Tag Archives: Age

Whistling in the Dark.

Whistling in the Dark

I struggled for ages to come up with a title for this blog post, nothing seemed quite appropriate apart from this one.  I’ll leave you to make the link, it does make perfect sense if you think about it for a while.  Life can be dark, but we can always whistle. 

Every now and then I write a blog post for the Babyhuddle blog, I’m an ‘Elite Blogger’ for them you see. That makes it sound like I fly jet fighter planes for them or something doesn’t it.  *giggles*

Anyway, I wrote a blog post about humour and about how important it is to teach our children to laugh, at jokes, at adversity and just in general – simply because humour can often be our solace and our strength when times are tough, the social glue that holds friendships together and it’s just downright fun.

Call me ‘up my own arse’ but I think it’s a cracker and I’d love you to read it.  I’m not particularly proud of most of the things I write, but this is one post I’m very happy with. Please do drop by and see what you think!

Here’s the link!  It’ll take you to the Babyhuddle site where it’s posted HERE.  It’s called ‘You Gotta Laugh!’

It seemed rather an appropriate topic in a completely back to front way.  This weekend my grandma who is 94 had three small heart attacks and landed herself in intensive care, where she had another heart attack.  The nursing staff and the consultant all thought that she was going to leave us at 3am on Saturday night and funeral arrangements were discussed – it really was that serious.

The whole family has been through hell and back, we’re still taking things hour by hour.  Every time the phone rings we all jump, it’s just horrific. This evening my auntie, uncle and I went to visit her.  She lay in bed, wired up to massive banks of computers with flashing lights and bells that went off every now and then – she still has her old smile and her laugh, but she’s lost and wandering in her head quite a lot.  We’re all hoping and praying to whatever we hold dearest, that she’ll come back to us – but we’re not overly optimistic.

I’m not saying we sit and laugh at the situation, because you just can’t, it’s too terrible to comprehend – but humour and general chit chat oiled the conversation a little, even in such an awful setting. I mentioned that it was a good job the kids hadn’t come along because they’d be pulling out wires and thinking all the computers wired up to her were some sort of huge computer game.  My auntie said that she’d spent hours and hours on the phone to all of Gran’s friends letting them know where she was and joked that she was taking on Gran’s role very well in her absence.  My sister had sent in a scratch card with Gran’s birthday card, as she’d had so little luck recently, she said that she deserved some and maybe a scratchcard would do the trick.  Unfortunately Gran didn’t win the lottery or a vast amount of cash whilst stuck in Intensive Care, but it was fun trying.

If you didn’t laugh, you’d just have to sit there and cry.  The occasional silences were deafening, or at least I thought they were. I’m not very good in situations like that and it is so hard to know what to say whilst faced with someone you love in so much pain and in such a terrible situation.  But what can you do apart from make small talk about the kids bouncing off the walls at home and joke about how Gran needs a dedicated nurse, just to keep all her birthday cards from falling off the walls next to her bed?  I don’t know.  I still don’t.  I suspect I babbled when I tried.  We all just wanted her to feel loved and that we were there for her, it was so lovely to see her smile when we managed to engage her in a conversation and especially to see her laugh (inbetween coughing fits).

Poor love, old age is very, very cruel.  If I could lend Gran my heart for a day or two I would – if I could swap legs with her so she could walk for a while – I would.  Her kidneys are suffering too at the moment, so if she could borrow my bladder, I’d happily hand it over for a bit.  I just wish I could help!  She is having the toughest time ever, and all any of us can do for her is sit, wait and hope.

The one thing that gives me a little hope is that she is still as stroppy as ever, I’ve heard my mum doing impressions of her which made me laugh:

*you have to read this with a voice like the queen*

‘Excuse me!  I need to have my eye drops at 8am, it is now 8.05am, will you be doing them soon?’

Yesterday when I rang the ward for an update the nurse said:

‘She’s awake, drinking tea and bossing the staff around so she’s not doing too badly.’  They asked my mum if Gran used to be a teacher (she wasn’t) because of her tone.

My mum and I both chuckled at this, we’re both accustomed to Gran’s ways and this is so typical of her.   This evening she was drowsy, confused at times and yet occasionally her old self.  All I can say is that I hope we hear more funny tales about her being strong willed and obstreperous – that way we’ll know she’s winning the battle.  Sadly I don’t think we will, but we’ll have to see.

