Saturday, 29 December 2012

What a Happy Christmas we all had!

I know that I am not alone in just having had a Christmas that proved to be very happy indeed.

Christmas Eve my son and his wife arrived, then my other son John entered the house,then my husband's daughter and her husband and his parents and their children were all here ready to attend the Christmas Carol Service starting at 6 pm in the evening. The weather was cold, but not raining, and so we walked to the church which is literally two mins away!

The church was absolutely packed.. All the children were given a face mask representing the kings, the sheep, the sheppards,the angels and of course Mary and Joseph.. As the service processed along, each of them came into the centre isle and were made part of the tale.. It took just over and hour with the singing and the performing, and everyone left the church feeling very connected and ready for Christmas to begin.

John's daughter and family then left us, taking their presents with them, and we settled down to a quiet evening all chatting and laughing away. I was a little anxious as I was told that I had nothing to do, Amy my daughter in law and Rebecca were going to be doing it all.

We sat in the kitchen whilst Chris my son, and Amy prepared the vegetables for the morning... I felt anxious as I was out of the loop.. Rebecca would be bringing the turkey in the morning driving over from Oxford which is just over a hundred miles away.

 Spot on time, she rang the bell and trouped in with her two sons and daughter.. more laughter and chatting as I was told to sit in the front room and make sure the table was laid!!! When the meal came, it was utterly scrumptious and really and truly a feast... ending not with Xmas pud, but a round wreath of meringue and fruits of the forest with almond flakes and cream to top it.. Swooningly marvellous!..

In the evening we played a quiz that Amy had prepared and divided us into three teams, John and little John being one.. they actually won the quiz, although the other teams consisted of three persons, so we should have had the advantage... Anyway it took a long time and many sections to complete and the evening just swung by*

Boxing day was excellent too, as although Rebecca and her brood left around lunch time, and so did Little John my youngest[ we call him little John to differentiate from big John my husband,] we still had Amy and Chris with us, and our young neighbour came around with her husband and young daughter and more cups of tea and endless cakes made the afternoon whizz by..

Today we went next door for drinks and nibbles -these nice people rent from us and are the perfect lodgers.. we met up with other friends and had another super day..

I cannot believe how it is almost Sunday, Christmas is over, the New Year beckons, and we have all been so very happy in each others' company, and although the booze did flow, it wasn't making anyone be silly.. Actually I think that is the main cause for my anxiety, having booze around... but with my lot they do it, and don't get silly or argumentative.. so I should really relax about having it around.. just another hangup from other days before..  

I do hope that you all have had a good time too... Its really not about getting gifts, because the most precious gift of all to give your kids and grand kids, is your time, love and attention unguarded and total in depth to them.. They will not remember the presents, but the feelings, the warmth, and the laughter that they heard and felt when they visited together at your house.

I may not be rich, but all the people that are close to me, family and friends, cost nothing but are the most precious things I carry in my heart.

TO all my friends and fellow bloggers, I hope that this coming year is going to be a super one for all... that it will lift our hearts and fill them with joy and strength to cope with whatever we have to face.. next month I will have been blogging for one year.. it feels like a lifetime already.. but how pleased I am that I have found you all in blogland!

Monday, 17 December 2012

Last Friday December 14th in America

Like so many people I have been appalled at what happened in a little primary school in an affluent part of Connecticut in America. That someone who was only in his young adulthood, should choose to enter a school and decimate the children after killing his own mother, is beyond any normal person's understanding. As a mother myself, I have cried over those pictures of all the little ones staring out at the camera, full of life.. now no more.. The heartache that it has bought to their families, the brave teachers that tried to stop the carnage... all those families will be a long time traumatised by the events that happened a few days ago.
Of course being able to access guns, made it easier for him to carry out such destruction, but it wasn't just the guns, it was the fact that he was very very medically unsafe and his mother was trying to cope all on her own.. When children display illnesses such as this boy had done over the years, she should have had the strength to put him away in an institution where he would have been looked after. She obviously knew that it was getting to a boiling point in her relationship with him, as she spoke about it with her friends.. Mental illness is very hard to cope with, and growing up with a child that displayed all these odd tendancies, she must have known something was going to happen before long, and that she would be helpless to stop. It now seems she was quite paranoid, and was stocking up food and items that would help her little family get through any difficult times ahead... From hearing what the older boy has had to say, it would appear, that he was quite capable and outgoing and completely different from his damaged brother.

Her not being able, or not wanting to take the step  of putting away her child, has led to her being shot dead, and so many others too..
 Don't just focus on the gun laws in America, but have a hard long look at the mental health act and why it isnt doing more for parents, trying to deal with  the care of their mentally disturbed children..

WE are all to blame for turning a blind eye when  aware that people around you are displaying odd behaviour, just hoping it will all sort itself out... but it never does, someone has to make a move, both on the gun front and also where the health act can be applied in order to make the world a bit safer...

There was an article written in a newspaper over the last weekend, by a lady,saying that she had similar times and trouble dealing with her 13 year old.. she also was identifying her situation as very similar to one in the Lamza household...

she showed that there was indifference by the authorities to offer help to her in this terrible situation.. it doesn't matter that on his good days he is lovely, with such behaviour patterns, he should be away from the general public and in a safe place..By writing the article she was showing the world, the real picture and why so many parents have to cope on their own.. there is a real disinclination to get involved unless they commit crimes..

 but prison is not the answer, its not a safe environment, and they would certainly not be cared for in such a place, but it seems its the only way for the authorities in America to sit up and take an interest... what a mess it all is.....

Of course, its not easy, allowing children to be taken away into an institution, but it certainly would make the streets of any town a lot safer, if mentally disturbed children and adults were in a safe place and not in the towns and cities, able to move around and no one really caring what they were doing, or planning.

I know also that this murdered mother was trying her best to manage it all on her own, and  I think a little of her own paranoid thoughts must have made all her life  quite a bit harder...

Now for all the efforts on her part to keep her family together , its going to be her older boy that is going to have to come to terms with the fact of the mass murders, and that his little brother was responsible.. poor bereft young man, I pray for him too- he really does need all our prayers as well..

Friday, 7 December 2012

Tonight I nearly died*

I have had a lovely day with a friend, out for lunch, clothes shopping and then in the dusky evening driving home.. I was happy with the way the day had gone, and not really thinking of much.. It was dark now, and there was a lot of people driving home  so traffic started to slow down and I suddenly thought I would try and overtake the car in front. So I started to make the move not realising that it was a two lane road! It was the sound of gravel and seeing the barrier shocked me into swerving back in line! Thank god there was room to get back into the queue-  realising that if any one had been asked to be witness to what happened they would have said ' she just drove into barrier!! '  Only now,sitting in my room do I realise how close I came to dying tonight! Just how fragile life can be, seconds turn into life changes  that can irrevocably turn into disaster*

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Who'd have dogs!!!

 My dogs this week have driven me almost insane..
On Thursday whilst I was having tea with a friend in the lounge, John peeked in to say he was taking Reiver, our boy dog [who is part staffie with a lurcher...]out for his walk and that he had left Millie the girl dog [part collie,part staffie] in the kitchen...My friend and I carried on our conversations for another hour, and then as she was leaving and we both came out into the hallway, we could smell burning... I closed the door behind my friend and went and opened the kitchen door, to be met with a cloud of awful choking smoke!¬ Then the Smoke alarm went off, Millie came out the kitchen with her tail between her legs and slunk away.. At first I had no idea what caused this smoke until I looked at the top of the Oven and there was a pile of scones, merrily scorched, burning and letting off acrid smoke..In investigating what had smelt so nice and edible, Millie  had  obviously leaned up to see, and when she could not reach, on the way down, her paw touched the button and turned on the hotplate under the wire holding the scones!!! I had baked enough for us all to have through the week, and had to throw away more than half of them being charcoaled as they had! I almost fainted trying to get the window open and then the back door, and finally managed to get rid of the smoke, which had all disappeared by the time John came back from his walk!!I swear I was ready to shoot her for all this trouble, and then to add insult to injury, the rhubarb pie my friend had bought and left on the table, Millie had seen it, and scoffed the lot... she has a cast iron constitution that dog****

But worse was yet to come----- John had left the bedroom door open, and Reiver after his long and muddy walk had come upstairs and found the door open and crawled into our bed....big black paw marks all over my coverlet which is stunning white...

God was trying me out  that day, that's for sure ! I really did hit the roof over this one, as it takes many many washes to get the layer of dirt out.. it had happened before...

 and so John got the brunt of that one!!!!!
but like I said, Who'd have dogs!!!!-

mind you, I wouldn't really be without ours, they are really lovely, just sometimes life gets a bit trying when they are around!!

