Don’t Even Bother Asking If You Look Okay

Portrait, Model, Girl, Blonde, Smiling

Jim Adams, aka Newepicauthor, the creator of A Unique Title For Me, is hosting SONG-LYRIC-SUNDAY and this week he has chosen the theme: Even/OdD

Well, I have to admit, one of the nice advantages of being with Jack is that his eyesight seems to be horrendous. He thinks I look wonderful even when I am a mess! I recommend finding yourself a romantic partner with terrible eyesight. It does wonders for your confidence. He keeps heaping ever more compliments about me, even when I come home exhausted on a Saturday night after a busy week at work and he meets me at my place and tells me that I am gorgeous.

Bruno Mars puts this wonderful quality of love that is so blind it accepts you for all of your imperfections perfectly! I am sure someone featured Bruno Mars last week, and it is thanks to them that I remembered this song had the word “even”.

Ohhhhh ohhhhhh ohhhhhh ohhhhhhh

Oh, her eyes, her eyes
Make the stars look like they’re not shinin’
Her hair, her hair
Falls perfectly without her trying
She’s so beautiful
And I tell her everyday

I know, I know
When I compliment her she won’t believe me
And it’s so, it’s so
Sad to think that she don’t see what I see
But every time she asks me, “Do I look okay?”
I say

When I see your face (face, face…)
There’s not a thing that I would change
‘Cause you’re amazing (amazing)
Just the way you are (are)
And when you smile (smile, smile…)
The whole world stops and stares for a while
‘Cause, girl, you’re amazing (amazing)
Just the way you are (are)

Her lips, her lips
I could kiss them all day if she’d let me
Her laugh, her laugh
She hates but I think it’s so sexy
She’s so beautiful
And I tell her everyday

Oh you know, you know, you know
I’d never ask you to change
If perfect’s what you’re searching for
Then just stay the same
So don’t even bother asking if you look okay
You know I’ll say,

When I see your face (face, face…)
There’s not a thing that I would change
‘Cause you’re amazing (amazing)
Just the way you are (are)
And when you smile (smile, smile…)
The whole world stops and stares for a while
‘Cause, girl, you’re amazing (amazing)
Just the way you are (are)

The way you are
The way you are
Girl, you’re amazing (amazing)
Just the way you are (are)

When I see your face
There’s not a thing that I would change
‘Cause you’re amazing (amazing)
Just the way you are (are)
And when you smile
The whole world stops and stares for a while
‘Cause, girl, you’re amazing
Just the way you are


Written By: Bruno Mars, Philip Lawrence, Ari Levine, Khalil Walton and Khari Cain

Stains…On My Conscience (An Ideal Tenant Confesses Her Hidden Secrets)

Home, House, Sink, Interior, DesignI have a confession.  It still weighs on my conscience after all this time because I suppose I did not do the strictly right thing…you know letter of the law and all.  Nope…it was definitely not right, because the old conscience still tugs at me and says “Naughty Girl!” I have not even told my beloved parents because they would have pointed out exactly what my conscience already knows.

I lived at home with my parents until I was 25. no 26…hold on, I think I am wrong again. I moved out of home six months after I had the the fourth and last in a row of surgical operations and I was finally given the all clear after a two year battle with illness…which means I was…gulp!  Am I really that old?

Let’s start on a more cheerful note…hold on if I was born in…how frightening it is that I am not sure of my own age?  Well what is age?  I don’t see why we should not live forever.  The most important thing is that I only have a handful of grey hairs.  Like my Dad…Dad is seventy…he is still a kind of dark blonde with the occasional honey streak and a rare grey hair…I would be so chuffed if I have inherited Dad’s hair genes and at the age of seventy am still mostly golden headed.  There is nothing wrong with silver hair.

Back to my shameful confession.  After I left home, I had several different forms of accommodation.* (SEE FOOTNOTE IF YOU ARE REMOTELY INTERESTED IN THE DETAILS)  But this is a story about the first time I rented a little flat and had to sign a twenty-eight page contract with a landlord.  It was kind of scary to me.  Looking back, there was nothing really to fear.  In fact I liked having such a clear understanding of the terms.  I do like rules…they make me feel secure.

Now, if you have been reading my previous posts, you will know I really enjoy cleaning, house-keeping, ironing and pretty much any “domestic” activities and practical work. Sorry to sing my own praises…but I am a dream tenant!  I keep my accommodation immaculate.  It’s just the way I have been trained.

But I have a confession to 20180601_192241-1make.  I have a stain on my conscience.  I have a secret that goes back to when I was newly in the little flat and had just signed a formal contract.  I was a bit nervous of my landlord.

So the incident that I am going to reveal occurred within a few weeks of my moving into the lovely little flat.  It involved a bottle of red wine.

I took the wrapper off the top and then plunged the corkscrew into the cork and twisted it tight.  As I was turning, something did not feel right.  The handles were not raising as they should have.

I realized there was something wrong with the cork.  It was crumbling.  The corkscrew was not effective in a crumbly cork.  So instead, I tried to dig the cork out.  Little by little it came out.  It was an excruciatingly slow process.

Then something truly awful occurred.  As I was digging out cork I did not realize that I was also pushing the cork down slightly.  There came a point when the pressure from the implement I was using pushed the cork right down the neck of the bottle and it crashed into the red wine.  It was so fast and furious I could barely take it in.  A moment later I stood there with red wine dripping down my face and all over my clothes.

sofaBut that was nothing compared to what I then discovered to my utter horror.  Red wine…splattered all over the kitchen worktops, down the cupboards and all over the sofa.  The sofa!!! Dark red spots.  I knew that was the urgent priority.  I doused the sofa with water…I was distraught.  My insides were in knots.  Thoughts of being evicted were racing through my mind.

