by Karen J Mossman

The other day I heard Dr Hook’s song A little Bit More on the radio. It’s a beautiful ballad, but whenever I hear it now, I makes smile. It reminds me of my dad. Of course a song Screen Shot 2016-03-24 at 15.13.18like that is supposed to remind you of lover, not a father, and that makes me chuckle, too.

The reason is that back in 1976 we lived in Bury, Lancashire. Dad was a policeman with the Manchester Police and was based at Bootle Street in the centre of town. I worked in offices at the Royal Exchange. It was about 15 miles away from home and two buses and a train was my usual commute.

Dad worked shifts and sometimes he would leave the house at a similar time to me, so naturally I would get a lift to work. He also car shared with his friend. The time the song was in the charts must have been in the winter, because it was freezing cold and the car took an age to warm up. He would then call in at Whitefield to pick up his colleague and I hated it when we had to get out and go in old Ford Cortina. That only warmed up when we reached town and the car park. So it must have been very cold that year.

On the way this song would come on the radio. I’d be sat next to my dad in the passenger seat when suddenly, the words were crystal clear:

When your body’s had enough of me

And I’m laying flat out on the floor

When you think I’ve loved you all I can

I’m gonna love you a little bit more

Oh my God! I was squirmed with embarrassment. The song was obviously about sex and you didn’t talk about sex in front of your dad back then!  I remember developed this awful dry cough as they sang.

So if you’re feelin’ alright and you’re ready for me

I know that I’m ready for you

We better get it on now

‘Cause we got our whole life to live through

I died in that car! If it came on when both men were in there it wasn’t as bad because they or we were usually talking and no one listened to the lyrics.

That story takes me straight on to when mum and I deciding to go to the pictures, sometime in the seventies .I can’t remember how we chose the film, but it was called Confessions of a Window Cleaner. Neither of us knew what it was about, except it was a comedy and basically it turned out to be a sex romp. Not the sort of film you go to see with your mum when you are just 16. Who was the more embarrassed, I don’t know. I just remember us sinking lower it he seats.

My son was always a big fan of Eminem and we decided to watch the film 8-Mile together. He was about 16 too. There was this one scene where Eminem took this girl into the garage where he worked, and they went under car into the pits – and made love. I couldn’t look at Ian and he couldn’t look at me. I just recall from the corner of my eye seeing him sink lower and lower in his seat with his hand shielding his eyes from me and a deadly silence from us both.

We look back on it now and find it funny, but at the time it was so embarrassing!

Race You!

by Karen J Mossman

There I was 9.15 am one Sunday morning several years, coming out of my bedroom. At  exactly the same time as my 23-year-old son was. We were both heading for the same place.

“I’m only going to wash my face and clean my teeth,” I said.

I’m only going for a wee, he replied.

For half a second we looked at one another. Both with the same though. Who was going to be the quickest?

We grinned  and then  clenched his fist and said, “On the count of 3.”

I touched my fist to my palm three times and did ‘scissors’, which beat his ‘rock’.

“No, no, no,” he said, “On the count of three.”

So I did it again, one, two, three, scissors.

Can’t you count, he said. And for a second, I was confused. So we did it again before I realised what he meant – one, two and choose your weapon on number three, not after it.

He won or cheated and I was left scratching my head on the landing.

Taking a Trip

by Karen J Mossman

One day I came home from work with a headache. As my husband and I were going out to our favourite Indian restaurant, I thought I’d better go to bed for an hour.

In the bathroom I reached into the medicine cupboard, grabbed a couple of headache tablets before getting into bed.  It was pleasant after a busy day at work. I listened to the sounds of outside as the night drew in.

The headache had gone when I woke up, and I’d already decided not to drink and drove to the restaurant. We had a lovely meal and when we had finished I felt extremely fidgety. I put this down to eating too much and needing to get my comfy clothes on.

We walked back to the car and I didn’t feel too well. I was suddenly cold too. I drove home feeling positively strange, almost disoriented at times. Perhaps I was coming down with something?

I was looking forward to the evening ahead. The second part of a programme I’d followed was on plus it was The Celebrity Big Brother final.

On the settee, I felt chilly again, and reached for the blanket.  I’m not one for dozing while watching the television, but I could feel sleep creeping up. I longed to close my eyes but knew if I did, I’d nod off and miss everything. So I fought it and started to get the  twitches. Something pulsated in my neck and my legs jumped for no reason. It was a peculiar sensation.

I went up to the bathroom, feeling dizzy, and it was only when I sat there I remembered the two headache pills I had popped earlier.

I opened the cupboard and realised with horror that they weren’t pain killers.

When we went to America last year and a guy from my husband’s work gave him some tablets ,which he said his wife takes to help her sleep on long haul flights.

The label said extra strength, will cause drowsiness, do not drive or operate machinery! I

Not only had a I taken them, but I had driven and I was high!

They went in the bin.

Days Like This

by Karen J Mossman

I went shopping one day and came away with lots of things I hadn’t to buy, as you do. One was a pair earring. I usually wear dangly one, but this time I bought some stud ones. As I was going to visit my mum and my earring and necklace, I decided not to wear the new ones. I did, however try them on in the bathroom

Later I rang my sister to see how she was going on with her new baby. This was back in 1999 and we had one of the new mobile house phones – ones without a wire. So we chatted on this for quite a while.

As I drove to my mum’s house, my daughter asked why I wasn’t wearing my poppy. She was with me when we bought ones for £2 each. I looked and it consisted of a green stalk and a pin. Don’t you just hate it when that happens?

