La Vida Es Bella

On Monday I published a post with my answers to questions that were part of the GETTING TO KNOW YOU challenge. In response to one of the questions I included a video of two wonderful opera singers dueting the beautiful Barcarolle – “La Nuit D’Amour” – from Offenbach’s “Tales Of Hoffman”.

It is a very beautiful song in itself…but I wondered how many other bloggers become choked up by it because of it’s connection with a film that many say is one of their favourite all time films. “La Vida Es Bella” or “Life Is Beautiful” – the story of Guido, a Jewish Italian waiter and later bookshop owner who falls in love with Dora and fathers a son named Giosuè (Joshua).

If you have never seen the film, I have added a trailer right at the bottom of this post. If you have seen this film, you totally understand why I felt teary-eyed listening to the Barcarolle! Although full of comedy, make no mistake, this is an incredibly moving film, exhibiting the courage and love of a father who seeks to protect his family from the horrors that surround them.

When I think of what others have suffered…it makes all my woes seem petty and insignificant.

Here are two clips – the night on the concert theatre … followed by a scene from the concentration camp.


Here is the trailer I promised you:

I Could Not Wait To Escape

In the three posts I have already published about my first job back in London I have explained how I came to be in a “tied-accommodation” post with a boss who made me feel rather uncomfortable during the first two days I was there.

Looking back, I realize now how ridiculously vulnerable I was, because I did not ask for help, I isolated myself and found myself in a situation that I should never have had to endure.

Now let me reassure you I gave him my written notice within two weeks. I agreed to stay on for four weeks in that letter which was the period of notice he asked for. (I had to find another post, so that I had somewhere to escape to.) I realized I can’t bring myself to relate everything that happened that made me feel even more uncomfortable during that time. So instead, I have copied and pasted parts of e-mails I sent to my friend Stuart who was pretty much the only person I was confiding in.

internet romanceAt the time I did not feel I could tell my family because they would insist I left London and returned to them. I was desperate to start working towards being back in my life/world/career/flat – which were all in London. Stuart was very supportive, but most of my contact with him was via e-mails. I just tried to deal with the challenges that came my way and kept a lot back from Stuart because I was afraid of him becoming too angry. I knew I could always call the police if things became too bad.

There is a lot to read. It makes me angry. I have a feeling that the more you read, the more angry you will feel. I find it horrifying that I was too scared just to pack my case and walk out. That’s what I should have done. But at that time, I doubted myself so much and I was too forgiving. If anything like this happened to me now, I would absolutely not tolerate it.

Here goes:

My boss is demanding to take a photo of me tomorrow.  I want to cry.  He said he also wants to take me to his gym. He keeps going on and on about it.  He actually wants to take a photo of me in a swimming costume. Now, before you raise your eye-brows, there is an explanation for this.

before afterHis idea is taking a picture of me that shows the shape of my body now and then take another photo after he has had me on his training program – you know how people post their before and after photos on their social media sites. He wants me to follow his prescribed eating plan and to work out with him every day down at the gym. He wants to make me a more attractive shape. I am of course horrified. He wants to set goals for me that I personally am not keen on.


I don’t want to go to the gym with him. But am I overreacting to him because he has given me the creeps? I have to say, if he tried to take a picture of me in my swimming costume my reaction may be so severe…..well, I don’t know, but possibly police may have to become involved.


I can’t think straight about my situation here. I am exhausted with worry.  It’s not the physical work.  It’s this constant deliberating in my head over the personality and character of my new boss.  Trying to understand where on earth he is coming from in what he says and does etc.

chalk and cheeseWe truly are like chalk and cheese. He is my boss so I don’t want to be picky over things that don’t cross my boundary of what is acceptable. I am trying to find a balance so that I don’t come across as hostile towards him.


It’s just because I live within the same property, we see a lot of each other.  Tonight he asked if I just wanted to sit down and watch a film.  I don’t want to be rude to him all the time, so I considered joining him to watch a film. He told me that there was a film on that he thought I would enjoy because it is about a young woman who is learning to think differently about sex. He asked me if I had seen it before. It was that shades of grey film that was at the cinema a few years ago. I was horrified.  I told him I did not want to watch that kind of material. He freaked out at me. Well…he thinks…I am not going to say what he thinks of me.

harrassmentI cannot bear it when my boss touches me.  I say “please keep your hands to yourself”. But I realize there are men and women who are ok with someone who has no romantic connection being overly tactile/friendly with their hands. He makes my skin crawl. But I keep asking myself if I am being overly sensitive after what happened to me?

I can’t decide for other people what seems appropriate for them.  I only have the right to say what I am comfortable or not comfortable with.  I am hoping that you are reading in between the lines and realizing this subject is becoming a big issue for me.


I am just a bit overwhelmed by how very different the character of my boss is from mine.

But to update you on a few things:


  • The photo in my swim-suit never happened (I made it clear that it was never going to happen, but it turns out that at least one of the girls who used to work here allowed him to photograph her in her underwear and her only concern with the suggestion was that she was wearing matching underwear – the numpty!!!!)
  • steam roomBut he did take me to his gym – I chose to swim while he went to work out. Then after an hour, he came down to the pool and yelled at me to get out of the water. Everyone was looking at me. He told me to join him in the jacuzzi – which is next to the pool. Then he said he wanted to show me something else. He took me into the steam room.  I felt sick. He kept telling me to sit next to him. I told him I was not comfortable and walked out. He was furious with me for the rest of the day.
  • He thinks I am a baby (that’s my polite way of explaining his view of me) because I objected to the 18 rated sex film he wanted me to watch with him.  I made it clear that my particular weave of self-respect inhibits me experiencing thrills from watching strangers in that way.
  • The following morning he was even more annoyed with me because he wanted me to watch a program where a spirit medium is helping people.  I said no several times and eventually I literally ran out of the room. I told him I will have nothing to do with the occult in any form.
  • Part of the “regime” he has me on includes time out walking/running each day.  I make the most of it. At first I was walking for an hour a day, but now it’s more like fours each day. I can’t bear to be in the house alone with him. I have met some lovely people already while I have been out and I have been exploring the area.