After I had soaked the entire sofa…I knew I would have to wait for it to dry.  I then wiped all of the kitchen work surfaces, the cupboards, the floor.  Every time I stopped, I noticed more wine splashes and streaks.  I was really kind of tearful.

As for the wine bottle…I was so grieved by the catastrophe that had just exploded ruining my plans for the evening (which were to relax with a glass of wine) that I was at first inclined to pour it all down the sink.  I rejected that idea as I am such a penny pincher, I don’t like to waste anything.  I poured some out into a glass.  It was full of crumbled cork.  Aaaaah sigh.  So then I took out a large water jug and put a sieve over it.  I poured the wine out and most of the cork was trapped in the sieve.  But there was still little remnants of cork in the wine.  So I sieved it once more, but this time with some kitchen paper.  That seemed to do the trick, although I am sure some wine was absorbed by the kitchen paper.

I did not feel like drinking the wine though.  I was quite shattered by whatgirl dreaming had happened.  I decided I just wanted to be asleep.  That is what I did…I escaped my agonies by slipping into bed and drifting away into a state where I could dream happier thoughts.

The next morning I woke up and instantly remembered the sofa. I rushed into the kitchenette / living area where the sofa was.  I was filled with relief when I saw the sofa.  There were no wine stains anywhere.  I checked over every inch.  All of the red wine splashes had vanished.  The sofa was still a tiny bit damp, but I was sure that everything would be fine.  Aaaaah!  I was overjoyed that all my anxiety could melt away.  No eviction for me afterall!

I went out to work and forgot all about the incident with the red wine.  After a twelve hour shift I was pleased to return to my adorable little abode.  I made myself a light snack and poured myself a small glass of the red wine I had retrieved after the disaster the night before.  After I had eaten I lay down on the sofa to rest.

That is when I saw it!  Why did I not check the night before?  As I caught sight of the ceiling all my pain rose up within me again.  Huge streaks and splashes of red across the white ceiling!  I jumped up and climbed on top of the work-top with a damp cloth.  It didn’t help matters.  It just smudged and spread the red stains.  I could see that the only way to rescue the ceiling was with paint…white paint.

I knew I had seen some paint in one of the out-buildings.  I decided that I should have a look and see what I could find.  I had a little torch which I took with me as I crept outside and made my way into the outbuilding.  I had to climb over the lawn mower, tool boxes and step-ladders to get to the shelves with tins of paint.

paint tinsBy torchlight I looked through all the different types of paint.  There was a lot of gloss and wood stain.  There were oil-based and water-based paints of various colours and an impressive collection of shades of magnolia.  Could I find white emulsion paint?  Nope!  Then I started to wonder if my ceiling was pure white.  I came to the conclusion that it might be a just “off-white”.  It certainly was not a glaring white.  So I picked a paint at last, what seemed to be the lightest shade of magnolia on the shelves.

Back into the kitchen.  I did not have any proper paintbrushes at the time.  Normally if I was painting a whole ceiling, I would have used a roller  But I was hoping I could just patch up the the stains.  The only paint brushes I had were ones I used for dusting.  Well…one of them would have to do.

Well I had to put about six coats of paint on to the ceiling before the red stains were undetectable.  I hoped that the paint would dry lighter and resemble the rest of the ceiling.  Only…it didnt!

During the two years I was in that accommodation, nobody ever seemed to notice the big magnolia patch in the middle of my white ceiling.  Or if they did notice, they were too polite to ask.  I was too scared to tell my Landlord.  Pathetic I know!  I was young and very afraid.  They never mentioned it and I have never heard a word from them since asking me about the dark patch in the ceiling.

Whenever I have bought a bottle of wine since, I make sure it has a screw top…I don’t trust corks!

Aaaaagh…I may have “got away with it”…but I tell you the stains on my conscience over that red wine have still not washed away!  Perhaps this confession will help appease my troubled conscience!


*Firstly, I was a lodger.  My landlord and landlady did not ask me to sign any contract.  I gave them the money for my lodgings once a week and I also prepared a little receipt which I signed and asked them to sign so that there were never any disputes about whether I had paid.

Then I moved to a very beautiful home on a great country estate. That was all sealed on a handshake…we had a “gentleman’s agreement”…which we both honoured.  Then I moved into some accommodation owned by friends who also owned a country estate.  They too did not want to have a formal contract, they just asked of me a certain amount of rent.

Then I became a full-time volunteer…that was a bit like being in the military…basic accommodation was provided (aaaaaaaah happiest days of my life…and that is where I am going back to, once as I have had a clear CT scan!…I still have unusual swellings almost three years after that night in the park – I just keep telling them it is because I am so brainy!!!)  I have also had some other tied accommodation roles as a house-keeper in various private homes.

Would You Like To Meet The In-Laws?


Salted Caramel

Tomorrow, I am spending all day with my little sisters and their husbands.  I bought one of my brothers-in-law a very naughty gift.  My sister is going to tell me off.  He loves caramel, as do I.  So, I bought him a jar of Bonne Maman Caramel Spread – which is pure utter naughtiness.

©GIIC sarl, Pol Guillard, Tunis 2007

For my other brother-in-law I have bought a Sundried Tomato Spread – which is also yummy – I am quite addicted to it at the moment.  I am finding it incredibly hard to find though.  I used to buy it in the local “Le Pain Quotidien”, but they have stopped ordering it for their shelves.  The only other branch I know that still stock it is on the other side of London!

