Monday, 26 November 2012

WHAT A GREAT DAY for a reunion

I am so excited I have no idea where to begin.  As many of you know, without my spelling it out, I have been a bit of a hermit this past couple of years.  Loss, does that to you.  I honest think, that is that moment, we got from young, to middle or even, old, age.  The pain is too unbearable.  And yet, still we live, we go on.  'Why does the world keep on turning' - that tune and that memory, tore me to shreds in the middle of Sainsbury's bread aisle, days after I lost my beloved Dad.  There was no pain to compare it to.  I sobbed unashamably, and amongst the crowd that gathered, I think at least one person suggested an ambulance.  

Like the wonderful Vincent (Van Gough) I suffered for my sanity, is it them? is it me, is it them? who exactly is sane here?  I had plenty of evidence and statistics to back up the fact that is was probably me.  When you are looking for answers, you even have to take in the tricky, mathematical side of stuff.  
I try not to dismiss the sciences -  even though they diss the arts -  because they are always coming up with wierd and wonderful stuff, and besides, I have a bit of a crush on Dr. Brian Cox.  Not that I was in with a chance, he is far too  young for me.  

But I digress.  Today, I met 3 friends - ex boarders, of St. Josephs (part of St. Anne's) and we all bonded immediately.  Even though, they were part of the convent, long before myself (stop sniggering Amanda, lol I am not as old I look) we felt an immediate famiale, or is it en famielle, in French, anyhow, there were no awkward silences, we spoke freely, we came from the same place.   

Three nicer gentlemen I would be pushed to imagine!  Even as a Marxist/Feminist, lol, each of them showed that wonderful British Gentleman, sheer good manners.  It was such a delight!   Call it twee, or whatever you like, but there is so much 'sweetness and light' (from my hero Uncle Dynamite) to treating people with courtesy and respect.  My dear Dad, always wore a shirt and tie, even to run over the road to get a paper - and never in my entire life did I see him wearing a t-shirt!  I wonder if that makes me UKIP, lol.  My 3 tier cake stand might even be a qualifier.

Eddie, I felt as though I were talking to my Uncle Ignas today, your lovely Irish accent was as smooth as guinness!  Though truth be told, I am not very fond of stout, but apparently, my mother took to it like a fish.  She was always infirm, what with the bronchitis, her attention seeking, and all that.  I now think, hey, kudos to her, she ran away from the life and land she was born into, to try another one - and at the tender of 15 too!  She was a terrible person of course, but I somehow think, she would have had you and Sandra giggling!

Vincent, you old rogue!  I am sat here laughing my head off! Absolutely delighted to have met you! And you made me see another side to the you know what, lol.  And hopefully you can introduce some sort of motion to the whole round table, whereby I am forgiven!  I'm absolutely fine with the whole sacrificing a chicken in the wilderness bit, as long as it is free range, and we don't actually have to walk through burning coals (without slippers) or howl at the moon.  I'm afraid me old tobacco filled lungs, could only manage a grrr, at most - and I'm afraid the crowd might shout 'put the kimono back on' if we had to do it in the nip.  
Barry, what a lovely gentleman you are!  So pleased to meet you today... and please don't run away from Brighton just yet, because I may be moving to a place near you soon!  I jest, of course.  Actually, no, I don't.  Brighton would be my chosen location, simply on the basis, that I have a gut feeling, that within seconds, you could meet such a wide variety of people  concentrated in a place dedicated to the arts, and have an engaging conversation over expresso and croissants - sadly no Gaulois to smoke, due to current draconian laws*, within moments of your front door - and no-one will care very much if you have done your hair.   In my retirement, I am thinking of France.  I am picturing a short row of 3 shops.  Patiserie, Bakery and News and fags.  Not even fussed about the wine.  I am more than happy to buy it by the gallon from the nearest wine factory.  I am ashamed to say, that old bf and I sat, sat outside a co-operative (wine making place) for several days, I believe at one point we put up a tent.   But I digress.  Our diligence paid off.  We got to try 20 wines straight from the 'petrol pump' and were given a free bottle to take home with us, hic.  I think our sharing of fags, gave away our true cash status.   Ce la vie!  And the French people were quite impressed by our tenacity!

