Skip that

I needed to get to the top of a dead end road this afternoon. I was stopped in my tracks by a skip lorry. It was backed up to a driveway right on the bend of the road. The skip took up most of the drive way so the lorry was parked across the road. Now I have witnessed enough skips being picked up over the years. Also my first husband drove a skip lorry early in our relationship and again from time to time later.

I know a skip only takes a few minutes to be attached and lifted. I was quite happy to wait. Five minutes later and he hadn’t even begun to attach the chains to the skip. It looked like he was explaining to the home owner how it works. He couldn’t have NOT seen me waiting. Soon a transit sized van pulled up behind me and also waited patiently.

Eventually the guy began doing what he should have already finished at least five minutes ago. Finally the skip was airborne and that’s when it happened. To my horror I saw a cable whip through the air. I’m surprised it didn’t hit the home owner or her daughter.

She then told the driver he had hit one of the overhead cables that run from each dwelling.

Now I had to sit there waiting whilst the looked to see where the cable had detached from then knock on that neighbour’s door to tell them.

I don’t pretend that one of my varied talents is driving a skip lorry. However I do know enough that I would have lifted the skip off the ground then moved the lorry far enough forward to avoid the overhead cables before completing the manoeuvre.

The driver realise that he needed to move his lorry so that I and the van driver could pass. When I returned back down the road the driver was still there parked up on the pavement.

Well that was at least 20 minutes of my day wasted.

Maybe this driver won’t be delivering it picking up skips for a while.

Once, twice three times a doctor.

This morning my day started with a very long chat with my sister in law. We keep up with what each other is doing via Facebook buts it’s been ages since we had one of our long phone chats.

Not long after that my phone rang. It was the hospital. (Not the one I usually go to). They have got the results of my latest blood tests. I am now booked in for a telephone appointment on Tuesday afternoon.

Half an hour later another phone call from the hospital. This was a wrong number as I am not and never have been called Mary.

I have been feeling out of sorts today. I have had some news that although not altogether unexpected still shook me up a bit. I felt the need for cake. So before putting out my books I went to the shop. I was wandering around at a slow plod when my phone went off again.

This time it was the doctor I spoke to 2 weeks ago. She apologised that everything wasn’t progressing as fast as she had hoped. My latest blood test shows that my iron level is steady. Still very low due to iron deficiency.

She has prescribed iron tablets but I’m not to start them until I have had my telephone consultation with the hospital. Depending on how they want to proceed the iron tablets might be a no no. She says my vitamin b12 is ok, on the low end of the range but not too low.

At the moment everything hinges on this telephone call on Tuesday. I want to get this sorted out but I’m worried about what it will lead to.

I’m not looking too far into the future just taking it one step at a time.

I had been hoping to write something light hearted today as my last few posts have been a bit depressing. Maybe tomorrow I will have something happier to post.

Alcohol and the family

A couple of days ago I noticed that someone had been having a good look around this blog. Whether it was someone I know or not I don’t know. That someone had looked at lots of posts including one called where has my dad gone.

As i scrolled through the list of posts looked at I knew what most of them were about but this one puzzled me. My dad died in 1995. So it couldn’t be about him. This particular post was written back in 2015.

Reading it again it took me a little while to remember it. I was describing a visit to one of my sons in London. On the way to the flat he shared with his now wife and another couple. They stopped at a local shop. Whilst they were inside (I was waiting outside with my youngest son). A drunk was ejected from the store.

When my other son came out he asked “where has my dad gone?” I knew instinctively what he was on about. Growing up with an alcoholic father had an impact on my boys. This particular son could do a very accurate impression of his dad when he was drunk.

When my two eldest sons were going off to university within a week of each other I wanted to take my boys out for a drink. All four of them chose non alcoholic drinks even though two were old enough to drink and one was 17.

All four boys are now adults (2 are fathers) they do all drink now but only moderately. As a young adult my eldest son used to be the designated driver when out with mates. My second son was usually the one taking care of his drunken mates. Although I have heard a few tales of his drunkenness. My younger two are not keen on alcohol.

Talking about it earlier my mother commented that when she came to our house once when eldest was about 8 or 9 he told her. ” If you have come to see my part time father, he’s at the pub”. It is sad that from a very young age he knew the telephone number of the pub off by heart. ( Before mobile phones).

As a family our lives revolved around the pub even if we were not in one. If we went anywhere at the weekends we had to be back before the pub opened. My husband couldn’t cope with getting there after the door was unlocked. During the day his friends would come and go but he would still be there.

He would frequently phone home to say he would be back in half an hour. Other times he wanted me to fetch him. When I did (with boys in tow) he would need to finish his drink. I always refused to have a drink. Sometimes it would take several hours before he managed to leave. Often I just left him there and went home.