There are so many fantastic artisan delis, patisseries and artisan bakeries around here, I will be forever finding gifts and forever at risk of spending more than my budget dictates.  I have bought some other foodie goodies…cakes, posh crackers, jars and bottles of this and that and the other…all yummy gifts for my younger family members.

I would like to tell you about my younger brothers-in-law.  (Sadly, the older ones are not worth a mention having negated their marriage vows, but the younger ones are super. Both of my sisters will celebrate eleven years of marriage this year.)  Yet my two younger brothers-in-law are oh so different.

One I must admit I have a super soft spot for – thus the caramel spread I bought for him. If he was ten years older, then I would have grabbed him before my sister Milly had a chance!!!  He is very down to earth and fun.  A hard-worker.  I love that he married Milly because he is just the type of person I get on with and I know my whole family adore him.

At first, he seemed to have a bit of a shy streak.  I remember years back when he came a-visiting, there were a few occasions when he seemed relaxed on his arrival, but then something odd happened.  I think as he saw us girls chattering away ten to the dozen, sometimes he seemed to feel the need to escape.  And escape he would!  Quite literally, he would step into the kitchen or outside the house for a moment to himself.  I was not sure at the time whether he found our family’s noisy chatter and laughing a bit over-whelming.

My opinion changed when we went to a get-together with his family.  I started to doubt that he was overwhelmed by our noisy chatter because his family were incredibly loud.  So, I started to wonder what was it that he found challenging about us. I drew the conclusion his family are very male dominated – lots of very loud and lively blokes always laughing and singing and play fighting.  We were female dominated (six girls and one boy) so we chatted non-stop and laughed and sang but I guess we were just so different.  He was not used to so many lively girls.

His family are amazing….it will take me too long to tell you about them now.  I will tell you more in other posts.  When he and my sister first married, I went to stay for a weekend with them.  I was amazed that she had kind of been thrown in the deep end with doing all the house-work and cooking.  He did help with the house-work, but Milly seemed to be determined to be a domestic diva.  In addition, all these boys who were used to my brother-in-law being their best mate, would just turn up at the house, without ringing ahead to ask if that was convenient.  My sister would suddenly be making dinner for 12.  Milly just got on with it.  She is the same now, she just gets on with whatever work there is to do.  One by one his mates stopped just dropping in without an invitation, once they were getting married.  In that fairly remote corner of the countryside, it does seem that people get married and start having children at quite a tender age.  Now most of them have children.  They all appreciate that it is easier to plan in advance rather than turning up at the home of your friends, expecting to be fed.

My brother-in-law is a typical member of his family.  The entire clan seem to be made up of builders, window cleaners, farmers…they are all hard-working, down-to-earth and very jolly and gregarious.  Love them, truly truly…they have an infectious love of life and laughter of heart.  The countryside were where they all live…it is simply stunning…healing for the heart!


My other younger brother-in-law is super too.  But a very different kettle of fish.  He had a crush on my sister from the age of thirteen.  Mandy was not sure about him for a long time, but I think she found that being adored by someone was irresistible.

He also comes from a close-knit family who liked to do a lot of socialising and holidaying.  They are a town family like our own.  He had a super-mum.  Now I think most mums do a lot…but when I say super-mum.  You know what I mean by the phrase “Super-mum” don’t you? –Screenshot_2018-05-29-22-33-57-1 However this Supermum probably did too much…and not necessarily wisely.  It is a risk.  He and his brother were wearing pretty much identical clothing well into their twenties.  Always smart and pristine. Why?  Because their super-mum would shop for them.  She was incredible at cleaning and washing and ironing and cooking.  She kept both her home and family looking immaculate.  Not saying there is anything wrong with that.  But it may have caused some challenges for my sister.  When Mandy was first married it seemed her husband expected her to be just like his mum…just like his Supermum!

Well, Mandy is one tough lady, she is not like Milly and I at all.  Milly and I get on with everyone and would rather someone walked all over us than pick a fight.  Mandy has a streak of fire than runs through her bones.  You are wise not to cross her!  Don’t borrow her clothes without asking permission! She soon made sure my brother-in-law understood that she was not his mother!

Mandy found it hard to get used to my brother-in-law’s family at first.  They are a lovely family, but she was a bit overwhelmed at first that his mum wanted her to be part of the family immediately and to get all close and cosy.  My brother-in-law’s mum and my sister are not alike.  However, all that changed when my sister realized that every Sunday his mum would cook a giant roast dinner with two different types of meat and always a scrummy dessert.  Mandy loves her meat!

It is true though, they have very different personalities and have certainly had times when they did not see each other’s point of view.  But they both love my brother-in-law.  My sister finds it odd that his mum buys them both thermal underwear each winter…but she accepts that these are habits that are unlikely to ever change.  I would love someone to buy me thermal underwear every winter!

Anyway….back to my brother-in-law.  I remember the days when he was courting our Mandy.  There he was with his brother, both of them looking like catalogue models wearing smart jeans, polo-necks, cashmere sweaters, smart loafers – and we were all off to the beach.  They knew we were going to the beach.  My sisters and our friends and I were all wearing shorts and T-shirts and flip-flops.  The beach meant fun!  We were all running through the waves and sand and screaming and singing.  Naturally, more than a little water was splashed around…and those boys were freaking out because we splashed their beautiful clothes.  Well, I did feel sorry for their super-mum having more work to do.  But in all honesty, we wondered why on earth they would wear those clothes for a day out at the beach.

