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.