Thursday, 17 August 2017

Snowflakes

Snowflakes; not the lovely white ones that fall out of the sky each winter; the ones I hope for, which rarely come for a visit, and if they do, they don't last long. No, definitely not those ones. The ones I'm talking about live among us, walk among us, some of them even talk to us; the Human Snowflake. The ones who take the slightest thing said (often in jest, although sometimes not) and they then twist it around to make into something completely different that can then be deemed "offensive"; either to themselves, or to others. Some of them even get offended, just-for-the-sake-of-it!

I've dealt with a few of these over the years; they are 'nothing' creatures who basically need to get a life. I wouldn't normally discuss them or give them the time of day (they do tend to be quite narcissistic also) however, a one has appeared, read my blog entries, and taken offence at a few things I've said (I've also been accused of being sneaky in my attempts to conceal my identity) so, I thought I should address the issue. Although really I should just say "Suck it up, Buttercup" and move on!

Identity:- hmmmm... not entirely sure how I am concealing it for I am using my own name on this; the web address of www.sarahbradbury.me.uk kind of gives the game away; my name is Sarah Bradbury, I am 'me' and I live in the UK (who would have figured?!) My Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr and Google+ all have my name; Sarah Bradbury (if you want to find me on any of them there are links on the right hand side a bit further up the page →→→→→ ↑↑↑↑↑

That/they are me, who I am. The name given is the name I was born into and registered with. Not sure how that means I am being concealed. My blogs are free for anyone (in any part of the world) to read - you don't need to login to anything, you don't need a password, you don't need to be sent a specific link to access them; they are out there for the world to find (that's the whole point of having them in the first place - I want them found, I want them read, I want that "one person" to click on one of the "Fund me" links and send me on my way - I can't really do that if I'm hiding my identity).  The "selfies" I've posted have been of myself, that's why they are called "selfies". If I was concealing anything about myself, surely I would avoid any photo that has me included? There really are some pretty stupid people in this world. 

*Sorry about some of the bold words - it appears either those, or 'caps', are the only way to get through to the Snowflake Generation; it helps them feel what they have to say is "more important" when they use them, and when you're trying to get a message across to them it's easier to do a like-for-like.*

That is all I have to say on the matter, other than this:- If you are someone who has been offended by something you have read on any of my blog entries, please see the image below. It explains my thoughts and sentiments at your being insulted/offended far better than I could.


Back in the real world, where the only snowflakes we need to be dealing with are the lovely white pretty shaped ones - they really are quite spectacular shapes too, aren't they? Of course, I like them much better when millions of them have joined up together to create a lovely thick blanket which covers the earth beneath my feet. I'll admit, it's not nice to drive in it (over here especially as we're never prepared for it) and it's awful when it turns to ice (I'm not good at staying upright on a dry day, so you can only imagine how dangerous ice can be for me 😁😁😂) yet even though it's dangerous for me to be out and about in it, I still can't help but love it. I'm sure I would feel slightly different about it if I was living with my cousins on the east coast of the USA. They've shared photo's with me sometimes and the drifts have been double the height of me (although I'd love it to begin with 😁😁 I expect after a couple of weeks it would begin to get a little boring and monotonous). What am I saying? I could never get bored of it. I'm sure I lived in a snow-covered country in my previous life which is why I love to see it so much now; it reminds me of who I used to be ❄☃🌨⛄

One of the things I was hoping for on my whistle-stop tour of America back in 2014 was lots of snow; the weather forecasts leading up to the trip were predicting it. One day we were told we couldn't take a specific route because there was a snow warning so they'd closed the road as a precaution. I packed thermal socks, thick jumpers, my winter coat; hat, scarves, gloves. I was prepared.