My boys grew up knowing that their father was very good at making promises. Not good at keeping them. They learnt never to expect him to keep a promise. He would buy them play station games or football shirts to make up for not being there. I lost count of the birthdays he missed because he was five minutes away in the pub. I don’t know where he got the money for his guilt gifts. We never had enough money for the bills.

I learnt over the years that everything was an excuse to drink. Bad day at work, good day at work, hot day, wet day. Money worries or me being annoyed with him.

After I divorced him he was upset that he didn’t want to be a weekend father. I said that would be an improvement. He would arrange to see the boys. Not do much the eldest as he was off leading his own life. Frequently he would either cancel seeing them or he wanted them to lend him money for cigarettes or beer or both. When they did see him I would drop them off. Happy to have some me time. It never lasted. I think 2 hours was the longest before I got the plea from them to pick them up.

I am happy to say that he gave up drinking about 4 or maybe it’s 5 years ago now. He is better for it. He is trying hard to rebuild his relationship with his sons and have a good relationship with our grandchildren.

Since i moved back here to live with my mother I see him regularly. He has been a great help to both of us in the last couple of years. I wouldn’t go back to him but we are at least friends now.

Fractured not broken

The other night and it was at night I wrote a post about waiting. I wrote it because I had been reading Abbie Greaves book The end of the Earth. It had taken me back to when I was a young adult. I couldn’t sleep because of the thoughts going round and round in my head. Once I had written it and I apologise I didn’t read it through so there are bound to be errors.

One of my new blogging friends Bitchy after 60 commented that with everything I have been through it would have broken most people.

That post only scratched the surface of what my life has been like in the last 50+ years. I’m not broken yet. I have many emotional fractures and my body is falling apart but nothing has broken me yet.

Last night mother asked if I had experienced depression or anxiety in the last year. The question was in relation to the covid-19 pandemic. The answer is no. I am lucky to have technology that has allowed me to keep in contact with family and friends. I could also order whatever I needed online. I also have plenty to keep me occupied. My garden, reading, knitting etc.

That doesn’t mean I haven’t experienced anxiety or feeling in low spirits. I have but more in respect of my health than the pandemic.

Besotted granny

One of my friends has joined the besotted granny brigade. Her granddaughter is 4 months old and she is so in love with her.

For years I said I wasn’t ready to become a granny. I hadn’t finished being a mother. Then a few years ago I started to worry about my health etc, that was when it hit me that if my sons didn’t hurry up and start having children I would be to old/ill to enjoy them.

Three years ago I became a granny for the first time. I instantly fell in love with my grandson. Teddy is three now. I was afraid that he wouldn’t know who I am what with covid restrictions and them living in London. Video calls were me watching him play whilst I chatted to his daddy. The other week when lockdown rules were eased I got to spend time with him in the garden (very cold). Then last week on his birthday we had a video call where he actually talked to me. He showed me his toys and books. Today we had another video call with him interacting with me. He knows that I am granny. I love this new stage in our relationship.

19 months ago my eldest son provided me with a granddaughter. After 4 sons and a grandson I was delighted to finally have a girl in the family. She has always been used to video calling with her other family and with me so she has always been interactive. When she visited our garden the other week she would take gammy by the hand to look at things or fill her little watering can.

We also had a video call today. She tells me lots of things that I don’t always understand but her speech is coming along well.

This granny is besotted with both my grandchildren.

The table

I thought I would post something a little more light hearted

lady in red again

I am spending  my sunny Saturday morning cleaning and writing.

Among the things I want to clean is the glass coffee table.

I have cleared everything from it, dusted it.

The furniture polish is upstairs, on my way upstairs I spot the dead flowers in a vase on the dining table.

Take vase to kitchen. Take dead flowers out to refuse bin in front garden by the hedge.

Pass hanging baskets looking a bit dreary.

Fill watering can from water butt hiding behind now wildly growing clematis.

Water 4 baskets, 2 of which contain nasturtians, these have become infested with black fly. Its a pity ladybugs are in short supply this year.

Pour remaining water into bird bath.

Go through to back garden to find appropriate fly spray in shed.

It isn’t there but whilst I’m in the back garden I will set up the garden chairs for later.

Check…

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Waiting

Last week I wrote about Abbie Greaves book The Silent Treatment and I was looking forward to reading her second book The Ends of The Earth. I finished reading it a couple of days ago. I would recommend it however it is a heart felt tale of love and pain.

Reading this book was bitter sweet for me. I enjoy Abbie’s writing but some of the characters took me back to my past. I’m not saying that these characters in anyway resemble me or my past. There are aspects of this sad tale which remind me of one of the bad times in my life.

Some people in my real life know bits of my story but I guess my mother is the only one who knows most of it and even so I didn’t divulge some of my truth until many years later.

When i was 20 I had been engaged for 2 years to M. After a falling out with his mother I was treated more like his mistress/dirty secret than his fiancé. Eventually I had had enough and broke it off. Some months later I began seeing A. He was an older man but we got on really well and he treated me so much better. He was serving in the army but we spent as much time as we could together. We had mutual friend that he stayed with at weekends.

At the time I had joined the Territorial Army in my spare time. I remember once being embarrassed when A had dropped me off for my weekly training. Someone commented about my dad dropping me off. Anyway it was t few days after my 21st birthday that I had been away on a weekend training exercise on Salisbury Plain. When I got back on Sunday night A met me at the barracks to take me home. He took me to our friend’s flat.

He wanted sex. I was tired, battered and bruised. I wanted nothing more than to sleep. He forced himself on me. I made it clear I wasn’t in the right frame of mind or body for sex. That didn’t stop him. I don’t remember how I got home, I guess A drove me. The following Saturday he came to see me. I told him we were finished. He was not happy. He raped me in my parents living room. I never saw him again for which I was glad. I never told anyone what had happened.

At that time police were not sympathetic and I knew that I wouldn’t be taken seriously, after all he was my boyfriend and this was years before domestic rape was recognised. Later I. The year I got back together with M. It didn’t work out, I had changed. Not only that but I found being alone with him difficult. I couldn’t cope with intimacy, I would always see the face of A looming over me. After several months I broke off my relationship again.

I found an ad in the local paper for a week in Austria traveling by coach. By this time I was 22 and in need of a break. I was travelling alone. Being one of the last passengers to catch the coach I had a seat behind the driver. During the long drive I got chatting to both drivers. Once in Austria we were split up around the village. If memory serves me right there were three of us staying in the house where I was staying.

Through out our stay there were events and trips each day. Most of the group were couples or groups. I was just me and often found myself with the drivers and our tour rep. Looking back I know that was a mistake. I was beginning to feel an attachment to the taller of the drivers C. We were spending more and more of our spare time together. Until I ended up spending the night with him. C was an older man (apparently I prefer older men), but younger than A. Amazingly when I was with C I didn’t see A’s face.

By the time I returned home we had swapped phone numbers. He had my home number and my work number. Whenever he was between trips I would catch a train to London where we would stay in cheap hotels. He told me he wouldn’t marry me but he wanted us to live together. I spent a few days with him staying with a friend of his. I applied for a job at his local airport.

Then the unthinkable happened. I hit a call from an older woman claiming to be his wife. S was 14 years older than him and he was 14 years older than me. I guess I will never know the real truth. C told me that he had married S to help her and her two daughters (my age). Every time he tried to leave her she cut her wrists or some other cry for attention.

For months I had to have my calls screened both at home and at work. S or her daughter would call me saying nasty things. I stopped seeing C. Then one night he arrived at my home saying he had left her. He couldn’t take it anymore. The next day we found a bedsit near to my work. That first week it was great coming back every evening to my meal cooked for me. The two of us together making plans. It wasn’t so great for C, he wasn’t used to being in a strange town alone all day with no work. It was his off season.

He told me that he had a friend in Norfolk who could give him work as a taxi driver Monday to Friday. He would be back at the weekends. He never came back. I refused to get upset. I couldn’t phone him, we didn’t have mobile phones in those days. After a few weeks I had a phone call from the Samaritans supposedly searching for C on S’s behalf.

I stayed at the bedsit until the end of our 3 month contract then moved back to my parents. While I was at the bedsit I didn’t see anyone outside of work and a few visits to my parents in the next town. I couldn’t give up on C, I couldn’t forget about him and move on. I needed to know where he was and what had happened. I kept my grief tucked inside me. I never cried, my health began to suffer.

I remember one day phoning my mother at work in a panic. I felt as though my life had collapsed, I didn’t know how I would get through the next minute let alone the next hour. I don’t remember what happened next but I got through the day. My work was suffering, eventually I handed in my notice. I knew I couldn’t carry on with my job in the state I was in.

I managed to persuade my Dr that I needed help but I didn’t want pills. He arranged for a councillor to visit me at home. Unfortunately he was about to change jobs so I only saw him the once. He told me that I was clinically depressed. We went through everything in my life that was making me feel so bad. That helped, just breaking it all down into different problems.

About a month later I got a job working in a bar then a job as an hotel receptionist. One afternoon on my way home I stopped at our local supermarket. On the way out I saw a face I never expected to see again. It was C. He waited for me to walk me home. As soon as I was home I ran to the bathroom to be sick.

It was 11 months since he had left me. He thought he could pick up where he left me. He explained that he had gone to Norfolk as planned but he had phoned home to check how S was. She was in hospital after another suicide attempt. So he went back to look after her. Now she was well and he was able to leave. I saw him a few times over the next couple of months.

I became pregnant, he said he was decorating the flat for S then we would be together. I lost the baby. Suddenly he was unavailable again. He did arrange to see me over the August bank holiday. Bizarrely I stayed with his younger step daughter and partner. We had become friends over the phone. She didn’t agree with how her mother and sister had been towards me. Anyway when I was supposed to see C it was S who turned up. I was suddenly very ill in the bathroom. Later we spoke and found that neither if us were the bitch we had thought.

Over the years I have wondered what happened to C and S. I moved on with my life. I met the man who gave me my four sons.

Abbie’s book was nothing like my story but it did get me thinking about it. I just remembered that one of my colleagues way back then once said to me. ” Your live life might not be happy but it’s interesting” . Thinking back on that comment I don’t know why she thought it was interesting.

Election day

Today has been election day. We had more votes to cast than usual. The elections that should have happened in May last year were postponed. Today where we live we are voting for local council elections. County elections and Police and Crime Commissioners. That’s one vote for local council, 2 votes for the county and two for PCC.

Usually votes are counted overnight. I did take part in the counting once (many years ago). The hall would be full of long tables. There are a lot of people doing the counting then there are others over seeing the counting plus all the election officials not to mention the candidates and their supporters. That is a lot of people in one room. Obviously in the current climate they can’t do it the same way as usual. Although I am not ultra political I am interested in the process and the results. Therefore whenever I could (work permitting) I would stay up at least for part of the night watching everything on TV. Seeing the predictions the results and the swings of power. This time I don’t believe there will be any result programs on until tomorrow. Social distancing means that counting will take longer.

All my adult life I have mostly voted for the same party. Today I have spread my votes across 3 parties. I am not one to just blindly vote for one particular party just because they are the party of my choice. I always check who the candidates are and see what they stand for. It just so happens that I tend to vote for the same party because the are closer aligned with my own beliefs. Today two of my five votes went to different parties. It is not the party but the candidate that I voted for.

I know that my local area will not change overnight but maybe some of the seats will change hands or at the very least become a closer contest. It will certainly be interesting to see what happens.

If you are in the UK have you voted today?

Elbow bumps, why?

On and off since March 2020 I have wondered about this. Why do they do it? I understand that the advice is not to shake hands in greetings. What I don’t understand and it’s often politicians that I see on TV doing this, is why the elbow bumps? For a start they have to get much closer together in order to do this.

Wouldn’t it be better to not have physical contact. After all we are meant to be keeping space between us. If they can’t bear to forego physical contact then for heaven’s sake wear gloves and have a handshake. No skin on skin contact and not such close proximity.

Insisting on this elbow bumping ( often looking awkward) is not clever. It doesn’t protect them from catching covid-19. I know that it is considered polite in the civil world to shake hands but couldn’t do that for the past year. Considering the social distancing, face coverings we have all become accustomed to is it not possible that these politicians and other business people/ celebrities could just not do anything.

If elbow bumps are permitted then why is hugging not?

Please could someone explain to me why I can’t hug my family but these people can bump elbows.

We are gradually coming out of lockdown here in UK. Will this habit continue or will handshakes resume?

Disrespected

I have just been reading about a cleaner who retired from her job after 35 years. Her latest boss had been cruel and disrespectful. However the cleaner showed that she was the better person when she left. The note she left behind reminded the staff that they should always be kind and not think themselves better than anyone even the cleaner.

Back in the late 1990s I had gone back to work part time after having my children. I had a part time temporary job for 4 months. I took the summer off to look after my children in the school holidays. When the children went back to school I took another part time job until Christmas. It was in the accounts department of a local distribution company. I had always liked working in accounts. It is possible that I could have enjoyed working there but I didn’t. I dreaded every day and couldn’t wait to get out of there on my last day.

It wasn’t the work, it was the staff. All young women and one man all working full time and had been there for quite a while. I was the part time assistant. I was treated as though I was stupid and didn’t know anything. Nobody spoke to me. Unless it was a condescending comment.

Just because I was a mother working part time they thought I wasn’t worth as much as them. None of them had yet started a family. I hope that after they had a family they might have remembered what it’s like to be a working mother and maybe try to be kinder.

After the Christmas holidays I was able to go back to the first job. This time I was there for 8 years. Working with much nicer people. I wasn’t the only part time worker and everyone was treated equally. I only left there when I was on sick leave whilst going through my nasty divorce. The Company was in the midst of a restructuring. The part time temporary staff were the first to go.