My boss was taking his two house-guests (a married couple) out for dinner and asked me to join them. I thought it would be alright with them there. I really like them. I have speaking to them in their language (which my boss does not speak) all week. Even they told me I should get out of here and find somewhere else! However, in the restaurant, he started running his hand up and down my thigh. Yuck! I reacted by deliberately moving my chair as far away as possible. But I actually wanted to pour my wine all over him. I think I hate him. I don’t think I have hated anyone like this before.
harrassment1He has been angry with me all week after I told him not to touch me. He has raised his voice and sworn at me. He has called me all sorts of names. I have been sweet and calm and incredibly gracious. Sometimes I am shaking because I cannot stand being in his presence, but I am determined to control my anger and behave like a princess.
He keeps on patting my behind and touching my hands, upper arms, shoulders. I have told him I am not comfortable in every way I can think of, and he calls me frigid. He tells me I need to loosen up. He keeps on mentioning that we need to share a bottle of wine (or a couple of bottles) on Friday evenings and really get to know each other.
MaryPhotoAPPROVEDI was typing some letters for him, while he sat on the sofa and dictated to me what to write. He came over and put his hands on my shoulders and tied to start massaging me. (He tells me he is a trained masseur.) Immediately I raised my shoulders, to which he told me I was very tense. I asked to him to remove his hands. He was so angry, he swore at me again and told me there is something wrong with me.
I think it was a mistake to tell him I had been attacked. I only did it to explain why I was so uncomfortable with him asking me about sex all the time and touching me. Ihonestly hoped he would realize I have a genuine reason to feel very uncomfortable. But he seems fascinated by the whole subject.
He likes to get me to talk about my attack.  I can talk a little, but he pushes me and I don’t understand the purpose of his doing so.  He says it is good for me. He wants to know everything that happened in detail. I won’t respond to him. So he starts asking me “did he do this? did he do that?”. Ugh! How is that good for me? I told him I would prefer to talk to either loved ones or trained professionals rather than him (for so many reasons!!!!!). I can’t wait to get away from him.
watching tvHe really wants me to sit and watch television with him. It used to be alright to sit on the sofa opposite him, but he keeps telling me to sit next to him. If he wants a woman to snuggle up on the sofa next to him, he needs to try out a dating site – not threaten his house-keeper.
He watches the strangest shows – I cannot stand them. He likes Jeremy Kyle – which is some kind of chat-show with nutcases, Judge Judy – more nutcases, a program called “Cheaters” about people catching their partner committing adultery, and then he likes anything to do with spirit mediums (but I always get up and walk out the moment he puts anything like that on, so because he wants my company, he has stopped putting these shows on). He records these shows which I think are broadcast during the day, so he can watch them when he is lazing around during the evening.
He came over and without asking he just started with the massage thing again.

Grrrrrrrrrrrrr.  I can’t win either way!  Why would I want a massage from a man who has been yelling at me and insulting me all week?  Then while I took the recycling out, he disappeared and put his robe on.  He asked me to take a break from typing and sit and talk for a little.  He opened his legs wide and displayed his “crown jewels”.  I just turned myself round and talked whist fixing my stare onto the floor tiles.

He started laughing. He asked me if I wanted to take a look. I told him I was used to seeing wrinkly dried up private parts because of all my time working in healthcare, but I saw no reason to be subjected to it now.
He swore at me and told me some men would beat me for saying that.

Tonight he was all nicey nicey, calling me “darlin” and complimenting me and telling me how much he is looking forward to our Friday evening in together (so it seems as if Friday is going to be a regular feature). The last two Fridays I was in control. I kept on topping up the glasses. Mine I filled with water and elderflower cordial and his with wine.  He didn’t seem to realize what I was doing. Both weeks he fell asleep on the sofa.

This morning I was putting some clothes back into my wardrobe when I heard the handle on my door turn. The door opened slowly. I called out “is there something wrong?” He sounded surprised that I was up and dressed. He said that after all the wine I had the night before he thought I would still be in bed. (He has no idea I was drinking elder-flower cordial.)
It makes me livid that he came into my room without knocking thinking I would be asleep in bed.

He has kissed me on the cheek twice in the past 2 hours.  The first time I asked him what he was doing. He shook his head and said he cannot understand me. Not long after that he put his hand on my face and said he is “ever so fond of me”.  He has sent me upstairs to change into something more comfortable so I can sunbathe next to him in the garden.  I am really creeped out.

I am going to take my tabard off, and put my trainers on then and I am going to head off for a walk. I’ll need to swing by to the shops and pick some shopping up and be back to cook dinner and do whatever typing he wants.

And I have promised to make a cheese-cake tonight. Part of me will want to splat the cheesecake into his face.

man in shorts.jpgHe went to the gym on his own this morning (he was obviously very angry when I refused to go into the steam room with him ) so I worked in the garden all morning and now I am very pleased because I am scratched to smitherenes – scratch marks up your arms and legs are not particularly enhancing…
He keeps on asking me to sunbathe next to him in the garden. He will actually shout at me and tell me to stop cleaning and come out into the garden. I tell him I don’t want to burn. He offers to rub sun block into my skin. I told him the bright light triggers head-aches. He told me to wear sunglasses. He says I need Vitamin D. Maybe I do…but I am not removing any clothing and relaxing near him.
As soon as I had set up his computer to make a start, he was there behind me.  I felt his hands on the back of my neck and instantly pushed my chair back and leant forward to pick up the file with his notes pretending I had a question to ask him.  Well, I kept the chair back and sat on the edge and leant forward so he couldn’t reach my neck.  Then he said he was pleased because now he could reach my back.  He lifted up my top and tried to massage my lower back.  I grabbed my top and pulled it down and said I would prefer him not to do that.  He have me some technical description of the kind of massage he wants to be able to try on me.  I said that I don’t have any tension in any part of my back.  I said I could understand why he thought I may need a neck massage after being at the computer for so long, but I would not enjoy having my back massaged (definitely not by him – but of course I didn’t say this).  Anyway he muttered that I am a strange girl.
Then, our neighbour’s cat saved me by catching a bird.  My boss managed to release the bird from the cat, so the bird escaped.
But then he was back again in a flash.  I was now sitting in the chair upright and he was standing behind me dictating.  But after a couple of minutes his hands were wandering down to my lower back, I started wriggling around and moved my chair again. I asked him to take his hands off me. Again he put his hands on my lower back and said he couldn’t tell if I had tension there or not.  I said I really didn’t, I said it’s hard to feel anything there because of all of my “padding”.  He said not to put myself down and started complimenting my body – cringe!!!!!!  I said I don’t have any problem with my body, and then I turned right around and said that it really is none of his concern what my body is like and he had no right to touch me. I was glaring at him.  He muttered something which I didn’t make out, but it ended with your name.  I asked him what he had said.  He muttered again something about my love-handles being good for Stuart.  I said “pardon?”  He said “lucky Stuart”.  I ignored him.  To be honest I thought he was being sarcastic at first.  So I just ignored him and carried on typing.  He then came up close and whispered in my ear “lucky Stuart”.
mug in front of faceThis morning he insisted that I sat down and had a chat with him over a coffee. He was in his robe and sat exposing his “crown jewels” yet again. I held my coffee mug in front of my face to obscure the sight of them. He was clearly irritated and asked me why I was hiding my mug to my face. I told him his wrinklies were on display again.
He asked me if I know how to give a…
I stood up and walked out of the room to grab my coat and keys and left the house and went for a walk. I was absolutely livid.
I was not well today. The pain in my head was excruciating. So after I did a little cleaning and ironing, I went to my room to sleep. I woke up hearing some strange noises. It sounded as if a woman was crying in great distress. The sound persisted for some time. I got up and looked out of the window but I could not see anyone. I put on some clothes and then I opened the door to my room and I could hear it clearly. A woman was crying and moaning. I walked out onto the landing and realized the woman must be downstairs. I felt a mix of concern and fear. What was going on? All sorts of terrible possibilities went through my mind. I wished I had a mobile phone so I could call the police. Something terrible was happening I was sure. I crept down the stairs convinced there was a woman in some kind of danger. The woman’s cries were coming from the dining room. I froze when I realized the door was ajar. I could not hear anyone else, just the woman. I felt sick with terror.
As I approached I realized what was actually happening. My boss had his back to the door but I could see what he was doing to himself. I could also see that the woman who was crying was on the screen of his laptop. As soon as I realized she was naked and tied up and being forced to do things I am not going to write about – I felt as if I was going to be physically sick. I removed myself silently from the hallway. I thought about what to do. I opened the front door and slammed it shut. Within a few moments, my boss appeared and said: “Oh you’re back from your walk, do you fancy a cuppa?”
I could not even look at him. I said I had a very bad headache and needed to rest. He said that a massage would help and offered to administer one. I ran straight upstairs.
I hate him. I can’t wait to be out of this house. I feel sick being here.
I walked into the kitchen this afternoon with the shopping. My boss had a shock because he had not heard me come in. He slammed his laptop closed. I knew he had been watching something disgusting.

Everyone Loves A Trier

I have had a funny few weeks and my routine, I do love having a sense of routine, has been all over the place. But I am trying to keep up with everything and everyone important. We don’t always get it right – do we? But we should keep trying. As someone clever once said, “you only really fail when you stop trying”!

keep trying

This is me trying to finish my SHARE-YOUR-WORLD post before my three busy work days. I have realized if I don’t work on it on Tuesday evening – it’s never going to happen!

I do love that Melanie kindly provided the SHARE-YOUR-WORLD questions faithfully each week:


Are you thin or thick skinned?   Are you easily offended or tend to let it just roll off your back like a duck does with water?

Well…I always thought I was able to shrug off anybody else’s unkindness or lack of considerateness. In the past I was good at shrugging off other people’s unkindness (and I think even now I am good at it). If somebody else was nasty, I always said in my head “they are the ones who are going to suffer the most as they find themselves lonely and friendless”.

despairHowever, I did find it completely draining and exhausting receiving unkind comments on the scale I did due to my association with my ex-neighbour Jack. For others to insinuate that he and I had an erotic relationship when we did not, to be victim of rumours that I was having an affair with a married man, to be called all sorts of horrible names – tramp, slapper, whore, and much worse – and for the invasive interest in my personal life to go on for so long and for so many other people (most of whom I had never even met) to feel they had a right to say these things. That wore me down. I tasted despair due to that situation.

