The Mystery Of The Missing Milk-man

When I was growing up, everyone seemed to have their milk delivered in glass bottles, with foil tops, by the milk-man who drove a funny little milk float around.

The milk-man would normally leave your required number of bottles in a milk caddy outside your front door. It was then up to you to bring the milk in before the birds started pecking at the top to see if they could reach the cream.

I remember with great pride that one day the milk-man knocked on our front door and asked if he could borrow me. His milk-float had broken down and he wanted me to sit in the milk-float to make sure nobody tampered with it, while he walked down to the nearest telephone box. I was so excited sitting in the front of the milk-float while all the other children were jealously looking on.

I know what you are thinking – Caramel is old! Well, I am not that old. I was born in the eighties, and back then hardly anyone had a landline telephone in our street, nevermind a mobile device. If you wanted to use the telephone, you would walk down to the nearest little parade of shops with your bag of ten pence coins. The world has just started to move at a super-fast pace. All the developments in technology make me look old, when I start to talk about they way things were when I was a lass.

Many of us have fond memories of the milk-man. However, in the area I grew up in, the milk-float disappeared from our streets at one stage, which I think was around the time that new 24-hour supermarkets and budget supermarkets were appearing. People now had their own car and would go down to the supermarket and spend over £100 on the family shopping and stock up on large plastic containers of milk. I have never had to do a big family shop, but I have seen people in front of me at the supermarket with a full trolley of food for their family spend between £200-£300 at a time.

I was pleased to find that in this little pocket of London, there was a very lovely milk-man when I moved here, driving round in a sweet milk float and delivering foiled topped glass bottles of milk (and even groceries if you put in an order). There is a little milk caddy outside my landlady’s front door and she sets the dial to say if she wants one pint, two pints if she has guests, or nothing if she is going away on holiday. She always has semi-skimmed milk.

I don’t drink milk – I seem to have a bit of a lactose intolerance or something. I buy soya milk, cashew milk, almond milk and occasionally lacto-free milk at the big supermarket instead. But nonetheless, I did love seeing the milk-man in his milk-float! Those who have their milk delivered by the milk-man like to support a much loved traditional part of the community – the local milk-man.

rai hail or shineor shineHe was a chirpy chappy who always had a jolly greeting for you. He was faithful and reliable. The milk was always there, rain, hail, and shine (I don’t think he came when it snowed…I cannot remember to be honest). But you get the point, we all thought he was wonderful!

Then one day the milk stopped coming. No milk for two weeks. Just empty milk bottles sitting outside the front door waiting to be collected. We found the contact details for the milk suppliers and called them. Apparently there was an outstanding amount owed on the account. This seemed strange because normally the milk-man would leave a note to say how much was due and my landlady promptly left a cheque for him.

It turned out, we had a new milk-man. Nobody knows what happened to our old milk-man. We have asked all the neighbours. It appears nobody knows what what happened to him. It is a mystery. The mystery of the missing milk-man.

mysteryNow you may think I should put this mystery out of my mind, however, there is more, much more. I am going to continue this mysterious puzzle in other posts. I have to go out to work now and will not be back at the little nest until midnight.

I have been observing and making deductions and I have several theories to explain the disappearance of our old milk-man. I am eager to share with you my investigative conclusions in another post. The finger of suspicious is pointing straight at…THE NEW MILK-MAN!!!

In Honour Of House-Keepers

Have you ever had a cleaner or house-keeper tidy and clean up either your own home or your work premises? If so, do you ever think about how often they might be “going the extra mile” for you?

For around about five years, a house-keeper came into clean various flats I lived in with flatmates. Because we were all working so many hours, it was great to have a house-keeper. We had some wonderful house-keepers.

Our first house-keeper was tiny, but she had the loudest laugh. She left house-keeping, which was a temporary job for her, to return to her work as a solicitor. The next house-keeper we had was juggling house-keeping with her work as a professional photographer. She worked at weddings, parties, and many other public events. She also had a great talent for portrait photography. Then we had a house-keeper who was from the same area as my parents now live, but had recently married and moved to London. Formerly, she worked as a personnel manager, but I believe she set up her own business once she felt settled in London. She was immaculate, boy did we know when she had been in! After her was a Spanish house-keeper, who was also a pilates and aerobics teacher. She had quite an amusing stretching routine before she started work. I know she went back to Spain with her husband, because she was terribly home-sick. Then we had another house-keeper for about a year.

Now this is a strange thing: I cannot for the life of me remember our next house-keeper. Ever since I received head injuries I have holes in my memory. It is an odd thing. I rejoice in how many memories I do have. It is one of the reasons why I feel writing is so good for me. I love what I can remember and feel rather excited when I can remember something in brilliant detail. But I find it strange when friends and family realize that there are some events and some people that I have no recollection of at all. Especially those they say were a very important part of my life.

