50 book titles that reflect my life

1. Jane Eyre Charlotte Bronte

2. The Color Purple Alice Walker

3. Far From the Madding Crowd Thomas Hardy

4. The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald

5. To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee

6. A Thousand Splendid Sons Khaled Hosseini

7. The God of Small Things Arundhati Roy

8. Bridget Jones Diary Helen Fielding

9. Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen

10. Persuasion Jane Austen

11. Mansfield Park Jane Austen

12. Wuthering Heights Emily Bronte

13. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

14. I know why the Caged Bird Sings Maya Angelou

15. The Bluest Eyes Toni Morrison

16. A Christmas Carol Charles Dickens

17. Pygmalion G.B. Shaw

18. Death of a Salesman Arthur Miller

19. A View from the Bridge Arthur Miller

20. King Lear William Shakespeare

21. Hamlet William Shakespeare

22. Merchant of Venice William Shakespeare

23. A Doll’s House Henrik Ibsen

24. Look Back in Anger John Osbourne

25. Educating Rita Willy Russell

26. Angela’s Ashes Frank McCourt

27. Miss Smilla’s feeling for Snow Peter Hoeg

28. The Handmaid’s Tale Margaret Atwood

29. Birdsong Sebastian Faulks

30. Regeneration Pat Barker

31. Journey’s End R.S Sherrif

32. The Color Purple Alice Walker

33. The Third Life of Grange Copeland Alice Walker

34. Freaky Friday Mary Rogers

35. Welcome Home Jelly bean Marlene Shyer

36. Red Sky in the Morning Elizabeth Laird

37. 1984 George Orwell

38. Animal Farm George Orwell

39. Why I’m no longer talking about race.

40. Small Island Andrea Levy

41. White Teeth Zadie Smith

42. A Raisin in the Sun Lorraine Hansberry

43. Catcher in the Rye J.D Sallinger

44. Madame Bovary Gustave Flaubert

45. Noughts and Crosses Malorie Blackman

46. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas John Boyne

47. Roll of Thunder Hear my Cry Mildred D. Taylor

48. Waiting to Exhale Terry McMillan

49. After you’d gone Maggie O’Farrell

50. Ethan Frome Edith Wharton

Radioactive Eggs

Growing up with Jamaican parents you get used to recycled magerine and ice-cream tubs etc. Many times you run to the freezer to fetch a tub of rum and raisin ice cream only to be bitterly disappointed when faced with frozen rice and peas.

So when you challenge an unsuspecting babysitter with providing a meal for five hungry children – you can only get a tale of the unexpected.

The meal she chose to prepare was scrambled eggs beans and toast. What could go wrong?

Close to hand was a full bottle of oil so she started to feed these hungry children. She poured the oil into the frying pan and added the whipped up eggs. The eggs were a magnificent yellow contrasting nicely with the orange beans. She commented on the brightness of the eggs and assumed they must be free range eggs.

She proudly presented her creation to the children in her care, cautiously they scooped the eggs onto their forks. The eldest strongly rejected the glowing eggs only to be told: ‘Eat it!’ After all why should she start this meal again when the bright sun was calling these children out to play.

The eldest decided it was time to investigate to his horror; he remembered observing the transference of washing up liquid into a sunflower oil bottle (no time to question the reasons why). He rushed into the dining room ‘don’t eat it it’s not cooking oil! It’s washing up liquid!’

An overwhelming sense of relief flooded the remaining children – they wouldn’t need ready brek to glow on their way to school.

Long Summer Days

The four girls looked across the lake, they saw the deep blue mirror lake reflecting clear sky and trees. Ducks slice through the lake sending ripples to dry land.

The clouds lazily hang high in the sky as the rats scurry and rustle in the undergrowth. Above their heads prehistoric creatures fly claiming the sky as their own.

Leaves whisper and flutter in a light breeze. Time stands still in the awe of this majestic view.

Fish swim close to the shore through plastic bags, one use bottles and crisp packets abandoned by their owners.

