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Archive for September, 2010

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Hello! It’s Gallery time once again and this time Tara’s gone with ‘A Smile’. Please do pop over to Tara’s Sticky Fingers blog to check out the other entries.

I have loads of pictures of my smiling boy – although these days his smile looks like a broken dry stone wall as he’s losing teeth on what seems like a weekly basis. I was so tempted to post one of his grinning chops.

Then I thought of the photo my darling little sister, K, hates with a passion. It is crying out to be posted. It is one from my mum and dad’s 25th wedding anniversary party. From the brief, happy time when I was the thinner sister and she was a little chunkier than normal. How we have laughed over this picture…

It is fondly termed ‘the Chinese picture’ and has gone down in family lore, along with other seminal works:

  • the one where the school photo lady combed K’s hair and she looks like she been in a wind tunnel 
  • the one where I have a Jackson 5 perm
  • the one from 1971 where Dad is wearing purple swimming trunks – shudder…
  • the one where we’ve both been forcibly sat in a tree and I’m smiling through ill-disguised tears

 I have just come off the phone from talking to my lovely little sister and have told her that this is going on the blog. I am sorry to report that she used offensive language which I cannot possibly print in a respectable family blog. I hope you all enjoy her picture and please, do comment freely. I will be happy to share your words with her when she next pops over…

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>Back to school – The Gallery

>This is for the wonderful Tara Cain’s Gallery. Please pop along and have a look at the treasures posted this week.

Two pictures. Thirty years apart. Two four year old children on the start of an educational journey.

This is me aged four in 1979. I loved school – loved the reading and the writing stories and playing with my friends. I didn’t like being teased – that used to make me cry and retreat into my shell – a shell I still struggle to come out of on occasion. But I was a happy child and loved learning.

Education for me has been an up and down experience. A bright, top of the class girl for most of it until I reached GCSEs and A-Levels. Then I messed about, didn’t try and carried that on until my degree, when I didn’t get my 2:1. It was a colossal wake-up call and when I did my Masters, I really gave it my all and did myself proud. I don’t think I’m done with education, but the thought of studying again brings me out in a cold sweat. Never say never though…

I look at the little girl in this picture and I can remember the picture being taken. I loved that dress with the embroidered flowers on. Mum must have picked it especially. I look at her eyes – my eyes – and think where life has taken that little girl that was once me. It has been so hard since breast cancer, but I think life’s still good. I wouldn’t have picked this path I’ve found myself on, but I’m trying to kick my heels and dance the rumba once in a while as I trundle along it.

And what about this little man, pictured at the same age in 2008? (Love that Geoff Boycott side-smile). What does life hold for him? He’s happy and enthusiastic and enjoying being a big boy of six at the moment. He’s been through a lot in his short life already – when this Reception picture was taken he’d been through a very tough time. It’s hard for a three and four year old to see Mummy bald and poorly and sobbing as she fights to beat breast cancer. But he’s come though all that with the help and support of my wonderful M and my family and friends and is cheerful, kind and cheeky.

I look at this picture and I see the promise of my boy. I want so much for him, but most of all I want him to be happy and healthy and surrounded by love. Just like he is now.

I want more than anything to see the man he will become. When I’m laid in bed at night, thinking the bad thoughts, that is the thing that grips my heart with fear the most. The possibility that I might not make it to see him grow up. This is the reason for my blog. Just in case I don’t make it, I hope the things that are written here will help.

*This post took on a life of its own – was not supposed to be this maudlin. I can only apologise!

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>Following on from the Gallery post I did about Oasis and Loch Lomond, O and I have been listening to the Oasis back catalogue in the car, as I relive those happy days. We love to sing along together, giving it our full ‘Liam’ as we drive to soft play places, the park, Granny’s house, the supermarket – you name it, we’re singing Oasis as we go there. He’s particularly enamoured of ‘Wonderwall’ and ‘Cigarettes and Alcohol’ (bad mother alert) and really throws his heart and soul into the singing and rock and roll posturing.

I was a child who grew up in a music loving household. My dad was a lover of classical music, opera, rock and the blues. Music was all around us and I have fond memories of the Sunday dinners where Dad would slap a bit of 100 Ton Chicken, Rolling Stones, Maria Callas or Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Electric Ladyland’ on the turntable as I tried to force the brussel sprouts down my reluctant throat. The music was amazing – the sprouts less so. 

Does anyone else remember that Hendrix fold-out LP sleeve with all the naked women on? It seemed so risque back then. I would creep to the hi-fi cupboard and sneakily peer at the saucy women while my little sister giggled in the background and threatened to tell on me. There was the Roxy Music album as well. Dad – I’m appalled!

I do feel so lucky now that I had the opportunity to experience all this different music, although that was not the always the case back in the old days. When Dad dug out the Emerson Lake and Palmer ‘Pictures at an Exhibition‘ LP, my mum would protest vigorously, my sister and I would cover our ears and endure the prog rock stylings with a very bad grace and some terrible squealing until he took it off. Poor Dad…

It seems right to pass on this rich musical heritage to little O, especially as his daddy also loves music and has a splendid record collection going right back to the Swinging Sixties. O has inherited his Grandad’s love of a good blues riff and a stonking guitar solo and loves to bash his mini drum kit in the style of Matty from the Arctic Monkeys who is his drumming hero.

When we’re listening in the car, he knows that when I turn the music down and la-la-la over it that there are ‘bad words’ and happily accepts the need for the censorship. I am not sure how long this will be endured – but I’m hoping that it will be a while. I can do without him singing along to ‘the band were f****** w*** and I’m not having a nice time’ (Fake Tales of San Francisco, Arctic Monkeys).

This one’s for you, O. Toniiiiiiight, you’re a rock ‘n’ roll star!

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