Friends

30 June 2011

Understanding my Mom

I love to hear about other people’s families. It is so agreeable to read about the love, the compassion, shared worries and excitement and, most of all, the pride. Mine was so different.

My Dad was my best friend and I still miss him. He was wonderful caring father with a dry sense of humour. He was quiet, caring and generous with his sound advice. A perfect gentleman.

Mom was one of eight children born to poor parents in a deprived area of the city and she hated it. She left home at 18 to train in the nursing profession. That’s where she met and married Dad who was working at the same hospital as a carpenter and joiner. Dad came from a better class of family, the eldest of six. He followed in his father’s trade and was well thought of by his employers. While he was in regular touch with his parents and siblings, Mom rarely went back to see hers. The only time I saw the maternal grandparents, aunts and uncles was when Dad took me; Mom was so ashamed of her family she would never go with us.

It wasn’t until I was a fully fledged adult that I began partially to understand my Mom, in my early years I was too bogged down by the daily injustices she meted out. I said partially but the word is used loosely because her personality and behaviour was so out of the ordinary as to be incomprehensible. She would flare up at the least thing, especially if she couldn’t have her own way or if someone didn’t do as requested or expected. My Dad and I walked on eggshells most of the time.

My parents argued incessantly. I still remember occasions when Dad would walk me to the corner of the road to talk to the local beat bobby. I didn’t know what they discussed but Dad seemed calmer afterwards. It was only later I learned he did it to get me out of the danger zone. I got in the way during one of the rows, tried to intervene – you know how it is. Mom was in such a temper she threw the carving knife at me. Happily it missed and hit an enamel bowl that was propped up in the sink. It went straight through. Just think I might not be alive now to tell the tale.

It’s funny how certain incidents remain in the mind like videos. I recall coming from school one day, practically running with legs crossed because of an urgent need to urinate. Fortunately our house had an outside toilet so all I had to do was run up the side entry, through the gate, up the yard, and into the loo. The door was secured by a latch, no bolt. So I was sitting there, navy blue knickers round my ankles, enjoying the relief of passing water when suddenly the door shot open and my mother slapped me hard across the face. She couldn’t wait to punish me for whatever it was I had done before leaving for school. I’m still none the wiser. I never dared ask.

Mom was a good looking woman, proud of her appearance and extremely figure conscious. She kept her weight down by going on a diet of Carters Little Liver Pills and Epsom Salts. Weird or what?

She loved men, and I don’t use that word loosely. During the war she worked as a bus conductress and rumour had it that before she started her duty she could be found in the garage on the upper deck of a bus with some man or other. She was later known as the local nymphomaniac who performed with any man, anywhere, any time. At home Dad moved into the spare bedroom; I later learned from his sisters that he had been advised to do so by his doctor who said Mom’s sexual desires would kill him sooner or later. In fact, Dad died of heart failure (yesterday was the anniversary of his death) when he was a mere 54 years of age so perhaps the doctor was right.

To gain attention Mom repeatedly overdosed on painkillers or whatever tablets were available. Each time she was whipped into hospital to have her stomach pumped. I was present during one of those pumping operations and I can assure you that it’s not a pretty sight. I fail to understand how anyone would want to go through that more than once.

Mom was a nurse and she knew how much poison to take without killing herself. She was crafty too. She would take an overdose, then ring someone to say what she’d done. That way the ambulance would get to her quickly. I’ve known her overdose during one of her famous house parties simply because someone didn’t play a particular record she wanted. I guess it was designed to make folk feel guilty but don’t you think overdosing was taking it a bit too far?

In the end it reached the point when Dad would say ‘Oh no, not again’ followed by ‘Let’s hope she’s done it this time.’ Even after he died she continued to overdose until eventually the hospital threatened that if it happened one more time she would be admitted for mental treatment. That threat was enough to send Mom scurrying overseas.

