About Me

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Worcester, Worcestershire, United Kingdom
Born in the year of the Coronation, I'm a Baby Boomer. In April of this year I decided I too would have a Diamond Jubilee celebration and completely change my life and that of my Husband's in the process

Friday, 30 September 2005

It All Has An Answer In The End.

I'm writing early this week. It was my aim to write every Saturday but tomorrow we are having a party and I will be too busy.

In May my husband was 60, we should have had a celebration then but he works for the BBC........ NO, I will correct that, he used to work for the BBC but they retire their staff at 60. Mike didn't want to be retired but they showed him the door, even though he was the most popular presenter on his radio station. So in May he didn't want to celebrate.  I have to admit the idea of being married to a sexagenarian (can that be the right word?) didn't appeal, so I didn't feel too much like partying.

Now he's got over it and we thought we'd have a party. It's just family and people he's worked with over the twenty odd years he's been in radio but that still comes to over 50 people. There's quite a mix in age and type and we're even expecting an MP, which is a bit intimidating. I suppose I will have to do some low down dusting, I don't want to be talked of as a slattern in high places. I'd better watch the drink as my sister is coming and we don't want a repeat of the impromptu underwear fashion show, 'The Mother' would not be amused.

I haven't really done much this week other than get ready for the invasion of the house tomorrow and go to school. Oh! I nearly forgot, I went to the dentist on Thursday to have a badly broken molar repaired. I'm lucky, I still have an NHS dentist and he is very good. He's only been at our practice for about a year and this was the first work he'd done on my teeth. He rebuilt the tooth with a white filling, which is a perfect match and tooks like a perfect, whole tooth. Much better than the mecury laden, 40 year old thing that he replaced. He took an x ray as well and my appointment was nearly 40 minutes. The cost? £70, which I thought wasn't too bad.

I was very amused at the end though, when he came out with a mirror, hairdresser style, so I could have a look at what he'd done. Does anyone ever have the nerve to say, I don't like it?

I think it's my age but I find I'm asking endless questions lately and I want to tie in all loose ends. Today I  was pleased to have found the meaning to an expression 'The Mother' likes to use which I never quite got.

"It's the same difference" What on earth did that mean? I knew what it implied, that the two things were the same, like six of one and half a dozen of the other. But what did it MEAN I just didn't get the same difference. It was either the same, or it was different, surely.

All became clear in Maths today. We were finding the number mid way between two numbers. Eg 26 and 42. First of all you find the difference between the numbers, which is 16. Then you halve it, which is 8. Then add the 8 to 26 and the mid way number is 34. The children were told they could find the difference by either taking the 26 from 42, or, counting on from 26 to 42, either way it would be the SAME DIFFERENCE.

I can't tell you what it meant to me to finally understand what the expression meant. For at least 4 decades it has mystified me. It would be 'The Mother's' retort if you pointed out something she had said was incorrect, you'd either get, 'Same difference,' or 'San Fairy Ann.'  She could never bear to be proved wrong on something.

Now San Fairy Ann is another one. I never understood that either but it was a bit ruder than, the same difference. San Fairy Ann would be accompanied by a saucy, I know better expression and often followed by a poking out of the tongue. Is it any wonder I grew up with a bad attitude?

Quite recently I realised the meaning of San Fairy Ann, it wasn't as rude as I'd thought. I imagined it had something to do with the FA part of it but it is actually an expression brought back from the first world war, Sans faire rien, roughly meaning nothing or doing nothing. I found this out in a discussion on a Black Country website.

You just never know when the answers to lifes mysteries will pop up. Some of the questions I'm still awaiting answers on are:-

Where does that teaspoon come from when you're emptying the washing up bowl?

Who dideat all the pies?

Why does the room only start spinning when you close your eyes?

Who was Sweet Fanny Adams?

And if every fourth child born in the world is Chinese, why isn't Prince Edward?

Better get to bed now, I have to stuff mango chutney into dates in the morning, for my Devils on Horseback.

Sunday, 25 September 2005

I Think I'm a Closet Pagan!

I'm late. I should have written my journal yesterday but I had no spare time, it's been the same all week.

Last Sunday saw me driving home to the Black Country  to the Netherton Boat Festival, for a secret assignation with another man!

