It didn’t take long

I was only out for an hour. When I got home mother told me there had been naughtiness afoot. Firstly one the squirrels has been digging in the pots with my seedlings in.

Secondly mother herself has done something naughty.

For the last couple of months on and off I have been looking for a new car. This morning I found one that I think will be suitable for our needs. Although it will mostly just be me in the car I need something that I can easily get a wheelchair in. Plus the passenger seat can’t be too low or too high for mother to get in.

She has arranged for me to go and have a look at it. Apparently the salesman can’t come out to show it to me and I can only look at the outside of it.

If I decide that I do want it the paperwork will be emailed over to us. This car could very well be my birthday present.

I’ll let you know more when or if I do decide it’s the one.

Crisis averted

I was in the dinning room when I heard the phone go. I couldn’t hear who it was but my mother was having trouble understanding exactly what she was being told to do. She started up her laptop. I could hear her saying that she hadn’t bought an iphone. She would have been going to bed at that time last night. No nobody has access to her laptop and she shuts it down every time.

I very quickly became suspicious. It was difficult to know exactly what was going on as I could only hear her side of the conversation. She wasn’t giving any personal information otherwise I would have stopped the call immediately. My mother was following instructions to search for this, download that etc I told her I thought this was a scam. It just didn’t sound right to me. When I found her on a screen to give remote access my head was screaming its a scam! She wouldn’t listen. Waving me away or telling me to shut up! Then she was on her Amazon account changing her password. Luckily she was having trouble getting the password right. By this time I was shaking I was so angry, with them for doing this and with her for not accepting what was happening.

She had to take a break to go to the bathroom. I took the opportunity to pick up her phone and ask this man who he is. To be fair the way he talked he did sound plausible but I still knew that if this was genuine it would be handled differently. On her return mum agreed to end the call. I contacted Amazon to check that this is not the way they would deal with this situation. It was confirmed that this was indeed a scam.

Mum is now annoyed with herself for being taken in. She is a retired solicitor and prides herself in being careful. She wonders how other people get taken in by these scams. Now she is among those that got taken in. I am so glad I was here to prevent this becoming a crisis. She has since checked her Amazon account and her bank account. All is as it should be. However she is now having trouble changing her amazon password. We will get there. I dread to think of the consequences if I hadn’t managed to stop her from being taken for a complete ride.

Amazon have sent me an email detailing what they do and don’t do and how to report scams.

What three words?

Recently I bit the bullet and joined twitter. I’ve found a few people to follow. I don’t really interact on there. I’ve left a couple of comments. My posts on here are automatically posted on there. I currently have zero followers but that’s no surprise. I doubt anyone even knows I’m there.

Browsing earlier I saw a tweet from someone I knew a few years ago.

What three words are you looking forward to saying when the pandemic is over.

For me it will be when I see my family and can say…

Let us hug

Do you ?

Do you?

Looking into your pale eyes
As they sparkle with your smile,
Our faces just inches apart as we laugh and chat.
Do you read what is written in my eyes
Do you see the hidden desire

The need to reach out
To touch your face
To taste your breath
As together we allow
Our lips to meet

The light touch of your hand
About my waist
So brief yet indelibly
Burnt into my memory
To cherish until next time

Do you have any idea
Of the calm turmoil
You create within
Your touch, your smile
These things I crave so much

Do you want it too
A time and a place
Where we can share
Much more than
A simple kiss

Writing

In my family it would seem that the women are/were writers. Both my grandmothers wrote. I have always known that my maternal grandmother wrote short stories. I have a copy of one that she wrote. I believe that she wrote stories for WI but also sent some to magazines. My mother told me years ago that her mother had earnt money from doing this. It was only in recent years that I discovered that my paternal grandmother had a whole file of poetry that she had written. I have never read any of it.