After Dad’s funeral my aunt and I fixed her up with a week’s coach tour of Devon and Cornwall primarily to keep her occupied and in company. A selection of world tour passengers happened to be on the same coach and that was how she met my future stepfather. Within no time she upped sticks and went to Australia to be with him. Although I was sorry for him I was relieved to see her go.

She and Adrian married but I never met him; in those days one didn’t just pop across the waters at the drop of a hat. They moved into a lovely bungalow by the sea and for a while I believe they were happy but after a couple of years I received letters from him begging me to do something about my Mom. Like what? I can only imagine she was wearing him out!

She did come back to this country a few times, once after Adrian died (did she or did she not kill him off) and a couple of times because she wanted to see my son, her grandson. Sadly, I couldn’t establish any kind of relationship and saw no future for us.

On her last visit I knew she was ill. She had an over active thyroid and kidney problems. She swelled up like a balloon just before she sailed back to Australia and I often wonder if she went back to die.

She had no home and no friends. Where once she had a splendid home, she now lodged in an Australian man’s house and died whilst there of acute renal failure. There were two people at her funeral, her landlord and her solicitor.

And that is the abbreviated story of my Mom. You may think it’s distasteful to write about her in this way but life history is not and never can be fictional. Besides, it’s about time I aired the past instead of keeping it bottled up in my mind.


29 June 2011

Tethered!

Where's he going?
Hey, what about me?
Hmm I could be running around the park
instead of sitting here tethered to a cage, waiting! How would he like it if he was tied up and left without so much as a 'do you mind?'

27 June 2011

Flowers and Tennis

Yesterday I thought I'd spend some time watching Wimbledon on television ... Sharapova v Peng which I thought was a nice lead up to the next Murrey match ... but it was too noisy. A couple of years ago players at Wimbledon were banned from grunting and squealing when they strike a ball. Now it seems the rule has been relaxed. I felt like complaining to the Wimbledon authorities that Sharapova's grunts were so irritating I couldn't watch any longer.

Outside the weather was amazing, sunshine, a cloudless blue sky and exceptionally high temperatures. It made more sense to enjoy it and not bother with the tennis. Accordingly, I went out to inspect my rough patch.

The first thing I spotted was this single antirrhinum, obviously sewn from bird seed because we've never, ever had snapdragons in the garden before.

And this, a new arrival which I can't find in my book of wildflowers.
Then there's this, seen among the now seeding foxgloves. The tall yellow flower is also missing from the wildflower book. If anyone can identify it I'd be really grateful. I've cut back the foxgloves so that they'll have a second flowering later in the year. This project gives me a lot of pleasure, I love seeing the extra flowers appearing from nowhere.
But the best of today's finds was my first rose of summer, though I hasten to add that it was not found in the wild patch. I know I should have left it on the bush but I did so want to a bit of colour on my kitchen windowsill.

23 June 2011

The Day I Left Home


My love of the Isle of Man started when I was a teenager. I can’t remember the actual age but I was quite young. In those days teenagers were more immature than those around today, most of them full of confidence and joie de vivre.

My first job helped to broaden my mind, taking me away from school and home where I was under the thumbs of mother and teachers. In fact I felt brave enough to take my first holiday with three workmates. It took some convincing at home that I was old enough to be trusted and not in the least worried about breaking the umbilical cord that had tied me to mother’s apron strings for so long. I guess I’d learned the art of persuasion.

Mary, Margaret, Debbie and I spent our lunch hours planning the holiday. We chose the Isle of Man because it was outside the British Isles and to get there involved going on a boat. We had such romantic ideas about sunshine and sailors.

Eventually the time came to embark on the adventure of a lifetime. We sailed to Douglas and laughed and giggled our way to the guesthouse which was to be our base for two weeks. From there we hit the town, three teenagers on the loose. Now don’t misunderstand me, we did nothing wrong; we simply enjoyed ourselves. I’m not going to dwell on it because my story concerns something more serious. Suffice to say that the three of us did the same again the following year, staying at the same guesthouse, enjoying the same pleasures.

