The Storm in the valley


The fifteen young people I have been living and working with throughout this week  have behavioural issues rooted in horrific childhood experiences darker than anything Dickens could conjure.  We are in the wilds of Yorkshire on the edge of a valley with the River Lumb thrashing below.There’s been terrifying storms all across Britain throughout the week…..

The picture above was on a clearer day. Each evening  we eat at the dining room table by candlelight in the warmth of  a roaring coal fire. “it’s all very Harry Potter” I say. There is much laughing and good cheer.  These young people from The North East of England have written poetry throughout. They begin each day at 9.30am  in the Barn and end each day 9.30pm in the front room by the fire.

Outside the storm relentlessly batters the windows. It’s as if all their dark memories and stories of abuse are fighting to get inside. All the horror and violence is thrashing itself against the house screaming “ you must look at me. You must remember me. I am you. You can not beat me. I am You. You can not leave me out here”   

“I can’t believe it’s come so quick” says  tall thin Linden with  giraffe like eyes.  Ellen hugs me Goodbye  “I never want to leave here” she says “ever”.  But she does leave.  Today is the leaving day.  As the minivan fades into the driving rain Ellen watches the house disappear from the back seat of the minivan. Her hand is held high against the window frozen in a wave.


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