No Mayo, vinegar or anything yucky!

Growing up in a family of 5 children you get used to any number of food dislikes and for catering for different tastes; Sunday morning breakfast was often a cooked breakfast of eggs, bacon, fried slice, mushrooms and tomatoes.

Sounds easy? One sibling did not like the yolk of the egg, one didn’t like the white, one didn’t like fresh tomatoes and another didn’t like tinned tomatoes (makes the fried slice soggy), the one who didn’t like the yolk (or was it the one who didn’t like the white?) originally loved mushrooms, but managed to eat so many of them on one occasion that she no longer liked them! How my mother kept her patience with us I know not, but she did!

I then married a man who didn’t like mayonnaise or vinegar. However the list did not and does not stop there. It includes anything that might have vinegar in, or look like mayonnaise, salad cream, mustard, olives, capers, anchovies, seafood, fruit with meat, the taste of sweet and sour combinations, goats cheese, Philadelphia cream cheese, blue cheese, sour cream, oxtail, liver, kidney, lamb (too fatty?) anything with a bone in or skin on, no chicken drumsticks, all visible fat to be removed (I know!). I have managed to introduce mushrooms, chicken thighs, cooked feta, celeriac and lamb – yes it can be cooked and not be greasy. He still prefers carrots cooked in a stew but at least he will eat them.

You might think this would mean that we had a fairly bland diet, but no what it actually meant was that I found new ways of cooking favourite meals. Dislike is the mother of invention as far as my cooking was concerned.

Beetroot in cheese sauce

I came across this recipe some years ago and originally dismissed it out of hand as it had caraway seeds as an ingredient.

Now, here’s one of those odd dislikes, I have never liked caraway seeds (my mother used to make lovely fairy cakes, only problem as far as I was concerned were the caraway seeds – those cakes lasted a lot longer than the fruit ones or even the plain cakes), however, give me a drink that tastes of aniseed and I am very happy!

Anyway, back to the beetroot: this vegetable happens to be one of my favourite and is very good for you so I decided to try the recipe without using the offending ingredient, if you can ignore the pink colour of the cheese sauce you are in for a treat!

Cooked Beetroot
grated mature hard cheese such as cheddar
plain flour
white pepper freshly ground – black pepper will work just as well

make your cheese sauce
slice the beetroot
place beetroot in oven proof dish
pour cheese sauce over the beetroot
place dish in oven heated to 180c (fan)

Serve as a side dish or as a light supper with crusty bread.

Your Final kiss

The day the sea took you remains with me forever.

That night no sleep came. I drifted through consciousness to despair, beyond hope, beyond belief. We knew, you and I that our time was done.

The sea, she was not discriminate in who she took that night, young, barely born, old and those just beginning to learn to live again.

In the hours between dusk and dawn my mind, my very being called to you. Fought for you. Longed for you. Finally you came to me at the breaking of dawn. I felt you and heard you. Yet it was not to stay, it was not to live our dreams.

This was not a farewell. This was beyond doubt goodbye.

I felt the brush of your last kiss, cold against my skin, like a sigh caught by the wind and dropped upon my fevered brow.

I felt your final embrace and the leaving of you shattered me into a million pieces. I knew, without conscious thought, that I would never be the same, life would never be the same. And at last the hot tears of grief came.

I grieved for what had been, what should have been, our past, our future and yes I grieved for our lost love.

Part of my soul, my heart, my mind became shrouded in a dark mist.

Held, suspended in that moment of time when the last breath left your body and caressed my skin.

Memories of you, of us, fingers entwined, eyes locked in hunger, oblivious to others, remain.

The feel of your hands in my hair, lips on my neck, urging me to soar, fly.

There are days, still, when the scent of you drifts into my mind, filling me so that no other scent exists.

There are days when I swear I can feel your arm around my waist and your sweet breath on my skin. On days such as these, time stands still.

Memories of you

The brush of your cold lips, on my fevered brow. As light as a sigh or butterfly wings.

Your final kiss.

Copyright © 2014 The Kentish Lass

You are always on my mind

You are always in my mind, always in my heart
You are ever present, ever constant
A warm glow spreads inside as you speak to me
Caressing me with your eyes and words
Desire rises in me; you make me smile deep inside
Just a glance from you sends my heart racing,
My thoughts spinning out of control

I see you in my minds eye, close and warm, kind and caring
The smell, feel and touch of you never leaves me
Always I yearn for you, the feel of your skin constantly with me
Your touch, your kiss, your arms around me,
To hold you close and feel your breath
To feel your breathing and heart beat quicken in response
Time stands still when I am with you

The warmth in your eyes compels a primeval need
To make you happy, give you joy, see you smile
One glance from you and I am lost
I think I am almost certain I shall always want to please
To see the smile, to feel your heat, your caress
And although the words are not easily said
I think, I am almost certain I am falling for you

Copyright © 2012 The Kentish Lass


I used to write a LOT.  I was most prolific in my early teens, whilst still at school. Then when I met my first love and throughout our time together. He was a passenger on the Herald of Free Enterprise and we had become engaged literally the day before he took the trip and was killed. I was devastated.  I found that there was a release of grief through writing.

Where I was and what I was doing, even what I was wearing when the news item of the event hit the TV screen will stay with me forever. I imagine it is the same for people who say they remember where they were and what they were doing when they heard about the assassination of JFK .

He had not told me what time he was travelling, he had not told me the name of the vessel. But none-the-less, in the split second of seeing the newsflash and understanding what was on the screen I knew, without a doubt, that he had been on that ferry. I knew without a doubt that he was never, ever, coming home to me. Although I hoped beyond hope that he would. But this is another story, for another time perhaps.