A proper bit of writing apparently has to have a summary, I’m struggling here.   I guess Monty Python got it right when they sang ‘Always Look on The Bright Side of Life’ which as you’ll know if you read this blog, is one of my favourite songs.  Please forgive the recap, I know I only posted this the other day.

Some things in life are bad
They can really make you mad
Other things just make you swear and curse.
When you’re chewing on life’s gristle
Don’t grumble, give a whistle
And this’ll help things turn out for the best…

I doubt Gran would approve of this song, I’m not sure she’d whistle along either – but as her loving relatives, there’s nothing else we can do right now, apart from to sit here twiddling our thumbs and well…whistling.  It’s certainly all I can do, which is endlessly frustrating.

If anyone has a crystal ball they could lend us, we’d really appreciate it.  The next few hours/weeks are quietly scaring the hell out of all of us.  Please think of my lovely, funny, caring, warm, wonderful Gran as she lies in her hospital bed fighting for her life and wish her well.  Can’t do any harm can it. Thank you. x


Urban Writers Bootcamp – Part 3

Urban Writers Bootcamp – Part 3

Here we go again!  I was given this title and asked to write for 15 minutes.  This one is a bit rambling. Does anyone else care to share about their favourite pair of boots / shoes / heels?  Might be interesting to read other’s shoe related memories maybe?

Are people actually reading these?  I’d hate to bore you all rigid.  Talking about shoes seems a little irrelevant and none parenting related.  Mind you, erm….desperately claws for relevance…kids wear shoes too!  They do!  And erm…so do mums, and wellies are quite nice on puddle jumping days?   Oh, I give up!  I’ll just write about shoes and hope you tolerate the randomness.  Thank you for reading. x

‘In everyone’s life, there is one unforgettable pair of shoes…’
My unforgettable pair of shoes were my huge black doc martens that I wore when I was 16 going on 17.  They were part of my slightly hippy chick era and I used to wear them with leggings an awful lot.  My mum said they made my legs look like golf clubs but I chose to ignore her and wore and loved them anyway.  I even made my own shoe laces with a system of coloured threads and weaving, I thought they looked fabulous. Some people painted their Docs, I never had enough confidence to actually go that far, I simply customised the laces – which is probably quite a good half way house between ‘Way out man!’ and ‘I’m not shouting too loudly cos if I do, I’ll look stupid’.  I wish I still had them, they were comfy as cushions on my feet and were waterproof and went with anything, or at least I thought they went with everything.  My long taselled patterned hippy skirt looked great with them (I think…..).  Mind you, when you’re young, I think it’s possible to carry almost anything off.  Now I’m getting all wistful and feeling like an old git, which I am, a little I suppose. One thing I remember very fondly about my Docs was that they hurt my feet like hell at first, but my dad quite literally sat in front of the tv massaging the leather with some sort of grease or other until the leather softened up enough so that they didn’t give me massive blisters.  Very thoughtful, and they did fit like a glove after that.  I trekked many a mile in those shoes, to friend’s houses, up and over windswept hills – in particular on a walk when a whole bunch of us stayed up all night and climbed a hill on the longest day of the year to watch the sunrise.  I remember seeing the mist lying like a sea between the higher ground bumps.  Mum once said that mist like that looks like sleeping ghosts.  I love that imagery. I suspect the boots probably cracked over time, I was never very good at keeping up with polishing them, I’m still rubbish at shoe maintainance.  They were great though, a little bit of rebellion against the very straight style I was brought up with.  One day I’ll get another pair, and then I might actually paint flowers all over them, and make funny coloured laces again.  I think I’m old enough to be undignified and not worry about it so much this time round.  Hell!  I might even dye my hair with pink streaks, like I always wanted to but never dared.  I think I might like being old and mad after all.  The self conscious years of trying to look trendy (or purposefully none-trendy) are long gone, but the old yearning for these funniosity boots still remains.
The next one was really difficult for me.  I usually write with my own voice, or a more serious version of myself if I’m required to write something that isn’t actually tongue in cheek.  This task had me writing in the style of….

Your narrator is an old man, benevolent and wise. He is not omnipresent (i.e. he can’t tell you what is in your character’s head), but sits at a distance and gives the reader a sense of feelings, etc., through physical description. He is watching tourists in a café. Write as your narrator.
It was really, really difficult and I don’t know how well it comes across really, at least I tried!  I have edited very slightly.  
The couple lean over to kiss each other, so sweet.  She is about 18 I think, although it’s hard to tell these days.  I should think the boy is a similar age, he has that fresh faced innocent look that erodes away with time.  I should know!  I look in the mirror now and the wrinkles make me look ever so tired.  I’d rather not look like that, but they are the lines of my years, like the rings on a tree.  Discreetly I sip my tea, stare at the open paper on the table in front of me, blankly – it’s not very interesting, some Hollywood woman has worn an odd dress apparently.  Probably thinks she’s being new, fresh and interesting.  I say she’s a new dog playing old tricks.  The rain patters on the window and the drops shiver in little tracks top to bottom.  The other person in the cafe looks troubled, I don’t like peering at him for fear of attracting the wrong sort of attention.  He keeps scrabbling in his bag for something that doesn’t appear to be there, no matter how many times he looks.  His phone rings a lot too, but he doesn’t answer it.  Very annoying in a relaxed place such as this.  I’d tell him to switch it off, but he’s a middle aged, stressed looking bloke and I think he’s got enough on his plate already – a fried breakfast in fact.  He’s not eating it though.  Odd that.  My eyes drift back towards the rainy street, watching the world fly by in a rush in the blink of an eye, everything passes so quickly.  My tea is going cold, I cup my hands around the base and the warmth seeps through my fingertips.

Pretty in Pink?

Pretty in Pink?

Kids know how to hit where it hurts sometimes.

We were sat watching some ‘So you think you can dance?’ (approx title) kind of programme the other day.  A couple whirled around the dance floor, the man in a snappy black suit and the woman in a floaty pink dress that resembled styled candyfloss.  She wore high heels and had beautiful long, thick, wavy, golden blonde hair and a perfect hourglass figure.

Darlek was transfixed, and Sausage similarly so.  A nice relaxed end to a manic day, I was enjoying the peace and quiet.  My mood changed when Sausage stopped staring at the TV and started trying to remove my glasses.  He knows full well that my glasses are delicate and are not something to play with, so I didn’t really understand the sudden interest in them.

Then he said ‘Take glasses off mummy’ and pointed at the TV.  ‘Make you pretty like her’ he said.  Call me sensetive, but it felt as if I’d been punched in the stomach.  I don’t think childhood insecurities ever fully go away, well for me they don’t.  Over the years I’ve buried them under a bit of bravado, but underneath I think I’ll always be a speccy four eyed, straggly haired, awkward 13 year old.  It really did hit me hard.

In true responsible mummy fashion, I decided it was just the media polluting his little brain, telling him that prettiness and attractiveness always comes in a pink, frilly, high heeled package – so I decided to explain a few things to both children.  Whilst they carried on watching the beautiful people dancing about on the stage, I muttered half to myself, half to them about how people are pretty on the inside, and that is more important than anything else.

Having said that, I sat on the sofa in my knackered jeans, with a faded ketchup stain on one sleeve of my top, wearing my big black Cat boots, with my hair that hasn’t been cut for a year (I never get around to getting it done) with a lump in my throat.

Darlek often looks me up and down when I go out.  The other day she said ‘Mum, you know you said about white lies?  Well, I’d tell you something now, but it would hurt your feelings and you’d be mad at me.  So….(loaded pause)….I think you look very nice’.  Ouch!  Bruised ego!

All I can say is that, in time, I’m hoping they’ll realise beauty is in the eye of the beholder as the old saying goes.  I try very hard to put this across to them, but I’m battling against TV, Barbies and Bratz, billboards, magazines and peer pressure.  I’m just hoping something is sinking in, and they make their own decisions about beauty, rather than believing everything celebrity culture throws at them.

In the meantime I’ll just have to keep pointing out how big boots are sassy (that’s big ‘Boots’ in case you read that wrong), that people look good in clothes that they feel confident in, whether they’re fashionable or not, and that people are still beautiful even if they’re over 30 and over the hill.  It’s the sparkle in the eyes that’s important.  My grandma is 91, and she’s one of the most beautiful people I know.