Saturday, 15 December 2007

Don't make a drama out of a crisis...

I am going to leave my journey until after Christmas for fear of depressing my blogging friends and them leaving to read funnier, more unlifting blogs.

We have had success with the cat fleas at last, the Spot-On was crap, the flea collar was crap, although she is still wearing it as it doesn't seem to bother her, the flea tablets were fantastic for eliminating living fleas on her body, at that time, they fall off within 15 minutes, but they don't kill the eggs!! Front line was recommended, but the chemist said she had to be over 6 months, defeated I contacted the vet and guess what they had Front Line and you can use it from 8 weeks, one vial does 5 weeks, kills fleas on the body within 24 hours and any fleas that jump onto the body or hatch on the body are killed, again, within 24 hours. To good to be true, no, it works, I have combed her through, checking for droppings, fleas or anything else suspicious and she is flea free. Mission accomplished at long last.


My daughter celebrated her 8th birthday on the 1st Dec and had 4 friends to sleepover, I love children, I enjoy their company and I pride myself on bringing fun and enjoyment to their parties. The hubby took our son out for the evening so that we could have a girls night in, I bought the girls little make-up sets with nail varnish, equiped myself with nail varnish remover and started the night with food. I always give any children in my house rules, 3 simple rules, take your shoes of at the door, hang your jackets on the pegs and put your papers (sweeties or juice cartoons etc) into the bin, this keeps me a happy mum. The food was demolished, we had the cake, all the girls helped with the candles and the switching off of lights while my daughter waited patiently, we sang Happy Birthday and cheered, they had cake and sweeties and went to play for a while to let the food settle. By 9.30 they had all fallen out, my daughter was crying, 2 of her 'friends' were upstairs bitching about her, saying 'just because it's her birthday, she wants all the attention, this was the worst sleepover they had ever been to blah, blah blah' at which point I had to remind myself I was and adult and these were 8 year old girls, I called a get together in the living room to see if any child wanted to go home, the 2 bitching children who had never been to my house before said 'no' We played games, musical bumps, best dancer, musical statues and it was fun, all the girls enjoyed themselves, all the girls got a prize and a few more sweeties went round. At 10 o'clock I decided to blow up the air bed as they were going to have a pyjama party and watch a DVD, my daughters new Bratz The Movie DVD, I was in my bedroom, getting the bed sorted when I heared two almighty thuds, I entered my daughters room to find the 2 bitching children jumping from the top bunk bed, in all the years my children have had these beds they have never, ever, jumped or dreaped from the beds or any other part of the house for that matter. And the cheek I took from these children, under normal circumstances, had they been to play, their mothers would have been called and I would have spoken to them sternly and let them know their behaviour was unacceptable, but my fear was they would make fun of my daughter at school, tell her other friends her sleepover was a disaster, so for her sake and the fact it was her birthday, I jollied them round and we carried on. They watched DVD's, played in the room and at 1am I decided it was time for lights out, I informed them they could choose a book for 10 minutes and then I would be back to put the lights out. 2 children refused to get into bed, that was a big mistake, I spoke to them as I would to my own children, they got into bed immediately with the first book that fell into their hands. These children will not be back to play or stay or otherwise and my daughter has realised that a sleepover is not all it's cracked up to be, she has been watching too much of the 'All new sleepover club' Her friends left at 12 noon the next day, the other 2 children praised for their perfect behaviour and their mothers informed likewise and my daughter, she was asleep on the couch for 12.45, an exhausted little 8 year old. I appreciate my good mannered, well behaved children all the more now, they may play up with us, at home, but I can trust them to behave with any other adult and I am very very proud of them.

Last week was a disaster, my daughter had been complaining on and off that she didn't feel well, but she went to school just the same, my son was loaded with the cold, coughing and complaining of a sore head but still he wanted to go to school, the hubby he has full blown flu and not 'man flu' real flu, he has never been ill in his life so it is not going down to well, I knew he must be really ill when he recently refused sex, he continued to go to work but took the weekend off, quite unheard of in our house. The children had their panto visit with the school on Wednesday morning, I sent them with a pack of tissues and informed the school if they were unwell on their return I should be called immediately. They called me at 2.40pm! by the time I got the message I was on my way to school to collect them. I reached the school office and was told by the office staff that my daughters teacher had said, and I quote 'perhaps you could keep her off tomorrow as she has been to the office everyday this week' 'RIGHT' I said, 'bloody cheek' I mumbled. I do not normally send my children to school ill, but because of the panto they didn't want to miss it. I decided right there and then that they could both have the day off on Thursday, they were both quite ill looking when they came out of school. I had already done my Florence Nightingale that morning with my mother as she too was bedridden with flu, I had gone in armed with all the remedies I could think of as her car was in the garage and she was effectively stranded. This was my good fortune that her car was in the garage as my car was due to go in on the Thursday morning for a service, which meant I could drop my car off and use hers until mine was ready, so I left her house armed with a blank cheque to pay for her car. Upon realising the kids were so ill and going to be off school the next day I decided to go straight to the garage and exchange cars rather than dragging the kids out early the next morning and it was just as well I did, because on the Thursday morning we woke up to find the whole village had no water, I don't know which I consider worse, no water or no electricity, at least with water you can wash and make tea, ok you can't dry or straighten your hair without electricity but you can still boil water on the gas hob. The kids were quite happy not to wash and they had TV so their life was fine. I had taken the morning off and informed the hubby he would have to have the afternoon off as I was too busy to have the whole day off, he nearly died, he has never taken time off to look after sick children. He gets up and goes to work, only dealing with himself, even if the kids are ill he assumes I'll be there, because I always have been and thankfully they are not often ill and I have never had to take a day off work since I set up the business 3.5 years ago, it would be ok if I didn't work alone, but I do, so there is nobody to hold the fort. Anyway, shocked as he was he came home at lunchtime and I trotted of to work, mildy washed down with the little water that had been left, there must have been a lot of stinky people in our village that day! I got my car back that night, so I had to leave mums car at the garage and then we took a family trip to go and collect it later that evening, my mum stays about 10 miles away from us so we took the car back to our house as she was still to ill to drive it anyway. I feel all I've done is run about after sick people and coordinated cars and then there's the inconvenience of Christmas............

I appreciate the importance of Christmas itself but hate the commercialisation - is that a word, I don't know, but I'm sure you get my drift.

Until the next high drama I bid you goodbye.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Life goes on!

So that was it, it was all over, no more waiting, no more phoning. I cried for a while, but I cry when anyone dies, I don't remember if my mum cried. I called my best friend later that night to tell her and I cried harder. I was still going on my trip with the college his dying did not interfere with my life, there would of course be the funeral, it was sure to happen during my time away, but I had already made my mind up I would not be going. I think my mother wondered what people would think, although she always let me make my own decisions, I didn't care what people would think, they had not spent years of hell, anyone who knew us well enough would know why I was not there. I phoned Gran, it was the first I had spoken to her in over 18 months, I told her I knew he had died and that I would not be going to the funeral and that I was going to continue with my plans to go on the college trip, she didn't say much, 'I felt it was only right I phoned to let you know' I said and that was it I have never spoken to or seen the woman since.

The trip was enjoyable, certainly worth going on. I called my mum on the day of the funeral as she said she might go, she felt she should, but she decided against it and stayed home to grieve in her own private space, grieve for the man she married, the man who had fathered her child and grieve for the 20 odd years they had been together, remembering the happy times.

At last we were settled, it may sound cruel but we knew it was ok to be out and about, knowing that we would never stumble across him, never see him lying in a gutter. We were relieved, if the drink had not killed him he would certainly have become a 'down and out' We had many long discussions after his passing and it was only then we asked ourselves the question 'was he an alcoholic?' it will seem clear to everyone on the outside looking in that 'yes' he was but when you live with something for so long it becomes the 'norm' you assume everyone else lives that way, women stay at home and look after the children and men go to the pub.

One afternoon there was a chap at the door, I answered to find the ARSEHOLE standing there.

