut.  What age are we thinking the ‘girl’ is? One must legally be 18 to marry in Las Vegas, but how easy would it be to fake an ID?

It would appear that the parents live in Connecticut, so why was the daughter so far away?  Did she abscond in her summer vacation and get a job as a cocktail waitress?

It reads like her parents are wealthy, so has she stolen money and gone off to seek adventure, previously?

I’m pretty pleased with the piece.  I think I will try to expand upon it tomorrow, dammit! 😉

Wish me luck!





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Copyright © 2017  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!



Mental Health, Random poetry, Relationships 4 Comments »



I wrote this poem thinking about the way I had been feeling last week: sore, tetchy, tired and ever so grumpy!

I get into this place where I don’t want people to tell me about all the rational good stuff about my life, (because I have a fluffing annoying camp-coordinator-type person in my head who does that CONSTANTLY to keep me moving, and keep me focussed on the family’s needs).

I feel guilty that I’m not ‘just’ splendiferously happy with my amazing sons and husband and wider family and friends and social media laughs; and certainly with having all my basic needs and much more met without having to slog my guts out like I did in my younger days…!!

From Textfixer

I watch the news.  I know how awful it could be, what atrocities happen, how people lose everything.  I give money to charities, have even worked and volunteered for a good few, have seen devastating things happen to people close to me, and have marvelled at the way they and the fabulous souls around them have got on with life anyway.

I get it, I do.

I am the world’s worst at remembering to speak without channeling the morose and voicing the negative.  I often don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel as being anything other than a train.

There is a ‘but’ here: I also hug a lot of strangers. 

I am a keeper of life stories, and I make people laugh – and also give them a safe shoulder to cry on.  I care about my fellow humans.  I hand found notes into police stations, and I usually make it my mission to catch the eye of someone standing alone at any social gathering. 

If you are one of those people who find passionate rambling endearing, I’m your gal.  (You’re still reading, I notice)

I was the shop assistant who would get things from high shelves and talk bunions and ‘the good old days’ with my mature customers, and earn myself boiled sweets in the process (I never got my shelves stacked on time).

I’ll keep your secrets and not judge you harshly.  I will point out your positives and options, but I’ll also join you in your misery. Because:


Moan  Communication  Gloomy Harmless  Beast  Gimmick  Basic  Willow  Call


A moan

Is the best communication.


Offering your rant –

A gloomy, harmless beast –

Can be liberating

For the person listening.


It’s like some

Shiny sales gimmick

That lets another know:

No topic is barred, here.


So what if your

Basic life is ‘privileged’?


That can be sh*t, too.


A willow is beautiful

But still droops, as it blooms.



Only being a call away

Can be equivalent to dead.


Yes, tomorrow is another day, you do have amazing things to live for, you should definitely step out of your comfort zones and embrace this wonderful life…

…but all of that takes energy and there comes many a moment when you just need to say ARRRRRRGHHHH and throw it all up in the air.  Restraining that alllll the time is unrealistic.  (I can’t do it for two weeks together, right now!)

You will get that energy back, you will feel better/do better/move on again – but you don’t need to pretend that you never feel yuck.

You also don’t need to fear that if you let it all out you’ll never get back the pieces in the same order/be able to look the other person in the eye again.

Pick the right person (tricky, but doable) and something will shift.

Promise 😉

This is how deeper friendships are formed. Oftentimes, you help the other person, too!!


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Copyright © 2017  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!

The Ten Elephant Cuddle

Childhood, Mental Health, Parenting, Relationships 3 Comments »


Me cuddling the boys, drawn by Eldest for Mothers’ Day

We are a cuddly bunch in our house.  We are happiest lying like a pride of lions: limbs strewn, hair tousled, comfy clothes on, not any set agenda.

Three out of four of us would take an afternoon nap any day of the week.  The remaining one doesn’t mind watching/doing something quietly while the other three indulge (in whatever combination); and he’s quite partial to someone stroking his feet 😉 When he was under five, he would nap for two straight hours, so he understands our energy dips!

