Tag Archives: life

I Don’t Think I Ever Did Notice

I have the fondest memories of childhood. But I do know that financially, we were not at all comfortable. Yet, I don’t think I ever did really notice. I may have noticed that some other children seemed to live in much bigger houses and have lots of toys, but it did not effect me as a child.

One of my distinct memories is going to work with Dad during the school holidays. He was a window cleaner, and we just loved being with him. We took pride in the jobs he gave us. But what I remember with glee is that lots of the houses owned by his customers had very pretty gardens. We (my sisters and I) used to love exploring their gardens. When they had children, Dad’s customers would often invite us to play with their children. How I loved having fun on their garden swings or playing with their indoor toys.

Girl, Swing, Rocking, Autumn, Fall

The truth is, I never did feel “poor”. I never did. I think I felt very comfortable, very secure. It was only in my late teens when I started to notice the difference between our council house and the “posh” houses where my friends lived. But any temporary silliness, fretting over the idea that we may have been “poor” shrivelled up when I began to travel and saw what real poverty means.

As an adult….there are “things” I don’t physically own. I do not own a house, or a car, or much furniture of my own. I don’t have a smart phone, or an i-pod, or a lot of the other “things” that some of my acquaintance possess.

But I don’t feel “poor”. I live in a beautiful area, with famous multi-millionaires on my road. I still earn less than £10,000 per year (last year I did extra hours for the NHS, but all excess wages were put into the “family pot” which we set up to make sure any of our family who could not work during the Pandemic were able to take whatever they needed, so I still ended up with my same income), and yet I feel so wealthy, so rich in experiences, so enriched by friendships and memories. What a life. What an incredible life!!!

That little girl in her red wellington boots who used to carry the little ladder after her father into the gardens of his customers – I wonder if any of them realized she would be so blessed, so enriched with life – with living life in the most exciting and purposeful of ways.

If you measure wealth by more accurate means than a bank balance or a list of material possessions – I am in no way “poor”. I am rich – fantastically rich!!!

So Much To Do!!!

I have a growing “to-do” list in my head. Of course, you probably realize that it is very unwise to keep it in my head. I keep meaning to write my “to-do” list down on paper – I think that task is in fact Number 48 on the list.

Photo by energepic.com on Pexels.com

For every three tasks crossed off that list, five more seem to be added to the end of the list. Right now…I need sleep…and then when I wake up, I will crack on with more of the tasks waiting for my attention!

Hiding The Bruises

incognitoI am alright now, (I think) but for a long time the situation with my ex-flatmate Jack kept my nerves on a knife-edge. I know there are some people who make a career out of being the subject of idle gossip for others, but that has never been something I wanted for myself.

Even when I was living with Jack, the rumours about the two of us were so upsetting, I tried to leave the flat earlier than anyone else and arrive home in the dark. I was sneaking in and out of my own home, to escape the attention of whoever it was who kept these shocking rumours breeding.

When I returned to London, after almost a year of resting and recovering from the physical injuries I had sustained the night I was assaulted (and then…being left for dead underneath some bushes) I was pretty nervous.

Although my physical injuries were healing up nicely, I was deeply self-conscious in so many ways. I was very nervous around men. I was very aware of my head! I felt secure with a hat on, or a bandana or scarf in the summer. I found London overwhelming. I felt very lost at times. I found bright lights gave me severe headaches. I always wore sunglasses out of doors. The first six months, I was hiding myself with hats, headscarves and sunglasses

But what I found effected me most deeply was gossip. I saw friends and colleagues. They were confused about why I had disappeared for a year. Many of them thought I had left in disgrace. Just before I had been attacked, there were rumours that I was involved with a married man. I don’t really feel like writing about that today, but I will at some point. There are already a couple of posts where I have touched on it already:

embarrassedBut it has taken a long time to be able to battle the anxiety that other people, people I admire and respect, think terrible things of me. That realization has made me pretty dismal at times.

I could have caused trouble for Jack. I did not want to do that. I could have talked about being assaulted (I find it really difficult to use the R word still) and beaten up. But you know, I really did not want to. If I started talking about it, I would have been asked a thousand questions by people that I was not ready to answer. So instead I let them think whatever they wanted to think.

