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Report from the Home Front

#Anglesey #Coronavirus #covid19 #selfisolating

I live in Anglesey in North Wales and it’s a popular tourist place. As we are an island there are many beautiful beaches. As  the new season began the holiday makers returned.

My daughter moved here in January from Stockport, near Manchester. Their farmhouse has a self contained flat, and on the land a beautiful rental cottage. The bookings started arriving to give her a regular income. Then everything changed.

As we have gone into lockdown, people are still arriving looking for a better place to self isolate. This uses resources we don’t have enough of for ourselves. Our local hospital hasn’t the capacity for extra patients, and even though the government recommended they stay in their local area, still they came. Police are now patrolling the bridges questioning those that want to cross. Hopefully they will keep themselves safe at home instead of here.

As a result, our island is much quieter than usual. Every day seems like a Sunday. We are not going out except to walk the dogs in the afternoon. It seems strange to be confined to the house and not have the freedom to go where ever I want.

Every now and again, I blink, and hope its a dream, or the imagination of a book I’m reading. Sadly, it;s true. It is happening, and we all have to take care.

Reading someone else’s view of what life’s like for them is interesting and more so if that person is author Julia Blake. She writes a weekly blog about what’s going on in her world. Last week she announced she and her daughter had gone down with Covid 19. Here she tells us about it, with a few smiles on the way.! And we could all do with those.

Enter Here

 

Christmas Time

Firstly, welcome to my new subscribers who’ve dropped in this last month. I do post fairly regularly, but haven’t for the last few weeks for various reasons.

However, I’m back and the other day a blog post caughte my eye. It was about Christmas past, present and the furture.

It made me realise how at Christmas time I always remember what it was like when I was a child and how we celebrated our Christmas’s. I came from a big family and we  hung a stocking on the end of the bed. In the morning there would be an apple, orange, a little toy and some chocolate inside. The chocolate was particularly nice when eaten at 6 am!

We would go downstairs when told we could, and there in the lounge was a pile of toys, all unwrapped waiting for us. It was a treasure trove as our eyes grew wide with excitement. Mum or Dad would tell us which chair or end of the settee was ours. The toys for many years consisted of the same the things, but we loved them just the same. Always a coloured-1854302_1920spinning top that hummed like crazy the faster it got. A tea set with cups and saucers, a tea pot, milk jug and sugar bowl was also firm favourite as I used to have a lot of tea parties with my dolls. And yes, a beautiful doll, whom I always adored. I still remember counting them one day, and I had twenty eight of all different shapes and sizes and colours. I loved choosing a name for them. One year I even had a hamster in a cage. We were lucky, and we all loved Christmas. This cumiliated in a wonderful Christmas dinner.

When I met my husband, his family did something different. They didn’t open any presents until after Christmas dinner had been eaten, cleared and washed up. He had a big family, and they went to different relative’s houses on different years. There used to be up to wenty two around the table. The presents, all wrapped sat like a mountain around the Christmas tree and took hours to open. It was lovely. Gradually as the years went by the elderley relatives passed away and the people round the table got less and less.

When we had our own children, we kept that tradition although we did have some toys to open on Christmas morning, with many more later. There is something special watching your little children getting up when it was still dark, desperately trying to be awake to seeing the glee in their eyes. I remember one particularly year we bought our son a sit-upon-digger. It was too big to wrap so I placed a balloon in the digger bucket and covered it with a table cloth. In the morning, he pulled off the cloth and exclaimed loudly with a sharp intake of breath. ‘A balloon, a balloon!

When the children grew up, we experienced a different kind of Christmas where it was just the two of us. The family would come to us for dinner and we would open presents afterwards, just like we always used to. It was strange waking up in the morning to have no gleeful children and it took a while to get used to.

We moved to Angelsey a few years ago and Christmas’s changed again with us going back on the day, and the children and their families coming here another. Next year it will change again as our daughter moves to Anglesey in a house that will accomodate us all.

So things evolve all the time and you do have to work at it, not just the preparation but making it as enjoyable as possible by doing the things you love with the people you love.

The blog I saw which inspired me to write this was by author Chantelle Atkins. It’s a lovely read and she puts it so well. Pop over here to have a look.

