Inside my handbag lives a hobgoblin. I have never seen it but I know it’s there because the contents of the bag are never how I leave them. The creature must dash for cover whenever I open the bag, warned of my approach by the click of the clasp and the whine of the zipper. Handbag hobgoblins are rarely sighted but there are some common signs you can look out for. They like to pull tissues apart so that everything gets covered in white fluffy dust. They have a tendency to rearrange your store cards so you can never find…

Dad’s beardy kisses, scratchy but safe, tucking me into bed,
But Uncles’ bristly affections were reluctantly received.
My children’s kisses, snotty and slobbery, once freely bestowed;
An unabashed smack on the lips.
Now kissed by stealth, caught unawares with a quick peck on the head.

My mum’s hugs would go on forever if I let her;
My Dad’s threaten to squash all the air out of you.
These days I ask my children for hugs, avoid invading their space;
Sometimes rewarded with a lovely tight squeeze;
Other times my touch is merely tolerated, like trying to cuddle a kitchen chair.

My children’s hands used to hold mine wherever we went;
Little fingers, warm and sticky, enfolded tightly.
Now a privilege rarely granted, crossing rocky ground;
An extra support for weary, wobbly legs compelled to climb mountains.
A dwindling treat that I quietly treasure.

Frosted fronds,
grass encased
in icy crystals.

Like these plants,
life is held,
growth on hold.

Waiting for spring,
for release,
a burst of colour.

A Narnian winter
Prickly tendrils
Wrapping up tight

The grass waits
Willingly wears
its cold white coat

Glistening beauty
A glimpse of good
In suspended season


Dear Sir or Madam,

I regret to inform you that I am unable to continue in my role as Responsible Adult, for a number of reasons. I feel that having given it my best shot over a period of approximately twenty years, I am now able to state with some certainty that this is not a post I wish to remain in long-term.

I find that being a grown up involves an excessive amount of tasks and responsibilities which I don’t enjoy, but have to do none-the-less. The work required to maintain a home as well as…

I’m sure I’m not the only one who became slightly obsessed with bread during lockdown. It seems to happen when something becomes harder to obtain. Along with the loo roll, bread disappeared from the shelves for a while in the early days back in March. I remember buying plain scones to have for our lunch as it was the nearest thing available in Asda. I am not a panic buyer or a hoarder, so even when a few loaves crept back into the shops, I left them there in case someone else needed them more. …

Today’s writing prompt: write about a time you broke a bone.

I was twelve, it was the summer term of my first year at secondary school. ‘Upper third’, they called it — I suppose that tells you all you need to know. A ‘fun’ P.E. lesson with silly games and races, including backwards running.

Whilst reversing across the field with some velocity, I stumbled and landed awkwardly on my wrist. On informing the teacher of my injury, she condescendingly told me “maybe you should give up sport and take up knitting instead”. …

I have never knowingly broken a heart,
Unless it was that of poor Ben;
My ‘boyfriend’, so-called
For a week or two
When we were perhaps nine or ten.

One playtime I stood in the ‘circle of truth’,
A strange game some child had devised
And under the pressure,
Embarrassed perhaps,
When asked about crushes — I lied.

“I don’t fancy anyone”, I firmly declared,
While Ben stood right there and objected
But I carried on
And refused to confess
Our romance which, now, I’d rejected.

I’ve been trying to be colourblind,

trying to ignore the thoughts which notice, identify

my multicoloured surroundings,

attempting to overlook the observations

of the varied shades which punctuate the parity.

I have shied away and stayed silent,

preventing offence my justification;

fear of discomfort my uneasy confession.

But my eyes are opening;

I see that my words, however weak and tentative,

are a tool to be used to create and repair,

and I am not colourblind.

I see that life lived in technicolour

is glorious and precious

and I see every beautiful shade.

The current exhibition at Thought Foundation, Birtley, celebrates craft techniques in art; the intricacy of a hand-made surface and the use of traditionally domestic methods to address social and political issues. Processes such as knitting, stitching and knotting enable the artists to leave their mark in a very personal, tangible and physical way.

For Laura Porter, the disassembled clothing that is cut into strips and knitted to create her coiling, sculptural forms (Inner Dialogue 1 & 2) also bears the imprint of its previous owners, each garment’s history becoming part of the piece. …

In the Hatton Gallery’s current exhibition, the works of two artists are displayed together to highlight the connections and indeed contrasts between their work. Built around a painting from the Hatton’s own collection, ‘Study for figure VI, 1956–7’ by Francis Bacon, the exhibition consists of several of the renowned painter’s works alongside a series of works entitled ‘Morphia’ by contemporary American artist Ellen Gallagher. While Bacon’s dark, distorted and disturbing quasi-portraits are relatively familiar, Gallagher’s delicate, translucent, paper pieces were a new and exciting discovery for me.

Visually, there are some parallels that can be drawn between the two artist’s…

Sarah Ann Davies

Artist and writer based in Newcastle upon Tyne

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