Behind them, small dogs sniffing and snuffling on the ground, forcing their loving owners to meander along the path. Children cycle, skate, scoot and run unrestrained. Unlike child refugees and asylum seekers, imprisoned trapped by indifferent red tape.

These days won’t last forever; soon life will change their outlook but for now they stare out across the lake unhindered, unrestricted and unburdened.

Ready for the fair

Inspiration can come from anywhere: a book, poem story. My inspiration came from a film. Yes you guessed it ‘Black Panther’ the movie. The fabrics, texture, colour, design were a feast for the eyes.

The bold colours of these soft furnishings will make any living room or bedroom light up with colour.

I added one embellishment to represent my love of flowers and buttons. The grey felt outline makes the petals of the flowers stand out against the bold print.

Days before the sale; I start to feel nervous as creativity is a risky business.

Living life in colour

Every time I see this picture, I am reminded that life is for living. This month I kissed goodbye to my forties and I stepped into uncharted territory. I spent two years anticipating it, dreading it, fearing it, but none of those feelings could prevent it from happening.

The night before my birthday I celebrated alone; knowing I am now in a different category on surveys; if I get angry about anything people will whisper: ‘she’s going through the change.’

I felt grateful because I know of so many people who didn’t reach this milestone, taken suddenly without a chance to say goodbye. So I could spend the rest of my life weeping for my lost youth, or searching for the fountain of youth. Instead I choose to embrace this new phase; take more risks; speak my mind and learn to say no.

The power of the n word

A beautiful sunny day in the Easter holiday, prompted a bike ride in the park. All around the park there was a diverse mixture of families black, white Asian all out to get that vital vitamin D.

My daughter and her cousin played on the swings and the climbing frame. My husband and I took it in turns to watch the children whilst the other cycled around the park.

As we were leaving the park a woman walked past with a large fluffy reindeer hat on the warmest day of the year (Yes she stood out!) My daughter and I stopped and waited for the stragglers. I told my daughter to move out of the way to let the strangely dressed lady pass. She looked at us both and said, ‘get out of the way n*****s. I was stunned. I tried to recall the last time I heard that word directed at me. My daughter looked at me she heard her clearly. My response somewhat pathetic was ‘That’s rude!’

But it was more than rude it added the burden of that word on my 7 year old. It wasn’t a child on the swings it was an adult aware of the hate and the power of that word. I think she had mental health problems so my muted response was probably fitting for her. When I relayed the story to my family they cried ‘you should have filmed her and sent it to the police’ and ‘you should have punched her.’ All hindsight – I was paralysed.

My daughter will hear that word more times in her life. How will she respond paralysed like me? Or will she be better equipped to deal with this word.

Windrush Generation

I was born in this country. My parents came to this country in the 1960s. Yes they stepped off the plane greeted by cold weather, cold stares and a cold reception – no blacks, no Irish and no dogs. They took it in their stride found work – low paid jobs, shabby housing and discrimination at every turn. It was dreadful but the colonialists did a splendid job of brainwashing it’s citizens into believing they must put up and shut up. A generation later and their children have endured the humiliation of being rounded up by immigration, they’ve lost their jobs, they’ve lost their driving license and the final insult they’ve lost access to benefits and healthcare which they have spent their lives paying into. This betrayal reminds me of when my parents were forced to fill in forms to become British citizens, I thought why would they need them they were invited to this country but it seems they had experienced enough let downs from the Motherland.

They found the documentation paid their money and they were granted British citizenship which already belonged to them. Therefore you can imagine their horror to see that 50 years later the reality of those phrases of ‘go back home’ heard in playgrounds on the streets and in the workplace everyday in the 60s and 70s. The betrayal of that legal, loyal, hardworking generation played out by social media and the press. Individual stories of victims of a brutal system that overnight caused people to lose their jobs; lose their house; lose access to benefits and the NHS (which many worked in their whole lives).

I applaud the courage of David Lammy and Diane Abbott firstly, for not abstaining when this inhumane immigration bill came to parliament. Secondly for being the voice of the original settlers many of whom have passed away. Thirdly for calling those responsible to account for those failures.