Before you go, get yourself in the mood for the festive season with my novelette One Christmas.. It’s funny and sad, happy and very Christmassy. It’s also short. So you don’t have to commit to a big read. I’d be grateful of a review too, just a few words to tell me what you thought.

As a Christmas gift, it will be free to download from 16th December to the 20th.

Happy Christmas!

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Traffic Delays!

I’ve lived in Anglesey in Wales for almost four years now. It isn’t a big island and the first thing I noticed was how easy it was to travel around. The concept of leaving home and driving to a destination is a simple one. Yet for so many it isn’t. Now I calculate my journey by when I want to be there and if it twenty minutes away, I will set off to arrive in twenty minutes, and there is rarely an issue.

When I lived in Manchester and my journey was twenty minutes, I would have to add at least an hour for travel time. City driving is now worse than ever and in the three and half years I’ve been away, it has got so much worse. I find it a nightmare when I need to travel back there and my stress levels increase rapidly.

When I was in my late teens, we lived a fifteen minute drive from the town centre where I worked. I would walk to the bus stop, catch the bu,s and it would travel through reletively car free roads. It stopped at other stops and arrived at its destination on time. That same journey now takes over an an hour due to nose to tail traffic all the way. Not to mention buses are always late.

Rush hour is a thing of the past for me now. It’s not something I think about anymore. I know I am luckily.

I hated it, and wanted out, and did something about it. So I felt such empathy with this blog post by author Julia Blake. It’s not always the toll of travelling, it’s the stress and ultimatly the arguments with other people that all add to the problem.  What do you think?

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Read Road Closures and Rats by Julia Blake to see what inspired my comments!

 

Hidden Stories in Family trees

At the end of the nineties I researched my family tree and being the curious type, I ended up doing four, my parents and my husband’s parents. Each one totally fascinating and each had curious tales to tell.

My father was very dark skinned. Out of us four children, only one of us has the same skin tone. I remember going to cabaret shows with my Dad in the seventies and eighties, and the comedian would say on seeing him enter– ay-up the Arabs have arrived. Not very pc now, I know!

His mother, my grandma, was also dark skinned, as were three of her six children. We were lucky enough to have a photo of her mother and it was clear it where it came from. When I researched the family tree, I couldn’t find anything. Recently my sister did a DNA check via Ancestry and Turkish blood came up. I’d love to find out who it was and the story behind it. Perhaps it was a illicit liaison somewhere.

We already knew Mum’s dad didn’t not know who his father was. He was born in 1904 and it was always suspected the father was the doctor she was a nanny to. On her deathbed my grandparents begged her to tell them who it was, she refused and took her secret to her grave.

Why would she do that? What harm could it have done seventy years later? I think I found the answer. Just before he was born, according to the 1901 census, she worked as a domestic servant to a large family in the town. They owned a business, the head of the household was the brother of the mayor, who was a local businessman. I reckon it was him, or one of his elder boys that did the deed, possibly against her will. There are many stories about domestic servant’s becoming pregnant. The family were, seventy years later, still prominent in the area, and she still felt some misguided loyalty. That would make more sense, wouldn’t it?

When I did my husband’s family tree, I knew he was an only son, of an only son. That made me realise my own son, was the last of the line. The original Mossman was Scottish and came to Manchester when his parent’s died to look for work. He married his landlady’s sister and they had three sons and a daughter.

James Mossman - b 1837

He had four sons. The youngest didn’t marry. His three other sons did. There was Robert, my line.

Robert Annie, Jack and Molly in the back yard

 

The next one was Harry, who had two sons. The oldest died in a prison of war camp and the youngest died at a school’s sport’s day

Cyril and Arthur Mossman

James emigrated to Australia and was never heard of again. So I concentrated on James because the photograph shows him with his family before he left and it was possib le he went on to have more children. I traced him, and he did have sons. I put out an expression of interest and was contacted by a grandson and it turned out he had exactly the same name as my son. What a conincidence!

Jim Mossman 1927

My husband’s mother was interesting because she lost her mum to asthma when she was eight and didn’t have a good childhood because her father passed her around to relatives to look after. He was a hard working man, active in World War 1, and on the Homefront in World War 2. Eventually he realised his daughter needed a mother and married a woman he not love.

There are many more interesting stories in my tree, as I’m sure there are in yours. Is there any you want to tell us about?