As far as many of them are concerned, I was acting strangely, sneaking in and out of my own home at unusual hours, becoming cagey and defensive and emotional…and then I disappeared for a year. I returned to London wearing hats and sunglasses (with style!) and not answering questions openly.

I am a lot more settled than I was then, more relaxed about everything, and my friends are more relaxed. They all seem genuinely glad to have me around and everyone is very polite about what has happened in the past. Some of my very close friends know a lot more about what happened of course, and when I need someone to talk to they are wonderful. But on the whole, everyone has been so incredibly discreet about what happened to me, which I am extremely grateful for.

But there is a kind of loneliness that comes with having a big secret that you hide. I hide all the details of what went on between Jack and I. I hide all the details about what happened to me in the park. People know not to push me with too many questions because I will leave.

Aaaaah!

Well…I have said enough for today. It takes it out of me thinking about things that I don’t want to think about! So, to end this post I wanted to share a song that I fell in love with, mainly because I have become such a huge fan of the voice of Kristina Train. But I liked the song too…it does touch me in my situation. I have put two versions for you just in case you prefer the acoustic version. I like both actually.

https://thehauntedwordsmith.wordpress.com/2018/11/27/daily-writing-challenge-nov-27/

https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2018/11/27/dismal/

https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2018/11/27/your-daily-word-prompt-lost-november-27-2018/

https://fivedotoh.com/2018/11/27/fowc-with-fandango-leave/

My Day Off

I broke free from the world for just one day…it was my time to let myself breathe, to let myself weep, to let myself mourn. For I am still in mourning. I am the legendary fish trying to live out of water, the bird whose wings have been clipped.

People, Girl, Woman, Alone, Hair, Cap

You see when people who don’t know what I had, the life I lead, the purpose of every moment, tell me to let go of the past, and make new memories, build a new circle of friends…they don’t know, they don’t know where I came from.

I will mourn until I am back where I belong. I snub the new people in my life who tell me to turn my back on my real life and be content with something trivial and meaningless.

Your goals are not my goals. Your dreams are not my dreams. I have no interest in the commercial world. In my bones there is a desire to get down on my hands and knees and work until this earth is as it should be. I reject the life you put before me. I will never ever be yours.

I embrace the life I have led with passion, with conviction, with a deep self-sacrificing love. I will never abandon my quest to be back where I belong. I belong to a way of life I sacrificed every other opportunity to gain.

Or perhaps, I will go to sleep one night and wake up back in my home. Jack will be there whispering to me that it was all a bad dream, a nightmare.

We Cannot Control The Movements of Kamikaze Squirrels

This was another e-mail to Stuart that I adapted into a post. But I wrote it while working for the family in Notting Hill that I was living with and working for:

Have you ever had one of those days where everything goes wrong?  You seem to have worked hard all day and accomplished precious little.  Despite the best made plans, your efforts are thwarted and your hard work is sabotaged even by the most unlikely of candidates.  “Looks innocent enough”, you might think!  Do not be taken in by the cute fluffy outer-shell.  This little one has made himself public enemy number one.

Kamakaze Squirrel

When I attended the interview for my current post, I was told that there were three or hour hours of work to do each day, and occasional child-minding.  They said “occasionally” they might need to ask me to do a “little overtime” and asked me to be flexible as work might vary from day to day.  They asked me to start at 8am.  But I soon realized that they had absolutely no idea of the time it took to complete the tasks they asked for each day. I have actually worked a few ten hours days so far, but they don’t seem to realize how much time the tasks they are giving me are taking. I thought that I was managing to get closer to completing my work within the suggested time frame the first two days this week. It seemed that I was roughly managing 7.30am-2pm – and then a lunch break followed by an hour of ironing.  It is essential to escape before every one comes home and wreaks havoc on the house!

But today everything has gone out of the window.  I still have three loads of washing drying outside, the big towels are on the tumble drier and a dark wash in the washing machine.  I am hoping to wash the lodger’s linen today and hang it outside while there is still some sunshine and then I really need to do a rag wash – I have a huge bag of used micro-fibre and buffing cloths that I need to put through the washing machine, because I am running out of cleaning cloths.

Nevermind!  It is just going to have to be one of those days.

I keep analysing my schedule and trying to work out where I can shave time off my tasks. I am a woman! I should be able to multi-task more effectively! I have sort of a game-plan. I try to have all of the ironing finished by the evening and everything is stacked neatly ready to be delivered first thing in the morning. For example, I might grab one stack and run up stairs to the top floor and deliver and at the same time make the beds and tidy/wipe the bathroom. I grab the laundry bag which seems to be always full and grab the bin liner and go down to the bedroom below. I make the bed, tidy/wipe the bathroom and grab the laundry and the bin liner and head downstairs to the utility room to start off the washing. Then I can head back up and ideally the family will be on their way out so that I can start cleaning up the kitchen.  After all of that I can start the thorough clean of a the entire floor of the house.  Five floors of the house, one floor each day.  Now in principle that sounds straightforward doesn’t it?

But life is unpredictable is it not!!!  Proverb for the day:

We cannot control the movements of kamikaze squirrels.

This morning the delay was as follows.  The nanny leaves the boys clothes out each evening so that everything is ready for the following morning.

However, today Dad was very concerned about his youngest, “It is so hot today the little one will be too warm in a long-sleeved school shirt, so could you find a short-sleeved school T-shirt for one of the boys?”  Well, I ran from the ground floor up to the second floor.  No other T-shirts at all on his room.  I run back down to the ground floor to deliver the message that he does not have any other shirts in his room.  I was asked to go back up to the second floor to check if there were any in his brother’s room?  I pointed out that if his brother has short-sleeved t-shirts they were unlikely to fit the little one?  Four years age gap between the boys. They wanted to give it a try.  So, I ran up to the second floor again.  His brother had three T-shirts but they are all long-sleeved.  I ran back downstairs to tell them.  They asked me  if there were any shirts anywhere else? Well, I guessed the other shirts must be in the laundry, even though I washed everything in all the laundry baskets and ironed everything I washed yesterday (three loads yesterday).  I ran downstairs to check.  There were five dirty school T-shirts in the laundry baskets.  Why had the two boys been through five school shirts in just one day? – I have no idea.  There were also three unlabelled T-shirts which were clean, but all  long-sleeved.

By now I had wasted 20 minutes running up and down stairs. The poor little one still had to wear a long-sleeved T-shirt for school.  Nothing has been accomplished, except I could possibly claim I have already burnt off all of the calories from my breakfast.

I headed back up to the third floor to start bed-making.  Only I heard my name being called.  I ran back down to the ground floor. They wanted to tell me that they were going to keep the front windows open to create a through draft.  Great idea!  I ran back upstairs.  Then I heard my name again.  The shopping had arrived.  Somehow, it has suddenly become my job to deal with the shopping, even though they say they do it themselves.  This is the fifth week in a row I have done it.  I am pretty quick at organizing shopping – it is one of “my things”. That’s fine, if they need me to do it, I will do it. So, I unpacked the shopping.  Only, it wouldn’t all fit in the fridge, so I had to carry a lot downstairs to the spare fridge in the utility room.

I was looking at my watch and realizing that it was over 50 minutes since I started work. I still had not made my first bed yet.  I headed back up to the upper floors. I made the beds, I wiped bathrooms and brought the laundry and the rubbish down.  I put on the first wash I headed up to the kitchen.  I was a whole hour behind schedule by now.  I would like to have cleared the breakfast and wiped the sides and emptied the rubbish already – but suddenly the nanny arrived.  Five minutes later, the lady of the house came home from yoga.  Yoga just happens to be the same time as the morning school run.  So while the rest of us are trying to bribe the children to put their uniforms on, finish their breakfast and make their was to school…she is meditating and stretching.

