My flat is best described as having character, and bijou. I love it, because it has an upstairs, like a real grown-up house, a rarity in these parts. I love this photograph, taken in the smallest room in the house, which just happens to be my living room. It sums up beautifully the inordinate amount of space teenagers can occupy, and covers perfectly the two different definitions of room, both a specific area within a house, or space to move!!
I had to hunt through my files (OK bags!) of paperwork recently on a fruitless task of finding my Littley’s innoculation cards. I became completely distracted by all the old photos of and pictures drawn by my kids, and spent a few happy hours giggling with the boys at their early artistic efforts, which were always proudly displayed on the living room wall. My oldest son said we looked like a poor man’s Meet The Fockers!!!
This photo in particular still makes me giggle!! It is at the sports day of my now a Nearly Non-Teen when he was three years old. Just like his mother, when the urge to dance comes on, there is no resisting it!! So as the rest of the children filed neatly off the playing field, he danced like there was nobody watching!! To the delight of the crowd that actually was!!
Last summer, last August in fact, my wonderful friend Anna treated me and another friend to four days in the Gran Hotel in Benahavis, here in the south of Spain. It is a fabulous spa hotel, nestled in a tiny village in amongst the mountains, surrounded by some incredibly lush greenery, unusual for Spain at that time of the year.
We had the most wonderful few days, sunshine, laughter, and fabulous food. And pure relaxation! By the time we came back, it felt as though we had been away for weeks!! We are going back this year. If you are ever in this part of the world, try and pay a visit. The village itself consists of a few very steep streets, packed with some of the best restaurants in europe!! Amazing place!!
Wake Me Up was in the charts at the time, and we played it very loudly in the car on the drive up!! Three middle aged women behaving like teenagers!! Every time I hear it I am transported straight back there.
I met my best friend when I was fifteen, and we are still ridiculously close now!! We don’t see each other every day, but we have always been there for each other through all the most traumatic moments of our lives, and always will be!! I can honestly say that I love her, without her my life would have been a pale shadow of itself. We have had the most fabulous, mad adventures together, and pulled each other up from the dark!!
She was Souixsie Sue when we were teenagers!! Getting ready for a saturday night was an epic event. We had our routine. Heinz tomato soup, followed by fillet steak in a roll, washed down with a glass of Lambrusco red!! Three hours spent on make-up and hair, and a different outfit every week! Her mother owned a bar in the small scottish town where we lived, where we both did a couple of evening shifts during the week, and were a source of amusement to the regulars, who had never encountered such outrageous butterflies. We were required to parade through the bar on a saturday night, prior to heading for Edinburgh, so that they could see “what the Lassies are wearing tonight!!” Her make-up was always painstakingly copied from her posters of Souixsie on her bedroom wall. I leaned more towards Bananarama and Adam Ant!!
There was one other extra special bezzie who joined us. His name was Iain Cuthbertson, he worked as a hairdresser with me, and he was beautiful, outrageous, and bravely gay!! I say bravely, because his family were one of the most feared in town, and his homosexuality did not sit easy with their reputation. But he was true to his heart, and eventually they took him back into the fold. Sadly, we lost him ten years ago, but I shall always remember him. One of the directors at our salon once asked him why he chose to socialise with me, and not with the, quite frankly, far more beautiful girls I worked with? His answer?
“Well, it’s quite simple! She’s so plain, everyone looks at me!!”
For your delectation, the three of us from 1980!!
It’s been a long day. One of those days that knocks the wind out of your sails. It started a few weeks ago, really. My Littley (my six foot two, fifteen year old littley) called me up to his bedroom, in a way he hadn’t done since he was a small boy. I ran, the panic in his voice making me think he had fallen, hurt himself. Turned out, he wanted to talk. So I sat on the end of the bed, expecting to hear another overlong description of his new favourite game, or a rant about one of the teachers at school. Instead, he told me he was scared. That he had been seeing things, people, people who weren’t really there, who disappeared as quickly as they had come. He was hearing people call his name, felt he was being watched. And there were voices. Telling him to do things. Silly things, like making people laugh, but if he didn’t do it, the voices became angry.