I spent most of the trip in t-shirts smothered in factor 50 sun lotion where they suddenly had a heat wave ("most unusual for the time of year" - we kept being told). The only day I saw any snow was when we travelled from our hotel in Cody, through Yellowstone. It was minus 1'c that morning when we left; the only time throughout the 17 days I actually got to put my coat on (it was off again by mid-morning). On the way into the park we stopped at some holiday lodges (no idea why - oh yes, I remember, it was because Moose had been seen previously on some land over the road; we never did see a Moose throughout the whole trip). There was ice on the ground, you could see your breath when you spoke, the grass crunched beneath our feet. I had such high hopes the day was going to bring about proper winter weather and temperatures. Our next stop at the edge of Yellowstone Lake really raised my excited expectations for on top of a wooden railing there was an inch of snow (almost enough to make a snowman ☃☃ if he'd been less than centimetre tall!) and the mountains we could see in the distance were snow-capped. That was the sum extent of it; I never saw another flake. As I've said, by mid-morning we were back in t-shirts, and my coat, thermal socks, or any kind of warm covering never came out of my case again. In fact the temperatures just kept rising until we were experiencing heat well in the hundreds (f'). Not that I wanted enough to stop us being able to travel anywhere, but a few inches here-and-there would have been nice ❄☃🌨⛄ Maybe next time! 





Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Apologies

Firstly I'd like to start by apologising - no, not because I waffle so much crap you're all bored; I need to apologise for my Perseids post, yesterday. The amount of missing words and spelling mistakes was atrocious, and whilst I know I do it often, it was particularly bad yesterday, even by my standards :) I was, in my defence, extremely tired. What with staying up for the meteors, I've also had my number 1 in hospital, so sleep and I have not really been friends with each other over the past few days. Thank you for asking; yes, she is on the mend and was discharged the same day (they removed a lump the size of an egg and let her out just a few hours later!! What's that all about?.

On the subject of apologies, I had to offer one to my driver today. I was mean to him. In my defence it was warranted to begin with, however, the way I spoke to him was not how I should have done, so when he came back later I said how sorry I was, also explaining why I had been so touchy. As you have probably gathered, I am big enough to admit when I am wrong - too bad some other's aren't!.

You see, what with the not-sleeping, today is also my best friends birthday. The 6th one without her here to celebrate with. I've missed her every year but this year is especially hard because I've been missing her so much in general. I'd have probably taken the afternoon off to go and spend time with her - number 1 would have been included also (which I should think she would have been grateful for, seeing how she is on her own with the little one today (after just having had an op)) so it would have been the 4 of us; or would it? I have no doubt numbers 2 and 3 would have been there too, along with whichever man was the current squeeze in her life (it definitely wouldn't have been the vile piece of shit she married, that much I can promise). We might have gone out for dinner, but most likely we'd have stayed home, ordered a take-away and just spent our time spoiling the little one. She loved being at home. I'd never have considered her for the road trip if she had still been alive; one night away from home and she would get home-sick. I did a couple of over-nighters with her and she was a pain-in-the-arse constantly checking her phone to make sure everything (and everyone) was "ok" at home. I love that she worried about them some much (in one way) not in another, because aside from our jaunt to Belgium (she really did let her hair down then) and the unplanned weekend in Manchester, the rest of the time she just couldn't relax. Maybe  now the younger 2 are older she would have been different (Belgium and Manchester happened before they came along). I'll - sadly - never get to find out. She hated having her photo taken so I don't even really have photo's to remember her by (I think over the hundreds of years we were friends, I have less than a dozen and only 1 with both of us in - which I have no idea where it is; she was always the one behind the camera). It's crazy isn't it? You don't think about these things until after the fact, then you end up thinking about how you should have taken more. Of course, it wasn't always as easy as it is now. These days I'd have loads of us both; back then though, phone's were still in the very early stages of taking a good shot and I didn't have a decent enough camera to warrant carrying one around with me; believe me, I wish I had. Hindsight truly is a wonderful thing! It's sad for the kids as well though, because it means they don't have any photo's of them with their Mum to remember her by. As time goes on and they get older, each memory they have of her will become further and further a distant one to them; a quick look at a photo of her with them could make all the difference to keeping her memory alive. They do have the ones at her wedding, but that's a day we'd all rather forget; plus, the wanker she married is in them all too. 

I've looked everywhere for that "one" photo; I know I used it as my facebook profile photo not long after she died and I would never have deleted it; yet, it's not there. I've been through all the kids photo's too. If only I could remember the password for her fb; I could log in, find it, copy it, and use it. I might scare the shit out of a few people if I did so though, having her suddenly appear in their friends lists again :) As I don't have one of the 2 of us, I've shared one of me taken on the same weekend the one I am looking for was taken (I know when it was, for it was at the 18th birthday party of my number one - my memory isn't good enough for me to remember when photo's are normally taken :) )


I did find some other "old" photo's when I was looking, so all is not lost :) 


Monday, 14 August 2017

Perseids

So. there I was, rushing my little old Mum along at 22:00 on Saturday night trying to get her ready so I could take her down the beach. All day she'd been mumbling on about the meteor shower and how she would be able to see it better if there wasn't too much light around her (she has bad eyes and there is a streetlight at the bottom of our garden the normally obscures everything). I'd looked skyward when I let the dog out just before 22:00, saw the sky was clear and decided it was time to be a 'good daughter'. I even forewent the bottle of wine I had chilling so I could take her (I really do have my moments where I am the daughter she deserves!!!)