Apologies if I embarrassed anyone today.  Sadly, I lost all my support systems over the past few years.  Those trusted advisors who could keep me, just the right side of sanity.  Hence I have little idea how to behave properly in a social situation.   Mostly I think of what the nuns would do, and then go for the opposite.   I am hugely aware of how narcissistic that sounds, but I am not part of a couple.  I have no other half.  I have no-one with whom to check stuff out with.  Like a scene from Father Ted, I need someone to point out 'reality', 'far away'.  Most will be relieved to know that my younger son, who is studying pschyology, can, in an instant, distinguish, paranoia from real stuff for me, which is very helpful.  And I am fortunate too, that I am having the good fortune of meeting and becoming friends, with good people, who far wiser than myself. 

Fortunately, I am learning, even this late in life, that, heck yeh, there are genuinely good people out there.  It was something I found very hard to believe for such a long, long time.  For anyone who ever suffers from depression to manic extent, we can reach depths where we can see nothing but man's inhumanity to man, and it tears us apart, to such an extent that we do not want to breath another breath, to live in a world that filled with such evil.  I am drawn to that amazing scene in 5th Element where the very appealing Mila Jolovitch (sp) weeps and prepares to die for mankind, because her poor brain has had to take in so much evil in such a short space of time.

We had a stroll.  We saw the 'old part' of the original building, the St. Anne's or St. Josephs, as my friends today know it.  That is a part of the building I had not seen for 40+ years.   Right at the top of the hill, behind all the new buildings.  It was a moving experience. 

I think of myself as tough as old boots, but I felt quite emotional, seeing those buildings again.  Seeing those iron steps where Angela and I would tell each other, every single detail of every single book and film we had seen, leaving out nothing!   We loved Scarlett O'hara and her fabulous green curtain outfit!

I remembered getting hit in the eye with a cricket ball, leaving me with a great big shiner!  I always wanted to play boys games as good as them, so I have only meself to blame.  I thought I could catch a hard cricket ball thrown from a 100 yard distance, without injury (I even wore a glove).  However, did not take into account, fact that said cricket ball would bypass glove and land straight on upper left cheekbone, resulting in black eye.   Some readers may be relieved to know, that I have never attempted to catch a cricket ball since. Even if it were a hand grenade I would be undecided.  I had to wear an eyepatch for days, though to be fair, I was reading Dickens and the Poor Laws, so had a fairly good idea of my human rights - Even if I was up against the Sisters of 'No' Mercy and their seriously freaky 'volunteer for everything' new house father.  

Within moments, my (albeit, mad) Mother spotted within an instant.  Straight away, she walked into the dining room, pointed at the house father, Peter Rands and said 'I know  EXACTLY what you are.  This is what pisses me off with the current news that is flying.  Cameron, the tories, would have us believe that it is some sort of vendetta against Gays.  What a load of bollocks!  Gays are no more likely to be paedophiles than so called heterosexuals.  Someone who preys on young, vulnerable kids, is a creep in any hemisphere.  Its just plain wrong.  

I have digressed.  I want to give a huge thanks to Eddie for picking me up, and    being such a good egg.   I know that you and Sandra have suffered a grief that is unimaginable, and my heart is with you, please know that sincerely.  

I hope that we can one day soon, organise a 'big' get together, of all ex St. Josephs and ex St. Anne's and ex St. Bernadette's too.   As Mick Jagger would say, it would be a gas, gas, gas. (Presently watching series about Rolling Stones) lol.  