Back at home, I was once again embroiled in the turmoil of life with an unstable mother. I wasn’t grown up enough to avoid or deal with the frequent rages but I reckoned I was mature enough to leave home. Of course, I couldn’t tell anyone I was going, that would have incurred more fury and possible confinement under lock and key.

Being locked up had happened before when my dad was away and mom ‘entertained’ one of her admirers. Clearly she didn’t want me barging in on her little love trysts. The trouble was, Dad worked away too often so I had no-one to turn to. One lock-up session came when girl friend Beryl and I were in my room ploughing through some reference books. We heard the click at the door.

‘What’s that,’ she says.
‘It’s only mom locking the door.’
‘We can’t get out,’ she cried, as she tried the door.
‘We will when the man’s gone,’ I said.

The final straw came one lunch time. Living within walking distance of my job it was my practice to go home for an hour’s break from the office. Usually I spent the time alone with my dog but this one day mom was there before me. We sat eating sandwiches at the kitchen table and I watched while she wrote a letter and then sealed it in an envelope. She took her purse from her bag, began hunting through it for a postage stamp. I didn’t take much notice until she reached across the table, punched me hard in the face and accused me of stealing stamps from her purse. That did it for me; it was one punch and one nosebleed too many. I vowed to get away from there as soon as I could. And I do mean get away.

Skipping ahead, leaving shocking events behind:

Having decided to run away I planned the escape in great detail. I decided that the Isle of Man was probably far enough away to be traced. At least it would be familiar.

After checking the route and the travel times I started my plan of action. First I sold various possessions to raise money, cancelled engagements and appointments, including a Singer Sewing class, and handed in a week’s notice at work. I purchased tickets for the ship and train and ordered a taxi. Then I wrote a goodbye note which I intended to leave on the kitchen table.

The getaway commenced but not without nerve-racking setbacks. With the boat sailing from Liverpool in the small hours of the morning it meant I had to get an overnight train. No buses ran at such a late hour which was why I ordered the taxi.

I tried to act normally although I remember my stomach churning at a high rate of knots. For once Dad was home which made it more difficult for me, emotionally. I went to bed at the normal time, fully dressed under my night clothes, a headscarf ready to hide the curlers. I had planned to stay awake so that I would hear the taxi when it arrived. Yes, you’ve guessed it … I fell asleep.

I’m sure you’re all agog now!

The hammering on the front door woke me. I was woozy with sleep and unable to comprehend. It must have been a good half minute before realisation dawned that the taxi had arrived. When it did I was galvanised into action.

I sprang out of bed and out of the room just as Dad appeared, shoving his arms in his dressing gown, prepared to answer the door. It was a long way; the route to the door was via a long corridor, a flight of stairs, another long corridor, through two rooms, and a vestibule. Don’t ask me how but I beat him to it.

I rushed to the door and whispered hoarse instructions to the cab driver to wait further up the road. Dad was still on the stairs. Saying something about a taxi driver calling at the wrong house I went back to my room, slipped off the nightwear, shrugged into a coat, threw the scarf over the curlers, and waited until the house was quiet before sneaking out. The farewell note was left in my room for someone to find. Fortunately I had left my suitcase in the front garden. Grabbing it, I ran hell for leather along the road to the waiting cab.

The train was practically empty, not many people used the night service except maybe runaways like me. Since I had a carriage to myself I was able to remove the curlers and pull a comb through my hair. Just in time, too, because a man boarded the train at the next station and chose to share my carriage. He was okay, talked about this and that, and when he learned I was going on a ship told me what to do when I arrived in Liverpool. Looking back, I’m appalled at the risks I took. That guy could have been a rapist or a murderer! Thankfully he wasn’t either but I was a bit bothered by the roughnecks who offered to carry my case at the other end!!! As luck would have it, I reached the ship in one unscathed piece.

The sea was quite calm and I arrived in Douglas none the worse for wear. It was on the way back that I suffered, but that bit of the tale comes later.

