Life behind the social lens.

No-one has a perfect life

The pictures tell a lie,

Beneath the sham of smouldering eyes

Bitter-sweet tears of reality hide.


The fairytale lives of our sociable friends

Might make our own story seem quite shabby

But beneath the pretence of glitter and glamour there lies

Some friends who aren’t always happy.


So if you see me smile at you

It sends to you good cheer

I know deep down your life may be as complex as mine

So it conveys love and compassion sincere.


©Alison Jean Hankinson

Social media can fill a gap, strengthening some links and friendships but it can also set unrealistic expectations about what life should be like and somehow cloud our judgement of what imperfections we should learn to cherish.

I thought this picture summed it up perfectly.

Shout out to all those young people out there on World Mental health Day  October 10th who exist in a world that is beyond anything we could have imagined when we were your age.





Summer sunshine

I have had a break from writing. This is largely because I was exhausted and needed to use as much energy as possible focusing on recentring and bringing some sense and order into what had inadvertently become a very complex and draining period of my life.

From this I have learned that shutting down has some favourable benefits so long as you continue to give yourself time to reenergise and re-focus.

There is only so much that one brain and one body can handle without exhibiting signs of stress and wear. Things were going wrong at every turn. It seemed like there was no end in sight nor even a small glimmer of hope on the horizon. I had to cut back to the bare minium, doing the things that needed to be done and prioritising aspects of my life that would enhance my ability to survive and bring solutions to our immediate problems and needs.

After two months of gruelling toil we seem to have at least some solutions in hand. Yesterday I started a new job and hopefully this will provide the stability and purpose that has been needed to fulfil the desire to belong and be of value.

Returning after such an extended period of time away brought with it a huge reverse cultural shock and I discovered the qualities that were of value in NZ were not of the same value here and that times had changed and that my place in society was no longer that of respected citizen of value and worth and that to all intents and purposes I was replaceable, aged and worthless. My survival therefore depended on my ability to adapt and accept the changes and get on with it to the best of my ability- regardless of any hopes, dreams and aspirations that I had thought realistic before we returned home.

There were days that my awareness that this might be as good as it gets was the best I could muster. Days where potential tragedy loomed large around the every corner and the fine line between survival and anihilation was rendered invisible.

The sun shone, life moved on. I lived and breathed and took time to value the world before my eyes, trusting that one day there would be small opportunities for change that would help open new doors and windows to let the sun stream in and liberate the gloom.

Hopefully this is the first page in a new chapter that will bring peace, friendship, connection, love, purposefulness and place.

©Alison Jean Hankinson



We are knitted clanger creatures

Living far away from earth

We don’t have diabetes

But we do have lots of mirth.


We live off blue string pudding

And green soup for dessert

We have a lovely soup dragon

Whose baby is said to slurp.


We have some friendly froglets

Iron chicken in starry sky lurks

We harvest notes from music trees

Hoots make our tiny clangers chirp.


We whistle through the day

We whistle through the night

We whistle for the children

To make their day more bright.



©Alison Jean Hankinson

Friday night cheer up in Mental Health Awareness week 2018.

Image taken from Flickr labelled for non commercial re-use.



Fan the flames of love

We are Phoenix we rise above

we fly high against the backdrop

Of a twilight sky

And leave you dead and cold.

Let your sallow soul grow old amongst the bones of those who told

The shallow lie you heard amongst my teardrops.


Crystal clear

No malice here

I grace the air with wings of gold.

My heart unfolds with truth and beauty, pure love and loyalty

I am Phoenix.

I rise above.


©Alison Jean Hankinson.

Image creative commons free to use from pixabay.

I don’t belong to you…the voice of a lover crossed.

I don’t belong to you

I never did

I was just a borrowed shirt

An accessory of sorts

To compliment your crass existence

I wasn’t yours to own.


We danced all night, our bodies entwined

It was love at first sight,

We belonged together forever.

But at the end of the night

You were gone.

I was alone.


Do you want jam with your toast?

I prefer eggs she thought.

Is this my life I see before me?

Always him before me, and he can’t even see

Always sugar in tea, no chance to be free

No room for me.


I had his head on a platter

Silver ornate, shiny no blood spatter

It was the only way to win you see

I got to be loved and adored

Play the field, chair the board

And still be me.


©Alison Jean Hankinson


Learning still…

To know the sound of a robin or a pukeko call

To see a sycamore whizzer and collect conkers at fall

And to know that inspite of it all

I know nothing.


I was given eyes to enjoy the sunset at eve

Ears to hear the geese call as they leave

And I know I can smell a storm on the breeze

and yet I know nothing.


I know for sure the road is long and winding still

And that whatever the weather we must do what we will

To better the lives of others with our goodwill

And still I know nothing.


As each day passes by of this I am sure

There are interesting things and I need to learn more

There will always be a wonderful allure

To learning still.


©Alison Jean Hankinson.

This is for d”verse poetics.


Fifteen years on…

Fifteen years ago we were at a child’s birthday party in the Church hall at Bride with our girls, when Dave revealed that he had received in the post that morning compulsory call- out papers to serve in Iraq. It was completely unexpected, he was a serving member of the Territorial Army but we had always been assured that they would never serve in an active Theatre of War, and yet here we were and my then 41-year-old husband was given less than a month to sort his affairs out before being whisked away at the end of May to Basra Palace.

We had only just moved to the Isle of Man with our girls and the whole situation was like some complete nightmare and it was a day full of sadness and grief, and as the children played party games I spent most of my time crying quietly in the corner. In so many ways that moment, that letter, that situation changed our lives forever, and in a sense, I think even at that moment we knew that things would never really be the same.

In fact it almost feels like fifteen years on, we are only just beginning to put it all behind us, the path it sent us down was not an unhappy path but it was a path that was less travelled and it is only now that we find ourselves walking back to the crossroads in an attempt to rediscover some of the life and lives we left behind.

This weekend the sun shines. We have taken a road trip to Harrogate to spend a night at the Old Swan Hotel. A beautiful place that used to be called the  Harrogate Hydropathic and is infamous for providing Agatha Christie with a safe haven during a troubled part of her life in 1926. Unbelievably we have been given the room she stayed in as our room for the evening and I feel very privileged.

We stopped off in Skipton on the way through and enjoyed watching the Tour De Yorkshire. They were also celebrating down on the canal and the Accrington pipe band put on a splendid performance and they must have been sweltering in their uniforms. The canal barges looked inviting and the post-industrial landscape told a story of reinvention and rejuvenation.

We came to Skipton quite a few times before the girls were born, we even used it as a stepping stone and caught the train to Leeds a few times when I was having my IVF treatment there in 1998. So it is a place of memories, the last visit the girls were about 2 and in the double buggy, we stopped at what was Woolworths and bought Ellen a toy Jake from the Tweenies and Emily a Mopatop. I think she still has Mopatop, but Jake got lost in the Mcdonalds at Llandudno junction in about 2001.

After Skipton, we drove on to Harrogate where we are staying at The Old Swan Hotel. What a joy, it has its own character and sense of self and here we find ourselves in room 253 which was the room that Agatha Christie stayed in for 11 days in December 1926 when she went missing. It feels a little like serendipity, it has been a dark and deep week and the cracks have been showing and I could happily have disappeared myself on Wednesday and if I had found myself here I am sure it would have been a positive and healing thing to have done. I  would like to think that she may have found this too. She divorced the following year and rumours about her mental state at the time of the missing 11 days vary from the concept that she was suicidal, or in a fugue state, to the fact that she was making it difficult for her husband to continue with his affair and he claimed she had amnesia following a car accident. I guess no one really knows. I hope she found peace here. The room doesn’t feel tormented so perhaps she did.

©Alison Jean Hankinson