Wednesday, June 27, 2012

shop for me.

Where can I find really simple black wedges? High ones. With a platform. These ones were perfect but after letting me order them, get really excited about them and plan outfits around them, Aldo emailed me to tell me that they don't have my size any more. Bastards.

I can't start looking again, I just can't. Please do it for me. Thanks.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


The ones I love are nearly always birds. Freedom and independence, it would seem, are things that I need to be reminded of regularly, prone as I am to forgetting that they're mine. The ones I love are nearly always painterly, works of art on a living canvas. Muted colours, but not afraid. Sometimes I just fall for a reminder, or a record of a life lived.   A print of Jen Bandini's collarbones lives above my sofa, it's probably my most prized piece of art, it catches my breath every day. 

About once a day I think about tattoos, about where I would put what and how I won't because I don't want one badly enough to deal with the prospects of infinite choice, commitment and paying people to hurt me, but how I love the beautiful ones and what an amazing thing it would be to carry around a piece of art that is mine and mine alone. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

a place in the winter.

The radio is incessant but thank God it's there in the background, constant, reassuring, life is going on, the world is turning, people are listening to the early evening show and calling in traffic disruptions as they make their way home on the M25. Across the room, with curtains drawn in a mockery of privacy, a woman who was induced days ago is doing a remarkable impression of an unhappy cow. As one song ends and another begins we are that bit closer to meeting our daughters.

It's dark. We arrived at the hospital at 3pm, it was November and the light was already fading. Stepping out of the taxi my heart was racing, not with fear or anticipation but with pure rage. The mini cab driver had skipped every red light, broken every speed limit and taken every corner too damn fast. “I'm not in labour” I would have told him, but he had already ignored me when I asked how he was and told him Nye would be down in a minute with my bags, clearly furious to have a heavily pregnant woman in his car and desperate to get rid of her as soon as possible. I stepped out into the ambulance bay shaking and looked down to see that in his impatience the drive had trapped my cardigan in the car door, dragging it through the rain and spilled petrol of the Glasgow streets. Frustration and impotence boiled over into tears of anger; 'I told you we should have ordered a proper taxi.' I hissed. I had started out so calm, so ready to be induced, even our car breaking down that morning hadn't bothered me, but a kamikaze journey to the hospital proved a worthy opponent to my zen.

We are led to a ward to wait. The woman across the way has been there for a week. She is expecting her 8th. Perspective. 

5pm. The woman across the room is still lowing. Every inch of my body wants to curl up into a ball and lie down but I've been strapped to a foetal heart rate monitor for over and hour and despite being told regularly that it will just be a little bit longer, the signs that I'll be set free from the torture of sitting upright any time soon are not good. The babies weigh on my abdominal muscles, like you might image 30lbs of flesh and bone and fluid would,  but I've gotten used to it over the last 6 weeks and have accepted that although it feels like it, the muscles down the right side of my stomach probably aren't in imminent danger of ripping. The babies' heartrates are good, I'm having regualar and fairly strong contractions. I can't feel them, I can't feel anything but the shredding pain of sitting still. The lights are dimmed, it's almost romantic this cosy room of moniters, low light and quietly constant radio. Nye sits beside me, offering juice and energy bars and reassurance. I don't want any of them, I just want to get up and move.

Finally I'm released, told to go for a walk, stretch my legs and get some air. With something approaching pure glee I roll over, reach out to Nye and grinning allow him to pull me up and off the bed. Slowly, but not as slowly as we should, we wonder down the corridor through double doors after double doors and sneak out of a fire exit.  I've never been so happy to see a cold, wet Glasgow night, but overlooking the hospital car park, the November rain frosting my face with icy drops and the street lights doubled and trebled in the puddles and the wet windscreens of parked cars, I hold my husband and feel all of my anxiety and stress, my irritation and my impatience wander off into the night. I'm about to be induced and that means that despite my certainty that pregnancy was never going to end, I'm going to give birth. I'm going to meet my daughters. I look up at Nye, laugh a little bit and tell him I love him. I might even do a small, graceless dance of excitement there on the fire scape in the rain, 38 weeks pregnant with twins. 'Are you ready?' he asks me. I nod, I am absolutely, undeniably, more than ready.

Fifteen minutes later and I'm in pain. Proper pain. I didn't expect it to happen so soon but almost immediately after the doctor came and gave me the first dose of drugs the contractions that we'd been watching on the screen started to get real. The midwife on duty had read my birth plan, she knew that I wanted to do it without pain relief, as much as was possible. The hospital had been deeply reluctant to deliver twins without an epidural  in case they needed to do an emergancy c-section to remove Twin B, who was breech. In fact they were deeply reluctant to allow me to try to give birth vaginally at all. I thanked them for their advice and dug my heels in and so in concession I had agreed to the epidural, seeing it as my only choice to placate a consultant who thought I was being a very silly girl. I knew that I had the right to refuse the epidural too, but honestly, I was scared. There's only so much I felt comfortable pissing off the people in charge. I've been around hospitals enough to know that nothing good comes from being labelled a 'difficult patient'. 

