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Memories of granddad

On Twitter today someone randomly asked that if I were fortunate to have known any of my grandfather’s what is the first thing that I would think of when I think about them!

I wanted to say a lot more than I did, because I doted on my granddad!

So I thought it would be a lovely post to share here and I can get to talk about him in more depths, these memories are happy memories, probably some of the few I had growing up – but there are only two things that I remember which were not so happy and none of them were my grandad’s fault at all!

Up until I was six years old I lived next door to my maternal grandparents, Granddad Leslie and nanny or nonna Dolly! 

Between the age of six and nine I never saw them, not once – because my mum moved us away due to a vicious argument which broke into a physical fight she had about my brother and aunt.  The physical fight was in their living room between my auntie Julie and her, it was quite a scary physical fight I never saw because I was at school at the time and honorary auntie Sheila (which is rumoured to really be a third or fourth cousin to us) had to pick me up from school because mum was in hospital over it. 

Both my mum and my aunt had scarring to their faces over that fight.

Before this fight my grandparents were part of my everyday life, I lived in an area in North London where I had a relative almost on every street and there were at least thirty households related to me within that small square mile, everyone else it seemed was some kind of family friend who looked out for everyone!

My granddad was an avid gardener and was always out in his garden talking to me about the flowers and nature and giving me updates on his breeding hobbies of tropical fishes, budgerigars and love birds!  He loved gardening so much he rented four plots at the local allotments (a gardening community) where he’d grow lots of food to share with the whole family. 

My granddad was a greengrocer once, before he lost his business to thugs and he met my grandmother when he was a farm worker on a farm her parents worked on in Enfield.

Sometimes granddad would pass over step ladders for me to climb up high enough for him to reach me to carry me over into his garden to help him with the fish and the birds – mum knew if she couldn’t find me in the garden that I’d be with him or passed onto Sheila who lived on the other side of my grandparents to play with her daughter who was only a year younger than me!

In my street there were four other households of family and only thirty yards away from the house was a shopping complex of ten stores, which whenever we’d pop round the corner for milk you’d have to anticipate forty five minutes before you got home again because of the amount of people you’d meet and talk to on the way!

I remember sitting in the window waiting for people I knew to walk pass the house and telling mum who was there, especially if mum wanted to talk to someone, she’d rush out immediately and they’d talk.  Most of the time she had hoped my older teenage cousins would be passing so she could bribe them to take me to a park or go swimming with them at the community pool nearby!

All of this ended when I was six, from the time mum moved away from all of that I was in pure isolation and I didn’t cope well at all with that arrangement!

My mum was ostracized by most of our family when the fight happened, but there were still people who spoke to us and visited, but only a small margin from that point onwards!

It’s funny to think that because three households crammed together in a line became the forerunner of huge family Christmases – where everyone visited those three houses and kept swapping and changing dining rooms to socialise with as many people as possible on Christmas day, literally eighteen people per house and then going from that to just me, my parents and brothers and a cousin until I was twenty years old.

You can imagine the culture shock and to be honest… no, I have never recovered from the loss.

When I was nine years old I was thrilled to be back in my grandparents lives again, but I didn’t realise at the time it was only meant to have been temporary because my granddad was diagnosed with lung cancer. 

So I have got the horrible bits out of the way now, now it’s time for me to show you what my granddad was like as a person!

My granddad came from Greenwich and he had a very strong husky East End accent, he was a short stocky and muscular man who was half Jewish and half catholic and had tattoos all the way up both arms!  He had a widow’s peak hairline and silver white hair, when I was little I used to think my granddad looked like a mesh between grandpa Munster and Pop-eye! 

Because my granddad smoked a pipe, had muscles, ate spinach had a rough husky voice, and loads of tatts!

He was the most muscular man in the whole family and quite a formidable character too!

He was a true man’s man but he was a man who was out of his time really, because my nanny Dolly didn’t have a domestic bone in her body – he did all the laundry, all the cleaning and all the cooking!  My granddad always said it isn’t my Nan’s fault, she isn’t lazy cocker, he told me – she has had a hard life with her heart troubles so she got spoilt and I am mostly to fault for that he said.

I remember my granddad having two large 6ft fish tanks in the living room and he put them like an L shape to each other and he placed his armchair in the corner facing the TV directly in the opposite corner of the living room he had so he could watching every wrestling show on Sky TV he could!