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Another birthday to celebrate**

Tomorrow,. my daughter in Canada will be celebrating her 42nd birthday. I cannot believe where all the years have gone, but now I do know what tomorrow brings, that my daughter is healthy and happy and doing well all those miles away! But back then, 42 years ago, I had no idea I was going to have another daughter. I already had a boy who was 4, a girl who was just over 2 and now this little one was arriving soon to join us. Of course, then, not having scans, we waited until the whole nine months were up before we knew.. so different from today's new mothers..
However, I thought I had had it cracked, as I was carrying this bundle in exactly the very same way I had carried Daniel. So, I followed through with buying a lot of blue things, and knitting in the same colour.. When the Doctor held her up, and said a lovely girl, I remember saying, it can't be, I thought it was a boy, he said 'well, I can't put her back!'  Too right he couldn't!! She did, however look exactly as Daniel had looked, and when I saw her for the first time all swaddled up and pink and warm, my heart literally did a somersault, and I fell totally for this little bundle of joy.
 She was born at 9.10am, and a couple of hours later her siblings came with their dad to meet their new sister. Then, after they went away to home, I just lay there with her cot by my side and gazed forever at her, feeling so full of joy and happiness that once again I had another baby.  A few days later [ we stayed much longer in hospital then*] my parents came with my husband, and he was so proud to show her off to them.. On the way home, he got them to stop the car, and he danced and jumped for joy on the pavement, that was how much her arrival meant to him, and one picture that my parents told me about, and how they all laughed all the way home..

42years later, she has her own darling daughter, and a son, and a loving husband, so I am so pleased for her that things have turned out alright in her life... that's all you want as a parent, that your kids have a happy and loving life together with family.

Despite all the pains and tribulations that life does sometimes throw at you, being a mum is the very best job in the whole wide world!

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

A month later

Well its almost a month since I last wrote my thoughts down.. and maybe they have been a little dark recently.. I was puzzling over why this should be. I get up and do all the usual things and take Millie for a walk,but all the time I am feeling distressed at my core. I realise that as one gets older, you have to accept that things end. I am in the process of winding up my recruiting business that I have run for over 30 years. I have loved the whole process of recruiting,.both meeting the clients and interviewing the candidates and finding the best match.  Even though  for the last 14 years I have  worked from home, I was always at my desk by 9 am ready to talk to my contacts and work the business.  However since my last set of operations, I have found it difficult to manage to get up to town to see my clients and also for interviewing. So I have come to the conclusion that I have to close my business by the end of this year, which gives me about another 6 weeks or so.  Having run this business for so long, and enjoying the whole process so much, it has made me feel very low in spirit and I know that this has caused me to write many things that I have never discussed or spoken about before..

When I meet up with old friends, and we are all checking out to see who has aged the best, I hate to feel less than good about my appearance. Once a long time ago, you could disguise the little bits of age, like the odd grey hair, the wrinkle at the corner of the eyes, the cheekbones that needed highlighting now that you were getting older.. But, now, nothing works... no cosmetic in the world is going to lift those cheekbones to their previous lovely height.The eyes have sunk further back and no colouring of the eyelid surface will bring them back. The lines from the side of the mouth seem to have deepened, and are there for everyone to see, so now, when I look in the mirror I see a mixture of my mother and grandmother looking back at me!

I used to be a size 10, with  long dark brown hair, slim shape and never worried about makeup or eye liners. I didn't need to wear much makeup at all, and have never worn lipstick either.Now I am grateful if anything works to help put back what was once there naturally!  When I see an older person, garishly plastered makeup on their face, I don't pity them as I might have done when younger, because I know it is their attempt at not becoming the invisible.  When you are young, you take it as a right, that people look at you, smile, open doors, give you jobs, all because you are fairly pretty.  When you become more mature, especially if you walk down the street with one of your adult children, its quite a blow to see that people are looking at them and you have become quite invisible to all and sundry!!

So, my dark moments spent out in words previously are a combination of dislike at being so old that I am no longer newly pensionable, and the constant feeling that I should be doing more with my life !! The days slip by so fast and we are at the end of another week which has not turned out to be particularly affective.

 One of my friends told me that this feeling would go if I found a hobby to get involved in.. She's right of course, but I never really had a hobby outside work and the home that occupied my time. I was too busy being a mother, going to work and that took up all my time.  I read the other blogs and they are mostly by younger women who have so much to offer and share,.or older beings who are very busy with their little businesses. 

I simply have to stop and really get to the core of what I want to do with the next 20 odd years I have left.. And if they go as fast as this one has, I shall still be there, sitting down, wondering what to do!!!!

Sunday, 28 October 2012

The Silent Scream

Today I sat by my keyboard and felt tears welling up as I read a blog of a girl /lady who wrote of her two children that had died. When people asked her if she had kids, she would hesitate to answer, as what or how do you say afterwards anything that is less than trite?.. She had a baby that died of meningitis when he was almost two years old, and then later, many years later, her surviving son was killed in an Army accident. So, yes she had the children, but they were taken away without her consent.. but the loss was there in the words, in the silent scream that she held in whilst she relived the events so long ago, that had no end, no conclusion , no reasons why..

It got me thinking, just how many of us are locked in that silent scream syndrome.. where we have the grief that has no end, where the depth of it is so severe that if you really did stand and take stock, the screaming would never never end?..

During my younger days, in my marriage that I saw was falling apart but I had no stop button to press, I would stand at the checkout waiting to get my items scanned, watching the other families who all seemed to be so happy and together and wander why I had failed so badly that I couldn't deal with and sort out matters to make it all better. I had my five children to consider when I thought about running away... I could not do it, because life had to go on and they had school to attend... I could not see a way to break through the routines and get us all free, and maybe make him see what destruction he was wreaking, and maybe, just maybe, he could get help and be the nice person he once had been when we first had met.. But of course it was not to be. That young man who had been so full of life and light and enthusiasm had become bound by life supporting a growing family, trying to get qualified in order to get better paid jobs, and he felt totally wiped out emotionally and physically and thought that drink might plug the gaps and make it feasible... but of course the drink didn't plug the gaps, it widened it until it could no longer hold together and the family fell apart.

Grief is all around us.. not just in people dying, but in lost ideas, causes, marriages that no longer work under pressure.. its not to say that the grief is anything like as terrible as that of lost children or people, but it is a grief no less.

For years I grieved for the loss of a lovely man who had disappeared into an abusing, shouting person that I didn't know how to treat or make better. That the father I gave my children was so damaged from his life at home as a child and adolescent, that he could never be the person they needed. The lack of being able to offer them a safe home, without shouting and fear of how each evening or day he would be.. Some days when I cowered inside waiting for his return, he would be the nicest of all, gentle and playful with the kids and really a nice person.. Another time without warning he would turn into a demon mostly after he had had a bad day at work, and stopped off on the way home..

 All these things led to my grief of trying to pretend that he was a great person, and a marvellous dad- which he was at times, but not enough times for it to be the norm.

I remember seeing on TV many years ago an interview with survivors of a terrible event in Russia during the second world war. The ladies, now old, had all had children who they had taken with them on the terrible long march to safety.. Many of the children had died en route, and when they asked one lady, rather cruelly, that she had still been a young woman when she had reached safety, why hadn't she tried to have more children, she said, that having seen four die she had no wish to see any other children die as life was too precarious in that land. Her quiet dignity despite her poverty made the interviewer gasp.. but obviously her grief was so deep it had been carried inside her for over 40 years, another member of the silent scream people.

There is no one person living who at some point in time, doesn't have a reason to scream out loud for grief or annoyance.. but all of us have to try and get along with it, and somehow damp it down until it becomes livable with.. For some that cannot be. Only this week in the UK an inquest being held was told that the lady who had just committed suicide, had had  terrible losses to bear over the years.. First her daughters died over 30 years ago in car accidents, then her husband died soon after with a heart attack... later, having a new partner, he died of cancer... she carried on bravely, finding another husband to love her and care for her, then this year, her last surviving child, a son, had been killed in a motor cycle accident, and as her husband said, it was the final straw, and this brave lady who had carried her silent screams all those years, had taken her own life.

So, is the answer to stop hiding the grief, let it pour out until it fades away, then despite the hole in your heart, you can manage to cope and carry on? or to suffer and say nothing until it just overwhelms you and you lie down and give in and die? 

I think on reflection that letting it out is best, that talking or writing it down, is a very valuable tool and it helps you sort out your griefs and file away, which is why blogging is the next best thing..  You can talk to yourself on line, and put it out there where others can read and share, and maybe just doing this, lightens the load..and is enough to give you energy to carry on.

  I am sure that this is why blogging is such a route for many cancer or other deadly diseases sufferers. They  do use this way of communication and it helps them sort out matters in their minds. It has been a valuable tool for them, despite if, in the end they die, and their partners have to finish the blog.. It is a way of being heard, of not being silent and suffering in pain and worry.