Anyway…my post today is about appreciation for all house-keepers do, that you might not realize they do. We always showed appreciation for our house-keepers, who we were aware were regularly going the extra mile and tackling things we did not expect them to. We regularly left thank you notes and a gift, or even a slice of cake we had made, to make sure they knew we had noticed and were very appreciative of their thoughtfulness.

I have at times worked as a cleaner/house-keeper. I KNOW, I truly know the unexpected horrors that a house-keeper might come across. As a house-keeper you face the decision as to whether to deal with something inconceivably gross or leave a note for the occupant to draw their attention to it! 99.9% of the time I would tackle it myself. There is only one situation I am not brave enough to deal with myself, and that is something like a dead mouse. I cannot do it!

I could tell you many many stories of both the hilarious and horrific of house-keeping for other people. I think I may have shared a few stories already:

But today I wanted to concentrate on house-keeping or cleaning a business premises like offices.

It is hard not to notice the difference in the various standards of tidiness of the employees that occupy desks. Some are absolutely immaculate and it is so easy to clean their desk. You look for little ways you can say thank you, like twirling their phone cord neatly, or turning all their pens the same way round in their pen holder.

Then at the other extreme are the desks that you are afraid to touch, because it look as if the stacks of paper and files might all go flying. I do love it when the owner of one of these desks leaves a note saying: “Dear House-Keeper, Please do not clean this desk”. It makes me laugh, because that is the type of desk it is impossible to clean anyway. But thanks for the note!

Now I was chained to a desk for over eight years when I worked in finance. We were not allowed to leave our desks in that state at the end of a work day. Nor were we allowed to leave confidential information on display. But many businesses I have worked for seem to have a fairly lax attitude to tidiness and confidential information being on view to someone like the cleaner. We were not allowed to leave dirty cups and plates. Our personal belongings, like photos and little bits and bobs that we might have on our desk to cheer us up, were to be kept tidy and they were our responsibility to maintain. But I have worked for some companies, where I spent the first hour collecting cups and glasses from desks and washing them, before I can do anything else!

There are some things that I have seen and been in a dilemma over whether to clean or not. There was one desk that I always dreaded. When I first started working there, I decided to throw away all the mouldy fruit in a bowl on the person’s desk. But I noticed the fruit was replaced and then over the next few weeks it gradually mouldered away again. It kept on happening, so in the end I decided if this person wanted to buy ornamental fruit and watch it turning blue and fuzzy I was not going to participate in this farce anymore! There…I could not bring myself to remind you of what mouldy fruit looks like, you might be eating breakfast. So here is fresh fruit instead.

I was told that the inside of the staff fridge was not my responsibility. Indeed there was a sign on the door reminding staff to sort out any items that belonged to them each Friday. One day I opened the fridge because there seemed to be some juice leaking…I removed the juice, and then as I looked up, I saw a container with some food that seemed to have been long since abandoned, and had now become a curious scientific experiment.

Then came flowers. Once they had well and truly faded, they would stay in the vase for weeks. My supervisor told me not to touch them, because apparently one house-keeper had chipped a vase when trying to be helpful, and the desk-occupant had been furious. So I did not touch them, but I was baffled at these shrivelled up flowers sitting in putrid water for weeks.

Then there were bins. I had forty-eight small bins to empty (under desks) and the kitchen general waste bin and the recycling bin. The staff didn’t wash out their food containers before throwing them into the recycling bin, so the inside of the bin was splattered with soup and sauce.

But it was the bins under desks that took ages to empty. There were three of those bins that I used to dread. They were always overflowing with things that should have been put in the recycling bin in each office. Only I couldn’t put the papers in the recycling bins now that the desk-occupant had thrown coke, ketchup, and crumbs all over the papers. Not only were those three bins always over-flowing, there were also items of rubbish all over the floor under the desk. So it took longer to empty the bins because I had to crawl under those desks and retrieve all their crisp packets, banana peels and nail clippings.

Yes nail clippings! Because that seems like the most sensible place to clip your nails, in the office in front of your colleagues. Nail clippings are not the worst of what I have discovered under desks.

Well, there is a definite limit to the horrors I am willing to share with you. I don’t want to make you all feel ill! But if you have a house-keeper or cleaner who cleans either your home or your workplace, bear in mind that they may be often going above and beyond the call of duty and tackling horrors you may not realize were there.

So…for all those “extra miles” your house-keeper may be going, a thank-you note or a little token of appreciation will keep your house-keeper sweet and happy to keep tackling the unexpected frights they might come across.






Lessons In Love From All Directions


Here is a depressing thought…Anna Karenina! However, this is what I thought when I saw this picture prompt from The Haunted Wordsmith.

Many years ago, I read Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina…perhaps I was too young. I found parts of it interesting, I was fascinated by “Kostya” (Konstantin Lëvin) and read the pages detailing his mind’s journey avidly. I don’t to detract from Leo Tolstoy’s epic accomplishments.

However, reading about Anna depressed me. It didn’t seem like a love story at all, but a tale of how someone descends down the road to despair. I became truly deeply morose to the point I could not face what was happening to her. She seemed so utterly lost.

I think I preferred reading “War And Peace” very much more than Anna Karenina. I did not feel myself sinking so deeply into misery. Although, I read it a couple of years after I read Anna Karenina, so perhaps that was something to do with being a bit older.

There are many classic books I could read over and over again, but I don’t think I will ever be able to face Anna Karenina again, I don’t want to make myself miserable.

Although romantic love can be a very intense feeling and can lead one to the most dramatic decisions and displays…I have always felt that there is a borderline between love that energizes you and inspires you, and the type of love where you have lost all perspective and it is becoming destructive to your happiness.

Anna Karenina brought me to the conclusion not to let myself become that intense. I have never wanted to find myself trapped in a loveless marriage (I am not sure whether I mentioned I turned down two marriage proposals – one expected, one completely unexpected) because my Mumma always used to warn me that there is the potential for great happiness or great unhappiness in marriage.

However I have wanted to learn to love in a balanced, healthy, energising, inspiring, rewarding, satisfying, caring, active, practical and unselfish way. I feel as if the positive examples of my parents and other family and friends have given me an idea of what a happy loyal love can be. I feel as if my years of volunteering have helped nurture in me great capacity for caring, practical, active and unselfish love.

There are three men who have had a significant impact on me. The first was my teenage sweetheart whom I was in love with from the age of 17-24 and I thought I would marry (I will tell you about that one day). The second was my ex-neighbour, Jack. I have a lot more to tell you about Jack. The third is Goldfinch.

I am so sleepy now…I don’t know where I am going anymore with this post!!!! I started with Karenina…very sad, very depressing. And moved onto positive examples of love. I realize I have many many stories to tell you still. But they will have to wait, because I need to sleep! I can see what is going to happen if I carry on here!



What Really Counts?

It is not a movie I can watch often. I am sure I went to watch it at the cinema with a large group of friends back in – was is 1997? I remember one of my male friends feeling a bit embarrassed at some of the more intimate scenes in the movie (we were teenagers) and in the still silence of the cinema, his voice was clearly heard turning to us and saying “Would you like a Poppet?”…

…several angry “ssssshhhhhhhh!!!!” noises followed, and the rest of us found it hard to suppress our giggles. Teenagers hey! We were a little embarrassed…we were not expecting the bare chested moments, or the steamy hand print on the car window pane.

But please don’t think we were unmoved by the scenes that followed. Truly, we remained silent, except for the occasional tearful sniffle for the rest of the movie. Remember we were all from the Liverpool area and we were all familiar with these significant pages of maritime history. We had heard the story over and over at school and had many school trips to the Liverpool Maritime Museum. It was a story that had an impact on us since our earliest days and weighed heavy on our hearts. I am sure you too will have contemplated how truly awful it must have been.

I visited the Liverpool Maritime Museum again this summer and I lingered around the exhibits for a long time, because it was years since I had seen them.


Lots of information and artefacts. Lots of stories from survivors and stories of those who sank with the ship that night. But it is only if you allow yourself to contemplate what it must have been like, that you really absorb these pages of history.

IMG_20180703_133915One part of the exhibit really caught my attention. I love seeing scenes of the Arctic landscape, but pondering on what led to one of the worst tragedies at sea in modern history made me feel horrified viewing a picture of a huge ice-berg.

Time and time again I have heard people use the example of the RMS Titanic hitting an ice-berg in various analogies.  So many sobering lessons can be drawn. The apparent blind confidence in an “unsinkable” ship, some were so convinced that the giant feat of engineering was beyond destruction. Some not responding promptly to the alerts of staff to put on life-jackets and board life-boats. The absurd injustices in the way different classes were treated. Some of the life-boats not being filled to anywhere near full-capacity. The list goes on and on of the things that contributed to such an enormous loss of life that night.

For me personally, the example of the RMS Titanic has effected my view of making a comfortable life for myself. When I was about seven, one of my teachers at school powerfully touched our hearts, motivating us to be aware of the holes in the way this world works. She wasn’t talking about the planet. I knew she was talking about the economic system, the way the world is governed often based on economic expediency. Short-term decisions to gain a profit at the expense of oh so much. I knew she was right, any system motivated by greed and selfishness is doomed to sink.