Not as naughty as it sounds. Mike was working as usual and I was fed up of my own company. The cousin I haven't seen for 27 years (the 'have a go hero' in a previous entry) was also going to the Festival and had sent me his mobile phone number in case I decided to go. I love narrow boats and it was a nice day, so, I thought 'Blow it', I'm off! I did tell Mike where I was going but not that I intended meeting anyone. I like to be a bit secretive sometimes, I think it keeps things interesting.

I met him, had a wonderful chat about old times, he's still a lovely person and I'm very glad I went. I also have to correct a mistake I made, the thugs he disarmed had guns, not knives. Guns!! I ask you, what was he thinking of?

I have to dig out a couple of old videos now, as he used to help out on the Severn Valley  Railway, consequently he's been in a couple of films. The BBC's, Miss Marples, 'They do it with Mirrors' where he played 5 different parts and the Merchant Ivory film 'Howard's End'.

How strange, I've seen both of those more than once and never realised he was in them. In Howard's End he had a speaking part as the chap supposed to do it sounded too posh. Apparently my cousin sounded suitably common (Black Country) Oh Bless!

Don't know what happened to the rest of the week, just full of the usual mundane stuff, although son and girlfriend came to stay and they kept dragging us out to places, so that's where a lot of my spare time went.

Yesterday we went to the Malvern Autumn Show, a lovely event. I love this time of year, which the show epitomises. Everyone is showing what they produce, there's acres of food and wines and real ale.

The picture above is of the winning pumkin this year and young Joe who grew it said that the secret was down to giving it beer.

 Now I love real ale and have been known to have the odd pint..... it's usually the fourth! It can result in some strange behaviour.

That reminds me of a beautiful summer's evening last year. My sister and her chap came to stay for the weekend and we had a night on the town sampling various real ales. In the taxi coming home an enormous full moon was rising over the cathedral and reflecting on the river. I commented, as you do, that I thought I was a bit of a Pagan at heart and when we got home we probably ought to dance widdershins, naked around the weeping willow.

It was a drunken joke but when we got home and took coffee and brandies out on to the patio, my sister, suddenly kicked off her shoes, pulled off her dress and in her bra and pants sprinted off down the garden. Now this was a challenge and I'm not one to be outdone, so I followed suit, breathing a sigh of relief I wasn't wearing the usual, moth eaten, comfortable, black underwear but a very attractive ensemble of rose pink and ecru lace and was sporting quite a good tan. Well, it gave the men a good laugh and thankfully our garden is private.

But going back to the Pagan thing, I'm sure it's in my blood, although I wouldn't want anything to do with sacrifices, thank you very much. The Harvest Festival has roots far deeper than the Christian religion's version of it. I've just put hop bines round my dining room. We always have Jack O Lantern pumpkins for Halloween and at Christmas the house is festooned with Holly, Ivy and Mistletoe and two real trees. In the next week or two I shall have my autumn bonfire. Not because I have to because we shred and compost most stuff but I feel there is something very cleansing and spiritual about having a damn good fire to mark the end of the growing year. And it's far enough away from the houses to not bother anyone.

I can't understand religion anyway,why do people kill each other in it's name? I'm happy with my very simple belief that we should all be nice to each other and be in tune with nature and yet people are horrified when I say I don't think I believe in god. Some of the nastiest people I've met go to church every week. As I say I just don't get it and I'm happy sitting on the fence until something happens to make me think otherwise.

Getting old's alright but you do lose your dignity don't you? The 'night of the full moon' tale above resulted in a good laugh but I can remember the days when taking my clothes off had a different effect.

Back in my modelling days I did a charity event, which was a fashion show, after a big, black tie, dinner at the HQ of British Gas in Solihull. They had their own theatre and there must have been about 300 hundred people in the audience. The climax of the show was when I and another model went on stage wearing long dresses, which were actually wrap around beach robes. as we crossed by each other on the stage we undid the robes and slid them off to reveal, matching, scanty, bikinis. All the men stood up and clapped and cheered, it was quite an experience.......I have a horrible feeling if I was to do it now they would be shouting 'Put it back on!'

Oh well, we can't stay young forever and reliving the memories are good.

Saturday, 17 September 2005

What's It All About?

My first month of Blogging! I've surprised myself in that I've kept this going for so long. I'm not really a 'stayer' I soon get tired of things and lose motivation. Maybe that's why I've been married three times. No, I don't think that was the reason for the first two failures.

Life at school has been busy, at home it's been manic!

I'm very into family history, it's a fairly recent  hobby that I started two years ago and has given me some of the best times of my life.

