Ordered out of a Lift

By Karen J Mossman

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

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

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

However, as I arrived, most of them had exited except two of them busy chatting. Now, not being a rude person by nature, this didn’t come naturally, and all I will say in my defence is that I was a little stressed at our family circumstances.

They hadn’t realised it had come to a stop. So standing at the door, hand on hip, I said: “Are you getting out, or what?”

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

My Cup of Tea or Yours

My neighbour was having some windows fitted and my husband spoke to them about replacing some glass for us.

I came out to walk the dog and there was one of my cups on the bin. I couldn’t understand why it was there as neither me or my husband would have made their workman a drink, so how could it have got there?  

One of them saw my puzzlement and said, “It was over there,” meaning it was on the ground, so he put it on the bin. I put it on my doorstep as I had already locked the doors d would take in in when I returned.

When I returned, the cup had gone. It turned out the lady next door had the same cups as me. She bought then from Dunelm Mill, too.

What a coincidence, it wasn’t as if Dunelm Mill was on our doorstep and there are 100s if not 1000’s of different cups, yet we chose the same ones.

Inner Peace

by Karen J Mossman

Many years ago I worked in an afternoon as a Messenger, which meant delivering and picking up post from various floors in the building.

There was a guy called Colin, who one day said to me, ‘People never sit and do nothing any more.’

We were having a break between rounds and sitting at the table in the post room. He said, ‘People don’t seem to just sit and reflect. They have to be doing something and if they’re not, they call it boredom. They don’t want to hear the silence around them.’

It was the days before social networking and the internet was still in its infancy. I remember thinking at the time, how true that was and how we are frightened of silence.  I watched him stare into space, alone with his thoughts and in the back ground was the buzz of a busy office. So I sat quietly with him. It felt good.

Today with the advent of the multi-purpose mobile phone, it is even more relevant. They aren’t just phones anymore, they are for listening to music, social media, playing games, and taking photographs. I see people in the streets and if they are not talking on the phone, they have ear plugs in listening to music.

I tried that once, ear buds were so popular. Walking the dog felt strange and I hated it and took them out.

The music of life is so much more interesting. The sound of cars rumbling by, the thump of music through open windows, the roar of a passing motor bike, the exhaust of a boy racer saying ‘look at me’.  Voices of women gossiping on corners and the low rumble of men passing the time of day. Even the sounds of distant sirens, a cat on the hunt or a dog barking is music. Or simply the breeze in your ears and the fluttering of the Autumnal leaves as they crinkle and fall.

One day I was mesmerised by a can of coke clattering down the road in the wind. The clang and rattle was loud as it rolled and bounced along. It got quite a far down the road until a car and flattened it. It amused me.

I was reading Facebook and came across ‘If This Video Doesn’t Make You Put Your Phone Down, Nothing Probably Will‘. It’s a sort of rap by Prince Ea and it talked about iPhones, and iPads and how there is no we in it,  just and an I. It told how social networking is actually anti social networking. I listened to his slow tuneful rap about missing important things in life. Strong images passed through the screen, a couple in bed, she resting her head romantically on his chest and he reading his phone. in the darkness. Two people having dinner, one watching silently as the other looked at their screen. A man alone in an office as the night lights twinkling outside and he staring at his computer screen. Dogs vying for someone’s attention, but everyone were too busy checking into Facebook.

It struck a chord with me. How many times do I stare into my phone screen? I originally joined Facebook on my computer, then I could get it on my phone and then I could get notifications too, and my phone was constantly lightening up luring me to it.

I loved Facebook, it enabled me to keep in touch with family and see photos of children growing up. I’ve made some wonderful friends and found my solitary hobby of cross stitching is shared by many others.

But it was taking over my life, I was addicted. As soon as a television programme came to a break, I’d check my phone. First thing in the morning, I was on my phone, constantly all day and picking it up to find out what others were doing. My head full of images and words that were not mine. Precious moments were lost as I was running out of time to do things that were just for me.

So I stopped. I stopped having other people’s lives in my head. I turned off notifications and I put my phone away. Suddenly I felt free. I’m having quiet moments of reflection, too. I sit with a cup of tea staring out of the window alone with my thoughts and it was all right. Suddenly I can work through writing ideas again. In the morning I can write, or cross stitch instead of wasting an hour staring at my phone.

