J is adopted balloon

  Dear Judge MacGregor My mum thought it would be nice to write to you to tell you how I feel about being adopted. To be honest I don’t know how I feel because it doesn’t make much of a difference. I last saw V when I was 3 and I don’t remember her. I […]

All aboard the trauma train

This is a really important piece of writing from an adopter and foster carer who writes under the pseudonym All Aboard the Trauma Train. If you can, please share her story (maybe via email, Twitter or Facebook) with at least one person. A short extract follows, but read Kafkaesque Doesn’t Come Close for the real […]

Holy Island, Northumberland, UK

With adventure comes risk, but these photographs were taken not in a war zone or in a scientific compound, but on the street where children are free to walk. What kind of world have we created for ourselves? I am linking this post up to WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge on the theme of Adventure.

Anthony McCall, artist, Serpentine Gallery 2007

“But wouldn’t you rather have a baby?”. I took a deep breath. I was on the phone to one of three local primary schools, explaining that I was in the process of being approved to adopt, and asking if I could come in and visit so that I was well prepared when the time came […]

Photo by Michael Maillou, KCRFC

To be fair, J’s foster carers had done their best. They loved their football, and he came to me, aged six and three quarters, bearing an England duvet cover and several well worn branded football shirts and pairs of trainers. During the fortnight we spent getting to know each other before J moved in, they’d […]

The interpretation of dreams 2

I have three dreams which have stayed with me in all their vivid monochrome simplicity through the years. There is the rare but recurring one, which wakes me up in the night. I am driving at speed along a mountain road, a sheer drop to the side, the view a haze. I lose control as […]

Cinque Terre

So the plan last weekend was to take a two hour train ride from Lucca to Riomaggiore on the coast, and then walk from Riomaggiore to Monterosso via the three coastal villages of Manarola, Corniglia and Vernazza. This stretch of coastline, and the five villages, are all part of Italy’s Cinque Terre National Park and […]

Sisley anorexic looking mannequin

This mannequin caught my eye last week, but not for any of the reasons that the fashion brand Sisley would have wanted. There was something very strange about it: those black leggings for starters seemed oddly inappropriate in the mid-August heat of Sorrento, Italy, where the very lightest of loose cottons are de rigeure. Still, […]

Siena Palio 2014, first trial race

Yesterday I stood in the shade and cried a little as I listened to men singing together in the street. I am on holiday in Siena with my son J, during the run-up to the Palio, an extraordinary bareback horse dash around the massive Piazza del Campo which takes place every 16th August, and has […]

South Downs Way

My son J and I are walking the length of the South Downs Way together, a distance of 100 miles or 161 kilometres, between Eastbourne and Winchester in the South of England. This journey travels the spine of the chalky Downs, sometimes following coastal paths, but mostly straying far inland. This post, on the theme […]

J on London Overground

This rather surly and uncommunicative young man is a far cry from the hyped seven year old who set out with me for three weeks in Croatia all those years ago. The eyes are the same, though his lashes and eyebrows have darkened and coarsened with puberty. Step to his side, and the streak of […]

Zigzag shadows

Zigzag is the theme of this week’s WordPress photo challenge, and there are many excellent examples here.

Surrey lavender fields

      Hot lavender, mints, savory, marjoram; The marigold that goes to bed wi’ th’ sun, That with him rises weeping; these are flow’rs Of middle summer, and I think they are given To men of middle age.   There is nothing …. and no, really I mean nothing….. that I would rather do […]

The island of Kastellorizo of Mais in Greece

One day last summer we took a boat from Kaş on the Turkish coast out to the Greek island of Kastellorizo (or Meis, its Turkish name), a few kilometres away. My father and son and I whiled away a few hours by the picturesque harbour, eating and drinking, and observing the quiet comings and goings […]

Emotion faces

It was nine months into the placement and the cracks were beginning to show. J had started his new school and was half way through Year 2. That was the year his teacher said he was ‘fizzing with anxiety’ and I was so immersed in it, I’m not sure I entirely understood what she meant. […]


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