My sister has worked on him.  She has helped him to see that rather than always looking as if you are a catalogue model, it is best to wear clothes appropriate for the occasion.  He is a great lad.  Most importantly he loves my sister – which makes him wonderful – ha!

I am very pleased with both of my younger brothers-in-law.  Not only do we feel delighted that they are a part of our family, but we love that we are an addition to their families.  Before any of my siblings married, we did feel a bit unconnected, not sure how the rest of the world regarded us.  Having in-laws is super.  We are no longer a family, more like an empire.  All workers who love life, love family, love laughter and love food.  Nothing special really…just what we humans were designed for.  I know not everyone has this now…I do know it.  It is not right.

I read in history class once that strong families make strong communities and ultimately make strong empires.  I also read that often the fall of empires is once they acquire great wealth, moral depravity and family breakdown has eroded the structure of their society.  Their very foundations have crumbled.

In my mind…the whole human family should be exactly that…a family where every single person can thrive…working hard, and having good food and loved ones to share life with and to sing, dance and laugh with.  One glorious day hey!!

There Was Something In The Air That Night!

Valentine, Love, Romance, Silhouette, Couple

There was something in the air that night

The silence amplified every sound

He touched my hand, a spark shot through me

He drew me close, then span me around

Two smitten hearts were struck with lighting

That look of passion deep in his eyes

Declaring he was yearning for me

Breathless as my pulse began to rise

In his strong arms I felt so alive

He led me on quite a merry dance

Had me magnetised right to his side

Electric charging a sweet romance

lightining clouds
Image by O12 from Pixabay

This was in response to THE ELEMENTAL CHALLENGE hosted by Teresa aka The Haunted Wordsmith:

Remembering Retrospectively Reaps Rich Rewards

How do a window-cleaner and a nurse manage to feed and clothe seven children?  There were so many of us.  In our family everybody had little jobs to do.  We all had to help out from a young age.  Money was always going to be tight.  But what Mamma and Dadda could not provide in a material way, they more than made up for in imparting lessons for life…wise and healthy habits for a life-time.

pound coin

I still remember Dad training me to wash the car for the first time.  When he told me he wanted me to do it…I was chewing gum, I put one hand on my left hip and held out my right hand and demanded “fifty pence should do it!”  Dad glared at me.  He said, “this time you won’t receive a penny, partly because you have been cheeky and partly because I am going to help you so you know how to do it.  But from now it will be your job to do it every weekend and I will give you £1.”

Dadda managed to teach us some vital lessons about money.  Dad would buy chocolate and if we wanted to eat it, we had to buy it off him (paying a bit extra than the price he had bought it for).  Dad reasoned that if we wanted to buy it at a cheaper price, we would walk to the fifteen minutes to the local newsagents, which would go a long way undoing the damage of the chocolate we bought.  Without taking away our choices, he decided to make it a bit more difficult for us to eat rubbish.  Clever Dad – just one of his many clever little ways.

My sister did so much better than I did.  Mandy saved her pocket money and bought clothes and she looked after them very well.  I went through a stage of spending my pocket money on music and sweets.  Eventually I learn to do the same as Mandy (partly because she refused to lend me her lovely clothes!)…but it took me much longer to learn to be prudent with my pennies.  With guidance and training, I also learnt to look after what I owned because I would have to replace my own clothes when I ruined them.

Then there a lesson I will never forget…and looking back retrospectively, it makes me marvel at my Dad for being such a wise man.  It was my first summer with my own radio.  I loved listening to music.  Before I had my own radio, I used to take Dad’s car keys, climb into the car and turn the key just enough for the radio and electric items to work, without starting the engine.  I sat there listening to music for hours…and ran the car battery flat…I did it twice before Dad realized I would be better off with my own little radio.

radioOh how I loved my radio!  There was a daily competition which captured my youthful excitement and enthusiasm.  I think if you heard three specific songs in a row you had to call the number advertised and if you were caller 252 you won.  You would win £1000.  They gave away £1000 everyday.  I never did win, but when the phone bill came…OUCH OUCH OUCH!

Dad showed me the phone bill…I could not believe my eyes.  Pages and pages of me ringing the same phone number at a premium rate over and over.  I spent a lot of money on trying to win…around £400.  What did Dadda do?  What do you think he did?  I had to pay it back effectively by not receiving my pocket money for many many months.

This experience taught me never to gamble.  I still pull a face when anyone talks to me about buying lottery tickets, or playing bingo, or having a flutter…Nooooope!!!  Never liked the taste of any form of gambling since my bitter experience as a 13 year old.

Which is what Dad wanted.  He had big money troubles as a young man.  He became engrossed in horse-racing and other sports.  Lost a lot…won next to nothing.  He stopped gambling before he married my mum, but he still found it difficult to be strict with his pennies.  However, he managed, and I take my hat off to him for how well he did.

I wonder whether he was partly motivated by wanting to teach his children how to view money and what it can buy.  All his kids are fit and healthy and able to earn a living – and appreciate the lessons in life we received.  Retrospectively looking back on my childhoood…aaaaaah!…

Treasure Chest

…all of the lessons in life from my parents…I feel rich…I feel so immensely wealthy.  They have set me up for happiness on a vast scale.  I have a treasure chest of lessons from Mumma and Dadda that keep helping me take wise steps.

I have to admit, the more I put my retro-spectacles on and bring back into my mind the lessons in life Dadda and other family members taught me…I am full-up of love and appreciation and respect for the loveliest window-cleaner in England!  My  Dadda.

Wisdom is priceless.  Far more value than gold!


Do not be afraid. I…will help you.