Armed with my camera, water and chocolate for us both, off headed, finding ourselves a nice spot on the beach. Not too close to the other people, not too far away that we were completely isolated. We got set up, got comfy, I loaned Mum a hat and blanket (I'd told her to make sure she took extra's as I knew she'd get cold). 10 minutes later some twat and his girlfriend (who talked non-stop) decided to pull up in front of us and leave their car lights on - the whole 2 hours we were there. Only when we got back in my car did he turn them off (I did get even!!!) While he may have blanked out a lot of the sky I could see (being blinded will do that) he did help enhance a distant wide shot I tried :)


Literally 20 minutes after we arrived, so did the cloud, which proceeded to get thicker by the second. By midnight we'd decided it was time to give up, head off home, by which time the clouds were thicker than my duvet.

I told myself (and Mum) I wasn't giving up until 01:30, and I am so glad I stuck to that. Mum, gave up at 01:10, however when I yelled her about 01:35 she came running. I cannot describe how amazing the sight that beheld us (I will, or course, try) and I am sure that it would have been pretty amazing without cloud, yet with cloud I believe it just enhanced our viewing pleasure. I'd thought I'd seen flashes of light just after she'd left me, then logic said it was someone further over having a party and it was light from that. Then the next batch I saw were higher in the sky; flashes of light whizzing inn all directions from what appeared to be one central point - reds, pinks, greens, whites, and blues. All of this was going on just above my garden gate. 

By the time Mum had joined me (back in the garden) it had died down; she waited with me for 20 minutes before telling me I'd imagined it. At that point I saw them again; she couldn't see quite so well, deciding to try looking out of my bedroom window. Turns out she was seeing a lot more up there than I was. This time the colours were more pronounced, the lights flashing quicker; at least a hundred more than I'd seen earlier. I tried to take photo's but the settings on my camera weren't right for the area they were in (I'd set it up for the area they were meant to be in) so all I ended up with were photo's of the lights (solar ones, not meteoric ones) in the garden. 


There were some pretty weird noises happening around me (I'm guessing the plants were talking to each other!!!! :) ) so I figured I'd try looking out of my own window (Mum had given up again). Wow, what I saw literally blew my mind. The only way I can describe it is this way:-

You know the 'world-is-going-to-end' movies where the world ends via burning pieces of rock entering our atmosphere where they go on to destroy our buildings and earth? Well, they were like that, but not. They were long, they were in the various colours I'd seen earlier, and they all entered at the same time, chasing each other down. They came from my left, shot across the sky to my right; I grabbed my phone to do a slow-mo and the bloody battery died. At one point there were 7 in a row with multiple other's chasing them down. I genuinely still can't believe what I was witnessing. The video below is the only one I've been able to find with a meteor that looks similar. The one at 27 seconds is like the ones I saw, yet I saw dozens of them, all at the same time, all chasing each other down. This lasted a good 2 minutes, then stopped, before starting again at roughly 18 minute intervals; I finally gave up and went to be at 03:35 by which time the last ones I saw weren't quite as abundant.


It truly was the most phenomenal thing I have ever seen. 

Friday, 11 August 2017

Weed killer

This morning, upon arriving at work, I noticed something was a "little off" at the area where our forecourt meets the front wall of the building. I couldn't quite put my finger on what it was, so entered the shop and went about my business like usual - putting the kettle on always being the first order of the day. Next on the list is making up the early delivery orders ready for when the driver arrives. The remaining fresh flowers (which haven't gone into the early orders) are then put in water, before I unlock the door to customers, then put the planters out the front on the forecourt ready to get the working day underway (the front goes out and the doors are unlocked anywhere between 08:00 - 08:25 am as we open at 08:30). It was as I was placing a planter against the shop front it struck me what was "off". 

