Reading

Having lugged a few books to Huntly with me, thinking I’d have loads of time to read contextually for the project, I’ve managed almost none so far.

This is what was in my suitcase:

Bright, S. (2013) Home Truths: Photography, Motherhood and Identity, Art/Books, London

Chang, (2008) Autoethnography as Method, Left Coast Press Inc.

Deller, J. (2010) Procession, Cornerhouse Publications

Miller, (2005) Making Sense of Motherhood, Cambridge University Press

Rendell, J., Penner B., Borden, I (1999) Gender Space Architecture, Routledge

Thompson, N (2012) Living as Form: Socially Engaged Art from 1991-2011, MIT Press

Thurer, S (1994) The Myths of Motherhood, Penguin

What I do read I’ll record here…….

Vergunst, J. L. (2008) Taking a Trip and Taking Care in Everyday Life, in Ways of Walking: Ethnography and Practice on Foot, Edited by Tim Ingold and Jo Lee Vergunst, Ashgate

Reading this chapter on trips, slips and getting lost whilst walking really struck a chord with me. Although it mostly refers to hill walking and city walking (rather than the small town walking that I’ve been doing) I have had a few occasions over the last week when I’ve been struck by the implications that a slip or a trip would have (it is, I think, almost impossible to get lost in Huntly). The ‘testing the edges’ walks have been the source of this issue. They have put me in places and situations (like the edge of the A96, or the riverbank) where I’ve suddenly become aware that it’s not very safe – that it’s not just me that I’m taking care of, and that a slip or trip or stumble that might result in muddy hands and knees, or a scraped wrist for an adult walking alone might put me and the pram and Ruby or Ernest into the river, or the road. One specific instance was on the Bogie Street bridge, which we walked over every day. Ernest liked to pick a dandelion clock and throw it into the water as we crossed. One morning I had Ruby in the sling, and Ernest’s clock got stuck on the railing. I leaned over to dislodge it and let it fall into the river but as I did Ruby lurched over – trying to grab it herself. I don’t think she was close to falling in, but in what felt like a spilt second I had worked out my plan – the river is shallow there, but hopefully deep enough for her to survive the fall. The bridge is high, so I would probably seriously hurt myself if I jumped over after her – I would have to run to the end, slide down the bank, and get into the water from the edge. Once the plan was formulated the fear dissipated – by deciding what I would do, I defused it.

It also reminds me of two specific situations in which I’ve fallen – slipped in the last year, both in the playgrounds in London Fields near where I live. The first was when I was around 16 weeks pregnant with Ruby, but I hadn’t really told anyone yet and didn’t yet want to. It had been raining  and the ground was very wet. I was following Ernest around the playground, walking quite slowly from slide to climbing frame and around the trees. One of the slides there is built into a slope, which is surfaced with a rubber chip material – it grips your shoes when it’s dry, but is very slippery when it’s wet. I followed him along the top of the slide embankment, and went to take a shortcut down the last bit of the slope – slipping and falling hard flat on my back. I lay there for a while a little dazed and winded, trying to work out if I was hurt and if I should say something/go and get checked to make sure the baby was ok.

The second was around a week after Ruby was born, I had her in a sling and again was following Ernest around. We were in the other playground, the one where the slide is built into a man-made mound (also surfaced in the rubber chips). Ernest was trying to climb up it – not using the step-grips, just going right up the side. I went up behind him to give him a boost – pushing him up, and my feet slipped out from underneath me on the steep slope, falling hard onto my stomach and just catching myself with my hands in time to prevent Ruby from getting really squashed (sore wrists).

 

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