I Was Born


This is a short autobiographical account of when I was born, and for obvious reasons, it is built on things I have been told over the years and some details have been slightly fictionalised for narrative and entertainment purposes. It is as a result of a writing exercise I did earlier this week for the OU course I’m doing and the object of it was to write something that was true but had elements of fiction in a way that the reader wouldn’t notice the difference. Can you see where the truth has been embellished? Drop me a line and let me know.

I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it. 

I was born in the middle of the hottest summer that had been so far recorded, before the “even hotter” summer that came 5 years later. But until then, the heat experienced that July was the worst that anyone could remember. I was so reluctant to join that heat that I stayed in there well into three weeks past my due date and because of that I missed the day my Dad nearly died.

My mum was in agony with practice contractions that morning and in the sweltering heat of the fierce summer she lay on her bed trying to find some coolness from somewhere. Clothes had long ceased tried to fit round her – and me – and she was reduced to wearing some of Dad’s pyjamas and a dressing gown that didn’t reach even to the sides of the middle, let alone covering much else. And then came the unmistakably “police” knock on the door, bearing the news that my Dad had had a motorbike accident and was in intensive care with head injuries.

Now this was 1971. Communications and transport were not what they were back then and Mum struggled to get to the hospital, all the while praying that I would not come that day and that Dad was still alive when she got there, yet at the same time wishing I had already been born so she could get there quicker and with more dignity.

By the time she had got there, worried sick and melting, my Dad had regained consciousness and decided that he wasn’t going to stay in the hospital and was making his way back home again. Like I said, this was 1971 and not only was communication and transport not like they are now, but hospital administration and diagnostics were a long way off too. What my Dad was displaying then would be put down to brain injury now and he would probably have been in an induced coma to reduce brain swelling and so on, but this being 1971, nobody noticed that he had detached himself from his blood pressure cuff and had hopped off the bed to make his way home.

You can imagine the double panic at each end of their respective journeys can’t you? Mum arriving at the hospital terrified, thinking her about-to-be-a-father-for-the-first-time husband was dead or dying, and my Dad arriving at home to find his very-pregnant-and-got-no-clothes-that-fit wife was missing.

Later that day, when Mum had arrived home and tore a strip off him for making her so scared she was going to be a widow and bringing up a baby on her own, and for being hit by a car on his bike in the first place, let alone WHO IN THEIR RIGHT MIND DISCHARGES THEMSELVES FROM INTENSIVE CARE?!!, I began to make my own presence felt and the practice contractions had become real ones.

What nobody realised that Dad wasn’t actually in his right mind and that there was a significant brain injury going on, and a few days later when Mum was back at home with me, they took me out for a walk in my pram. It was one of those coach-built works of art from Debenhams, with big wheels and a chassis to rival Rolls-Royce and my Mum was pushing it and chatting to my Dad by her side. She was nattering away to him and stopping every now and again for neighbours to ask her “when’s it due?”, which upset her mightily because now there was not much of a baby bump she could get dressed properly again, and there was a great big clue in that she was PUSHING A PRAM, when she noticed he’d stopped answering her. Glancing to her side she saw he wasn’t there and then looking back saw him having what could only be described as a fit on the pavement. She let go of the pram with me in it, and we trundled into the road as she ran back to give him assistance.

He was later diagnosed as having epilepsy which had been caused by the head injury he received in the crash, but that didn’t excuse Mum forgetting me later that week when she left me at the Post Office. Dad was so much on her mind that she had when collected her family allowance for the first time – big day! – she hurried back to make sure he was ok, and realise when she got back that not only had she forgotten that I was still lay in my pram outside the Post Office a mile and a half away, but that she’d even had me in the first place. Charming!

Thus, the circumstances of my birth were certainly life-changing for the family in more ways than is usually expected when babies are born. My Dad had one more major fit after all that, which he recognised as soon as it started and thankfully put himself in a place of safety. He had been on the house roof at the time and had he not recognised the smell of burning from the time he had been walking with Mum and me in the pram that day, he wouldn’t have known to get down off the roof quickly, and who knows what would have happened? That was the last time though and he was cleared to go back to work and to subsequently drive about a year after it.

As for me, I welcomed my two brothers over the next 7 years and I can honestly say that their entry into this world was a lot less eventful than mine, even though one of them was born by emergency section because he was upside down and nobody had noticed. Drama must be in our genes.