I would always sit on his knee watching the TV with him, even when I was as old as ten, even when he was dying, I remember that.  Clung to him for dear life, I loved my granddad!  I couldn’t do that with anyone else, he was the only one who’d let me snuggle with him like that and so it was a novelty I relished every time I visited him!

I remember when we had to go home I was often kicking and screaming as I didn’t want to leave him.

My mum was a J-witness off and on growing up, so I didn’t learn much about the families catholic ways, so granddad always tried to put in lessons every now and again for me and got his rosary out and showed me that we moved the beads in prayer, look see…

I wondered how my granddad kept his faith with the Catholic Church when he experienced so much racism growing up – the nuns at the school he went to often gave him a hard time and caned him regularly because they said he was born in sin because his mother was Jewish! 

Growing up with him telling me things like that and he was making excuses for their behaviour and being generally nice about it all – surprised me.  He told me that it never bothered him you see, because Jesus was a Jew and he thought that those nuns were ridiculous for what they were saying about him.  I told mum what he said and she didn’t receive that very well!

But it always stuck in my mind; Jesus was a Jew… wasn’t he catholic then granddad?  That made him laugh so hard it bought on one of those deep dense and awful coughs of his!

My nan would look over and laugh too and then say “Out of the mouths of babes hey Les”?

My nan was in every way similar to Catherine Tate’s nan depiction, honestly, anyone who knew her said that they were sure that the character was based on her!

It still sticks in my mind today… Jesus was a Jew and it was only recently that I learned not only was he a Jew but he was also a fierce rabbi who tried hard to steer people back into the old faith of Judaism as he felt people were losing their way – food for thought I can tell you!

My granddad was a backstreet wrestler and boxer in his youth to earn extra rations and money for the family, he told me. 

My granddad and I had a very similar life to each other in some ways – both of us were into combat sports, both of us were stocky in comparison to the others in the family though only 5ft 4, both of us were deaf due to the same condition (mastoiditis) and both of us were discriminated against for our mixed religious heritage and deafness and both of us loved our gardens!

Granddad was the only person I strongly connected to in most things in the family.

He would often sing to me all kinds of traditional London songs, some for kids and others not!  Bouncing me on his knee and he always greeted me as “Cocker” whenever I visited him – “alright cocker”?  He’d ask as I walked into the room!

Cocker means many number of things to an East Ender – mostly “Mate” or “little cocky one” or “fellow cockney” or something you called your descendants, usually aimed at personal favourites rather than generic – well in my family it was!

He would regularly give me cash in hand money to go the local shops with so he could have private chats with my parents, knowing I’d be gone for up to an hour because the family and extended family would watch out if a kid was going to the shops alone!  There were lots of eyes in those streets and you always felt safe as you knew almost everybody down there!

There was one particular shop I used to love going to a lot and it was a health and safety nightmare for how the candies were stacked in piles around the whole store, but it was a great store with every kind of candy you can think of, chocolates, crisps, sodas and ice-creams – it was called Lucky Sweets and was run by a really lovely and elderly Hindu lady.

My granddad would often talk about the wrestlers on TV and we are related to a wrestler who now has a wrestling family and that was my granddad’s pride and joy in pointing that out to me!

My granddad often bought dinner from the fish and chips shop as well when I visited him; it was always cheaper than it should be because there were rumours that the owner was a distant cousin from our Greek roots as we also have Greek in us.  In fact our Italian relatives from Naples are mostly Greco-Italians they say, but we have had family in Naples since 305BC on both sides of my family actually.

But I do know when I was growing up and visiting my nan a lot when granddad died, that the local teenagers who were not associated with my family in anyway were really nasty to me in the school I went to purely because of the knocked off price of our fish and chips dinner because of family discounts.

My granddad gifted me his budgerigars every couple of years and one of them I loved so much lasted for nearly three years called Bobby.  The other, funnily enough was called Henry.

But when I talk about Henry on my blog, be sure to know it is my son I am on about and not some record breaking old budgerigar – lol!

He is also the reason why I love tropical fish keeping, because to me a house isn’t a home without a tropical fish tank and a dog.  I don’t have a fish tank here… tell a lie… I do… but there is nothing in it because Paul won’t help me set it up.