 Even if, your writing does nothing but clear your mind, it is so valuable a tool. I am glad that we are all sharing, even our most inner thoughts, because in doing so, we can download our fears and avoid being part of the Silent Scream syndrome...

Monday, 22 October 2012


I didn't start the day feeling tearful, but I am now. You see I had to write a sort of time line about the operation/s and so forth for the solicitor who is seeking to find out whether it is worthwhile chasing the hospital and the specialists, who have left me in this condition Cauda Equina. I originally had the operation because I was really plagued by pain of sciatica down my right leg. ~After the operation, I still had discomfort in the leg, but this time was caused by paralysis and numbness, weakness and pins and needles., plus added to that dysfunction in bowel and bladder and other major parts down below.

Its not having any choices any more, I have to manage my self all day and each day.. and together with the natural effects of getting older, stiffer and more rheumatic, life just ain't a bundle of joy and that's the truth... However I still carry on and try and smile all the time and take each day by itself, but writing that letter made all the pains come back and the deep feeling of loss of control over my life.

Its not been the easiest of lives either, but I had got it almost on to an even keel and then this has happened and its turned to shite! Most days I am able to shrug it off and get on with things... but today writing that letter has left me with tears that will not go away and I feel really wretched.. Of course its not helped by the weather outside being grey, cold and damp and raining, but that's to be expected at the end of the October month..

 wow, if only if only... I think I would have preferred to delay that op at least until I had explored more of the options... I did try the epidural injection which made the pain go away so completely that I almost cancelled the op I was feeling so good... But then it came back after three weeks, so I went ahead with the op..

 I had another friend who also had the op, but hers turned out so well, she has enjoyed a much better life afterwards!  I was very very scared of having it done, as a cousin had had the op going wrong for her and she was left like me with Cauda Equina Syndrome... I thought that lightening would be unlikely to strike twice in one family... how wrong I was...

But yet, when I read all the blogs about people who have such suffering in their lives, and their struggles to get better, it feels so mean to allow myself to get into this sad weepy way.... I think if I go and lie on my bed and calm myself listening to the radio, I shall get enough strength to try and feel more optimistic again.. so I'll be off now, sorry to load on you world, but I am feeling so shitty right now and I want to scream in anger at the damage that I got &&....................

Friday, 19 October 2012


Its been some time since I last wrote and I am sitting here trying to express the reasons why I feel so anxious. My youngest child John arrived out of the blue late afternoon today. He is enjoying a long holiday weekend and is planning to drive all over to see old friends, meet up with his father and together they will visit his sister in Oxford. I feel a low hum of anxiety because of really silly things that just fill me with unease. My kids are all loving and caring and I get along with them really well but they do like to have a drink to relax. As I have no wish to drink much at all these days, it means that sometimes they carry on talking and laughing late into the night. My husband has no idea that I feel anxious at all and is happy to join in or go to bed as it gets later.

 I have been sitting here trying to analyse why this feeling is present at all.
My first husband drank a lot each evening and used it as a self- medicant to help him with his own worries and fears. However it inevitably led to long hours of talk that turned into a one way track which got him more and more exasperated that I could not obviously understand what he was explaining to me.. Believe me these sessions often lasted well into the night.

Now my children are all adults and behave in adult ways and are unaware how any drinking in evenings leave me screwed up inside. The last time my son stayed over, he got hungry in the night and went to cook himself something to eat, and of course let the dog out who came rushing up to my bedroom and woke me up and it was 2am in the morning.. I know its silly to think that such an episode would cause me concern, but I think it is making me feel different and uneasy.. Of course it is probably unlikely to happen at all, and even if it did, what harm... but the kids now being adult are not under my command where I could see them all safe away in bed until the morning, and they do expect to relax well in family company..   I think its just a hangover from all the nights I had with their father.. I just wish I could dispel the feelings..

Its not even that my kids over- do the drinking either...

 and it doesn't apply just to them...

 When my daughter celebrated her 10th wedding anniversary- we held  the celebrations at our house, and since it was summer, many family members came, and I have never seen so much booze bought in !!!!...

And I hovered moving around with such a dreadful feelings, it was hard to enjoy the time..
 Of course everyone behaved well, had a great drinking time and every thing was marvellous, but I just could not relax knowing how much booze was being drunk... It must be programmed into me now, but I do wish I could get rid of the unease..

At this moment he is visiting an old friend and expects to return here later this evening to stay overnight and then tomorrow will meet up with his dad to start the next part of his long weekend. He didn't ask for the door key, so I am again fretting , worrying what time he will  come and return.. which means I have to wait up as John will take himself off to bed when he gets tired, and I will have to be around to open the front door.....

 #what a worry wart I am turning into!!

... but I think that I am right in thinking all these emotions are a throw back from dealing with my first husband for so many years.. 

Ah well, in another 50 years it won't matter and no one will know or care to know how anxious I feel this evening..So I am stopping here as it is just not productive to keep on tapping on these keys!!

Monday, 10 September 2012

daughters -in- law=family

Having three sons, I would have been expected to dislike at least one of the girls they brought home and married, but I have been pleasantly really surprised. My eldest son, is now happily married for a second time, but even during his first marriage I think I was able to be a good ma- in -law without much interference and only visited when I was asked. As we did live a distance away, it was not too hard to keep that promise.

Now of course he has moved to Australia, and that's a whole different idea of distance.. However we do still speak on the phone, and also text like mad, so I don't feel too cut off from his world.

My second son has married another beauty... [all my boys seem to attract gorgeous young women*]- and they  have now been married almost 5 years, their anniversary will be next month. Over the time that she has known us, she has become such an integral part of the family. She bakes like a real cook, she makes things for the home and knits and crochets.. there is no end to her talents and she also works full time whilst my son, her husband completes his PhD in Architecture.. What a woman.!!
I love her for her kindness and intelligence and knowing how happy she makes my boy..

I love Daniel's wife in Australia for the same qualities, and she has given Daniel another son, and is a wonderful home maker as well as being a career girl.. Both these girls are kind to me and I think  they like me enough not to have any problems with me..  I do often  think how lucky my boys are, but then if they were not worthy of them, the girls would never have agreed to marry them..

Its a funny thing to think about when sons bring home the girls that are going to be their wives. They are joining the family and hopefully going to produce the next generation to carry the name forward.  When my daughters married, they joined their husbands' families to carry on their family name.

I know this makes me sound old fashioned, but it is true and luckily both my girls found good people who married them and were good fathers afterwards too.

For me, the only difference in loving daughters in law and my own daughters is that I carried my daughters and saw them grow up, and my new daughters I did not...
My love for all my family is there, but not over played and I think they all respect that. I promised myself that I would be there to hear them, to help them when I could, and always smile and have fun with them, and so far, touch wood it has worked out..

In truth, I don't only have two daughters, more like 4, and I still waiting for the youngest of my brood to bring his wife to be home to meet us.

Meanwhile I know it will soon be the  time when my daughters in law are producing babies, and that gives me even more to be proud of and fills my heart with  such joy [and impatience] as I wait to meet the next  new members of our ever growing family.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012


My daughter Gabriella, lives in Ontario with her darling daughter Caitlin, Husband Darren and son Callum. They have been there over 11 years now, and are now going to be made a citizen of the country. They have embraced the life style big time, and have settled in so well.. The standard of living is much higher than they could have afforded in England and they earn much higher salaries too.

Callum is involved with Ice Hockey and Speed Skating, and Caitlin is into Ballet and Skating.  They live in a small town on the outskirts of Toronto called Aurora. I loved to visit them and did a lot of visiting in the first years they were over there, but now have not been for over 8 years.. I have to change this soon, but I am stuck in UK for the moment.

 After all the ops I had last year to correct the pressure causing my sciatica, I now have the added insult of it coming back, and being just as painful, on the same side, so all the ops did not cure, but left me worse off than ever before. I am spitting sixpences as the saying goes !!

. I was offered the chance to visit my Gaby, but felt with all the parafanalia I could not do it on my own, and John will never travel that far. I feel really hard done by, as, although I am able to get around and out and about, I have to judge where I am going, how far it is to walk and where are the b,..... toilets too!

This is one of Rebecca who lives in Oxford, she is the older one of the two, but still looks pretty good, after having three children and they are almost all adults.. !!

However, the sun is shining and when I saw the picture on our facebook, as Gaby added it last night, I just had to get it put onto my blog... Both my girls are lovely and I think quite stunning, but I just loved the closeness of this picture, between my daughter and her daughter.. God Bless 'em..

Monday, 27 August 2012

sad eyes tell a story, even if you don't know it...

