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Category: Memoir

This is the Sea

This is the Sea

When you’re born, you’re given a boat to live in and arms and legs to swim with. You can do what you like with them. “But stay in the backwaters,” people warn, “and moor up every night, somewhere safe. Don’t work too hard. Don’t take chances and don’t leave shore when it’s raining. And whatever you do, don’t float downriver and be swept out to sea because you’ll get lost and you’ll drown. And there are sharks.” Okay fine. But…

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Stealing a Piece of the Past

Stealing a Piece of the Past

I pulled up the last inch of zip on my hood and looked all around me, peering deep into the wet night to make sure nobody was watching. I had to move fast. In the dark, I snuck behind the metal fence and picked a path through the puddles and debris on the broken driveway. I looked up and saw the last few remaining walls of my childhood home, battered and empty as if derelict or bombed, looming over the…

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You Can Call Me AL

You Can Call Me AL

What’s in a name? A quick search tells me that my name Alison has been around since Medieval days. It was French probably, or maybe Scottish or English, and it is spelt with two Ls in America. Long ago, it was given to an Alice’s offspring – meaning ‘little Alice’ – and in Brazil it’s given to a boy. Does any of that matter? Not really. What matters is that my Mum and Dad liked the name Alison back in…

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Sleepy Heads and Other Stories

Sleepy Heads and Other Stories

I’ve been putting together a scrapbook of some of the things I wrote about during my first 10 years of motherhood. Maybe one day my kids will read it and get a glimpse of what it was like for me when they were little? Some of these memoirs were published in my magazine, a few were just scribbled in journals, and others were posted on a blog that I was obsessively devoted to and besotted with for a couple of…

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My Earliest Years

My Earliest Years

Of course I don’t remember anything about the start of my life, so I went around to my parents’ house to ask them about it. We sat on the green sofa in the living room of their bungalow and looked through some of my old baby photos, chuckling at my chubby round face and thick dark hair, and how I was dressed from head to toe in hand-knitted baby clothes. I was born on a cold winter’s night in Hitchin,…

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