Posts Tagged ‘family’

cheeky request – picture competition

September 21, 2013 3 comments

Mentos are holding a competition to find the ‘freshest’ summer photo.

I have entered a picture that I took of The Girl on the Southbank a couple of months ago.  I think it meets the brief!

The photo winning at the moment only has 89 votes, which I thought was very low. I have managed to get 19 so far and have promised The Girl that she can have the tablet or phone if we win it.  So now, I am trying not to have a disappointed child on my hands!

If you have a Facebook account, please do vote for my pic – I knwo you have to ‘Like’ the page, but you CAN ‘Unlike’ it afterwards and the vote still counts (we checked).

Click here or on the photo below to vote.  And…thanks…you have the opportunity to make a teenager happy – and THAT doesn’t happen very often 😉


The Girl at Southbank, London



a strange inheritance

May 4, 2013 6 comments

I always seem to inherit odd things from people – I’ve never been one for taking jewellery, which seems to be the ‘normal’ thing for girls.

When my nan died a couple of months ago, we cleared the house…my uncle had died just a year before, and had lived with her all his life.

I loved my uncle so much, but he was a bit of an odd one occasionally, and only got worse as he got older (which is understandable).  We found all sorts of meticulous notes in the battery compartment in remotes (to say when they were last changed) or in the clocks (to say when they were last serviced) etc etc.

Anyway, along with Gemma, a battered old leather-effect pouffe, a crystal sweet bowl, a chest of drawers and a mantel clock I seemed to ‘inherit’ about 10 bars of Simple soap, 5 jars of Cadbury’s drinking chocolate and a vacuum cleaner.

Today, I opened up one of the packs of replacement bags for the vacuum cleaner…and found codes written on each one meticulously by my uncle in his neat script.

But what does it mean?!?!?


Can anyone crack the code?

like mother like daughter?

January 20, 2013 1 comment

like mother like daughter?

While clearing my nan’s house today, I came across some old pics.

It’s amazing how similar me, my mum and The Girl looked at the same age. This is the three of us at 5 🙂

goodnight nanny

January 11, 2013 13 comments

I took this photo of my nanny on her last birthday less than 8 months ago
Wasn’t looking bad for 95, was she?

Tonight, the sweetest old lady in the entire world passed away, thankfully peacefully after a fitful day.

I will stand by the statement no matter what.

At the start of this week, she said that she didn’t want to die. Yesterday, she said she was ready. Today she said that a doctor had come and visited her and said that she’d better hurry up as she was meant to have gone on Thursday (this was actually a hallucination or dream).

This afternoon, she not only said goodbye to everyone, she then started singing “Sweet Goodbye”.

And THAT is why she was the sweetest, kindest, loveliest, funniest, most switched-on old lady in the entire world.  And why I am so sad that she has gone, but so happy that it was when she wanted to.

To some, it may seem strange for me to post this – for me it is a way to say it, and release.

goodbye uncle dave

March 16, 2012 8 comments

My beloved uncle died on 9th February.

It has taken me this long to be able to type that. My uncle died.

Even now, I can barely read what I have just typed as the tears have welled up to blur my vision. My uncle died.

My Uncle Dave was my favourite member of my family.  My mum’s older brother, he was the middle of my nan and grandad’s kids (my aunt died 20 years ago aged just 46, when my cousins were 19 and 25).

We don’t have a big family. There’s me, my mum & dad, my nan, my two cousins (and our kids) and that’s it. That’s my family (apart from extended family who we don’t really see).  And my uncle lived with my nan all his life. He was an eclectic old soul, never married, never even really had a job in the last 30 years.  He kind of lived ‘off the system’ – he didn’t trust ‘the machine’.  He looked after my nan & grandad in their golden years, especially afetr my grandad had a stroke 15 years ago, and then died from a second one 4 months later.

He has spent the majority of his time looking after my nan (who is now 93) and so many times she has said “I don’t know how I’d live without him!”.  He was 65.

In the past few years, my parents have spent a lot of time round my nan and uncle’s, my dad taking him out to go shopping etc.  A few days before he died, my mum said he wasn’t looking very well.  On my birthday when I spoke to him, he said his back was playing him up a bit.  A few days later I spoke to him again and he said he was still having trouble with his back and that he was getting old. i told him ‘tosh’ – he had never been old…a grumpy old man perhaps, but never old in mind.  He asked me if I could get him a Yello CD (he wouldn’t do internet shopping as he wouldn’t have a credit/debit card!).

A couple of days later, my mum parents went round and my nan said to them “Dave’s still upstairs, he’s not feelign too good”.  My mum went upstairs and said he was sitting on the end of his bed, with a fan heater on him full blast but was cold and shivering.  She told him he HAD to get the emergency doctor in.

He said “I know…but I’ve played this one all wrong.  I thought I knew what was up with me, but I think it’s actually something far more serious…and Jan, I think I’ve left it too late.”  They called an ambulance a couple of hours later.  He lost consciousness on the way to the hospital.  They tried to resuscitate him for over an hour.  He died from multiple organ failure and double pneumonia.  They think he’d had a heart attack a couple of weeks before.

He never said anything to anyone.

My little family is still reeling.  Obviously we have had to come to terms with the shock, but also my poor nan has been scared about what’s to happen to her.  she’s 93, with diabetes, a gammy leg, can only see out of one eye, has lost her sole carer and has outlived the second out of her three children.  We’ve all been taking it in turns to be there for her which has been rather draining for all involved, and has also put a major guilt trip on me as I am the only one who works full time (one cousin runs his own business part time, mum & dad retired, other cousin doesn’t work), so always feel that I’m doing the least for her!