'Can I come in?' he said

'My mum's not in' I said

'It's you I need to speak to' he said

'You can speak to me when my mum's in, she'll be back in an hour' I said firmly

There was no way I was having this man in my house, I was 18, I had no idea what he wanted or how he knew where we lived, had it been any of my dad's sisters, my Auntie's, I would have let them in, welcomed them, but they had sent him or he had said he would come 'I'll sort it all out' being the dedicated son-in-law that he was, bullshit, he was an ARSEHOLE nobody liked him, the one person on this earth my dad hated, had fought physically with. Perhaps my Auntie's were unable to face me, perhaps they hated us, blamed us for his death. Perhaps if we had stayed with him and made sure he ate properly he would have lived longer, we should have looked after him, if we did would he be dead now or perhaps it would have been my mother, dead through stress or perhaps he would have killed her, who knows. He returned when my mum was home and explained that dad had money left over in his bank account and I was next of kin, I needed to go and see the bank manager and he would take me! 'I don't need you to take me, I'm quite capable of going myself' the audacity of this man. He also told us about dads dying minutes, how his family surrounded him, someone had been out of the room, but as soon as they were all together he died peacefully, of sane mind my father would, I'm sure, not have chosen to have the ARSEHOLE present while he took his last breath. Nonetheless it upset me. A friend of my dad's sister worked in the lab with Anna and so the family knew that we had been informed of his illness, none of them tried to contact me, they didn't have to deal with my mum, I was 18, but I was still a child really, still their flesh and blood, never to this day have they tried to get in touch with me, hear my side of the story, what we had to live with or just generally stay in touch, I wouldn't take anything to do with them, but I would have liked them to try, contrary I know. I feel disowned, through no fault of my own, I had 3 Aunties, 3 Uncles, a gran, a papa and 7 cousins.

I made an appointment to see the bank manager, I went myself. Dad had never paid his poll tax so that had to be deducted, plus the funeral expenses, the man had died an alcoholic, a poor sole and he paid for his own funeral, which included a lair, which takes 3 people, his father is now buried there and I assume his mother will go there too and his family, 3 sisters and parents, couldn't even club together for his funeral. How sad. I left with a cheque for £2100.

My mother was quite upset with the whole thing, when they had the house, there were insurance policies, endowments, they were both covered and would both be financially secure if anything happened to the other, the mortgage would be paid, the funeral expenses would be covered, the policies would have paid out and here we were only 20 months after separation and the house had been sold, the policies cancelled, the endowments cashed for under their value, living in a council flat and left with £2100, not to mention a dead father. This lead to ifs and buts, what if we had managed to put up with him a bit longer, we would still have been in our home, mortgage paid at the age of 44, plus a little bit extra. It's not all about the money, but it changes the direction of your life. If we had put up with him longer, he would have lived longer, maybe only a bit longer, but he would have been fed, looked after, but my mums life was under threat. Once I moved out of the flat, mum decided to move and buy a flat, she had to take out a mortgage until she was 65, this means working until the age of 65, she has had to struggle on her own to pay her bills, she never did imagine this would be the struggle she faced, but then what price is happiness.

A few days after being to the bank the ARSEHOLE called to see how I'd got on 'Fine' was my reply. 'We were wondering' he said 'if you would like to buy the headstone, we've priced them and they're about £500' I nearly died, not at the price of the headstone, but at the cheek, he did not know how much money I got, nor did I give him any indication, 'you do know that my dad paid for his own funeral and his own lair and of course there were debts to be pay, I'll have I think about it' I said. No fucking way, were the thoughts running through my head, back then I wouldn't have been so rude, he called back a few days later and I quite simply said 'no' it wasn't the money, it wasn't greed, had the circumstances been different then I would have done it without question, this way both gran and papa have a resting place and a headstone all paid for by their son, meaning no further expense to the rest of the family, let the dead man pay.

I offered the money to my mum, I felt she should have it, after all, it was the left over money from the sale of the house, she declined, said I should enjoy it. I gave her £100 to spend on herself and went out and bought granny a microwave, it was £99.99, she had never had one, she was delighted and grateful and gave me a row for spending money on her. I still have that microwave, through in the back shop, although it is past it's best! The man in the flat upstairs was selling a car so I bought it, my first run around, I also bought a TV and video and a hi-fi system for my bedroom. I did enjoy it, I had things I'd never had before, mum was pleased.

I have mixed feelings about my dad's family, I would like them to understand what we went through, so that they would not think bad of us, but surely they realised once he'd died at the age of 44 with cirrhosis of the liver, that he did indeed have a drink problem and not a wife problem!

Friday, 7 December 2007

Mother's Day 1991

Mum used her money from the sale of the house to make our flat a home, new carpets, suite, curtains, fridge and freezer, our bedroom furniture was brought from the house as it was in perfectly good condition. We loved it, the contentment was phenomenal.

Having done Avon in the past I decided to do it again, mum and I both did it, it was another small income, we got to know people this way and it got mum out and about, her confidence had been bruised, but she was now confident enough to tell people she had separated from her husband, for so many years she had tried to pretend life was rosy and that she was 'fine.' After a few months mum became depressed, weepy and snappy, all the years of running on adrenaline just to survive the mental torture had now gone, the novelty of the new flat was steadying and bang she fell to pieces. I was a teenager, by no means difficult, but I'm sure I caused her worry, going out at night, driving, coming home late. She tried medication, I think it might have been Prozac, OH MY GOD, the woman was mad, she stopped the tablets. She got over it, gave herself a kick up the bum and was thankful for what she had.

One day we were both out doing our Avon round, it could have been early evening or it could have been a Sunday I can't recall, I was stood at a front door on the corner of the main road and a side street, waiting for my customer to answer the door, my mum did the other end of the main road, the main road which ran past our block of flats. I was gazing around, looking at nothing in particular while I waited, in the distance I could see a male figure walking down the main road, the walk was familiar, the figure familiar, instantly recognisable, dad. What's he doing here?, said the voice inside my head. My Aunt and the 'ARSEHOLE' lived around the corner, but he would not have gone intentionally to see them, on account of the ARSEHOLE being there. I turned my back, facing the door, the customer was apparently not in, he walked right by me and round into the side street. Had it been anywhere else I would have stopped him, asked after him, but he was yards from our new safe flat. He might pester us if he knew where we were. I knew my mum would have felt uneasy so I decided this was not the place to be speaking to him. I went straight home, mum wasn't back yet, so I went looking for her, he may wander the street and come across her, she would get a fright. At that she came home, once we were safe in our living room I filled her in. We had questions in our head, had he got wind of the fact we were staying here and come to try and find us, was it coincidence and he was visiting his sister, this we doubted. It was unsettling. Shortly after this sighting, mum got a phone call from her good friend who worked in a hospital lab. 'Did you know Billy's in the hospital, he's very ill?' How he ended up in hospital originally, I'm not sure, his stomach was swollen and he was very ill, he had been kept in. Going without alcohol, which he had not done now for at least 15-20 years on a daily basis obviously didn't go down to well with his body and he had left the hospital, a nurse had tried to stop him and he had punched her, he managed to get out of hospital and on that very day was the day he had walked by me in the street. He had been picked up by the police and was found practically unconscious, where or by who I will never know, a quarter bottle of whisky in his pocket with merely a sip out of it. Anna explained to my mum that she had been passed his blood for testing and realising who it was felt I at least should be informed as it wasn't 'looking good' she explained his liver had failed and even a sip of whisky was enough to saturate it causing the same effect 8-10 drinks would have on us.

My mum called the ward and explained the situation and that her concern was for her 18 year old daughter, the nurse confirmed his organs were failing, he was very yellow with jaundice and he was delirious. The nurse advised it was up to us, but if it was her 18 year old daughter she would advise against it, far to upsetting she said. I went with this. If I thought for one minute he was of sane mind I would have been there in a flash, but we knew his sane mind had left a long time ago, left at the same time as my dad had left, he was my dad in body but that was all. Mum called the hospital daily for an update, it was clear it as a waiting game, still the nursing staff advised against visiting, I had made up my mind that my dad had died a long time ago and I had no need to go and visit, it wouldn't do him or me any good, I would be doing it purely for the sake of the rest of his family to show face. I did not feel the need to do this, mum did offer to come, she was very supportive. Mum's birthday was on Friday the 8th March and we had a feeling he might pass away on this day, haunting my mums birthday forever, but the day came and went, Saturday came and went, I was beginning to panic, I was going on a studying holiday with the college to France on the Monday and would not have been happy for him to have passed away while I was in France, I would have been unable to concentrate. It was selfish of me to want to go, but there was nothing I could do, I could not stop his illness, he had not stopped his illness, I had no intention of going to his funeral, that was clear in my mind, it would have been hypocritical, I could not stand to be there watching his family weep and wail at the death of a loved one, yes I'm sure they would be upset but they had done nothing to help him or us, I was bitter.

On Sunday I carried on, I packed, my mum made her usual call to the hospital at 3.10pm, she always called after visiting hour. I knew immediately by her tone and comments, it had finally happened, my dad passed away at 2.55pm on the 10th March 1991.

It was Mother's Day.....