We have a brick forecourt (it's 15ft wide (the width of the building) and 10ft deep (this goes out to the main pathway)). Having the brickwork is much nicer than the plain tarmac which was there when we first opened, but this does mean little clumps of moss have begun to form between the bricks themselves. I'll be honest, I really like it. I think it looks a lot nicer than the sterile looking sand-filled spaces which were there when the bricks were laid. It also reminds me of the area outside the cottage my lovely Nanny and Grandad lived in; the house they resided in was built in 300/400 years ago (I think the patio was relaid a few times over the years since the time of building but it had been down a good few years before they moved in). 

Because there is also a gap between the bricks and the front of the building, occasionally we will get a few weeds grow up - they're actually really quite pretty and cover the starkness of the white panels which make up the bottom half of our windows. Several people have said to me over the years "You need to get some weed killer out here" to which I always reply "No, I don't; I like it and besides all flowers began their lives as weeds". Once they start to die off and go straggly I pull them up, but until then I am happy for them to stay right where they are. They've not doing anyone any harm so it really pissed me off the other week when a customer (I absolutely cannot stand the sight of) thought it was 'ok' to pull one out (it had just begun to flower). 

So, what was it that caught my attention this morning? Some f***er has only gone and sprayed weed killer all over them. How f***ing dare they? As yet, nobody is owning up to it, but when I found out who has done it they will certainly not ever think about doing to me (or anyone else) again. I am so angry there's not even a word invented yet to describe how I am feeling. Not because they've killed the weeds (although they had no right to do so). No, I'm angry because our aircon unit expels it's water out the front, thus forming a small puddle of water. This puddle is often a source of refreshment for dogs out on walks with their owners, or those who are hanging around waiting for their chips from the shop next door. I've seen the fox lap at it, several cats and quite often the sparrows will flap around in it (I'm making it sound like a huge puddle - it's not; it's only about a centimetre deep and spreads maybe 18 inches wide, 6 deep) however, it's enough for these creatures to get a bit of a fix. Now, I've had to put a note on the window telling people to "Not" let their animals drink from it. I only hope none have done so, before I realised what had happened. 

Having the audacity to destroy my weeds growing on my forecourt is one thing, but putting the lives of animals at risk is something completely different. 





Thursday, 10 August 2017

Admitting it's over

Nobody ever wants to give up on something/someone unless they absolutely have to, do they? I've always believed you never give up until there is literally no hope remaining - this works for absolutely anything; life, goals, challenges and love. "No, don't be silly", I'm not giving up on the fund raising part of things; that will never happen for I know there is always the chance it will succeed (I know it will). 

This time, I'm talking about love. Not love in the general sense for I still believe one day someone will come along, whisk me off my feet and show me what it's all about - I know, how weird is that from someone like me, after all I've experienced? The love I'm talking about is the one I've had since I was a mere 12 years old. I should never have even known what love felt like at that age, but I did, and I've felt it every day since. 

Don't get me wrong; I've not been sat around pining. I got on with my life, for the most part I've enjoyed much of it, but he was always there in the back of my mind. I think the biggest problem (for me) is that it never really ended - to be honest though, it never really began either. One night he just stood me up and was never seen again until 8 years later when he was standing next to me at the bar at a wedding. At that point I was living with (and engaged to) someone else, however the second I laid eyes on him all those feelings came flooding back. We chatted, we laughed, we even had a dance together, then at the end of the night he was gone again. One thing he did say which struck me as odd though was "how come you're allowed to be with him?" in regards to my fiance (who was at the wedding with me). I remember laughing as I told him I could be with "anyone I wanted". The conversation never went any further. As the years have passed I've told myself many times I must have heard him wrong; I think maybe he uttered something similar but the noise from the reception and my own love for him, interpretted it as him saying that. Our minds can play nasty tricks on us.

It was another 3 years before I saw him next; he came into the shop I was working in. I can't tell you how I behaved, because it was utterly pathetic. I was a 27 year old woman behaving like the silly little 12 year old I had been on our first meeting. I don't know what it is about the man but he just sends me totally skitty. The job I was doing was a temporary thing; I was there helping out for just 2 weeks. 3 times during those 2 weeks he came in and one day he walked by the shop 3 or 4 times looking in (this time with a friend). I got the distinct impression it was for my benefit, however, I also think he was doing it just for something to do. My feelings for him have never been in doubt so I think him and the friend he was with were basically just being "twats", doing it for their own enjoyment because I did go bright red and get flustered every time I saw him. 