I don’t mind being alone…truth be told, I quite like my own company.  My head is never empty of happy thoughts, wonderful memories, dreamy hopes.  I am more than content to be alone at times and be lost in my own pleasant mind.

However, I was once all alone.  Not on my own physically, rather I was isolated within a challenge that I could no longer handle.  I am going to save the full saga of how this challenge developed and intensified for other posts.  But for now, it is enough for you to know that I had no idea who to turn to for help.  It was a situation I did not feel I could share with my loving family.  It would have appalled them to know what I was dealing with.

I had lost confidence in the friends around me.  I had many friends who had known me since childhood but none of whom were living in London.  Those I thought could perhaps help, I either did not want to bother them because they were so important, or I was frightened of the consequences of getting others involved.  Truth be told, the man who was the root of all my trials had confused me.  (If you read “Peanut-Butter Cookies – That’s The Way The Cookie Crumbled” or “Would You Like A Cup Of Tea?” you may understand why I was confused.)

This man seemed to have decided to make my life miserable…he was a very influential man.  He was a popular celebrity.  He had been using social media to spread his dissatisfaction with me which had intensified my isolation.  I am a softie…I don’t fight with people.  I had never been in this situation before.

My isolation had been increasing over time.  One Tuesday evening, I felt I could not go home to where I lived because I might see him again.  I had seen him several times during the previous days and he had shown his usual hostility.  So I did not go home.  I went to a local park.  I sat on a bench and allowed tears to stream down my face.  I was overwhelmed by this challenge…I felt not just alone, but all alone.  Isolated in my emotional pain.  Maybe you have experienced that kind of alone…”all alone”…feeling under intense stress and not knowing who you can turn to.

In London you are not often alone physically.  There are always lots of people around. When I arrived in the park there were joggers, dog-walkers, cyclists.  A man sat next to me on the bench.  A complete stranger.  It was him.  I was not afraid at first, I was caught up in my burdensome brooding.  But I do remember what happened when I stood up with the sudden awareness that now it was dark and there were no joggers, dog-walkers, cyclists anywhere I looked.  I had decided I should not be there.  I said it out loud.  I actually said, “I should go home.”  I try not to think about him.  Despite what he did that night, the damage was already done.  Caramel was already crushed long before that night.

Now I am going to take you forward several hours.  A security guard had found me…he had found me left in bushes with obvious injuries.  He had called an ambulance.


The rest of the day…well I remember an array of flashes and noises.  I was asked many questions, the same questions over and over, by paramedics, nurses, doctors, police…everyone introduced themselves…I still remember some of  their names, Gary, Patrick, Michelle, Daryl, Samara, Naomi, Carol, Jyoti, Michael, another Michael…I cannot remember their roles, but I can remember their words.  I was asked again and again what I could remember.  I would be asked that question many many more times.

I was also asked who they could call…I kept on saying “Noone, please, not yet.”  I told them where I lived, but I begged them not to contact anyone yet.  I knew that my family and friends would be very distressed.  I needed time to be able to muster the strength to reassure them that I was alright and everything was going to be alright.

I drifted in and out of consciousness…after a whole day and night in the hospital I woke up on the Thursday morning feeling numb and empty.  One of the first people I saw that morning must have been a ward clerk, with the task of arranging discharges.  She introduced herself as Sally.  She asked me how I was getting home? had I arranged my transport home? was someone coming to pick me up? or would I be making my own way home?  I felt horrified…suddenly the thought of going back to my accommodation after what had happened to me in the park was impossible in my mind.

How could I go back there?  He was still there…the man who had been making my life unbearable for two years.  There were scores of neighbours who had been speculating about the relationship between he and I.  Over the two years thousands of cruel words had been spread about me.  I had been taunted and mocked about him.  Hundreds, perhaps thousands of others – friends, workmates, and his fans had read his posts about me on his social media sites.  He even used me as the subject of a comedy sketch he was involved in on an entertainment show.  After that I received many many more remarks about his view of me.  I had been enduring all of that for almost two years and it had essentially crushed me.

This site is Crushed Caramel.  I am finally sharing with you what crushed Caramel.  Not what happened that night in the park, but the two years beforehand.  Now…with my physical injuries and the horror inside of me of what had happened during the night I was in the park…how could I go back now?  I was not ready.

I said to Sally that I had not made any arrangements yet.  I asked her what time did I have to leave? was the bed I was in needed by another patient?  She had a look at my notes and replied that I should not worry until the consultant made his rounds.  I was worried though!  When the consultant came…I asked him what time I had to leave.  He made it clear that I was not going anywhere.  He said that they would be keeping an eye on me for the next few days.  I was relieved.  Pressure lifted, I felt that would allow me the time to work out what next.  Who should I call?

My best friend Marta was on holiday in Spain, visiting her family.  My closest sister Milly had just flown out to Central Africa to begin a new project.  I did not want to call my parents just then because I knew they would be anxious, possibly devastated if they saw what had happened to me.  My flatmates, Ivo and Lyn, were also on holiday.  I did not want to call my boss or anyone too important.  I had many friends in London, but they were all  friends of my ex-flatmate.  I was frightened they would tell him what had happened to me.  There was one thing I was sure of, I did not want him to know.

Momentarily, I felt desperately alone.  For the first time since I arrived at the hospital I began to cry.  It was not being on my own, but feeling all alone.  There seemed to be noone who could really take the weight of this enormous challenge away from my shoulders, noone who could lift the heavy burden on my heart.  The pressure inside me was welling up and out poured tears.  I cried silently.  But the raw pain inside was burning away.

That was when these words suddenly started to echo around my mind:

If I would fly away with the wings of the dawn to reside by the most remote sea,  Even there your hand would lead me and your right hand would take hold of me.  