These two pictures are decades apart, in the first I am in my mid thirties, and in the second it is today when I own up to being 67. I was trying to get a recent photo to juxtapose to the earlier one, and on looking through, I realise that despite the smile, my eyes give me away!

I was married the first time to my first love. I was 21 just and he was 20 and we had to ask permission from his parents to marry.. I left out telling mine until the deed was done, as I am sure that they would have tried to make me wait and take time to make such a momentous decision. I was three months pregnant and eager to be a wife and mother. I did have a good job, but was waylaid by the idea of marriage and babies.

Looking back, my husband was doing what he thought, was the right thing to do when you get a girl pregnant., but although I am sure I think he felt he loved me, the responsibility is only now seen by me after all these years. It might have been ok, if I had not gone on to have another four children within a 12 year span, putting the onus of finding money to pay rent or mortgage or food and all the other necessities of life with a family onto his shoulders.  He was already of a nervous nature if only I had realised, and whilst I will never regret having and keeping my darlings, the pressure on him was enormous and I was completely oblivious to it. I thought that my day to day running of the house and trying to make end meet was enough to worry about. 
Being parents at such a young age, I thought was advantageous as I've said in another post, I thought we could still be young and going out when the kids were older, but of course it never worked out like that. He found that using alcohol as a sort of escape was an easy choice and whilst we always seemed to manage to have just enough to feed and clothe them there were never planned holidays or much going out and socialising and I guess the extra money was going on the drink. Unfortunately as the years went, the booze intake got bigger and bigger the more successful he became, and eventually was the reason for our split as we could not go on hurting each other.

All the years I was with him I told no one of my difficulties ,and his drinking was never discussed although my parents had an idea that it was getting out of hand. I carried on and smiled away the pain, and just tried to make it alright for the kids... Of course I fooled not a single one of my children, they all knew what was going on, and still I made a stab at trying to keep the family together, because like many others, when he was sober and alert, he was the best person you would ever want to know.

But gradually as the years went it got too hard, it was now every night that we would have to put up with his rants and outrages and even though the children would be all in bed, of course they could hear him going on downstairs. To this day they all flinch at loud voices and I know that is a relic of those ugly times.

I have always been a positive person, and the best way I could cope was to focus on the kids and make sure they all got on ok.. Once we were called to one of the children's school to discuss behaviour and attitude, and we were asked outright if all was well at home, what else could be worrying this child.. So, what do you think was our  first reaction? Of course we said no... nothing we could think of that would bother the child so much that behaviour was questionable... what an outright lie, but this was what happened, you covered up, you dealt with it in silence.!

My husband's own home life was awful, with him being picked out by his father when he came home from the pub, to be stood in a corner and ranted and shouted at for all hours, even when he had school to go to the next day.[ His mother had reasoned, better one child took the brunt, rather that the other three..] so I had a lot of sympathy with him, but as it was replayed in our home, the structure of the drinking and the shouting and the going over and over of matters that he thought were important, became more and more harder to bear. In the end I put down unreasonable behaviour, as a divorce matter, but he wanted that changed to Adultery,, when I knew he had never strayed, but felt that it sounded better on the form..

Ah well, a long time ago now, but all that angst and hurt and destroyed love, left its mark in my eyes and now I see that as I get older I cannot keep a lid on it and my eyes are telling the world that I knew other times that were not the happiest..  I don't know how you get the sparkle back, because when you stamp on anything, that thing dies, and I think that inside my soul I did die a little bit... not enough to kill me, but enough to effect me and the life choices I have made since.

When you decide the second time around, if you do get the chance, I think you might go to choose just the opposite of what you have known.. I chose my present husband because he didn't drink much, was solid, dependable and reliable. However, I think I must be harder to please, because all the above good points over a long period of time develop into little quirks, like not liking travel or visiting places or people, or socialising much except with his own circle of friends, not being adventurous, not liking driving out for the pleasure of being in another place for a few hours.... these little quirks I have to live with and adapt as well as I can, but its been hard, and not the easiest of road... however, I must not get on the boring grumbling tract that would be so easy.

So I do a lot of what I want to do, but do not expect him to be accompanying me every time.. solitary it might be at times, but at least I do get out from the house. I wish I could have told my younger self to listen to my parents, to take time to make big decisions, but then I wouldn't have my wonderful kids, and I would have missed so much joy that I have still when we are all together.... and my first husband, gave up the drink for a long while after I left, and gets together with me and John when we all have family get togethers like weddings..

 He will always be my first love, but the hurt was too deep for it ever now  to be anything but a distant memory.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

big families

What is it about big families that make it all so amazing when you meet up as adults and have so much to say!! My father came from 12 children who survived into adulthood, and my mother from 9 who also lived a full life. This meant that I had many many cousins that I never met, or rarely saw.

 I got to know my father's side much more, as his mother being the matriarch, would insist that all her children who were living near bye would attend her house every Sunday afternoon. We bought our own food, and the children all played together in the garden whilst the adults sat around and chatted freely amongst themselves.

 My mother's family lived in London and quite a journey by bus to get to them, so we visited infrequently and missed getting to know the many cousins on the maternal side.

I know that  from my paternal side I have 15 cousins all of whom arrived after me my brother and our older cousin Johny. He was the first, and how my brother and I looked up to him!.He lived with my grandmother who lived in a house bought by her son and daughter who were both single and lived at home. His own mother had gone to live in France and sent money home, but he saw her from time to time... not really often enough, so it meant that myself and my brother were his 'siblings in a manner of speaking.

 Being 18 months older than me, I iidolised him and thought him so clever and listened to every word he uttered... he must have liked being so adored.. he was close to me, and my brother being another 18 months younger was always the outsider in our little games. That, looking back was hard on him, but that was how kids worked out the place in their little gangs.

Every Sunday we would walk from the bus stop by the bridge down a long road to reach the house. It was a large semi-detached and would be waiting all quietly until Johny saw us and flung open the door to let us in... He was always full of stories and games to play and was the leader in all our games. As the other cousins were born and came to be part of the Sunday rituals, it was harder to be able to play on our own, and we would have to include the others who, in our eyes were babies!!

Once in a while my mother would take my brother and myself on the bus to London to see my other grandparents. Sometimes my dad came too, but more often it was just us and mother. This time the roles were reversed, as we were part of the youngsters now and not able to play with the bigger count these cousins.. I think there were over 20 many of them much older,  so we sat and listened as mother chatted to her mother and father. if her sisters were there, the conversation would be long and interspersed with loud laughter, my mother reverting to talk just like all the others in the cockney dialect... I hated that, as with us, we all spoke much more correctly, in my eyes anyway!¬!

Now with Facebook and other gadgetry I am refinding my maternal cousins and getting in touch with them, which is marvellous... we can exchange stories of our grandparents and they can fill in the gaps that I have, in the family histories, and its all wonderfully exhilarating..

 Today was such a day. My cousin Rita came for lunch with her husband Derek. They have been married over 44 years, like me, have five children, but opposite to me having three girls and 2 boys. Travel in England is so easy and it only took them just over an hour to arrive!
The last time we had met was over 9 years ago, and yet it seemed like yesterday as we got down to having cups of tea and talking and talking and talking all the time, as though we saw each other last week. The men went and chatted out in the garden and because its the August Bank Holiday Flower Festival at the church, Rita and I went to walk around... Lots of pictures were taken and the time passed in a flash.. what a super day to remember and one I shall treasure.. I am so happy to be part of this family as well as my dad's,. and the funny thing is that whilst we were going round the festival, we were asked if we were sisters!! I liked that, made me feel even closer...

So I am so lucky to be involved in big families either side of my genealogical tree, and next year I am going to plan to get them all together at my house to catch up on times lost..

 I really did have a lovely day, and the lunch I made went down well too..and the rains stayed away until after they left, what more could a girl ask for!!?

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Today, a Wedding and four happenings!!

Four  things happened today..

Well, it was such fun getting ready and being at the Bride's mother's house, getting all the makeup done, the endless cups of tea whilst the hair is being teased into shape... playing with the youngest member of the family who keeps telling everyone he is going to be married today.... in fact it is his mother who will be the bride, but he thinks its his day anyway!!

I left my house earlier, and had the gift all wrapped up with the card attached to the front, saying Nicole and Paul... . I needed to adjust the boot cover, so opened the car door, made the adjustments then drove off out of our drive.  A couple of miles or so down the road, I arrived at the house, and looked in the car for the gift I had bought for them... No gift... Thinking about it, I rationalised that my husband would surely have stopped the car because if I had left the gift on the roof of the car he would have seen it? So I thought that I must have left it in the hall, and so could get it another day to give to the new married couple later.

Sitting in the front room sipping slowly a flute of Champagne, there was a knock on the door and a man holding my present!! He had been driving along and seen something fly off the roof of my car, and stopped to see what it was, then he had lost me as I drove along the road out of sight. This man, a complete stranger to me, had seen the card saying Nicole and Paul and thought that the only Nicole he knew was getting married today was the girl who's mother lived opposite him, and so here he was hoping that his instincts proved right!!!!! 