Monday, 3 December 2007

Operation move out

So there we were locked in the neighbours house drinking tea, deciding what to do. Our options were limited, no house keys, no shoes, crying, but this time through both fear and upset. 'I can get in' I announced. Our front door, the one that was always locked, had a single mortise lock in the handle and a double mortise lock above it, the door was wooden with 2 glass panels, the keys were on one keyring and always hung in the double mortise lock. I had and still have the thinnest hands, wrists and fingers, the hubby calls me skeletor, I believe this to be a skeleton character from the He-man programme! I could try and reach the keys through the letter box, it was worth a try. I tried but couldn't reach in far enough, what could I use, we ended up with a 'big fork' the one used for carving turkey. I couldn't drop the keys, my mum stood beside me 'careful, careful' my neighbour took her away. 'I did it, we're in' I shouted. We got in, I got shoes and we grabbed some essentials, we left the keys in the front door and I took my back door keys, we left quickly just in case he decided to come back, although we doubted it. He knew we had no keys and yet he didn't care. We went back into our neighbours house as our friends across the road, who we knew would put us up overnight, were not in.

Mum decided we should go and see Gran, see if she would take him in, she thought if he had somewhere to go, he might just do that, stay with Gran for a few weeks until we sorted everything out. Until now we had always left, but now mum seemed to know this would be a permanent separation and why should we have to stay with Granny in a one bedroom flat when he could stay with his mother and father in their 2 bedroom flat, I could continue with my life. I refused to go, I think mum just wanted me with her, perhaps Gran would realise the upset dad was causing if she saw me in a state or perhaps her motherly instinct just needed me with her, knowing I was safe. I stayed with the neighbour and had a good cry. And Gran, she said it would affect her rent rebate if dad went to stay, that sums the woman up! The next day dad went to work and it was the start of 'operation move out' we were going to stay with Granny. We packed bags with clothes and essentials and left them hidden in my room, we stayed another night at our friends, he expected us to be at Granny's and called to speak to me, but Granny told him the truth that we weren't there. Papa suggested we go and stay with him for a while, but mum had to go to work and I had my boyfriend and my friends. The next day mums cousins, who we saw little of, came with a van and we officially moved out, taking my single bed, my pre-emptied wardrobe, a set of drawers and the bags we had packed and of course the hamster. Dad worked for our neighbour and his son, our neighbour came home for lunch and this put the wind up us a bit, he might tell dad, querying the goings on at our house, we went as quickly as we could.

We were now, all 3 of us, shacked up in a one bedroom flat again, as we had been so many times before, only this time we had an extra bed a slightly more storage space. Mum wasted no time in going to a lawyer, as I was at college, mum was told we had the right to be in the house as I was still in full time education, the problem was going to be getting him out. My job was to keep him sweet. I was now working in the Holiday Inn as part of my college placement, but I still did Avon with the neighbours, I would go to the house and do my Avon round and then stay for a visit, he would make soup. I never stayed overnight, I usually made an excuse to collect something from my room and try to sneak a few things out for my mum, her wardrobe was limited with the quick departure. This was a no no, in his mind if she wanted something, she should come and get it. We both had to attend the lawyers as I was old enough to give evidence and examples of his behaviour, the lawyer told us my mother had the biggest divorce file she had ever dealt with. We were granted by the courts the house to live in until it was decided through the divorce lawyers what should happen to the house, dad was not allowed within so many feet of the house. We moved back home. A Yale lock was added to the back door and a snip added to the front door, we felt better, safer. Life carried on as normal, in fact it was great, we were happy living in a peaceful environment. This was short lived as the house was to be sold, we would officially be homeless. Mum and I walked the streets looking at empty council houses that we might be offered. The house was sold and the entry date was March 1990, it was 2 weeks before we were due to move out before the council offered us a flat, in the next town!! This was my worst nightmare, I cried. However, the night we got the letter, mum, our friend across the road who had put us up and me, took the bus and went to find this flat, it looked ok, we didn't have keys but through the letter box it appeared fine. Our curiosity settled we went home and decided it wasn't as bad as it seemed, we accepted the flat.

Being a mechanic, dad had loads of tools, these were stored in the garden shed. It was arranged through the lawyer that he should come and collect anything he wanted before the move. When dad had been put out of the house, he stuck to his side of the agreement and never did come near the house or call. I had not seen him for 4-5 months, didn't know where he was staying, I took nothing to do with Gran after her refusal to put him up, she did sent me £10 that Christmas and I was going to take it back and tell her to 'shove it' but that would have involved a visit so I kept it! Later than arranged a young man came to the back door. 'I'm here to collect tools for Billy' I looked at him, disappointed that dad was not with him. 'Is my dad not with you?' I asked. He was in the car, waiting in the street, was he afraid to come in. I went out to see him. I could have died with shock, the first thing that struck me was the hat he was wearing, it was navy, a fishing hat I think, as he looked up to see me, his eyes were dull and small and lacking in emotion, he would himself have described them as 'piss holes in the snow' and the bags, I will never forget the bags, not dark circle bags but bags hanging below his cheek bones and fully wrinkled. He had aged about 20 years. 'You should come in and see what you want' I told him. 'I'm not allowed' was his sheepish reply. 'Oh for God sake, don't be ridiculous' all of a sudden I was the 17 year old adult dealing with the 44 year old child. They both went into the shed, I don't think he could have cared less what tools were there. 'I passed my driving test' I told him eagerly, he had come home with 'L' plates on my 17th birthday, 2 months before the split and he had taken me to Fine Fare car park, in my papa's Lada and I had driven round for about an hour in 1st gear. He seemed pleased. They gathered the tools and off they went, there were no arrangement to meet or no concern about where we were going to live, he just left.

The move went well, we moved on to our new life on 26th March 1990, our flat was great. Mum promised she would buy a car once we moved, I wouldn't feel so stranded then. In May of that year she bought a D registration white MG metro, it was a cracker, white bumpers and wing mirrors, grey interior with red trim and matching red seat belts. One day on my way to work at the Holiday Inn, I was passing through our old town and some edjit ran right across the road in front of me, I slammed on the breaks and realised the edjit was none other than my dad. I pulled in swiftly, tooted and got a mouthful of abuse. I got out 'dad, dad, it's me' he trotted off muttering to himself 'DAD' he turned and looked at me, gave a dismissive wave and kept walking. I was in disbelief, I ran after him, did he not recognise me, did he not want to speak to me, I was not letting him go, he had not seen me for 2-3 months and he thought he could wave and carry on, I don't think so! 'Where are you going?' I said when I caught up. 'Oh hello' he said as if he had just realised it was me. He was going to book a 'wee bus trip to Blackpool' I took him to Glasgow, he looked no worse than he had done the day he came to collect the tools. I bombarded him with questions, he responded but asked none about me, he was a car fanatic, he didn't mention the car. I dropped him at the bus station and he thanked me for the lift. That was the last conversation we ever had.

I carried on to work happy I had seen him, he was going on holiday, he was ok, I had heard through the grapevine that he was shacked up with a fellow woman drinker, she would be happy he had just secured £15,000 from the sale of the house, they could buy plenty drink with that and even go a wee holiday.

Monday, 26 November 2007

Agonising decision

Life trundled on, I enjoyed secondary school and at the age of 14 I had a new best friend. My best friend's parents treated me like a 4th daughter they took me on holiday, our first holiday was in their travel caravan, we went to Great Yarmouth, another to their time share apartment in the Trossachs and then abroad to Portugal. I had a steady boyfriend, he was French, we met at school, I spent a lot of time at his house. My best friend had a steady boyfriend who is now her husband and we remain best friends to this day, 21 years on.

At the age of 16 my mum had decided it was time I got a job so she sent me to the local village and told me to go round all the shops and see if anyone needed a Saturday girl. I started with the nearest shop, which was a card shop, they had nothing. I then went to the coffee shop it was called 'The Little Treat' the owner asked me to come back and see her in an hour, I headed home as there was nothing to do for an hour. I must have been gone from the house for a total of 20 minutes, you should have seen my mothers face when I returned, she told me I should have continued with my asking, but I was confident. I returned to 'The Little Treat' for my chat with Mrs Knox she gave me the job. I worked 2 days after school for 2 hours and a Saturday, I got £13. In that same week a lady came to the door to see if anyone was interested in being an Avon rep, my granny said I would and we signed up there and then, my neighbour then complained about her ironing and I said I enjoyed ironing, she jokingly offered me a job, I accepted. I went from no jobs to 3 within a few weeks.