If I say: “Surely darkness will conceal me!” Then the night around me would become light.  Even the darkness would not be too dark for you. But night would be as bright as the day; Darkness is the same as light to you.

You may know these words well or perhaps you have never heard those words before. You may have other sources you turn to for comfort and wisdom. But these were the beautiful words that started to sing within me.  The pain, the pressure, the panic melted. Comfort invaded the space they had been occupying.  Comfort in the shape of warmth, of courage, of knowing I was not alone.  The awareness that I had a friend who was far bigger than any challenge I could ever face, far more powerful than the worst of my fears, was immensely comforting.  I felt as if a great pair of arms lifted me up out of the bed I was resting in and gave me a bear hug!

Those last words “darkness is the same as light to you”.  Momentarily the gloominess of my situation had overwhelmed me.  However, even if my pain was dark and bitter and I could not see hope ahead or a way out…well, He could.  To Him, it was clear as day…night might as well be day.  He saw past the darkness, He could see everything and understood everything.

More words came into my head and comforted me.

I have many friends and family members.  At times though I had felt as if they didn’t understand who I really was on the inside.  Everyone thought I was a little ray of sunshine.  I tried to be happy and friendly with everyone.  I had tried for those past two years to conceal the pain of essentially being bullied and tormented.  I had tried to laugh it off, to make light of it, to pretend I was not bothered by the cruel words uttered against me.  As I mentioned, I had felt all alone because there did not seem to be anyone I could turn to for help with this challenge.  The words that came into my head again in a loud and reassuring tone were these:

My bones were not hidden from you when I was made in secret. When I was woven in the depths of the earth.  

Your eyes even saw me as an embryo.  All its parts were written in your book.  Regarding the days when they were formed before any of them existed.

To feel all alone, to feel as if there was nobody that really understood me or could help me with this challenge…how wrong I was!  From the moment I was conceived He knew I existed.  Nothing has escaped his notice.  He knows every detail of my mind and the depths of my heart.  There I was alone in hospital, but now I knew I was not alone!  I was now infused with the peace and calm and power I needed to face the future.

It gave me the courage to face with calmness everything I needed to do.  I rang our Mandy, who was the only family member I thought could see me with my injuries without sobbing.  Mandy is one tough cookie.  She jumped in the car and came straight down to London.  She did cry when she saw me, but she managed to control herself as she saw that I needed calm.  Together we rang a close friend of mine who was of great influence.  He promised to look after all of my arrangements in London.

All of these beautiful expressions, which were penned around 3000 years ago, were evidence to me that we were never intended to have an isolated existence.  Being on your own is good for you at times, but feeling all alone is not good…it is not what we were designed for.  We thrive on love – showing love and knowing we are loved.  To me these special words breathe love and deep personal interest.

To sum up the effect of these words, I would like to share my quote for today.  If you ever feel all alone.  Isolated, with a challenge that is beyond your ability to deal with.  If your heart is weighed down with grief or anxiety and you cannot see any light ahead.  The quote, the 2,700 year old famous words that empowered me like never before were these:

Do not be afraid. I…will help you.

And He did!  Every step!


Many of us are very sad at the news that First Fridays, Daily Prompt and The Community Pool are no more to be…We are all hoping there will be ways to keep the connections going.  Well one way appears to be challenges bloggers can nominate each other for.  So this post is Day Three of the Three Day Challenge.

I was nominated for this audacious challenge by Mr Mark Anthony, as you can see from his post.  Thank you Mark Anthony…the nomination gave me some ideas regarding more lessons in life that Caramel has indeed learned.  I am pleased to be able to share them on the Crushed Caramel site.


• Thank the person who nominated you.

• Post a quote for three consecutive days (1 quote for each day).

• Nominate 3 different bloggers for each day.

“ Do not be afraid. I will help you.” 



My nominees :

I love looking at your posts and appreciate all of your support and encouragement.

I hope you enjoy this challenge as much as I have.  Maybe you will have something fun, wise or inspirational to you that you can share with us.

As for my own posts…well I promise you for the rest of the week they will be much more light-hearted!  I don’t want you to worry…we will come back to this subject at a much later date.




Once On The Lips…Forever On The Hips

On a cold Tuesday there was nothing better than being welcomed into the kitchen of my Aunt Sal.  “Tuesday Newsday”, as we called it – Aunt Sal was a fountain of information about everyone in town!  On a Monday she would do her weekly food shop and bake a fruit cake.  It was general knowledge that she liked to have visitors on a Tuesday because she had clubs and classes she attended every other day of the week.  No matter how many of us dropped by, she always had enough soup heating in a huge saucepan.  It would be accompanied by wedges of crusty bread with a thick lashing of salted butter.

Aunt Sal was warm and generous and hospitable…the perfect auntie in every way.  I do wish you could meet my Aunt Sal.  I want to tell you about the downstairs water-closet (or bathroom) at my Aunt Sal’s sweet little terraced house.

There is only one way to describe it.  It was a pig-sty to be frank, a total pig-sty!

Literally…a pig-sty.  She had a collection of hundreds of pig ornaments.  She had been collecting little piggy ornaments for decades and this was the throne room for her collection.  Whenever family members would go away on holiday they would bring back tiny pigs in their suitcase…and into the water-closet they would go.  She had a truly international pig collection.

Sometimes we would invite a friend to come and visit Aunt Sal for the first time.  If they asked to use the bathroom, Aunt Sal could never resist saying “Of course, but please forgive me luvvy, it is a bit of a pig-sty!”  We would all look at each other smiling (Aunt Sal’s house was immaculate) and we loved seeing the reaction of our friends when they returned after their discovery of Aunt Sal’s impressive piggy collection.