What were the chances of this little inexpensive gift being delivered to the right address after flying off the roof of a stranger's car!!  It would be difficult to calculate I am sure, but the odds would be many many millions of times over !!

As I noticed one of the younger aunts was rushing around getting her children ready, and also the baby of the happy couple, and was looking a bit flushed, I sympathetically said to her' You'll have a minute in a moment to get ready' upon which she said,' I am dressed already!!' Did I wish the ground to swallow me up? You bet!

Finally the bride is dressed and comes down the stairs looking wonderful in a long flowing ruffled white gown and veil... the special vintage car awaits her, and off we set.
I don't know the way, so I am following the bridal car... leaving the village it turns up an alley way and of course I follow it, only to see it turning round... as it comes closer to me, the driver winds down his window and says he has to return to the Post office we have just passed, as he has to collect his pension!!! I am utterly lost for words, this is not his day, but the Bride's...... however I turn around too and wait for him to complete his pension collection and then follow him all the way to a wonderful open countryside golfing retreat and hotel.

By this time we are so late, that they had all thought the bride had got lost in her vintage car, and of course I had to scuttle in before the bride, and was the last guest to arrive!

Rain had been forecast for this Tuesday, so I had put an umbrella in my handbag...but it was not needed at all.. the ceremony was in the open, just like in a Hollywood film, and a red carpet where our lovely bride and her bridesmaid, the mother of the bride and the uncle who was giving her away, walked to where her new husband to be was waiting. They all looked so smart and the colour was purple accents and it looked stunning..

The Aunt of the Bride who is a registrar, delivered the ceremony and her husband, Nicole's uncle, gave a short reading on the meaning of marriage.. Nicole and Paul's  little son who is only 2 and a half, was so good during the actual giving of rings, and then turned to everyone, and said he was married now!!

 Instead of rain, the sun blazed overhead,  drinks were served whilst we waited for the photographs  to be taken. There was about 35 people there and it felt charming  and intimate, and the whole affair was utterly lovely in its simplicity.

Inside the hotel, the meal was served in great style and the speeches afterwards made everyone laugh and feel so happy... it genuinely was a super day to celebrate a wedding between two young people who had their son to keep them on the straight and narrow, but the joy of it all was delightful.. I am so glad I went.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

104 years ago today

In the August of 1908, on this day, my maternal grandparents were married in a church in London. She stated on her certificate of marriage that she was already 18, but I know that in fact she was 16 nearly 17 when she married my grandfather George who was all of 21 years old. His father thought he was much too young to be thinking about settling down and told him that he was on his own and that he would not help him in the future if he stumbled on hard times... In those days, parents were very vocal in what they required their children to do., and my great grandfather felt that his son should work in his business and get some money behind him until he could afford to get married.

 Of course, being young and totally besotted by each other, they did not listen and so today one  hundred and four years ago, they were married and by this time, 8.30 in the evening, I am sure they had celebrated well with their little family gathering and tired out were on their way to spend a couple of days in Rochester in Kent for their honeymoon.

My great grandfather had a market stall selling fresh vegetables in the Portobello road of London. A very famous market, and where it was common for many generations to be working  on the stalls.
 Returning from their honey moon, the young people were given a stall by George's father selling water cress of all things! For a while all went well, and they could afford to rent a little place and think of starting their family.

 However after a few years when they were blessed with two children a horrible experience nearly broke the family apart.. there was a fire, and their first two children died in the blaze.  Bereft and unable to focus on selling face to face with their customers, the young couple decided to move away and for George to get a job where he would not have to meet face to face with people.

 It took them a long while to get over their loss, but eventually Martha Patricia was in the family way, and every year after, she gave birth to a succession of boys and girls, until there were 9 little ones to feed and clothe.. They lived in very cramped quarters, where if the drains flooded, the house kitchen filled with water, or if there was heavy snow, the snow would seep inside, but despite these hardships, the family thrived and they had such a sense of humour, that my recollection of any of my aunt and uncles was of loud laughter and jokes!

 My grandfather had found a job with the newly created Gas Board, and his job was to operate the tall cranes that filled the London skies at that time and after the war, when there was massive rebuilding going on. He worked at such great hights all on his own and then walked all the way home covered in grime to his home.. when it snowed and walking was hard, my mother told me he had crawled in places just to get to work, as he was determined never to be out of work again... He worked for the Gas Board for over 40 years and never missed a day off work.... leaving the stalls had cost him dearly and it took a great deal of time to find work, and so he tried his hardest to feed his family and see that they had the food and clothing they needed.

 Over time, they managed to be able to set aside money to try out day trips to the seaside and they loved to go and return to Rochester and walk along the promenade with the children alongside.. In later years, they went with their children who had themselves now got children, and their needs were simple. A vist to the seaside, a walk, some hot fish and chips washed down with a beer, who could ask for more*

 After work on a Friday George would have a pint of beer with his friends from work, then return home to wash down the grime  and dress up again to take my grandmother out to the pub for an evening to singsong and drinks.

The house where  I got to meet and grew to know them, was a tall dark halled house on three floors.... there was a basement, which was  let out to one of their daughter, her husband and the children,.my grandparents had the ground floor leading from the front door, there was a large basic kitchen and the front room was used as their bedroom.. The upstairs was also being lived in by their youngest daughter and husband and children.

 Looking in my memory to see the decor, it was all old and brown and linoleum on the floor, no carpets anywhere, and in  the kitchen where they spent most days, they had an old fashioned grate and stove, a window overlooking the long back garden and the railway lines where trains travelled endlessly up and down..the sink and small table where we would seat our selves for a slice of bread and butter.

Outside the window, my grandfather had his pet canary, who would sing all the time.. grandpa had his chair, big and broad, and no cushions.. and he would sit by that window and smile and chat to us and be so loving ... he spoke as a real cockney... we could understand every other word and get the gist of it, but his speech was far different to ours and the people we lived amongst.. My mother had decided to improve her speech  and spoke with a lovely clear diction, but when she returned home, it was back to cockney which mortified me at the time!!

He also had a clock on a long chain which he would bring out to look at the time... his hands were worn and his thumb  curved over  in a strange shape- a sign I have noticed in many actors, they all have a bent thumb.. I think my mother was the only one that inherited it from him.. His chin was always stubbled and his hair had gone but there were still a few wisps to comb over. he wore a shirt that had no collar, the collar was attached with special pins when he went out.. he also wore a waistcoat and in the winter he wore long johns under his trousers... we would see them hung up over the fire to dry......His eyes were very bright and he smiled and joked a lot. My grandmother was also small, but the years of childbearing had taken its toll on her figure, but how jolly she was too.. Their house despite being dark, was lit inside by the happiness of that little couple all the years they lived there together.

On this day, over a century ago, they had said their vows in front of a priest and their families, had promised to love and cherish each other through sickness and in health until death parted them.. and they stuck to that vow through all the hard times and painful times ,

I am not the only person who remembers their grandparents, but mine got married today 104 years ago.. Bless them they never asked for much, just to rear their family see them grow into adult hood and be grateful for the happiness between them and the small luxuries they could save up for.. A simple couple a simple life, but priceless and richer than any amount of money could make you feel.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Different choices change lives

Not always for the better either*

 I have been in recruitment for over 40 years and in that time have helped change many candidates lives.. mostly for the better, but sometimes other things happen when they make the choices that differ from mine....

Two days ago I was looking on the web for news of various candidates that I had had the pleasure of meeting and discussing their future career plans with.   To my shock and horror, I found that one person who I had kept in touch with over the years, and who had at the last moment turned down the offer of a job with my client, so giving me a loss of many thousands of pounds in placement fees, and embarrassment to the company contact I was dealing with,

had died!

This person  was so clever, so warm and delightful to converse with, had chosen another path than the one in England and had gone off to work in a very far away hot country. Of course he was highly thought of and esteemed in his new company, and like I knew he would, he made friends of so many people and did very well for the company. However , after just over one year with them doing a job that he loved, he died..

What more is there to say...

 maybe if he had stayed in England with fellow colleagues he knew and appreciated, his life would have been less complicated, [as he had had to leave family behind], his life stresses would have been different and allowed him to  still be alive...?

Its quite a question isn't it? The choices that we are given all through our lives really do impact on the way that we live, and our health and sanity too.

Its such a funny thing life.. we are only here one time, to try and make the differences that count.. we have to be alert and ready to be taking that special step  that would take us forward to a better place. I think one is in the mid forties before you really realise that this whole life thing is not a rehearsal.. that everything you do, or choose to do impacts on your life and those who live with you.!!!
 Its a very big step taking charge and deciding not to be involved with people that might damage or use up your own energy. that in order to survive you have to put yourself in front, and not at the back anymore..