Lack of money and bravado, has kept me from meeting old friends thus far, but I hope that will change.  Fortunately, Johnny, Charlie in my book, had the courage to come and knock on my door.  I was so thrilled to see him, my grey roots, profuse sweating (diabetes or menopause) bothered me not one jot!  I got a real kick from finding out what amazing successes, he had achieved!  

And as the week has gone, I have ventured out again!  And will sleep tonight with a huge smile on my face.   One, because I am so damn proud that people have come out of that place, and found contentment and success.  And, even, begrudgingly, even I have to say,that we had regime ingrained into us.  Some would say, we were institutionalised.  Some would say it stood us in good stead.  Don't think I have got anything to argue with there, and would probably have to submit on that one, with a 'you got me there'.  

Fantastic Day!  Now, don't know which one of you it was that put, albeit virtually, lol, 'No Riff Raff'!  I'm a great fan of Fawlty Towers, so please forgive me that, ha ha.  Am presently trying to coax my hair into a bouffant 'Patsy' look, cause I can't be arsed to get it cut regularly, and it grows like the hair of banshee!  I hasten to add that the rest of me is not quite so hirstute, lol, though I have always thought I have abnormally hairy forearms, will have to get  psychology trainee son to take me back to reality/paranoia chart, lol, on that one.  Partially worried that he may take me to zoos and introduce me to cousins.  He has a twisted sense of humour.  

Have had a terrific day - thanks old boys of St. Josephs!  xx

Ps.  A special thanks to the wonderful present day headmaster of St. Anne's for  your kindness and courtesy.  I think you have rid the school completely of its old sinister side, it was a pleasure to meet you.  


Sunday, 18 November 2012


Like many survivors of abuse, I have led an erratic life.  That I cannot commit to a relationship is a given, so too hold onto a job, or find my place in society.  

These problems may sound trivial, because they don't portray the reality of job loss, or home loss, or the constant struggle to stay on the right side of sane.  

Would a payment of £20,000 or £30,000 make a difference to the life of a survivor of abuse.  Hell yes, just in the same way as it would to even, the most normal of households.  But for a survivor, it could be the difference between life and death.  It is more than hard cash, it is an acknowledgement that you were right and they were wrong.  It puts the world back into some sort of perspective and be the difference between life and death.  

In Ireland, claimants do not have to go through the ordeal of a trial.  It is enough to prove that they were in a place where abuse occurred.  In the UK, the Catholic Church spends millions fighting individual claims with such ferocity that few dare to come forward.  In fact they probably spend more defending individual claims, than it would cost in compensating hundreds.  

They cannot give survivors back their childhoods, but they can at least do something to help them change their futures.  

Saturday, 10 November 2012


I have not yet had my training day, due to house move, I suppose, or maybe just caught up in the hospital's over flowing newly diagnosed Type II's backlog.

I am trying to positive, and on the whole, have given up approximately 50% of my favourite things. I know it could be better, but the sight of a fat woman leering at a giant cake bear claw is just sad.  I succumbed.  There was a lady in front of me in a mobile scooter having a good mooch, and we had a good giggle as we coaxed each other on, 'to be a devil'.  She got her French Horn and I got my oversized choux pastry.  Now, I am riddled with guilt that I may have set her down the path to wrack and ruin, by comparing the deliciousness of our 'naughty but nice' buys.  

I am sure there must be a simple way of corrupting 'choux pastry' thus making it making it diabetic friendly. Even I can remember how easy it is to make, and already thinking of savoury ways to fill them.  Sadly, most ideas involve lashings of cream cheese, thus far.

Fortunately, I am too lazy to make them, as yet, but have have great plans.  I still have a hazy and unscheduled lifestyle, but keeping active with hoovering and dusting and decluttering my head, as well as my home and worrying more about lightshades than changing the world.  I was fortunate to meet a new friend, whose wisdom is legend, in my opinion.  Suffice, to say, I have learned much from her, not least the importance of having a clean and comfortable home.  