I remember the pigs vividly…but there was one piggy in that water-closet that has had an influence on my life choices and I have remembered more than any other.  It was a cross-stitch piggy wearing a tutu and in a pirouette pose.  Next to the piggy in needle-work was the phrase “Once on the lips….Forever on the hips!”


For reasons that I guess are fairly obvious…this has been a quote that has stayed with me for years!!!  Arguably it is one of the more influential quotes on my habits and life choices.  There is a lot of talk today about the pressure that glossy magazines, the fashion world, the entertainment industry and the media put on young woman to be super slim. Perhaps that is so…I have never let myself come under the yoke of the media and entertainment industry…and if you had a look through my wardrobe, I am sure you would agree I am in no way influenced by the fashion industry.

There are those who prefer to allow an inordinate quantity of dainty morsels to cross their lips and later to atone for their indulgences by zealous activity in pilates, zumba and nordic walking.  However, I have to maintain a tight grip on my schedule and the size of my girth!

No…the quote that has prodded my culinary conscience and led me away from the path of  cream cakes, doughnuts and crisps or chips or any other scrumptious snack…is from the piggy in Aunt Sal’s water closet: ONCE ON THE LIPS…FOREVER ON THE HIPS.


Many of us are very sad at the news that First Fridays, Daily Prompt and The Community Pool are no more to be…We are all hoping there will be ways to keep the connections going.  Well one way appears to be challenges bloggers can nominate each other for.  So this post is Day One of the Three Day Challenge.

I was nominated for this audacious challenge by Mr Mark Anthony, as you can see from his post.  Mark has recently completed this challenge himself.  Thank you Mark Anthony…the nomination gave me some ideas regarding more lessons in life that Caramel has indeed learned.  I am pleased to be able to share them on the Crushed Caramel site.


• Thank the person who nominated you.

• Post a quote for three consecutive days (1 quote for each day).

• Nominate 3 different bloggers for each day.

“ Once on the lips…forever on the hips” –


My nominees are:

The Worldly

I have loved reading your previous posts and can’t wait to see what you can do with this!

I hope you enjoy this challenge as much as I have.  Have fun!

I have two more days of the challenge to complete, two more posts, two more quotes…I have been working on…more to come.


I Wanna Scream ‘Til The Words Dry Out

Jim Adams, aka Newepicauthor, the creator of A Unique Title For Me, is hosting SONG-LYRIC-SUNDAY and this week he has chosen the theme: Chat/Laugh/Rant/Scream/Talk

When I first discovered Emeli Sandé, I was bowled over at her voice. I felt as if she could sing anything and set it on fire with her power and emotion. The very first song I ever heard her singing was the track “Read All About It”. As well as Emeli’s incredible voice, I was moved by the sentiment in the chorus.

I think I interpreted the song my own way for a while, perhaps the wrong way, but I felt that when you are in love – there is that urge to shout about it from the rooftops. I have had that urge – believe me! – but I have also learnt the protection of discretion. There are some funny folk out here who seem to be bent on bursting bubbles wherever they go.

I believe that the lyrics are more about saying “This is me….I won’t be censored”. Not sure how far I would take that, but as someone who has learnt to be herself and speak her mind in a Maria Von Trapp style, refusing to be moulded by modern aspirations but to stick to the only purpose that makes sense to me – a clean earth with a healthy thriving human family – well I am happy to unapologetically state I would sing that purpose from the rooftops!

Well…I don’t want to be contentious about the message behind the lyrics – for me it is brought to life by the voice imparting huge meaning to this song.

You’ve got the words to change a nation
But you’re biting your tongue
You’ve spent a life time stuck in silence
Afraid you’ll say something wrong
If no one ever hears it how we gonna learn your song?

So come on, come on
Come on, come on

You’ve got a heart as loud as lions
So why let your voice be tamed?
Maybe we’re a little different
There’s no need to be ashamed
You’ve got the light to fight the shadows
So stop hiding it away

Come on, come on

I wanna sing, I wanna shout
I wanna scream ’til the words dry out
So put it in all of the papers,
I’m not afraid
They can read all about it
Read all about it, oh

At night we’re waking up the neighbours
While we sing away the blues
Making sure that we’re remembered, yeah
Cause we all matter too
If the truth has been forbidden
Then we’re breaking all the rules

So come on, come on
Come on, come on,

Let’s get the TV and the radio
To play our tune again
It’s ’bout time we got some airplay of our version of events
There’s no need to be afraid
I will sing with you my friend

Come on, come on

I wanna sing, I wanna shout
I wanna scream ’til the words dry out
So put it in all of the papers,
I’m not afraid
They can read all about it
Read all about it, oh

Yeah, we’re all wonderful, wonderful people
So when did we all get so fearful?
Now we’re finally finding our voices
So take a chance, come help me sing this
Yeah, we’re all wonderful, wonderful people
So when did we all get so fearful?
And now we’re finally finding our voices
Just take a chance, come help me sing this

I wanna sing, I wanna shout
I wanna scream ’til the words dry out
So put it in all of the papers,
I’m not afraid
They can read all about it
Read all about it, oh

I wanna sing, I wanna shout
I wanna scream ’til the words dry out
So put it in all of the papers,
I’m not afraid
They can read all about it
Read all about it, oh

Written by: Thomas Andrew Searle Barnes and Iain James

What A Week!

I think….I think that this was probably one of the toughest weeks at work since the start when we were all baffled back in March 2020. It was real tough. I won’t tell you everything that happened – but I will say this – when your adrenaline levels are so high for so many hours for so many days – it is exhausting!!!

I have pretty much done nothing except sleep, work and tried to make time to eat. It has been intense and at times we felt like we had lost control. But even when things are a nightmare – we keep going. We keep going.

I was shocked to come home on Friday and to see a well-known billionaire being interviewed on the news by the staggering amount of money he has spent on launching a rocket into outer space. I found myself filled with annoyance. “GET REAL!!!” I thought to myself. There are so many people who need some help to cover their basic cost of living. Why is he wasting all that money on something so ridiculous?

Oh dear! I was so cross with him.

In other matters – it has become more apparent than ever this week because of what we have seen that the vaccine really is just one string of the bow. The vaccine, testing and social distancing will need to continue to work side by side for several months to come. You cannot have one without the other.

If you have had the vaccine or if you have already had the virus you will have some protection if you come into contact with the virus again. However, you can still breathe it in and carry it within your airways. You can still test positive for the virus. You can still carry it around in your nose and then breathe it on to another person who has not any protection because they have not had the virus and/or they have no antibodies because they have not had the virus before.

So for some months ahead – vaccines, testing and social distancing have to continue to work in tandem. We cannot abandon any of those yet. Never forgetting the basic foundation that we relied on throughout 2020 – good hygiene and quarantine for those who have symptoms – two basic foundation pillars of modern medicine which were recorded in the Mosaic Law over 3,500 years ago.

Please understand that we are in the eye of the storm. Do everything you know you need to do to keep yourselves and other safe.

The Shocking Discovery That My Grandfather Was A Vlogger!

Just a quick reminder to you – I am reblogging my older posts while work is consuming all my time and energy – this post was written shortly after my Grandfather’s death – which was three years ago. But thank you for the expressions of sympathy. 

We sadly lost my Grandfather a couple of months ago.  He was an intellectual giant.  I will tell you more about him in another post.  Today I want to share a discovery we made after his death, one that surprised and sort of amused us.  I guess I have already given the game away in the title of this post.  Allow me to explain more about my Grandfather and how he entered the vlogging community.

Since we lost my Grandfather, I have been recollecting our many visits to the home he and my Grandma lived in.  Playing on my mind is my perception of him when we were little ones.  I remember him giving me my first taste of whiskey when I was a little girl…and I am sure my Dadda objected, but Granddad (who was difficult to restrain) said it is good for little children to get used to alcohol so they don’t go off the rails with it later in life.

I remember he would ask us questions and then he would throw back his head and chuckle at our responses.  He would always encourage our learning and recommend that we read more.  He was a “perpetual student”….completing one degree after another.  He loved history, the classics, the romantics, literature, poetry.  I would sit at his feet and he would recite from memory some Tennyson or Milton or a poet I had never heard of…he was quite remarkable academically.  I have recollections of countless occasions when we have received lectures from my Grandfather on history, politics, classic poetry, literature or art.

Just after my Grandfather died, I had the notion I would type his name into an internet search engine.  Imagine my shock at the discovery that at the age of 89 he was a vlogger.  Not just any vlogger.  Tens of thousands of people from all over the world have been following his posts.  I only started blogging three weeks ago.  My Grandfather has been secretly blogging and vlogging for years.  Nobody in our family knew he was a famous vlogger.

I have just watched one of his video posts.  He is sitting in a creaky chair which is apparent every time he moves.  I can see he is either struggling with his memory or just thrown by the camera.  Yet it reminds me of my Granddad…it brings back memories of all the times I have sat at his feet and heard many such discourses from him.  He had a library in his attic….but the library spread and eventually has consumed the entire house.


My Granddad was quite a man!  He was a big character.  He may have upset more than a handful of people in his time….but he has thrived on debates and stretching his mind.  He enjoyed life.  He enjoyed food and wine.  He enjoyed travel.  He loved learning.  He loved books, he has a house packed full of them.  He loved my granny.

Grandfather loved a good argument.  When I finally realized that I came to terms with his behaviour.  For years he had caused me great anxiety because he seemed to upset people.  My lovely Dad was sometimes really provoked my him.  One of my younger sisters was very offended by him.  My Aunt Janine was so infuriated by him she refused to visit him.  But when it became apparent to me that he argued with his neighbours, he argued with the milkman, he battled with the council about the lean-to which was more of a garage he put up on his drive, he fought with the local education authorities over my aunt’s education, he constantly sparred intellects with my uncle and my brother, he seemed to look for any subject to debate on…well yes, I could see he was thriving on the chance to stimulate his mind with a good argument.  I never allowed him to offend me.

I saw granny shaking her head and telling him he was being naughty and then when their best friend Jilly (a business woman and a bit of a bombardier) would come to visit she would have a big hearty debate with him and both Jilly and my Grandfather would end up with huge jolly guffaws…the rest of us were lost, we had no idea what they were talking about half of the time and whether we could take them seriously.

My mum is as mild as milk.  She has grown up with his larger-than-life character.  It fascinates me to see how he has influenced her.  She was just as shocked as I was when I showed her my Grandfather’s video posts.  At the end of many posts there are comments from intellectuals who have watched his vlog and have perhaps voiced a different opinion.  It created an opportunity for Granddad to have a fresh argument.  We can read the debates he has been having with students and professors and writers from many countries.  He must have loved it!

It is quite remarkable that he had a secret life as a famous vlogger all this time that we never knew about.  Just think, now that he is no longer with us, whenever we want to think about him we can watch one of his video posts and listen to his lecture.