Almost daily diary!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Last week I had a call from Tall Girls school to say that she had dislocated her knee cap. Poor thing, it was a very traumatic experience. She kept reliving it and telling me all about it over and over again for a few days afterwards, it was the shock I think. Luckily her knee popped back in fairly quickly but the swelling was considerable and after a trip to A&E, where they put her leg into a splint and then another trip to the hospital a day later, we ended up with a set of crutches and her leg in plaster from top of thigh to ankle. Poor Tall Girl.

She was however, quite stoical about it and took it all in her stride, so to speak. In hind sight perhaps this is the ideal teenage state of being, completely unable to reach anything or do much therefore having everything done for you whilst you hang about on facebook. Do I sound a little grudging?! I am not, but it is wearing and tiring and I am appreciating how much she normally does without me really thinking about it.

It has been just over a week now, and although she is back at school, getting there is a little more complicated than normal. Usually she catches the bus from the end of the road. These last few days since her accident, she has needed a lift. Both ways. You can imagine how that works in with a full day at work, not to mention the new job which starts tomorrow! Life's sweet pattern...

So on the way to school last Friday, a 40 minute round trip down county lanes; as we were stuck in traffic getting out of Bristol, she shouts 'NO!' just as I pull into the far side lane on the duel carriage way. I have quite a shock. Is she in pain, am I about to run someone over? No it is neither of those. 

I was, in fact, about to overtake her school bus, but because of the volume of traffic, I would have, had she not shouted, drawn up along side the bus in the waiting traffic by the roundabout. I pull up just short of the bus, leaving a gap between me and the car in front. I give her a look. 'Am I the most embarrassing Mother in the whole universe?' I ask. A rhetorical question, so it seemed. Well that was the topic of her last English lesson anyway. I harrumph.

I do try, I really do try NOT to embarrass my off spring, however I have realised this is an impossible task, whatever I do, including just breathing, is a total embarrassment to them both.

We negotiate the roundabout and the bus miraculously gets ahead of us again, only for us to catch it up at the next junction. If I did not pass it now, I would have to follow it all the way down the lanes to school. 'Brace yourself!' I say to her with a smirk 'we're overtaking!' It was her time to harrumph. But, unluckily for her, the traffic lights suddenly changed, and there we were, at the red light, right next to her school bus. 

I sneaked a sideways glance. She was staring straight ahead. 'Oh look' I exclaim as I look past her and out of the passenger side window, 'There's Lucy! She's waving'! I gave her a big wave back. I guess that's not cool!

Tall Girls face was like thunder, she was convinced the whole bus had seen us but obviously most of the students on the bus were far too busy throwing their packed lunches about and calling each other names, to have bothered about us at all. The lights changed and we were off at high speed, me laughing my socks off and her looking very displeased!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Falling in love!

I have fallen in love, he is the perfect cat, apart from his thinness, which makes him a bit boney to cuddle. We have named him Pencil, because of his thinny skinny body but sadly he is not mine. He lives across the way and his real name is Max.

His owner doesn't seem to be home much, and Pencil waits by our door for us to come home, whenever that might be. He seems truly happy and peaceful in our house, with company and attention. She says he's very old and that's why he is thin, but he seems constantly hungry! I know I shouldn't feed him, but he is hard to resist. 

I have missed having a cat about the place, he is a real time waster, so calming to stoke a beautiful creature.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Influences (or Effects) part 2

After writing the first part of this meme, I realised that actually these people which I am writing about have, perhaps, not really influenced my life so much as as effected it. Influenced is so much more often used and associated with a good thing, but some people just effect, whether you want them to or not...

When he called me into the bedroom I knew what he wanted, I had felt this moment coming for a long time. I was 14, the age my own daughter is soon to be. The memory is hazy, I think he called my name and I walked into the room obediently, like the child that I still was. I can't remember what I was wearing, a nightdress I think, I don't think girls wore pyjamas back then.

I remember standing by the side of his bed, the bed they shared when my mother was there, a big bed in a big room adorned with frills and lace, yellow and peach in the daytime, very grey during the dark hours. I remember him asking me to get onto the bed, I don't know how long it took me to do so or how many times he asked. In my mind I think it took a long time. In my memory I was not scared, not in a scary sort of way, I was just unsure, I knew it was wrong of him to ask me. He was the adult, the 'responsible adult' with whom I'd been left; in his care. I knew that this wasn't what children would normally be asked to do.

In my memory I sat astride him, as he had asked. In reality I hope I did not, I really hope I did not. He asked me to get into the bed with him. Into it. With him. He was lonely, he said and he wanted a cuddle.

I don't know how I managed to return back to my own bed. I can't remember if I cried, if I ran back, or walked. I do know I said NO though. That I do remember; no, I can't do that, it's not right.

Later, in my own bedroom, in my own bed, I remember him standing beside me, over me. Maybe he was weeping or maybe he was not and at some point he uttered the sentence they all use; 'Don't tell your mother, she'll make me go away and that will make her sad' Like other children before me, I agreed, tears streaming down my cheeks by now. Sometime later during that night eventually I slept, in the same house with him, alone in my room.

I agreed to say nothing because he was right, she would be sad and I loved my mother very much.

Eventually I spoke out, during a row about something quite different. I don't know to this day whether she believed me, she never did anything about it though, it was far too late for that by then anyway.

Influence or effect? It still effects my relationship with my mother, the relationship she has with my children, she has suffered, whether she knows it or not; things could have been so different.

Friday, September 10, 2010

What a week!