I was now working around them while they sipped coffee and discussed the arrangements planned for the day.  They are both super lovely and I had a little chatter with them both.  But there is always a little “oh could you just do this or just do that” to slow me down and it normally involves running up and down stairs in the process.  I decided there is no way I could just wait around to be able to do the kitchen properly, I would have to do that after they had gone.  Instead, I decided to start with the cleaning upstairs…

I was cleaning the children’s rooms today.  Of course, before I can really start cleaning, there is always a lot of tidying to do.  Toys, clothing items, books…they seem to be everywhere except they ought to be.  I might be imaging it, but it sometimes seems as if the boys go into their room and open up all the cupboards and drawers, and then pull everything out and throw their belongings up into the air to see where they will land.  I was still tidying and had not started cleaning their rooms, when I heard my name again.

I went down to the first floor master bedroom where the voice was coming from.  I could not believe my eyes! Yesterday, I had done a thorough clean of this room.  An hour earlier I had spent fifteen minutes making the bed and tidying the clothes that were left on the floor.  This time I really was not imagining it.  Somebody, (and it was looking very much like that somebody was the lady of the house) really had opened all of the closet doors and drawers and pulled out all of her clothes and shoes and bags and thrown them on the floor.

Ay ay ay!!! My parents forbade us from using expletives…but the thought that ran through my mind was not a happy one.  She was looking for some shoes.  She has possibly sixty pairs I realized last week when I cleaned the inside of her closet and re-arranged everything at her request.  I put the normal looking sensible shoes in the main shelves and the weird shoes (you know they types someone might want to wear for a fancy-dress party) on the top shelves of the closet.  She described to me the pair of shoes she wanted to wear, while I tried to hide the horrified dismay on my face.  I asked her if she meant the spice girls shoes.  She didn’t know what I meant.

Well, tell me, if someone asked you to find shoes that are red, blue and white, with sequins and with a platform wedge…how would you describe them?  When I originally saw these shoes, I thought they were hideous, but I concluded they must be part of a “Ginger Spice” fancy dress costume.  Apparently not, I discovered today that they are the latest creation of some sensational designer – of course she would know about these things since she works in the fashion industry.  After I had found the shoes, I had to put everything back into the drawers and wardrobes.  Then back upstairs to clean the rooms on the third floor.  I still had not cleaned the kitchen after breakfast.  All the washing needed to be sorted out.  I was not sure when, or if, today was ever going to end!

Well….this is life…this is house-keeping!!!!  I am telling myself to get on with it and deal with things calmly and not get flustered but see the funny side of things.

The “funny side of things”…and now we come back to the squirrel…he looked innocent enough didn’t he?

…I had just finished for the day – everything was looking immaculate and I turned the lights off.  I was heading downstairs to take a quick shower before I went out, when…..CRASH!!!!….I turned around and my jaw dropped.  A kamikaze squirrel!!!!!  It had just done some kind of “Fosbury flop” and a triple somersault.  As it had done so, it knocked off several plant pots from the wall.  Now there was broken pottery and soil all over the patio and some of the plants had come right out of the pots.  The squirrel (who must have had some kind of a death wish) was outside the window staring in at me!!!  So, I had to fetch the broom and start sweeping up the soil and re-arranging the plant pots.

This is life! – things will crop up won’t they!!!  We cannot control the movements of kamikaze squirrels.

I am going to head out for a walk as soon as I have finished.  I am going to take my sling-shot, or perhaps my bow-and-arrow and try to find that squirrel.  My aunt Judy would love a new fur hat!

You know I am joking right!

We Cannot Control The Movements Of Storm Clouds

Another post based on an e-mail I sent to Stuart during my job in Notting Hill:

Last night there must have been a terrific storm performing.  I heard rain hammering down above my rooms and grand cracks and crashes of thunderous fury.  I was so exhausted after the long day of house-keeping that I fell asleep very easily and slept the night through like a baby.

I truly thought I was going to have an easy morning today after all the work I did yesterday.  At 5.30am I was sitting up in bed, sipping coffee and thinking I would give myself “just another minute” before I jumped in the shower…when suddenly the door to my bedsit started to open gradually.  A little face appeared…it was one of the little children who live upstairs.

The children know they are not allowed to walk into my room without knocking.  We are all trying to strongly discourage them from being interested in my little abode at all.  Their father has forbidden them and he has told me I must tell them off if they go into my room.  I am not very good at shouting at children.  I respect that in some cases a parent might have to shout at their children in an effort to make them realize what they are doing is dangerous, or foolish, or wrong.  I have never been a parent and I don’t know how to shout at a child.  I try to reason with them.  Sometimes I win, sometimes I don’t.  I don’t think I am winning with this subject.  The youngest hates being told off, he hates me trying to reason with him.  He will run away.  The only way I can catch his attention is by speaking some Mandarin Chinese to him.  He is fascinated by this.  He has only just turned five, but he is eager for me to teach him as many Chinese expressions as possible.

I often find their toys under my bed or in my bath tub.  The lodger thinks it’s funny to encourage the children to play little tricks on me. (Afterall, when I clean their rooms I use their toys to create comic scenes…at the moment Darth Vadar is reading a copy of Vogue I found lying around and one of the trolls is sitting in a toy car with a little teddy in front of the car on his back, as if he has been run over.) I found an item from my underwear drawer on one of their teddies about a week ago. I understand their curiosity, but we must instil in them a realization that my rooms are off-limits. Young children rifling through your underwear drawer is so annoying!

Understandably, I was anxious as to what he was doing walking into my bedroom.  I was about to tell him off sternly, when he whispered with an urgent tone that there was a large pool of water outside of my door.

I jumped out of bed because I realized the little munchkin was unlikely to risk getting in trouble like this if there was no truth to what he said.  He was serious. Just up the steps from my room, sure enough was a large pool of water. I asked him to go and wake his father and tell him what had happened. So, the morning turned out to be quite different to the one scheduled.  Every resident in the building has now seen each other in our nightwear.  A roofer came…well, you can imagine how the day went hey?  We all just got on with it and now peace and order are restored, and the house is still gleaming as I managed to do all the tidying up and cleaning as well as dealing with the leak / flood situation.  Another six washes have been through the machine.  The normal clothes washing and all the towels we used this morning.

Aaaah…so this leads to yet another proverb for today:

We cannot control the movements of storm clouds hey!

Storm Clouds

I really feel I need to lay my head on a pillow and have a little nap – starting work in my pyjamas is not ideal is it!  I am going to head out to see some friends.  We have planned to have a drink at a bar near the river.  It will be lovely sitting outside in the sunshine enjoying the cool evening breeze.

Aaaaaah!  I have to say on sunny days like this, England is gorgeous.  It is just the rest of the year when skies are grey, and we are blown about with gusty wind and always slightly damp because the rain seems to come at you from all directions.  We have to make the most of this sublime sunshine, because we have a problem that as yet we have never learnt to overcome.

We cannot control the movements of storm clouds.

Thank You For Being You, Wonderful You… And Not Somebody Else

I moved to this little nest on 28th December 2016. One evening something happened which made me feel positive about being here. Before then I had been very unsure whether I would be able to settle here.

Have you ever been through a crises in confidence?  Perhaps after a series of failures, you felt inadequate to face any more future challenges.  Or maybe trials had eroded your optimism and worry had started to gnaw at your outlook.  I am going to tell you how a complete stranger imparted encouragement to me at a time my confidence was failing. She probably had no idea what her words meant to me.cash

I was itching to be back in London. I had spent almost a year with friends and family after I was attacked and was hoping that now I was physically and emotionally ready to take on the Big Smoke.

My first situation when I returned to London turned out disastrously.   I will save the story for another post, because I am going have to think very carefully about the words I choose regarding the man who was my boss…hmm… I gave my notice in after a couple of weeks and moved to another part of London.  However, whilst I was in a better situation, I had a knockback when I was involved in an accident at work and had to be taken to hospital for a CT scan.  After being discharged, the hospital personnel told me I needed to rest rest rest before I thought about work again.  I admitted to my bosses that I would not be able to say when I would be safe to return to work and we agreed to end my temporary contract.  So I spent the next few weeks with family again.

Anyway… still determined to get back to my life and career as a full-time volunteer in London, I found lovely accommodation and another job and I moved down to London a couple of months later, 28th December, ready to start work the following week.

I was a tad anxious though.  My previous experiences had made me doubt my capabilities to be… what is that word that helps you to achieve your goals?  Oh yes, TENACIOUS!

failureIn all honesty, I didn’t really have much fight in me after everything I had been through. I was rather feeble emotionally and was almost expecting I was going to have yet another failure.

At times, we can be our own worst critic.  I was frustrated with myself, frustrated with my body for letting me down (as I perceived it).  It was gnawing at my confidence that I was still not fully “back on my feet”.  Was it me?  Was there something wrong with me that meant I was doomed for persistent failures?

What if I let down my new landlord and my new boss?  What if I failed again?

It was with thoughts like these swimming around my head that I moved back to London. There was a young woman sitting near me on the train journey down to London I have often wished I could thank.  I brought a large suitcase and a small suitcase when I moved.  She kindly helped me to get both cases all the way from the railway station and onto the underground train I needed to catch, even though she was going a different way.  I cannot remember her name.  I only know that she worked for St Georges Hospital and she was hoping one day to work in plastic surgery, treating those who have suffered from burns and injuries in war torn areas.

What would I do about my crises of confidence?

Cash-machineThe first night I arrived I went to a cash machine on the local high street.  As I approached and pulled my debit card out to insert into the machine, I noticed that a large amount of money was sticking out of the machine.  I did not touch it, but it looked to be around £200-£300 at least.

I was not sure what to do at first.  The machine would not allow me to insert my own card.  It was beeping and there was a prompt notice on the screen asking the user to take the cash.  A man drew up on a motorcycle and stood behind me waiting his turn to use the machine.  I looked up and down the high street wondering if there was anyone nearby who was running back for the cash they had forgotten, but there was nobody else around.  I was a bit worried that if I asked the man behind me, he might grab the cash himself and make a run for it.  I felt responsible to guard the money I had found.  The was a mini-supermarket nearby.  Maybe I should take the cash inside there for safe -keeping and report to them what had happened.  Then I remembered there is a police phone number for non-emergencies.  So I rang 101 and asked what I should do.  The administrator on the line asked me if there was anyone else around.  She was very kind and expressed her sympathy for me standing there bewildered because somebody else’s money was in jeopardy.

Suddenly I saw a woman (I would have guessed in her sixties) running back towards us. She was returning with the horror of realizing she had forgotten the money she had just withdrawn.  I reassured her it was still there.  She was so glad, so grateful.

It was this lady, this complete stranger who then said to me the words I used in the title of this post:

Thank You For Being You, Wonderful You… And Not Somebody Else

The lady on the phone at 101 had heard everything.  She was also very kind.  She told me that some people would just have run off with the money without a thought.  She said “that lady is right, you should take her words to heart.”

I walked home with tears in my eyes.  Those words had such a powerful effect on me. They were desperately needed words that bolstered my courage.  I had a reminder that what defines success or failure, is not how much money you earn, the career you are striving within, the qualifications and accolades you may have been awarded.  Success is not having a perfect situation, a perfect body, perfect health, or being able to say you have never been bullied and you have never been the victim of a crime.

Qualities of the heart…that’s what my parents aimed to cultivate in us.   They wanted to be sure that where-ever life took us, whether we were in company or all alone, we would live by the values they had sounded down into our little hearts.  There would be times when we might not know exactly what to do.  We might meet challenges that bamboozled us!  But so long as we stayed within the beautiful lessons for life that we had been taught we would be successful.

What a wonderful thing to say to someone, and a complete stranger at that!  I would love that lady to know how much I appreciated her expression of thanks on my first night back in London.

Thank You For Being You, Wonderful You… And Not Somebody Else

This-A-Way That-A-Way

blogging.jpgI 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:

https://aguycalledbloke.blog/2019/01/24/oh-no-way-oh-so-way-4/

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.

Sexted

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

KIND OF

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.

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.

grumpyWhat 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

cleaning.jpgI 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!

…And Yet I Did!!!

011319

There are a long long list of things that I never thought I could do…and yet I did!!!

  • Work in cancer care
  • Be with somebody I loved when they died
  • Become a professional cook
  • Learn British Sign Language and become an interpreter
  • Be on stage in front of an audience of 15,000
  • Leave home!
  • Move to London
  • Sing in front of a live audience of strangers
  • Learn to ski
  • Go scuba-diving
  • Bake my own bread
  • Learn construction skills like plaster-boarding, roof tiling, and all aspects of decorating
  • Learn how to use a marble paint effect
  • Walk twenty-two miles in one day
  • Run for ten miles
  • Swim five metres across the swimming pool
  • Swim two miles along a river (outdoor swimming)
  • Teach other people how to swim
  • Help to cut the toe-nails of sheep
  • Drive a Mercedes Benz
  • Fall in love again after my teenage sweetheart and I broke up after nine years
  • Train a team who had never wall-papered before so we could complete the decorating of a venue in one day
  • Become a professional gardener
  • Learn to mix cement to make mortar for brick-laying
  • Travel to construction projects all over the country on my own
  • Dig an oil-tanker out of the snow
  • Leave my well-paid job in finance
  • Qualify to be an international volunteer
  • Write poems
  • Start a blog-site

When I was a child I was lively, yet painfully shy at times. I liked to read and write and play sports and climb trees. I was a great swimmer. However, outside of that I did not think I was very talented or capable. I did not think I had the potential for anything much. But life is full of surprises,

I learnt not to be afraid of change and new situations. I was very secure living in the family home I had grown up in around people who had watched me grow from birth. Leaving home was a frightening. I learnt so much about my potential and my ability to learn and be trained. I also realized my parents really had taught us every life lesson we would need to guide us with new decisions. I found myself in situations I never imagined myself in and experiencing things I would never have even allowed myself to dream about. There is a very long list of things:

“I NEVER THOUGHT I COULD”, …and yet I did!!!

I found it very hard to decide which of the subjects listed to write about, so I will just mention one situation. I worked at the head office of a major retail chain for eight years. From the age of eighteen to twenty-six. I worked there part-time, but I was paid a full-time wage (that was because I was doing the same amount of work that two full-timers used to do before). Because I worked part-time, I was able to spend a lot of time on voluntary projects for various charities.

Newbury2I was invited by a friend who co-orinated many projects in the south of England to move to a part of the country where the cost of living was high compared to up north, and therefore there were not as many volunteers. There were a lot of projects in that area waiting for more volunteers. When I handed my resignation letter in to my manager in the finance department I worked in, she asked if I had a source of income arranged in the south. My plan was to move and then apply for jobs. She made sure that the company I worked for very kindly helped me to relocate to the south of England and arranged for me to have a part time job in a neighbouring town to where I was living.

It became obvious very quickly that the journey to and from work was epic. I was travelling for longer than I was working. I gave in my notice and started to apply for other jobs in finance. But I only saw full-time roles advertised. That’s when I was offered a job as a private cook catering for a household. My reaction was: “BUT I CAN’T COOK!” They laughed and said I would be fine, they liked me and trusted me. They even gave me a cop of Delia Smith’s famous cookbook and told me to read it and refer back to it whenever I was in doubt.

I absolutely loved working as a cook. I cooked and baked everything from scratch. I learnt so much. It really boosted my confidence. I realized I did not ever want a desk job again. From then on I preferred physical work where I could learn new skills. I also found how much I loved being in people-orientated jobs and working out in the fresh air.

Again and again, I found myself earning my “bread and butter” through work I NEVER THOUGHT I COULD do…and yet I did!!!

LIFE CAN BE SUCH AN ADVENTURE!

This post was in response to the weekly writing prompt created by Sarah Elizabeth Moore.

Please feel free to create a post of your own and pingback to Sarah’s original prompt below:

https://sarahelizabethmoore.org/2019/01/13/writing-prompt-2/

Why Did The Snail Cross The Road?

I have been asked so many times what my goals are for the new year. They are exactly the same as they were last year, and the year before! I wrote about it one day after I almost squished a snail who was making his way across the pavement in the direction of the road.

This little fella had a very close shave with Caramel today.  It would not have been Crushed Caramel.  It was almost crushed Mr Snail.  Oh so close!  He really was a little fella.  I was very relieved that I noticed a little white blob and then crouched down to realize he was making his way at a reasonable pace across the pavement.  I thought his shell was really pretty.  So much so, that as you see, I was moved to take a little photo to share him with you today.

Snail

I was rather concerned though about his general direction.  The little guy was heading away from a very lush green flowery suburban garden and he was set head on towards the road.  Why would the snail want to cross the road?  Should I intervene?  I don’t think he would stand much chance against the Chelsea tractors that rumble along this road.  Should I have picked the little one up and relocated him to another nice patch of greenery?  I had a bit of a moral dilemma…and I am still very doubtful that I did the right thing.  Maybe I was interfering.  Perhaps there was a very important legitimate reason why he would risk his shell to make it to the other side of the road.  I could have set him back from reaching his ultimate goal.

Of course…that made me think about a situation I faced recently.

Next month…it will be three (now it is three and a half) years since I was the victim of a crime, that has knocked my life completely off course. Now I don’t want to talk about that here. But recently a friend told me she had seen some of the men who helped me out after they found out what had happened to me. They used to co-ordinate the projects I was involved in and they often piled a great deal of work onto my plate and asked me to do long long hours.  After they found out I was in hospital after being found by a security guard, they discretely made it possible for me to be absent from the work I was responsible for.  They travelled across the country to visit me while I was staying with my family and I was able to talk a little about what I had been through the night I was attacked.

At the time I appreciated their reassurance that nobody was expecting me to rush my recovery. They made it very clear at the time I can take as long as I need to get back on my feet. You cannot rush someone to overcome a horrific ordeal. They assured me that time was not the issue. They wanted me to do whatever I needed to recover in every way.

My friend had seen these men and she told me that they were asking after me.  It has been a while since I was in touch with them.  What did she tell them?  She told them that I was doing really well, that I seemed happier than she had known in years.  She told them that she thought having a change of scene and a change of pace was really good for me and that I seemed to be thriving.

I know she meant well…

But I ached inside when I thought of what those men must have thought.  They are looking after everything for me.  They are keeping my belongings safe.  All the furniture that I own is there at my accommodation waiting for me to return.  90% of my clothes and shoes are there.  All my family photos and everything precious and sentimental to me is there…waiting for me.  I miss my home…that is my true home.  I miss my career.  I miss my world of friends and the sphere of activity I was very busy within.  I miss it intensely.  I ache to be back there.

I am here, not by choice, but because I needed to recover from what happened to me and build my strength and stamina back up before I can go back to that extremely demanding lifestyle – demanding, but immensely rewarding and satisfying.  It is the most purposeful existence I have ever enjoyed.  Yes, I was sometimes naturally tired after the long hours I put in helping people.  But it gave me a level of joy no other job has given me.

I know my friend loves me and wants what is best for me.  I know she meant well in what she said…but I am now nervous that they might think I prefer being away from that demanding career and the inconveniences of the area I lived in.

I guess I am a bit like that snail.  I am trying to make my way steadily and at a pace that is maintainable to reach my ultimate goal: HOME!  I am worried her words, to those men who care about my welfare so much, might make them think they should not expect me back.  I am so anxious I am going to have to write a letter or an e-mail to let them know I am doing well, but the life I have here is nothing compared to the one I had before.

Some of my friends here find it hard to understand this.  I can see they want me to let go of the past.  They want me to “close a chapter and start a new one”…I have heard that so many times I have a strong dislike for those words.

This is how I have tried to explain things to them:  Imagine a married woman who is the mother of small children.  She loves her family.  She works hard and is tired, but she is content with her purposeful role.  One day an event occurs which separates her from her family.  Imagine she wakes up and is told that it is much too dangerous for her to go back to them right now.  In the meantime, she is provided with a safe and pleasant home and she has interesting work that keeps her busy but is not exhausting.  She is safe, she has everything she needs and much more.  Could that woman really forget where she belongs?  Could she ever forget her true purpose?  Could she forget her family that she loves?

I have to get back to my home, my life, my world…I will march on.  It may take a lot longer than I would have liked. I will be like that snail heading with determination towards the road…heading on a long perhaps arduous journey at a frustratingly slow pace…But I am determined I will make it back to where I belong. One day I hope to make it home, no matter how long it takes. One thing is for sure, there is no way I am going to give up my goal and head in another direction for something that is vanity to me.

Who would have though a little snail could provide so much inspiration?