I always felt safe with my granddad because nobody messed with my granddad and I could tell him anything my mum did to me and knew he would be the retribution she’d get!

When he died she got more cocky about things and wielded it like a power.

I moved in with my grandparents when I was ten years old, for a few months whilst granddad was dying of cancer, until his death.  Then my nan was required to come and stay with us whenever she felt lonely, which was about four times a week until she was hospitalised and died fourteen years later.

When I got the flu when we lived with him, granddad wanted to know how mum took care of me when I was at home and had the flu in the past and I was brutally honest with him about it.  He was not happy and he rang his bell which always sent mum into a panic running into the room to him.  He said, cocker over there isn’t well; she needs a drink of water, not Lucozade!  She went and made a drink, he then rang the bell again and told her that I was hungry and not to just pass me candies but to get some chicken soup into me!  She got angry at this point, but he kept ringing the bell for me and made sure I was cared for properly and not dumped with bags of candies and bottles of Lucozade and left for hours on end like normal!

He defended me even though he hardly had the breath to do it; he had a mischievous nature which I adored!

He got told off really bad by my nan when he used blackmail on my mum by switching his own oxygen off to cause a panic and stir when mum tried to tell him off!  As he did it he winked at me but it really scared me to see that!

I had a nightmare the day before granddad died, I woke up knowing that that day would be his last – even though the doctor said he would have four months at least before that stage came, I was right.

He died three days shy of his birthday and it was supposed to have been a huge family reunion party too – the party still happened but it was more morose than it should have been!

My granddad would be 100yrs old on August 15th of this year.

Thanks for reading!

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How you’ll ride this storm alone

The world becomes darker when you lose a friend

When the world becomes darker, you need that friend

All your fears come true, when their life ends

There is no one to hold you tight and make things right again

All hopes and your fears are turning the gears

Your friend who has helped you all these years

Is no longer there to help you through

You are without a clue

Of what to do now

You don’t know how

You’ll ride this storm alone

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Suffering & tragedy

So, I have been freezing my butt off for nothing!

No progress whatsoever, the green tea with turmeric and cinnamon is disgusting and I have suffered for two weeks for nothing!

Why do I say that?

Because for some reason or another, I haven’t lost or gained not even an ounce of weight for two whole weeks!

Grumpy about it?  Not half!

The whole idea of developing brown fat to lose weight is utter tosh!

Before all these stupid new ideas, I was losing a steady two to three pounds a week and I got cocky thinking, it will be faster doing these hair-brained ideas… no, a complete stall!

Not happy at all!

To top it all, I have a raging sore throat and bronchitis so I haven’t been able to exercise for ten days either and now Christmas is around the corner!

I have until the 21st December then I am on cheat system till the 2nd January, because I don’t want a sucky Christmas – I am expecting a two pound gain, but not happy about it – but going back to my old system that’s easily lost in a week!

So shoot me, it’s Christmas!

I am crying and praying for a good friend of mine who is in ICU right now, so now is not the time to get on my case. 

We’ve been through some hard times together, though we haven’t physically seen each other since I was a teenager; we still spoke on LinkedIn now and again and it’s going to really hurt if she doesn’t pull through, really hurt a lot!

She said she was going be my wing girl when I become a famous bestselling writer and although we don’t talk much these days, I don’t know what I will do without her!

Get well love!  XXX

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Whirlpool of emotion

I’m being thrown in a whirlpool of emotion

Drowning in the potions of your poisonous words

I keep trying to swim upwards to escape

But I am pulled down into the blue

Swirling away from you backwards

Deeper I go, down, down into the blue

I haven’t a clue, how to fight these waves

I am going deeper into the abyss, where many others have found their graves

Will you ever see me again? 

Now you’ve misbehaved

Should I ever see you again?

If you never tried to save me from the blue!

My friend part of my crew

I mean… after all… who are you?

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I need to rest upon the shore

Dear, you are so dear to my heart

You pull me apart

With those words you say

Dear release me from your potion

Don’t let me get washed in the ocean

Hear me say

Save me now

I can’t bare those waters again

I just need my heart to mend

I can’t be always swimming here

I love you, so, so dear

But is it worth all these tears

After all these years

I am growing tired of the crying and the loneliness

I just need a rest

Upon the shore

Why can’t you listen, please don’t ignore

I implore you to stay with me

I know it sounds pathetic but I was once in this scenario where I was pushed away from someone, called back, pushed away, called back, constantly and I never learned for nearly three years that it would be a constant cycle. 