When I reached mum’s house, she said, “Do you know you have lost an earring?” I’d only put one of them back in.

Later I went into my handbag for my  phone and instead, there was the house phone.  I must have dropped it in my bag instead of putting back when I spoke to my sister.

On another occasion I was getting dressed in the morning. I put on a big cardigan and went  downstairs, I was thinking how it was heavier than normal and when I got to the bottom realised a velcro strapped shoe had attached itself.

Later, I was about to take the dog for a walk and as I stood in the hallway, I leaned down to clip on her lead.

Standing back up I stepped back and my foot caught the bottom of the stairs. I lost my balance and in the split second it took to fall, I thought, I can’t save myself and hit the floor like a sack of spuds.
For a moment I lay wondering if anything hurt or had snapped. My two new knees felt in tact, my shoulder, where I landed felt ok. My coccyx was little jarred, but no damage.
After a moment I moved myself round so that I was sitting on my bottom. My little Yorkie started trembling and kept nudging me before climbing on my lap. I got to my feet after assuring her I was ok, and we went out with me feeling very lucky.
The final incident of the day was when dusk was settling. I was on my way to the front door which has a frosted glass window to put rubbish in the bin at the side of the house. I could see the reflection of my shadow approaching.
It suddenly struck, I’ve never had a shadow there before. I opened and screamed as the shadow loomed up at me.
My son stood and looked at me as if I was stupid. “I do love here, you know?”

I was looking through an old diary and came across this from 2006.

“Last night I was the last one up and crept up the stairs to the bathroom in darkness. I finished cleaning my teeth and as I turned away something hit me in the back.

I squealed and spun round only to realise my dressing gown belt had caught on the door of the cupboard. As I turned away it had opened and smacked me on the behind.

I felt so silly.

Do these sort of things happen to you? It can’t be just me, surely.

A Baby Butterfly

by Karen J. Mossman

Another story from my mum, who found a chrysalis in the garden. She brought it inside and put it into a jam jar with some foliage.  For days she watched the butterfly grow in its cocoon she would report back to me on its progress.

“I can see it moving,” inside she said.

Then as the days went on, she’d say, “I can’t way to see it emerge”

Finally that day came and a beautiful butterfly broke free.

She watched in awe as it flew out of the jam jar into the kitchen on its maiden voyage.

Suddenly from the corner of her eye, she saw the dog leap up and swallow it.

Poor Mum was heartbroken.

Little Man, Big Man

by Karen J Mossman

In the 80s, my mum told me this story about an incident at the local market.

She and dad were out shopping in the food hall in Bury, Lancashire. She was queuing up waiting for her turn, when a woman pushed in at the front. Nobody said anything, they just looked at each other. So mum spoke up. “Excuse me, but we are all waiting, there is a queue.”

At the that moment a little man came right up to mum, obviously the woman’s husband and put his finger in her face. “Mind you’re own business,” he snapped.

Just then a voice boomed out, it was dad, “Get your finger out of my wife’s face!”

The little man then scurried over to him, “Yer what? Yer what?” he said. “What you going to do about it, eh? eh?”

At that point everyone was looking at them. Mum said she didn’t like being the centre of attention, and neither did Dad usually. She said her heart sank as the little man continued to be aggressive.

“Do you want to come out side then?” he said to drawing up his fists up. “Come on, come on, we’ll sort it out side.”

Mum said dad, who was taller than him, bent down and whispered something in his ear. The little man looked up at him and quickly scurried off.

When they got outside she asked what he’d said.

I just told him to “Piss off!”

Famous People

by Karen J Mossman

My sister came to visit me from America recently and we were reminiscing about the old days. She was telling me that she was in a well-known night club in Manchester, back in the early 80s. Going downstairs to the Ladies, she saw a private function room, noticing something was going on. She decided to go in and have a look. It was Mohammed Ali, who, as she found out later, had come over for Henry Cooper’s birthday.

She walked in and was stopped by someone who told her it was a private party. Putting on her brave face and confident voice, she told him that she was with the party. He immediately apologised and let her in. She couldn’t believe her luck and joined a queue where Ali was signing autographs with his manager beside him. She picked up a nearby menu and his manager asked her what her family name was. “You probably don’t know it,” she said. He grinned, tapped the side of his nose, and said, “I bet I know your parents, though.” She grinned back and under her breath said, ‘I bet you don’t! ‘

 Ali signed the menu and she left, her biggest regret was losing it somewhere.

Back in in 2002 my dad was very poorly with septicaemia and was in the High Dependency Unit at Salford Royal Hospital.

I was going to visit him and they had glass or perspex lift which only went up one floor. As I was walking toward the entrance, I could see the lift coming down. It was full of men in suits.

I was anxious to see my dad – who did eventually recover, and I remember thinking, Oh good, as soon as I get there, the men will have disembarked.

As I arrived, most of them had come out of the lift except for two. Not being a rude person by nature and this didn’t come naturally, and all I will say in my defence is that I was a little stressed at our family circumstances.

The men were chatting as if they hadn’t realised that the lift had come to a stop. So standing at the door, I said: “Are you getting out, or what?”

One of the men jumped forward, as if startled, “Oh sorry,” he said in his very strong Scottish accent. I then realised, much to the other man’s amusement that it was none other than Alex Ferguson.

In the early 70s, a girl I worked with said that she was standing at the side of the road waiting for her date when a car with dark windows drew up beside her.

The window came down an a young man said, “Don’t look so worried, it might never happen.”

He wound up the window and drove off. It was Rod Stewart.