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Contemplative Sunday

Having been in an aggitated & pensive mood for a while due to recent events and my impending 40th birthday, the death of Boyzone star Stephen Gately at the young age of 33 has made me even more so.
I’ve always disliked Boyzone with a passion, but the death of anyone at a young age (particularly, younger than yourself!) is always a reminder of our own fragile mortality.
Live life, enjoy what you have, however little it may seem, and do what you enjoy. Be who you want to be.
Maybe it’s time to start taking my own advice……

Having been in an agitated & pensive mood for a while due to recent events and my impending 40th birthday, the death of Boyzone star Stephen Gately at the young age of 33 has made me even more so.

I’ve always disliked Boyzone with a passion, but the death of anyone at a young age (particularly, younger than yourself!) is always a reminder of our own fragile mortality.

Live life, enjoy what you have, however little it may seem, and do what you enjoy. Be who you want to be. And don’t write dreary blog posts at this hour on a Sunday morning. Especially pre-coffee.

Maybe it’s time to start taking my own advice……

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Busy Head

Oh look. I did it again. I haven’t posted anything for months!

Well, here I haven’t. There have been other things afoot so this has been neglected somewhat. Been working on some other blogs (covertly shhhhh) and doing some writing and wonky thinking and stuff.

I have this problem with an over busy head – there are so many things I want to do I usually end up doing none of them very well!

I thought about sharing some of my short stories here but haven’t yet because:

  1. I honestly don’t think they’re very good,
  2. I don’t want to look stupid(er),
  3. They’re mine and I don’t care if people think they’re good or stupid…. ooh wait. Did I just contradict myself already?!

Well, maybe I will share. Maybe I won’t. Maybe you don’t care either! 😉

Oh what the heck, go on then. Don’t get over-excited 😉

Best Friend

She cradled the lighter in the palm of her hand, her fingers lightly encasing it, as she slowly flipped it over with her thumb. Over and over and over. Over. That word that had changed her life completely. Over.

The silver Zippo felt heavy and cold in her palm, her thumb gently stroking the floral engraved surface with each turn, it drew warmth from her gentle embrace as she flipped it. Over. She knew the map of it’s dents and scratches as well as she knew her own scarred and ravaged face.

She stared blankly into the dimly lit room, her eyes seeing but her brain choosing not to process the dismal images it was receiving. She knew every putrid inch of these malevolent walls and had no more need to bother with the ugliness of it all. Over. And over.

She blinked. Eyes which had seen so many tears had become dry, gritty and sore. Her cracked, bleeding lips gave life to the longest of warm sighs. She inhaled deeply through her nose and the smell from the petrol lighter burned her nostrils and throat, yet seemed to sooth her being. All. Over.

A detached observer may not have noticed that more than the smell of lighter fluid tainted the fetid, stale air in the room that she had made her own dank cell since he left several days earlier. Much more. But she knew. Finally. Over.

She closed her eyes and felt the comforting heaviness of the now warm lighter. She felt as one with this old friend now as she gently popped back the lid. A tiny metallic stopper clicked back against the lid like a hammer, causing an almost imperceptible, yet sustained and perfect chime as the hinged lid rang like the minutest of bells. Her thumb rested on the rough wheel which she knew from long experience would always reliably spark and bear flame on the first flick. They’d been through a lot together, her and her lighter. It was the one thing in her life she could rely on. Over. Everything.

Her lips curled gently into an easy smile as she turned the wheel with a steady thumb. In that split second she felt every serration on the trusty wheel playfully cut into her flesh a little. It was the last thing she allowed herself to feel.

Over.

Best Friend

She cradled the lighter in the palm of her hand, her fingers lightly encasing it, as she slowly flipped it over with her thumb. Over and over and over. Over. That word that had changed her life completely. Over.

The silver Zippo felt heavy and cold in her palm, her thumb gently stroking the floral engraved surface with each turn, it drew warmth from her gentle embrace as she flipped it. Over. She knew the map of it’s dents and scratches as well as she knew her own scarred and ravaged face.

She stared blankly into the dimly lit room, her eyes seeing but her brain choosing not to process the dismal images it was receiving. She knew every putrid inch of these malevolent walls and had no more need to bother with the ugliness of it all. Over. And over.

She blinked. Eyes which had seen so many tears had become dry, gritty and sore. Her cracked, bleeding lips gave life to the longest of warm sighs. She inhaled deeply through her nose and the smell from the petrol lighter burned her nostrils and throat, yet seemed to sooth her being. All. Over.

A detached observer may not have noticed that more than the smell of lighter fluid tainted the fetid, stale air in the room that she had made her own dank cell since he left several days earlier. Much more. But she knew. Finally. Over.