She explained that all of humankind are essentially in the same boat and it is a boat that is leaking, holes like racism, injustice, war, pollution that highlight that it is not unsinkable. She asked us to think of how we could make a difference and always always remember what really counts. She emphasised that life is precious and special. It was up to us to decide how to use our life, our time. Would we use it wisely? She said worrying about having a sportscar or a fur coat or fancy jewellery, is a bit like wanting a posh suite on the Titanic. She said we could spend our lives polishing the brass on the Titanic, or think about helping others into the life-boats.


I often thought of what she said, but it was only when I became a volunteer that I felt I could live by the conviction she had cultivated in my little heart. I have never been interested in having a posh suite in this sinking ship or polishing the brass. It feels like an utter waste of time. But relief from that sense of wastefulness came in seeing the people whose lives we made a difference to. I have so many stories of people of various backgrounds who were crying and groaning because of the damage from the holes I have mentioned, racism, injustice ethnic violence and warfare.

It is important to remain balanced and to enjoy all the wonderful things about life and this beautiful beautiful planet. But I have never forgotten that the holes in the way the world runs at the moment, have caused damage on such a scale that it essentially needs a complete reconstruction, based on an entirely different foundation. There are so many lessons to learn from the tragedy of the RMS Titanic. I try to live my life thinking of what really counts. How precious lives are, how extraordinary our planet is compared to any other in the known universe, how stupid class divisions are, how destructive so many economic and political decisions can be.

I am optimistic, very optimistic, because I trust most people do at heart realize that life is precious; whereas sports cars, fur coats and fancy jewellery are not! I think most people want to make a difference in whatever way they can to achieve a better world, one in which we live, we really live, not just survive. I know at times these big leaky holes can be incredibly frustrating, but keeping a focus on what makes life really precious…reminding ourselves of what really counts, and seizing opportunities to contribute to a better world, because at the end of the day I would hope most people want a better world.

I Give To You And You Give To Me

IMG_1345I have been looking forward to finding out what the theme would be for “SONG-LYRIC-SUNDAY” and I am delighted with it! Today’s theme is GIVE/GIVING as you can see in the post from Helen Vahdati, the creator of This Thing Called Life One Word at a Time.

I knew instantly which song to link today because I have just watched a movie which is kind of special to me because of the night I met Goldfinch one year ago exactly. “Breathe” was the film I never got to see because Goldfinch and I became rather distracted with each other.

When I watched it this weekend, I became rather choked up because one year after meeting Goldfinch it is easy to imagine loving him forever, loving him through both fair and hard times. It is going to be a huge wrench to say goodbye to him when he goes back to Australia.

It is exactly one year since I met Goldfinch and used my extra hour (end of British Summertime the clocks go back one hour) chatting with him and falling in love with him.

In the movie “Breathe” the characters played by Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy are dancing together to the famous Cole Porter song “True Love”, which was of course a famous part of the classic movie “High Society”, a musical remake of “The Philadelphia Story”.

While I give to you
And you give to me,
True love, true love.

Honeymooners at last alone.
Feeling far above par.
Oh, how lucky we are!
While I give to you
And you give to me,
True love, true love.
So on and on
It’ll always be,
True love, true love.
For you and I
Have a guardian angel
On high, with nothin’ to do.
But to give to you
And to give to me,
Love forever true.


And just in case you did not have chance to see the movie last year, here is a trailer for the film “Breathe”:

The Shimmering Jane Ridgewood Has Nominated Me For The Sunshine Blogger Award

I have been nominated for The Sunshine Blogger Award by the talented writer and blogger Jane Ridgewood as you can see from her post below:

Sunshine Blogger Award

Just in case you are not familiar with this blogging award, here is a reminder of the rules that come with it:

The Rules

• Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link back to them – thanks Jane!
• Answer the 11 questions asked by the blogger who nominated you.
• Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 new questions.
• Notify the nominees by commenting on one of their blog posts.
• List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo on your post.

Jane’s questions to her nominees:

01. What are you currently reading right now and are you enjoying it?
Life in River Hollow: A Short Story Collection

Ooooh I am so glad you asked! I am a huge fan of brilliant blogger Teresa Grabs aka The Haunted Wordsmith.

Recently, I bought two books from Amazon that were written by Teresa. The first I loved…and I am working on a book review (I have not attempted a book review since I was at high school so it is taking me ages to perfect it).

I have just started reading the second book I bought “Life In River Hollow” and yes, I certainly am enjoying it. I absolutely love Teresa’s flash fiction. I think she is a huge talent and I wish her every success in her writing. She seems to be an endless fountain of ideas and I love the twists she consistently throws in to her short stories.

