Archive for March, 2010


This week’s Gallery theme at Tara’s from Sticky Fingers is ‘outside my front door’.

This tree is on a path just up the road from our village – on the walk from the now infamous viaduct. I live in West Yorkshire, a stunning, green, occasionally fantastically bleak part of the world. I never truly realised how beautiful it it was until I went away to university down in the West Midlands at 18. On my first weekend back to the People’s Republic of Yorkshire, I nearly wept when I saw the glorious hills rearing up to meet me!

I love this photograph. Little O is enjoying the sense of freedom and excitement that climbing his first tree has brought. This was taken in August 2008 – I’d finished my radiotherapy two weeks previously and this was a rare sunny day that month. M and I packed a picnic and took O’s bike with us and we just had a perfect family day with laughter, linked arms and snuggles and cuddles on the picnic blanket. I’d been out and about occasionally that summer, but this was the first time I’d felt anywhere near my old happy self. I love the fact that I can look back at such a difficult time for all of us and think of good things – that’s the beauty of ‘outside my front door’.

The joy of being able to walk out of the house and wander freely amongst these beautiful scenes is what I love about where I live. Yes, my house is too small and I would give my right arm for more space, but I wouldn’t change our home if it meant leaving all this behind. Our lives are enriched by being here and I know that O will always be able to look back, remember days like this and smile.


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>Out of necessity this is a short post. I apologise if some of it makes little sense and the grammar/spelling is poor. I am injured, damaged, not quite myself…

My dear sister has bought us both a pair of roller boots in a vain attempt to make up for virtually stealing my old pair off me when we were just young lasses. She promised to come roller-booting with me and O on the local viaduct, where people bike, walk, ride horses and roller-boot like crazy motherfuckers so that I would not look like a fool on my own. On Sunday it was a lovely sunny day – the kind of day where you think, “Let’s get the roller boots on and watch the years roll back!”. Sadly my beloved sister backed out, leaving me, O and my other half, M, to go it alone.

As you can see from the picture on the right, I did love the rollerbooting. M declared that he had not seen me smile so much in ages and he was right. I felt free as a bird, swift of foot and full of roller-booting fervour. I twirled and skated and practised new ways of turning for a whole 45 minutes until it was time to go. I pulled up near the end of the viaduct, waiting for O and M to catch me up (so goddamn fast, you see). This was my fatal mistake – stopping. As the wheels spun to a halt, I suddenly felt my foot skid backwards. The rest I cannot remember.

To cut a long story short, I fell backwards onto my poor head and knocked myself unconscious and made my nose bleed copiously. The kind folk on the viaduct stepped in and called 999, covered me in coats, held my hand and soothed my scared boy. The ambulance was called, I was whizzed to A&E for a CT scan and it was all quite hideous, especially the vile and unstoppable puking and the hideous head pain.

The verdict – concussion, air pocket in brain and a basal skull fracture. Two nights in hospital before they would entertain letting me home. It hurts, I am constantly dizzy and feeling sick and my mum has had to come over to look after me in case I fall over again.

I will be getting the roller-boots out again – the 45 minutes before the impact were glorious minutes and I want to do it again. But next time, I’ll definitely be wearing a safety helmet…

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>A rant about school

>I am so angry this evening – school-based incompetency has got me hopping mad. As I’m a part-time working mum, O goes to after-school club one evening per week. They pick him up from school, walk him across the road to the village hall and look after him until I come to collect him after work. This week I’d changed one of my working days, so he was due to go to after-school club today instead of his usual Friday.

At 4.30pm I left work and noticed two missed calls on my mobile from two of my friends. When I rang one of them, she told me that she’d spent 15 minutes waiting outside O’s classroom with his classroom assistant, wondering why I wasn’t there to pick him up. O was getting anxious and tearful wondering where I was – he still has some leftover feelings from when I was ill where he is a bit protective/clingy about me – and his classroom assistant was just saying, ‘well, if she doesn’t come, we’ll just have to take him to the office’.

The thing is, I’d arranged with his after-school club to pick him up today and I’d written it in his school diary that he was being collected by the club and that I wouldn’t be there. So why was O stood outside his classroom waiting for me? Somewhere along the line it seems there was a communication failure between his teachers. What makes it worse is that today’s ‘good behaviour blob’ had been put in his diary – this blob was right next to my note about after-school club, which had either not been read, or not properly noted.

Luckily, the after-school club leader realised O was not where he should have been and came back for him, so he was OK in the end. But to me that’s not the point. He’s only five and can’t be expected to remember when an arrangement has changed – surely that’s not his responsibility? I feel cross that my little boy was left  upset and anxious, feeling that I’d forgotten about him, and I am annoyed with his teachers who are supposed to take care of him when he’s at school. I know they have 30 children to look out for, but surely they need to make sure what’s happening with all the children at the end of the school day. Apparently this isn’t the first instance of children waiting in vain for their parents to pick them up when they are supposed to be at after-school club.

Maybe I’m overreacting and being a fussy mother, but I am still seething. I am going into school tomorrow to speak to the head of O’s year. I really think that there needs to be a proper system in place so that teachers know where children are supposed to be at the end of the school day.