The arguments in our house continued, mainly at midnight when dad came home from the pub! There used to be good times in between, but these times were long gone. I started to resent my dad and started to get lippy, he no longer hid arguments from me, no longer holding his tongue until I was out of the room. I no longer respected him as a parent. He made things up, thought the world and us were against him, we know now it was the alcohol affecting his brain but then we just thought he was an awkward pain in the arse. One evening we heard the back gate opening and expected to hear the key in the back door, but nothing. I looked out the living room window and could see nothing, checked the kitchen window and nothing, the gate was shut, so carried on watching the tele, a few hours later the back door opened and in he stoated shouting 'ya shower a' bastards, leaving me oot there tae die' I couldn't believe what I was hearing, my mum hardly had to say anything now, I was not prepared to listen to this 'What are you talking about?' I demanded. Could we get any sense, we got repeated abuse about being bastards and leaving him to die. Eventually he told us he had slipped coming down the path and banged his head, he had a huge lump on the back of his head and must've been unconscious, lying on the cold icy path for the last few hours, how we tried to stifle the laugh, I made him a cup of tea. I specifically remember one time, he was lying in his bed going on and on, talking and shouting, my Papa had come to visit and was downstairs sleeping on the couch, he was shouting drunken abuse about my Papa, I went charging into the room and shouted 'Will you just shut up!' turned on my heels and left. I had no fear. He said nothing else, I think he was in shock. My mum had no fight left. As for my Papa he got up and left in the middle of the night to drive the 2 hour drive home, another humiliation for us both. During my exams I went to stay with my Granny, I could study at home in peace but I was getting interrupted sleep. I remember having a key and I know I stayed there, but I don't remember being there if that makes sense. I was now at a stage where being at home bothered me. I stayed at Granny's during the week and went home on a Friday, mainly because I went to the local pub with my friends on a Friday and my mum was fine with it, only because I was sensible and I think she had too much else going on just trying to survive the stress, but it was too late to go home and disturb Granny. My boyfriend would walk me home and we would sit at the bottom of the street stairs and chat, one night we were sat there when Dad came stoating up the road, luckily my boyfriend was aware of the situation. I introduced them to each other and Dad went to shake his hand and missed, I was mortified. I gained 5 o'grades and 3 highers despite the goings on at home.

In July 1989 my best friend and I set off for a fortnight in Portugal with her mum and dad, it was a fantastic holiday, I had never been abroad with my parents, only the school. Not a care in the world, sunshine, sea, a pool and slightly more freedom because we were after all 17 and 16. I phoned home and my Papa answered the phone, a bit unusual but nothing to be concerned about, I had a little chat and was told my mum was out but would I like to speak to my Granny, my stomach lurched, now I knew there was something wrong, my Papa and Granny in the same house at the same time and when my Papa passed the phone over to Granny she responded with civility. "What's wrong?" I immediately blurted. Granny was not going to palm me off, she had helped bring me up, she knew me to well. "Your Dad's not been behaving himself" she said. I took this to mean he was being his usual pain in the arse, shouting and arguing and threatening. She assured me that her and my Papa would stay until I came back and my mum would be fine, I knew they would, it was their daughter. My mind was eased.

Although my dad shouted and threatened he had not been violent, his speciality was mental torture, but now with his mind and body saturated with alcohol, while I was safe in Portugal, he had pushed my mum out of bed and tried to strangle her, who knows the reason on this occasion. Mum had phoned Granny because she didn't know what else to do, Granny in turn had phoned Gran to tell her she better get her son under control, Gran had papa with her and he seemed to be the only person who could get through to dad, Gran told Granny it was not her problem and that my mum had driven him to drink! Granny feeling she needed help to cope with the situation called Papa, he came immediately. They had to put their differences aside and deal with the issue in hand. My dads brother-in-law, the arsehole that was married to his sister, that never got on with any of my dad's family, then phoned Granny at home to tell her not to bother his mother-in-law again with their problems. ARSEHOLE! And after all this, the morning after, my father doesn't even remember, he thought it was made up, the world against him! Paranoia.

I returned from Portugal, putting my enjoyment straight to the side, practically running from the car to the back door, desperate to see my mum, make sure she was ok. There was no sign of her down stairs, "Mum" I shouted, trying to hide the desperation in my voice. "I'll be down in a minute" she shouted. She entered the living room her face red and blotchy, she was greeted with me, my best friend and her parents. I could see my best friends mum making eyes at her to see she was ok, please leave, I was thinking, we all knew she wasn't fine, don't prolong it. They perhaps didn't want to leave knowing she wasn't fine, should you leave someone who's not fine. But mum was used to masking her feelings, they left after an agonising few minutes. Mum was straight with me, she told me the goings on of the last few weeks. "I don't know if I can cope with this" I told her. Dad came home, I was in my room with my mum, unpacking. I am unclear on the next few minutes but Dad had come upstairs, I don't even remember if he came into my room. He shouted from his room on my mum, shouting in a tone I didn't like, I felt uneasy, my mum went and there was an exchange of words but it was quiet, tense, was he hurting her? I heard her flee the room, shouting "come with me, now!" there was a no nonsense tone. I followed "where are we going?" I said "just come on" I followed her down the stairs, we had never left in a hurry before, we had always planned leaving, were we just going downstairs? I followed her right through the back door, even then I didn't think we would go out of the house. She did not slow down in her pace, she did not look back. "I've got no shoes on" I exclaimed walking quickly beside her in my shorts and t-shirt with my golden tan. "It doesn't matter" she said. I still kick myself that I didn't pick up my keys, which were lying at the back door, but she gave me no indication that we were going out of the house, if she had given a glimmer of a hint I would have thought fast on my feet, she was in no fit state to think, her instinct was propelling her, her mind following her body. We went out our side gate and right round and door next doors path, she entered without knocking. I remember her words clearly to our neighbour "I'm so sorry to do this to you, but could you lock your doors, Billy will be round here any minute" they did, people know instinctively when to do something without question. They had 3 boys under 7, luckily both husband and wife were at home. The doors were locked and the blinds closed. BANG BANG BANG "open the fuckin' door, I know you're in there" As my mum sobbed she apologised over and over for involving my neighbour. The husband offered to go out and speak to him, but my mum refused, she didn't want them getting involved nor did she want my dad getting in. He tried the front, but we stayed silent., the boys thought it was a game. He went back into the house and we watched from the bedroom as he left the house and trotted off to the pub, he wouldn't be back til closing time.

The words from her daughter had given her the strength to go, until now, it had been what was best for me and now that I was not happy, she could finally do it. We didn't need clothes, shoes or keys we had each other and that was all the strength we needed.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Update Part 2

So we have got over the dentist trauma, the scary story trauma, we have all suffered a further cold and cough, despite only just getting rid of the last one. I have spent a fortune on medicine and cough bottles for 3, even the hubby got the cold! And in the middle of all this illness came fleas! Now never having had a pet before I was unaware of the trauma of fleas. I have dealt with nits and let me tell you head lice are nothing compared to cat fleas.

The kitten is nearly 14 weeks old and has been to the vet twice for her immunisations, we spoke about worming tablets, neutering and fleas and I was assured as long as she had not been out she did not need flea preventative things, I told the vet that she has come from a home with 3 cats and that the cats were allowed in my house but the vet assured me she would be fine!! Two days after visiting the vet we, the children and I, had a few bites each, I checked through the cat and she looked fine it was only when my son went to bed and came down with more bites 30 minutes later that I checked his bed and found a bold as brass little flea jumping in his bed. So the little fucker was trapped in a bit of sellotape and kept as proof, the bed was striped and back to bed he went. I found another jumping in my living room and another in my daughters bed. I was disgusted. I went to the pet shop and came back armed with flea tablets and flea spray for the house, now for anyone who has not experienced fleas this is the way it works, the cat gets the tablet, problem 1 - getting the cat to take the f'in tablet, as I said I've never had a pet before, you then have to break the cycle, again a bit like head lice, the darlings lay up to 2000 eggs in their 4 day life, so you get rid of the live flea but hey it's left approx 2000 to hatch behind. You have to try and eliminate them from the cat and your home at once, at least head lice stay in the head, fleas can live anywhere and then jump onto anybody when they fancy a bite.

