I sat on the back doorstep of my kitchen in the
sunshine looking out over my garden and the story flowed very quickly.
My daughter, Helen, had just rescued me from an
intruding mouse she captured it with a towel and deposited it over the back fence.
It got back into the house more quickly than she did!
We caught it eventually with a piece of chocolate cake.
I wanted to illustrate the poem myself but didn’t at that time the necessary skills -just the pictures in my head. I carried on rearing my four children and teaching English in comprehensive school whilst caringfor my elderly parents, As you do!
I slowly learnt to paint, draw, mess with mod roc
and write, travelled, grew many vegetables and knitted.
The years passed and my auntie Jo died leaving me
the little mouse figures I'd bought her as a teenager on Southend seafront.
Gradually, I became an artist.
I did an honours degree to develop my drawing
When my sister, Sally became ill with breast cancer we became very much closer and I read the poem to her. Barely patient and
clearly ‘humouring’ me, she was sceptical about her possible interest in it but was prepared to tolerate a quick reading.
I can see her now, eyes heavenwards, leaning on the
doorstep of her front porch, smoking her cigarette with a poorly concealed air of prospective boredom and tolerant acquiescence. Unable to conceal her delight and astonishment she demanded to see the sketchy little drawings I had done in the margins. She was more flattered and complementary than any time in our
lives together. So I was encouraged to go on with the project.
Sally did see some of the earlier ‘mock ups of the
early pages and asked,
“What are you going to do with them?”
She died unfortunately before she saw the completed work. So although they were intended for Chris and Tim then continued for Susie-Ann and Jessica, My grand-daughters, I am dedicating the work to my
sister, Sally, in remembrance of a sister for her love and tolerance of me.
Ann G. Duggans Robson