I thought that when they called me back they had a change of heart, so I’d dotingly went back to them and it wasn’t until pure mental exhaustion that I chose to ignore them finally.  But they still kept tabs on me for years and it wasn’t until my mum in fact, threatened to tell the police about them that they backed off finally.

I am embarrassed to share this actually, because upon reflection I behaved pathetically. 

These are not thoughts I still have of the person, but these are memories of that place I used to be in – sometimes people are confused that my poetry are reflective of my current mental state and it’s not always.  I have an excellent emotional memory.

In fact this emotional memory happened in 2004.

I am thinking that sometimes my poems might actually need explanations at the end, because there are times I post things like this and a bandwagon of lovely people thinks I am in a dark place again.  OK – let’s make a deal… if there is no explanation with a dark poem, I might be in a dark place at the time.

If there is an explanation, rest easy my friend! 

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I was made

I was created to love you and hold you in my arms

Stroke your hair as you snuggle, whilst I fall for your charms

I was made to help you, feel like a child again

Only this time you are nurtured and I’ll help the pain to end

I was created for you, so you had someone to hold

Someone to always be there for you, someone you could mould

We’ll be like peacocks you and I and the world will be in awe

Because together you and I, we will surely soar

You need a playmate and a friend, who’ll have patience, love and care

And you will be my guardian, my big ferocious bear

You needed someone like me, to follow in your games

And be a changeling for you, nothing is ever the same

You want a docile woman, who will be like a little doe

Who tirelessly follows wherever you may go

You want a dedicated woman who will pep talk you and soar

But ultimately you want her to match you and more!

You want me to be creative; I can do that for you

You love brainstorming with me it’s your favourite thing to do

We are both like children, enthusiastic in our play

What is life going to be like tomorrow?  It won’t be like today!

I’m an undemanding woman, well, outside love and foreplay!

I hope we will be together some day?

I am an unassuming woman, I don’t want a lot

Just lots of love and snuggles and some babies in a cot

I just want a garden and a few little pets

But outside that, I just want you because with you I am set!

I can’t wait will we’re together

But I don’t think we will

Because there is something stopping you

And it makes me ill

I know I’ll die without you

If you chose not to come

Because I was made for you and that is why I’ve come

I am going to stop this poem

Because I’ve said all I can

But you need to know this one thing…

I am lost without my man!

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Self Isolation Experience

As the world is forced into self-isolation, many aren’t coping, both physically and mentally; but there are some (introverts not included) which to them, it is a way of life; many not by choice or design and I am one of them.

It has taken me a time to write this, because I was not sure what to really say on the matter until now, purely because up until now, I didn’t think much of the world would understand the frustrations and things that I do in self-isolation before this moment in time.  Now I think or rather hope, that I would become crystal clear in what I am about to say and with a depth of understanding from those who are now forced into a similar situation by forces not of their own design too.

The isolation I have been forced into throughout my life by my mother, is entirely different to this pandemic, there was no fatal disease which could have affected me during that time, nor was there any government ruling set about to enforce my mother’s commands, though saying that, to me (at the time I was living with my mother) her word was law and any deviation from that law was harshly punishable.

My life in isolation day to day was like this;

There was no real schedule outside of dinner time, my day to day life was higgledy-piggledy and often turned upside side with the craziest stuff going on most of the time, there was in a word (insecurity), there was no predictability in my day.  The only things I could rely on to be part of my day were, cleaning and eating dinner at 4pm on the dot.  I was taught there was no comfort or security within the home, because nothing would remain the same day to day – in a literal sense.  My mother suffered from OCD which meant she cleaned everything thoroughly and demanded that everyone in the house do her crazy cleaning rituals too with her, with the exception of dad because he worked – even if I went out to work occasionally on the times she allowed me to, it didn’t apply to me.  Cleaning wasn’t so bad, but her obsessions to have a constant supply of household projects were both wasteful and sometimes downright silly.  She would move the furniture around the house a lot, just for the sake of it and often she would end up putting the furniture back in the same way it always is by the end of the day unhappy with her new lay out – sometimes those lay outs would last for weeks, but often it would go back to the same old design.  It wouldn’t be so bad if it was a table now and again, but it was entire rooms being moved in one day!  You was never warned when this would be, sometimes it would have started before I even woke up in the morning, sometimes it would start after dinner and there were even occasions she started it around midnight!

