Dear Followers

Thank you for following the unfolding saga I’ve been recording here. I’d like to let you know what’s happened, but I’m unable to do that at the moment. It might take a while, but I will come back and finish the story. I’ve really appreciated your support, it means a lot.

Until then, take good care.

Very best wishes


Cloud Watching


Cloud Watching



3 March 2013

Hello Joe

Sorry if I’ve worried you and Erena with my silence. The letter arrived from her this morning, so I’m doing as requested and letting you know that I’m still on the planet. I’ve had a really nasty virus, but I’m over the worst of it now. It upset my neurology and my vision, so writing was too difficult, and I wasn’t well enough to go to Ashraya. I’ve arranged another appointment, so I’ll write again soon.

Hope you’re well, Joe. All the better for spring putting in an appearance, no doubt. From my window I can see primroses, hellebore, snowdrops and crocuses. The daffs are peeping out and the tulips are nudging their way through.

with love


Where are you?

Outside, because it’s sunny,
26 February 2013

Dear Sarah

Well, you’ve fooled me. I thought I’d wait until a letter arrived with news of your appointment with Julie before replying – two birds, one stone etc. I felt so sure you’d write again after you’d been to Ashraya, and now I’m worried.

Speak to me. You know I don’t like the blasted telephone, and even if I go to Joe’s to use his, it’s not private, not the same. Email him or something; write to me, for preference.

all love


Cloud Watching


It has a sweetness

The library,
19 February 2013

Dear Erena

Thanks for your letter, and for all your wise and supportive words. The little ones were delightful. Lots of chuckles, cuddles and empty plates.

Oh my, intense day yesterday.

Two and a half hour class in the morning on an emotionally challenging topic: Why We Tell Stories – a sense of Self with a life narrative; Remembering the past and picturing the future. This led to answers in my case of, ‘No, I don’t know what my first word was or when I said it.’ and ‘My first memory is of standing up in my cot sobbing, gripping its wooden bars, staring through them at the yellow wallpaper and of nobody coming to comfort me.’

Brief lunch break before two and a half hours in front of a computer screen considering social media, social (online) community, and how and why writers need to learn to use them advantageously and creatively. Thankfully we had a break for tea and a maple and pecan plait, shared with Mary.

Quick turn-around, then out to see Stephen Spielberg’s LINCOLN, a film of gripping intensity with an astonishing (though do we expect anything less) performance from Daniel Day Lewis – hence the BAFTA. Might you be able to see it? Joe would enjoy it – appreciate it – enjoy doesn’t seem quite the right word.

So what’s all that got to do with my search for justice, you’ll be wondering? During the film ‘Lincoln’ said:

Euclid’s first common notion is this: Things which are equal to the same things are equal to each other. That’s a rule of mathematical reasoning and its true because it works – has done and always will do. In his book Euclid says this is self evident. You see, there it is even in that 2000 year old book of mechanical law; it is the self evident truth that things which are equal to the same things are equal to each other.

He used this Euclidian principle to illustrate his reason for pushing for the passage of the Thirteenth amendment to the US constitution – the outlawing of slavery except as a punishment for crime. He went on to say that, to him, equality meant justice, equality was justice.

And that’s what set me wondering again about what justice looks like for me in regard to the crimes my parents committed against me? I had been thinking along the lines of equality = justice, but not applying those epithets.

Remember me saying how I don’t want to be like my mother? I don’t want to cruel and vengeful, I don’t want to be equal to her, stoop to her level. Not sure I want her to be let her off the hook or avoid being made to consider, if not take, responsibility, though. But the likelihood of anything touching my mother enough for her to suddenly take and admit responsibility is fantasy land.

She’s incapable, I think. Not intellectually, but emotionally. She hasn’t lived as I’d imagine someone guilt-burdened would do. From what Will tells me, her life seems little altered since I stopped seeing her 20 years ago.

You can’t make someone take responsibility, can you? I never want to see a barrister do to anyone what was done to Frances Andrade, be they victim or criminal.

I think I can live with mother never taking responsibility because I know and because you and Joe, Fen and George, and so many others believe me and support me.

As I read about Euclid and Lincoln, I came across this: Holocaust-survivor Elie Weisel said that “to listen to a witness is to become one”. I have my witnesses, witnesses to my pain, my journey, my recovery. And you have all been the jury who returned a verdict of guilty to my mother. Would 12 strangers be more powerful an affirmation than that? I don’t think so.
The important thing in all this is that I do what’s right and best for me. Do what brings me peace.

I’m thinking about what freedom look like for me. Have I found it? Will reporting her change it? There’s something in all this I haven’t quite reached yet, but I can taste it and it has a sweetness.

I’m going to see Julie at Ashraya tomorrow. There’s more information to find out: Can I report Dad without Mum? Would mother’s name be withheld if it went to court because naming her would identify me? Would a second victim alter the odds regarding Public Interest. Rick’s death changes things a little. But more of all that once I’ve seen Julie.

I hope you didn’t scare Harley and Davidson, not to mention the chickens. Any eggs yet?

All good things, and my love

Cloud Watching


Bitter and beautiful

Surrounded by ironing, procrastinating
13 February 2013


Dear Sarah

So sorry to hear about Uncle Rick. But what an age, 87. I hear you laughing. When you get to my age, someone 8 years older seems ancient and far off. I met Rick only the once, I think. Kindly man, we talked about steam engines and Oxfordshire. He knew of the convent. Have you seen? Some of the sisters moved to the Ordinariate at New Year. You were right not to go the funeral. Hold on to what he said about your mother. Oh dear, does no one like her?

I would have loved to meet Elizabeth, his wife. I’d love to have met those three who meant so much to you. They really shouldn’t have died when you were too young and they were too young, should they? When I hear the story of  mother of yours never got her lazy bones out of bed of a morning it makes me want to go and stand under her window at 6am with a three horned claxon! Mother? Call herself a mother?

Frances Andrade. Unbelievably sad. I fumed at the news, I fumed about it to the goats and the hens. In the end, I couldn’t listen to any it anymore. There was no need for that appalling behaviour. Such an aggressive approach doesn’t illicit the truth, it breaks it. Joe tells me judges can intervene, tell barristers to reign it in. Not this time, it seems. No wonder it has upset you. It’s upsetting for anyone with a heart. What does it do to your thinking about the report?

Don’t beat yourself up for feeling angry with her. It’s understandable and it’s not all you feel and think. Don’t think that should have been you, either. I know you.

Did the little ones come? How were they? I hope you had fun. And maybe it was sunny. The blue sky is a welcome sight in the ongoing cold of winter. Bitter and beautiful.

Next appointment at Ashraya?

with my love



Cloud Watching



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