Fast forward another year. My best friend lived in a first floor flat. At the time another mutual friend of ours was living there, along with her boyfriend and occasionally I stayed to - we used to laugh that we were all going to end up in a commune together somewhere. One day I was working down the road, so nipped up to hers for lunch (I'd also picked up something for dinner for us all that night and wanted to get it in the fridge). Whenever I was there alone I'd sit looking out of the window watching the world go by. It was one of those neighbourhoods where there was always something going on. This person was secretly seeing that person, while their neighbour was knocking off someone else's husband wife; Louis and I became the talk of the gossips for a while when we first got together (they could have based a whole TV series around the comings and goings of that estate). Can you imagine my surprise when as I am sat there I watch him (the love of my life) get out of the removal van which had pulled up, where he grabbed a box, marched across the green between the road and the flats and took the box into the flat directly below my best friends. He was directly below me as I ate my lunch (as least I was meant to be eating my lunch - once I'd seen him I couldn't eat a thing). I watched him the whole time I was at lunch trying to work out if it was him moving in, if he was with a woman and they were moving in (I think I would have cried if I'd seen him with a woman) or if he was helping a friend (turns out it was his workmates Mum and he'd been dragged in to help out). When I left to go back to work, I exited the building just as he was entering it. He looked as surprised to see me as I had been him. We did the whole "hey, how are you?" bit before he said "this is heavy; I'd best get it inside" He did ask if I would be about later, to which I of course replied "yes, absolutely". As I neared my car my best friends boyfriend appeared; we chewed the fat (like you do) and I could see the man of my dreams staring at us. He began to walk back towards us as my friends BF (who by this time had begun to walk away) shouted back to me "am I cooking tonight?" I replied "no I am, I popped the bits in the fridge so don't get eating them before I get home" (we all called the place 'home'). It was only after I got back to work I realised that the love-of-my-life would have been able to hear the whole conversation and had probably put 2 and 2 together to get 4.4. It could only have been interpreted (by someone who didn't know) that me and the BF were a couple. That was in 1997, some 20 years ago; I've never seen him since.

I've no idea if there was ever a chance he may have felt just the tiniest bit for me, of what I felt for him (I very much doubt it) but if he had I know any small chance I may have had of being with him ended that lunchtime.

That still never stopped me thinking about him, dreaming about him (a lot!!) or wondering the whole "what if?". Realistically I've known since that night in 1988 when he stood me up there was never going to be anything but somewhere in the back of my mind there was always that one tiny droplet of "hope". 

Several years ago he did pop up on my facebook; you when you get the whole "someone you might know" thing show up. There was his face. My heart stopped. I clicked on his profile (it was private) and was going to poke him (back when it was still acceptable to do such things). His fb wasn't set up to receive pokes; instead I decided to send him a message. I just put something random (I still have the message so know exactly what I put but I'm not sharing that with you!!!). He came back with a reply, very short and mumbled something about being in Africa. When I asked whether for work or pleasure he never responded, so that was the end of that. I found out since from a mutual friend he lives in Africa these days with his wife (I'd not want to live there but I don't mind admitting I am a wee bit jealous of his wife, and I'm not a jealous person by nature).  I have messaged him once since then, back in June of this year when he turned 50. I sent him a Happy Birthday. He never replied. That hurt but hey ho; I know my place and have been thinking since then I need to finally erase him from my mind (which is really not an easy thing to do - even more so when last week a friend of mine (who is friends with him only because of me) had commented on a fb status he'd put - it was something about how you met people - I'm not really sure what it was about as such, for I didn't pay that much attention; I only knew about it as she tagged me as the reason she knows him and he'd replied to her "the good old days". Even if I'd been able to I wouldn't have responded to it - he's married and I don't go down that route - not even for him.  I couldn't have even if I wanted to though as him and I are not friends on FB - I'm going to assume he's not blocked me or I wouldn't have seen what she had said to him but I'm not one of those people who will go stalking someone. I've looked at his profile just the once when I sent him the first message those few years back, and I only went on it then because it was the only way I could get the link to message him. 