I took the day off work, the cat was given her tablet, poor little Angel didn't know what had hit her, I tried to give her the tablet but she kept spitting it out so hubby managed, within minutes she was scratching, the lady at the pet shop had told me to put her in the empty bath so that she couldn't get out and we could comb her through (with a nit comb!) who couldn't get out? I was advised to have a basin/bucket of water to drown the little fuckers or they just jump. Hubby held her and I combed her through she was riddled, I felt terrible surely I should have noticed but honestly there were no signs. As well as fleas, there were flea droppings, after 10 minutes of combing she was really fed up and the hubby was scratched and bitten more than he bargained for so he took her outside for the very first time and she groomed herself and the fleas were falling off, I assisted with some more combing. We then restricted her to the kitchen and conservatory and I went and cleaned and I mean cleaned. All the beds were striped, any clothing lying about anywhere was put in for washing, the cat is not allowed in the bedrooms but sometimes she sneaks in when the door opens, I started piling all washing in the kitchen this included dolls clothing from dolls that had been lying about, towels from the bathroom at one point I could hardly see the kitchen floor. I then hoovered everywhere, under beds, on beds into all the corners, spraying as I went. I was at it all day and of course it would be raining with all the washing I had. I bought Spot-on and put that on the back of her neck to kill all eggs, so surely the cycle was broken. Was it fuck! I have hoovered everyday since, I have combed the cat through almost everyday and she still has fleas, so the Spot-on stuff obviously doesn't work or I didn't get it on right. So this evening without the hubby's help I gave her another flea tablet, restricted us to the kitchen and conservatory again and she has scratched and groomed herself and left fleas behind on the floor, I have sat armed again with sellotape, as they don't seem to be able to jump after the flea tablet has been given, as the floor is light I can see them and easily collect them with a piece of sellotape.

It's such a shame but she must have come with a flea, I asked next doors daughter to get her cats checked just in case, so all the cats are banned from coming in at the moment. This has been the most time consuming, unenjoyable experience I've had for a long time.

I would be eternally grateful for anyone who can tell me how to get rid of these little fuckers, the hubby suggested getting rid of the cat!

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Update part 1

Thoughts and feelings have been a bit heavy lately so today I'm giving an update of my life in general.

On Saturday last I had a 'me' day and I went to do a level 2 Reiki course, I do have another not very up-to-date post on Reiki and what it's all about at if you fancy a look or if like my hubby you think 'it's a pile of pish' then don't bother. You could of course have a read and see what you think before deciding 'it's a pile of p$%£!'

A week past on Sunday, we were having a pyjama day, this involves me starting housework before getting dressed and then realising it's time to make dinner and I'm still not dressed, the kids tidy their rooms and then lounge, quite often our 10 year old next door neighbour joins them and she doesn't bother getting dressed either so her and my daughter flit from one house to another in their dressing gowns. As long as they are happy, who cares. So they make dens and play and argue and on this particular Sunday as it was near Halloween my neighbour tells a story, a story she has been told by a friend at a recent sleepover, a true story, of course! Now so that I don't give anyone else nightmares, lets just say it involved a baby, a babysitter and a man dressed as a clown in the baby's room, frightening the baby. The kids were fine with the story, that was until bedtime. My daughter, who loves her bed, went to bed no problem and since we got the kitten, it's been lights out and door shut, my son then put off going to bed and by the time we got him there we were all going to bed, he got into bed ok, then started crying and reached mild hysteria by the time I asked him what was wrong, this woke my daughter, who then joined him in mild hysteria, both children wanted to sleep in our bed. We said that was fine and we would leave and sleep in their beds, this created more tears. My daughter at this point was shaking uncontrollably, I believe they have to face their phobias so said they could sleep in daughters room as she has bunk beds, she refused, so they opted to sleep together in son's bed, only if they could sleep at the same side, as normally they would sleep top to toe. We settled down to sleep and then our door opened;

"Who's that?" I said with my eyes shut

"me" said the crying voice of the 7 yo

"and me" said the crying voice of the 10 yo

"this is ridiculous" said the frustrated mummy

"meow" said the kitten

"now the bloody cats in" said same frustrated mummy

"I'm reeaallly scared" said 7 yo

"me too" said 10 yo

"don't be silly, it's just a story, let's have a cuddle, in you get"

so there were 4 in the bed and then the mummy said "right that's enough, no nonsense, back to bed, if you feel scared take deep breaths and say a little prayer, you've got each other"

They got up one more time and we were informed "we're not scared now, we're just going to the toilet" all the lights were put on and they both went to the toilet, I retrieved the kitten who was hiding in our room, held her under one arm and went out to the hall to put the children back to bed again, as I entered the hall my daughter stood waiting on her brother, she was silent, just standing there, the kitten must have got the fright of her life, hissed and jumped out of my arms with her claws outstretched taking them right across my forearm and right nipple "AAHHHH" the frustrated mother let out, the kitten, she bolted. I immediately exposed my bleeding nipple to the 2 silent children "you're bleeding" they both announced! I've raised a couple of geniuses. I went back into my room for tissues and a further examination of said bleeding nipple. The husband was awakened by the kerfuffle "what's wrong now?"

"they got up for the toilet, I lifted the cat, she got a fright and now I have a bleeding nipple" I blurted.

"right, back to bed" the husband took over and the kids were not seen again until morning.

On Monday they were exhausted and crabbit. On Tuesday they had the school disco and my daughter had the Brownies party she was very quiet, ending up sleeping with me, well seen Daddy was on night shift, on Halloween we went along to a friends for a wee party and my daughter was again very quiet and stood aside while the party games were played, I realised at this point she must be coming down with something, we went home and with our neighbour they went around the doors, they had a fabulous night and have sweeties to last for months so another late night was had. Again she started in her own bed but ended up in mine, what a nightmare, she was unsettled all night, I actually thought she was going to be sick because she was so unsettled, however she got up fine in the morning and as I glanced passed her I thought, there is something not quite right about you, the right side of her face was very very swollen!
After a phone call to the NHS 24 help line and then the doctors surgery and finally the dentist it was agreed it was a dental problem, she had an abscess, the infection had obviously mad her quite ill. A visit to the dentist and she got anti-biotic and an appointment to get the offending tooth out, so she got Thursday and Friday off school much to her brothers disgust, but she defended herself by asking him 'would you got to school looking like this?' she was like a little munchkin.

Wednesday came and we headed to the dentist, she is such a good wee thing, not nervous, just gets on with it, that was until the dentist gave her the jags, she was not happy and complained mid jag that she didn't like it, it was sore, ah ah AAHHH 'all done at that side' he said and went in for a second jag, she screamed, she cried, I said 'it's ok, not long now!' as if that was any help at all, he removed the jag and we escaped the room. Big bad dentist, but I assured her it was for her own good and now she would get no more pain or another abscess. She was patient in the waiting room, playing with the lego, when it was time to go back in she refused! I carried her and the dentist shrugged his shoulders, if she's not up for it we'll have to leave it. After all that there is no bloody way I'm leaving without the tooth in my hand, so I calmly explained to her that now her mouth was numb she would feel nothing and if she didn't get the tooth out today we would have to come back and go through this again, she agreed 'can I sit on your knee mummy?' 'of course' said the dentist, we both sat on the chair and laid back, her heart was thumping, I whispered reassuring words in her ear, I don't think she could hear me. Ah, Ah, AAAH 'here it is!' said the dentist. 'All done, good girl, well done!' I said. Thank god! I thought. She was out that front door, swiping the sticker left at the counter as she went, I then took her to Woolworth's and let her pick whatever toy she wanted for being so brave and guess what she picked a PlayDoh dentist set. So that was her another day off school. The tooth fairy was very good to her, a friend of mine then said I should have left her less money as the tooth had to come out, to encourage her to look after her teeth, perhaps she's right, but I was the one at the dentist going through the trauma with her and I think she deserved it for being so brave. Had it been my son, I would never have got him back in the chair.

A traumatic week. Yes

On a more positive note, my website is now up and running, there are a few things still to be finished off, but I thought I would share it with my good friends on the blogosphere and let you have a sneak preview and see what you think, this will of course give away a bit of my identity,
let me know what you think

There will have to be an update part 2 as since I started writing this there have been further mishaps.

Monday, 29 October 2007

I love you!

My other gran and papa, dad's parents, lived near my primary school, I rarely went there through choice, I had loads of friends in their street and liked to go out to play there but that was about it. I only recall staying overnight once. It was a strange house, there was Aunt Isobel's room, I remember there was a doll that lay on her unused bed, she lived in Spain and I didn't know her then, I was to small to remember her, she was the youngest of the 4 siblings, Auntie Grace, who was the oldest, lived in Zambia with her family, a husband and 2 daughters, my big cousins, so I didn't know her then either and Auntie Evelyn, the second youngest, she was married with a son and 2 daughters and I knew her well. There had been twins born, but they had both died, for some reason at 6 weeks old sticks in my head, but that could be inaccurate. Gran and papa had a 'scottie' dog called Blackie, I was terrified of Blackie, he barked and snapped and slept behind the tele, I was always reassured by my gran 'he won't touch you' as he was biting at my ankles, this was not reassuring. I did not feel comfortable there, it was like being left with strangers, I could only describe the house as cold in both atmosphere and emotion. I may have been loved, but I was not at home there. I remember on the night I was to stay over there was a bird nest outside the back door, my gran showed it to me and told me I was not to tell anyone so that the baby birds would not be frightened, I showed my friend next door, who then showed her brothers. My gran was very angry, she did not shout and I don't remember what she said but it made me cry and I went to bed feeling lonely and wanted my mum. My papa was a man a few words but I'm sure he had something to say that night.

