Wednesday, 24 July 2013


Someone told me that you were gone. I don’t remember the exact words, or their turn of phrase, I just remember how it tore in to my heart. Only days before you’d told me how well you felt, how this had been a warning and how we were going to live life to the max....

And then you were gone.

You were my best friend, you were my fiercest critic, you were my biggest fan and quite honestly the thought of life without you is too much to bear.

Let’s go back to the start, well as far back as I can remember. I think I must have been about 5, perhaps 6. I’ve never had the world’s greatest memory, but I do remember sitting at the side of you in your chair, with your arm around me as you read my favourite story to me. I remember the silver pie case we pushed down the hole at the side of the central heating controls after the mouse came up. I remember an itchy and scratchy green jumper which I wore one day, the day the Herald of Free Enterproise sank whilst I slept through a dark Sunday afternoon. I remember you waking me, and laughing because I’d fallen asleep. I remember doing something similar in your bed. Waky waky, rise and shine.

I remember the small room at the front of the house in Broadmead Avenue, and how you patiently explained that the shadows I could see wasn’t someone coming to get me, just the shadow of the drainpipe outside.

I remember climbing the stairs with you singing “hold my hand, I’m a stranger in paradise” I remember doing that too, towards the end.

I remember when you used to tuck me up in bed, and on the way down the stairs we did the same routine every night “Abysinnia, nighty night”

Bumpety bumpety bumpety bump as if I was riding my charger. Nobody sang it like us, and nobody sang I’ve never seen a Jaguar like us either.

I remember you coming to pick me up from Sunday school on the morning my Nan died. I remember how upset you were. I remember being gathered in to your arms and being told it would be ok.

I remember being in the car park outside Truro hospital radio, and how I hurt you with words. I remember being so unkind and making you cry. You blamed my hormones, I hated hearing those words.

I remember leaving you when I went to university, I remember the look on your face of pride and fear. I remember picking you up and spinning you around in the car park of the BBC in Bristol because you’d got a job back in Northampton and it meant you were no longer alone.

I remember telling you about Basil, and the calmness you showed, even though I knew you were hurting for me.

I remember how much you didn’t want me to get hurt by Stuart. I remember how you held me when he went.

I remember how many times we laughed til we cried, and how many times we cried til we laughed.

Mostly I remember how much you loved me. I remember how important you were to me.

I remember how you were so proud of me, so sure I would be ok. I remember the most wonderful woman, my Mum, my best friend, my counsellor, my ally, the one who would go in to battle for me, and would stand between me and a bullet.

I miss you dreadfully, but I know you haven’t gone. You live on in my heart and my mind, and I know you will always be there when I need you.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

The poison pen

Joyce used to live 2 doors down from us when we lived elsewhere. She's an odd woman, always had a piece of coal on the window sill, but if it wasn't there then apparently (according to people more versed than I) it meant she was "entertaining."

One New Year's Eve our whole family piled in to the back of a taxi ready for a new year's eve party. I was Cinderella, a couple of cousins were ugly sisters, Mum was dressed as Father Christmas and Dad was a Christmas Fairy.

We searched everywhere for white tights that would fit him, and he wore a lovely pink tutu, one of Grandad's string vests and his trainers. He looked fab. We had a great time at the party.

A couple of weeks later, everyone in the row had a poison pen letter. Some of them were really awful, hinting at things suspicious, unlawful or immoral.

Ours said "Your daughter listens to wicked music (I took this as a compliment) and the man of the house is a fairy"

The police were called, and everyone in the row came out with their letters. Nine out of the ten houses had received them, one hadn't. The police didn't waste much time in the sticks that night, I imagine their detection rate went up considerably.

Next time.....the mysterious case of the lights in the woods...

Sunday, 14 August 2011

No water

Hope and Jim live at the end of the terrace. You must understand there are only 10 houses in this particular place, and they live at number 10. Graham and his wife live a bit further along at number 5.

Graham and Jim, I think it's fair to say, don't get along particularly well. There was once a nasty incident involving a mouse. Perhaps we shouldn't get in to that here.

Anyway, on this particular evening, Hope had walked the dogs a fair old way and she fancied a nice hot bath. Up she went, turned on the taps....and....absolutely nothing.

"Jim," she said, "there's no water coming out of the bath taps."

"Don't be ridiculous woman." You must understand Jim's personality to know he would never believe anything Hope had to say, "of course there's water coming out of the bath taps."

He thundered up the stairs to show her how stupid she was being.

"Well you stupid mare, what have you done now?"