Since I was inexperienced at planning life outside the parental home I had completely forgotten to find somewhere to live before I left the English shores. On the off chance, I headed towards the guesthouse where I’d stayed on aforementioned holidays. Being out of season the place was devoid of holidaymakers and the owner, Ann, took me in. She asked no questions but I suspect she guessed that I’d run away from home. Anyway, she looked after me like a mother hen, in fact, more than my own mom did.

It was a bit of a shock to realise that the seaside is vastly different in winter. For one thing, it’s deserted. I mooched about wondering what I was going to do there. For a start, I’d have to get a job. Ann and I scanned the papers and it was Ann who spotted the advertisement for a ‘helping hand’ in the big ballroom.

I could dance, I’d had lessons, so the next day I went to apply for the job. Oh take pity the naïve teenager! The job entailed helping in the kitchen, another thing I was qualified to do after all the jobs I did at home, but what a let-down to the romantic dancing idea.

It was around eight weeks before I started to tire of living on a pittance, the rough weather and sheer emptiness of the place and when Ann asked me to write home and get my ration book (I must have been feeding on the family’s rations) I thought perhaps it was time to go home.

I couldn’t have picked a worse time to sail. The heavens opened and an enormous storm rocked the ship. At one time a heavy iron bench was wrenched from the deck whereupon it crashed through the side railing and into the heaving waves. Sailors had to secure the broken railing with rods of iron. I watched all this from the window, a silly thing to do because the rocking and rolling turned my stomach. At one time, I remember looking giddily round the lounge area and seeing a picture hanging straight from the wall as the ship completely turned on its side! Oh boy, was I sick. I thought I was going to die. But die I didn’t, but my legs were very wobbly when I arrived at the Liverpool shore.

So I arrived home to find a relieved father and a hard hearted mother waiting for me. I had earlier sent a message to say when I would be home. Dad hugged me as if he would never let me go, while mom presented me with a bill for the missed rent on my bedroom. It took me ages to clear the debt.

Still unhappy I stayed put. Yes, I searched for somewhere else to go but found nothing that I could afford. I found work that I loved and a few years later met the boy I was to marry. It didn’t work. Although I didn’t realise it at the time it was really just an excuse to leave home.

Now don’t y’all take pity on me … I ended up being the luckiest woman in the world with a son and a good man who still dotes on me.

22 June 2011

More Oz Shots

Sorry I can't give precise details of these pictures but as I understand it they are all shots taken in Melbourne itself. The first one is my favourite Brmmm Brmmm!









21 June 2011

Wordless...

I'm stumped! I've tried for several hours - on and off - to upload a picture for today's Wordless memo but, along with a 503 error and a time-out message (time-out? in 10 seconds?!!) plus a bright red error message that disappeared as quickly as it came, I've had no luck. I thought since the post is supposed to be wordless maybe I should leave this blank. But I can't do that to my dear friends so I'll post a little poem. It's quite small so you can still imagine a wordless situation. Oh dear, now I keep getting flashes. No, not those sorts of flashes ... it's got to be Google trying to tell me something.

Now look what I get when I try to save this stupid post....

There was more than one attempt to edit this resource at the same time. This may have been because you double-clicked a link or a button or because someone else is also editing this blog or post.

Please hit the back button on your browser and try again.

I will, I will.

Hair flying

Squealing in play

Swings into adulthood

Bad hair day

Angst and strain

Too much gin

Seek solace in God,

She so needed him


Seems appropriate somehow. Okay, get me outa here...............................................

20 June 2011

19 June 2011

Just call me stupid!

Just call me stupid! After all this time I’ve only just discovered that emails from a ‘noreply’ address means don’t bother replying because it won’t reach the sender. I didn’t read it as two words joined together. Am I thick or what? It started with the onset of Blogger problems, when most of us were unable to leave comments on our favourite blogs. So, on receipt of all those lovely comment notifications in my mail box I frequently settled down to reply, sometimes at length, to show my gratitude to the person who was kind enough to comment on my blog. Jeez, now I learn that I’ve been wasting my time.