02. On average about how many books do you read a year?

ringwormThat has changed a lot. I was working in healthcare and I had to read a huge amount of training books and manuals to keep myself updated. I had to keep a record of my reading and I still have it. Here is a friendly looking training booklet. A lot of what I have read was rather grim.

I am going to go and count how many medical books I read in the twenty months I worked directly with patients in healthcare in a role where I had to offer advice on minor ailments and lifestyle habits. Right I have just counted – I read 176 medical training books and manuals in twenty months. Sigh!

Because of all the reading for work I had to wade through, my reading for pleasure dwindled, but for pleasure I have read the classics “Heidi” (Johanna Spyri), “Persuasion” (Jane Austen) and “Howard’s End”  (E. M. Forster) and also “Me Before You” (JoJo Moyes) in the past year.

03. When was the last time you sent a handwritten letter in the mail?

lettersI still do so regularly. I write handwritten letters to family, friends and Goldfinch. The last handwritten letter I posted was on Thursday.

Although I do use e-mail a lot (especially for family and friends who live in other lands) I love a hand-written letter.

04. Do you know how to write and read in cursive?

Yes…I love cursive handwriting. Reading and writing in it.

I loved that at school I recognized everyone’s handwriting. When I receive a letter in the post, I can usually tell by the way they have written my name and the postal address I use, who has sent it to me.

05. How do you feel about schools having stopped teaching cursive?

I did not realize that schools have stopped teaching cursive. Is that in America? I can’t imagine children in England not learning cursive or joined up handwriting. But I guess some may feel it is no longer necessary in this modern technological era.

06. What is your favourite holiday?

My brother-in-law’s family try to have a massive family get-together once a year. They have it in the summer and have a BBQ and massive buffet feast. There are sports, games to include everyone (all ages) and lots of laughing. Bear in mind there are at least one hundred of them.


Other than weddings and funerals, it’s the only time the entire tribe can be together at the same time. Milly says they call it Family Day. I think it is a fabulous idea. I have only been there for it twice and had so much fun. I loved the chance to get to know members of my brother-in-law’s family I had not met before.

That is what holidays are all about – being with those you love. Being able to relax and have fun and enjoy lovely food together.

07. Do you have any fun Halloween traditions?

No, none at all. I have nothing to do with it.

I have heard that it tends to be fairly popular in the the USA. It is still not that popular in England compared to some other holidays. Throughout my school years there was no mention of it. The first I heard of it was when I lived in an area where there are lot of stone circles and a henge. But it was not observed the way I think it is in America. There was a very different atmosphere.

vandalismAt one stage when I was living in a town with lots of families, I was shocked at how many front doors were covered with eggs. flour, paint, soil the day after Halloween. One year some youths demolished all of the drain pipes on the terraces houses in one street and vandalised every single car. There was a community project to build a flower garden for people to go and relax in. One Halloween a gang completely destroyed it, trampling all the plants and setting fire to the benches. When I lived in that town, I decided to just go away for a holiday to escape the terror. It was too disturbing.

What was heart breaking was how many cats and other animals were mutilated on Halloween. One year the local newspaper reported the remains of forty cats who had clearly met their demise by human hand were found. The police said some of what they found appeared to be some kind of “sacrifice”, which is one of the practices I saw evidence of in that town. My sister keeps her cat indoors for a whole week because during “Bonfire Night” or “Guy Fawkes Night” which is a few days after Halloween, some kids would try to attach a firework to cat’s tails. The photo here is of one of the cats that sadly did not survive the cruelty of some thugs who tied a firework to it’s tail.

I find all sorts of cultures and traditions fascinating, but Halloween has had me baffled since I realized what goes on that night. I don’t understand how people could be so cruel. I just don’t understand Halloween. Neither the encyclopedia explanation of how it originated nor the acts of terror carried out against people. The only tradition I have had is helping older neighbours to clean up all the mess the day after Halloween and debating what to report to the police.

I can only guess that America celebrate some kind of Disney-fied version of Halloween because otherwise how could it be so popular? Unless you don’t like cats or your neighbours? I am guessing Halloween in America is all candy and pie and “harmless fun” and fancy dress parties and watching creepy movies. That is not what I have seen of it in the areas it is popular here. I think that is what retail chains are trying to promote. That just about sums up a lot of holidays now…a big commercial bonanza.

08. Tell me one random fact about you that others may find odd.

ironingI love ironing! Love it!

Ironing is not just a chore to me, I actually look forward to it and enjoy it. I feel a great sense of calm descend over me and find instant satisfaction in it. I love all cleaning and house-keeping tasks really. But ironing is my favourite.

09. Have you ever given advice to someone else that you did not follow yourself?

Probably…let me think about this one.

AmbulanceHmm…how about don’t go to the park on your own…!!! Yikes! I mean how many times have I lectured friends when they have first moved to London on their personal security? Then I completely lost my senses and put myself in a dangerous situation…and well, as I have mentioned on numerous occasions, I woke up the next morning in an ambulance on my way to hospital!

10. What is your favourite activity in the fall season?

I guess walking in the woods with friends (especially Goldfinch) and seeing the pretty colours of the trees and then after being outside in the crisp air, heading back somewhere warm for a huge cuppa and some hot buttered toast….if it is really chilly, throw in a steaming hot bowl of soup – yum!

11. What kind of music do you enjoy listening to the most?

Oh deary…how hard to answer that question. My taste in music is very diverse. Because I am so in love with the adorable Goldfinch, I love listening to love songs.

I think if I had to pick my favourites to listen to…it would be a mix between the crème de la crème of karaoke crooners from the sixties mainly and movie soundtracks. Here is one that I have had in my head all day and I am loving it!

My questions for my nominees:

(A lot of my questions are food orientated, because I am hungry! I have not eaten because I am on my way to a ceilidh tonight and will be dancing for the rest of the night!)

  11. IF YOU COULD HAVE ONE PERFECT DAY – WHERE WOULD IT BE? WHO WOULD YOU BE WITH? WHAT WOULD YOU EAT?  (That is several questions rolled into one – but we would love to know what would make a perfect day to you.)

My nominees:

Dawn Of A Dream

The writing prompts or challenges from Teresa aka The Haunted Wordsmith are superb. There are some days when it is impossible for me to work on a post in response to them because I have so much work and running around to do, but the picture prompts especially play on my mind and give me so many ideas. I have a half an hour break and then I will be at work for another three hours. I am going to see how far I can get with Teresa’s picture prompt for today.

Sun, Water, Clouds, Mirroring

As soon as I saw this picture, the word that popped into my head was “DREAM”. Something about the hazy splendour of the scene that made me want to write something beautiful. Yet I found it hard to grasp. There was a misty-eyed thought in my mind, but it was so hard to distinguish and explain.

Which is sometimes very much like a dream. Either when you wake up and the dream that moments before felt like reality seems to fade as quickly as puffs of smoke. Or like the dreams in your heart that impelled you as a child, only to meet with harsh cold sober discouragement or disillusionment, as you found that the world doesn’t always make things easy for you.

Still, what are we without a dream, without an ideal? It might at times seem an indistinct, undefinable dream, but I am sure most of us have a sense of something that spurs us on. We know that things are not really as they should be. There is a lot that is not right. We long for a fairer, safer, happier world, one in which we would be glad to wake up in the morning and look forward to all that the day promises.

woman cryingAt times challenges seem beyond our control to surmount. Even when we try to be positive, content and grateful for all we have – there are times when the injustice of either our own situation or someone else’s is like a hard slap in the face. We can become gloomy or pessimistic or even simmer with despair.

I have fought to keep my focus on my dreams. My life as a full-time volunteer kept my life orbiting around my dream, my ideal. But waking up in an ambulance three years ago yanked me away from my chosen life and career. I have had to fight to keep my chin up and keep my eyes fixed on the dream. I don’t dream of being a movie star or an astronaut or an Olympic medal holder. I dream of a fairer, safer, happier world. I am determined to keep working towards that dream, that ideal, and do every little thing I can to make my dream come true.

paradiseSeeing Teresa’s picture prompt was a tingling reminder that I have a dream, and it is a wonderful one – a world free of fear, pain, injustice, cruelty, abuse, violence. A world where everyone opens their eyes glad to be alive and looking forward to all that the day promises. I am going to keep my focus on that dream until one day, dawn arrives and that dream has come true.

Now just to explain the song I have added below…I deliberated so long about a song that expressed the dream that I hold dear…but I think I realized “Imagine” by John Lennon was the closest…but I just was not keen for some reason. So instead I added a song that sums up the feeling of having your dreams crushed. Something too many people have experienced.


Now…although this is a beautiful song, it is desperately sad…I hope that for you and for me…we will keep our focus on wonderful dreams, wonderful ideals and do everything we can to make those dreams a beautiful reality, where desperately sad is no longer something we taste, but rather deep joy and satisfaction in life.

I have to head out again to work…but it was nice to use my break-time to dwell on my dreams.

I Was In Love With The Milky Bar Kid

Gary was his name. He looked just like the Milky Bar Kid. I will tell you all about him.

