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.

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

The separation

My father was a mechanic to trade but also did driving jobs, he loved cars, the mechanics of cars obviously and driving, this is a love that passed to me, not so much the mechanics but the love of cars and driving.

It was 1975 we settled into our new house, me in my own room, in my own bed, our fresh beginning. A very sort time later my granny appears at the door and announces she is leaving my papa. Bombshell! She is furious at the debt he had got himself into, my gran is a cash women, you don't have the money, you save then spend. She could take no more of his temper and laziness. End of. Over. No going back. And she never did. Both my papa and my mother were devastated. Although they had arguments like every other couple they were good together. My mother was 28, they had been married for 32 years, they were the stability in my mothers life, she took it very badly. I was too young to understand but there was much excitement for me, granny was moving in! Granny sold her beautiful house for a grand total of £2000, a house that today would be worth nearly £300K, she cleared my papa's debt and my single bed was exchanged for a double, I loved it, the person I loved just as much as my mum and dad was staying with us. Papa, he went into a men's refuse for a short time this had no effect on me as granny staying far out weighted where papa might be.

My mum hadn't worked since she had me, women really didn't then, my gran, she worked full time, so my mother took over the roll that her mother had once played for her and her new husband. My mother couldn't believe the coldness granny was showing, many times, even before I was born, she had left my father as he had become so argumentative through drink, she had gone straight to her parents, her father, the protector, said she could stay as long as she liked and yet my granny who didn't suffer fools gladly always let him in, accepted his calls and always told my mother 'he is really sorry you know.' Had my granny said 'you're are not going back' I don't think she ever would have. On the worst occasion when I was a baby, my mother left with me in the coach built Silver Cross pram without even a coat, walking the 4 or 5 miles to her parents house, this time my papa put his foot down and my father was not to enter the house nor was my mother going back, he was not having this with such a young baby. Papa went in his Jaguar and collected my cot and some other necessities and told my father as much. Gran and papa's house had 3 bedrooms, my mother moved into the big room and my papa told my mother I should have the small room, little did my mother know the 3 piece bedroom suite in the small room would then come with granny and became my furniture, we all had our own space there was no need to go back. However, this time after many promises, my mother decided it wasn't fair to keep a baby from her father or indeed a father from his daughter and back we went, this was a pattern that was to repeat itself for many years to come. And yet here was granny less than 3 years later walking out on papa and she never did go back. How was this fair all the times she had been talked round by her mother to make her marriage work, I think the torment of this was worse than her parents actual separation.

My gran was always early to bed and early to rise (and quite rightly makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise - as the nursery rhyme goes) this suited me and every night we retired to bed together, lights out and we would sing;

Jesus bids us shine
with a pure clear light
like a little candle
burning in the night
In this world of darkness
so let us shine
you in your small corner
and I in mine.

Every time I hear this song I remember these times with great love and affection and of course a little tear in my eye.

We finally got our routine going, dad and Granny would go off to work and mum would take me to playgroup a few mornings a week, mum got a job in the playgroup doing some secretarial work, we would then come home to find papa waiting on the doorstep. He would stay for lunch, he would drink coffee and ask about my granny, perhaps he believed one day she would come back. Not that my mother minded him coming but when it was everyday she felt drained both physically and emotionally and then have to put her brave face on for granny coming in from work. My dad would then after dinner leave my mother and granny to blether and nip to the pub for 'a quick pint' and here starts another routine...

Sunday, 14 October 2007

The new house

My mother was an only child, she married my father in 1968, for 10 months they lived with my mothers parents until they got their first council flat. My granny and papa were a great couple, always entertaining, always the first in the street to get things, phone, TV, even a rotary clothes drier in the back garden. My granny worked all her life which was quite unusual in her day, most of her friends gave up working when they had families but my gran, she worked, she kept a lovely home and at one point had my mum and dad and her sister all living with her, she was cooking, cleaning, washing and ironing for them all. My papa on the other hand had a temper and preferred not to work, he fell out with countless bosses, losing jobs along the way. At one point, when my mum was pregnant with me, he owned 3 shops, unfortunately the shops did not manage themselves and he lost them all, leaving him and my gran in some debt. Any money he earned he would splash out at the local pub on his friends, who typically all thought he was great! My gran and papa had a bought house and my papa's best friend Bert, who was a great handy man helped to build the garage and landscape the garden, he was a great friend to them both and an Uncle to my mum, he in contrast to my papa was a great worker. At one point Uncle Bert had a job opportunity in Australia so him and my papa went with the intention of setting up a new life and then sending for my gran and mum. Uncle Bert had never married but would have sent for his mother. My papa in true form fell out with the boss and was back as quick as he had left, Uncle Bert stayed a while but his mother became ill and he returned to the UK.