So, about the comments: I used to respond my replying on the blog itself but when Blogger/Google decided to restrict entry to my own comment box (sob) I thought I would adopt a practice used by some blogging friends, i.e. respond by email. I changed my comment welcome blurb to inform folk that forthwith this would be done.

Now I find out that only a selected few received a reply, those with proper email addresses. I suppose now I’ll have to apologise to those who didn’t and explain that I thought they actually were receiving brief notes from me.

I wonder how other people deal with comments. Do they reciprocate? I appreciate the time taken to leave comments and feel it’s the nice thing to do to acknowledge them.

This matter has been raised by other bloggers but we don’t all share the same followers so I’m mentioning it again. In any case I suspect everyone but me knew about the noreply address and that was my real reason for writing this post!

Finally let me tell you how fed-up I am with Google/Blogger/Internet Explorer. As well as the chart of followers going AWOL I have now lost my profile which means no-one can get in touch unless they’re already privy to my email address. To cover this I’ve put a profile in the sidebar. It was available to all and sundry anyway so it may as well be on the front of a blog and not hidden behind a ‘click’. It would be interesting to hear your thoughts on this one. Do you think I should leave it or remove it?

The latest blogging mystery is Error 503 which keeps cropping up when I try to access certain things to do with my blog. Has anyone come across it? I went to the Help section and read all the questions about it but naturally there were no answers. ‘Is anyone listening?’ was a question frequently asked.

I have reinstated Firefox which is much faster and more reliable than Internet Explorer but even with that there are things to moan about. It's easier to leave comments on blogs but only on a chosen few, so I have to switch back to IE to complete the commenting tour!

Honestly, right now Wordpress seem very interesting. I did have a look at at it but couldn’t get beyond the email address. For some reason it wouldn’t recognise it. Just one more thing to irritate. My family think I’m a whiz with technology but just lately I’m beginning to think they’re wrong.

18 June 2011

Sunday Scene

Found these pictures of a holiday in Wales and thought I'd share them. Enjoy the Welsh scenery.
Llanberis
The rolling hills
Snowdon

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY, WHEREVER YOU ARE

17 June 2011

16 June 2011

Kefalonia, Greece

Going down

to see

the underground lakes of Melissani in Kefalonia, Greece, where Captain Morellos' Mandolin was filmed. From here it's possible to take a boat ride over the supposedly bottomless depths, and marvel at the bizarre notion that it is fed by seawater which disappears into the ground at the Katavothres on the other side of Kefalonia.

15 June 2011

Foxgloves and the wild patch

Foxgloves, Don’t you just love them? Seeing honey bees enter the gloves to get at the pollen is that bit of nature that appeals to me since honey bees are rapidly disappearing. We didn’t intend to do our bit to help save bees from extinction, dedicating part of the garden to the welfare of our wonderful wild life just evolved. Without realising we had already provided an environment that bees and birds and unseen insects could enjoy. And we ain’t finished yet! This is the first season of new ideas, hopefully the rough patch will thrive for a few more years.

The ground beneath the enormous Beech tree was always a sort of wilderness. At one time there was a mossy bank where you could sit under the shade of the plum tree and read in peace and quiet, that is until the midges moved in. Several bites made me reluctant to read outside and the garden maintenance in that area came to a halt, hence the idea of actually turning that section into a wildlife garden.

The area is out of sight from the house and you have to go three-parts of the way down before you come upon it. It’s not the place for visitors anyway, they’d just think leaving grass uncut was lazy. So it is … but for a good cause. Long grass is essential for wildflower seeds to germinate in peace and for insects to crawl through, unseen and unhampered except by birds. It’s a veritable treasure chest for those that eat insects. Our wild bit of garden is a place to stand beside, to watch and wonder at nature’s natural beauty.

The rest of the garden will be maintained as normal but my interest will be ‘that rough patch at the bottom’.