I’m finding the person I used to be, the one before Facebook and my world.

It is all right to be silent, to not have the radio or television constantly blaring. It’s actually quite nice to read a book in complete silence absorbing the words and conjuring up images. It’s all right to occasionally be bored as well. It’s all right to live your own life at your own pace and just be.


Lost Dogs

by Karen J Mossman

In 2015 I was involved in an ill fated Round Robin. This is where a group of cross stitchers get together, choose a theme, and stitch one square each. They then pass it (post it) to the next person to stitch and eventually it arrives back with the original owner.

My chosen subject was dogs, particularly because I have a Yorkie and had seen a lovely pattern I wanted to stitch. So I chose some other dogs to go with it, and stitched all the outline for the squares to match the number of people taking part.

I stitched my own over the month, as did everyone else with third. Then we posted to the next person along with the accompanying chart, thread and fabric.

Each person had their chosen subject, and these are the ones I stitched for the others in the group. It was fun because they were all different.

All was going well until I stopped receiving them. Gradually everybody was asking the same question. Where is the Round Robin? Weeks passed and we began to worry. Two of the girls went back through messages on a group Face ok chat. Eventually, they traced them back to a stitcher in London. She seemed to have all of the Round Robin, all of our work, threads and charts, and stopped communicating. Trying many times times to get hold of her, it was all to no avail.

We were scattered around the country and one of the stitchers was in the States. Luckily, she was able to stop hers being sent to this girl.

All looked lost until I spoke to a work colleague who lived in the capital often returning to the office we worked at in Manchester. He agreed to help out. I wrote  a registered letter telling this girl that someone would call round at a specific time and date to collect the Round Robin.

We waited with bated breathe, and he eventually sent a me a message to say he had got them. I was relieved but didn’t say anything to the others until I had them in my hand. Three weeks later I went to his house taking him a bottle of wine for his trouble. Although it was well worth it, it turned out be costly with the wine, registered letter, and returning the items to their owners.

When he handed it over, I opened the packet and mine was the only that wasn’t there. The Yorkshire terrier I’ had stitched had disappeared. When queried, the girl said she posted it, but it was never received by the next stitcher. I had to accept that after everything of mine was gone for ever. It was so upset.

The girl who originally organised the Round Robin asked me to post them all to her and she distribute them. She also said that she would arrange to have my Round Robin stitched again. Three of the girls volunteered to help and I supplied the chart and the three other dog charts, along with and the fabric once again. They said not to send the threads as they would use from their own stash.

I was thrilled they were doing this for me, and I couldn’t wait to receive it back.

Weeks turned into months and nothing arrived. I began to get that lump in my throat again. After everything that had gone on, I felt like I had been forgotten. I didn’t know who had my stitching and posted in a stitching group to see where it was. It turned out the girl who organised it, had lost her stitching mojo and hadn’t stitched and not passed it on. I began to wonder whether I would ever see it again.

The other three girls all agreed that they still wanted to to do it, so she posted it off and it landed with a lady called Amy, who was seemed really excited to receive it. She was so pleased, she asked if I would mind if she stitched all four of them! We continued to correspond through Facebook, as she gave me updates of her progress, but I wasn’t allowed to see it until it had finished. She felt like a surrogate mother to my babies!

Twelve months later the package finally arrived.

The colours are amazing and I loved the paw prints she added, too. I sent her the photo of me below, hoping she could see my huge smile.  I did wonder about making a cushion with it, but on seeing it, I feel a frame would do it justice and then it can be viewed frequently by everyone.

So thank you Amy Broadhurst.

Foster Children

When I was two years old, my mum fostered two boys called Norman and Paul Rhodes, When Dad got a job in the Manchester police force, we had to leave them behind with my grandparents.

Nana & Papa with Norman and Paul Rhodes

This is them in the gardens of the house called Woodcoate, in Oswestry, Shropshire. They were beautiful blonde haired boys and I have fond memories of them.

It was 1962, when our family moved as Dad got a job with the Manchester and Salford Police. Mum began working for Social Services and continued until she died aged seventy five in 2010.

I grew up with foster children, it was normal to me. I don’t recall a time when we didn’t have other children. It enabled Mum to be at home with her own four, but more so because she just loved children.