Sorry – rant over! I think I just needed to have a bit of a vent. I am having a bit of an anxious period lately (all related to the bad stuff) and this kind of thing doesn’t help. I am sure tomorrow I won’t be so angry, but I will still go in and try and get something sorted so that it doesn’t happen again.

EDIT: I have to say, I have no beef with the after-school club peeps who have been great…

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>1. Driving to swimming lesson. Five year old O, in indignant tones: Mummy, do you know that you’re polluting the planet right now?

2.  On Mother’s Day: I think it should be Children’s Day now, cos it’s after six o’clock.

3.  Trying to convince me to let him stay up longer: There’s no point in me going to bed. I never go to sleep anyway. I just lie in bed with my eyes open all night.

4.  On the return to school of a home-schooled classmate: Parents don’t know as much as teachers so he’s had to come back.

5.  On plans for the future: I’m not going to university when I leave school. I’m going to have a rest and then I’ll buy a job later on.

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>85, 35, 5….

>This week the theme for Tara’s Gallery over at Sticky Fingers is Numbers. I thought long and hard about this one – so many options and photos to choose. There are some fantastic posts up already – it is such a treat wandering through them.

I’ve picked a photo of O, me and my granny, his great-granny. I mentioned the relationship between them in this post and the fact that there’s 80 years that separate them. There’s 50 between me and Gran and 30 between me and O. I’m thinking that if Gran makes 90 and I make 40 then O will be ten and we can have a right old shindig. It would be a party to remember…

 This photo is from this Christmas at my mum and dad’s house. We had a rollicking good time playing Whot cards, Operation and on the Wii. Gran surprised us all with her skill at Mario Kart – she did much better than me and my mum, although she had a tendency to go backwards which was driving O mad.

There’s another photo of Gran which I love and it’s this one. She must be about four years old and just adorable with her shiny patent shoes and little knee socks. I can see a little bit of O there as well.

I seem to be reminiscing a lot lately. I think I always have had a tendency to look backwards, but hopefully in a fond and happy way. I always have one eye on posterity. Maybe that’s what my blogging is all about…

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>We’ve been to IKEA – and I enjoyed it. It seems wrong to be typing that phrase, but there you have it. It was not as much fun as the time I went to IKEA with O and my three pregnant friends and we played in the little rooms, pretended to cook, lolled about on weirdly shaped chairs and generally lived the Swedish existence of our dreams.
The only thing that could have made it more jolly would have been Kurt Wallender popping up in the bedroom looking crumpled and careworn. The treasured memories of that particular trip were my friend putting on one of the IKEA bathrobes in the bathroom and telling everyone to get out as she was going to have a bath and the my other friend lying on a futon bed and being unable to get back up again as she was so pregnant. It took three of us to roll her off it. (She had her baby boy three days later).

Today’s trip was one where we planned to buy lamps, but as we all know, the IKEA trip is never truly focused. It normally means filling a trolley with vaguely useful but peripheral items that you would not normally purchase, all done under the disapproving gaze of one’s other half. I was well prepared for this and ignored M’s rolled eyes as I danced like a child through the market place. I duly bought a brace of glass storage jars, vases, flowers, a toy snake, a lamp, a small ironing board and…..a shopping trolley.

Please – don’t stop reading in disgust. I was so torn about purchasing the shopping trolley. I am a young (ish) woman, yet the trolley called to me like a siren with its promise of easy wheeling and cavernous shopping space.

I live in a village with a big hill. It’s a real old slog up that hill to the local supermarket and since being ill, I’ve chickened out and gone up in the car if I need anything. I kid myself that the main reason is not being allowed to carry heavy bags on my left side due to the surgery I had. I do not want to have the lymphoedema – I passionately fear the lymphoedema and will do anything to avoid it, although lately I have given in and do the ironing and the vacuuming when the clothes pile is toppling and the carpet is thick with debris.

However, the real reason I drive up the road is more to do with laziness than anything else. I need to get moving again – Slimming World alone will not shift the post-breast cancer blobbage (that one’s for English Mum who once questioned whether that was a medical term). My plan is that I will use the trolley to wheel my goods from the local supermarket down the big hill and benefit from the bracing walk up and down said hill.

The test will be next week. Will I have the courage to venture out in public with my trolley? Will the local youths subject me to a barrage of abuse as I enter the supermarket? Will my friends refuse to be seen with me again? Will O beg me to return the trolley to the porch and start taking Flash Fabia up t’hill once more? I shall report back after the maiden voyage of my trolley. It will be a momentous day!

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>Tara at Sticky Fingers has started a new feature called The Gallery. The idea is for bloggers to post photographs on a particular theme. There is a new theme every other Friday and the idea is for people to be able to view some of the really good photography that is out there in blogland.

The theme for the first Gallery is Beauty. Some wonderful photos have already been posted on a variety of topics.

My choice is one that I took about four years ago up in the Lake District. It’s of a swan meandering across the lake at Rydal Water. The swan had just lifted her head out of the water and I managed to snap the moment as she raised her head and looked at me. What I really love about the picture is her serene pose and the glittering droplets of water that are captured in her feathers.

When I look at this picture it makes me feel so peaceful – it was a great weekend in one of my favourite places.

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