Back in the eighties, my older brother had one of those Commodore 64 computers. I was not allowed anywhere near it. His friends would come over and play computer games with him. Don’t ask me what they played. I am sure my parents would not have allowed anything violent. If you are half my age, you might not know what a Commodore 64 is, but most people my age and especially those a little older than me will have either fond or not so fond memories of them.

By the way, what on earth is going on with modern computer games? I know there are some happy little games, but there are others, very popular games which seem to be training players to have no conscience whatsoever.

That reminds me…I have a post in my drafts folder about a guy I used to work with who used to play violent computer games all night. You wouldn’t believe what he went on to do!

This post though is all about Gary. Gary was one of my brother’s friends. Gary, Mike and Simon were frequent visitors to our home  They were all lovely teenage boys, but especially Gary. He had white blonde hair and the sweetest boy looks. He was a little older than my brother, but looked younger because he was shorter. When Gary was fourteen I would have been around four or five years old.

I absolutely adored Gary! Everyone did. He was so so sweet. He was polite and happy. Mumma tells me she remembers Gary offering to help her in the kitchen or doing some shopping on his way over to make sure the boys didn’t raid the fridge and cupboards of food that Mum had bought for feeding a family of nine. Mumma always said Gary was one of the most considerate boys she knew.

I was always excited when Gary was coming. I used to put some of Mum’s lipstick on and put on a pair of her high heeled shoes.

I would stand on the kitchen bench and call out to Gary “Kiss me Gary! I love you!” My brother and his other friends were understandably in hysterics (though I think my brother was a bit embarrassed that I kept badgering Gary). I was too young to understand how very silly I was. I just remember thinking Gary was wonderful.

Gary stopped coming to our home as often as the other boys. I missed him. I wanted to tell him all about my experiences now that I had started primary school. Gradually, I started to pick up on adult conversations that were carried out near me. I realized everyone was worried about Gary. Something was wrong.

young patient.jpgThe way my parents explained it to me, was that the Doctors had found a lump in Gary’s neck. They were going to use some special medicines to try to shrink the lump. Then I heard that the medicine was not working. I heard that Gary was going to have to stay in hospital for a while.

I mentioned in a recent post that I had been unable to face attending the funeral of Aunt Bessie and Uncle Justin:

The funeral service for Gary was not long after. I made sure I went this time. I had read the Bible from cover to cover in those few months and I did not feel as distraught this time. In fact, I felt Gary was now asleep, safe from this lump in his neck that had been causing him so much pain. I was convinced that sleep was  temporary. I remember being disappointed because Mum would not allow me to wear her lipstick that day. There were a lot of people there. A lot of people were crying.

I went over to Gary’s parents and hugged them both. I told them who I was and explained that I loved Gary and wanted to marry him. They were very sweet to me. I told them that when Gary wakes up again in the future we will have a wonderful welcome back party for him with his favourite cake and Cherry Cola (I remember him drinking it).

I got to know Gary’s family later on. His siblings always struggled with his loss. His parents still well up with emotion talking about Gary thirty years later. Mum told me it was a huge shock to them at the time and was made worse by a quack extorting money out of them and giving them false hopes.

Milky BarGary has always been a part of their life. I am sure not a day has passed when they don’t think of him. So many others who knew Gary remember him still. My friend Kelly, who is my age, told me she also had a crush of Gary, and that her older sister Sharon did too. We were all quite smitten with him. Our parents all loved him because he was so sweet and considerate and well-behaved. Whenever any of us saw a Milky Bar, we started talking about Gary. We all made the connection between him and the Milky Bar Kid.

Aaaaaah – Gary – the Milky Bar Kid. Like so many others, we long to be reunited with you!

Don’t Want To Be A Single Girl

When Goldfinch heads back to Australia…I will be officially single again. This is not something I am looking forward to at all. Quite the opposite in fact.

I mean I would love to just be his pen-pal and save my spare cash to visit him in Australia and hope he can visit England. But, I am sure he does not have the same appetite for writing as I do and he does not want to ask me to be lonesome for the rest of my days without him. I am sure that he will have no difficulty finding a wonderful lady in Australia, because Goldfinch is a very wonderful man.

Thus, although I can always count on Goldfinch being a special part of my life, the 10,100 miles between us will mean I am single. Technically that begins the moment he gets on a plane at Heathrow Airport and leaves me far behind. That will be an achey breaky heart moment…walking out of Terminal 2 without him.

single quoteBut I will not be ready to be single at that point. I feel as if I should be able to present a doctor’s note or some evidence to make it clear that just because Goldfinch has gone, I am not ready to replace him in a hurry. I have a male friend who seems soft on me and who keeps asking when Goldfinch is going. Well, frankly I kind of resent that he wants Goldfinch out of the way. It is not going to happen between he and I!