I arranged a lot of the funeral though, which I thought would help me as I knew what was coming up next…and then my mum stood up and spoke, and the tears flowed, unstoppable.  My uncle was a creative – he was a photographer, he was a watchmaker, a geologist, an atheist, an intellectual, an astronomer, a jeweller, he played the piano, the guitar, the harmonica and the accordian – I didn’t realise he could also play the ukulele (unlike my recent crap attempts to learn this year!). i liked the fact that the priest had to say the words “extraterrestrial geology” during the service – and that I chose ‘I vow to thee my country’ adapted from Jupiter, Holst’s Planets as one of the music pieces.

I didn’t know he used to be in a band in the 60s called The Vampires, and that they used to go on stage wearing long black silk cloaks with red linings, and that they were pretty successful so much that he always had loads of money from their gigs.

I DID know that he was a fantastic older brother to my mum and that she is absolutely devastated, and also more of a brother to my dad than his actual brother…so much so that my dad’s dicky heart kicked in and put him out of action for a couple of weeks out of the sheer weight of grief and I ended up having to look out for him while my mum was looking after my nan.

I also know that this was meant to be a short entry for me to get my feelings out and feel like I am facing what happened…but instead it has turned into a long ramble – which is probably fitting as he always told the best stories EVER!

My uncle died. My life was so much better for him having been such a big part of it, the world is slightly less wonderful now that he’s not here, and I never had a chance to give him his bloody Yello CD!

space…the final frontier?

April 4, 2010 6 comments


I have a dream.  Well, I had a dream.  It wasn’t an outrageous dream.  my dreams are never really unachievable, otherwise I’d always feel like the world was dangling something just beyond my reach, and get the feeling that life is unfair (much as the Girl’s dad does – he always feels like life owes him something, and that it should all be handed to him on a plate.)

Anyway – this wasn’t about him, this was about me.  and my silly little dream.

Well, since The Man has been out of work (almost 3 years), I’ve not really had any time at home on my own.  Either he, The Girl or both of them have always been there.  So I feel like I don’t have any space.  We live in a little flat in London, so you can imagine that space isn’t exactly abundant…we’re all hoarders too, which I know we could do something about, but is a personality trait I guess, and almost impossible to shake.

The Girl has her own room that she spends a lot of time in doing her own thing (which lately seems to consist of counting her money in her money box 4 times a day – maybe she thinks we’re stealing from her!), and obviously The Man is here by himself from 9-3 every weekday.  For me, nothing.  And I think that this could be one of the reasons that I’ve stopped reading as much over the past couple of years too.  I can’t read when there’s stuff going on around me.  I’m OK with the radio on, or music, but not the TV or ‘sounds’.  And The Man has the TV on a lot – because, if I turn it off, or if I’m not watching it, even if I have the radio on, he’ll play the XBox.  which annoys the hell out of ma.  i can’t read a story about Georgian Britain’s Worst Husband (Wedlock, that I’m reading now) if there are the sounds of air raids, bombs, and general shouting, shooting and fighting in the form of MW2 full blast to my left!!

So.  I had a dream.  It was a chair.  A winged, chintzy, Queen Anne style chair.  Squeezed into my tiny bedroom, in the bay window which has the best natural light in the whole flat.  So I could shut myself away for a few hours a week, have some me time, read undisturbed with the radio on.  Maybe even start writing again, who knows.  If course, a chintzy winged chair in a bay window also threw up dreams of tea and biscuits and a cat curled up.

So…I have now made this entry from my bay window, in natural light, in a wing-backed chair, whilst listening to 6Music (Cerys is back, and there was just a wonderful live session with a harp that I need to look up), sipping tea, eating the biscuits that I made on Friday, and  have been reading my book in peace.  Even the cat is curled up on the bed in front of me!  The only difference to my dream is that my chair isn’t chintzy…it’s just moss green.  but it’s oh so comfy, and was just £35 from the sally army charity shop at the bottom of my road – and is pristene.  no wear, no tear, no scratches, no stains!

I am so happy.  So, so happy.  Because of a chair.

conversations with my daughter (pt 3)

February 24, 2010 3 comments

I wonder how much they cost...

This morning, me, my lovely bundle of surrealness and my heathen boyfriend had a rather bizarre conversation…and once again I sat amazed at how the most humdrum of subjects tends to blow up into full scale bizarrity.

Yes…I like making my own words up that I feel should already exist.  So shoot me.

Anyway – the Man & The Girl  had a mock-fight just before she was off to school and she’d got all ruffled up.  her previously slick glossy hair was sticking out all over the place where The Man had chucked her around a bit!

Me:  That’s better, you’re hair looks all shiny and gorgeous again now.

TG:  Would you like to have straight hair again like me?

Me:  I’d do anything to have straight hair again!

TG:  Would you rather have me or straight hair?

Me:  Sweetheart, I love you more than anything, but I would sell your soul to the devil to have straight hair again

At this point, The Man wanders back into the room, and The Girl decides to blab about everything

TG:  Mum said she would sell my soul to the devil if she could have straight hair!

TM:  Would you notice?

TG:  It’s my SOUL!

TM:  There’s no such thing.  Shoes have soles, not people

TG:  Not s…o…l..e… silly, s…o…u…l…

TM:  And where is that?  Are you using it?  What does it look like?

TG:  You can’t SEE it – it’s on the inside, under your skin.

TM:  So is your heart, but you know what that looks like

TG:  It’s invisible and it covers your whole being   (I was actually very impressed with this answer from her)

TM:  It’s a made-up thing, and if your mum wants to sell yours, it’s not going to make any difference to your life…your death maybe, if you really believe in that sort of rubbish, but not your life!

TG:  you only don’t believe in them cos you haven’t got one!  (I was also impressed with this)

There was then a flurry of activity as they put on coats and got bags etc, kissed me goodbye happily, and left me sipping my tea dumbfounded.

%d bloggers like this: