Archive for January, 2010

>Age is just a number…

>We’ve all been to my gran’s 85th birthday party today. Granny Grace is a feisty, funny woman – Scottish and sarky. She’s had a tough couple of years healthwise and is getting increasingly thin and frail, but her tough Scottish spirit shines through it all. She spent her early childhood in Malta, grew up in Greenock in Scotland, worked in a munitions factory during the war and moved to Yorkshire in the 1940s. I love her stories of the war years – the tough Glaswegian women she worked with, her dad scraping her illicit nail varnish off with a penknife and her shameless flirting with the GIs…

Gran is the kind of gran that everyone should have. She taught me and my sister to gamble using pennies and cards – Newmarket and Acey Rummy being the best. We also used to play with a strange spinning brass bottle on a Heineken tray. The thrum of the bottle as it spun and the excitement as it gradually wound down is still so vivid even though it’s probably 20 years since we last played. We’d throw our money in and then depending on how the bottle landed, won or lost our money. Gran is a terrible woman for cheating and we always had to watch her like hawks in case she knocked the tray or pinched an extra coin or two.

I was a real bookworm as a little girl and Gran was always the one who bought my comics. Now she buys the comics for O – no more Buntys, but Spiderman and Mega Metropolis Gogos. He loves her to bits, and they have a ball together, especially when she plays shadow boxing with him and teaches him all sorts of odd Scottish words, bahookie (bottom) and stank (drain) being his favourites. O and Gran play like she’s a little girl and the dynamic between them is magical to watch. They’ve got a special game that only the two of them can play and as far as I can make out, it’s O being really unkind to two dollies that belong to Gran and making her pretend cry. The dollies go to jail, get sat upon, squashed under cushions and flung though the air like missiles. It seems utterly bizarre and without any sense to it, but the two of them laugh like stanks when they’re playing it and the 80 years between them just melt away.

Happy birthday, Gran. Me and O love you loads. xx


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>The start of something special?

>I’ve been toying with the idea of starting a blog for ages, but always seemed to find a myriad of reasons to put it off. I suppose the main reason is fear – fear of exposure, ridicule, flaming (that always seems terrifying) or really being too up my own arse and inflicting hideous rambling upon any poor unfortunates that may accidentally stumble upon said blog.

Anyway, I think I’ve put it off for too long. I have been following my good friend, Laura, on AWNTYM since the beginning and also dipping in and out of other blogs along the way and have felt inspired and intimidated by turn. It’s time to take the plunge and see how it feels to put myself out there. *dips toe*

I’ve always loved writing but never managed to keep a diary for more than a month at a time – it always felt too artificial and I never felt I was being honest with my feelings. I hope I can be more honest here, otherwise there seems little point to it. I don’t think I would have started this if it weren’t for my experiences over the past two years or so, which have fundamentally changed me.

I am a happily-cohabiting mother of one lovely, happy, funny 5 year old boy and he is the light of my life. This blog is for him as much as it is for me – it is hopefully going to tell him, in years to come, what his mummy was like when he was small, how much joy he has brought into my life and what fun we have together. I know this sounds schmaltzy and alarmingly navel-gazy, but there is another reason and this is hard to type.

I was diagnosed with Grade 3 breast cancer in November 2oo7 at the ripe young age of 33 and had to go through the whole nasty cancer ‘journey’ of surgery, chemo, baldy head, radiotherapy, etc, etc, etc. There is much behind this neat encapsulation of the ‘journey’ (I hate that word!) but I am currently well, over a year out of treatment and free of cancer as far as I know. I’m getting back to normal, although it definitely is a new kind of normal and I’m adjusting as I go.

My little boy was three when I was diagnosed and my overwhelming fear throughout the whole thing has been the fact that one day I’ll not be there because of this awful disease and that when he needs me most, I’ll be gone. I am not a doom-monger, but a brush with mortality when you have a small child is utterly terrifying and can send even the most well-adjusted sorts into the darkest realms of imagination and all the way back again.

So this blog is for O. I am going to write for him and for me and hopefully in years to come, we’ll be reading this together and cringing and laughing and crying in turn at what’s been written. And if I’m not there – I hope that what I have written gives him a picture of who I am right now, how much I love him and something more than photographs and memories to remind him of our happy times together.

I now feel utterly melodramatic, have made myself cry and can’t believe how much this blog mentions the word FEAR. I promise (myself mainly – and O too) that this blog will not be a litany of misery and moaning. I think I had to get this off my chest – let’s see where this takes me. I have no idea how it is all going to pan out!

I do have to go and do some productive household tasks before I pick O up from school. We’re off to his friend’s house for tea tonight which will be a nice surprise for him – ah, the pleasure of being five and a half!

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