I'd already decided I needed to get rid from my mind, then today another friend messaged to tell me he'd been in the country last month. He was staying less than 10 miles away from me. Now, I know he was here to visit his family (he has a daughter and grandson - that I know of; there could be more) but he was traveling alone, so I figure if he really felt anything for me, he might have dropped me a line to let me know he was about and we could maybe have caught up over coffee. 

It's a really weird feeling, because, as I've said, I know there was never going to be a me and him, yet deep in the back of my mind, I always hoped - I believe you have to hold on to hope, or what is the point? Yet, here I am now, on this day, knowing that once and for all I have to finally let go. 35 years I've held a torch for him, I literally have no idea how I even go about letting go (shit, now that bloody awful frozen song is in my head!!!!!). I just know that I'm not doing myself any favours by continuing to hope, not that I would turn down a perfectly acceptable man if he was to ask me out. I'm not that much of a sad muppet! 

I guess the final remnants of my childhood (the time when I actually, genuinely believed "anything is possible" and the only time I've really liked myself) are now properly over. Time to 'turn-the-page' and begin a new chapter, however much I may want to keep reading the same page.






Monday, 7 August 2017

Memoirs

They say "everyone has a book in them" - no idea who the "they" are (I'm sure many people have more than one - and some have probably literally got one "in them"!!!. I have 2. One I came with the concept for whilst still at school. I have a beginning, an end, a middle, yet not a single clue on how to merge them all together. I even took a writers course a few years back, which was great, yet only served to prove to me that it's ok having these ideas but if you can't put them into a proper context and order, then you're pretty much doomed. I know we are our own worst critics when it comes to most things (I am definitely guilty of such) and that we are never going to be entirely happy with what we've done (regardless of whether it's writing a book, carving a sculpture or designing a house) but when you know, you know, and I know that it doesn't matter how hard I try, my books will remain just a idea within me. 

A few years back I did have a bash at writing the one I came up with at school; I got to over 60000 words, and the concept is still really good; sadly the writing is not so. The thoughts and ideas are whizzing around in my head, yet I am unable to transfer them to paper, and so they will remain forever, partly completed.

That remains the same for my 2nd one - my memoir. 

I've not always been the middle-aged bore you find before you today. I've lived a little, I've seen some things, I've experienced a lot more. Again though, I've no idea how to put everything into the words needed to make it interesting to someone else, and so it will remain something that only I will ever get to read (as with the work of fiction I have started it). I'm sure there are some of you out there who could take my couple of paragraphs full of drivel and turn them into something amazingly captivating; alas, that is not something I am capable of. One thing I have always been aware of is my own limitations; it doesn't matter how much I tell myself "I can do anything" there are some things which I cannot do. Actually, that's a lie; I am perfectly capable of doing them, I'm just not good at excelling in them, and when it comes to books I believe you should always be able to give nothing short of excellent. If I'm handing over money to an author I want them to damn well make sure I'm getting my money's worth. That's got me into trouble before - I wrote a review on a book once which was (deservedly) less than glowing; this ended up with me getting all manner of abuse. I thought I'd shared it with you all before but have just been back through all my old posts (good lord, I do waffle some crap, don't I?) and cannot find it. I had the author, his family, his friends and random people who had read his book, bombard me with shit and abuse because I dared to say I didn't like it (I listed in detail why I didn't like it and was never once rude). I don't want someone to pay for something I've written for them to then leave me a bad review because they think it shit. I'd rather keep my rubbish to myself (unless of course it's a blog entry, then I'm happy to share 'rubbish' as you will see if you go back through my archives 😂😂😂).

However, because I kind of heard from someone the other day (a right blast-from-the-past) I thought I'd share an excerpt of the memoir entry where he is first mentioned. Feel free to criticise it (in a nice, constructive way though - just being mean for the sake of it is not nice!!).

***""Saturday, April 24th 1982 - I was just 9 days passed my 12th birthday, staying with an Aunt and Uncle for the weekend. I’m not sure if there was a particular reason I was staying there - I don’t remember Mum and Dad leaving me so they could go out for the night, for my 4 year old brother would have also been with me if that was the case. I can only assume I’d asked to stay there - I did love my Uncle (not so much his wife) and their son who was 3 years older than me; their daughter 5 years older. It was good to hang out with older cousins (not quite sure they always thought so!!). Their son and I had a really close bond for many years; I thought the world of him. He’d been ill as a child, the illness leaving him a little slow when it came to learning, causing his mother to treat him in not-quite-the-same-way I think she would have treated him had he been an academic genius. She always saw herself as someone being way above her station so to have a son that wasn’t a genius reflected badly on her (in her mind, at least).

I loved that he never treated me like the ‘annoying little cousin’, which I am sure at times I was. Some of the long walks just the 2 of us took (with their dog) around the town they lived in ,were some of the most pleasant times of my teenage years. Come wind, rain, or shine, if I was staying with them, him and I, a couple of times each day, would have to walk the dog.

Anyway, I digress; back to that particular Saturday night.

I remember it was raining, yet not; that real fine drizzle stuff which makes it appear like there is a fog hanging around more than it does actual rain. We’d not long finished dinner; my aunt was washing up, my cousin (male) had disappeared upstairs, his sister was in the shower getting ready to go out for the night (she was turning 17 the next day so was off clubbing that night with her friends - back in those days if you looked old enough, and dressed the part, the bouncers would let you in). I was about to sit down in the “living area” when my Uncle appeared at the doorway between the hall and the area I was in - their house had a “Best room” at the very front of the house that only the ‘adults’ were allowed in. The back of the house had a dining/living room with a kitchen behind; these rooms weren’t completely separate for there was a wall halfway along the width of the rooms, between the 2. The ‘living room’ housed a 6 seat dining table, a 2 seater sofa, an armchair and a tv in the corner; this is the room us ‘kids’ were allowed to sit.

Beckoning me to him (I got the impression he was trying to keep himself hidden from my Aunt) I made my way to him, quietly, whence he passed me his keys saying “there are flowers, chocolates and some wine in the boot of my car; run out and grab them for me, then pop them on the table in the best room”. Smiling, I nodded to let him know I understood what he was asking,  took the keys and crept quietly to the front door. Opening it gave me chills, for the air was thick with the drizzle, a crazy orange glow appearing to hang in the sky every 20 feet (or so) from the street lights. Anything, or anyone, could have been waiting down the end of the path, around the corner, or even just behind the door - I’d watched way-too-many horror movies! In fact I likened it to the scene in the Exorcist when the vicar walks down the road (you all know that scene?). The only difference being his movie set appeared black and white at that point; mine was definitely glowing orange. I considered grabbing my coat from the banister behind me, so much in that I turned around, moved my cousins coat from the top of mine, then thought about how silly it was when their front garden was little more than a forecourt area (roughly 10 feet from door to gate) and my uncles car was parked on the road directly outside the house, meaning I only had the sidewalk to cross after the garden.

As you exited out of the front door you had a path which ran directly to the end; this was wide enough for one person to comfortably walk down, 2 could just about squeeze by each other - at a push; to the right of the path was a narrow strip of soil (with plants) and a 4ft high brick wall, to the left, a flower bed with grass the other side of that. I could make it to the end, out to the car and back again without getting too wet - of this I was sure.

Deep in my own little world I got 3 steps down the path when the outline of 4 people appeared, heading directly for me, 2 of whom were already on the path. I looked up to see who it might be and found myself staring into the eyes of a boy I’d never seen before. I’m sure there were sparks (literally) flying between the 2 of us, for the boy who had been standing behind him jumped back, the 2 girls with them, who had still been on the street at that point, stepped away from the entrance gate. In that one moment, that split second of time, I knew exactly what people meant when they said for them it was “love at first sight”. I was 12 years old, I should not have been feeling what I was feeling, I shouldn’t have even known what it was I was feeling, yet I knew. This was the man (boy) I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. How crazy is that?

Anyway, I finally had to break off eye contact; I’d been set a task by my Uncle, I couldn’t fail. That is how I found my whole body shudder and tingle, for in order to get to the car where the flowers, chocolates and wine were waiting, I had to make my way by this boy who had gotten me all flustered; the only way to do that was for us to squeeze by each other. One misplaced step and he would be knee deep in soil from the flower beds and I would find myself plunging over the wall into the next door neighbours forecourt. He took charge of the situation, placed his hands on my shoulders, pressing firmly, guiding me by him; I could not take my eyes off him. Had my life ended in that instant I would have honestly been able to say, when I arrived in the next world “I died happy”. Nothing, and nobody, has ever made me feel the way I felt in that moment. I loved Louis deeply, would have married him, yet even he never came close to making feel that way. Every single fibre, muscle, joint and nerve ending in my body tingled. My breath was quite literally “taken away”. He was, still is, the only man who has ever made me feel such a way. Even now, just the thought of him can make me tingle :)

Finally his hands let go of my shoulders and I (flustered) made my way to the car, not daring to look at the other boy and females who were with him. I assumed (correctly) that one of the girls was his girlfriend; even at such a young age I knew it was wrong to want another woman’s man. I needn’t have been so considerate, for by the time I’d retrieved the items I’d been sent for, she’d twigged that I’d got a crush on “her man” and took great delight in shouting it to him, where he was now standing at the front door waiting for my cousin. Those 13 steps (oh yes, I counted them) from the car to the house, were possibly the longest steps I have ever taken (will ever take) in my life. The girls made comments about me having a crush, the other boy (I never did find out who he was) asked if the flowers were for him (something I’ve heard many times since when I’ve been out delivering for my job - let me tell you now people, it’s boring and so bloody unoriginal; it’s also not funny. You are not the first person to say it). The boy who’d made me blush? Well, as I got up close to him, he blocked my entrance to the doorway, then said out loud “ahh, you shouldn’t have; I’m not up for a night in with you tonight, so you’ve wasted your money”. I went from loving him to hating him in an instant, although by the time he’d finally moved to let me inside, I’d gone straight back to ‘being in love’.

Once back inside, I sat in the living area by myself for the rest of the night (my aunt and uncle holed themselves up in the 'best room') where I had way-too-much-time to think about my encounter with the ‘arsehole’ I’d just fallen in love with - yes, he was an arsehole. His behaviour to me in front of his friends when he stopped me entering the house was the kind of thing only an arsehole would do.

My poor male cousin when he came home. I grilled him non-stop, for hours. I was sleeping in his room that night too (he made me sleep on the floor with just a blanket) and I didn’t stop; I asked him question after question after question. In the end he threw his pillow at me, telling me to “shut the fuck up”. I really was the annoying little cousin that night!. ""***

There you go, I write the same kind of crap in my private journals, as I write for all of you 😂😂😂. For the record, yes, I do still have the exact same feelings for the boy (man) now, as I did back then. If only he'd felt the same!

I do still hold on to hope though, that one day, someone else will come along and make me realise that the boy (man) is nothing in comparison!






Saturday, 5 August 2017

Results

5 days after they should have arrived, my breast cancer screening results are back.... having had the words of the radiographer spinning round, and around, and around my head since she uttered them, I don't mind telling you that I am sooooo pleased, for they have come back as "normal" - first time I think I've ever been called 'normal' :) 

I think (deep down) I knew they weren't going to come back with anything sinister, yet in the deepest, darkest depths of my tiny mind there was still that fear; also having found the lump I found earlier that also played on my mind too - no idea what that was (I can still feel it) but I guess it's not anything now for me to be worrying about, and the more things I have not to worry about, the happier my days will be. 


Someone I know is just about to start her chemotherapy for breast cancer, so today while I am happy for me, I can't stop thinking about her. She recently had a partial mastectomy a while back (bless her, she's also had some nasty infections as well from the surgery) and while her prognosis and outcome are good (she's going to be fine once she's completed her chemo and radiotherapy after that) there will be some women (and men) this week who aren't going to be fine. There will be some women who would never in a million years even considered the prospect they may have it, who will have gone to their mammograms without a care in the world; women who won't have given a second-thought to their results. These women will have opened their letters so nonchalantly when they received them, expecting to the see the same words I did, yet instead, they will see words which will strike fear into their very souls. Even though I had prepared myself to read those words, they would have still hit me like a 40 ton truck (yes, I really do know what that feels like too, as I have been hit by one). I can't even begin to imagine how it will feel to see it's not good news upon opening the letter when it's not something that you would have even considered.

I do still have bruises from when I had my mammogram, some of them still hurt, yet I will not let that put me off when I get the letter in 3 years time telling me I am due another one. I am all for routine screening of anything (even though some of them are not a nice experience; I particularly do not like having a smear - I don't think I've come across any woman yet who does!). However, those 5 minutes of awkwardness, pain, or embarrassment could end up saving your life and as we get so precious little time on this planet to begin with, I am all for anything which might extend my time here - I hope anyone reading this who isn't sure whether to go for any screening tests you may called for does go; your life might just depend on it.