During a refurbishment of their house, they were decanted into a caravan just around the corner from their house. I went to see them more often, I liked the caravan. They then moved into a newly built 2 bedroom flat down the road from us as they were getting older and the 3 bedroom house was a bit much for them, by this time Isobel was back from Spain and married a nice man and Grace back from Zambia, we always went to my grans on the 2nd January for a family gathering, I liked it then, I got to stay up very late. I liked my Aunt Evelyn she was more motherly and I felt closer to her then anyone else in the family.

Mum and dad had a blazing row one night and mum called gran, I remember a few occasions mum had tried to call, but dad had stopped her, it wasn't easy on a dialling phone, not like now when you can push the buttons in silence. She must have been afraid, I was not aware of any violence it was all psychological threats, his favourite being 'I'll put that chip pan on and burn this fucking house down one night' she would lie awake on the nights where we had chips to go with the dinner. Gran and papa came, it was the middle of the night and they were none to pleased, I was up, of course, I don't know what was said but my papa reduced my father to tears, I was bewildered, my dad in tears! My dad was not happy that his parent had been.

Mum got a part time job when I went to school and a full time job when I was 8, granny gave up her work, she would be 58, she came to our house every day, she kept the house, went shopping and was there for me coming home from school and during school holidays, she made the dinner for mum coming home and would have her dinner with us, leaving enough for dad to reheat when he came home from the pub, then she would make her way home on the train, often on a Friday night I would go home with her and spend the weekend there. We had a spell of living there for a few days during another separation period but as usual we went back.

Granny decided she wanted to be closer to us, the travelling was becoming too much, she went to the council to put her name on the housing list but they said she couldn't as she was not living in the area, so she bought a residential caravan in the area and her name went on the list. She could now walk to our house. It was a great arrangement, the house was well kept, gave granny a purpose and some money in her pocket and I could stay at home during the holidays and play with my friends. Eventually granny was offered a flat which was half way between the caravan and our house, I never imagined this would be the place she would eventually have to leave as she would be unfit to look after herself.

Over the years the arguments became more frequent and more heated, my father would come home and if the dinner didn't suit he would make a point of wakening my mother to tell her, not that she had made the dinner, that was granny's job and nor would she have been sleeping either if chips were on the menu. He would shout and swear and threaten, 'I'll put you through that f'in windae' as I got older he hid the arguments less, he would not stop when I entered the room. How things change, he had protected me when I was younger, my mum had to try and protect me even more now. She would often come into my room during the night and snuggle in beside me, simply as she could take no more and new that he would not disturb me.

As a mother I know what I would do to protect my children, my mother lived on her nerves, trying to keep life as normal as possible for me, I would often ask if they were going to divorce, my dad always answered, no, the thought of them not living together made me upset, this must have added pressure to my mother as I'm sure all the times when we went to the safe haven that was granny's house I would have eventually asked to go back. My mums self esteem was at an all time low, she lived in robotic mode. I am angry at my father for putting my mother through this, although I did not realise that then.

One negative point that has come out of this is my refusal to argue in front of my children or argue at all, I did argue with hubby before we got married and after, but not once the children came along. I do shout at my children, don't get me wrong, but I will not subject them to arguing parents saying things that cannot be taken back. This does not sound a negative point but I fear it is, I tend to huff and then things that should have been said are swept under the carpet resulting in feelings being kept bottled up, be it good or bad. The hubby and I have been married for over 11 years for 10 of those years we have had children, I can't imagine life without him, he is not a 'discuss your feelings' kind of bloke, but he would be if I had allowed him to be, he reduces me to tears when he says simple sincere things like 'I don't deserve you' usually when he's had 'a few' I find it so difficult to respond and I don't know why. I tell my children loads of times a day that I love them and they do likewise, but can I say these 3 wee words to my husband? I know he loves me, he knows I love him, it's an unspoken understanding. Our marriage is a good one. I can't say the words, well I can after quite a few drinks! Is it a fear if I let out those words he might break my heart? Might reject me? I am reduced to tears when he tells me he loves me, so he doesn't he just uses the kisses and cuddles like I do to verify our love.

3 simple words leave me broken.

Thursday, 25 October 2007

99 things about me

Thought I would break the intensity for a bit, saw this over at Dgibbs and thought it was some good fun.

99 questions if you are reading this you can consider yourself tagged if you like.

1. How old will you be in five years? OMG the big 4 0

2. Who did you spend at least two hours with today? the kids

3. How tall are you? 5’6

4. What do you look forward to most in the next six weeks? my level 2 Reiki course 9.30am to 7.30pm without someone saying MUM.

5. What's the last movie you saw? Ratatouille

6. Who was the last person you called? the hubby

7. Who was the last person to call you? the hubby

8. What was the last text message you received? 'ok' from my sister-in-law Lorraine

9. Who was the last person to leave you a voicemail? my sister-in-law Tracy

10. Do you prefer to call or text? depends who it is, call normally but at work text, because I can't here on the phone when the embroidery machine is running

11. What were you doing at 12am last night? I'll not be too graphic but it involved batteries, hubby on permanent night shirt you know! a girl has needs

12. Are your parents married/separated/divorced? Divorced for about 17 years

13. When is the last time you saw your mom? last night, she watched the kids while I went to see granny.

14. What color are your eyes? hazel green

15. What time did you wake up today? 7.50, alarm went of at 7 and I snoozed til 7.50

16. What are you wearing right now? Well because I'm at work, in a cold industrial unit, I have a thermal vest, long sleeved top, fleece and haven't removed my jacket as yet and of course my jeans

17. What is your favorite Christmas song? Rudolph the red nosed reindeer

18. Where is your favorite place to be? Bed

19. Where is your least favourite place to be? any where cold, like my work

20. Where would you go if you could go anywhere? Anywhere hot, with a pool

21. Where do you think you'll be in 10 years? Hopefully a high class business women, working from home, with some other person manning the cold unit.

22. Do you tan or burn? oh tan

23. What did you fear was going to get you at night as a child? a witch

24. What was the last thing that REALLY made you laugh? A blog by Danielle the hor about an ex boyfriend who covered her mouth with his and blew causing snot to come out of her nose, hilarious, it's they way she tells them!

25. How many TVs do you have in your house? 4

26. How big is your bed? standard double

27. Do you have a laptop or desktop computer? laptop

28. Do you sleep with or without clothes on? pj's every time and socks in the winter

29. What color are your sheets? white

30. How many pillows do you sleep with? 2

31. What is your favorite season? summer

32. What do you like about fall? I like crisp dry days

33. What do you like about winter? Proper snow

34. What do you like about the summer? the heat, not that we get that much of it!

35. What do you like about spring? Daffodils

36. How many states/provinces have you lived in? 1

37. What cities/towns have you lived in? I've always lived in Glasgow - Bishopbriggs, then Kirkintilloch and now Lennoxtown

38. Do you prefer shoes, socks, or bare feet? socks unless it's roasting then bare feet

39. Are you a social person? Sometimes, depends on the people available to socialize with.

40. What was the last thing you ate? Minstrels

41. What is your favorite restaurant? Frankie & Benny's

42. What is your favorite ice cream? Strawberry

43. What is your favorite dessert? chocolate fudge cake

44. What is your favorite kind of soup? Anything to do with cream of tomato

45. What kind of jelly do you like on your PB & J sandwich? I assume jelly would be like our jam, I have never had a PB sandwich in my life, is that bad? I like mixed fruit jam