It is amazingly uplifting, I totally get those 'hoarders' and hippy protesters (I class myself as the latter) but should add, also by nature, bone idle, I flaunted my lack of housekeeping skills and cobwebs from a feminist perspective.  

I am now looking at things from an enlightenment perspective, and a nod that says it is ok to pamper yourself with luxury, albeit faux satin, and to offer your guests a variety of food from a 3 tier cake stand!  The ownership of said cake stand is a lifelong dream, lol.  It took much exercise to find 'just the right one'.  The Mrs Bucket in me, wants to create the ultimate tea at the Ritz experience, in minutes.  

I have dispensed with the whole tier system, on account of the fact, that I rarely buy cakes these days so I just fill each layer with whatever I can find in the fridge.  Unless, pre-warned, should add, then I can get my fat arse down to M&S to buy their sarnies and fruit cakes, to arrange prettily. My guests have been delighted!  If the fridge is bare there should always be cheese, then toasties work well and look fine on all 3 levels.  Not quite the divine Dehlia, but a nod in her direction.  I once made her cheese and walnut choux pastries, and they were fabulous!  

But back to the diabetes.  I have good days, and I have bad, GP told me, that apparently, all my unhealthily high levels, are so common, they are collectively known as Factor X, in the US.  I haven't yet braced myself to do any research, suffice to say, it probably has nothing to do with Simon Cowell but is more closely related to lifestyle, body type etc.  Thats just a guess.

On the plus side, I have increased my exercise, and am now eating many more cereals (with fake sugar) and my unstable teeth make it pretty impossible to tackle a t-bone anyhow - though I could probably manage the chips.  

The bad days still exist, especially the day following excessive exercise.  I expect, it is best to do these things slowly and find a happy medium.

Well, ttfn, must go see where pasta stands on the whole diabetic side.  Is it a complex carbohydrate? 

Ps.  Determined to experiment with the choux pastries, so watch this space. Any suggestions welcome, presently thinking if there is anything other than cream cheese, that goes with olives? Hmmm



As many readers here know, my book Cry and You Cry Alone, tells my own personal story of being abused in care.

I wasn't sexually abused, but I lived in an environment that was dominated by the sexual abuse of others, and the dysfunctional atmosphere of living in a house that held dark secrets.  Each 'House' within that institution had its own particular sadist, and/or sexual deviant, drawn to the profession by the easy access to vulnerable children, whose word would never have been believed above theirs. 

I left the convent I was in, with my own demons, as many of us did.  I cannot begin to imagine the trauma of those physically used by those evil men and women who had absolute care of us.

I know at first hand, how difficult it is to adjust from an institutional world to a real world.  Many of us, are unable to adjust or 'fit in' with the rest of society, tormented that our 'sordid past' of being in care, should become public knowledge.  Terrified that, our childhood in care would put off any potential friends or colleagues, or partners.  It carried that kind of stigma.  Society thought, maybe still does, that being in care came with all sorts of negative connotations.  That you were a second class citizen and that abuse went on, was taken as a given, and you had to wait for a second for the interviewer to write 'likely to be very unstable' on your job application. 

The truth is, the victim statistics are alarming. Unfortunately, too many care leavers end up in prison or blot out their demons with drugs and alcohol.  Many end up as society's dregs, another John or Jane Doe, found dead in the gutter.

That is the reality of child abuse.  Unfortunately the abused,the claimants are rarely sympathetic. Often, petty criminals with a history of drug and alcohol abuse. Unfortunately, the courts and society in general, do not have the resources (money) to psychoanalyse and research the backgrounds of their 'regulars, or write more than 'death unknown' for the suicides in bedsit land. 

In my book, I write about Philip, a young boy/man, who was indeed a boy with great expectations.  The only one among us to get into grammar school.  Intelligent, good looking and oozing charm, he was destined for great things.  He died, way too young - never, ever, having lived.  

Childhood abuse wrecks lives, lets never forget that.