She closed her eyes and felt the comforting heaviness of the now warm lighter. She felt as one with this old friend now as she gently popped back the lid. A tiny metallic stopper clicked back against the lid like a hammer, causing an almost imperceptible, yet sustained and perfect chime as the hinged lid rang like the minutest of bells. Her thumb rested on the rough wheel which she knew from long experience would always reliably spark and bear flame on the first flick. They’d been through a lot together, her and her lighter. It was the one thing in her life she could rely on. Over. Everything.

Her lips curled gently into an easy smile as she turned the wheel with a steady thumb. In that split second she felt every serration on the trusty wheel playfully cut into her flesh a little. It was the last thing she allowed herself to feel.

Over.

Blog Action Day 2008: Poverty – A Child's Eye View

Having had a hectic day and little time to think about blogging, I decided to let the children write a short entry for me.

Just a few thoughts from them, without any direction. 

 

Poor people are grateful and kind and they should really get good food. They should get clean water instead of having to carry dirty water back from the dirty old river. They should also get education instead of children having to wake up really early to work. The most important thing is that they have a great time with their family. 
Albie, Age 9

A Poem
Kizzie, Age 7 

I wish that children in need
Could see a dog on a lead.

I wish that they could bake,
Maybe a cake.

Why can’t they be like us,
Without any fuss.

Oh why
Oh why
Oh why

After having a little refresher chat on the problems of world poverty, Albie was almost tempted to sell his Xbox! Almost.

They do sometimes take things for granted but I’m just glad they’re aware and mindful of the issues.

Albie has already said that when he’s a world class footballer (!), he will give ALL of his wage to help the poor people in Africa!

Embarrassing Moments

Well, I was thinking about some old childhood memory stuffs, and realised that, even though they weren’t comparatively that bad, my most painfully remembered embarrassing moments occurred when I was a child. Around that age when you’re starting to be more aware of what the world is all about, making silly mistakes suddenly becomes much more painful as you realise how stupid you just were! Recalling these moments as an adult brings back all those half understood childish feelings and, in my case at least, more readily makes your cheeks burn again than any recent faux pas!

My two most deeply engrained moments make me go hot and flushed when I think about them still. Obviously if I did either of these now, I’d just laugh, but the memory of them brings the memory of the feelings flooding right back!

OK *takes deep breath and puts head in hands, blushing* they are thus: 

  • At a VW Rally (Yes, my family were Beetle freaks!) aged about 8 or 9 years, tired after a busy hot summer’s day,  I threw my arms around what I thought was my dad’s hairy leg in shorts and socks and ‘jesus sandals’ and hugged, a full bodily squeeze…. only to discover it wasn’t my dad, it was his hairy friend!!!!!! aarrrrrrgggggghhhhhhh! Oh sheesh, I’m beetroot red right now!!
  • Around about the same age, my mum sent me down to the village store to buy her a ‘feminine hygiene product’. She gave me a £5 note and told me exactly what shelf it was on and what the packet looked like. I don’t think I even really knew what it was I was buying, but I knew it was in a white plastic packet! She bribed me by saying I could buy ‘pop’ or an ice lolly with the change. So off I went, into the store, went where she’d directed me, got the goods and an ice pop for myself, and skipped back up the hill home. It was a lovely sunny day, and in the 70’s neighbours were, well, neighbourly! So when I got home, mum was sitting on our front garden with half the women of the street, gossiping and enjoying the sun. When she realised what I’d done, she started howling with laughter, and told EVERYONE how she’d sent me for sanitary towels and I’d brought back a cotton wool pleat!! They all fell about in bits and I died inside!! Thanks Mum!! 😉
So, friends, what are your most embarrassing moments, childhood or otherwise??? 
C’mon now, don’t be shy!

A memory…..

I was always a withdrawn and reticent child, at least in situations in which I was uncomfortable. For a shy and self doubting girl, these situations were many. It always held me back and, in many ways, still does.

My earliest memory of the feelings that shut me off from the rest of the world and render me functionless, is my first day at nursery school. I would have been four years old, not exactly shy, more uncertain, perhaps. In familiar company, my mother tells me, I was not shy at all, quite a handful in fact!

I knew I was going to nursery, I knew mum would be leaving me and I was nothing but excited about this thrilling advancement in my life. All my friends would be there. I’d been in the nursery building before and it was a fun place. I even knew the teacher well as she was a family friend. Yet as soon as my mother left me at the door, I was filled with fear and dread.

I was in a dim, windowless cloakroom, surrounded by colourful paintings, numbers, letters and excited children.

But, I couldn’t find my peg.

The coat hooks were mounted on bright, colourful bugs: ladybirds, caterpillars, butterflies, snails. The boys on one side of the room, the girls on the other. Everyone was bustling around me, giggling, hanging their coats then running through into the nursery to play.