A long time ago, it seems like a lifetime, my solicitor told me I would be eligible for Legal Aid, she was in possession of all the financial information at the time and I trusted her. She also told me that if I went to court, she would be able to get me a better financial settlement than husband had offered me. You are entitled to more, she told me. I trusted her.

This week, after many months of form filling and jumping through hoops, I received a letter from the Legal Commission. I read it several times before the words made any sense. I am not entitled to financial help. I can't afford to go to court without it. 

So much time has been wasted just waiting for the cogs and wheels to turn and now, after all that, it seems I will have to settle for his offer, the one he made last year, the one which is worth less than half our joint assets, the one that means I will never manage to be able to house the children and myself in our own home. It has been a massive blow and a wake up call to reality, I tried not to cry. 

And it still seems so unfair that he should be living in a pleasantly tree lined road, in a 4 bedroomed house that he owns, with a large garden. A house that will grow in value over time, has grown in value in fact and which he can sell as soon as he is divorced, yet we are and will continue to pay rent and live somewhere much less leafy. I am trying very hard not to dwell on this, it is better ignored or forgotten. Yet at the same time I am so very glad I no longer live on that leaf lined street, that I no longer walk the paths or drive the roads of that particular suburbia. My life is good and I have much to be grateful for, I am counting my blessings instead, there are no regrets.

When I rang the solicitor to tell her the financial news she sounded surprised and immediately asked for £500!  Can you believe it?! I have asked her to settle out of court for me as quickly as possible, and I hope it is possible; a request that, as yet I have had no response to. My worry is that I am in a much weaker position now if he finds out I cant afford to go to court and who knows what his offer will be? 

However the divorce papers are ready to roll as soon as the finances are cleared. At least it will all be over, the silver lining in the cloud, that is what I am hanging on to - an End at last..

Also on a more positive note; the job I declined in the summer, after much deliberation and worry, has just been offered to me as a temporary contract with reduced hours that I can do. The hours fit in with my permanent job, so I consider myself extremely lucky. Funny how things turn out

Saturday, September 04, 2010


Recently another blogger, The Eternal Worrier, wrote a series of 7 posts about people who have influenced him. I am going to take up his challenge and do the same. I'm not sure how it will go, it's just going to have to come together as I write, bare with me?

When I was 12 I had a friend who had a school girl crush on David Soul, alias Starskey, or was it Hutch? You see it never meant anything to me, all this hero worship and swooning over characters with whom I would never meet. I was more realistic in my expectations in life, I mean, how on earth would I ever get to meet a Pop Idol or a TV Star, let alone snog him; because lets face it, that was what we were all thinking about back then? But Helen was not daunted, every wall was covered with centre folds of her current muse. And she was fickle! I couldn't believe the rapidity of the turnover of posters and photographs, no sooner were they blue-tacked up on the wall, then they were ripped from their shrines and frames and replaced with a better and more appealing 'sex god'...

So, you see, my list of 7 people who have influenced me will not be about anyone you know. I have never brushed with the rich and famous (though I did catch a glimpse of Jonny Kingdom the other week if that counts?) and have never really longed to meet any stars or superstars. They may have influenced me, through popular culture as a whole, but it is my everyday influences that have made me who I am. And every time I meet someone else, the possibilities grow.

...A couple of years on and I found myself in the local park at lunchtime with Paul. I don't remember much about him as a person, I don't think it occurred to me to ask, all I knew was that he made my knees go all wobbly and his dad drove a blue Porche. I remember lying with him on the grass, ridged with anticipation of a first kiss, when he leant over and slipped his hand inside my school shirt. I could have died with embarrassed. Not because of what he was doing, but because I knew, as with all women and girls, that unless you have implants, that the flesh beneath slips sideways and diminishes! Now, I'm not sure anyone had thought of implants back then, but if they had I'm sure I'd have craved some, just to stop the awfulness of the situation happening again. I mean, where had my chest disappeared to right when I needed it?

Anyway, I'm not sure we ever kissed. I think he asked me to the cinema just to be polite, and because he was late we missed the beginning of The Deer Hunter, a film which gave me nightmares and disturbed me for years afterwards.

I have included him here, for two reasons. His best friend became a good friend of mine instead, no kissing was ever involved, just friends. I often walked home with him. I remember his mum showing me her newly decorated dining room one day in 1979. I was stunned, the walls were hung with luxurious wallpaper; navy blue with gold stars, I'd never seen anything like it before. And later, much later in my life I became an interior designer and recreated her dining room for myself in a large executive house. This was the late 80's, all was opulent and extreme, the 16 year old long gone.

Yet the real influence was how he looked. After we both left school I only spotted him once, walking through my home town, alone and aloof. I can remember now how my heart missed a beat, such a wonderful feeling when that happens, so much more powerful when you are just 16. Yet we never spoke again. Then one day I saw someone who looked just like him. I was sitting in the local Wine Bar with my best friend. If I'd not known Paul would I ever have noticed this new man? I don't think so, but because I did notice him it changed my life's path, things were never quite the same again...

A moment

Visiting my mother in the summer holidays, without the children, was sublime. The sun shone, the flowers were bright and profuse in pots and borders. We had a precious commodity and lots of it, stretching endlessly into the hot afternoon; time on our hands, to talk and share, without interruption, almost.

We sat in the sun with cups of tea to exchange news.They had had visitors through the summer, a friend and her new partner and they were eager to tell me all about it. 
'He was German, you know' said my Step Father who had taken an obvious dislike to the poor man. 'It's a shame The War's over' he pronounced. 
I looked at him slightly puzzled
'Else I could have shot him!'  he finished with a flourish, satisfied at just the thought...