My mum and dad lived married for four years before they had me, we lived in a 1 bedroom flat for 3 years, during which time I remained in a cot as there was no room for another bed, we then moved to our newly build 2 bedroom end terraced council house. This is when my first memories start. I was exactly 3 yrs and 1 month old. I remember walking up the hill to the new house, my mum with her shopping trolley, full of dishes etc, we walked that road 2 or 3 times a day for a while, I'm not sure how far it was maybe 1.5 to 2 miles, my mum couldn't drive and I don't even know if we had a car then. It was a great house, we always used the back door, why this is important to mention, I'm not sure. There was a huge walk in cupboard at the back of the kitchen and I mean huge it was the same size as the kitchen, we kept coats and shoes and shite in that cupboard, I played for hours in that cupboard, we also had a smaller full size cupboard facing you as you entered through the back door. The living room was what we called a through and through living room, I suppose because we came through from the kitchen at the dining end and entered the hall at the other end, the living end, the room was long and bright with windows at both ends and a gas fire on the middle wall, the hall was square and housed the green dialling phone and the unused front door, we would pass the front door to walk to the side gate and enter the back door, for years this bothered me and I wanted my mum to leave the front door unlocked in order that I could use it, she refused it was always locked, I suppose it was so that strangers could not enter and go upstairs unnoticed. Upstairs was my mum and dad's bedroom which housed yet another cupboard over the stairs, my mum was very proud of the cupboard space in her new home, our bathroom was standard and the bathroom shared a wall with my bedroom. Ahhh my bedroom, the room that has been the most important to me in all my 35 years. I lived in this bedroom from the age of 3yrs and 1 month to the age of 17 yrs and 10 months, 14 yrs and 9 months compared to my 35 years does not seem many but it was my most influential years and the one and only house I have ever considered home.

I now know this house was to be a fresh start, my dad liked a drink and this caused many arguments as my dad would give my mother a showing up by getting drunk and becoming outspoken, my mum was of a slightly different class to my father, she was an only child, my gran and papa had more money, a bought house, they had been well brought up and were quite posh, my gran slightly on the snobby side, where as my father had 3 sisters, lived on a council estate all his life and there was nothing posh about them, they were just ordinary people, my papa B liked a drink and it was the only time he had cracked a smile the rest of the time he sat silent glued to the tele, he didn't have much time for children, I don't think he knew what to do with us.

So fresh start it was my dad promised to spend less time going to the pub. A promise is a promise after all, how wrong could it go.......................

Friday, 12 October 2007

The journey - day 1

Today I start a journey and as the journey goes on I hope to make sense of it. I was going to do a post on my father, which effectively I still am but I am going to go back to the beginning, the very beginning. Let me explain the reasoning, I spoke yesterday about the fact that perhaps I haven't grieved properly for my father and my papa and I can't really sum up my father in one post. I had an encounter about 5-6 years ago with a spiritualist at a friends house, when I say a spiritualist, she was a neighbour of the friend whose house I was at and she has 'the gift,' we were having a wee ladies night and at the end of the night she spoke to me about my father and since that time I have never felt right emotionally. As we go further down the line I will speak in detail about her, but her closing words were 'write a letter to your dad and leave it somewhere safe, he will heal your pain' I had until that night not realised I was in pain, she also suggested lighting candles, sitting in front of a mirror and praying and he would come to me. I promised to do the letter, but not the candles for obvious reasons. To this day I have never done the letter, I am afraid of the emotional upset that comes with it, for about 2 years the events that took place that night played turmoil with my mind. So the journey is this, I want to replay my life, out loud, with the end result being the letter and perhaps some day I will be brave enough to light the candles.

I don't know what it will achieve or what to expect, I feel as though I was given a mission and I haven't completed it and until I do it will hang over me. I was happy we spoke, don't get me wrong, but in a way I feel she devastated me. She is making me deal with something that is locked away deep inside.

On the plus side I'm only 35 so it shouldn't take too long to deal with my life.....

I hope you will join me on my journey.

