This was the first week after the end of swimming, I thought it might give me a bit more time to do things at school, of course it didn’t, the week still fled by. Strange how you can gain half a day and it just becomes absorbed into the rest of the week. At least I don’t have to cope with The Exhibitionist any more.
It’s an all female staff and as the children are only 8 or 9, we can’t leave them unattended, which means one of us has to keep popping into the boys communal changing room. I was very uncomfortable with this at the start of the year but soon got used to it.
….Except for one boy. Although you try not to look, he is destined to be a ’Big Boy’ and oh boy, does he like to show it off. When everyone else was dressed and lining up for the coach , he’d still be standing there, starkers, big grin on his face and making a pretence of drying all his nooks and crannies. No, I’m not going to miss swimming at all! It’s not easy to chivvy along a naked boy.
The start of the week I still had that ‘glow’ of having been with much loved family that I don’t see very often. Every minute spent with them was special. I am very lucky to have a wonderful collection of cousins,once removed, all strong, interesting, individuals, ten or so years younger than me and when we get together we can all ‘Talk for Britain’. Last Saturday , at the surprise party, we concluded that we’ve inherited our strengths from our Black Country heritage. It’s like the end of the Johnny Cash song ‘A Boy named Sue’ …I knew I’d have to get tough or die’ that pretty much sums up our Ancestor’s lives in The Black Country.
Friday was a day to remember, not in a nice way. I was in the bath in the morning, listening to the radio and Albatross, by Fleetwood Mac came on. I hear this song many times and it doesn’t usually cause a reaction but this time it did because of the time of year.
I was 15 and on Bonfire Night, November the 5th, I ended up at a party at Stanmore Hall, a large old country house, just outside Bridgnorth. In the grounds there was a huge stable block, three sides of a square and that is where the party was held. I have no idea now how I got there, someone must have given me a lift but this was to be the turning point of my childhood.
Peter Powell, later of Radio One, Top of the Pops and married to Anthea Turner, was doing the disco and the song I remember from that night was Johnny Johnson and the Bandwagon, ‘Breaking down the Walls of Heartache’.
I met a boy, called Steve Britain (Britten?) and ended up in a stable, in the straw, having my first ever serious snog! He looked rather like George Best. I was horrified when I got home to find I had a love bite on my neck! It was all very innocent but I knew Mum & Dad would not be impressed with this hickey on my neck. So I had to wear a scarf hiding it for a few days.
I now had a boyfriend, although I can’t remember for the life of me, what we used to do together, I don‘t think much of it was talking. I have a vague memory of going to as pub near Kinver one night but that really is as much as I can say. I think snogging took up a lot of our time.
Then, one evening, about two weeks before Christmas, there was a phone call from Steve’s sister. Steve had had an accident on his scooter and was in hospital in Wolverhampton with a broken leg. I was so horrified I couldn’t finish my tea.
I may have mentioned this before, I thought I was naturally thin, until I became responsible for feeding myself. I can tell you now what my main meal of that day was. A boiled egg and I couldn’t eat that because it stuck in my throat after receiving the news. My mother had been brought up on wartime rations and had somehow never got used to all the food that was readily available in the 60’s.
There was this other boy in our circle of friends, who was besotted with me and he had a Mini Cooper, (nice car, shame about the face, god I was so shallow then!) so he would take me to visit Steve in hospital. I quickly learned how to manipulate my adoring admirers and got them to do my bidding.
It was at this time that the record of Albatross was released. Steve was a big Fleetwood Mac fan, so this memory seems to be stuck in my mind forever and will always be a Christmas song to me.
I remember going to visit him on Christmas Eve. It was just normal when we went into the hospital. When we came out there were several inches of snow and the journey home (10 miles) was a bit of white knuckle ride, involving a close encounter with a lamppost.
Once Steve came out of hospital he two timed me with Jackie Somebody-or-other (bitch!) and I ended up going out with Roger, (nice car) for a while. Only if we went out for a drink (underage drinking of course) I would insist we sat in the car because I didn’t want to be seen with him. How awful is that? Thank goodness we change and develop as we grow older. What a horrible teenager I was. I can honestly say I have never made Mike sit in the car, even when he’s had egg down the front of his jumper!!!