We (well, the boys and I, mostly…) can also be very LOUD and EMOTIONAL and CRAZY, but a hug has magic properties!  Even if one of us is still full of RAGE and not ready to calm straight down, a hug lets them know another person cares.  That they are still part of the family.

Our unit’s members might get really FRUSTRATED and GRUMPY and just plain FED UP with each other at times, but they still love each other fiercely.  Maybe a little too fiercely, hence the arguments…!

The boys adore me. 

Me and Eldest, joined by ‘heartstrings’

They love stroking my tummy and telling me how every stretchmark was made by their tiny selves (and that I have a ‘food baby’ in there – once I’ve eaten and it isn’t flat!). 

Both boys were breastfed (Youngest ‘still’ is) so they see breasts as wonderous things that kept them full as babies (Eldest self-weaned at 10 months) and still help Youngest feel comforted when he is hurt, ill or tired. 

They love stroking my arms, counting the moles on my legs (!) – and Youngest quite often feels compelled to “kiss oo buniwins betta”, even though I have tried to discourage him maaaany times from putting his mouth near my feet…!

The boys especially love it when they are allowed to mess my hair up (I must add that is quite often, because I walk a lot of miles, and I’m usually windswept anyway) and they always exclaim that the resulting styles make me look even prettier than I had done – before kissing my nose or cheek (or elbow.  Youngest is going through a very cute phase).

We can have a really packed day, with many exciting things going on, and yet the boys will always cite “cuddles!” as one of their favourite take aways.  We usually ask them around bedtime what they had enjoyed the most, and hugs are even on a par with visiting Santa, searching for Easter eggs or going to a party!

Bedtime, as all you parents out there can probably attest to, is when their little hearts are unburdened the most.  Around the story book shared, their own stories and emotions tumble out.  Sometimes it can be an obvious ploy to delay the light snapping off, but most of the time it is something they have carried with them all day (sometimes all week) and they feel comfortable enough with their parent to finally share. 

Brushing them off at these moments can be devastating,  No matter how hungry/impatient/tired/all of this I feel, I have learned that they need to feel heard and that everything is going to be ok because they aren’t alone, they are part of your team, and you are there for them whenever they need it.

I read an article a while back (not sure if it was this one?) about how it takes at least six seconds to really register a hug, so I came up with the “Ten Elephant Cuddle” for Eldest (as Youngest was still small and getting prolonged/breastfed hugs a lot, anyway).  It started a few months into Primary one, I think, just as I was hearing more sadness and worries from Eldest at bedtime, and the social competition was starting to bite from his class. No matter how ARRRRGH things had been during the day, we looked forward to it!

Eldest had to put his arms tight around my neck, and I had to put my arms right around his whole body, and I would count with him:

1 el-e-phant

2 el-e-phant…

We would usually go past 10 and he would still be holding me.  When he finally let me go, he’d give me a big sleepy smile and look like a weight had been taken from him.  It was so worth it.

Since the boys had that tummy bug the week before Easter, Youngest has been falling asleep in his own bed more often.  He was eager to do the “Ten Elephant Cuddle” but one evening started to say ‘Crocodile’ instead. 


Now the boys choose what animal they want to use to count with, and a few times nonsense words like ‘Helipop’ are used instead!  I find it incredibly sweet that Eldest usually plumps for ‘Elephant’, however.  It really shows he loves our wee ritual – he always gives me a conspiring smile!

I explained our tradition to my mum pal over our café meet on Monday, and she tried it with her daughters that night. Apparently they all enjoyed it, too (‘cupcakes’ featured in theirs, I’m told!). 

It really is a lovely way to bond with the kiddies.  Let me know if you try it and – of course – what they chose to count in!!



Further reading about the science behind a good hug: here and especially the third comment down on here


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Copyright © 2017  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!