46. Do you like Chinese food? Yes

47. Do you like coffee? not often

48. How many glasses of water a day? big fat 0

49. What do you drink in the morning? Tea

51. Do you sleep on a certain side of the bed? right side, I always have the side nearest the door

52. Do you know how to play poker? absolutely not

53. Do you like to cuddle? Love it

54. Have you ever been to Canada? No

55. Do you have an addictive personality? Yes - like blogging

56. Do you eat out or at home more often? Home

58. Do you know anyone with the same birthday as you? yes

59. Do you want kids? got 2 thanks

60. Do you speak any other languages? Queens english and Glaswegian LOL

61. Have you ever gotten stitches?4 in my left thigh, when I was 8

62. Have you ever ridden in an ambulance? No

63. Do you prefer an ocean or a pool? pool

64. Do you prefer a window seat or an aisle seats? aisle on the way up, then after that I couldn't care less

65. Do you know how to drive stick? this made me laugh, definitely an American turn of phrase, Yes

66. What is your favorite thing to spend money on? Prefer to spend it on kids

67. Do you wear any jewelry 24/7? Wedding ring and signet ring granny bought me again when I was 8

68. What is your favorite TV show? Waterloo Road

69. Can you roll your tongue? yes

71. Do you sleep with stuffed animals? No

72. What is the main ring tone on your phone? Dance version of Deeper love

73. Do you still have clothes from when you were little? No

74. What red object is closest to you right now? a polo shirt

75. Do you turn off the water while you brush your teeth? No

76. Do you sleep with your closet doors open or closed? Closed

77. Would you rather be attacked by a big bear or a swarm of bees? Neither

79. What do you dip a chicken nugget in? Don't do chicken nuggets

80. What is your favorite food? pasta

81. Can you change the oil on a car? No

82. Have you ever gotten a speeding ticket? No

83. Have you ever run out of gas? ran out of Petrol once

84. What is your usual bedtime? 10.30pm

85. What was the last book you read? Ulrika Johnstons autobiography, long time ago.

86. Do you read the newspaper? only the local one

87. Do you have any magazine subscriptions? No

89. Do you watch soap operas? Yes Coronation Street and Eastenders

90. Do you dance in the car? yes

91. What radio station did you last listen to? Clyde 1 in the car this morning

92. Who is in the picture frame closest to you? I have 3 photos of kids, right in front of me, without frames, 1 of them together and 2 individual photo's

93. What was the last note you scribbled on a piece of paper? Treasurers address for local school, looking for commission for uniforms.

94. What is your favorite candle scent? mmmm like the wintery red ones

95. What is your favorite board game? Trivial pursuit

98. Who was your favorite teacher in high school? Mrs Murray, English teacher I had her for 3 years and got top marks in O-grade and higher

99. What is the longest you have ever camped out in a tent? Never camped, bugs and no hair straighteners, what can I say, no thank you.

Feel free to join in, go on you'll enjoy it.

Monday, 22 October 2007


Before speaking about my dad I felt it important to discuss the family goings on in order that the whole journey makes sense, not only to you but to me.

By now I am 5 and a half, at school and still an only child, it was not sensible for my mother to have considered another child while we were in our one bedroom flat, moving to our 2 bedroom house when I was 3 wasn't to bad for timing I don't suppose, but there was a house to furnish/carpet and only one wage, but of course that one wage covered drinking costs first. I believe my father gave my mother £10 a week and she would have received family allowance, all this money (ha ha) had to pay rent and rates and food etc etc. granny was always good she bought me clothes and shoes. Having granny stay with us for months probably didn't do my parents love life much good either. My mum was waiting for the right time to consider having another child, always hoping I'm sure that when my father promised to 'be good' that one day he would and she would have that other child. At the age of 32, when I was 7 she thought she had accidentally fallen pregnant as it certainly wasn't planned, however, it turned out to be an early menopause, the decision was taken from her hands, so an only child I have stayed.

Granny gave us Uncle Berts car, as she couldn't drive, I remember it well, it was a red Renault 5 and very new. My father took it to the pub and it lay in the pub car park, I assume too he drove it back up the road, we only stayed a 10 minute walk from the pub, so gran took the car back and sold it. I don't remember much about it but I remember feeling the embarrassment, whether I felt this for my mother or I was embarrassed I'm not sure. I've got a feeling she sold the car and gave the money to my mum. We lived in a brand new house that had a gas fire and central heating downstairs, there were no radiators upstairs? We had a plug in Dimplex radiator which would heat my room and then be moved into mum and dad's room. My mum used the money to install central heating upstairs.

I have no strong recollections between Xmas 1977 until I was about 8, whether this means everything was rosy I'm not sure.

My dad had a few jobs, there was the blue transit van job, whatever that might have been? Then there was a green van - Go Plant was the name on the van. He drove a road sweeper but was found 'outside his territory' whatever that meant and was given his books. He was probably found in the pub. He then worked for a local haulage company, he was their mechanic. He fell out with the owner and either left or was given the sack. He was never stuck for a job though because he was a great mechanic. Those were the days wages came in brown packets, dad would rip the wage slip into minute pieces so that my mother did not know how much money he got paid. He did always go to work, I have no idea what time he finished work because he went straight to the pub, probably no later than 4.30, the pubs closed at 11, so he would come home at about 11.20 and then heat up his dinner which had been left in the pot for him. He often worked a Saturday morning, til 12 and always came home at 3, why 3? because the pubs closed between 3pm and 6pm on a Saturday and a Sunday. He always sat into the corner of the couch with his smelly feet resting on the underneath of the coffee table, he always had an aroma of oil, mixed with stale beer, but that was just dad. I would nestle in to the corner with him, his arm around my shoulder and we would watch the wrestling. Easy Easy we would chant at Big Daddy, this was real wrestling, none of the WWE nonsense we have on the TV these days. We would have our family dinner and he would shower, the aromas of the day all washed away and exchanged for Old Spice aftershave. Back to the pub for 6, leaving a disappointed little girl wishing he would stay home, occasionally he would come home at 3pm with some Tenants lager, 4 bottles of Babysham for my mum and a can of coke for me and we would have a night in, I occasionally got a little sip of the Babysham. But this was rare. Although I was disappointed it really didn't occur to me to question his going to the pub, as I've said before I thought this was a mans way. I do remember if he came home unexpected I was so pleased to see him.

My mum tried to keep things normal for me, I was not allowed to have friends into play at the weekend when dad was due home, simply because my mum was embarrassed, she didn't want parents of other children coming in with my dad there being making a fool of himself. He would not have been rude or argumentative in front of other people, in fact most people thought he was great fun. There were plenty of heated arguments but they mainly happened during the night, obviously because my dad wasn't in any other time. There was screaming and shouting on both sides, I would go downstairs, I'm not sure how I felt, I was frightened by the shouting, upset because my mum was upset, as soon as I was wakened by shouting I would run down stairs, open the living room door and it would stop my dad used to always say 'Hello doll' as if everything was normal, I would immediately go to my mum who would be red faced with crying, my dad would put his arms out to offer a cuddle and reassure me, it's ok, but I knew it was not, I could sense it from my mum. I wonder how he felt as I passed his offer and went to comfort my mum, she needed me. There would be no more shouting if I had been up. I was never ever frightened of my dad, I was frightened by his shouting towards my mother I did not like it. My mother had every reason to be angry with my father, he kept her short of money while he drunk the rest, he was of no help in the house or with me. She started going to a ladies night with some of the neighbours and he came home the first few weeks to look after me and let her go but after that he would just not come home, she would be all ready in anticipation and he just didn't come home, she made her excuses and never went again. My mother has a temper, takes it from her father and sometimes she would not let up, she would push and push until she got a reaction, he would ignore her questions 'one night you're asked to come home, one night' if you want to push my mothers buttons ignore her! I remember one night she slapped him, I was there, but he slapped her back. I don't think she expected that. My dad would get up in the morning and wonder why we were ignoring him, he really didn't know, you put it down to drink. For years my mother used to say 'you're loopy' and she meant it, she was convinced he had a mental health issue. They would have these arguments and then dad would come home every night after work, we had a normal life, it would last for a few weeks and then he would go to the pub one night, then two.......

Gran decided she wanted to move back nearer us and bought a great flat about 20 minutes drive away, it was huge, it had a very formal sitting room, gran furnished it with a self coloured cream carpet, I would lie on my back and make an angel on this carpet, there was a walk in cupboard in this room all shelved, grans jewellery box, photo's stored, lots to keep a little girl amused. The bathroom was very long, there was a cupboard on the left as you entered, then the wash hand basin and then the bath, a huge bath, with a pulley above it, the ceilings so high you could have and bath and have your washing hanging up, the toilet was straight ahead, felt like you walked for miles to get there, encountering a step up half way, it was like heading for the throne, quite literally. Then there was the other room, I've gone blank, I have no idea what we called it, probably the living room, this was the hub of the flat, dining table as you entered, a partitioned off corner behind the dining table which was the kitchen, it was tiny. To the right of the room where 2 chairs, placed at either side of the fire and if you swivelled right again you would see the bed recess or hole in the wall bed, my gran used to call it, this was the bedroom, dining room, living room and kitchen in the corner room. The bed recess was the exact size of a single mattress, 3 walls shaped around the mattress and a lower ceiling, my gran had a cane curtain hung at one end of the recess to separate it off from the room, it was also partly separated by one of the chairs. I played in the recess for hours, it was dark, private and cosy. When I stayed my gran slept in the fold-up bed in this room and I slept in the bed recess. She would be up early, dressed have the bed away and potter about, I would be cosy, drifting in and out of sleep, safe in the knowledge she was there. Apart from the security of a loving granny it was a safe flat. It was a tenement flat on the first floor, it had a half glass panelled door and then storm doors, one storm door always lay open during the day, you knew you were in for the night when the storm doors were locked, one door bolted into the ground and then into the solid panel above, the other had a huge solid, I was going to call it a bolt, but it was a long silver, flat piece of metal with groves cut from it, that had the most unusual shaped key to open it from the outside, the key wasn't really a key, it was equivalent to what I know now as an Allan Key, this 'key' slid though the keyhole and latched onto the groves in the long silver piece of metal thingy, turning the key to slide it open or closed, there were other 2 other locks, a Yale lock and a mortise lock. Safe. Absolutely. In all senses.