All these memories were brought back by a song being played at a specific time of year. It made me think about ex boyfriends and the way they shaped my life.
I had no idea how that theme was going to come back later in the day with much less happy memories.
Catherine has had back problems for years, not just her back but numbness and pains in her legs.
Since having Isabella the problems have become worse and I’ve been telling her to see her doctor. This she did on Wednesday and he decided she needed x-raying. In all the years that she has seen doctors about this problem, not once has she been x-rayed.
Friday she had an x-ray, less than 48 hours after seeing her doctor.
Catherine has a fractured spine. One vertebrae is broken on both sides. She could easily have been paralysed by any minor mishap.
How did this happen? Well, 13 years ago, she was going out with this boy, who seemed nice enough at the start. It was only later I found out he’d become a Heroin addict. When Catherine finished the relationship, he attacked her and kicked her in the back. That was the start of her back problems, which have been quite severe over the years, yet no one in the medical profession ever took any notice of her and she was told to take Ibuprofen and do some Yoga.
I’m so angry about this lack of care. I feel guilty that she was made to suffer like this and I didn’t do more to get some proper tests done. I feel I have let her down.
Thirteen years she has had this broken back. At any time she could have ended up in a wheelchair. I’d started the day thinking about how boyfriends affected my life but my feelings at the end of the day about ex-boyfriends were far more sinister. She has been told that with Physio she stands a chance of a complete recovery. I should bloody well hope so because at the moment there are some backsides at our doctor’s surgery that I would really like to kick!
This picture is for Catherine, as she likes these dogs with enlarged noses.
Friday night we went to the Botanical Gardens In Edgbaston, Birmingham. Happy memories there of going with Mum to visit my wonderful Auntie Gladys, Mum’s sister.
She was so lovely and funny. She ran the catering at The Botanical Gardens for years and was greatly loved by all who knew her. If Royalty were in she would be called upon to don a uniform and wait on them. I’ll never forget her telling us about Princess Margaret, who she said was hoity-toity and a dirty cat because she stubbed out her cigarette in her cup of tea. Sadly Gladys died when she was only 51 as a result of damage caused by childhood illnesses. She almost died as a baby when she had diptheria.
On Friday the gardens were illuminated and it was pleasant to walk around in the frosty air, followed by Mulled Wine and Mince Pies but I honestly think at £8 per adult, it was overpriced. And the wine and pies were an extra £2.50.
I've just re-read this. I don't mean that as Mike and I walked around in the frosty air we were followed by Mulled Wine and Mince Pies. I meant that after we'd finished walking around, we then had Mulled Wine and Mince Pies! ..OK?
We’ve had so much rain here lately, after a fairly dry summer, we are now at risk of flooding. Worcester has put up it’s hi-tech flood defence. Some metal racks, plastic sheeting and a heavy chain! See the pictures. This wonderful defence cost a fortune. You have to wonder why. Some of the photos were taken yesterday, morning and some today (Sunday). I hope it’s reached it’s peak, if it comes up any more New Road will flood and that cuts off the bridge from our side of the river. Getting to school will be a nightmare, I’ll need to leave at 7am to stand a chance of getting there by 9am, just a distance normally of 4 miles.
Last time that happened they had to get the Army in with big lorries to ferry people through the floods. Oh yes ,living by the River Severn can be pretty but sometimes it has its downside.
I’ve almost finished writing my Christmas Cards and have bought quite a number of presents off The Internet, so I’m quietly getting there. What I really need to do is have a big clean and tidy of the house, we seem to be overrun with paperwork and post, I can see the time coming soon when our guest bedroom will have to become the filing room, with rows of filing cabinets, what’s this nonsense about the Computer age creating a paperless society?……… Rubbish!!!
Our friend Catherine in France emailed last night, she would like to come and see us just before Christmas, I’m looking forward to that. Let’s hope nothing goes wrong this time Catherine.
I think I just made up for last week’s short entry!
Finally, 'Hello' to Ali, one of the previously mentioned cousins, who has juststarted reading this. It was lovely to see you last week. Have a lovely Christmas.