I listened. I asked him what he wanted to do. Told him that perhaps we needed to talk to someone else, a doctor, someone who might have a better idea of what was going on. He wasn’t sure. So we agreed that if he changed his mind, if he felt worse, then we would go together.
Last week, he asked me to make that appointment. We saw our GP, a lovely man, who also listened, didn’t mock, and said he felt he needed to refer us to someone more specialised. And so today, we saw a psychiatrist. Who has started him on medication, arranged for him to have a CT scan on thursday, and wants a further consultation the same day.
Littley feels better already, for having spoken about these concerns, and for the positive reaction he has received. I feel as if the ground has just been pulled from under me. Angry with myself for being complacent, for being so wrapped up with my own stupid brain blip that I hadn’t realised he was struggling. For thinking that I could sit back, take my eye off the ball for a while. My two older boys are both dyslexic, and I battled fiercely to stop them being written off as slow and lazy. My daughter developed a rare form of epilepsy at the age of eight, and underwent five years of invasive dental surgery to correct her misaligned jaw. We came through all this, and I allowed myself to breath out. Littley appeared to have developed unscathed, and is a high achiever at school, with the world at his fingertips. Now I am worried sick that it might all be snatched away. So once again I am donning my battle armour.
Torn-Apart lifted my soul a little. We are a strange pair, sharing a slightly different view of the world from most. He said that maybe Littley can just see the gap in between. Made me feel more hopeful, somehow. It reminded me of when Littley was much younger, probably not much older than two. He came into the kitchen as I was preparing dinner, and told me his date of birth. It struck me as a very odd thing for such a small child to know, and so I asked if he had been doing a timeline at nursery.
“No, Mummy,” came the reply, “my ghost just told me.”
I had been considering what to post for the Weekly Photo Challenge, the theme of which is Art, and our concept of it. This evening it struck me that my children are my work of art, and nothing else will ever surpass them.
My Nearlynonteen had his butterfly moment today. That moment when he finally spread his wings, ready to fly. He had the first of his A level exams this afternoon, and by ten o’clock this morning he was pacing the floor with a major case of nerves. He has worked hard for this, condensing two years work into one, and juggling two jobs at the same time. So those wings were spreading already. But today he was angry. With his friends, who hadn’t bothered to study, who couldn’t understand why he was so concerned about doing well. That’s when I knew the butterfly moment had arrived.
Darling Daughter took herself off to Nepal for six months when hers struck, to live up a mountain in the middle of nowhere, with a family who spoke no english, to teach sexual health to teenagers. Loved it so much she did the same thing in Cambodia the following year!! Eldest Boy went to Uni, moved in with his girlfriend, ignored all those who said “It will never last!!” and ten years later the two of them are still blissfully happy and having a ball!!
Mine was at seventeen, when I left home, moved to Edinburgh, and had the most amazing two years of my life!! The Eighties were a good time to be a teenager, and a hairdresser to boot!! I spent half my time in London, did hair shows in the States, prepared models for photo shoots, and partied like there was no tomorrow!! I met my Bestest Friend Ever, and was still with my Torn-Apart. I could run in ridiculously high heels, and dyed my hair a different colour every week. I lived every second of it, let the sun shine on my wings.
So the Mum in me felt a pang when I realised that he was going to fly. But the rest of me thought “Yes!!” Because I want him to relish his butterfly moment, every damn second of it!!!
P.S. Just thought you might get a bit of a chuckle from these photos!! Looking at them, I was less of a butterfly, more of a Death’s Head moth!! It was the Eighties, that is my only defence!!
I thought I might do a post about this amazingly unique place where I live. But I don’t want to drown you all in history and facts (and there is a lot of history going on here!). Soooooo!! I thought that on a Saturday, I would share just bits and pieces with you, and maybe create a page, so if you miss a bit, you can go back and have a sneaky catch-up.
I want to show you the stuff you won’t find on Google. The real reason why I fell in love with this lump of rock, and made it my home. So today, a few of the basics. It is really small, only 2.3 square miles (6 square kilometres) and most of that is rock!! The main town area is the part you can see at the front of the picture, and is home to almost 30,000 people. We ran out of space a little while ago, and had to reclaim some land from the sea, so that middle chunk is only 20 years old.
It is a British territory, has been since 1713, and for such a tiny piece of rock, has been fiercely fought over for several hundred years. English is the official language, although Gibraltarians are all bilingual (or bisexual, as one of my ex work colleagues once informed a bemused tourist!) and speak spanish as well. So that’s it for the history lesson for today, I will tell you more next week. For now, I will share with you a few of the photos I have taken, of the places most day trippers don’t see.
This is Catalan Bay, a tiny village on the east side of the rock, that until the last century was unreachable except by sea. It was originally populated by Genoese fishermen, and still retains its independent sense of community. The fishing boats go out daily, and are the main supply for our restaurants. Eating here is an absolute joy.
There are really british aspects that stand out here, like the telephone boxes, which make you feel like you are stepping back in time by about fifty years. There are post boxes here that date back to Victorian times, I will capture those for you.
The original city walls date back to a time when this was a moorish stronghold. In fact the name Gibraltar comes from Gibral Tarik, meaning Tarik’s Seat, the moorish ruler at the time. The bloke on the right? Oh yeah, that’s Nelson. His remains were brought here in a barrel of rum, onboard H.M.S. Pickle, after he died during the Battle of Trafalgar.
And this is in the Trafalgar Cemetery, which contains the remains of those that lost their life in that battle, and also those who died in an epidemic plague that followed shortly afterwards. Sounds a bit mad, but it is a beautiful cemetery! Ok so that’s the first of many! Not my normal type of post, but I really wanted people to know about this place, because it is really very special for a tiny isthmus! Oh, and for those of you that were expecting apes? Yes, we have them. Yes, they look cute. They are not!! They have teeth!! They steal!! And beat up small dogs!! (Ok, I may have made that last bit up, but they is nasty!!) But just for you, a picture!!
Living in Gibraltar means that in order to see my family, I am quite frequently On The Move. The photo above is of the Sierra Nevada Mountains of Southern Spain, taken on one of my many flights home. I love travelling, in particular flying, and would do far more of it if I could afford it!! Not so my Littley, it is his idea of hell, as can be seen from the photos below, when he reluctantly joined me on this trip!!
Rather than soaking up the atmosphere and view, he just slept at every available opportunity!!
In order to make the travelling more palatable, I booked first class seats on the train. Littley insisted on wearing the chair back cover over his head for the entire journey, much to the sniffy disdain of our fellow passengers!!
This gallery contains 8 photos.
Day 23, and we are tasked with taking part in a blogging challenge. I have wanted to do this particular one for a while, and the topic this week of Leaves and Trees really appealed. So I have been out and about, and these are my offerings.
This gallery contains 19 photos.
I just wanted to share this with you. My Darling Daughter is studying Biomedical Science at University. She absolutely loves science, is completely absorbed by her subject, and is so passionate when she talks about it that even the most disinterested of parties finds themselves captivated. The written word is her weaker point, and to my amusement, she will send me drafts of her assignments, so that I can proof-read them, because apparently, I am good at that stuff! It doesn’t occur to her that I may as well be reading instructions for building the starship Enterprise. In Kling-on!!
She is bordering on obsessive about her studies, and becomes very stressed as a result, so she has taken to drawing and painting in order to relax. She is a huge fan of the British street artist, Banksy, and has done several very technically accurate copies. So when I spotted this, in the background of a photo in her digs, I assumed it was another. I pointed it out, remarking that I hadn’t seen that particular copy before. Transpires it is her own work, very much *in the style of*, but a total original. She is quite dismissive of it, but I think it is stunning. What do you think? I apologise for the quality, as I said , this has been lifted from the background of a photograph. It was all drawn freehand.
I did not take this photograph. Sadly, I have no information regarding who did. But I love frogs. And this particular photo makes me smile with delight every time I look at it!! So I thought I would share the smile.
I love clouds. They fascinate me and I could happily spend hours just lying watching them. One day when I am rich and famous, I shall get me a proper camera, so that I can capture their beauty more clearly.
I am very lucky with my view of the sky and sea, I can’t imagine not being near the water.
Clouds and the moon. Now that is my idea of perfection.