Hatherley Rd, Susie and foster boy Ian about 1970

Many of them passed through our door. If I remember correctly, the little boy above was called Ian.  The little girl is Susie, and she came to us in sad circumstances at the age of two. She was a long term foster child, as there was no plan in place for her and nobody who could take her. Susie soon became our sister, and we four became five. She is now over fifty, and still part of the family.

Scan 5 (2)

This is my mum with her sister Mavis, who later also became a foster mum. You can read more about her here. The photograph above, shows my sister, my cousins and a foster child. This is what Mum and her sister loved – being surrounded by children.

1979 Police Families Day (6)

This is me in 1979 with two children, I expect people thought they were mine. In fact, they did one day when I took one of the boys above, and his brother Robert to town one day. Kevin was two and Robert four. We walked round the shops and finally caught the bus home.

I was sitting at the front of the bus, with Kevin on my knee. Robert wandered off toward the door the driver had left open. It was dangerous. I wanted to call him back. I could hear people muttering – What kind of mother is she? Why doesn’t she call him ? There was daggers in my back and their eyes burned a hole in my coat. The reason I didn’t say anything was because I completely forgot what he was called! Luckly, he returned to his seat safely.

Another story was about two sisters whose names I’ve forgotten and were under five years old. Mum organised a birthday party for my eight-year old sister. All the food was in the front room, I was upstairs and apparently, according to Mum, everything went quiet, then I heard her shout  Oh no! (or something similar!) I came downstairs and the sisters had gone into the front room and eaten most of the party food!

One little boy was called Elliot and suddenly had a bad odour about him. His breath got worse everyday. When it showed no sign of improving, Mum took him our local hospital. The doctor looked into his mouth and nose and then produced a pair of tweezers and pulled out a long piece of fetid newspaper.

Generally, after a child had left us, we never heard of them again. However, with two of them we saw their names in the newspaper.

One was eighteen month old Leroy, who we christened, Lee-Lee. We loved that child. He was a fighter. He came to us suffering from Rickets, Malutrition and Scabies. Social Services back then always thought the best place for a child was with its mother.

People used to think that he was my dad’s son because they looked alike. I love this photo.

Dad in the hall of 94 with Lee Lee

 

Three times they tried and failed to get him back with his mother, and each time he came back to us.

Scan 9 (2)

Lee-Lee eventually thrived and he left us a happy boy.  When he left for the final time, Mum saw him holding his mother’s hand walking through town. She couldn’t approach him, even though it had been nine months since he was in her care. He turned and saw her. She knew he recognised her and desperately wanted to go to him. When he held out arm to her, she said it really upset her and she had to go home.

Lee made his way through the care system in the end living in various children’s homes. One day when he was fourteen, he and a friend were playing in a culvert in park and they got into trouble and shouted for help. A passer by when in to try and rescue the boys. He saved one, but he and Lee drowned.

Another sad story was Elliot, he had an unusual surname and thirty years later it was in the newspaper where a 32 year old man with the same name, and the father of two children had been shot dead in a gang killing.

I often wonder what became of the other children we had. If they spent their early years in care, they probably wouldn’t even remember us. They wouldn’t have any photographs of themselves as children, there would be no stories, nothing about their childhood and I find it sad, I can’t share them.

A few years ago I rang Manchester Social Services after watching a programme where a women who had been brought up in care approached them asking for information on herself. She was thrilled to find out where she was and to fill in details of her past. My parent’s files were in an archive, so there was no information available. I agreed to put all my photographs together along with stories about children I could remember in a file and send it electronically. Then if anyone came looking, they would at least know what they looked like as a child.

Some months later, I put the info together, sent it to the email address and it came bouncing back. It seemed she had left and no one was doing her job. I couldn’t get any help or anyone to pick up the phone. So now I have this information and nowhere to pass it on to, which I think is sad.

 

I Despair!

When my son lived at home, he was extremely forgetful. Even today, he suffers with remembering things.

I found this entry in an old diary and it me wonder if he had a hole at the side of his head where sense falls out.

On Saturday morning I asked Ian to put a small table up in the loft for me as there is no space for it and I didn’t want to throw it out.

I reminded him Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and now Wednesday as he showed me a hammer he’d bought at the pound shop.

“That’s handy,” I said, “Can you hammer down the nails that have risen on the door grip in the kitchen?”

“Sure,” he said, still examining his new purchase.

“Oh and don’t forget that table.”

“I’ll do it later.”