13 June 2011

Missing, one button

Well, the rain has arrived. Of course I knew it was on the way by the way the shoulders and back were playing up. Hubs always said I’m a walking barometer and he’s right. Don’t ever let anyone tell you it’s all an old wives tale ... I can forecast rain days in advance. Mind you, it’s been nice having so much good weather and no aches and pains so I mustn’t complain. And we do need rain, or rather the gardens do, and the farmers, and industry in general. It’s a shame that tennis tournaments always suffer though. Rain stopped play at Queens in London, the final had to be postponed. And Wimbledon is almost upon us ... I’ll scream if I miss that!

During the morning Hubs lost a button from his trousers. Not a vital one, just a back pocket. He’d put on a pair of oldies for when he went out in the rain. So he says to me, where’s the button box? I showed him. He was astonished by the amount of odd buttons all neatly packed in appropriate size and colour range, along with little plastic bags and tiny envelopes containing replacement buttons for outfits old and new. Just to be awkward he needed a grey button, which I didn’t have. Of all the colours under the sun he had to lose one from grey trousers. In the end he made do with a bit of black thread.

So then he asked if I’d sew on the button. Sorry, I say, my fingers are not up to it. Okay, he says, I’ll do it, and proceeds to drop his trousers. Where’s the needle and thread, then? Honestly, you’d think he lived up the road instead of in the same house. He knows nothing about what’s kept where. I reckon he goes around with his eyes shut.

So I opened the drawer where repair materials are kept, pulled out a reel of cotton and a pincushion full of needles. He selects one, and drops it, so we had to hunt around to find it. The needle had actually rolled along the work counter. Here’s where it gets funny.

I tried to pick it up … but the fingers suddenly can’t do it. Or is it the brain that’s the problem? I messed around for ages trying to get to grips with an exceptionally thin needle. And couldn’t. I tried licking the end of my finger and dabbing at it, hoping moisture would lift the damn thing from the counter. It wouldn’t. So hubs had a go. Would you believe, even he couldn’t pick it up. Even a few swear words didn’t help.
He tried all ways, even stooped so he could get an eye to eye view (pun intended). From where I stood the view was ….. but perhaps I’d better keep that to myself. Safe to say I laughed even more.

Rocking with laughter always gives me a pain in the gut. And you’re four years younger than me, I says, between mopping tears from the eyes and holding my aching tum. I haven’t had such a good giggle for ages. Isn’t amazing what a good downpour can do? Never again will I grumble about rain.

12 June 2011

Monday Mirth

Hearing their three year old son crying very loud, his parents rushed into the room to see what was wrong. The boy had swallowed a penny and was convinced he was going to die. Nothing his parents could say would convince him otherwise. Finally, the Father palmed a penny, rubbed his son’s stomach and pretended to pull the penny out of his ear. The little lad started smiling when he saw the penny, though he quickly snatched it out of his Father’s hand, swallowed it, and said ‘Do it again, Dad!’

Now for the two Ronnies




Sunday Scene


Just waiting....

09 June 2011

Domestic Violence

It’s a sad world when children are used as pawns in marital disputes. It seems almost daily that we hear reports of children being murdered where the right for custody is contested. Not so long back, here in the UK, a father drove his two young children into a river, the boy was rescued but the little girl drowned. The father is now doing time, but his son is left to relive the terror of that awful experience. What must that boy be going through and what must he think of the man who tried to kill him?

Since then there have been more reports of child killings. It seems to me that it’s a case of ‘if I can’t have them (the children) then neither can you’. Yes, I know marriage break-up is seriously disturbing … but to kill the children? Even at his lowest ebb how can a man kill those he professes to love? If it was just one case I might make some allowance for the state of mind but there are so many it’s like everyone is jumping on the bandwagon. Is this domestic depression catching? Has it become the norm or is it used as an excuse?

There should be a public uprising about the problem. I worry that the more we hear or read about crime the more blasé we’ve become. So what? It’s an everyday thing.
We’re safe in our cosy armchairs. It’s not my concern. Surely we can’t just sit back and read these reports without airing our concerns over what appears to be a lack of protection for kids involved in custody battles.