When I was young I liked to write short stories (mostly for children) I never did anything with them. It was just a hobby during the quiet periods at work. When I was 21 my maternal Granny died of a heart attack. After her death I couldn’t bring myself to write any more stories. I just couldn’t bring myself to pick up a paper and pen. I thought that was the end of my writing. In truth I carried on writing but not in the same way. Over the years when I was troubled I would write down my feelings. If someone had hurt me, whether in my romantic life or in life generally, I would write them a letter. I never gave /sent the letters but it helped me to put my thoughts together.

I have always known that my mother liked to write. we were talking about it yesterday. She has a file of poetry that she has written throughout her life. I can’t say that poetry is my thing but there have been a few scribblings in the past. Writing must be in my blood. Both my husbands have been good at art (second husband was a graphic designer). My eldest son and his fiancee are both artistic. I can’t draw a straight line let alone anything else but my artistic side comes out in my writing and recently my knitting.

After the end of my first marriage I joined the world of blogging. Years of living in a coercive controlling environment for many years my confidence was at rock bottom. Blogging helped me to grow my confidence. I became part of an online community. I received feedback from everything I wrote. I was getting the affirmation I hadn’t had before. I started writing posts about my life. I also began to write short stories which I shared with my friends. A few years down the line I was writing less and less. I was running out of inspiration. I was also working full time again as well as running a home and family as a single mother. I was tired.

I had been married to my second husband for about 9 months when a friend inspired me to start this blog. Over the years I have had problems with finding things to write about. I didn’t want to constantly write about my marriage. I didn’t want to write about people in my life. I have written the occasional piece for several years. It is just recently that I have begun to write more regularly again. I am never going to write a best selling novel. I might eventually get back to writing short stories again but for now I am happy just putting words together for my blog. Each day is something different. That in itself is amazing in this current life of not going anywhere or doing anything.

Behind closed curtains

It would seem that it is possible to become friends without forgetting.

A couple of days ago I was in my car and the song on the radio was The Police – Every breath you take. For a lot of years I mistakenly took this to be a very romantic song. Just like many others. I am aware that Sting has said it is not about romance. I came to that conclusion myself back in around 2006 when I was going through a rather nasty divorce. I’m not sure now which came first but I can’t listen to that song anymore without feeling freaked out.

After my then husband had moved out of our home it didn’t take long to discover that I was being watched. I would get messages about what I was or wasn’t doing. I became so paranoid about this that I insisted that we kept all the curtains shut day and night for months. I hated that not only was my ex watching me but he also had some of our neighbours reporting back to him. Both before and after the divorce, he was making threats on my life.

The police installed a panic button and my children were put on the ‘at risk’ register. One summer Sunday night he was phoning me relentlessly but I refused to answer. In the end he changed tactic and started calling one of my sons. It was the middle of the night. I agreed to speak to him if he left our sons out of it. He first of all told me that he was going to kill himself by throwing himself on to the rail track. He then changed his tune and said he was going to kill me.

I had got into the habit of writing a diary of everything that happened. A suggestion from the police. I had been writing it in a note book but by this time had started writing it on my computer and emailing it to a trusted friend so that there was a second copy. On this particular early morning I was writing about the latest phone calls. I rang the police to tell them of this latest development. I heard a tapping on the back door. I thought it was our cat. The cat flap was set so that she could get out but needed to be let in. (otherwise other cats came in). I was just about to open the door to let her in when I saw finger tips gripping the window sill. It was my ex trying to trick me into opening the door.

As I said, I was on the phone to the police. I yelped and said in a panic. ‘He’s here!’ I was told to go upstairs, they were on their way. Reaching my bedroom I saw him go to the garden shed. I was scared that he was finding something to use to break into the house. To my relief he didn’t, instead he went into the shed closing the door behind him. When the police arrived I told them where he was. On being found he said he was there to collect his lawnmower! He was arrested and charged with harassment. Next day he was released and called me to instruct me to tell the police that he had asked me to get the charges dropped. Obviously, I did do just that. They added intimidating a witness to the charges.