Perhaps others would have been more resilient. After almost two years of that, I was often in tears, often distraught, but I thought I was coping with it. I had not had one sick day off work in five years despite working between 40-60 hours per week. I was super-fit and spending hours running and playing sport. I thought I was resilient.

My breaking point came shortly before I found myself sitting on a park bench. That night I did not want to go home because I was scared to see Jack, and went to the park instead – that night I was immersed in despair and I lost sight of my own safety.

How important are morals in a healthy society? What are the most important morals for citizens to have?

How important are morals in a healthy society? Hmm. Well…do you know what happens to a society whose morals break down over time? – which often happens to a society that becomes affluent. If you visit a museum of world history like The British Museum you will see what happens. When life becomes cheap, values and morals break down, families break down, communities break down, empires crumble.

It’s interesting that when you learn about ancient Greece and Rome, Assyria and Egypt,  and other empires – you sometimes get an idea as to how depraved entertainments were becoming at the height of their success. Can you imagine the arenas packed with bloodthirsty crowds cheering the violence between men and sometimes animals?

The boastful reliefs where these ancient empires recorded their own inhumane actions. The sport that was had – brutal treatment of captives and animals.

The incredible cruelty that was inflicted on captives, slaves, women, animals… is it any wonder that those societies broke down? The rife corruption and abuse of power. Who would weep over the downfall of a sick and twisted civilisation?

I often wonder at those who feed their minds on depraved violence today in the form of movies and video games. They are training their own brains in an alarming way. Life is becoming more and more cheap. Once the political climate becomes volatile enough – what will they do? It is unthinkable.

The most important morals for citizens to have? Hmm. Well you can’t go far wrong with love and respect for others and holding the gift of life as sacred. A lot of laws are just a practical application of how to show love and respect for other creatures – both humans and animals.

What will your epitaph be?

She tried. She really did try.

 French toast, pancakes or waffles?

Years ago my mum and my sisters went to Belgium for a weekend. It was the first time I had sweet waffles smothered in naughty toppings.

If I deserved to have one now, it would have to come with some kind of caramel sauce – maybe some fruit like banana.

But to be honest, sweet waffles are such an amazing treat – one that I rarely deserve – I think I would be happy with any combination of fruit or sweet sauce. Any of the above are a treat though, I would enjoy pancake or French toast. I just remember my first experience in Belgium of waffles and I even remember the handsome waiter who served them. Yummy! I mean the waffles of course!

What were you grateful for this past week?

Several things. I don’t know where to begin.

  • I found something expensive that I thought I had lost
  • I had a wonderful conversation with Goldfinch that has made me feel much better
  • I had a wonderful conversation with my sister Milly and hoping she and her little family are coming to stay soon
  • The friend of a friend I agreed to go on a coffee-date with is now back from holiday and he sounds as if he is looking forward to seeing me. He is being very lovely.
  • I don’t seem to be throwing up as much this week as I was the previous two weeks – feeling a bit more normal again. I have to admit I was feeling incredibly rough before this week. But I seem to be so much more settled now.
  • I used the gift card my landlady gave me in December – it had £50 on it – she is so generous
  • Although I have been writing about some memories that are pretty miserable for me in the CARAMEL LEARNING TO LIVE AGAIN series, I have felt tremendous support from other bloggers. I am deeply grateful for that.


Run For Your Life!

shrugI had clearly annoyed my new boss by declining to drink more wine, and then escaping his company, by retiring early for the night. But this was not something I was going to worry about. If he pressured me to drink alcohol or asked me what kind of sexual acts I enjoyed – I was going to run as far away as I could get from him.

The next morning, he was up much earlier and was making it clear that he was not happy. But I have this way of dealing with grumpy people. I ignore their grumpiness. I gave him a cheerful “Good morning” and I smiled and chatted to him, though he was unresponsive at first and kept on giving me strange glances. But my cheeriness wore him down.

I inquired about his son. I had not seen his son since I arrived and wondered why. My new boss told me that he and his son had argued a few days before and he had told his son to get out of the house. His son had gone to live with his (my boss’) ex-wife. It suddenly dawned on me that I was living alone with this man. That realization was crushing to me. This was not an acceptable arrangement. From that moment I realized I was going to have to search for another post, and I did start to look.

I asked him what his general routine is. He said he did not want me rushing round in the morning cleaning. He said he likes to take it easy in the morning. He said that after a leisurely breakfast he would drive to work (he owned a company located about a 45 minute drive away) and spend three or four hours there before heading back. He told me that if there was any cleaning to do I could do it while he was out.

He said he also went to the gym two or three times a week. He asked me if I would like to go with him as his guest. In my mind I was thinking “with you? – no way Jose!” but I just told him I don’t really like the gym, but I prefer outdoor activities to keep fit.

His reply was less than polite and left me quite staggered. He told me that I could make more of my figure. He said I had great breasts but if I went to the gym with him then I could attain a nicer shape. I had a feeling my second day at work was going to be even worse than my first!

There was nothing wrong with my shape. I was a normal weight and shape. I have always been a bit top heavy. Before I was attacked I was doing a lot of exercise as well as working long hours, so I did become leaner around my lower half. After I was attacked, I was only doing house-work for my family and I wasn’t running or playing sports, just walking. But my weight was up and down during that year. I did not have much appetite at all and lost a lot of weight at first. But I rested a lot. In addition my family tried to fatten up. I knew my lower half had expanded a little. But I was still a very healthy weight and shape. I did want to improve my strength and stamina, but I was very reluctant to start going to the gym with my new boss.