Tuesday night saw us off to a local history group, run by my second cousin who I found at the start of my research. It was his grandfather's picture in a book that really got me into all this. I can't tell you all the bizarre, unbelievable coincidences that have helped me on the way. I think one day I shall have to write a book about it, you really couldn't make half of it up.

The talk this month was about 'Bastards and Sons of Whores', never think this stuff is dull!

On the way there I collected a huge boxful of ancient papers from a local medieval farmhouse. Some of the papers related to my own family. I have taken on the task of sorting and transcribing them on to our local website, where we have people from all over the world and many still local, researching their roots, or just keeping up with the local gossip.

Some of the tales told by these papers made me very thoughtful, the sad tale of the loss of a horse when a farmer was made to take her to the Worcester Yeomanry Review in Worcester, back in the 1860's. This was a journey of around 25 miles. The mare wasn't well but the Sergeant Major said they must take her. Sadly she died as a result and this was a great financial hardship to the family.

Other papers tell of court summons for none payment of bills and others for hotel bills and new boots and suits showing that sometimes money was available.

My wealthy branch of ancestors made a fortune making Ramrods for the British Army during the American War of Independence and built a grand new house called Ramrod Hall out of the proceeds. The last member of my family to live there lost the family fortune and another fortune inherited by his wife and in the early 1900's hanged himself on the farm.

The farm no longer exists, it's under a housing estate, as is most of the area now. That's why I feel it's so important to record these peoples lives while I can and to be handling papers that haven't been touched for over a hundred years is a great privilege.

Most of us struggle through our lives, taking the highs with the lows and get through it. Not many of us feel things are so bad that we chose to end it all. I always think things will get better, I can't imagine giving up hope. Which leads to my question, What IS it all about?

My great Uncle Albert, seen at the top, wrote to his wife, just before he died, saying the next day there was to be a major push and that many of them would not survive. He didn't. God knows what awful sights he must have seen in the trenches in Ypres.

Albert's sister, my grandmother, took great comfort from her Strict & Particular Baptist Chapel and read the bible every day and attended services every Sunday.

When we lived in Cardiff one of the Manic Street Preachers came into my husband's studio for an interview. His name was Ritchie Edwards. My daughter was a huge fan and sat chatting with him for nearly an hour while he was waiting to be interviewed. Afterwards we gave him a lift back to his hotel. He was charming and polite, not at all like his public image. In 1997 his car was found near the Severn Bridge and he has never been seen since. He had a wonderful life style and plenty of money.

So what are the rules of suicide? Obviously it's not just down to lack of money but it can be. I know it's silly but I always feel I should have been able to pass on to Ritchie my optimism, the thought that things WILL get better, unless of course you're my great uncle Albert, when obviously they didn't!

I'm no nearer the meaning of life, or why some people chose to opt out of it.

Thursday saw us at the press launch of The Walsall Lights. This is a rescue home for unwanted lights from the Blackpool Illuminations. Why did it have to be the only wet night for months?

We took Mum and Step Dad, they are both approaching 80 but neither of them had been before. I've been going for 32 years. This tale was picked up on by the council Press Office and explains why the three of us could be seen out in the pouring rain, doing a 'Singing in the Rain', dance routine for the photographer. I'm hoping none of the local papers print it, talk about looking an idiot! You never wake up in a morning and think, tonight, I will do a daft dance routine in the pouring rain for the local press. Well you don't, do you? 

I should know better than to take Mum & Step Dad anywhere, I've only just got over the fact that a big feature was made of them on Sky News last year. It's traditional for Baggies supporters to dress up for the last away match of the year. Last year, due to some Danish player, they dressed as Vikings. The cameras picked them up in their helmets and long blonde plaits and the commentators made a big thing of how game they were, even at their time of life. They even made sporting highlights of the week.

I suppose really I'm quite proud of them and if I'm honest I hope to grow old even more disgracefully, as I said there is no way of knowing where your day might take you, so it's always worth hanging around till bedtime.

I haven't stabbed anyone this week, which is good but there's still time. 

Sunday, 11 September 2005

Talking Rubbish

Tuesday saw the children back at school, some really didn't want to be there, the tears and tantrums were awful to see.... and that was just the staff!

The children in my class were wonderful all day on Tuesday, this was sooooo much better than last year. They were polite, quiet and attentive, it was a lovely day. So what the hell happened overnight? Wednesday was back to normal behaviour, still, I know how to handle that. I was very suspicious of the paragons of virtue of the previous day.

Not a lot happened during the week, I did some transcribing and research on some old documents passed to on me.They had been found in an ancient farmhouse in the area my ancestors all come from, Rowley Regis if you've ever heard of it.

I 'found' family history exactly two years ago and have had the most amazing success at it.  I love every minute spent on it and it accounts for a lot of my missing time. It has drama, sex, religion, sex, death, sex, suicides, more sex. It's better than Footballers Wives!

Friday night saw me hurriedly jointing a chicken  for a lovely Lemon/Thyme/Garlic recipe of Nigella Lawson's before we went off to a farewell drink for one of Mike's friends at work. Now, I don't think it was intentional, even though he was annoying me by getting in my way but I stabbed him.

As I've never stabbed anyone before, it came as a bit of a shock to us both.

This is where the rubbish bit comes in, Mike has this strange compulsion to throw away important pieces of paper. I'm very pleased with our local recycling scheme, the bin men come every week and that may not be long enough to realise something vital has gone missing and then you have to go through sacks of smelly rubbish. Not much fun on a cold damp December evening when you're looking for your Christmas Bonus cheque! Now we do recycling, the papers go in a seperate bag, so they are clean and they only collect those every fortnight, which gives us more time to notice the deeds to the house have gone walkies. But this was a new departure, now he's started throwing out household items. 

So, I blame him for the stabbing because, hadhe not thrown away my new, expensive, french Sabatier paring knife, it wouldn't have happened.

He'd already tried melting the handle with the cook's blow torch but it was still usable, so he just threw it away. You might wonder why he does these things, well so do I. He says it's just one of his endearing qualities but I would dispute that. Years of going through the rubbish to find cheques and other vital documents have led to a few heated discussions I can tell you! I must say in his defence it has been fairly rare for household items to be on his hit list of things to throw away.

Anyway the knife he bought to replace it is longer, with a curly bit on the end. I had it in my hand as I put some excess bits of chicken onto a plastic bag on the draining board. He tried to whisk the rubbish away into the bin just as I put another piece on the pile. Had it been the missing, shorter knife, I don't think it would have stuck quite so far into his hand.

Whether it was the shock, or the lingering irritation of the missing knife, I don't know, but I had a fit of the giggles and the increasingly pained look on his face as he quietly bled around the kitchen just made me worse. Sanity finally returned when I managed to cut myself. I really do not like that knife.

What bugs me about all of this is his obession with throwing away some items, yet he can drop a sock on the floor and step over it for days, eventually I have to give in and pick it up.

Yesterday I lost the will to live. I agreed to go with someone to buy a car. Several years as a student has given them a not very good credit rating, even though finances are now quite rosy. This meant we had to visit various Cars4U@SlightlyDodgyPreviousCreditHistory.Com.

Whether it's 'In The Affirmative' or 'Pleased To See You' Car Finance the system is the same. You go through what you want, half a ton of forms and paperwork checking, this takes a couple of hours, then they take you to see 4 cars they have that they think you can afford.

The problem there is, if you see a car you think you like they then want to discuss things and suddenlythe payments have gone up by a hundred pounds a month because now you should have Payment Protection, Gap Insurance and Warranty Cover. When we explained that none of these were necessary you should have seen the smiles fall, audibly, off their faces. Always beware of smiling sales persons, they are only thinking of their commission!

Of course they then bring out the Big Gun, the boss. Ha! think that scares us, why do you think I'd been taken along? I've had Jehovah's Witnesses on the doorstep looking at their watches and saying they have an appointment elsewhere. I could argue on a World Class scale.

So that was twelve hours of my day yesterday, I wonder if I could succesfully sue them for wasting my time and causing me to drive around the Midlands wantonly burning up expensive petrol?

I have to go and prepare Morroccan Lamb now, I'd better put plasters on my shopping list.

Friday, 2 September 2005

Hell Actually Is All Around

It's been a funny old week, the last one of my Summer holiday and so have tried to cram as much as possible into it.

Sunday found me on my own again for the day as Mike was broadcasting from Gloucester in the morning and Worcester in the afternoon. Since he retired he works twice as long as he used to.

Listening to the radio for company, whilst painting the kitchen cupboards, I heard on the news of a disturbing new phenomenon. "The number of unreported Day Trips may be increasing with many of the victims not knowing what has happened to them" Whatever could that be about? Visions of coachloads of elderly people suffering from dementia being whisked off to Barry Island, without their knowledge, or consent, how disturbing. (If you've every been to Barry Island, it is probably best forgotten)

An hour later, when I heard the news item again, I found the newsreader had said Date Rapes, not Day Trips. This meant one of two things, either she needed to stop trying to disguise her Welsh accent, which had the effect of strangulating her vowels, or and I suspect the latter, my hearing is now going. Just one more thing to add to the list of declining faculties.