Meanwhile, The Magic of Stories also contains poetry, and each poem tells a story. This is just one of them.

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Don’t tell a writer your secrets!

Sometimes the most embarrassing things can be humorous and I wrote something a little risqué by my standards. I also wanted it to be a little cringe worthy because we’ve all been in situations that have made our toes curl.

You know that saying, never tell a writer your deepest secrets? No? Well, perhaps I made that up but it’s true. They may write it in their book!

I’m guilty of that. Someone, who will remain nameless, once told me how she lost her virginity, and as much as wonderful things are written in books about ‘the first time,’ the reality is it is often embarrassing and messy. You always hope you’ll never see that person again, right?

If we collected stories of first times, it would end up being really funny simply because people keep that to themselves. They don’t want to share their inexperience or be made to feel foolish. I know I wouldn’t. The truth is we have all been there and hearing someone else’s stories makes ours less shocking. The more we hear, the more amused we get, do you follow?

I wouldn’t dare ask you about your first time and neither would I tell you mine, so instead I put a tale in The Magic of Stories, one I made up, with a little bit of truth in it!

Meanwhile I will leave you to read this amusing post entitled:

41 Things I Wish I Could Say To The Guy Who Took My Virginity

 

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Memories of my dog, Ricky

Everybody remembers their first dog. Mine was Ricky, he was a terrier of some sorts and he was very intelligent.

This is Ricky, I don’t have many photos but here he is with my dad and my baby sister. He was about two when this was taken.

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As I said, Ricky was such an intelligent dog. I remember him coming to tell us once that our other dog, Sally, had just been run over. Luckily she was fine, but he barked and barked until we followed him and he led us to a group of people.

I’ve shared a story in The Magic of Stories book telling of the day he came to school with me. He just decided to do it. It would have been in the late sixties and no way would a dog been allowed in schools today. He played in the playground with all the children and in the afternoon, the teacher let him come into the classroom.  I hope you enjoy the story, and I promise you it is all true.

Please tell me about your dogs.

Do you keep a diary?

Screen Shot 2019-08-16 at 10.25.41I’ve always kept a diary and in my early teenage years I just wrote a few lines on days I did something.

When I had my first boyfriend the diaries became more detailed on the days we did something exciting. I also managed to graffiti all over it with hearts and our names, basically declaring my undying love!

One of my most interesting diaries became a journal in my late teens and here I chronicled my activities with my friends. This was most interesting as I can read back to the day of night clubs, and dates. I also wrote about my insecurities and longing to find a proper boyfriend. I even listed all my friends who were in relationships and wondered why I couldn’t sustain one. All the dates I had been on they was always something lacking. I wondered what was wrong with me.

These days everything is out on Social Media but back then we kept everything to ourselves, and little did I know that my feelings were normal. Other people were went through the same type of things and it would have helped me knowing that.

These three years of journelling finished in 1977, just as I met someone I really liked. It would have been fascinating to read what what I thought of him, except I was too busy having a good time to write anymore. It turned out he was the one, and we married in 1980.

We were together for four years before the first of my two children were born. They kept me too busy to write. What I did do was write about certain moments, like a weekend away, or a visit to my family. These make wonderful reading for me as most of them were sprinkled with humour. It also took me back to those early years and my parents.

As the children got older, I continued to write like this and stories about their early childhood that would have been long forgotten if I hadn’t written them down.

These days I keep a five year diary. I write in it every day – well that’s not strictly true, I write something for every day, usually a week later then have to remember what I did. This is my fourth five-year-diary.

A few years ago I picked up one from when my children were teenagers. They weren’t bad in comparison to some stories I’d heard but it talked of the rows, the staying out late, and all the other teenage stuff. It took me back to the rows I had with my mum when I was that age.

From that I wrote a short piece of fiction called Blowing Hot and Cold. I wrote it from the mother’s point of view. It highlights that she has own problems and coping mechanisms, then throw into the mix a volitate teenage daughter, and life becomes difficult.

It’s only a very short story and this is the opening paragraph.

An upstairs door slammed. I hunched my shoulders. It was another row with my teenage daughter. The argument was over nothing; it wasn’t even a proper disagreement. She just blew up and snapped.

Screen Shot 2019-08-16 at 10.25.41Do you remember your days as a teenager when you thought the world was against you?

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