It doesn't mean that you should ignore all advice, but take it on board, sift it through and then make your choices.. hopefully you will make the right turn at the right time.. however if you do not , and land yourself in some poo poo,, then that's the time to set matters straight- after you have dusted yourself down and got up again.. time to have another go, maybe from a different angle, but hell, its all a learning curve after all..

I came to the knowledge of my poor candidate a whole year later than his death, because at that time last year, I was slowly recovering from my spinal ops and really wasn't doing much reading on the professional front... but the sadness is here and now , and I feel very sad that he left us too soon, and all his energy and great brain is silent forever...

I am not for one to sit and moan and think about all the mistakes I have made in the many stages of my life, but I do know that we only have one stab at it, and we should attack with all our might to do what has to be done..

 I know a person who all his life never had a serious relationship as his mother took precedent in all that he did.. His poor father was sidelined and ignored, and his mother took over the son, making him her priority.. He was clever and not bad looking and had a good career, but his mother dominated all his spare time.. they went away on holidays together, and went out and about together...After a few years, the husband gave up and died, and this boy grew into manhood caring for his mother until she died recently.. he is now 68, still never having had a friend of the opposite sex, and actually quite lonely now his mother has gone..
 He would love to meet a good woman to settle down with, but for me I see it as such a waste of life, but selfishness of his mother who chose never to let him go and kept him by her side for all those years...

 I wish I could wave a wand for him to find a close friend, maybe now I've sent my wishes into the ether, I could be able to.. who know?

You see, really it is all too easy to take the safest and quietest route in everything that we do, when really we should be turning matters on their head in order to find out the right way to get up and running...

I think the candidate that I mentioned above also took the safest route in choosing to join up with others rather than choosing to go with my clients. that the other job was  less challenging and maybe still within the comfort zone, so he went down that road...


Friday, 27 July 2012


I have just been reading the blogs that I follow., and one of them is a design guru. The thing is, she said that if something in the design looks a little off, and no matter how much you tweak it, reamians not quite right, then ELIMINATE- she said the word had to be in capitals, to remember and act by!!

Well, this is a very strong word, could be used in all sorts of conditions and areas.. for me it would apply to the scores of objects and material that I have collected over the years and which are waiting for me to have a 'light bulb' moment and be creative with!!
  I did choose my word DISCIPLINE as the one word I would live by this year, but so far it has eluded me in being able to follow!!! It keeps playing hide and seek with my mind, and I am not yet as clutter free as I would want, not followed a diet that had succeeded in dropping a few pounds from  my body.!!!...

Now I have found this really truthfully hard and wicked word... eliminate... eliminate all that is not right in your world, in your relationships, in your ways of seeing the world.. How to go about this?...

One word and so much power!!

where does one begin.?.. In my room as I sit typing this, I can see clothes scattered waiting to be folded and put away, paper work all over my desk awaiting the same routine of tidying and getting rid of... but here I am typing about it, and not actually doing anything realistically that would allow me to eliminate them!!

This has to stop... so in the next week I am going to eliminate everything that I have not worn for over a year, or books that have been read and stored any old way, cutting out things in my diet that I have allowed myself to become over fond of, and will see where it all leads...

 Meanwhile, another train of thought......

I hate that the weeks are flying by,... I read the other blogs where they are actually having the springs and summer times, that allow your internal battery to recharge... whilst here we have had the odd day of sunshine and heat, but its been sporadic and not really consistent... this last week has been hot, but now we are told rain is on the way for next week, and to prepare for another wet soddy rainfilled month.... what a place to live eh!!

Today is the start of the Olympics being held in London... I do hope it all goes well and that no aggrieved people  will turn it into something more sinister- with so many people gathered in one place I am sure that security is working overtime... and I really hope that these games will go towards this country being able to eliminate bad feelings and bring peace to all nations, if just for a short while whilst the games are going on..

Monday, 23 July 2012

Are we to blame for the tragedy in Aurora?

All over the world, we have set aside a moment to think on that terrible deed the young man has carried out in Aurora, a small town in the United States of America. Killing indiscriminately, people that he didn't know, spraying the cinema with real bullets and letting of gas cans, a deed carried out by a mad man? Or a young man who has got so used to video games, where these scenarios are played out daily in ordinary homes, where violence in films and stories have become so comman place that no one thinks of the impact on human lives anymore.?? If you were to watch again even the earliest TV films of Batman, you would see the Joker or any other villain in the story, spraying bullets and letting off gases like he did... but it was all make believe you say,... yes of course it was, but somehow this person [and could be others] have got reality and playacting all mixed up.!!!.

We just thank god that it was not one of ours that got hurt or killed, but aren't we really much more involved than that? The more we let the people who invent these sick and violent games and films get away with making and selling them , we are complicit in allowing it and allowing the impact on young and immature minds.

Once upon a time we did have morals, strong and certain society rules and censorship.. yes, censorship was misused of course at times, which is why the western world has worked hard to put it to one side in the name of Democracy, the freedom to choose and be able to say, do or apply whatever we wish to do.

In a perfect world, we could all self censor, then our actions would be decided by ourselves, but we do not live in a perfect plastic world, where everything is equal and all are fed and watered and clothed. 

We now live in a world that is rapidly spiralling out of control, leaving terrible consequences like the killings the  other night at the cinema.

One of the latest books making a sensational debut is all about sado- masochistic sexual behaviour that titillates the reader, in fact to so much affect, that the sales of items mentioned in the scenes in the books have had stocks cleared as a result! Don't you find this a little sad that such hurtful and unusual ways to find sexual satisfaction in a partnership has to result in pain in order to be exciting.?. I do..
 I also wonder when this terrible roller coaster of violence and depravity is going to slow down, because at the moment it seems to me to be escalating at a faster and faster pace..

The young man at the centre of the terrible events last Friday was in court today. His hair still dyed Red as he emulated the Joker from the Batman story. Sitting in court, listening to charges, he seemed unaware of the enormity of his actions.

When you sit and play at the computer, games where you are killed, or kill other people, day in and day out.. why would you stop to think that if you copied these actions outside your home, it would cease to be fun and make believe.?

After you become so used to these dramas online, your perception of good and evil is altered and skewed. 

From all accounts this young man was clever, good looking, a good boy at home and a good scholar.. no reason why he should have become this disconnected from reality at all...BUT he did!!  if a clever and intelligent person can be swayed by such games and films, what is going to be the impact or lesser intelligent people?

For this generation in particular, they are used to spending time on their computers and other gadgets playing games for many hours at a time.. and as I said above, where do the lines between reality and playing games merge?

I think that we are all to blame for being lax in watching what is going on.   What laws are relaxed, what other society rules are being torn down and left behind.?..

 All the rules were established for a reason, all the old ways, whilst some could be improved, they were there  for a reason.

As society managed to get along reasonably well in adhering to most of them, I think it is time to re evaluate this situation and decide what kind of society we wish for our kids and our grandchildren to inherit.

How we can make it all possible and safe for them to go about their business without the terror of episodes like last Friday  that happened on a hot summer's evening in a little town in America.?

Monday, 16 July 2012

Life is a U turn..

Hmmm, well that's what I said when I was just going to be 21, and we were sitting around chatting as you do, on the back metal stairways of the flat in London's portobello district. Someone else had quoted ' Zoom constructively... which we all thought pretty cool to say. He was called Ryan and hailed from South Africa he said.. not wishing to be bested, we all tried to say something meaningful, and I came up with 'Life is a U turn' and felt very pleased that at least it was equal to his comment. #

Of course at the time I didn't really delve deeper into what it actually meant. We used to sit on the back stairs fire escape,, overlooking the stables where the market traders would store their big push along trolleys that held their wares in the market.  Each evening at a certain time you would hear the horses clip clopping and see them being pulled into the yard ready to put away for the night.. It was about the same time that the song by Ray Davies called 'Waterloo Sunset 'was out. I used to sit out there and we would be hearing the song from the radio inside the flat, and it all meant a good feeling.. being young, being free and just being in the moment.

That was the Summer of Love- as they afterwards called it..

I worked in London, but lived outside in the suburbs, but then there was a train strike, and  I took advantage of that.. I left home to move into the shared flat of my boyfriend. I had long hair, parted in the middle, wore a bell around my neck, walked around with no shoes on some of the time, and generally felt as free as a bird.. My boyfriend shared the flat with two of his school friends and an American boy who was slightly older.

 Many evenings were spent talking about all sorts of subjects dear to their hearts, existentialism, for instance, or the latest film or play or author.. I never said much as I didn't feel I was an intelligent enough to mingle my thoughts with theirs.  Of course my boyfriend never had any money as he was waiting to start university, and my wages didn't stretch far either... We would all often wait until Chris the American boy would come home with food he had bought on his way back to share with us..

