Motherhood and Foul Weather


I’m standing on a bleak mountain top. At least, I think it’s a bleak mountaintop because with the mist and drizzling rain, I can’t see very much.

I can see enough though to feel terrified. There is a ravine to my left and a group of intimidating sheep to my right. The car is parked on a narrow track and the adjacent ground looks suspiciously marshy. Executing a u turn if I’m on the wrong road will not be easy.

The light is fading, the mist is thickening, I have no working sat nav connection and my phone battery is dying. I am lost.

My last human contact was the farmer who rescued me from four snapping barking dogs who launched themselves at me when I stopped for directions.

The farmer helpfully directed me to this godforsaken mountaintop via a precipitous narrow track along a dam. The swirling mist revealed just enough of the vertiginous drop to my left to make me feel I was driving a plank.

I eye the sheep. They balefully eye me back. I wonder who I am and how I’ve arrived in this place?

Artist. Northerner. Wife. Ex-lawyer. Mother. Ah yes: mother. Motherhood is what’s got me here, to the brink of the civilized world as I know it.

I have driven north through floods and rain to collect Youngest Daughter a day early from her annual visit to the school’s OutDoor Centre. We have a big family affair and she needs to be home.

But the OutDoor Centre is a place no sane parent should ever want to see. All the tales over the years of derring-do midnight hikes and rat poison are best buried deep in the unconscious because otherwise you would never willingly dispatch your little lambs to such a place.

The sheep are still there. I open another No Access gate and drive on through, committed to the trail because there is no turning back.

And by some minor miracle, I’ve arrived.

And survived.


2 responses to Motherhood and Foul Weather

  1. The great outdoors, all spread about for you to enjoy, 🙂

    Great when it gets up close and personal like that, I love it out there. I’m trapped in tourist hell here in Spain with no hope for a quick exit from beach, sun and sand where it shouldn’t ever be. Why does my wife love swimming in the sea so much? I’ll never know. Beaten by waves onto the stony shoreline, sneered at by brown, leathery professional sun worshippers, even they wonder why we are entering the water.


    • gillianholding – Author

      Oh, I think I’d happily take sun at the moment. I driven seven hours in driving rain over the last 24 hours and had a flood in the house with a hundred guests descending tomorrow…

      Follow me on Twitter @gillianholding

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