Well….I logged in a couple of hours ago to see a little note from WordPress to say it is three years since I started this blogging malarkey!!! April 29th 2018!
Three years!!!!!!!!!! Where does the time go? But what a time we have had hey!!! We are talking THREE NOVELS and ONE POETRY BOOK in that time! We are talking TWO GREAT BLOGGERS’ BAKE-OFFS! We are talking about more than ONE HUNDRED SONG LYRIC SUNDAY POSTS. We are talking about a lot of SHARE YOUR WORLD POSTS (sorry I had to take a break when working for the NHS started to heat up!), FANDANDO’S FICTION CHALLENGE or FANDANGO’S PROVACATIVE QUESTION posts, and when I used to have more time boy did I love taking part in the amazing blogging challenges from RORY – AKA A GUY CALLED BLOKE!!! Amazing fun!!!
What else has happened in three years? Well….when I started this blog, Goldfinch was romancing me and I was so head over heels in love. What a joy it was to write about my gorgeous Goldfinch. How happy I am to have those posts to bring back all the memories. But of course Goldfinch went back home to Australia. Who could forget that I went to Australia to visit him back in the summer of 2019? But then amazingly….miraculously….I crossed paths with Jack at the end of August 2019 and not long afterwards he called me. The pain I had felt for the previous four and half years was a topic I had previously written about. I know it confused some of you….but Jack and I started spending more time together and it was not long before he told me how he felt.
Then there was 2020….and I know it was not such a great year. But one of the highlights has to be – Jack asking me to marry him! What an amazing three years it has been!!!
Thank you so much for all the fun, all the encouragement, and all that you do to contribute to a super lovely blogging community and….all you do to making this world kinder. Because at the end of the day – this platform WordPress is a great place to share kindness!!!
I mentioned in another post that whilst working in Notting Hill I had caught my head on the underside of a sink and subsequently, bruises had appeared all down one side of my face. When I was attacked most of the injuries I had received were from blows directed at the same side of my head as the bruising. The incident at work aggravated my injuries. I was taken to hospital where I had a CT scan and was told I should rest for several weeks. So I had to go back up north to stay with family and recover. I wrote an e-mail to Stuart telling him about my journey:
I had to travel across the country after being told by staff in hospital that I needed to rest up. What a journey! I made my way up north and my sister Milly and her husband travelled down to London to collect my belongings from the house in Notting Hill where had been living. I am so glad I did not have to drag a suitcase across the country with me. I was in a bad way. I made the journey confidant that if anything happened to me train staff or members of the public would call emergency services. Hours of wondering in my head “Are we nearly there yet?”
The most memorable events I will tell you of – read them at your leisure – this is just me prattling about people I crossed paths with. The good, the not so good, and those I kind of hope I will never be stuck in a train carriage with again. I will start with the worse and it will get better.
So starting with the tube journey on the way to catch a national train that would take me up to a hospital in the north. I was sitting in a corner of the carriage. A man boarded, he must have been in his forties. He headed towards me and had the audacity to wink at me and blow me a kiss. I turned away. He plonked himself next to me. Maybe ignoring him was a mistake because he then whispered into my ear “sexy”. I just shook my head and turned away again. He was quiet for a couple of minutes, but then nudged me and said ” sexy ” again. I put my hand up and said “do you mind!” There were plenty of passengers so I felt safe. But then a couple of minutes later he put his hand on my lap and said “sexy” again. This time I jumped up and went to stand near the area for prams / wheelchairs.
Annoying!!!! Was he mocking me? The thing is, I was wearing a knee length pencil skirt, woolly tights, flat court shoes, coat, scarf – all proper and modest nothing about my appearance suggesting I would be open to attention from a man on the prowl or an utter fruitcake. Or maybe he just wanted my seat and was trying to get rid of me?
Annoying! Maybe you are one of the many who have been made to feel super uncomfortable by a complete stranger presuming to behave inappropriately in a public setting.
Now I had to face the train journey across the country. I had insisted I could undertake the train journey alone. Several family members had kept insisting they would prefer to drive all the way down south and then take me up north in their car. That seemed such a waste!
7.08am I boarded the train with a large flask of super strong coffee. But a group of seven, all men accept for one brave girlfriend sat near me. They were on their way to a footie match. I overheard that they were planning sightseeing beforehand. From the moment they sat down it was apparent that they were breakfasting on Foster’s lager. One of them!!!! In his twenties, vibrant ginger head, beard, very loud and prolific with his use of the most colourful language imaginable. Sometimes I am shocked by the language people use in public, even when little children or the vintage generation who surely are deserving of more respect are present.
I was already nauseous, groggy and exhausted. I knew he could make the journey a nightmare. The conductor came to check our tickets. I went over and said to this lad “excuse me, I really don’t mean to be rude, but would you be so kind as to make your language less colourful as it is still a bit early in the morning.” He asked me what I meant. I said that if it had been evening and there were crowds heading out for a drink I would expect bad language but to hear so much swearing so early when I didn’t feel awake yet was exhausting. Well he was very nice about it and apologised and his mates were lovely too.
It turned out he had been out drinking all night and had not even gone home to shower or change his clothes. Nice!!!
So, he decided to include me in their chatter / banter for the rest of the journey. Things improved slightly when a very cheery woman, who turned out to have been a police woman for almost ten years, sat next to me.
There was a very long queue for the toilet who were listening to the conversation between me and the police woman and the man who had not been home all night. The three of us seemed to be giving them some laughs. Can you imagine? Me…only conscious / remotely coherent due to the copious quantities of espresso I was pouring into myself. He…giddy and running on adrenaline with hangover delirium and believing himself to be the on-board entertainment. And our PC who was just ecstatic to be off-duty and determined to have a great day and chuckling at everything.
I don’t remember all of our conversations now.
I do remember him telling us he was single but open to meeting the woman of his dreams. Then he remarked maybe fate had lead us to being on the same train.
I remember telling him I was sure the vast majority of women would be attracted to a man with mud all over his trousers (hope it was mud) and who hadn’t washed or brushed his teeth and had Foster’s for breakfast.
His mates just laughed the whole journey.
Increasing my agonies was the severe delay to our train journey. Someone had been throwing things at the trains from an overhead bridge. There was some damage to one of the trains but also the overhead cables. So, they had to remove the damaged train and turn the overhead wires off so that it was safe for some engineers could repair them. No trains were able to move until the work was completed. Everything was repaired within three hours, but that is a very long time to be trapped with someone who is totally repellent to you!
He was alright really, just ever so loud! I was so grateful to get off the train. Only I was horrified when he kissed me. I told him to get off me. Only he carried on kissing my hair. I was pushing him away with my hands, but the fool tried to kiss me. I was outraged. His mates grabbed him.
Ay ay ay!!!!!
Then came another shorter train journey to my final destination. On the local little train there was an older lady, she was probably well into her eighties. She was wrapped up well, but had no gloves and as I chatted with her I saw her rubbing and blowing into her red hands. Well, co-incidentally….I had forgotten my own gloves when I had left the house. When I was at the station waiting for the train and noticed how bitterly cold it was, I bought some gloves. Only, the only pair I liked had a second pair attached. Two pairs for the price of one. So I pulled the brand new gloves out of my bag and handed them to her. She was so pleased. She seemed to be crying tears of joy. It was lovely to end my journey chatting with a sweet gentle soul after all of the other trials of dealing with challenging passengers during my epic day on the British Rail Network.
I love having a little opportunity to be kind. Being kind is a wonderful way to achieve instant happiness. Whether you are on the bus, or train, or any other mode of transport, please be kind, be considerate, be patient and be lovely. Try not to harass or offend your fellow passengers.
I found a post in my drafts folder that I started last August and didn’t finish. I remember loving the question. In fact I love it so much that it has given me ideas for a series of posts to develop the subject of PURPOSE. Especially my purpose in life! When things suddenly threaten our lifestyle, our happiness (like bereavement, economic uncertainty, Pandemics!) what will help us not to give up?
Have you ever set off on a journey and then a few minutes after starting out found that the route you selected was closed?
It used to happen to us when we were children. Dad would be driving us on a family holiday. Half an hour onto the motorway, and all of the traffic would come to a standstill. Now my Dad could not bear to be stuck in traffic! So whenever he had the first opportunity he would turn off the motorway.
Did that mean that we were going to give up? Were we going to abandon our family holiday because our planned route had failed? Not on your nelly!
Instead Dad would ask us to shout directions, using the road atlas, with roads that would take us in the same general direction but avoiding the motorway. The destination had not changed, but our route certainly had! Nothing was going to stop us from reaching our destination! We would find a way to get there no matter what cropped up along the way!
There have been moments in my life when the course I was on abruptly changed. At those times, I had to fight discouragement. I have often thought about those occasions when it comes to my life-course. I am not sure that I ever had a definite plan to begin with. But I did have a purpose. I had a destination in mind, a direction to head towards.
I realized that it is not really possible to be tied to a set plan when it comes to living your life. Rather, you have to be prepared for pretty much anything. All sorts of challenges, obstacles may appear. How determined are you to stick to your destination, your purpose?
All manner of obstacles and challenges can occur at any point along the way. Plans fail! However, if you still have your end destination in view then you will find another way to get there.
So I personally would not recommend having a rigid detailed plan that is likely to fail. But having a purpose is a very fine thing.
Even when things go wrong, you find a way round. Nothing can permanently shake you. Not being bullied, not being attacked, not having head injuries, not being parted from the man you love. Nothing will deter you from finding another route and making your way head held high towards a very wonderful destination.
A purpose, a sense of purpose can be a source of motivation, inspiration and strength. It can help you endure all manner of challenges and to grow in ways you may never have expected.
I can’t imagine living life without a purpose. Having a purpose has shaped me. It has helped me to make decisions in life – will this help me to get where I am going or will this slow me down? Have I taken a wrong turn somewhere? Do I need to find my bearings and adjust the direction I which I am heading?
My purpose has kept me living! Absolutely confident that no matter what challenges come along, no matter how many plans go wrong, there will be other ways to get there – we are going to reach that wonderful destination!
I have decided not to work on a response to Rory’s Oh No Way/Oh So Way questions this week, only because I don’t think my post would be anywhere near as interesting as those from the other bloggers who have answered those questions.
My there are certainly some bloggers out there who have stories! (Whether or not we will hear more shall wait to be seen I suppose.) After reading the posts from other bloggers, I have realized that I clearly have lived a very quiet and calm life.
There was one question that almost everyone seemed to have an identical response to:
Rory asked if bloggers had
These are some of the answers I have seen from other bloggers:
Worn Crocs oh no way
Worn Crocs — Oh no ***** way!
Worn Crocs – So No Way – ewwwww, I mean seriously? ewwwww
Worn Crocs. NO WAY. Too ***** ugly for me.
No Way ~ yuck! Ugly! They don’t even look comfortable. I’ll go barefoot or wear my flip flops.
Worn Crocs No way. Why in Hades would anyone wear a crocodile? Are they insane? Crocs have huge teeth and eat everything!
Now…this post is in no way me taking offence at what other bloggers have posted (I am a happy little flower who does not get upset by other bloggers 🙂 )
However…I am going to admit I started to wonder – am I the only person who buys, wears and loves Crocs???
Well, no, I know am not because all of the sixty members of our house-keeping team wore Crocs. They were the best work shoes for us. So light on your feet and comfortable…and they can get wet. That is the main reason why we chose them, we were cleaning wet rooms and bathrooms and kitchen areas with lots of water splashing around.
We were all aged between 20-40 years old and we were concerned with the shape of the Crocs we wore. I didn’t see many pairs of those big bulbous Crocs. We bought the sleeker, more slender styles and we rocked them!
The other place I wear Crocs is on the beach (when the sand is too hot to walk on). In the past the sand has ruined sandals I have worn and if you wear proper shoes you are emptying the sand out for the next six months. But a pair of Crocs they are so easy to clean and of course a very light weight addition to my beach kit.
Can’t really talk about Crocs so much without spinning everybody’s favourite Crocodile tune! Crocs are so misunderstood!!!
Just a little reminder that I am still republishing older posts most days. I know it can be confusing. But most of my posts recently are about events back in 2018/2019.
I am jiggered! Do you know what that means? If you are a northerner, I expect you understand, but if not, it means I am tired out. Wiped out, done in, exhausted! I have a genuine reason! I have worked long long hours every day from Wednesday until now…and my body is busy. Busy in a way I cannot comprehend, but all sorts must be happening with little apricot.
Work has been fairly busy, especially Friday. I got a bit worked up about something on Friday afternoon. The past basically. Everything that happened with Jack. It upset me – a lot. I had a terrible night on Friday, I had a real sharp pain that felt “unearthly”! It kept me awake which was frustrating because I had to be up early to work on Saturday.
All is good now…and I should be looking forward to a rest day…HOWEVER (a “however” in capitals is very foreboding)…I have a hospital appointment tomorrow, including another CT scan. Always wanting to be told I have the all clear…but I have so recently had head problems…I am fearing it might be news I don’t want to hear.
But…what is the point of worrying?!!! It is not going to help anything. So…instead, I shall settle down and hope for a good night’s sleep instead. Good idea hey! I am going to publish this post before I fall asleep here at my desk.
Oh and Goldfinch sent me lovely messages, which still cheer me up more than anybody and anything gracing my life.
Fantastic theme!! I am sure there will be some great songs today. I always find Goodbyes hard…I really do. So many times, I have had to hold back the tears when saying goodbye to my family or beloved friends when I was moving to accept a new volunteer assignment.
I guess those tears are a sign that my time somewhere has been meaningful – beautiful friendships and warm memories that make it hard to let go! Whereas….I have walked away from paid employment when the atmosphere was detrimental to human health and had no problem at all with casting a “sayonara suckers!” – mentally of course.
Today I am going for a big emotional power ballad! We do like those from time to time. This song is called “Hurt” and is sung by Christina Aguilera. I have not really followed Christina’s career, but it does astonish me that she can pack so much emotion into her singing. I like that – a lot!!
Seems like it was yesterday when I saw your face You told me how proud you were but I walked away If only I knew what I know today Ooh ooh
I would hold you in my arms I would take the pain away Thank you for all you’ve done Forgive all your mistakes.
There’s nothing I wouldn’t do To hear your voice again. Sometimes I wanna call you but I know you won’t be there
Oh, I’m sorry for blaming you for everything I just couldn’t do And I’ve hurt myself by hurting you
Some days I feel broke inside but I won’t admit Sometimes I just wanna hide ’cause it’s you I miss And it’s so hard to say goodbye when it comes to this, ooh, whoa
Would you tell me I was wrong? Would you help me understand? Are you looking down upon me? Are you proud of who I am?
There’s nothing I wouldn’t do To have just one more chance To look into your eyes and see you looking back
Oh, I’m sorry for blaming you for everything I just couldn’t do And I’ve hurt myself, oh, oh, oh.
If I had just one more day I would tell you how much that I’ve missed you since you’ve been away
Oh, it’s dangerous It’s so out of line To try and turn back time
I’m sorry for blaming you for everything I just couldn’t do And I’ve hurt myself by hurting you
Written By: Linda Perry, Christina Aguilera, Mark Ronson
Here is another post from the archives. Apparently, I originally published this post in January 2019, about nine months before Jack picked up the phone and sought to make peace with me. It still gives me goosepimples to think of how much our situation changed. At the start of 2019…I would never ever have guessed that by the end of the year, I would be telling my family that Jack and me were romantically involved. What a turn around!!!
I don’t often remember my dreams. I am a heavy sleeper and most nights, I seem to close my eyes as soon as I rest my head on the pillow and then open then a few seconds later when my alarms are sounding. But I had a dream a few weeks ago that has played on my mind ever since. I was chatting to Cadie Mclendon, the creator of Cadie’s Corner after she recently published a post about a dream she had.
My brain trying to filter my thoughts, feelings, memories and experiences and translating them into a vision that made sense of what goes on inside of my mind and heart.
In my dream, I was pressured to accept a role in a live performance that would take place at a large theatre and would be filmed for television broadcast. I was reluctant, because although I have taken part in other performances, in this role I would be one of the main features of the show along with my male co-star.
But he wanted me to be in that role. The show was very important to him. He asked and asked again and again, until I finally agreed. He had led me to believe he wanted me to be part of a show that meant so much to him.
But then came the rehearsals.
The problems started during rehearsals. He was grumpy and difficult. He showed no enthusiasm. I was frantically trying to learn my lines and all of the stage directions. But when it came to the two of us rehearsing together, he would not make eye contact with me and delivered his lines in a monotone, matter-of-fact style, without any attempt to bring the lines to life and breath character into them.
I appealed to him. Right there I asked him to please put more effort into rehearsing. After all, this was his baby. He kept on making feeble excuses and claiming that it would be different on the night.
But when that night came, he was even more grumpy and awkward. I asked him what the problem was. His reaction was to grimace at me and blame me for making it difficult for him. Then just as the curtain was about to lift, he walked out. He called out that he was not going to do this. He glared at me and said: “You’re on your own Caramel!”
I had cameras pointing at me and thousands of spectators in the live audience staring at me. I was on my own to handle the opening part of the show which was designed for two people. How could I deliver the lines I had been memorizing with no one to reply with his own lines?
The level of embarrassment and awkwardness I felt was devastating. I was so mad that my co-star had begged me to take on the lead female role next to him and had now walked out and left me on stage in front of all those onlookers on my own.
So I had to be spontaneous. Somehow I managed to entertain the crowd enough to make them enjoy the show. I made them laugh. I sang and they seemed to be enjoying my performance. I just tried to throw myself into entertaining the crowds on my own, all the time hiding my angst about my co-star’s abandoning me.
It was truly the performance of a life-time. Inside I was bewildered, furious, outraged – but I hid it from all those thousands of onlookers. They sat there enjoying themselves and laughing and had no idea of my true feelings or what my co-star had done.
Now you may have already guessed who I was dreaming about. Jack!
He chased me for months. Then when he moved in with me, he became grumpy and moody. He dragged me into the limelight, so that I was receiving unwanted attention and interest in my personal life from thousands including complete strangers. Cameras from people who never asked my permission shot photographs of me that I had no control over. And what did Jack do? He pulled out. He abandoned me to deal with the situation on my own. I think I did a pretty good job on the whole. I was always dignified and courteous no matter how invasive and offensive the attention became.
But boy did I have mixed feelings toward Jack after he thrust me up onto a stage in front of everyone and then refused to support me. He did not shoulder any responsibility.
Infuriating! Especially so as I still love him inside and out.
It’s not difficult to forgive a man you love so deeply. But while he remains so aloof and has not lifted a finger to ease the pain he initiated, it is impossible to forget.
I just had to make sure I finished this post, although it is very late as Teresa, aka The Haunted Wordsmith published these questions weeks ago!
But still – food just never ever gets boring does it!!
If you are ready for a feast, my answers to Teresa’s foodie questions are below:
What is your favourite chocolate dessert?
It has to be a moist chocolate dessert – like a mousse. I can’t bear a dry chocolate cake.
I make a double chocolate cheese-cake that is very popular with my family and friends. It has a crumbly base made from double chocolate chip cookies. The top layer is like a firm chocolate mousse and is rich and indulgent and has an incredibly high chocolate content.
Love it! Only a thin slither for me though if you please. After all “once on the lips, forever on the hips!”
Where do you go first in the grocery store?
Salad and veggies! I’m a good girl I am!
I buy a lot of salad vegetables and most of my meals are salad with something warm on the side.
I also make soups and casseroles and freeze portions to heat up later. Living alone, I don’t cook a meal every night. I eat simply. I love inviting friends over so I can cook a proper meal.
You win three minutes of free shopping in the grocery store with an empty cart…what do you fill it with?
Things that will last a long time. Knowing me, I would probably load up with as many Method cleaning products as I could and then head for…
…toiletries, laundry liquids, tinned foods – like chopped tomatoes and chickpeas, bottled liquids – cordials and some wine, maybe spirits for mixers (I have been known to have a Bacardi & Coke or a Martini & Lemonade), jars of pickles and sauces and chutneys, tahini, capers, roasted peppers, nuts – nuts can be so expensive! – cashews, pistachios, pine nuts, macadamias, almonds and peanuts.
What is your favourite fruit and how do you like to eat it?
I like all fruit. My go-to fruit would probably be a banana.
The only reason why I don’t eat a lot more fruit is that I worry about the amount of sugar in it. I think my favourite fruit is mango, but I only have it occasionally. I do have a bit of a thing for lychees too.
How do I like to eat mango? As it comes…sliced up. Preferably I will be outside in the sunshine relaxing. With Goldfinch resting his head on my lap while I feed him slices of mango, grapes, strawberries in between kisses from me.
You go to a magic café where plates fill with whatever you request…what do you get?
A vegetarian salad feast – with every kind of salad combination.
I love salad, but I end up eating a lot of the same thing. I am always hunting through supermarket magazines and recipe books for ideas to jazz up salad.
My favourite cafes are those that serve me salad in a way that I have never thought of!
I am contemplating going raw vegan for the summer months. My motives are not pure. I love my veggies to be sure. But I just thought it would help me to shed the pounds I have gained whilst with my Goldfinch.
How do you like your fish?
Swimming in the big blue ocean.
The only fish I have ever eaten before I became vegetarian at the age of six, was in the form of fish fingers.
Do you eat jello (what is your favourite flavour)?
It is a very long time since I have eaten jello. Years and years literally. I may have been a child in fact. We ate a lot of jello when I was a little one.
Here in England our name for jello is jelly. But I believe your jelly is our jam (which I have eaten a lot more of). So to avoid confusion, I am going stick with jello.
It must be literally twenty years since I have eaten jello. If I was going to have it now – would like lime flavour, or even better lemon and lime flavour jello please.
What is the most, ahem, “adult” food you can think of?
Grown ups eat food like Ryvita and pates. They come up with trendy toppings to try to disguise the fact that Ryvita is so awfully awful.
Some are even willing to pay ludicrous amounts of money to have oddities like a foam or a minuscule amount of a culinary gel on their plate.
If we are talking about some kind of wink wink adult food – I guess some unsightly body part. I am a vegetarian so I have not had that experience – thank goodness!
What food do you eat that might put you in the “old” age?
Well, I don’t eat them generally. But something we have had as a dessert on some of our construction projects is prunes with custard. Who eats prunes? The only other place I have come across them was when I worked in a nursing care home!
But I am going to admit to you, I really liked them. My friends and I were in stitches laughing though because we all had black skin in our teeth after eating the prunes!
Mall food courts…yes, no, where do you eat?
I rarely do go anywhere near a shopping mall these days.
But if I did…they have some stands selling food that I just never eat. I am always drawn to the pretzel stand. But I cannot remember ever eating a pretzel.
I love the look of those Krispy Kreme doughnuts. But I think I would need to run a half-marathon before I deserved one.
I also love Lola’s Cupcakes, although I have not had one for years. We used to take the older ladies from the infirmary to the local shopping mall regularly. It was easy to park and pull the wheelchair out of the car. Before 11.30am, if you bought a hot drink, you could choose a free cup-cake to have with it. Yummy!
All this talk of food is making me incredibly hungry! I am going to go and eat something. What should I have? My fridge is full of salad and my cupboards full of Ryvita and other crispbreads.
I will eat what I have and keep dreaming about doughnuts and cupcakes!
This is a subject that is interesting to me. I read an article about lying recently. It quoted some statistics about how many of us lie regularly. It also discussed the many reasons people may lie. I found it rather thought provoking because there is no doubt that some people us lies in a very sinister way, whereas for most of us, lying is often a weakness in a moment of fear or panic.
People lie for many different reasons.
I think that some lie about their abilities in order to get ahead in the world. Others try to cover up errors or guilt with lies. I think some lie out of fear of being caught or exposed for a mistake they have made. Some falsify reports, resumes, forms and tax returns. Then there are those who maliciously lie (slander) to damage another’s reputation, cowardly lie to avoid embarrassment, lie in a calculated manner to justify previous lies, or deviously to defraud people of their money – we call them swindlers or scammers. Some feel there are legitimate excuses for a lie if it protects another person. They hope that a so-called “white lie” is acceptable because they think it does not injure anyone.
I think some are so afraid of truth, or prefer to believe lies, their life has become a lacy lattice of interlocking lies that are hard to untangle.
Now I am convinced that almost everyone on the planet has lied out of fear, embarrassment or thinking that it will perhaps protect someone from being hurt. But I think there are a smaller number who wilfully set out to deceive others in order to take advantage of their trust, to gain some profit or power over them, and to hide their selfish motives.
I am proud of the many times I have refused to lie in a situation when it was clearly wrong. For example, when I worked in finance, my manager threatened me when she demanded I lie to a client in order to deliberately deceive them. When I refused she was furious and stated that the job description included being willing to lie. I stood my ground much to her obvious annoyance. Some time later she was amongst a number of staff who were dismissed for gross negligence and dishonesty when the company was embezzled and lost around £1,000,000.
I have definitely withheld the truth at times. But my conscience is mostly clean regarding those occasions. For example, I do not like to tell friends here in London what happened to me the night I was attacked. Very few know. Many have asked me probing questions because they wonder why I disappeared for a year. Many believe my disappearance was in connection with my ex-flatmate Jack (which it partly is) or they presume the rumours were true that I was having an affair with a married man. I have chosen not to fight those untruths by opening up my tale of woe to everyone. I have withheld the truth. My family, my close friends, the directors I worked with – they know because I needed their help in order to deal with everything. But I just don’t feel that everyone is entitled to the truth – in some respects, it is none of their business.
But what I do remember is the first time I told an outright dishonest lie for selfish reasons and how my parents helped me to realize it was wrong. And now Crushed Caramel will confess the biggest lie – an outright fib that I told, and I was only around five years of age at the time:
It all started when I went into my brother’s bedroom. To this day, my memory of the first outright lie I told is vivid, and the way my parents tackled that dishonesty is even more a deep part of who I am as a person.
Now I was very aware of the rule that my parents had set. We were not allowed to go into my brother’s room without his permission (a rule that had been made after previous invasions). But I broke this rule and crept into my brother’s room. I was fascinated by my brother’s belongings. He was eight years older than me. He was a very good artist. He had these little bottles of ink on his desk. I could not resist playing with them. I also found his magnifying glass and played with that until I was bored. Then I noticed next to the lamp on his desk there was some money. I took it. It was not a huge amount, perhaps £2 or £3. I slipped out of my brother’s room before I was discovered thinking that I had got away with it.
Some time later, I heard a sound that always made me and my sisters excited. I rushed to my parents and asked them of we could have an ice-cream from the ice-cream van which was playing it’s song in the street outside. My parents said not this time. Then I asked if I could go and buy one for myself with my own money. They asked where my money had come from.
I lied, “I found it.”
“Where did you find it Mel?”
“It was on the floor outside.”
“How much did you find Mel?”
I told them how much I had and I could see my brother shooting looks at my parents. They did not react. They started to ask me if I had been painting that day. Well, I did not have any paints. There were paints at school, but we did not have any for us little ones at home. So I told them it was my felt-tips. I should have known right then that I had been caught out.
“Mel…have you been into your brother’s room?”
“Noooooo!” I fibbed again! My brother looked so cheesed off. But he waited for my parents.
“It’s just that when your brother went into his room a while ago some of his inks for painting had been spilt on his desk and chair and on the carpet and were on the handle of his magnifying glass. Is there any possibility that you might have been there – just for five minutes?”
“It wasn’t me. I didn’t go in.”
“There was some money missing from his room as well.”
…well, I couldn’t bear it much longer. I came clean. I admitted that I had been in my brother’s room and took the money. It took me longer to admit that I played with his inks though.
My parents sat down and reasoned with me. I remember what they said quite clearly actually. I did not understand why it was wrong to take something that did not belong to me. They wanted me to think of examples of people who took something that did not belong to them and what were the results. Now although I was a little girl, I was well read for my age. My first answer was Achan. Then I said Adam and Eve. Then I said Satan. I was devastated. My little conscience beat me severely. Mum and Dad had to cheer me up. They helped me see I had a choice though. Now that I had grasped how wrong it was, the question was would I do it again? Or would I make sure I did not repeat my action? If I had another opportunity to take something that did not belong to me, and the thought of taking it came into my head – what would I do with that thought? Would i keep on thinking about it? Or would I push that thought out of my head?
They confirmed that it is wrong to take something that belongs to someone else without their permission. Of course, I returned my brother’s money. I was told again that I must not go into my brother’s room without his permission. Funny enough, after that day, I was never tempted to steal anything ever again. I learnt that lesson at the age of five. My parents had got through to my heart the lesson that stealing was wrong. Better to enjoy treats with a good conscience, treats that did not come through dishonest means.
I think they had to work on my heart on other occasions until I grasped that lying was wrong. But I remember their patient way of sitting down and asking questions to determine how much we understood our own actions and whether we appreciated why what we had done was wrong. My little conscience was wide awake.
I learnt that it is very uncomfortable to have your conscience telling you what you did was wrong. I also learnt that the peace and happiness that come with doing the right thing are tremendous. I am so glad my parents helped me to grasp the conscience I had within me.
But I am so glad that my parents did help me to reason as a very small child on what was right and wrong. They helped me to understand when I had done something was wrong why it was wrong. They helped me to see that I had a choice – would I do it again? Or would I repeat my action? They helped me to see I could learn to control any wrong thoughts or desires and that there is a special happiness from choosing to do the right thing. I learnt that life is so much happier with a good conscience. An inner judge that says “Well done Caramel, good girl!”
I have tried to keep up with the writing prompts and challenges hosted by other bloggers – but I will admit, I think I am missing out on a lot more than I am participating in. I am very grateful to other bloggers who take the time to provide all sorts of interesting prompts for us. I am lagging way behind I know.
Life is busy here! A lot has happened. It certainly will give me more to write about in the future. But right now, it is affecting the time I have to write. I am still enjoying reading posts from other bloggers – and there are a lot of posts! I will mostly read and like – I know my comments on other bloggers posts are becoming rarer – SORRY! Just so hard keeping up with you all!
I saw a question and answer post from Rory, aka A Guy Called Bloke today and thought I would work on a post. I have not done one of these before, so I hope I have understood the instructions from Rory correctly:
It reads like a long list of confessions! I think for each question from Rory, we are supposed to write OH NO WAY if we have never done it or OH SO WAY if we have done it.
Questions from Rory
Smoked a joint
OH NO WAY
Never smoked anything in my life. Never remotely interested.
There were a couple of lads smoking some kind of noxious tuna fish gunja at the end of my road a couple of weeks ago – out in the open on the public pavement. I gave them a wide berth because the smell from the fumes was foul. I was texting Goldfinch at the time I was passing and I heard one of them say to the other, “she is filming us”. My old battered Nokia does not even have a camera. But I have been nervous every time I walk that way.
Gone commando [underwear free]
OH SO WAY
I am not going to supply any detail.
It was Goldfinch’s idea – not mine.
He had some interesting ideas at times.
But the British weather is so different from Australia. I think I complained so much that he realized it was quite a big ask of me!
Attended a naughty film at the cinema
OH NO WAY
I like family friendly entertainment. I once went with a group of friends to watch a film that we thought was a family movie. It was rated a “12” so I expected there to be one or two scenes or swear words that I would not particularly enjoy. But there was so much distasteful innuendo in the first half an hour that I decided I would leave. I didn’t say anything to my friends. I went to use the ladies and then I went to the foyer of the cinema where I bought myself a soft-drink and sat on the sofas.
Within about fifteen minutes one of my sisters and another friend appeared. They said they were not enjoying the film at all. So the three of us sat and chatted and waited for our other friends. It did not take long for the others to appear. They said it seemed to get worse and worse. We decided to go over to “Frankies & Bennies” and have drinks instead.
Skipped school when younger/now
OH SO WAY
Around the age of fourteen, I did skip school a number of times. The first time I skipped school was with my best friend. We met in Wigan and then caught the train into Manchester. I changed my clothes into a pair of jeans and a top. I was tall enough for most people to walk past me without questioning whether I should be at school.
But my best friend obviously did not think she could get away with it. She wore her uniform all day and carried her flute case around with her. She said if anyone asked her why she was not at school, she would tell them she had come into Manchester for a music exam. There was a famous music collage called Chetham’s School of Music. We did not do anything particularly exciting. We wandered around the shops in the city center. It must have been before the bomb that destroyed the city center back in 1996? I remember us trying on shoes on a shoe-shop named “Shellys”. We also walked around the “House of Fraser” which is a large department store.
Made a prank call
OH SO WAY
As a child there were a group of us who went through a short spell of making prank calls from the public phone box at the end of our road. We were daft. We used to ring our own families. One of my friends told me to ring her parents and tell them that I was delivering their pizza order and we had the thirty six pizzas they ordered but we did not have enough fries to fulfil their order so we were sending baked beans instead. I was so hopeless, I was caught out of course. My Dad did not become too cross. But he did ask us if we had nothing better to do. He also strongly warned us not to call any emergency services.
When mobile phones first started to appear, I remember after walking up a mountain, some of the lads thought it was funny to try to ring a pizza delivery company and ask them if they could deliver a pizza to the top of Ben Nevis.
Kissed the corner of a pillow
OH SO WAY
I went through a brief spell of liking a boy band named Take That. I had ignored them for a long time. But then they released this song named “Pray” and the video featured the boys on the beach in their swimwear. What I can say? I was just about entering puberty and the hormones were all excited by these lovely boys.
I am sure I hugged my pillow imagining it to be Mark Owen – as I think many teenage girls did so. When I watch the video now it makes me cringe. But I know I am not the only woman in her thirties who has a very soft spot for the Manchester boy-band.
Been Drunk with your parents
OH NO WAY
I have had a glass of wine with my parents – but neither they nor I do “drunk”. One of my relatives was an alcoholic and my Dad was always quite strict about alcohol. We were allowed to buy one bottle and share it as a family. But there was never a store of alcohol in the house. He would not approve of heavy drinking.
Drunkenness has never been acceptable to my parents. A little alcohol in moderation was their standard.
WELL…HARD TO DEFINE
I have received text messages from Goldfinch indicating a little of what he was looking forward to when he visited me in London. I have definitely responded indicating I was very much looking forward to his arrival. But I think they were tame really. But those messages would definitely make me blush!
Within a relationship I think it makes sense to receive a flirty text message from your partner. What I find bizarre is when men who I am not involved with send a rather risque message to indicate their interest. Some of those messages make me want to run a mile! I have had a few of these recently, and I am baffled by them.
Relationship with a work colleague
My teenage sweetheart – we became close friends by working together on the same projects as volunteers. We courted for several years. I ended the relationship at the age of 24 – I keep meaning to write about him. He was a special part of my life, and I am sure he kept me safe during a time that could have been turbulent for me.
After that, there were other workmates who either I had a bit of a crush on, or in other cases a workmate indicated their interest in me. I have a lot of embarrassing stories about workmates, some of which already published in posts:
Then there was a really nice man I worked with. he seemed so decent, so clean-cut, so kindly, humble, intelligent, conversational. He didn’t smoke or swear. I liked working with him and he seemed to like working with me. He used to make sure he took his breaks at the same time and we would fall into deep conversation. He asked if he could meet me outside work and take me for a drink. I was very happy.
He shared a house with two other people who worked for the same company. One of them came to me one day and said she knew her housemate liked me a lot, but he was struggling to tell me that he was married. His wife was overseas with their son and he sent her money from his wages. She told me they are are in a loveless marriage and he had worked overseas for around ten years sending money to her, so she could provide for their son. Once I knew, I could not go through with going for a drink with him outside work. I briefly spoke to him about it during one of our tea-breaks, explaining that I couldn’t let anything develop while he was legally married. He seemed disappointed, but I sensed he respected me even more. I was truly very fond of him.
Then when I came to London…I had a lot of single male workmates. There were very few of us single women compared to men, so it does not surprise me that so much attention came my way. I went out for drinks, meals, to see films and music events with a number of them, but I didn’t feel anything other than friendship.
Then along came Jack. I did not work directly with Jack, but we worked for the same charities and we were team-mates on some projects.
Been robbed, burgled, hussled or scammed
OH SO WAY
When we were teenagers, somebody broke into our garden and shed and stole our bikes.
We were gutted because we loved going out on our bikes with our friends and sometimes with my Dad and riding for miles.
Having our garden shed broken into was a real shock to the system – who would do that? We felt very shaken. It wasn’t even anything of high value – they were all second-hand bikes to begin with, but we could not afford to replace them. I am sure anyone who has been the victim of a theft will relate to that feeling.
Placed a bet – as in gambling
OH NO WAY – but only after the lesson I learnt over a phone in radio competition
Dad had bought me my own little radio.
Oh 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. I was pretty fed-up to have no pocket money for all that time, but Dad was very effective in helping me to understand the cost of gambling in any form.
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.
Gotten lost going around a corner
OH SO WAY
I have worked in many locations and venues up and down the country. For example the Manchester Arena, the London Arena, sports stadiums, conference centres and theatres of all shapes and sizes. There are all sorts of corridors, some kind of bleak, passages, stairwells, that you work your way through during the installation and dismantling of a major event. I have definitely found myself very lost in some of those venues.
Stuck my chewing gum anywhere except the bin
OH NO WAY
I always thought it was disgusting to find other people’s chewing gum under the desks when I started high school. Some noggin had put their chewing gum on a radiator in our music classroom. I sat next to the radiator and the chewing gum ended up in my hair. Grrrrr! I have also had the privilage of scraping chewing gum from the seats at public arenas and stadiums – nice!