Tuesday saw me with a broom up my **** as I frantically tried to clean the house, tidy the garden and decorate the kitchen before a group of friends came round. Why do I do this? I had weeks to prepare. Did I prepare? Of course not.

Linda's Law of Preparation. 'The required activity will never be commenced until the amount of time required to complete the task is less than the time left until the event' This is a theory that has stood me in good stead all my life and led to me thinking I was having a stroke on Tuesday afternoon. I could teach 'cutting it fine' a few things.

While tidying I found the above picture. The caption should read (if I could find out how to add one) 'The things Mothers do to their Daughters' What possessed me tobuy these matching dresses from a Pippa Dee party? It's hardly surprising my Daughter ran off to Germany to live with a Punk Rocker.

Actually, I'm very proud of the punk rocker, which brings me to the subject, Hell Actually Is All Around. This is the title of their new album released on 5th September. If you like screamy punk then the link is below, they must be fairly good as John Peel played them on his programme before his untimely death.


My living hell was a few years ago now. Looking back I can see I was probably partly to blame. I have a tendency to 'adopt' people who don't have close family and ours is always open house to them.

My son had been going out with this girl for a year or more and as her parents were divorced and Dad lived the other end of the country and she didn't get on with her stepfather, therefore couldn't live with Mum, I took her under my wing and she became for a while like a second daughter. Bad move, don't ever do this. What happens when they split up?

In this case it had awful consequences. She decided to dump my son, who was quite cut up about it but after a couple of weeks realised she wasn't the one for him and that the relationship had been quite destructive.

Then it started, she didn't want him but no one else was to have him. A girl (platonic) friend came to stay for the weekend and son and visitor went to town for a pizza. Ex saw them and attacked son and friend, that was the first of our involvements with the police and visits to casualty. It went on for months. In one really bad day we had 289 phone calls at our place of work, home and mobiles. Switch them off you say, well you can't do that at your place of work and my mother lived on her own at the time over 20 miles away. The logistics of changing our home number, which we had had for years would have caused many and various problems. We just kept hoping that one day sanity would return

Later on, when my son started going out with someone else, Ex would follow them and found out where the new girl lived. Managed to get through the security doors at her flat and on one occasion shouted through her letterbox 'you aren't so ****ing thin!' (the ex had a bit of a weight problem and her language didn't say a lot for the all girls public school she went to)

I was getting no sleep as the phone would start at about 2am. Looking back I think she was missing me as much as she was missing my son. At the start of the break up I was still seeing her but of course that had to stop when she became violent. I really wanted to help her but there was just no reasoning with her.

I think the worst was one night she had seen us all go to the cinema, Mike and I went by car, my son had cycled in to meet us.  After the film she lay in wait for him in some bushes down by the river. When he came by she jumped out and pushed him off his bike and burnt him with her cigarette. He had to pick up his bike and run with it to escape her. Ten minutes after he arrived home she was in the front garden, banging on the windows and shouting.

We all went into the back garden to get away from her and waited for the police. When they came she tried to get in through the door. That was it. They really had enough of her, she had created hundreds of hours of police work, made several court appearances . Her name was a byword across two counties in the police force. She was handcuffed, taken away and this time didn't get bail, she was sent to jail. She had written a contrite letter to the magistrate but when told she was going to jail started screaming obscenities at him as well.

I desperately wanted to help that girl and can't help feeling in some way I must have failed her but nowhere near as much as her own parents did. I don't know what else I could have done and at least I never bought her a matching Pippa Dee dress!

The calls stopped eventually but we even had some while she was in prison.

At the time I thought it would never end and really felt like giving up. It just goes to show, you can come out of your living hell and so wouldtherefore dispute the title. Hell is not actually all around but it is in some dark corners of our lives. Never give up hope that one day the most impossible situation can be resolved.

Yesterday I had a lovely day out in the Cotswolds with another of my son's ex girlfriends, a lovely girl whose father died when she was a teenager and her mother lives at the other end of the country. No, really, she is lovely, they broke up two years ago and still comes round for dinner every Sunday. What do you mean, do I never learn by my mistakes?