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Emotional day

I went to a funeral today. I have only every been to one funeral before. I cry at the drop of a hat and am afraid that I will get myself into a worse state than the family. Today however was my very good friend's father, although she is a very good friend I didn't know her father very well and had only meets him a handful of times. My friend has 3 sisters and a brother, I know 2 of her sisters, twins, very well. The hubby said I had to go, she was my friend and she should know I was there. He was right.

The church was packed, Charlie was a religious man, a union man and a pillar of the community, the priest said the world did not deserve a person as beautiful as Charlie. The tears rolled gently down my right cheek. His 11 year old granddaughter did a reading, a few more tears rolled down my cheek. The priest knew Charlie very well and the service was very fitting. During communion they played Ave Maria at this point I was thinking 'I knew I shouldn't have come' the gentle, occasional tears flowed a little faster. Just as the service was coming to an end and I was feeling quite proud that my face and eyes wouldn't be too red and puffy my friend's brother and sister each paid a tribute to their father. They were very good, very proud to be known as Charlie's children and just as my friends sister came to the end of her tribute she hesitated slightly, finishing her sentence in tears. This was the breaking of me. The coffin was then carried out, followed by the family and my friend, being supported by her older sister. I tried desperately to keep the big crying sighs in as I felt my friends pain and suffering. Perhaps I am being selfish but I couldn't go to the crematorium, I have no issue with crying I do it all the time, but I feel embarrassed, people will wonder why I'm in such a state. So I went to work and hubby continued on without me.

Both my dad and my papa are dead and I didn't attend either funeral and although I cried when they died, I don't think I have ever grieved so when someone else dies, anyone, I get into a state.

My dad died on Mothers day, 10th March 1991, I was 19. I am going to do a post on my father so I will save the details for that.

My papa died in May 1997. On the day of his funeral I was overdue with my first child and his funeral was being held about 1 and a half hours drive away from my home, so I chose not to attend for fear of going into labour and my mother being in a state. So I suppose I have never grieved and had the closure of attending a loved ones funeral and yet I can blank that emotion.

Perhaps I need some councilling.

Monday, 8 October 2007

Let down

I worked late on Friday night to avoid coming to work over the weekend and because I had an order to complete for Sunday. My graphic designer who has become a friend is a rugby coach and had wanted some waterproof jackets for the coaches, they required a standard left hand breast embroidered logo and printing on the back, now I don't do printing but I do have another colleague who does. The jackets were dropped at the printer at 6.30 on Friday night and the graphic designer was collecting them on Saturday directly from the printer. Easy. Job done. Of course not.

Saturday morning as I'm standing watching the last 15 minutes of my son's football game the printer phones to say the printing is not working, it won't stick. He believes because the jackets are waterproof. Bugger. So I call the graphic designer, the only solution is I check other printers (on Monday) but they may not then print just the odd 1 in the future should there be other coaches join or I embroider them. She suggests I go ahead and embroider them that very afternoon. This is all very well coming from the lady who works from home. But I had several reasons why I couldn't. The main reason being due to the size of the embroidery it would take approx 30 minutes for each jacket and there were 9, so 4.5 hours to complete the jackets. I had arranged to go into town after football to get my friend a very belated birthday present as she was having a small party that night. My friend would not have been offended had I explained the situation but my hubby was going straight to work after the football so I had two children to deal with. Two children who I was unwilling to take to the unit for hours, if it was a proper shop opposed to an industrial unit, where they could lounge in warmth and amuse themselves then fair enough. I could have got a babysitter, but that required a car to transport them and I knew hubby would be in a hurry to get to work so I had to say no, I don't think she was to impressed, I offered the jackets as they were and they could be embroidered at a later date, she said there was 'no point. ' They are now off for a couple of weekends so they will get them for the next time. Was I glad it was a lovely day yesterday, there was no need for warm, cosy, waterproof jackets. I assume she was glad too.

I wouldn't normally have said no, but the situations was all too much for me, made me feel stressed and subconsciously I must have known all was not well, by Saturday night after an afternoon in the town with the children and a relaxing late afternoon getting ready to go to my friends house I had a streaming cold, sore throat and felt miserable.

But still I feel I let her down.

Monday, 1 October 2007

Our Little 'Angel'

Finally our little kitten comes to play.

She has been named 'Angel' by the children.

She is 7 weeks old and has just had her mad half hour.

Obviously to much for her.