But for now, just sleep.

Slowly, I open the door.

Quietly, I walk in.

Flat out on your back

And arms spread wide like a hug,

You sleep.


Gently, your breath,

In and out,

In and out,

Fills my heart.


Too soon, the day will start.

Rushing around,

Getting ready for school,

Hurrying out the house.

But for now, just sleep.


Golden hair cascades in waves

Over the pillow.

Eyelids flicker ceaselessly.

Of what do you dream?


You do not know that I am here.

You do not know how grateful I am

To be so.

Soon the day will begin.

But for now, my beautiful girl,

Just sleep.


Softly you breathe,

In and out,

In and out.

And every breath sounds like








Bethany and the dragon

There was a fairy princess called Bethany and a knight called Connor. They lived in the old castle. One day a dragon visited.

“Rarrrw.” He roared.

“Go away dragon, go away dragon, go away dragon!” Shouted Bethany.

The dragon was scared, and flew away.

Bethany and Connor had a party and then everyone went to sleep.

The end.


By Connor, age 10.



Felicity Fox gets a bus to the library.


If there was one thing in this world that Felicity Fox loved, it was carrots. Roasted, mashed, or raw in a salad. Delicious. And another thing was books. Felicity made her Daddy read her at least three every day. Books about the moon; books about dragons; books about carrots. If there was a story, Felicity wanted to hear it.

It was Daddy’s day off, and he and Felicity had the whole day together before her big brother got home from school.

“Where are we going today, Daddy?”

Felicity asked her dad as they waved Fred off to school. He was so big that he walked to school with his friends.

“I think we’ll go to the library today. What do you think?” Asked her Daddy.

“Yippee! I love the library!” Shouted Felicity with glee.

She jumped on the spot four times: one, two, three, four. That’s how excited she was.

“Ok,” smiled Daddy, “let’s get the bus there.”

“Hooray!” Yelled Felicity with joy.

She clapped her paws four times: one, two, three, four. That’s how happy she was.

She loved buses. Especially red ones with an upstairs.

So, Felicity and her Daddy put on their shoes and sunglasses and ran for the bus. It wasn’t at the bus stop near their house yet: they just loved running.

Finally the bus arrived. Daddy and Felicity sat at the back, just in front of the rear window. They did not sit upstairs this time, because this bus did not have an upstairs.

They waved at the other drivers on the road as they passed. The bus driver was very fast.20160710_222502

“He missed out on a career in Formula one.” Said Daddy.

Felicity looked at the trees outside. One, two, three, four, five trees, all in a row.

“Whee!” Laughed Felicity as they zoomed around a roundabout.

There were lots of roundabouts in their town. Little ones, big ones, and even a magic one.

Soon they got to town and left the bus.

“I can see the library!” Squealed Felicity.

They went to the children’s section. There were lots of windows with comfy seats, so that you could sit and read. There were computers. There were thousands of books. Felicity could not count up to 1000 yet. But she knew that it was a huge number.

Felicity found a book about fairies.

“Daddy, can you read me this one please?” She asked.

“Of course.” Smiled Daddy.

So they sat on a comfy blue seat in a window and Daddy read the story about Fairies.

Felicity couldn’t read yet, but Daddy told her the title was ‘Fairies of the British Isles.’

It had lots of beautiful pictures. Felicity’s favourite was a green fairy who lives in Ireland.

After listening to that story, Felicity found three more books that she wanted to borrow from the library. One was about football; one was about frogs and the last one was called ‘Fantastic carrot recipies.’20160710_222424

They took the four books to the librarian to borrow them. You could use a computer to take out books, but Daddy preffered to speak to people instead of computers. He said that they were friendlier.

Behind the counter stood a lady librarian. She was also a panda. 

“Look Daddy, she is a panda.” Said Felicity quite loudly.

“I am not a panda,” Replied the librarian, “I am a librarian.”

“Sorry.” Said Daddy Fox.

“See, here is my badge.” The panda pointed to a badge on her top.

“Daddy, what does that badge say?” Asked Felicity.

“It says ‘librarian’.” Answered Daddy, starting to cough.

“Oh,” Replied Felicity. “But, she is a panda.”

“I am a librarian.” Announced the panda loudly. “My name is Ms Xiongmao.”

Daddy coughed some more.

“Yes. Well, we would like to borrow these books please.” Smiled Daddy.

Felicity put the four books on the counter. One, two, three, four.

Ms Xiongmao nodded and scanned the books with her computer.

“Beep  Beep Beep Beep.” Declared the computer.

“Daddy, what does that sign say?” Asked Felicity, pointing to a notice on the front of the counter.

“Library rules: 1) talk quietly, 2) no eating, 3) be polite.” Read Daddy Fox.

“Please.” Answered Felicity.

“Please what?” Asked Daddy.

“Be polite please.” Replied Felicity.

“Oh yes, I see what you mean.” Laughed Daddy.


The librarian looked over her glasses at Felicity Fox. She did not look impressed.

“Here you go, they are due back in two weeks.” Sniffed the librarian who was not a panda (but who actually was).

“Perhaps we’ll use the computers next time.” Mumbled Daddy as they left the library.

Felicity loved the library.

“Should we go and get cake now?” Wondered Daddy as they walked through town.

“Yes please!” Felicity Fox hopped on to her right foot then her left, then her right and then her left again. She was excited.

The name of the cafe was ‘The cake brothers.’

The owner of the cafe was a giraffe.

