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?