This went on for some time, and even involved an allen key and spanner....but alas, no water was forthcoming. Meantime Hope, who had retired to the bedroom, could hear maniacal laughter coming from the front of the house.

"Jim," she whispered, "there's someone in the front garden"

By this time, Jim quite believed what his wife told him, as he'd spent the best part of half an hour trying to fix the no water situation in the bathroom, so he turned off the bedroom light and drew back the curtains. There, in the front garden, with the biggest spanner he'd ever seen was Graham...with a manhole cover at his feet.

Well, this was too much for Jim, who found the biggest spanner he had in his toolbox and headed down to the front garden.

A tussle ensued, like knights of old the two men (both well in their 70s) jousted with their spanners. The police were called and everyone else in the row came out to watch. After all, in a village of just 10 houses, two men going at it tooth and nail with spanners is sport of the highest order.

I'm not entirely sure what happened after this - it was many years ago and I was dragged off to bed. Needless to say Jim decided to fit a lock to the front gate - and always believe what Hope told him.

*the names have been changed

Monday, 8 August 2011


There's another street somewhere in the country where I have a spy out for stuff that ought to be written down.

This week, Hope* reports that there's trouble with the dog from number 7 over the road. Apparently Barry* woke up the other morning to find one of his pet rabbits had died, and on closer inspection it had met quite a grizzly end. He blamed the foxes in the wood behind the houses, and chalked it up to experience.

Anyway, he decided to furnish himself with another pet rabbit, only to be woken in the night by some loud barking. Turns out the "monster" dog from number 7 had got out again and was terrifying Bugs in the hutch. Barry, being a fellow with a very calm nature, grabbed the monster and shut it in the shed - and called the police. "Right you are, Sir, we'll send someone when we've got time...."
In the meantime, the woman from number 7 couldn't find the dog - and was told by the woman at number 5 that Barry had shut it in the shed. A row ensued, during which I'm told several quite fruity words went backwards and forwards, and the woman from number 7 called the police to report the theft of her dog.

Police arrived within minutes.

Barry handed the dog back, but told the police officer what had happened and threatened to take the law in to his own hands if it happened again. Cue stiff talk from police officer.....

....rumour has it, that monster dog has also been worrying bullocks. The farmer has been informed.

*all names have been changed....

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Fire-fighting robot

Our street is slap in the middle of the two university campuses (campusii??) in the town. This, of course, means that there's a lot of students live down here. The house next door usually has three or four living in there. Generally they're ok, and I remember what it was like to have a miserable old so-and-so living next to me at university, so I'm generally quite chilled about them. Apart from the girls who lived there a few years ago and decided B*Witched's Don't Blame It On The Weatherman was acceptable listening at ear-splitting volume one 2am. Soon persuaded them it wasn't.

Anyway, every June the students move out of next door, and leave bags and bags of rubbish ready for the binmen. This particular lot a couple of years ago left a metal wastepaper bin outside, which the binmen didn't pick up. It did a few laps of the street over the coming few weeks and eventually ended up outside my house.

Cue ring on the doorbell - it's Tony* from a few doors down wondering if he could have it. Mum had answered the door, and assured him it wasn't ours, had been hanging around for a while, and he was absolutely welcome to it.

Tony is, well, ermm.....well I *think* he does something with computers. Certainly his front room is piled high with all kinds of bits and bobs. He's also built what looks like an Anderson shelter in his back garden. I'm wondering if he knows something I don't.

So, having been reassured it would be absolutely fine for him to have the wastepaper bin he said "Great, I'm going to build a fire-fighting robot."

I have vision of him painting it red and filling it with sand......

*not his real name.

Monday, 1 August 2011


I've started this blog specifically to record the tweets I sent the other evening which caused mirth and hilarity. I won't remember to update this, and if I do I expect it'll be dull...anyway, let me introduce you to a street in Northampton late on a Saturday night....

"Gavovertheroad has forgotten his front door key. Shazza says she can't be bothered to come down and open the door. He's gonna kick it in."

"Shazza says he'll wake the baby. Gav wants letting in. Shazza says he'll have to sleep in the car, but Gav can't cos he's lost his keys."

"It's better than Eastenders down here tonight. Someone is barking loudly now. And it is someone and not a dog. Gav is now joining in."

"Gav's decided to ring Dave but it appears Dave's not up to picking Gav up after jagerbombs. What about Debbie? Oh she's been bombing too."

"Right. Looks like Gav's decided to kip on the doorstep. Shazza has thrown him a pillow. She's all heart."

"Morning. I know you're worried. Gav found his keys at about 2am. They were in his pocket."

*the names here have been changed to protect my windows.