 Sometimes we would have enough money to go to a Greek restaurant nearby who cooked the best sausage and mash potatoes and bacon to feast on with loads of sweet tea to swallow.. if we were really flash, my boyfriend would get us to meet up in a local pub nearby and we would be there from opening times to closing, and I hated that.

He and the others would get drunker and drunker and more stupid, whilst myself and the other girls would look at each other and just sit waiting until we could go home..  I should have realised then, that the drink would be a part of my future life with the boyfriend who became my husband a short while later. 

We would hitch hike all over the place too, and it seemed great fun to be able to travel far distances without actually paying for it.. Of course, looking back it could have turned out differently, but we were young, in love, and the world was all for us.. We truly did believe that love would change the world... that if we were kind enough and spent love around enough, all would be well, and wars would cease.. how naive it looks now, but at the time we really believed it. That summer too, was hot and ripe, waiting to be picked up and drained in one swallow. Which we did!
Discovering sex was amazing if a little surprising that there wasn't more to it!! I remember my first time thinking, is this what they all talk about, how boring it might turn out to be,,. of course I later realised that things can change and it all got a whole lot more exciting!

I think that it was the first time our generation had had the freedom to choose, to decide what they were going to do with their earnings, or which way they were going to choose to live. A lot chose the hardest way by dabbling in heavy drugs which certainly put them on a much different road to myself.  It was frighteningly easy to get hold of drugs to smoke or inject, and a lot of my friends succumbed to the temptation.  When I read about the famous rock bands who had a ferocious affair with drugs and who are now grandparents and SO sober, it makes me wince,  a lot of people followed their examples and did not live to marry or beget kids...

I think that the way to describe that summer as not only one of love and peace, but hope.. Hope that we could change things, ignore the rules and we could find a way that was more kind to each other...

 This however has resulted in anarchy, and feral children, and parents with a lack of responsibility.. We felt that love could be free  and shared all around.. mentally speaking, not physically for me, although others did take it to the farthest point too!  And actually what has resulted is a total mess for everyone...

What a shame all that youthful joy and hope was crushed under the no rules and drugs that got in the way.. 

Life is indeed a U turn, and one which comes to us , like it or not..  we are now losing our teeth, our hair, our strengths and our body is starting to fail us too...

 I shall never forget that I was part of a really loving, truth- seeking generation, that tried to change the world with love and peace and sharing. and if life is a U turn, then I am glad that I have rounded the corner almost intact- at least mentally, if not quite physically, and  that I still love people and still believe that peace should be given a chance!!

Friday, 6 July 2012

Tomorrow is SO NOT another day!!

There's that expression, Ah well, tomorrow is another day, meaning that you can defer what you are doing and leave it 'til the morning or afternoon or evening of the following day.. Well, I realised this morning that there was no such thing that equalled this saying**

 I don't know who made it up, I know it was said at the end of that famous film, Gone With the Wind.. but who was the first one, probably some ancient Greek who seemed to have said the first sayings of anything we use these days!!

So, why do I say this? 

In my twenties the future seemed so far in front that you could easily think that you'd have eons of time to correct or do what you wanted.. so University wasn't an option, you were going out to work straight away instead.. University could be looked at again when you could afford to attend.. Having Children young, so you couldn't go out and nightclub the night away, and travel without fear of time or place, well, you could do all that when the kids had grown and gone their own road..   Losing your figure after having kids, well it would take time to get it back, so don't worry Tomorrow is another day!!

Ha!  Well it jolly well isn't because tomorrow becomes TODAY- of course what a simpleton, I hear you say... well, it occurred to me that all those tomorrows have stopped being endless and easy to anticipate , cos now I am running out of time.. the way each week goes in a flash, when it used to drag as a child and now its gone in two seconds.. and don't ask about years! Where the hell do they disappear to?

I am sure that if I had been able to address myself at twenty say, I would not have listened because my hormones were raging and all I wanted was to find a husband to settle down with and have babies... I would have ignored the advice, just as I poo pooed the idea that school days were going to be looked on in the future as the best days of ones life!

Having realised that there are no tomorrows- only today, I sat and wondered this morning who exactly I am?

At this advanced stage of 67, I have to admit I don't bloody know! 

Oh of course I was a mother, a wife, a cook, cleaner, recruitment expert, career girl... but what. underneath it all, am I.?.. I certainly had different dreams before the hormones kicked in.. I drew all the time, I went to Art School, I was going to be a stage costume designer, I had it all worked out.. Then my dad decided that it was time I was put to work, and so I left Art School and went to work in a Bank operating a machine that was ancient and hard to use which processed all the movements in and out of bank customers on their statements. Then too, I had to file, make tea and be useful... how boring!!!..

At 18 I went with my parents when my dad accepted a teaching job in his home town of Aix en Provence.. Lovely experience, but after two years  I came back to live in England, taking a job as a Nanny in Sussex  to be near my boyfriend who was at Sussex University.. At 21 I was married and pregnant with my first child Daniel.   It would be over 30 years later when I was able to have a Christmas alone with my husband, albeit the second one.. as each year all the kids were there and sharing the day..

In the meantime, I lost who I was and wanted to be.. [using the old expression... Well, Tomorrow is another day], plenty of time to pick up the pieces and get going.. but guess what?.. When the first three were old enough to be left with a babysitter and I could get onto the nightclubbing and concerts routine, I get pregnant again and have another two boys who were delightful, but who stopped me in my tracks in getting a bit of life outside the house.. So in my thirties I  still had to stay home, work and play and see  the years going by still hoping that in my forties I could do it all...

Well Ha again! guess what... I would have looked too stupid , at least in my eyes as I know others do, but the lifestyle that I thought I could catch up with ? That time had passed by and I had missed out all those plans I'd had when I thought that Tomorrow was another day....

And now here I am in the last quarter of my life plagues by stupid illness  effects and not in the perfect health I always had, my energy levels quite depleted, thinking what a waste!

The expression Carpe Diem, is so right.... Seize the Day and do not wait for tomorrow- do it all when you want to do it, don't defer, do it now!!

 That's why I love reading the blogs of all of you, its immediate and you are seizing the day!

Monday, 2 July 2012

Deeply disappointed

It didnt happen!
The re union that I had planned for and anticipated did not take place at all!!!

 I got up early made my ablutions and washed and set my hair. Got my clothes on, collected the payment John wanted banked, and then put all my things in the car and set off for the town. I had plenty of time to do the banking before going to collect my friend for our journey to Oxford. On the main road the car was juddering here and there and a strange whooshing sound came very noticable. Even moving the gears up to a higher ratio didnt seem to improve performance, but the juddering wore off and reappeared several times.

I banked the money and returned home and told John. We sat in the car and turned it on and there was nothing missing a beat, no red lights on the dashboard, and as the thinking was that it might be a bit of blockage that would sort itself out by a long drive, I set off for my friends house.

When I got there, her husband came down and spoke to me and I explained the problem. I sat in the next seat whilst David took the car for a little drive around.. He agreed with me that something was up and then I spoke to John at home who suggested that I call the AA people to get me home. However I thought it better than waiting around for a couple of hours or more, to try and limp home and let my friend be driven by her husband to Oxford and meet the others and say why I couldnt come after all !

 I'm sure that you will know how disappointed I am and missing the great opportunity to catch up and compare lives. I limped back home and the car goes into the garage on Wednesday.  I could have really arranged to travel with my friend and her husband and then come back and called the AA, but I would not have relaxed all afternoon thinking of how I was going to get home.. so I think I made the right decision, but it still hurts that I wasnt there**

There are lots of times when we experience lost opportunities and can only see them in hindsight. I know that if I had worked harder at school and thought about going to University in England I would have achieved a lot more on the job front and career wise. But at the time I just wanted studying to be over and to get out into the real world.. Of course matters were more simpler then. You went for an interview, they asked a few questions and if they liked the look of you, you had the job. It was so easy to get a job then, if you were well spoken, well dressed and had a reasonable education.

Not like now where they expect you to have degree level education before seeing you. Plus you have to present a cv sent before in order to be chosen to interview. I do not envy the young ones with all the hoops they have to jump through before  getting a decent job. It must so depressing to be refused time after time because so many people have applied for one job.!

I am lucky, touch wood, my kids all have jobs that they like and are respected by their colleagues, so thats one thing less to worry about because it really is a hard hard world out there now.

This recession is throwing up all sorts of reasons for it happening and the latest scandal is of course the banking systems, which got far too clever and weird that money was lost hand over fist again and again and everyone kept quiet and boosted their company reputation by not mentioning how bad things really were!!.