I just stood there in the middle of the room, struck mute and motionless by my irrational fear which had sprung from nowhere following my earlier happy, excited demeanour. I stared at the coat hooks. The bugs no longer looked like friendly, cheery, childish art. They had become terrifying monsters and the hooks mounted on them appeared to claw towards me, menacingly.

Breathless. The sounds of play next door muted by the deafening roar of my heart pounding in my head. Dark. Dingy. The smell of the bathrooms…..

I suddenly realised I was completely alone. My friends had all skipped away to enjoy themselves. Why didn’t any one help me? Louise, Jackie, Steven, Jane? They were gone. Moved on, leaving me alone. Frozen. Terrified. Grey duffel coat trailing from my hand.

Sara, haven’t you hung your coat up yet, love?” Mrs Mellor came out to check the cloakroom, waking me from my nightmare. The room became brighter, less oppressive and I could breath again. She whisked me gently over to my peg and jabbed my coat onto it. “There we go, my dear. Come on in and play!”

I realised, as Mrs Mellor took my hand and led me into my academic future, that ladybird by my peg with my name on it? Really was quite special.

Hmmm shrink, anyone? 😉

Striving for a "Better" Life?

tweet I read today about some graffiti in Birmingham made me think about the process of gentrification  many of our cities are undergoing. These are just some of my simple thoughts on the complex issues this brought to my mind… the deeper issues of community building and development and sociological concerns, I am in no way qualified to discuss in any great depth! (If I had the time, I could waffle for a bit longer, but that’s about all!) To me, who knows nothing about town planning and urban regeneration methods, it appears that gentrification is a side effect of regeneration and improvement. And it’s not just confined to our cosmopolitan major towns and cities. 

 

In all honesty, I very know little about urban living. I was brought up in a largish Yorkshire village with a population of around 2000 people; although just 7 miles from the nearest decent sized town and 20 miles from the closest large city, it was quite an isolated place in some ways. High in the Pennine hills, when it snowed (which it seemed to more in those days – or is that just my childhood memories!?), you weren’t going anywhere. In my quaint and endearing (if not antiquated) village life, the hustle and bustle of urban life was something alien to me. On reaching adulthood, I had a brief taste of city living in Newcastle as a student – at the time, the city was undergoing the first phases of it’s post-industrial regeneration and gentrification, but I was quite oblivious to it… as most things! 😉 Since then, I’ve lived a suburban life, in Huddersfield, Manchester and Birmingham. 

 

It seems that if we are to “improve” our run-down towns and cities, due to human nature, gentrification is virtually unavoidable. Some definitions of gentrification come with a positive tone, while others may more readily see the negative side, such as the creation of sterile, modern communities where all character and community spirit is lost. But doesn’t this happen everywhere? The small village I am from, and have visited rarely over the last ten years (sorry mum!), has undergone much redevelopment and regeneration over that period. Granted, due to the fact that its antiquity is what makes the place charming, much of the old character of the village has been preserved and, indeed, improved upon. However, gentrification is a problem in places such as this too. It’s much harder for first time house buyers to stay in their native village should they want to and my dad is forever whining about how hard it is to get a seat in his favourite real ale pub because of the “bloody tourists”!

 

This just got me to thinking, at what price does progress come? As with everything, we enjoy the benefits of the health sciences, ease of transport, eating what-we-want-when-we-want regardless of whether it’s in season or how far it had to travel, the internet, hundreds of tv channels etc etc., but at what cost to the environment, society, human relationships, child development and communities? Hubby and me watched the first part of Bruce Parry’s Amazon on BBC2 a few nights ago. His first pit stop was a few nights spent with a family of Quechuan llama farmers, high in the Peruvian Andes near the source of the great river. Living a simple, hard working life in a gruelling environment, they spend most of their income sending their eldest daughter to university – again, human nature, to want to improve your lot. 

 

Watching these contented and enormously generous people from our modern, civilised (and possibly over-romantic!) perspective, however, we couldn’t help but feel envious of their simple lives.

Sparkly, new, yet still rather boring!

Welcome, to my new, sparkly, super-dooper WordPress based blog. 

Moving everything across has been easy enough, for an interwebs-know-nowt! A bit fiddly going through all the posts to categorise and tag, but there was probably a quicker way of doing it!

So, hope this is easier on the eye and easier to read. (Used one of my special sky photos for the header, Ro! That’s one without the sun visor strip though!) Sorry, I can’t do anything much about improving the content!

Looking back through my old posts was somewhat cringe-worthy. I am such a moaning, rambling fool sometimes! 😉 

I loved remembering some of the stuff, especially my Wombles dream which I haven’t had since then. 

Gonna go eat some mature cheddar, see if I can’t dream it again tonight!

Good night. 😀