 

Wednesday Hodgepodge – 25th February


1. Did you watch The Oscars? How many of the Best Picture nominees have you seen? (American Sniper, Birdman, Boyhood, Selma, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Imitation Game, The Theory of Everything, and Whiplash)

Do you think actors should use their acceptance speeches as an opportunity to promote their political and/or social agenda? Does that sort of speech make you more or less inclined to change the channel?

I haven’t watched any of those movies and to be honest, the only one that strikes any chord of interest for me is “The Grand Budapest Hotel”. The others don’t look like anything I would enjoy.

I don’t think actors should use their acceptance speeches for promotion of any agenda. They are given the opportunity to thank all those who have helped them get where they are and to maybe dedicate the honours to the memory of someone, but politics and social agendas should not be spouted from the podium in my opinion. If they want to do that, then do it like other people do it and put their effort into it and get out there and DO something.

Incidentally, “Whiplash” is going to be one of those movies that would probably touch me personally which is why I wouldn’t go and see it. It is about the abuse of students at a music conservatoire by a particular teacher and it is too close to home for it to be “entertainment” for me. I have witnessed similar practices throughout my musical life and it’s not something I wish to revisit.

2. Speaking of the movies…are you comfortable going to a movie alone? How about dinner in a restaurant (not fast food, but an actual restaurant)? The second half of this question was posed by Carrie who blogs over at It’s Not Easy Being Queen.Thanks Carrie!

I would be comfortable going to a movie alone, but as I am not really a big movie fan it would have to be a spectacular movie (and one that hasn’t been hyped up) for me to go and see it either alone or with someone else. Dinner in a restaurant…hmm…yes I would feel uncomfortable doing that.

3. What’s the last home repair or home improvement project you had to pay someone to complete? In hindsight was this a project you could have done yourself?

We tend to do most DIY projects round the house but the last time we paid someone was when we had the landing and stairs carpet fitted before Christmas. Even with hindsight I admit that it’s not something that we could have done ourselves.

4. Have you ever had Indian food? Like it or no? If you’re a fan, what’s your favourite dish? Have you ever prepared this yourself at home? Is there an Indian restaurant in your current hometown?

Love it!! I could swing a golf club and probably hit upwards of a dozen Indian places near my house and near my where my son will be going to college in September in an area of Manchester there is what is affectionately called “The Curry Mile”. It’s a stretch of road where literally every single building along it is an Indian restaurant or take away and the smell is divine. I have prepared my own too, which is a lovely thing to do, although I am not good at things like the side dishes and snacks. My favourite is Lamb Rogan Josh, or Lamb/Chicken Bhuna. Coincidentally I had a craving for Biryani for tea tonight. This is a craving that has yet to be satisfied, so watch this space!

5. A song that reminds you of your parents?

Anything by Frankie Valli and I have no idea why!

6. The 26th of February is National Tell a Fairy Tale Day. What’s your favorite, or one of your favorite, fairy tales? Do you have any childhood memories associated with aparticular fairy tale?

I LOVE fairytales and I have got many happy memories of having them read to me or reading them myself when I was a child. My Dad used to read to me most nights and we worked our way through anthology after anthology of fairy-tales and other children’s stories before we moved onto the meatier stuff like Charlotte’s Web and The Peppermint Pig. My favourite ones generally were the ones where my Dad did the voices (pretty much most of them!) and my favourite was The Tinderbox, which is a story about a soldier who tries to reach the princess and has to go past a series of guard dogs. Each successive dog had eyes that got bigger and bigger – the first had eyes the size of tea cups, the next had eyes as big as saucers and so on until the final one that had eyes as big as dinner plates – and that’s all I can remember about it without looking it up, but I remember asking my Dad to read that one several times over.

7. What’s a problem you solved yesterday?

I’m not sure I solved a problem exactly yesterday, but I did tackle one and that’s getting my son to do some revision for his upcoming exams. I have been gently reminding him since this time last year about the need for revision, and recently I’ve stepped it up from “mild nagging” to “outright riding his back” about it. I ended up sitting down next to him and doing some Physics and PE revision with him to make sure he did something last night. Go on, ask me anything about the pyramid of participation in sport then!

8. Random thought for the day:

How can 16 year old boys sit for hours playing stupid car chase games but struggle to concentrate longer than 10 seconds on school work?

 

 

 

When Blogland Meets Real Life


I love days like today! I received a beautiful card from my friend Mary who lives on the other side of the world to me in New York. I call her my friend because over the past few years we have stuck up quite a friendship here in blogland and we have exchanged cards and letters in “real” life too.

I was thrilled when I recognised Mary’s handwriting on the envelope as it nestled in mail cage behind my front door this morning and as I read her words I was already planning my reply. I will be sending her my reply in the next day or so and I am excited by putting my answer together for her.

Isn’t if funny how the simple things like a handwritten letter can make such a difference in today’s world? Where communication is instant and friendships (whether virtual or “real”) can be fleeting, and the temptation to walk away from difficulties threatens to overwhelm us.

Thank you Mary for reminding me that this online life we lead does reach out to touch other people, and every connection we make in our lives is valuable and worthwhile.

I wonder how my other bloggy friends and colleagues feel about when online meets real-life? I’d be interested to hear how you view your online connections and friendships.

 

PamCam – Today’s Office


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The things we do for our kids eh? This is the PamCam of the day, in my “office” while I’m waiting for my son at the Music Centre. I submitted my poetry assignment yesterday but there’s not much resting for me at the minute and it’s onwards ever onwards when it comes to studying.

The text book you can see shows the next section in my work – Life Writing. I’m not exactly sure what that’s all about yet but no doubt it will all become clearer very soon.

And don’t let the dashboard display fool you. It may say it’s 6 degrees out there but by cracky, I think it is missing its minus sign!

Brrr I think I should have brought a blanket tonight. He shouldn’t be too much longer then I’m heading home to do some more work at my proper desk. Where it’s warm and I can have a nice brew.

Happy Mondays!!

Words, Words And Yet More Words


I begin with an apology my friends. I had a little hiccup in my blogging output at the start of this week when things simply got too much and I didn’t have the energy to string together two words to form a sentence for you, so I had a little rest and began again yesterday.

The reason for my loss of energy is largely because I have fallen behind with my studies and I have two deadlines looming. I have also got some other work to do collating comments on a survey which is taking large chunks of time, so time and energy for my blog was severely limited.

busy-bee-clipart-dcryMLqc9I also had a very busy couple of weeks with church which has been BRILLIANT. In the last two weeks I have preached and led the service at both churches (St Peter’s have a service at 9.30am and my home church of St Paul’s have ours at 11am) and preparing for them has been great fun, but taxing too. I hope you can understand why my blog had to take a back seat!

And it has all been WORDS. Words for my preaching, words for the liturgy last week, words for prayers, words for poetry, words in my music notes, words for the survey work I’ve been doing, words on emails and application forms…..Usually I am a wordaholic but earlier this week I had hit my limit.

However, it’s not over yet and there’s more to come. My biggest worry at the minute is that I have a deadline coming up on Monday where I have to hand in my assignment for my creative writing course. It’s poetry this time, and I can honestly say that I don’t think I’m cut out to be a poet. At all. I have been struggling with so many aspects of it – line length, rhyme, rhythm, theme etc – and I have almost given up on the whole thing so many times it’s getting to be laughable now.

The task is to produce 40 lines of poetry in any form and to write a reflective commentary on the process and pitfalls I faced whilst producing it.  So far, the commentary is going to be the easy bit! “I can’t find my voice, I have drafted and redrafted dozens of couplets and stanzas trying to cobble something together, I have had feedback from the student forum (helpful) and from my husband (not so helpful – “it doesn’t even rhyme!”) and have realised that my creative talents lie in other directions” etc.

Until this evening.

We had a meeting at St Peter’s church tonight, and I took the chance to have a look round the building afterwards. It isn’t an unknown building to me, but I was desperately looking for inspiration from somewhere, and it being a 150 year old building I thought I might be able to pick up something.

And I’m glad to say I did! I can’t publish it here yet because of anti-plagiarism software the tutors use to check submitted work. I can fail the assignment if they see that it is online already, even though it is entirely my own work. How you can plagiarise yourself I don’t know, but them’s the rules I’m afraid.

I do feel better tonight about my workload now. Apart from cracking the back of the poetry assignment, I have managed to catch up quite a lot of my music coursework too in the last few days and I have even managed to make a start on the blanket I have taken an order for a couple of weeks ago. If only I didn’t distract myself so many times through the day I’m sure I would have been able to do even more, but hey ho, I’m only human and I can only do what I can do!

So there you have it. All these things going on in the past couple of weeks reached a bottleneck over the weekend and things are a little better now. Just in time for the next weekend!