I'm doing a bit of self analysis now. I want to talk about my dad, but I want to sort out everything. At this stage in my life, that is the 5-14 yrs, there isn't much to say about dad, he went to the pub every night, so that's covered, but I have to talk about the memories, the things that bring joy to my heart and go through it rationally, the important things. I will get to dad, but gran played such a major part in my life and she features so strongly in these early days. I feel bad today as she is in a nursing home, with severe dementia and doesn't even know who I am anymore, I haven't been to see her since June, I'm not making excuses but I've worked all summer with the uniforms, hubby has been on night shift and takes car and works at the weekends, I don't take kids to see her anymore as it gives her no pleasure and makes her unsettled, they don't understand dementia and make fun of her unintentionally as they were so used to what she was like before very on the ball and funny and my daughter was the absolute be all and end all in her life. This makes me cry and I am because I have lost my granny, she took TB and pneumonia in May 2005, she was still my granny then. We lost her about 12-18 months ago when she became institutionalised in the home. She knows only her daughter now. I was going to visit on Sunday as hubby now has a works van, mum was going to watch the kids and I was so unwell I couldn't go. I will go on Wednesday.

My gran is 85 years old I miss her, if anything was to happen to her and I haven't been to see her, would she forgive me, would she know. I have been selfish. I feel ashamed and upset. This can only be therapeutic I have just cried buckets for the last 30 mins.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Never to be forgotten Christmas 1977

As a child I thought every daddy went to the pub in the evening, why should I think it not be the case. My dad did it so surely that was a mans way. It was not home for dinner and then out to the pub, no it was straight from work, I'm sure there would have been too much grief from my mother should he come home and have his dinner first. My gran sensing that perhaps her being there all the time was not helping the situation, she bought a caravan on a residential estate a 45 minute drive away. She would stay with us Monday to Thursday for work and retreat to the caravan, by train, on a Friday after work and return to us on a Sunday night. I missed her when she was gone. I was all alone in my big double bed, with nobody to sing with.

I'm not sure why, I think perhaps his mother had died, but Uncle Bert needed somewhere to stay, my gran said he should stay in the caravan, after all it was empty Monday to Thursday, my gran had it well stacked with all the possessions she had taken from the house, he would have somewhere to stay meaning the caravan no longer lay empty, it also meant she would not be alone at the weekends during the long winter nights. It was a one bedroom caravan, so Uncle Bert would sleep on the couch when my gran went home at the weekends. Uncle Bert had a car so they would go shopping and he would run her back and forward to our house for work. The situation was ideal for everyone, my mum no longer had to put a brave face on at the weekend, Uncle Bert had somewhere to stay, granny had company, but poor papa he was furious and nasty his best friend shacked up with his now ex-wife, he said things he could never take back. My mother must have been torn in two, her mother and father and their best friend all at logger heads, my gran saying things about my papa and vice versa and the fact was they were not 'shacked up'. I know this was a fact because my gran told me so and they had no reason to hid a relationship should they wish to have one, my gran was 53 and Uncle Bert was 50, they were both free agents, consenting adults. Uncle Bert bought another caravan and being the great handy man he was put them together and made a luxury 2 bedroom caravan. Sorted, a bedroom each, and should we go and stay, us 'the family' Uncle Bert gave up his room for us and slept on the couch.

Granny and Uncle Bert could see they got on and one day granny came in and announced they were getting married! My granny the master bombshell dropper. And my mother in a state of dumbfoundment blurted out 'Have you thought about the sex?' now to let you understand granny was a private person she never discussed periods or sex or body parts or bared skin in front of even my mother, so for my mother to blurt out this statement even at the age of nearly 29 must have knocked my granny of her feet a bit, but she calmly responded 'Yes, I have thought about the sex' to this day we have no idea what exactly she thought about it, perhaps they had already had a test drive and that was the clinching decider, who knows. Now perhaps other people could see this coming but I don't even think my gran and Uncle Bert did, I have no doubt they loved each other they had been best friends for 30 somewhat years, whether they were in love I don't know, but it was a love that would blossom. They had discussed it rationally and had decided to marry for varying reasons, for personal reasons Uncle Bert did not want any of his money or possessions, should he die, to go to his sister and who better to be his next of kin than his best friend. They had already set up home and worked well together. Uncle Bert was the most genuine, kind, lovely person so who better to spend the rest of your life with and many people assumed they were a couple as they lived in the same caravan anyway. And just in case anyone hasn't read the previous posts Uncle Bert was not related, simply named Uncle as you do with your closest friends and children. So on the 11th Feb 1977 granny married Uncle Bert in a registry office on her 54th birthday, I was 4 and proud as punch to be at my gran's wedding. I wonder if my mother warned me not to discuss the wedding with my papa or whether he was adult enough to realise I was a child and not concerned with the hurt and anguish he was going through. It was less than 2 years since my gran had walked out and left my papa. My papa had since moved to Dunoon as he had taken a job there. My gran left her job and went to work in 'the big house' in the caravan estate. It was a huge stately home, my gran cleaned and helped the lady of the house to cater for huge parties, my gran would cook, serve, clean and she loved it. My mum and I were now grandparent free, no longer gran coming in for dinner or papa waiting on the door step.

Whatever job my dad had at the time, he had a blue transit van, he usually always had a works van in all the jobs he had and there were a few. The blue transit van had 2 seats and an upside down drinks crate, the crate had a cushion on it and this was my seat, when I think about it now, sandwiched in between the 2 seats it makes me smile, smile at the memories and the complete madness, nobody wore seat belts and hey it's perfectly normal for a 4 year old to travel on a crate seat! We would go and spend the weekend with granny and Uncle Bert and the dog, how could I have forgotten the dog, she was a Yorkshire terrier named Midge, I assume my gran must have got custody of Midge because she was about before I was born, there was a fantastic beach nearby and the summer weather seemed to be much better then, we would all go to the beach with a big cooler box filled with food and juice and of course Tenants lager, in those days Tenants lager had the ladies on the cans, I at the age of 4 used to know the name of every lady on the cans. We would play games, eat, drink, go in the water, my dad was great fun, he always played whatever I wanted to, never said no, like my mother sometimes did in the house when she was in the middle of cleaning or cooking or gutting cupboards and I wanted to play a game. I find I now do that to my kids and it haunts me. I loved these times, but then my dad was happy too he had the best of both worlds his family and his lager. We would laugh and enjoy each others company and then my dad would drive us home. Didn't everyone drink and drive then?

My grans happiness was short lived when on the 22nd December 1977, 10 months after marrying, Uncle Bert had a massive heart attack and died age 50. His funeral took place on Boxing Day. I don't think we did much for Christmas that year. How sad for my mum and gran to have to carry on and make Christmas normal for me, I was 5.


I interrupt this journey as dgibbs @ has tagged me to do a MEME about my writing, somewhere along the lines the guidelines seem to have gone astray, I like guidelines, it makes things easy. However I will wing it and may stray slightly from it being about my writing, I'll just see where my mind takes me!

1. I started this blog as I had read about 'Wife in the North' in a magazine and was impressed that someone could make money from blogging, little did I know that there are many people here who are serious writers. I just try and declutter my head and now have found a purpose by stating my journey. I have no intention of trying to be a serious writer or making money from it. I enjoy the community spirit and the friends I am making.

2. I am a self taught typist, I started working in Norwich Union, well it was General Accident when I started there in 1994 and couldn't type, I left 11 years later and can type faster then my mother who has been a secretary all her life. I am very proud.

3. I gained a level 1 in my English o-grade and a B in my higher grade, I am quite particular about grammar and punctuation. Although I find now I have to ask my 10 year old how to spell things as I take mind blanks.

4. Nothing makes me feel better than a good blether or laugh with my friends and now my fellow community bloggers.

5. When I start a post I start to write and it never ends in the direction I intended, I just go with the thoughts and end with the title, apart from on this occasion!

6. I am self employed, just in case you have realised that yet, and mainly blog at work which is really bad because I should be constructive and update eBay or find new customers but hey the machine is running so this passes the day quite nicely.

I now tag Manic Mother of five @

And I will continue on my journey soon.