“Hello, are you a giraffe please?” Asked Felicity politely.

“Hee hee, of course I am!” Chuckled the giraffe in the cafe.

“Pleased to meet you.” Smiled Felicity.

“What a darling child you have!” Grinned the giraffe.

Daddy ordered a pot of tea and a slice of Granny Smith’s apple pie. Felicity asked for carrot juice and a slice of carrot cake. Felicity loved carrots.

After their snack, Daddy and Felicity Fox caught a green bus with the number 14 in the window, to go back home. This time they did sit upstairs because the bus had an upstairs.

Felicity loved buses.




The race

Fairy princess Bethany had a pet unicorn. She would race Connor, who rode a horse. Connor always won the race, so Bethany said

“It’s impossible.”

Fairy Queen Mummy said

“Never give up. Never give up. Never give up.”

“Ok. ” Replied Bethany.

Today when Bethany raced Connor, they went over the haybales, around the little tree… but oh No! Connor’s horse suddenly stopped and Bethany’s unicorn galloped to the finish line.

“Yay, Princess Bethany is the winner!” Said King Daddy.

Bethany was given a trophy but Connor was sad.

“Connor, you can have a medal,” said Bethany.

And they lived happily ever after.


The end.

By Connor, aged 10.




pillow talk

Today I am grateful for the small things.


My daughter (aged 2 and 5/6ths) likes chatting as she goes to sleep. This is what she said tonight:


(Hears a noise outside.) That’s just a noisy penguin. And a turtle.


Grampy has a turtle. It’s a sandpit.


I saw Mr Potato at the library.


I went to the seaside.


That’s just me.


(Hears a noise.) That’s just Daddy.


I went to Summer’s house and we had a party.


It’s not my birthday, I’m only two.



Sunshine and Spongebob socks

Spongebob socks

I have always hated doing the washing. The thanklessness, meaningless, never-endingness of it all. The lanundry basket that never empties, even when you have just crammed the machine full with another load. The folding and putting away. The emptying of the machine. The eternal cycle of drudgery. If I could be spared one thing in this life, oh let it be washing clothes.

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Emma prayed for me the prayer from Numbers that asks God to bless us:

Numbers 6:24-26

24 ‘“The Lord bless you
    and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face shine on you
    and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord turn his face toward you
    and give you peace.”’

I appreciated being prayed for, but wondered exactly what it felt like for God to ‘make his face shine on you.’

Now I know.

I finished radiotherapy on Friday 5 February. And with that, active treatment for the cancer. Yay! The radiotherapy took place every week day for five weeks and involved a 2-hour round trip after work. It was so draining, not only physically but emotionally. It didn’t leave much time for socialising or fun or even normal family life. Thankfully, my lovely church made us a hot dinner (or take-away) every weekday evening for those five weeks. Such an amazing group of people. It really helped.

But Mike and I still found the rads much harder work than expected.

This Monday was the first week day post-rads. It was a normal day. The first normal day in a very long time.

So, I had time to do a load of washing. At first it was the same as always. But when I was hanging the clean clothes up to dry, I realised something: I was enjoying myself. As I hung up Connor’s Spongebob Squarepants socks, I was aware that I was actually grateful that I could do the washing. I wasn’t too tired or ill. My arms didn’t hurt from surgery. I wasn’t stressing or rushing, worrying about fitting all the housework in. I was just doing the washing, and it was good.

It was as though the clouds suddenly parted and a beam of sunlight landed on me and the wet clothes. I didn’t hear birdsong, but there should have been some. This is what it feels like to have God’s face shine upon you. The joy. The awesomeness of simply being alive.

For people who have never been seriously ill or disabled or poor, I guess you don’t really understand how this feels. So, I am a bit sorry for you. When everything has always been easy, it’s too easy to take the little things for granted. Those who moan a lot often have the least to moan about.

I am grateful for: life, health, socks.

Thank you God for turning your face towards me.

PS: I am sure that by next week, I will hate doing the washing again.

Be brave

I am a wuss. I loved rollerblading when I was a teenager, but only did it in a calm and controlled manner, just in case of a bad fall leading to broken bones. I have a phobia of broken bones. I would climb trees, but not too high. I would swim in the sea at Durban, but not too deep, due to the small risk of being eaten by a great white shark. I even played Monopoly against my siblings, despite the 99% chance of it ending in a combination of yelling, crying and fisticuffs.

I like having fun, once I have done a quick risk-analysis in my head.

I’m a bit like that geeky bloke on last year’s Apprentice.

I am definitely not brave. So having people tell me that I am, these last few months, has been difficult to accept. After all, I didn’t volunteer to have cancer in place of someone else or anything.  I am just keeping going; not in an adventurous way but in a boring, everyday way. I am not fishing for compliments, it’s the truth.

I do admire actual brave people. Not necessarily the winners, the ones who get the gold medal and all the attention. Sometimes them, but more often the ones who had a lot to overcome just to get to the start line, never mind the finish. The ones who were told it was impossible. They were too old, too young, too poor, too stupid. They did it anyway. Proper heroes.

People like the ones who do Parkrun even though they know they will be right at the back, far behind everyone else. Still running while all the ‘proper’ runners have gone home. Good for the proper runners and all that, but even gooder for the ones who will never get medals and praise but turn up week after week anyway.

I may not be a winner. I may not be brave. But I do turn up, and I think that really, that’s the most important thing.  Except in Monopoly: then it really is very important to win at all costs.