She would also have decorating projects, where she would re-carpet, or laminate a room and expect it to be done in a day maybe two days at most, painting walls was very popular with her, we did this more often than we should have.  Redesigning the garden was another love of hers, constantly moving plants around and then wondering why her favourites die so easily.  She never liked to leave the house more than three times a week herself for shopping or visiting, but would often insist in going out every day even for 20 minutes for walks.  Funnily enough even when we had dogs, the dogs would usually be left behind whilst we, the owners go for a walk without them – which was something that never made sense to me – as a consequence our dogs were usually classed as obese by the vet.

When going for walks, other than the neighbourhood gossipers, mum wouldn’t talk to anyone no matter how friendly they seemed.  Often she couldn’t be bothered with the neighbourhood gossipers and would literally drive to another street within a 3 mile radius and walk around there, so she didn’t have to talk to anyone.  But one or twice she would walk the same places so often, their own local gossipers would come out and talk to her, thinking she was another neighbour from nearby, when that happened, she would avoid the area for several weeks.  My mother never liked me standing with her when she was talk to other people, even when I was an adult, she would often require me to walk away and come back occasionally and she would give me secret hand signals to tell me roughly how long she will tolerate this person and what the conversation might be about.  She had her secret codes to talk to me, so others never knew how she was controlling me and my actions and even my own conversational input.

I was taught this by her aggression after events happened, she would tell me what she did and how I should have reacted and often told me that other people in the world would understand what she did, but because I don’t go out and is active in the world, I haven’t learned these basic social instincts.  I learned through my therapist that what she said was bullshit.

Sometimes mum would catch herself out, if we had a visitor sometimes she would absent-mindedly call me into the room, give me her secret signals which were both hand movement, sitting positions and various snorts which could be mistaken for her clearing her throat but I was taught that was a sign of displeasure and to please steer the conversation for her.  Sometimes people were so used to the idea that when they visited I was the tea maker that if I was called in and mum didn’t say anything to me about the tea or spoke to me at all, that they felt they had to remind mum to prompt me to make more tea for them as obviously, that was the reason she called me in, wasn’t it?  As rude as it may seem, they often did this; most of our visitors were family or rarely long-standing friends and Jehovah Witnesses.

Although we had visitors and talked to neighbours my life was socially isolated in that I was only allowed minimal conversation with them and was often shooed away with mums secret language to me, we would visit one person a week on average, sometimes we would visit more depends on either what mum wanted from them or what the person was going through at the time.  Again, we could be sitting at another person’s house for several hours and during that time I would probably have said less than ten sentences in all of that time by mothers prompt.  It was usual though that she would encourage me as entertainment occasionally, where I was made to play spiritualist as it were.  As I have a clairvoyant talent and I also do various readings, such as tarot and things.  This was the only time I was allowed to talk as much as I liked to whomever I was supposed to be entertaining.  Another thing I was allowed to do was to talk as much as I liked about philosophy, religion and spirituality; but even there, there was a limit to how much I could say and for how long.  Sometimes mum would give me permission to mock her, be cheeky to her to liven things up and make it seem like I had a personality of sorts.

It all may seem very strange to those who have had a normal life and upbringing, but to me at the time, I thought it was normal stuff, because my mum would often tell me, that this is how the world is.  Everything is finite, there is a finite way about people that as someone who is not worldly, doesn’t understand and that is why, when I socialised independently I got myself into embarrassing situations because I misread the person.  Often I reacted to other people based on how my mother interacted with me and the other person, obviously being unaware totally misread me or felt I had a split personality as I would often drift in and out of conversations quickly, thinking I have displeased them in some way, but no one understood what I was on about and to be honest, they shouldn’t have as it isn’t normal.