Months later, his case was to be heard in court. He had pleaded not guilty just so that I would have to go to court as a witness. At the last minute he changed his plea to guilty. That was a relief. He was given an injunction preventing him from coming near me or the house.

For years after this I had as little contact with him as possible. I had changed my phone number I don’t now remember at what point I did that. It must have been before the court case because changing my number meant that I had no record of his text messages and voice mails.

However now all these years later we have managed to get over all the animosity. We have become friends. Not only do we have four sons together but we also now have two grandchildren. This and the fact that he has not had a drink for about 4 years have helped. I still find it awkward because of the bad history between us. Most particularly the last 12 months have brought us together as friends. He has been a great help to me and my mother during lockdowns and health issues. He has become our support bubble and we have become his, since his friend who he had looked after for several years died at Easter.

I am grateful for all his support and glad for the sake of our children that we have managed to put the past mostly behind us. Some of my friends are worried about our friendship thinking that we would end up getting back together. That will never happen. I know he doesn’t drink anymore, we have 30+ years of history but there were many reasons why I divorced him. Being an alcoholic was only one of the reasons. I am pleased for his sake that he is sober.

Looking down is the new norm

Since this pandemic started our lives have changed so much. There are so many things that are different now.

We all have to wear a mask/face covering. We are encouraged to wash our hands, and keep our distance. Many people work from home instead of going out to work. Zoom meetings and other video calls take the place of speaking face to face.

I for one started 2020 with short hair, I now have shoulder length hair. Many have learnt to cut their own hair out of desperation. I decided to let mine grow out and when the time comes get a completely new style. One unexpected skill I had to attempt is cutting my mother’s toe nails.

Our non essential shops are closed but online shopping is booming. Our high streets are empty. Restaurants are limited to serving takeaway/delivery food instead of in house service.

There has been a big increase in delivery services. Where once we were asked to sign for packages they are now left at the door with just a knock to alert us to their arrival. In a small way I have been doing this with my Avon business. We can put our books through doors and collect from the doorstep without seeing anyone. deliveries are made by leaving the package on the doorstep. I have noticed that I am not the only one who has become used to opening the door and automatically looking down to see what is there. We didn’t do this a year ago. How many people can say that they don’t now look down as soon as they open the door?

Video calling

One of the best things about these times that we are in now is video calls.

On 25th Sept 2019 a little girl came into my life. Having two brothers and four sons and a grandson. My new granddaughter was the first girl in my family. Both my brothers have a daughter each but there were no girls in my direct line.

I am now Granny to a little boy of 2 3/4 and a little girl of 16 months. Neither of them live locally to me. Spending time with either of them takes organising. During this time of pandemic, especially in lockdown visits have been difficult or impossible. Hugs are non existent.

I am so grateful to the technology that allows us to have video calls. Today my little princess was able to show me her paper crown. Tell me the sounds made by bees, snakes, sheep, horses and dogs. I am able to watch her growing up in a way that I wouldn’t have been able to do before technology became such an everyday part of life.

Recently we all saw a video of my grandson singing and dancing to a song. My granddaughter saw the same video and began trying to dance and sing along with her cousin. Even at a distance my grandchildren can have shared experiences.

In the days when my children were these ages we didn’t even have mobile phones let alone smart phones or computers.

My quiet world

I was in my mid twenties when I first realised properly, what I had always known. I am partially deaf. As a young child I remember several late night visits to the Dr with ear problems. At primary school we had regular hearing checks. We would sit in a quiet room wearing headphones with the instruction to tap the box when we heard the beep. For some reason nobody picked up that I was tapping the box randomly just because I hadn’t heard a beep for a while.

In my mid twenties I was working on a cash desk in a cash and carry store. I realised that it depended where in the line I was working as to whether I could hear our supervisors. I also noticed that I could hear better from my left ear than my right one when using the telephone.

I had a hearing test and was told that unlike the majority of people with a hearing loss I was losing the lower tone spectrum where for most people it is the higher pitch. There is an operation that could be performed but the difference it would make would be minimal so at that time not worth going through, however at some point in the future if the change in my hearing was so that it became more beneficial I could have it done.

In my early 30s after having my youngest son I noticed that my hearing had got worse. Where most new mothers don’t want visitors knocking loudly on their door for fear of disturbing the baby, I had a note telling them to knock loudly. I was often surprised when one of the family rushed to the door when I hadn’t heard it. I had another hearing test. My hearing had deteriorated and now both ears were of a similar level. I would get a hearing aid but needed to decide which ear I wanted to be fitted for. I chose my right ear (I’m not entirely sure why but it seemed logical to me at the time).

Wow! I could hear the trains from our house, I hadn’t known that, or that our cooker made a noise when in use. I wore my hearing aid to work. Ouch my world suddenly became noisy, I could hear every printer, fax machine etc.

In my 40s I had yet another hearing test and this time got a hearing aid for each ear. This helped but it wasn’t really helping me to hear people. It was more a case of amplifying everything. I couldn’t wear them in the company of a group of children. Being involved in a local youth football club I was often in a sports hall with a group of enthusiastic children. Because I have no problems hearing high pitch it would become painful for me.

By now I had learnt that most children and the majority of women (so long as they spoke normally and didn’t whisper) were fine for me. However I have a problem if people are facing away or speaking from another room. Men who have lower tone voices and or have their hand over or near their mouths I have no chance.

I don’t watch a lot of tv, or rather I only half watch it because I struggle to hear what is going on. I miss the punchline on jokes. I guess I probably only hear about a third (if I’m lucky). It’s almost like watching silent movies with the odd words thrown in. Even talking to my own family especially my sons is a struggle. It is not unknown for me to think the topic of conversation is completely different to the actual topic.

Sometimes my problem isn’t the volume, I can hear people talking but it sounds to me like a foreign language. I have to listen out for clues but by the time I have figured it out the conversation has moved on to something else.

Contraction words are a big problem for me. I never know if someone could or couldn’t, would or wouldn’t etc. This is why I prefer to communicate via the written word rather than the spoken word. This has also caused a problem in my creative writing. I find it very difficult to write as people speak because I feel a need to make every word clear just as I would when I speak. Which I know is not natural for most people.

Through out my life I have been asked “what was that?” or “did you hear that?” Very often I didn’t hear anything. I am sure that for everyone who can hear properly it must be difficult to understand what it’s like to be in my world. I often get asked why don’t I wear my hearing aids more often. They don’t actually help. If I wear them I still can’t understand what people are saying but when I take them off I notice that the world has gone quieter. They make the world around me noisier but rarely make it easy to hear the spoken word.

My husband often said he would get an old fashioned hearing horn to shout into my ear. Not very helpful.

I want to ask my GP to arrange another hearing test for me(its been about 7 years since my last one) but feel that with everything else going on at the moment it wouldn’t be a priority for the NHS. I manage my life reasonably well in my semi silent world, it would just be nice to hear everything going on around me.

1995

At the start of 1995 I lost my father. He had a heart attack and died just a month after his 55th birthday. I can’t believe that was almost 25 years ago. In March I discovered that I was pregnant again. I already had 3 young sons (it hadn’t been my intention to increase my family). This baby was due on 16th December (my father’s birthday). Of course we told the boys that this baby was a gift from their Grandpa. This year, 2019, my father would have been 80 on 16th December.

Because I had had two babies by caesarean section, plus I also have a propensity to have big babies, it was decided that I should have this baby by elected caesarean early to prevent the chance of an early labour.

So it was that, early on the morning of Friday 1st December 1995, my husband drove me to the hospital where I was booked in for the birth of my fourth child. In those days we didn’t routinely know the gender of our baby before we met in person. Having 3 sons I was convinced that if this child was another boy I would suffer from postnatal blues. I had asked to be sterilized during the birth process. I enjoyed pregnancy but felt that I shouldn’t put my body through any more pregnancies. This decision meant that if I had another son I knew I would therefore never have a daughter. I love my sons and don’t regret having any of them but I knew that in later years I would have no daughter to do girly things with. My life ahead would be football orientated. (Which it was).