Despite having agreed to an epidural I was kind of hoping that if I put it off for as long as possible I might get away without one, (because who doesn't love some prolonged agony?) but day shift melded into night shift and with it night shift brought a midwife who clearly hadn't read my birth plan, or if she had she was one of the ones we had heard about who thought that birth plans were utter nonsense. Either way, she wasn't interesting in my 'no pain relief' crap. And I couldn't care less. We might have been coming from completely different ends of the birthing philosophy spectrum but she delivered my first born, held my hand while my second child entered the world, stayed way past the end of her shift to be with me and left the labour ward that morning covered from head to toe in my blood. I can't imagine that in the rest of my life I will feel as close to many people as I did to that woman. 

*photograph by A Desert Fete. The whole story is here

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

playing with cameras.

I'd like you to meet Eilidh*. When Eilidh's mum emailed me and asked if I might be interested in taking some photos of her daughter just being my initial reaction was a panicked 'I've never done that before I don't know how to do it I can't do it' (if you didn't know, I'm scared of trying new stuff) and then Nye told me I was being silly and actually I'd spent 18 months doing just that with Widdle and Puke and that it would be fun and I should be brave and give it a go. So I did. And I loved it. It turns out that I really like hanging out with littles.

So now I want to do more. I mean, let's not be uncertain: I have absolutely no desire to put babies in baskets, arrange newborns so that it looks like their resting their heads on their hands or get pose families in descending order of age. But just hanging out? Playing? With my camera there? I think I'd like to do more of that, maybe start a(nother) business. More about that later though, for now, here's Eildih: 

*(do Americans know how to pronounce Eilidh? It's Hayley without the H. You're welcome.) 

I'm still daydreaming out the details of a business, figuring out a plan that might travel with us to London, thinking up a name that works better than Widdle and Puke Photography. But in the meantime if you're interested in having me hang out with you and your littles and letting me capture an hour or two of your lives in my own style (no funny business with baskets) send me an email to 

Between now and the end of August the deal is thus;
  • I will charge £200 to spend two hours with you either in your home or somewhere that you and your littles find fun (I'm more than happy to come to the park with you for instance. Or the zoo, I like the zoo!) 
  • I'm available to travel in and around Glasgow or to anywhere I can get to easily on the train from central Glasgow (travel expenses not included)
  • I will give you the photos as high-resolution files, probably around 50, maybe more, maybe less. 
  • I get to use the photos to build a portfolio 
  • No funny business with baskets. (think of it as a playdate, except instead of a kid I bring a camera. Although I've got no shortage of kids, if you want me to bring one of those too.) 

Monday, June 11, 2012

I dream of green.

I want a garden. It's mostly the thought of the garden that fuels my dreams of London. And yes, I know, houses with gardens in London are expensive, we actually thought to check prices when we first started thinking about moving, so really, thank you, but you don't need to tell me again.

It was Nye's birthday recently, I bought him this and this. He wonders aloud about landscaping and fruit yields and crop rotation and whether we will need to hire a skip, I wonder how long wisteria will take to grow around the front door, which fruit trees have the most flowers and whether I want mixed poppies or just red ones. Together we will make a garden and it will be our haven.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

the aquarium.

We went to the aquarium, there were a lot of trout, Ella miowed at the otters. 

Saturday, June 02, 2012

June 2nd.

happy birthday my Nye. 


you're old and I love you.
let's go photograph the pants off that wedding we're going to today then come home at 1am and fall asleep in a pile then wake up at 6.30am to babies shouting 'POO!' and do it all again. 

Friday, June 01, 2012

tipping point.

I was editing a photo session, an hour I spent this week with a gorgeous little girl in her home, looking at the photos of her playing with her mummy and smiling and giggling and showing me her toys. Every so often I was checking twitter, as I do on most work days, to see what was happening in my small corner of the internet and to share amusing links to articles about boobs or let the world know that I spent my morning photoshopping dog genitals out of a wedding album, when I saw this tweet from Gaby Hinsliff. At first I skimmed by it, tried really hard to ignore it. God, I wanted to ignore it. Who wants to read things that they know are going to break their hearts? So I went back to my photo session, back to images of a happy, safe toddler wrapped in the arms of her mother. But then I was back on twitter, my finger hovered over the #tippingpoint hashtag and after a few seconds I clicked. At first I read one blog post; not too graphic, not too distressing, just facts, a call to Do Something.  'okay,' I thought, 'I've done my bit, I can go back to work now', but a few minutes later and I was back and I was reading through the posts as fast as I could, one after another until finally this one broke me, forced me to feel what I had been avoiding since I first caught a glimpse of a headline three days ago. 

Describing the evils of massacre in detail is beyond me. I'm still resisting engaging with this as a mother, imagining that it could have been my babiesI don't have the words to pull at your heartstrings, to make you feel the revulsion and the pain and the despair of the situation. All I ask is that if like me, you were avoiding engaging with the horror of the Houla massacre, you consider letting yourself feel, consider reading about what happened and doing something, however small, to voice your anger that things like this happen in our world. 

Todayt, June 1st, bloggers have united in protest. People are tweeting with the hashtag #tippingpoint and the Times have made their article on the massacre free to view today. There are things you can do too...

  • You can sign petitions from Save The Children, Avaaz and Amnesty.
  • You can blog about it, tweet about it or share the things you read on Facebook.
  • You can RT tweets you see that use the hashtags #tippingpoint #syria #stopthekilling
  • You can read more about the politics and facts known about the massacre in Houla, Syria here.
  • On June 10th You can join the protest of mothers, parents, grandparents and children in London