I do hope we at least get a handle on these wrongdoings and correct it all to be much safer and more believable in the future.. But I am not holding my breath!!

Sunday, 1 July 2012

WE only have around 6 months until the world ends.!!

This is the prophecy that was written by the Ancient Mayans.. that we should expect the World to end on December
21st 2012!!  There have been many occasions when the end of the world has been forecast, but this one is too near for comfort** 

REading a quote by Nora Ephron, the dear writing lady that died last week,.she said that although we all know death is coming, we deny it right until the last moment.. why is that you think!?  If we truly are going to go out in a mad flash bang on the days before christmas this year, what are we going to do with the remaining time we have now?

 I feel its too hard to anticipate such a happening, or I would be going mad trying to visit my kids on the opposite sides of the world and gather all the others to be near me as the day approaches.. They of course would be poo pooing the whole idea and think Mum's gone mad again,. she's off on one of her idea travels !!

Seriously though, I cannot think of what else to do except be a good person trying to help others when needed and trying to live a life less difficult. I have always lived with the idea of passing on kindness so that will stay..

[By the way I do not think that it includes sending money to far distant countries because their people are poor and neglected, as it seems  the money raised, usually goes to the corrupt people running the countries!

 Reading another article yesterday where it told of various african villages being chosen to be millenium villages, where money would be spent making their lives better.. A good enough idea of course.. reality has proved very different though..

They have ended up with pipes being brought to their villages, but in order to get them installed for a fresh water supply, the villagers are asked to give £10 per person to get the work done!!

In another village where there were promises to build a new school and hospital, they were left with a big pile of bricks, but nothing else... how is that going to help!? Its no wonder these poor people are left feeling let down after all the promises..

And its not that we haven't sent enough money, its been sidetracked all along the way, and they are still left in the same position... so that is not an area that I am supporting despite best wishes to them..]

So, 6 months.. not long is it.... I shall go and make sure my parents graves are attended,. They lived over 100 miles away from me, so I did not get down to the graves very often recently..that will change as I am going to go this month again. I shall try and live more aware of the beauty in each day and get back in touch with all those people that I have not contacted recently. I shall  examine my thoughts  to see what else I can do to make life better for those around me, and I shall try and live each day as if I have no others.. that will prepare me for the end on the 21st December, I think.. I just hope the Mayans were wrong in all this and that we have a lot more than 6 months of living left!!!

A bit nervous

Tomorrow I am travelling to pick up an old school friend to go to Oxford and meet up with other school friends I have not seen since I left school over 50 years ago!! I am a bit nervous to see them and garner all the news of their lives and mine, since we last met. I know that I do not have the same shape, hair colour or looks as I had then, but maybe they will have changed too! It will be fun seeing them again I am sure, and we shall have a wonderful lunch together.

We were originally meeting as  another friend was coming to England from Spain where she lives. However her health let her down and she is presently in hospital having a stent put in to sort out the mini strokes she's been ignoring for a while. She is forever optimistic and does not take them seriously, but the latest episode I think, will change that!

 I am also nervous because the wretched car was making silly noises yesterday as I drove it. John .my husband, said it was because we do not drive long distances with it, and that was what caused the valve to go and be replaced earlier this year. He thinks that the long drive tomorrow will sort it out,. I do hope so!

The sun is shining now after a load of showers ,and that always makes me feel better.. I will try and take pictures to remind myself of our getting together, and we shall all promise not to leave it so long to catch up again. One of the girls is over from her house in Kenya where she has lived since she married, and that will be so interesting hearing how she manages over there. She is recently widowed so that will be another load of things to hear about.

I am undecided what I am going to wear, with this weather being so changeable it would be nice to wear a dress, but not sure about it.. and yet I don't want to get too hot whilst travelling.

Our car is only 5 years old and is a Jaguar Estate, and an expensive car, both to run and repair, so I'll be  keeping my  fingers crossed that our journey will be safe and sound and I arrive back in one piece!!

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

my hundreth blog[ 100]!

I was just watching the Real Housewives of New York, and its mindless trash, but still an interesting people watch programme. The girls were going to have an at home girl night, and one of them range to say their husband would be coming with her!! Amazingly the others didn't say no, so she took it as an agreement and bought him along! One of the other guests who had not known the husband was coming threw a fit and was most ill mannered and left half way through the meal..

So, would you expect a man to be on a girls night out!!? I certainly would not, and would not even expect my husband to ask if he could come along.. We live separate lives as well as close together times, so we have our own spaces when we need to.. this wife would have said, and did say, ah well, their marriage isn't as close as mine is!!! Ah, but is this closeness or control!! What do you think?

I am also sitting here having watched another programme where the young people got their clothes off and did discreet lovemaking, and it made me sad for those days when I would never think about defects of my body, just revelled in getting Au natural with my darling and having a great time.

Now I am aware that at my great age, you are not expected to have feelings like this, ha ha, but the old body is not what she used to be and I do miss her**. After five children I have slipped lower and lower and all is different now.

I remember how my breasts felt after I had fed my first child, and they felt different to the touch , but you can get used to anything.. so it is with my body at the present time. I need to lose weight, I need to try and be more active,  but with two replacement knees a hip replacement and my bodily paralysis in parts, I don't have much going for me.

  I am not ready to give up the ghost, but my life has changed drastically since last year and the operations. I shall never be able to be sponateous again in this department, it rankles me that this is not my fault and no one cares.

oh oh, I am getting on the depression horse here, so I shall end this rant tout suite!!

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Did your Dad influence your relationship choices?

I have just heard a programme piece on the radio which asked, Did your Dad influence your choices on relationships!
I guess the first off reaction is to say/ No Way!  But listening to the people taking part in the programme it did seem, even subconsciously, that the relationship with your father is very defining.  I know that there are a lot of poor girls who have a terrible relationship with their parents, but luckily I was not one of them. I cannot imagine how much heartbreak they have gone through in surviving all sorts of hardships and difficulties. 

My father was a school teacher who taught French to children all his life. He loved being a teacher and had a special rapport with Kids and Animals.. babies would reach out to him and sit on his lap quietly for hours. He was always smiling and had a very positive attitude to life. He also believed in sharing what he had with others..
 As we grew up he was friendly but we always knew not to overpass the mark. He could be a disciplinarian when called for, but most of the time he was just Dad who listened and was happy to share time with us.  

He used to brush my long hair as my mother dressed my younger brother. I would stand on a step on the stairs whilst he brushed away then tied it up in a ponytail. I had worn it in plaits,  but at school they always came undone when he did them, so now we chose a pony tail that would stay all day and look tidy!
 My mother worked in dress shops and during the summer holidays we would travel up to London and visit the sites and museums and then go to fetch my mother when she finished working. To save her cooking we would invariably eat our evening meal whilst on the way home, stopping at a coffee shop to do so.

 My dad had the job of looking after us after school was out and during the long summer holidays.
We would also go to France in August, when he took a troupe of young school boys with us and visited Normandy each summer for two weeks. It was a magical time as we returned time after time to the same hotel with the same lady proprietor who made a big fuss of my brother and myself.

As I grew older he would drive me to the places where I joined my friends for the evening and then come back to collect me when the night grew late. He would be sitting in his big car waiting patiently for me to come out into the night, and always was there... of course that used to bug me that I could 'nt travel home with friends on the bus, but he took his parenting seriously and would have died himself if any harm had come to me.  He had a very positive attitude to life, had many friends, loved to entertain at home and adored going on holiday.

When my mother met my first husband she said to me.. 'oh Jeannine, he is a romantic just like your father*' Of course I didn't know what this actually meant, but now I do. It was because he didn't really actually cope with reality well..
My first husband did try to live a good life, but found his past experiences living at home, so hard and difficult he was a real mess below the surface.  However although that would prove to have awful consequences later, I loved him because he was kind, and clever and made me feel good about myself. The same could be applied to my Dad, he always made me feel good about myself and loved me deeply.

If I really do keep thinking about things that happened all those years ago, I do realise that he had a tremendous impression on my choices.  I chose men who were brainy and intellectually interesting. Who were capable of achieving a lot, who had an optimistic view on life.. but who really never got the money thing right...

My dad loved to spend and would come back from holidays broke but happy.. I never managed to find a husband that made a lot of money.. My husbands made just enough to keep us going, but without extras like holidays!!! 

My darling Dad I would never have changed in a million years, but money was always tight and made my mother very nervous all her life with him.

 I guess its also why I am no good at money, having the attitude that something will always come along and things will be ok.. well, my life has been up and down with a lot of great happiness at times, and I am always optimistic that just around the corner, there is a whole new adventure waiting, which is the best thing that my dad gave me, this feeling of good and positivity..

 So yes, my Dad has influenced a great deal in my choices in life, and I would not change anything, except to have him back with me in life..