In 2012 I started writing again, before my disintegration, more in 2014 and still more in 2015. I honestly believe this return to writing is an integral and crucial part of my recovery.

I was lucky enough to be asked to contribute to an e-magazine (SnowGlobe Poetry). My heartfelt thanks to Thomas Snow (Twitter @Snowglobeman, Instagram Thomassnowglobe) for believing in me and encouraging me to write.

My published work can be found here:

The Hunger

You are always on my Mind

The Gnarled Tree

Work not previously published:

A Lingering Kiss

My Constant Companion

Storm Catcher


Your Final Kiss

Forever Mine

The Long Lonely Hours

The Taste of You

Without You

My Love, My Life, My Friend

Miracles don’t happen

Another Dimension

The Beginning


In an instant

Unrequited Love

Not Ever

The Gnarled Tree

That gnarled tree. twisted and bent by mother nature. the wind, the rain, the snow. It’s fingers always stretching reaching for the sky. it’s roots spreading, searching, drinking from the moisture of the soil. Anchoring and holding on tight to the earth. Standing firm, basking in the sunshine, glowing in the moonlight. Allowing it’s shadow to cross the ground providing shade in the day, shelter in the rain, eeriness and thrills at dusk

The Hunger

I want to hold you in my arms
I want to feel your breath on my skin
I want to look deep into your eyes and

I want to see there, that which I feel
desire, need, lust, and yes, love if you will
I want you, so much it touches my core

My soul, my every breath, my every thought
I hunger for you as I have never hungered
I ache for your touch, your kiss, your soul

It is an ache I never thought to feel again
The hunger for you consumes me
Night and day. Gnawing at me.

©copyright January 2015 The Kentish Lass

Retired at 55!!!!

Life is strange. There have been many twists and turns through the years. Some unexpected, unpredictable. Some changes were abrupt and very far from welcome.

I don’t recall making any definite plan for my life when I was young, no particular ambition (perhaps I should have?). Looking back I largely seem to have gone with the flow.

Not successful for my first choice of career I accepted a job offer for one of the (then) regional utility companies and there I stayed, moving around the south-east as the company was privatised, locations closed, jobs disappeared, reorganisations, mergers. Moving from office junior to management. Jan 1977 to Jan 2015. I had expected to stay there until I retired at ‘normal’ retirement age. But fate or destiny had a different plan.

October 2013 saw the culmination of years of excessive work load take their toll. After a particularly nasty, personal abuse incident at work, which was very frightening, my health collapsed completely. It was late afternoon of a Friday and I managed to get myself home but was completely incapable of doing anything of value that evening or over the weekend. I was, to all intents and purposes, a zombie.

I had, overnight, developed a stutter or stammer, I couldn’t stop shaking and crying – the slightest thing set me off, and my brain would not function. Some months previously a rash had developed on my face which it turns out was caused by the anxiety that had been increasing inside me. The skin on my elbows was like an elephants hide: again a physical sign of the stress that I had been under.

On the Monday morning I was able to get an emergency appointment with my GP. My husband, thankfully, came with me. I say thankfully because I was unable to string words together to make a comprehensible sentence. My GP signed me off work and prescribed emergency medication. The medication was changed to a milder prescription a week later, and as the nightmare continued a further drug was added – I take both those prescriptions to this day. They keep the anxiety and the ‘black dog’ days at bay most of the time.

In my work I had dealt with complex negotiations and contractual documents. Suddenly I could no longer make sense of simple magazine articles. I had previously loved reading and would consume the printed word with a passion. I could no longer read a book. Well I could read but nothing made any sense and I would re-read the same page over and over again trying to understand. Answering the telephone or the doorbell caused me huge anxiety. Seeing anyone was traumatic – how could I explain what had happened? What did they think? I was ill but no one could see the illness, did they believe me? After all a short circuit in the brain isn’t visible like say a broken leg

Depression and anxiety, work related stress the nightmare of not being myself continued for 18 months and on some levels continues even now. The professionals have described my symptoms and condition as those of PTSD – this still surprises me; it’s not as if I’d been in a war zone! Or had I? Work had become a long round of trying to please everyone but still complying with ever increasing red tape. Internal customers shouting down the phone at me when they realised they hadn’t done something they should have and expecting me to find them a solution. Keeping sales on track, even without the proper approvals: my neck on the line every time I bent the rules and policies. Team members not meeting deadlines: my responsibility, if they couldn’t meet the deadlines then I had to. Working from 7 in the morning to (at it’s peak) 11 at night, plus weekends. Deliver this, deliver that, do it now…… and by the way Know this is not part of your job but deliver this too.

December 2014 still signed off sick. Still unable to comprehend simple documents / articles. Still stammering whenever talking about work.

BIG decision; actually HUGE decision: retire from work so that I can get fully better. Dilemma is this right? I feel like I’ve driven the car down a dead end with no turning space.

Jan 2015 55th birthday saw me retire and finally start on the road to full recovery.

However, I did not expect that retiring would leave me feeling so devastated, so empty. It was as though I were experiencing the grief of the loss of a loved one. I recognised the feelings from the loss I felt when my first love was killed on the Herald of Free Enterprise. My GP was able to put this in perspective: I was indeed grieving for the loss of someone: the professional me. Once I accepted that this was really quite normal, given the way my career had ended, recovery started in earnest. Almost overnight the stammer and the facial rash disappeared.

I have begun to find the real me, the creative side which has been buried for far too long. I’ve rediscovered my writing, my drawing, my needlework, my love of design and I have now taken two courses which have challenged me to gain new creative skills and meet new people. Meeting people has been particularly hard for me but self confidence and self belief are beginning to resurface.

I know I still have a long way to go but I am making good progress and, yes I am proud that I have come this far.