I repeated that the gym is not something I would enjoy but I said that I would like to start walking again. We were on the outskirts of London and there were a lot of green fields and woods nearby. I said that I would like to go for a walk each day especially while the weather was so lovely.

He continued to pressure me to agree to go to the gym with him. He claimed he could help me get into a really nice shape. I said I was only interested in keeping fit, but not overly worried about my shape. He told me that I should be. I responded that I saw no reason to worry about my shape so long as I was fit and healthy. He replied that I should make myself more attractive to men. I laughed and stated that was not something I was concerned about. He looked at me as if I was ridiculous and asked me what was wrong with me. Can you imagine how I was feeling? Can you?

Calmly I thanked him for his “honest opinion” and promised I would be strict bout going out for a daily walk. Grrrrr!

Before he could reply, the doorbell rang. One of his friends had arrived. My boss was still in his robe, and his friend seemed annoyed that he was not ready. My boss told him he would go and have a quick shower and dress. Before he ran upstairs he asked me if I would mind boiling a couple of eggs for him.

I made a cup of tea for my boss’ friend and tried to make light conversation. I could tell he was sniggering and smirking a bit. He seemed to make references to  my boss choosing me for my as his new naughty maid. I completely ignored the inference. But it was interesting to be aware of what my boss’ friend thought of him. Hmm. It just reinforced my conviction I had to find another place as soon as possible.

toast soldiersWhen my boss returned he asked me what on earth I was doing with the eggs. I had automatically hard-boiled them and then peeled the shells. He was really annoyed with me. I should have asked how he wanted to eggs. I had just done them the way I prefer. But he wanted soft-boiled eggs with a slice of toast he could cut up and dip into the runny egg yolk. That’s the way we had eggs when we were little children. I apologised and acknowledged I should have asked how he liked his eggs. He looked at me as if I was a complete fruitcake!

Then he threw away the eggs I had hard-boiled and gave me a training session on how to boil eggs the way he liked them using a little device that you put into the pan with the eggs. I had never seen one before but I admitted it would mean I would not have to count the minutes the water was boiling.

I felt a mixture of humiliation and great amusement at him training me how to soft-boil an egg. He wanted me to watch the pan and observe how the egg-timer changed colour. It felt so ridiculous standing next to my boss, both of us stating at the pan of boiling water. I could see his friend found it funny to watch. Once the egg-timer had changed colour indicating the eggs were soft-boiled, my boss told me I could now remove them from the heat. He patted me on the behind and said “Good girl!”

I could not control my reaction. I stood back and said in a loud firm voice, “Please do not touch me!” I think he was a bit embarrassed I had snapped at him in front of his friend. He grabbed the pan and started to prepare the eggs to eat with his toast. I decided that was my cue to disappear.

After my boss and his friend had left, I cleaned his bedroom and bathroom and the kitchen and dining rooms. I left everything sparking. Then I headed out for a walk. I headed back towards the local high street. I found a local library and filled out a form so I could have a library card. I also found the local leisure centre which had a large swimming pool. I also bought some vegetarian food. I brought it back to the house and realized my boss was not back yet.

So I went out again and this time headed towards the green fields at the end of the town. I walked along very pretty paths with lush green trees and wildflowers and saw ponies and rabbits and squirrels. All of that cheered me up. I have always loved walking in through green spaces – but especially at that time it brought me a great sense of peace and calm and refreshment.

Lost in my own thoughts, I wondered how I would endure being in the house with this man who was making me feel so uncomfortable. Was I overreacting to him? Was he really that bad? Was I being overly sensitive? The last thing I wanted to do was ring my family and tell them I needed to come home. I wanted to be in London. I was going to have to make sure I found another “tied-accommodation” post as soon as possible. Part of me knew that this man could make me want to run for my life!

But finding another job with accommodation was not easy. I did find somewhere eventually, but in the meantime…

…well, I will explain in other posts.

He Certainly Is Persistant

My “ex” has been in touch. A lot.

I think I am frustrating him because he is becoming a bit overly persistent. I can tell he is becoming more and more erratic.

Even when Goldfinch was here, my ex was regularly sending me texts and e-mails.

I have not really written much about my “ex”…there is a reason for that. I don’t like to be unkind. He is a nice man. It just did not work. Part of that was timing. After being attacked, everything was challenging for me. I was still not really ready for a relationship. He showed time and time again that his main interest was physical.

He has money, a lot of it. I don’t. I have worked part-time most of my life in order to be able to work as an unpaid volunteer for charities. For five years before I was attacked I was a full-time international volunteer and I was not paid a penny through that time. He wanted to treat me. That made me feel extra awkward. I don’t like gifts too early in a relationship. Sometimes it feels as if there is some kind of expectation of what is hoped for in return.

He was very nice. He always behaved like a gentleman in public and made me feel quite the princess. But I always knew that the kind of relationship he wanted, I was not able to fulfil. I felt he should look elsewhere for the kind of intimacy he was hoping for.

The thing is…we both agreed that we should end the relationship. He admitted he was becoming frustrated with me despite his patience. I felt strongly that our very different view towards money was something that would always be a big division.