I remember being prepared for theatre and telling the nurse that I don’t want to do this. “I know about dirty nappies and broken nights, I don’t want to do that again.” Laughing she told me it was a bit late for that now. I was then wheeled out of the room leaving my husband behind. Although I was having an epidural he wouldn’t be joining me, as my third son was being dropped off by Grannie, while she went off to a meeting having taken my elder sons to school. It was his turn to look after our young son.

It wasn’t long before I was given my 4th son. It was a day before we had a name for him. He was a healthy 7lb 7oz even though he was 16 days early. Although he wasn’t the daughter I had hoped for I loved that baby boy from the very second I met him all slippery and red.

I have now had 24 years of love for and from that boy. I feel very lucky to have this child (now an adult) in my life. I do love all my boys more than anything or anyone else (except my grandchildren). However this boy and I have been through some challenges together. He was only 5 and not long started school when I was told that I had stage III cancer. His father had told our boys that “Mummy is going to die” Obviously I didn’t. Then a few years down the line my marriage collapsed. This little boy of mine refused to go to school most days saying that he was ill. In time it was discovered that his reluctance to go to school was because he was scared that if he left my side he would lose me.

You see although I had filed for divorce from my alcoholic emotionally abusive (now known as Coersive control) husband. We were still living in the same house. I had moved out of the marital bedroom and slept on the sofa for months. My husband had made many threats to my life. This little boy only 9 years old witnessed things a child should never see. He wanted to protect me from the kitchen knife that was being used to threaten me with, among other things. He was the one who wiped my face clean after his father had spat in my face.

Once their father aka The other parent had moved out of the house, life calmed down a little. As my boy grew older he was afraid that he might turn out like his Dad. I knew that just the worry of that meant that he wouldn’t. He is a very caring lad. He worries about everything. The 5 years between the other parent leaving and our divorce being finalised and me meeting husband number 2. My four boys and I were happy even though life was tough.

Then I met husband number 2 and moved my baby boy away from his friends. He was not happy. It didn’t help that 2nd husband was a very reluctant step father. He didn’t make life very pleasant for my two younger boys who were living with us before going to Uni. I felt very guilty for everything my little boy ( a strapping 16/17 year old by then) had been through in his life. He was very unhappy. When he finished college he went of to University in Southampton. By the second year of Uni his anxiety problems had become so extreme that he was often sick in the mornings. I spent many hours trying to give him a sense of peace so that he could cope with life.

18 months ago he left Uni and moved into a flat with his girlfriend. He tried to find work to support them both. He did have interviews and even job offers but his anxiety problems got in the way. He was so unhappy, he desperately wanted everyone to be proud of him. He wanted to be able to support himself and his girlfriend. Finally last winter he got a job that he was able to keep hold of. He didn’t enjoy it and the travelling was a problem but he kept going even though his hours kept being cut. I am please to say that they are both now working in places that they are happy in and the pay has increased for them both.

Throughout everything that my boy has been through he has been there for me when I need support. I know that all my boys love and care about me. This young man just gets me. Maybe it is the many many hours we have spent talking things through. All the time I have supported him. It doesn’t matter what the situation he can vocalise my thoughts and feelings as though he can see inside my head. I will and do do anything I can to make his life better for him.

A few days ago I told him that I am lucky to have him in my life. His reply…

“We are all so lucky to have you in our life. We could never neglect you or allow anything to happen to you without the best care we can give.”

How could I not love this young man. I am so proud to be his mother.

Happy birthday sweetheart. I look forward to seeing you tomorrow. Enjoy your evening with your friends.

Here’s to a great future for my lovely son

Lots of love Mum xxxx

Joe