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Category Archives: people

I Hate Halloween (still)

 

Time for a repost…

It all stems back to a incident in 1973/1974 and some decades later the fear within still resides and affects my behaviour.

Way back then I was a small child, only child of the house. We lived in a new house in the village, there were no street lights and few neighbours. The room beside the main lounge/dinner, always named the little lounge, was where I would play most evenings, not disturbing my parents. The window, at right angles from the main lounge windows, looked out across the lawn and across the neighbours drive. It was a very quiet village and as my street was a cul de sac of only a dozen properties not much traffic either. It was never unusual for the curtains to be left open after all there was no one to look-in.

One of the main streets [the village centered around a t-junction beside an ancient Priory and river crossing] had the affluent estates, mansions of six or seven bedrooms in acres of land, some only years old some dating pre-victorian, and as the oil industry was beginning to boom on the coast these executive dwellings were rented to upper managements families, thus why we had American families in the village.

The ‘festival’ of trick or treating was unknown to my neck of the woods, yes we were aware of All Hallow’s Eve, the night of witches and gouls, stories of fright but other than that is was a non-event.

I vividly recall that night without much prompting, I was playing gymnastics in the little lounge. forward rolls, backward rolls and so forth, balancing, pretending to tight-rope walk when there was a knock at the window. I looked up expecting to see a familiar face who had tried to gain our attention by knocking at the front door but had not been heard, but I was much mistaken. I saw a light shining upon a glowing disfigured face with a blood curdling moan eminating and nothing but pure blackness around. I was petrified, scared witless at this utter terror before me. I know I screamed with all the effort I could muster. I ran into the main lounge and leapt to my Mother startled by my activity, the leap was close to record breaking for a 5/6year old. I was shaking, howling, in such utter distress and hysteria.

My Father hurried from the house. It was not until many years later that someone else told me he caught one of the teens who had taken part in this deed, had grabbed him by the scruff of his jacket, pulling him to within an inch of his face and shouted most violently at him.

The next day as I boarded the bus for school, I knew instantly who had been involved, the two american teenage boys from the large house and one local boy, they were a gang of three, their snickers and glares displayed their guilt. I was so angry, yet utterly intimidated.

It is now approaching dusk and my nerves are already twitching to close the curtains and lock the door. When I first moved into my home the first couple of All Hallow’s Eve’s I could not bring myself to be in my kitchen and cook because there was nothing to cover the window and door, eventhough there was no way for anyone to get to them, the fear was there. When I worked flexi-time at the Agency I always left the moment core time was over and drove home to get hidden in my home.

I don’t for a moment imagine those three fellows even remember frightening me that night, but I do. I hate halloween.

EDIT :: I still close the curtains early, I am still on edge should there be a knock at my door (which would be ignored), but I know I’ll be fine.

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Posted by on October 31, 2017 in General, Life, people

 

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I Got Da Bluuuuues


When ever my BFF and I have to say bye-bye there is always a lump in my throat, but this time there was significant eye leakage, several sobs and yes a couple of stomach gripping knots as the taxi turned right out of my street taking her to the airport and home to hubby, daughter and two ginger cats.

It’s impossible to put my finger exactly on why, it’s part history, part friendship, part closeness, part loss, part safety, part encouragement, part silliness, and a whole heap of, it’s just fun to be together.

So what wild shenanigans did we get up to…….. well, you might not believe it, it could possibly shock some, but, well, none.  Just chatting, watching films, finding all kinds of things on the Internet,  eating good treat food, doing some stitching, relaxing, taking a walk to the beach, shopping for treats; just being removed from our expected usual everyday.

Highlight – Lazing in bed, not quite asleep when BFF remarked “What the…..oh it’s you!”  You need a little backstory here.

A neighbourhood cat has taken to sitting on my recycling bin which is just outside my back door. He peers in, looking curious, has wandered into the kitchen when the door was open. BFF opened the kitchen window and he strolled in and discovered two suckers for head rubs, chin scratches and ham, chicken and dreamies.  If the window was left open he’d just stroll in and say hello, not in a hurry to leave.  Over a day or two of repeated visits (BFF is such a softie) little encouragement was needed. He’s been nicknamed Mickey because he’s white with a black tail and black ears.  One night it was rather warm so BFF opened my bedroom window slightly, maybe four or so inches, the curtains were slightly gaped, we comfortably resettled to sleep.  Cheeky Mickey got brave from the bin top and mastered the narrow, tilted, slippery windowsill, squeezed through the gap, avoided the bits and bobs on the windowsill as well as the bookcase, jumped to the floor and neither of us heard anything until he jumped on the bed and walked up BFF!  Lol, cheeky, little devil.


We were productive, I’ve ‘almost’ finished the cot blanket, and already started a second (naughty me, should finish one before starting another), BFF knitted a couple of hats and booties for the doll. Yes, Mickey helped with the wool tension on the big ripple afghan.

Now it’s time to get back to the normal everyday, not as much fun, not as much company and not such enticing food. Familiar aches are returning. Time to reset the countdown app for her return in March. 

 
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Posted by on October 10, 2017 in General, Life, people, Pets, Projects

 

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Mature Teenagers

It’s time to play the music……. It’s time to light the lights……..

BFF has arrived and plugged her phone in, rummaged to find her comfy stuff, made herself at home; groceries have been delivered to make tasty home cooked foods, the shipment of Coke Zero has been unloaded (she’s a Coke fiend, I’m a coffee one), this is our idea of a staycation…. Doors are locked, curtains may or may not be opened….. Pleasing ourselves, watch a movie or two, stitch and create, render some donkeys backlegless, laugh hysterically at something silly until our sides hurt…….it’s like being a teenager left at home. AWESOME

*insert happy big grinning smilie face here*

 
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Posted by on September 23, 2017 in Life, people

 

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The Great Greenwich Expedition

Drafty and drizzly began the day as we boarded our first train heading to the city passing stranded commuters held up by a traffic incident. Our second train a lot more comfortable, the disabled seating is in first class.  We’d just about left the county before we started on our sausage sandwiches.  Big Sis grabbed a copy of the complimentary local paper for its taxing cryptic crossword and once coffee had been purchased we taxed our brains (more like she exercised hers and I confused mine) only one clue not answered.  Being engrossed we hadn’t noticed the time, our train was speed restricted due to animals on the line earlier, instead of arriving at 10.20 it was 10.45. Hey ho.

Map in hand we three stepped forth to Tower Wharf to catch the river taxi to Greenwich. What an easy, slick, comfy operation! We were listening to a guide inform a group. That’s the downside of independent travel, you don’t discover the tidbits of anecdotes. Seamlessly we were there and before us was the vessel floating on her glass ocean. Prior to coming people had remarked how small the ship seemed, but not so to me. We found our way in and the lift down to the cafe beneath the keel. Hmm, first disappointment of the day, the selection was very limited and rather artisan not to mention a little over priced.  Still it was quite something sitting beneath the copper/zinc coated keel, it was fascinating seeing the shaping and riveting, the rudder was hardly very wide at all, and the prow seemed square not really shaped to cut through the water.  There was an impressive collection of figureheads, on show, such fun colourful characters.

Up a level and into the hold, reading various aspects like the crew numbers, miles travelled, how the tea crates were packed, life at the time and the importance of trade.  Think Tetris on a grand scale.  Did you know she transported more than tea?  The tween deck spacious and informative with artefacts from her glory days and the history of her owner.  Up on deck the livestock was housed, as well as the galley, crew bunks, carpenters workshop, bosun’s, officers and captains quarters, there is even a head! Peering in at the wooden crew bunks they looked a bit more spacious than the tallships I’ve sailed!  The deck was a lot wider and more spacious than expected although one or two of the ropes coiled and fastened to their pegs would not have passed our Bosun’s inspections.  Accessibility was very good, with only the quarter decks inaccessible and I didn’t notice the visual alternatives. It was pleasingly atmospheric being surrounded by the wood, teak and rope, the brain managed to recall names of various elements of rigging, sails and infrastructure. Woohoo!

We moved on to the Royal Maritime Museum, we perused the extensive collection of Nelson related items, the Jutland exhibition, the Royal Barge (the jubilee barge Gloriana was based on her) used my one of the George’s, which had another barge following along the Thames bringing the orchestra who played Handle’s Water Music on loop (18th century iPod, lol), the Miss Britain III speed record vessel. A section about the yachts in the America’s Cup race.  I must admit I find these types of museums detached and a little dis interesting.  I was surprised there was practically nothing about knots and rope work, nothing on how sailing works, how is harnesses the wind and makes it move, what a rudder does. 

We ambled our way back to the gastro pub practically beneath the Cutty’s stern, the Gipsy Moth for dinner, two thick slices of ham off the bone, two mighty fried eggs and triple cooked chips. Drool worthy and the comfortable ambience, pleasant staff and surroundings most welcome.  Before long we were back aboard the water taxi, zooming up river to Tower (at least our stops were pretty noticeable) and meandering back to the station.  Giggle of the day? The staff disabled loo at the train station, parked on the throne taking care of business I looked to my right for the signs of loo paper, none there, maybe behind me standing atop the cistern, nope. I glanced across my wheelchair beside the loo and there level with the wheel was the circular container. No chance of reaching it!

On the return journey Big Sis and I attempted the other cryptic crossword in the paper. How did we fair, erm, well, our words fitted the clues and the space but were wrong.

Collapsed into bed 10.45pm, ready to be flat and still.

 
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Posted by on July 2, 2017 in General, Life, people

 

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Running Wild

Last night Big Sis and I went to see this amazing play, an adaptation of Michael Morpergo’s 2009 novel about the Boxing Day Tsunami in Indonesia in 2004.  Lily Macready was riding Oona the 12-year old elephant along the beach, but she was behaving awkwardly, wanting to turn away from the flat calm waters, her flight or fight senses took hold and she took off deep into the rainforest as the devastating wave hit the shores taking the lives of many and destroying countless buildings.  The story details how Lily learns to understand Oona and how this majestic animal protects and guides her young charge. Stumbling into the dark dangerous world of greedy gun wielding animal hunters and bullying farmers burning the forest to plant plams to make the highly profitable palm oil (used in many products from soap and shampoo to cooking oils and convenience foods). Eventually stumbling into an animal sanctuary, sunburnt, shot, dehydrated and exhausted and being reunited with her Grandma.

I was not prepared for the play to be so dark and violent in places, something which noticeably upset the young children in the audience. The plot brought attention to the environmental plight of the region, the global zealous need for commodities and the cruel lengths the ruthless go to exploiting that market. 

Oona the elephant is mesmerising, her puppeteers seemingly effortlessly bring life to this charismatic character. The orangutans were lively, cheeky and the babies (being hunted to be sold as pets) were utterly mischievous. Even the tiny details as the fire flies were completely believable. There was a palpable gasp from the audience as the tiger was carried into the hunters camp, dead, valuable as a skin, a trophy, medicine, even though earlier we had seen the same tiger attempting to attack Lily and Oona. 

I would have liked Oona’s trumpet call to be a little louder, as compared to the volume and depth of the orangutans and forest noises it was almost overpowered. Also, we did not really get a sense of time Lily was missing, whether it was a couple of days or a couple of weeks.  But none the less it was a very engaging performance.

After coming home I took a look online to see if I could find out a bit more, and ended up confusing myself further. I thought the story was based on a true life event, although there was a story of a child being taken into the forest on the back of an elephant, Michael Morpergo’s book tells the tale of a boy called Billy, yet the play is a girl called Lily.  There was very little information about what Lily had experienced, or whether she stayed in Indonesia or returned to the UK, whether her father had died prior to the holiday and whether her Mother was killed in the Tsunami, key elements in the plot.

Never the less, I would recommend going to see the performance.

 
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Posted by on April 27, 2017 in Books, Life, people, Review

 

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Granny & Death & Terry & Me


It began by chance, a book sent in error from a club, a blurb that struck a chord, that became a twenty year trek through the wit, the word play, the entendres, the sideways swipe, the unobvious parody, the literal and the Literal musings of a man’s meanderings of a fantasy land. I have no idea why Sir Terry caught my imagination, whether there’s enough reality in the fantasy to hold a ring of truth or I was just entertained.

When two of his books, Wyrd Sisters and Soul Music were made into an animated series, I practically wore the VHS out watching them over and over, the colourful characters firmly in my mind I could see and hear them as I read and reread the books. The dulcet tones of Tony Robinson reading the audiobooks often accompanied sleepless nights.  Later when tomes like Hogwatch, Going Postal and The Colour of Magic were filmed, they were top of my birthday/Christmas lists, staying close to the story, capturing much of the books comedic quality without tipping over into absurdity. 

Every one of the forty-one works has had its own flavour, often parodying cliches of religion, science, mythology, folklore, business acumen, dynasties and continents or authors like Shakespeare, Tolkein, Dicken’s and Potter.  A few of his notable characters have burrowed and set up home in my psyche, Granny Weatherwax and Death being the primary.  I can loose hours perusing numerous quotes or mini scenes. Such as (in exaggerated witchy hag voice), “When shall we three meet again”, “I can do next Tuesday” replies Nanny Ogg in her West Country tone; or “On nights such as this, witches are abroad.  Well, not actually abroad. They don’t like the food and you can’t trust the water and the shamans always hog the deckchairs.” In this time of election decisions I’m reminded of Ankh-Morpork’s take on democracy, “Ankh-Morpork had dallied with many forms of government and had ended up with that form of democracy known as One Man, One Vote. The Patrician was the Man; he had the Vote.”

With the death of Sir Terry and the publication of The Shepherd’s Crown, the final novel, something had an end. I delayed reading the book as I wasn’t ready to say good bye to this comforting friend. Last week I took up the book and began. The first few chapters were pure Pratchett even if the content was the death of my favourite character, but after that the book felt disjointed and unpolished. After the epilogue Sir T’s PA Rob added a letter, he told of their working methods and how books came together, but with the last book there had not been the time to fully work on the drafts, although often the final draft had to be crowbarred from his hands as Sir T was ever quite totally ready to say it was complete and done. It’s well known that this is not his finest, but it is his last and maybe demonstrates that despite his failing mental faculties he was determined to write to the end and not leave us hanging.

Farewell Sir T, Granny and all. 

 
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Posted by on April 22, 2017 in Books, people, Review

 

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AWOL now back, more rejuvenated & rebellious 


Lol, my screw literally did fall out! I use a dining chair as a walking frame (the seat also acts as a carry shelf), the seat pad is screwed from beneath but recently one of the screws was unscrewing itself and I kept tightening it but a couple of weeks or so ago there was the sound of something hitting the floor, yes my screw fell out.

I’ve had a fabulously, relaxing, fun, couple of weeks as my BFF in the whole Universe came to play I mean stay.  Lazy mornings, tasty foods, evening DVD’s, selfish indulgence galore. An obligatory visit to the local yarn store (new crochet project in progress). Whilst there a flyer was spotted on the counter about a film being shown at the Library, as part of the community cinema. Sully, is a film we have both been wanting to see, so we trotted down the street and attended. It was an excellent film, I had to remind myself I was in public and not to growl at the personage I disliked. It was totally engrossing, thoroughly watchable and seeing it on a larger screen with surround sound added to the experience.  There is always one thing each visit that crumples us both into tearful laughter. This time it was our efforts to send her Dad a video of us singing happy birthday. The snag was keeping the thumb on the go button, it slipped and the looping short video made me look like I had a nervous tic, the dang app sent it so we had to type ignore that. Then inn the second attempt after explaining our error as we took a breath to sing, thumb shifted stopping the filming. We gave up and recorded a video and then sent that in messages. Her poor Dad must have wondered what on earth was going on! Still he and we all had a good hearty laugh.

All too soon she was packing for home, already counting down to her return (168 days).  We had jested that her cats might be happy to have her home, but also cold shoulder her for leaving in the first place, her cat Hunter came running as soon as he heard her voice and was rubbing himself round her legs, so pleased to have her home.

So, yes, a change is as good as a rest.  

Oh yes, I had a birthday in there too, lots of goodies and treats. Next year is an “0-heck” number, yikes!

Back to making working lists

  • Work on the web site
  • Carry on with crochet project
  • Try and keep things tidier
  • Research Greenwich trip
  • Clear and tidy desk + draws
  • Chase up Neuro Consultants Letter

That should do for now.

 
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Posted by on April 7, 2017 in General, Life, people, Projects

 

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