I don’t particularly like being single. It’s not just the lonesomeness I don’t like. It’s traversing the world of single men. It’s so great when you can tell someone you are not available. It makes life easier by far.

Singleness is awkward. Everyone wants to introduce you to someone or set you up on a date. It’s a nuisance. The embarrassment of meeting men and it all being wrong…oh so wrong…and wondering why on earth your friends thought you would get on with this man. It’s painfully awkward for me because I don’t like the thought of hurting anyone…so sometimes I can’t be straightforward with someone that I think their language/attitude/manners are repugnant. Some men have thought things were going well because I am so polite and gracious, so they don’t have any idea that in my head I am counting the moments until I can escape.

Although every now and then I do meet someone I think is lovely…only to find out that they don’t find me their cup of tea. Or…maybe the timing is just really bad. Or there may be endless complications and challenges – a subject I intend to address in another post at a later date.

I have to admit…I am really not looking forward to being single again. It’s so easy when you feel you belong to one man who you love, admire, respect, feel proud of. Being single…oh dear…I am dreading it for so many reasons.

Sing-Along With Mr Tall

You might have picked up on my fondness for singing if you have seen some of my other posts. For a long time I have been intending to tell you all about one of the biggest musical influences on my life, and now I am finally introducing you to a man I adored.

Mr Tall was our Headmaster at the primary school I attended. I mentioned him in another post this week (he gave me permission to borrow the book “Heidi” during the school holidays). Well Mr Tall was most loved for two things…one was his huge ball of blue-tac which he always had in his hands. It was the greatest honour if he trusted you with it when he needed his hands free for a task. The other thing he was known for was his guitar.

Our beloved Headmaster loved playing the guitar. Every Friday afternoon the whole school would gather and Mr Tall would play the guitar to songs that we came to know by heart and we would sing the lyrics at the top of our voices!

One of my favourites was a song called “Denny O’Rafferty’s Motor Car”. I have known this song by heart sing I was around five years old. I loved it! Every now and then I surprise a friend by singing the entire song (there are more verses than I have included below):

Now Denny O’Rafferty’s motor car is the greatest I declare
It’s made up of bits and pieces that he’s picked up here and there
The engine must be ages old, but it’s still got lots of power
With a gallon of stout in the petrol tank it does ninety miles an hour

[CHORUS}: What a wonderful motor car, it’s the greatest ever seen
It used to be black as me father’s hat, now it’s forty shades of green
On TV and the radio and in every public bar
The burning question of the day is O’Rafferty’s motor car

Now two of the wheels are triangular and the third one’s off a pram
The fourth is the last remaining wheel from off a Dublin tram
The number plate’s in Gaelic and the plug’s won’t even spark
And the chassis came off a tinker’s cart that collapsed in Phoenix Park

Now go for a ride in that motor car and you’ll end up with the shakes
The road from Cork to Dublin is a vale of pains and aches
When traffic lights turn red ahead, then you’d best jump out the door
For the moment that Denny treads on the break, then his foot goes through the floor

I remember almost all the songs we sang each week with Mr Tall. Years after I left primary school I often found myself singing them regularly. If you wanted to pop round to the little nest one evening, I could entertain you for a couple of hours with renditions of my childhood songs that Mr Tall taught us. Only I don’t play the guitar. I had a few lessons as a teenager, but I was juggling too many hobbies and couldn’t concentrate (big regret, as I would love to play the guitar…but there is still time).

karaokeNow I am a huge karaoke fan. You might not be so keen yourself, but I think it is super fun and really good for you emotionally and mentally – there is something about pushing yourself to overcome your fears, anxieties, nerves and giving it your all. It is not about the quality of your voice. It is about giving it some gusto and enjoying yourself. But I know some who would rather be pulled through a hedge backwards than made to sing solo in front of an audience.

I was working at a medical center for almost two years. We were trained to signpost patients to a whole host of other medical service providers and also avenues in which people could connect with their local community and do something good for their social, emotional and mental health. One of the booklets we gave out to customers was about a local singing group. People from various backgrounds and age-groups were meeting three nights a week for a good old sing song.

I was sooooooooo tempted to tag along myself only I was working every evening the singing group met. My only worry is that I am such a karaoke queen the rest of the singers might have been a bit fed up with me.

Well…on this note (boom boom) I wanted to mention “SONG-LYRIC-SUNDAY”, which many of you may already know about and take part in. It is a great fun blogging challenge hosted by Helen Vahdati, the creator of This Thing Called Life One Word at a Time. Have a little look at her post from last Sunday and the incredibly long list of bloggers who are taking part in sharing a musical moment with each other. It’s the closest thing to a choir us bloggers are ever going to form I feel:


Will be looking out for you next Sunday!