But he has always liked to keep in touch. Which makes sense because he has been a good friend for years. (He was married once, but he and his wife divorced many years ago, before I ever knew him.) Last year, I would generally reply to his messages telling him how wonderful Goldfinch was. Towards the end of last year he started to make it clear he was looking forward to Goldfinch leaving so that he could spend some time with me.

At the time his messages just made me laugh…and I ignored them. But he sure has been persistent these past few weeks.

He has been in touch again today. He had invited me to stay over at his lovely countryside home for a weekend. I declined (please believe me – I would not even think about it). So today he has sent several messages making it very clear what he hopes for the future with regards to me.

To be fair, he is a nice person. He is just not right for me at all. I know this very well.

In addition, there are other reasons why I would not want him to think there is any hope of me responding to his flattering messages. Everything is changing for me. Maybe soon he will tire of me and realize I am not who he is looking for.

First Day Of My New Job

I had been offered a post which included accommodation in London. We had agreed the terms of ten hours work each week (possible occasional overtime) and I would received £200 per week and free accommodation. It did seem unusual to me as I mentioned in my previous post.

I should write more about what happened in the two days prior to my arrival – it was probably one of the worst departures from my family I could possibly have anticipated. They have no idea to this day what happened after their fond farewell to me. But it was awful for me. On my way back to London – everything that could possibly go wrong with my journey did go wrong and to this day my family have no idea how much so.

leaving home.png

I even ended up sleeping in the long grass of a field not far from a railway station where my connection had been cancelled. This might sound crazy, yes, I actually think it was. But I did not have enough money to go and find a hotel room, I did not have a mobile phone, and I did not want my family to have to drive for hours to come and fetch me. I was not going to tell you that it was an ordeal for me. You might not think that roughing it for one night is that bad, but for me it was dreadful. I was a wreck that night. One year previously I had been lying in long grass whilst a stranger brutally … and left me to die. Even though I faced some awful challenges, I was so afraid of ever having to sleep outside again.

And looking back, I can see that I was an incredibly vulnerable mixed up cookie. I was so determined to get back to London and to get back on my feet. I did not want to be wrapped up in cotton wool by my family. If I had contacted my family they probably would never have allowed me to return to London – which is exactly why I did not contact them.

I moved into the “tied-accommodation” on a Sunday. I was very tired. The owner of the property was pleased I had arrived and offered to take me out to dinner that evening. I expressed my gratitude for his offer, but said I would like to settle and to have an early night because I was very tired after travelling. He went out for dinner to a restaurant and I was in the property all alone for my first evening. I did go to sleep very early.

headacheI was woken by the customary head pain which has been a part of my life since I was attacked. I showered and dressed and went downstairs. Nobody was awake yet. The house was silent. I had brought some cereal with me and so I boiled some water and ate my cereal with a mug of black coffee. I kept on expecting someone to appear, but nobody did. So I thought I would take a look at the cleaning equipment. There were various cleaning sprays and bleach and a couple of scrunched up and stained disposable cloths.

I decided I would need to obtain some decent cleaning equipment and I fetched my laptop to see what I could order online. I ordered a flick duster, microfiber cloths and a buffing cloth and some white vinegar. I had noticed there was lime-scale all over the chrome fittings and glass in the bathroom I was using and all over the kitchen. I intended to go into battle against that lime-scale. I thought I could walk into town later and buy some toothbrushes and sponge scourers for cleaning. I also sent an e-mail which I copied to several members of my family telling them everything was fine and the journey had been smooth. I did not want anyone worrying about me.

laundryThere were some clothes that had been drying on an airer in the utility room. I decided to iron them and fold them neatly. I had noticed the hard floors looked very grubby so I swept the hard floor in the large kitchen dining area and mopped the floor. Of course now that the floor was wet, the owner of the property appeared in his robe, looking half asleep still and asked me what on earth I was doing. It was almost lunch-time by now and I had been waiting for him to appear since about eight o’clock in the morning. I just explained that I had not been sure where to start so I had done what I could see needed doing.

man in robe.jpgIt turned out that the night before when he had gone out for dinner he had eaten and drank rather a lot and arrived home very late. He told me he did not normally sleep in so late. I showed him what I had done and he thanked me and said it was not really necessary and not to wear myself out. He said he wanted me to relax and enjoy myself. I told him I would like to walk into town to by some personal things. He offered to drive me once he was showered and dressed, but I said I would really enjoy the walk. He seemed a little irritated that I wanted to go out on my own, but I knew I had done more than he had expected on my first day and I wanted to buy some useful cleaning equipment.

I was out for a couple of hours. I bought the cleaning equipment I needed and also some food and toiletries in the supermarket. It was June and the weather was delicious. It was really good to be out in the sunshine. I was so glad to be back in London, although this part of London was completely new to me. I felt a bit better now that I had found my way around the town and knew where important shops/services I might need were located.

When I returned the gentleman seemed a little disgruntled that I had taken so long and asked me if I had been all the way to Timbuktu to do my shopping. I apologised. I asked if there was any work he wanted me to do that day. He said I had done more than was needed already. I showed him the cleaning schedule I had drawn up on my laptop that morning while I was waiting for him and asked if he wanted to make any changes. He just laughed and asked what was the matter with me. He told me just to take it easy. He wanted to get to know more about me, after all, we were going to be living in the same property. He said he would stay in and have dinner with me that evening and that he had bought some vegetarian ready-meals from Marks & Spencers for me. He said after dinner he wanted us to sit down and have a chat so he could get to know me better.