Something has to be done. In my opinion the lawyers, the divorce courts, social workers and Social Services are not doing enough to protect the innocent children. When I worked for the Probation Service I attended several group gatherings designed to help children cope with divorce. Now that things have got so bad I wonder if counselling is being offered on ways to save yourself when your Dad goes berserk.

The latest incident was the fatal shooting of mother and child. A second child fled from the house to where her real father lived … she had managed to escape after having a gun rammed in her mouth. The man, who is alleged to be the father of the murdered girl, shot himself but still lives. This tragedy is all too common, a bitter wrangle with the woman with whom he lived leading to the death of two people. It is said that the police knew what the situation was but failed to take action. Oh well, eventually there will be a trial and once again the public will fail to raise a hue and cry.

08 June 2011

Britain’s Got Talent.

This year I watched Britain’s Got Talent for the first time. I thought the idea was to help new talent take the stage so it was a great surprise to see one contestant who was well known to me, Jean Martyn. As well as hearing her on radio I engaged her as the main feature for shows at the WI. At the time of booking I was told she was internationally famous and the substantial fee bore that out.



Jean is just as lively off stage as on and she plays the organ brilliantly. In the BGT show she got as far as the final but her talent wasn’t quite what viewers were looking for. The winner was Jai McDowell who had the most incredible voice. I really wanted him to win. Unfortunately I couldn't find a video that allowed embedding, so here's a link to Jai's winning performance.

http://youtu.be/2Ag9XbWuO3g
The highlight for me though was the guest appearance of the American girl, Jackie Evancho.




06 June 2011

The Bag Lady

I once wrote a couple of stories about a bag lady (here and here) although they were nothing like the one I’m going to tell you about now. They (both about the same bag lady) were fictitious whereas this one is real life.

Up the road and round the corner from my house, in a road lined with superb properties, there lives a woman I think of as a bag lady. She looks like one. Her clothes are, to say the least, drab and dirty. She dresses from head to toe in black and whatever the weather she is clad in a hooded black raincoat, a flowing garment that completely encompasses her enormous size. As she shuffles along the soles of her shabby shoes flap as she lifts a foot and squeaks as it falls into place when her foot hits the ground. In twenty years I have never seen her look any different, even the bag she carries resembles a black plastic bin bag.

The woman lives in a wonderful house, big and beautifully designed, with two garages. As with the other houses in the road hers must have at least five bedrooms, a bathroom, two very big living rooms, separate dining room, and a massive kitchen, but the curtains are always drawn so no-one can see inside. The gravelled drive is a dramatic one, curving gently as it heads towards the front door, bypassing several unruly shrubs and a birdbath that looks ready to fall down. I know from other residents that her back garden is a huge wilderness.

She leaves the house at the same time each morning and returns at precisely four o’clock, both journeys undertaken without a word to her neighbours or a remark to passing strangers.

The story goes that she is filthy rich. Filth I can understand, but rich? Yet the more I think about it the more I believe it to be true. She is never seen in shops yet she returns each day with a bulging bag. Does she go begging or is she one of those that ransacks litter bins? Considering the high rates we have to pay the upkeep of the house must be expensive, not to mention the cost of utility services, and she certainly doesn’t squander money on clothes!

What turned her into a recluse? How did she come to own such a fantastic house? Did a broken love affair turn her mind or did a marriage go wrong? Or could she have been a daughter who gave up her life to care for parents? I guess we’ll never know the answer but speculation is intriguing.

04 June 2011

Sunday Scenes

Today's Sunday Scene shows a wet Sunday in Rome


03 June 2011

Saturday Special

Watch David and Karen, then tell me how on earth they DO that?


02 June 2011

Oz Shots

Pictures taken at a camp in Australiaa camp must be the same as our wildlife parks

she looks relaxed

and so do they


Not so sure about this one, he's got a sneaky look about him


but he's kind of cute


I'd never measure up to a giraffe


but the rhinos look reasonably docile when lying down



this little sweetie ignores whilst gnawing


now he's just being nosey