My activities also included gardening, I gardened a lot, I would garden a small collection of flowers but most of the florals I wasn’t allowed to touch or even learn about as my parents were possessive of them, as strange as it is, they would not teach me a thing about them at all, not even their names.  My main gardening duties were the fruits and vegetables that my mum wanted for that year, I was also allowed a small area entirely of my own which included herbs and a couple of small tightly controlled trees, which at the time I never knew would have been called a bonsai version – which generally just meant heavily pruned and small in size.  I wasn’t allowed to tell anybody that I did the gardening as much as I did, I was only allowed to mention my designated section, not the other work I did for my parents – that was their glory and they fiercely protected their reputation for being amazing gardeners.  So I had learned from an early age that I had to swallow my pride and see all my hard work as the credit to someone else other than me, I even had to lie for my parents to make them sound amazing and even praise them for the work.  Basically I knew, that I was praising myself but mum was prompt in reminding me when visitors had gone that I was not to feel proud of myself for what they had said, because I would never have done it if it weren’t her wishes for me to do so, so I had no right to take pride in my work because it wasn’t really my work.  I just cared for it for her that is all, the credit will always be hers.

My dad was very sweet, he would occasionally tell people that I did it and taught them whatever about certain things, but mum would often attack dad for it when visitors were home as she felt shown up.

I was taught to cook for my family from the age of seven, everything from full English breakfast, lamb stew to meat and potato pies.  I would cook the main dinner for the house approximately three times a week, sometimes more, but I mostly made lunch which would be anywhere between 11am and 3pm depends.  Come what may, main dinner was always 4pm, except for Sundays and special occasions, where it would then be a 2pm dinner.  Some Sundays I would visit my paternal grandmother and would have to consume two full roast dinners in one day, one with gran around noon and another when we get home to see mum around 6pm, because mum would anticipate we were fed at grans, so would knock Sunday roast dinner back by 2 hours.

My other gran didn’t have a specific day for being visited, because she was a fully mobile and energetic old lady who would quite often visit us and stay the night, or sometimes she would manage to steal me from my mother for the day or for a night at her house; which I loved, despite the very different and contrast environment of her home compared to my mums.  My gran was the total opposite of my mum, not house-proud at all, just saw home as a place to sleep and store stuff she liked.

When I was with my gran, she demanded total independence from me.  I had to be responsible for myself and as she was elderly, I had to help her, which meant going out alone and fetching things for her, walking her dog called Star and giving messages to other relatives around the area as they were all more or less neighbours within 10 streets of each other.  I had to make her tea too and occasionally she felt that if I had a problem with how messy and unclean her house was, then I should deal with it how I see fit – which meant I was housekeeping for two people – my mum and my gran.  But with gran, it was a choice, it wasn’t expected.  At least with gran I got recognition and whenever I finished anything she would comment that I am such a good girl, now how about treating yourself to something from the chippy and getting me something to eat too?

I liked it when gran stole me from mum, because sometimes it would be for a few days at a time and gran never liked staying indoors for long.  She was an early riser and out the door within half an hour of waking up, going to random places, visiting other relatives on a whim, going to car boot sales and whatever, wherever, anywhere within a 4 hour car drive one way, was doable in a day!  Life was an adventure with this gran.  Where my mother was obsessed with not going out much unless necessary and cleaning and decorating her house, my gran (her mother) was obsessed with going out, living day to day and avoiding housework full stop!

I think my gran had such a carefree attitude to life because she nearly died on several occasions throughout her life, she was born with a heart condition, lucky to live, had her first open heart surgery when she was 14 and has a new operation approximately every 2yrs throughout her whole life, more heart attacks and deep vein thrombosis than you could count along with haemophilia because of warfarin use.  To say my gran was a very lucky person is an understatement!  This includes finances too, she wasn’t rich, but she was never put in a situation of being too needy as she had the luck of the devil as she calls it.  At her direst she would often feel it is time to go bingo-ing and would often win big prizes, sometimes she didn’t even have to leave the house, as she often did government bonds and would get letters proclaiming big prizes, once for 20k!  I was one of the 5 grandchildren gran offered to take to Florida’s Disneyland but mum wouldn’t let me go, so she chose someone else, gran was angry about that as I was more into Disney than the other gran kids.  But what made gran more pissed off was the fact that mum put it about the family that she never even asked me!  Mum often lied, but was rarely caught out.

It is hard to stomach hearing someone slag off at every opportunity someone you know to be almost super hero like in quality to you, always spilling nasties out about them to someone who doesn’t know them.  Mum absolutely hated my gran, but only tolerated her because of a promise she gave to my grandad on his death bed, when grandad begged mum to look after my gran for him.  Grandad knew the hatred between gran and mum, mum never forgave grandad for putting that on her.  As mum said, if it wasn’t for what he said, she would have abandoned gran the moment he died.

People often asked why tolerated gran mum if there is so much contempt, but mum would never answer them, she used to use me to steer the conversation to something else.  The contempt was plain to everyone, because mum constantly spoke down to my gran and I think gran only tolerated it because of two things, she knew I needed a break from mum occasionally and stayed for me, and secondly, nobody else would tolerate her either as they were too busy.

Sometimes mum would try and stop my relationship with gran for a while, by sending me away to other relatives to live, so our relationship stalled.  Gran caught mum out a couple of times as she would drive all the way from Burnt Oak, North London, to Market Drayton in Shropshire to visit her daughter and to see me, just for the day, which is why mum decided to concentrate more on dads family.

When I wasn’t required for entertainment, cleaning or companionship, my days consisted of playing games on my PlayStation or the internet, writing vampire stories and reading horror books and books on spirituality.

Basically, I was kept too busy to harp on the fact that I was both lonely and stuck indoors most of the time, which I think is a key thing for self-isolators to learn.

As my mum often did, she did a spring clean of the whole house once or twice a week, gardening, if you don’t have a garden do window box or window sill gardening.  Read books, knit, sew, make your own clothes, draw, paint, write something, read magazines, play your with pets, do something with your kids, re-arrange your furniture.  There is always something to blooming do, so do it. 

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Friend for a procrastinating writer

I need a kick up the bum

A good writing chum

Who will nag at me all day!

To sit and write and get on with something

To focus and not to play

I need someone formidable

Who will watch me as I write?

Making sure I do not wander

Making my schedule really tight

I need someone to bother me

Have you done it yet?

Which story do I ask them?

The one I told you pet!

Oh OK you see, I wandered

I did this instead you see

Now haven’t I always told you?

To focus on A first then B?

Ah, yes, sorry dear

I will try my best

Yes you will or I will nag

I need that kind of friend, a person with zest

So where are you friend I need?

The one who will make sure that I will bleed

Every little ounce of my blood

Onto the paper in a creative flood

A story that I’ve started to end

All because of that elusive friend

Where are you friend?

Please come quick, I need these stories to end

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Fair-Weather Friend

You call me a fair-weather friend, that’s not true

I am here for you

Though times are hard for me too, I don’t like being blue

So often I seem cold to you, but I am always there for you

I don’t always say warm words, I tell home truths too much

I try to bring humour in and it makes me seem out of touch

I sit and listen to your woes and I sit and listen quietly

It doesn’t mean that my “Oks” make me take your problems lightly

I can’t let your problems become mine; I can’t get too involved

I don’t have the energy or the time, especially when your problems are old

I tell you time again, how you can mend your pains

But you just carry on your path and it often drives me insane

So when I don’t call or say too much, think about my life too

Think about how I sit and listen and that I am there for you

How I try not to talk about my own anger and pains

How I listen dutifully when your cries are always the same

How I hear the same thing over and over again

And I’ve not yet gone completely away

Is it fair then to say…

You’re a fair-weathered friend?

Well, Okay!

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They will help you to mend

Heartbroken you are in despair, smashed to pieces and you cannot bear this

You are not alone

There is a phone

Call upon your dearest friend; they will help you to mend

All these broken dreams and shattered promises are, not a part of you. 

You are free from those darned dreams and free from the pain of the one who has broken you

Leave now, go to better things, and go to different friends

The ones who care and love you, they will help you to mend.

Don’t look back on false promises and broken dreams and hopes

Look forwards to the ones who love you and who don’t taint your eyes with kaleidoscopes

Don’t be fooled by the ones who hurt you, turn your back on them for good

Go to the ones who make you happy, they are the ones who always understood

Keep away from the harmers, the dissers and the fakes

Keep on walking towards your future, where love always awaits

You’ll soon be free of this torment; you’ll soon be free of pain

Once you leave the dark times, you won’t return again.

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