So that evening, after a Marks & Spencer vegetarian ready meal, we sat down to chat. He had two sofas either side of a coffee table, so we sat facing each other. He offered me a glass of wine. I declined, but he was rather insistent, so I accepted. I sipped it very slowly. He started with asking me general personal questions about myself and my family and where I had grown up and my goals in life. I tried to ask him the same questions but he didn’t seem very forthcoming with information about himself. He wanted to know more about me. His questions started to become more and more personal and he started talking about sex and asking what I enjoyed.

If you could have seen what was going on inside my head at that moment, it would have been pure rage. Now…I think any employee would feel more than a little uncomfortable with their boss asking these questions on the first day of employment – but I feel I had extra reasons after I had been the victim of a serious crime just a year earlier.

I tried every response. At first I tried to deflect the question, then I out rightly stated that it was a personal subject I did not want to talk about. He told me I needed to loosen up and relax.

He tried to top up my glass. I told him I did not want any more wine. He took my wine glass and poured more wine into it. I looked at him with a stern expression. I suddenly felt very angry with him. But I had to control it. I had very raw emotions that he had triggered, but he did not know what had happened to me, so I could not explode. I had to be able to deal with men who made me feel uncomfortable without treating them as criminals. This was his home after all. I had to learn to be assertive and deal with any unacceptable behaviour in a dignified way.

I stated that I hoped he was going to drink the wine he had just poured because I certainly was not. He told me to drink up. I was very firm. I told him that wine makes me sleepy. One glass was enough.

“I am feeling very tired after the wine I have already had so I am going to sleep now.” I stood up and walked away. He looked very annoyed.

The next morning…

…well, I am going to start a new post with what happened afterwards, because I don’t think you want a post which takes an age to read.



My First Job Back In London

There were six months when I first tried to get back on my feet again in London – which were challenging. I think it is probably a good time to write about the “disaster” that was my attempt to start back at work, after a almost a year long break from work. Wait until you read what I had to deal with!

I had a “situation” I had not really encountered before. When I think back, I have very mixed feelings towards the man involved. I think you will see I have every right to be angry and yet, I still find myself baffled that he does not realize perhaps how inappropriate he was. I honestly believe his conscience excused his actions. In fact, he seemed to think that I had some kind of problem – which in a funny way was true, just not the problem he thought I had. I would welcome your feedback because though I rarely think back on the “situation” I am going to relate to you, I still am not sure what to make of it at times.



As many of you know, I was the victim of a crime in the summer of 2015. On being discharged from hospital, I left London and travelled directly up to the North of England to stay with family. I spent almost a year with various family members in the North of England and Wales. My family were wonderful, but in some respects I was cocooned from the world outside. Once I felt I was ready, I sought to return to London. I knew I was not ready to work full-time, so I searched for accommodation and part-time work. I had been in “tied-accommodation” posts before, (before I moved to London I worked and lived on a beautiful countryside estate which was a wonderful life for me) so I thought this might be the best option for me. That would mean accommodation would be provided and I would have work to do for the owner of the accommodation.

There are many posts in London that offer accommodation. Au pairs, house-keepers, live-in care assistants, butlers…the range of accommodation and the requirements are very diverse. It’s not quite “Downton Abbey” these days, but not a long way from it. I know of “tied-accommodation” posts that as well as beautiful living quarters also offer a £60,000 salary. But in return you would have a massive amount of responsibility. I did not want the responsibility of anybody who was ill, or with children, I was not ready for that. So I was looking at house-keeping roles primarily.

I saw an advert that stated that in return for accommodation, the owner/principle required ten hours work each week and would pay £200 per week. Now in all honesty – that did not sound right at all. £20 per hour for the work required and free accommodation. I thought there must be a mis-print in the advertisement. Nevertheless, I contacted the person advertising the post to make enquiries. I was asked to send my CV and a photograph which I did so. Then I was asked to attend an interview down in London. I travelled down to London (even the journey down was a strange experience that could easily make up another post). The gentleman I had been corresponding with picked me up from the tube station and drove me to the property he lived in.

interviewAs with any interview, I was a little nervous. This was my first interview after a year of recovering from physical injuries and emotional trauma and I was quite shaky to be honest. I was worried about how to reply to any questions about the year long break I had from work. But those questions did not come. The gentleman seemed to want me to relax and tell me about myself. I rambled on about how my parents have always set an example in being hard-working, humble and honest and I try to live by those same qualities. He threw in questions along the lines of did I have a boyfriend? had I been married? did I have children? He also specified that he liked women to be women and to wear skirts or dresses.

Image 12 of 21I tried to clarify the amount of work needed and the arrangements involving accommodation and the rate of pay. He showed me the accommodation he proposed. It was a large double bedroom with a lot of storage space and an en suite bathroom. I asked about the amount of work required. He said there is not a lot to do. He and his son occupied the house. He asked for a couple of hours of cleaning each day from Monday – Friday. He said I could just relax at the weekend, there would be no work to do. He also said he would have some paper work and office work in connection with his business. I mentioned the advert said he would pay £200 per week, and asked was that a mistake. He said it was not a mistake. I mentioned that worked out as a rate of £20 per hour and free accommodation for some cleaning and office work. He affirmed that was the arrangement.

He was aware I had travelled from the North of England to London for the interview. He offered to put me up over night. I had already made other arrangements to stay with friends, so I declined.

Now…I did not feel totally comfortable with the situation. I would be living with two single men. The gentleman who had interviewed me was older than my Dad. His son was a few years younger than me. The accommodation I would be in was quite separate though. I would have my own quarters. He only needed two hours cleaning or other office work a day for five days a week. So many other “tied-accommodation” posts required very long hours and for you to be at the constant beck and call of your principle. This was by far the best arrangement financially, the best accommodation I was likely to obtain, and the easiest introduction back into work.

You may already have your doubts about me being in the accommodation with two single men. I did feel an aversion to the idea of being there myself. If you are reading this and thinking this sounds like trouble ahead, you are right to have those thoughts. But I doubted myself so much at that time. I was frightened of everything.

I was generally uneasy with all men at this point. I thought maybe my aversion to being there, was due to my general distrust and uneasiness around men. I thought I was overanxious and should try to accept that this was the best opportunity that was going to come along. The family member who I was staying with at the time needed me to move into another family member’s house because they were going to have some work done on their home. I thought that was the time to go to London rather than relocate to another county up north. I was desperate to be back in London. It was almost a year that I had been away.

I accepted the offer of work and accommodation and two weeks later I moved down to London with a suitcase with me clothes inside. How did it work out? Well…I don’t want this to be an enormous post. So now that I have set the scene for you, I am going to start another post with what happened once I had moved into the accommodation.

As the week goes on you may feel angrier and angrier and wonder why I was so feeble in dealing with these challenges. But as I have said…I was very vulnerable at this time – more so than I or any of my family realized.

No Income Tax, No VAT… No Money Back, No Guarantee

Jim, aka Newepicauthor, the creator of A Unique Title For Me is hosting SONG-LYRIC-SUNDAY and has chosen to give us the themes in advance.

So today’s theme is: NO as you can see from his post below:

Well…I have had all week to think of a song on the theme: NO. There are a lot of songs with the word no. Having a whole week to think of a song threw me, because every song I thought of I rejected, thinking other bloggers would choose the same song. Although doubling up is perfectly fine, there is always a little bit of excitement from coming up with a song that other bloggers may not have thought of. I think a lot of British bloggers will instantly recognize the song I have chosen for my SONG-LYRIC-SUNDAY post, but I am curious as to how well known it is by overseas bloggers.

For some strange reason earlier this week, I started to hum a tune the theme tune to the iconic sitcom “Only Fools And Horses”. The words:

“No income tax, no V.A.T.,

No money back, no guarantee”

…from the closing credits came into my head, and I settled on this for my choice.

This should be a very fun theme for SONG-LYRIC-SUNDAY! Looking forward to seeing your posts.


Stick a pony in me pocket

I’ll fetch the suitcase from the van.

Cos if you want the best ‘uns,

But you don’t ask questions,

Then brother, I’m your man.

Cos where it all comes from is a mystery,

It’s like the changin’ of the seasons,

And the tides of the sea.

But here’s the one that’s drivin’ me beserk,

Why do only fools and horses work?

La-la-la La-lala-la La-la-la La-lala-la.


We’ve got some half price cracked ice and miles and miles of carpet tiles,

T.V.s, deep freeze and David Bowie L.P.s,

Ball games, gold chains, whats’names, pictures frames and leather goods,

And Trevor Francis track suits from a mush in Shepherds Bush,

Bush, bush, bush, bush, bush, bush, bush …

No income tax, no V.A.T.,

No money back, no guarantee,

Black or white, rich or poor,

We’ll cut prices at a stroke……

God bless Hooky Street,

Viva Hooky Street,

Long live Hooky Street,

C’est magnifique, Hooky Street,

Magnifique, Hooky Street,

Hooky Street (to fade)


Written and performed by John Sullivan

Take Good Care Of My Baby

It is 11.30pm on Friday 26th January 2019 here in London. That means it is 10.30am on Saturday January 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. How do I do I know this?



Well…you know that invisible string that is tied to my heart at one end and at the other end is tied firmly to Goldfinch’s ribcage – it is telling me that he is in his element this weekend. A boardgame convention – role-playing and empire building and all sorts of games that could go on not just for hours, but technically for days and days.

Now…if you are going to be there and you end up playing against my Goldfinch – then play nice! He is very wonderful. So make sure he has the best time please.

And…buy him drink for me. Go on spoil him like he deserves it – because he is rather gorgeous. Take good care of my baby.


(I know this is a song about a woman – but imagine I am singing it about a man 🙂 )




Caramel Learning To Live Again

I have been working on a new series of posts which I am going to publish next week.

I started writing about a subject I that I have kept suppressed within me for a long time. Not the night I was the victim of a crime, not the year I spent with family recovering from my injuries and the trauma of what had happened – but the six months after that. My first six months back in London.

Let me tell you – they were pretty terrible really. I did not realize how much that was the case at the time. As I have been writing about those six months, I have felt rather horrified at how incredibly vulnerable I was at that time.

I am much stronger now. I pity that woman who was trying to get back on her feet but had some horrible challenges to deal with. I am going to publish some of the experiences I had to deal with. When you read them, you might scratch your head at my reaction to the challenges I faced. But please remember that I am relating to you how an extremely vulnerable me acted – not the me I am now.

The two years before I was attacked (during which I was teased, taunted, shunned, essentially bullied and eventually maliciously slandered) had crushed my self-confidence. The year after I was attacked sheltered me from the world outside and I lost a lot of my ability to deal with challenges. I have been reading back the posts I have completed so far and it really is strange to realize the depth of my vulnerability then. But in some ways – I had to get through that awful achey shaky breaky period to develop some strength again.

Starting with my first job back in London, next week I am going to publish one post a day in the series: