A Spot Of Bother by Mark Haddon


A little bit about the author -
Mark Haddon was born in Northampton in 1962. He attended Merton College, Oxford.
His first book was a childrens book – Gilbert’s Gobstopper which was published in 1987.
He is best known for his first novel for adults and children- The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-time which was published in 2003 and won several literary prizes – The Whitbread Book Awards, Commonwealth Writers prize as well as Guardians Children’s Fiction Prize.
A Spot Of Bother is his second novel for adults and was first published by Jonathan Cape in the UK and by Doubleday in the US.
This edition is published by Vintage Books.

A Spot Of Bother is a story about a retiree 57 year old George Hall, his family and the events running up to his daughter Katie’s wedding.
George discovers a lesion on his hip and is convinced he has cancer but is in fact slowly descending into having a nervous breakdown.
Meanwhile George’s wife Jean is having an affair with David who is one of George’s former work Colleagues.
George and Jean are a quintessentially english couple with stiff upper lips who care about appearances and what people think. They struggle with both their sons sexuality and also their daughters rather unpredictable personality.
Jamie their son is gay and going through his own relationship crisis.
Katie their daughter is getting married to Ray although she is unsure of her true feelings towards him. Not knowing wether she is marrying him because she truly loves him or because he is good with her son Jacob and she needs him.
The family do not really approve of Ray, he is a bit too working class. Katie herself doesn’t have a lot in common with him.
This book is a book that explores family relationships and in this story the characters don’t really know how to properly communicate which each other at all.
With all members of the family battling their own personal demons while George is losing his mind, they are all thrown together in the run up to the wedding. They are forced to not only communicate with each other, which brings them closer, but also to reevaluate what is really important to them and the way that they themselves treat people.
If you are thinking of reading this book in the hope that it is anything like or a second Curious Incident then you will be sorely disappointed as it is nothing like it. However it is a good book that is witty in places and an enjoyable read.

Dance with trees

Luscious and exuberant
creepers coil. Their tapestry
interweaving, they trail through
thickets and foliate floors.

The sages stand. Statuesque
enchanted and sapient.
Their knotted torsos shelter
under emerald canopies.

Incandescent in aura.
Enlightened they shimmer
radiant in life. Their truths
covert and deep are seeded.

At harmony we saunter
in dalliance, spellbound and
unfettered. Spirited we
forsake fear and dance with trees.

©Jacqui Slade


Winter shivers in winds of death,
a dismal whine in every breathe.
Stealing colour lights fade away,
to cloak all in its morbid grey.

Its sorrow falls in tears of white,
pirouetting forlorn in flight.
Exquisite in their gossamer,
in wisps they drop, their sprinkles sear.

It’s touch a frosty biting sting,
that glaciates in recoiling
warmth. Its hold severe penetrates,
as one year dies a new one waits.

Its soul in gales and howling cries
in natures slow sombre demise.
Winter will sit in storms to grieve
and in the spring get up and leave.

©Jacqui Slade


A wish to make a moment
a reminiscent weave. To
wear forever in my heart,
and then you will never leave.

Our chain is so fragmented
we are toughened by the chinks.
As diamonds sparkle brightly,
our true love reforms the links.

Each minute spent together
is a golden bead to thread.
Our gems are recreated
and embellished in our heads.

Threading all our memories
on a melancholy braid.
Bittersweet but beautiful,
the most precious thing we made.

In heart we are in pendant,
our souls evermore entwined.
As we learn to treasure time
the most cherished is defined.

A keepsake of reminders,
its exquisite charms are grasped.
Our lockets will remind us
of the priceless jewels we clasp.

©Jacqui Slade

A 21st birthday gift


I wanted to do something lovely and special for my daughters 21st birthday. I don’t live in the same town as my daughter or even in the same country so it was not possible to be able to be with her.
I think it is all very well buying a gift like jewellery or something like that but how often do you take your jewellery off and smile at it?
What I did was make her a memory book and filled it all full of photos from all throughout her life and of all the people she loves. I also messaged her family members and friends and asked them to write some lovely messages to put in it. I made I wrote little memories and found out random facts about her birthdate and wrote up all about her star sign, element, Chinese zodiac sign and worked out all her numerology. I also included little poems I wrote that were inspired by her and a few pages of Winnie The Pooh quotes along with some life and wisdom quotes. I tried to make it all really decorative too but ran out of time to decorate it all because I ran out of time. It did not cost me a lot to do either but will mean the most to her.
I thought that it would touch her heart and it really did. It is something she will always treasure and she can get it out and smile or read it when she is feeling a bit down and find something happy and inspiring. I think that a home made gift is more meaningful.


Afterwards – blasted, he finds her,
distorted and slumped, half hanging out of the bath.
Her mascara smudged and her glazed pupils clinging to the ceiling.
She lies there. dressed up in delusion,
they kid themselves they’ve got it all.
Every time she slips further, so does he, and it frightens him
because deep down he knows, which way they are going
as she falls further and he lovingly feeds their desperation.
Hysterical in her need and him besotted in his, it drives him insane.
She smiles at him, he sits on the toilet making a joint,
trying to figure a way out of this crazy kaleidoscope of extremes.
sometimes it feels like they are lost somewhere
between lunacy and chaos and he slams the door
In his mind it’s the only way that he can cope with the intensity of their
needs, at least that is what he tells himself, in his messed up logic.
Opulent in her, she is his blood, his breath and his soul.
Her quirky little ways is all that he wakes up for.
In love with her risqué don’t give a shit moods, they’re in a world of their own..
So that was their life, a make believe heaven, on the verge of a Temazepan dream. Sleep walking through life in a junkie’s Utopia fluctuating
on a high speed roller coaster ride to a variable slow motion nightmare.
He doesn’t want to wake up and confront the panic and dread growing inside him,
but his x rated anguish and confusion claws its way through his skin.
He’s yelling at the top of his voice.
Screaming her name, knowing it’s in vain.
Zoe wilts in the bath, smiling at him,
her eyes still stuck to the ceiling.

©Jacqui Slade


Spiralling through dreams hurricanes of mind,
searching for something that you cannot find.
In wistful tornadoes a wish is blown
over the rainbow, you find yourself thrown.
Living in colour avenging the grey,
in wonder wayfarer finding your way
through perils and sadness your journey starts,
hoping you’ll find the home of your heart.

With each step you take your shoes glitter red,
each sparkle a mirror of light in your head.
Your pace small in stature but huge in stride,
which way you go is for you to decide.
Melodramatic your faith in your charm,
conscious will guide you protect you from harm.
Tempted by fields of malevolent guise,
perfumed to trick but awakened you’re wise.

Your path is golden tenacious your soul,
to battle your demons you have control.
In cinematic musical aplomb
you start to realise how far you have come.
Resolute not to stray in your motion,
you find there is no magic or potion.
The magician you seek lives in your thoughts,
you have the answers to all that you sought.

Prowess unleashes the lion and you
find courage and roar pride in your truth.
Your head wasn’t filled with bales of straw,
Intelligent wise of that you are sure.
Your heart not leaden with grief but with love,
you come through stronger the journey’s been rough.
The home of your heart is where your love lies,
no grasses greener and no bluest skies.

©Jacqui Slade