Later on that day, he was in the kitchen running the hot water for three dishes he’d taken to his room on consecutive days. The cereal in them had dried hard, so they were soaking before he washed them. As they did, he was making sandwiches for his dinner as he was on a late shift.

“I’m taking butties today, Mum, and some fruit. I was caught short yesterday with nothing to eat and no money.”

“Good idea. I’m just nipping out to the shop, now,” I said, putting on my coat and grabbing a bag.

“Ok, I’m going to work in minute.” He was licking the fork with the tuna and salad cream which he then tossed into the hot water with the soaking dishes.

“Don’t forget the washing up, and, oh and will you turn the washer off before you go?”

“Sure, ” he said. again.

I went out the door and paused on the step, should I remind him about the washing machine? No, I’ve just this second told him.

I returned after half and an hour and he had gone. As I opened the door, I saw the little table at the bottom of the stairs and I heard the washing machine spinning. I walked towards the kitchen and tripped over the nails on the carpet grip tearing my trousers. As I catapulted myself towards kitchen sink, I saw all the washing up, he’d not done.

Swearing, I turned round and there were his sandwiches, all packed and ready to go!

August Electric Press now live…

There are plenty of superb articles, short stories, and books to share in this magazine. My book Toxic is featured and look out for Victory75, a VE day anthology, I’ve written an article based on the story in the book. All reblogs of this will be gratefully appreciated.

Electric Press

The August 2020 edition of Electric Press – Literary Insights magazine is now online. Read for FREE by following this link

https://issuu.com/electricpress/docs/epaugust2020

EP6August20

We welcome contributions and submissions for the next edition of Electric Press magazine, the November 2020 edition. Click HEREfor details


View original post

Don’t You Love A Wedding!

By Karen J Mossman

We all love a good wedding and I like to give the bride and groom something different for their special day. Back in 2002 one of the popular crossing stitching magazines produced a wedding sampler. It was simple, but effective and I loved the colours. As a result, I’ve stitched it a total of seven times.

The last one was for a wedding in July. Because all the squares are lined with each other, I did make an error, not that it can be seen. I think I went wrong on the count of the bells in the middle. This resulted in the gap between one set of squares being slightly smaller than the rest. I don’t think it matters too much, though.

Over the seven times I’ve stitched these I’ve made some right blunders and as I was about to go into the framers with this one, I had to double check I’d not put Brain instead of Brian. How many times have you seen this mis-spelt? Luckily though, I’d done it correctly.

Which is more than I can say for this one for my son Ian’s wedding.

I had it beautifully framed and when I got it home someone pointed out I had spelt December wrong. I had actually put Decemember. How I didn’t notice, I don’t know. It was glaringly obvious. So I had to take the strip off the back and very carefully unpick the weaving and re-stitch it. It turned out to be a good job because you can’t tell.

However, that wasn’t the only error. The centre bell on the right was elongated and this meant the squares at the side wouldn’t line up and I had a gap in the centres ones. It was too much for me to unpick it. So I placed the name of the venue there to hide it. I think its very unique!

Another was for Chris and Karen, a girl from the office. It was the week before her wedding and I had it framed ready to be wrapped. It was only in a conversation I overheard she mentioned was marrying on the 4th. I had stitched 5th September. So again I had to carefully take the back off, unpick the weaving stitches and re-do the date. She never knew and I don’t think you can even tell.

There weren’t any errors on this one and it turned out as planned

I wrote to a cross stitch magazine and had my letter published, which was fun.

This was the second one I did in 2004 and there was one other another where the couples have split up.

I’m glad most were error free. I have one more to for next year now.

Pictures telling Stories, The Ghost on the Stairs

by Karen J Mossman

Untitled design (1)I don’t really know whether I believe in ghosts. I’ve never had an encounter, nor do I want one. I’m open-minded and believe that others have seen them and they believe.

The one thing I do know is that I love to write about them.

With this book, I had such great fun because I love my main character. Cassie, who is a clairvoyant. She is fun and sassy at times. Before I knew it I had mixed up two elements that generally don’t go together, or do they?

Scary ghosts and humour, because this isn’t a comedic book, it’s deadly serious. I believe in writing about life as it is and so many people find humour in the things that frighten them most, Cassie is no exception.

The first photograph shows the book cover, which I absolutely love. I designed one myself but was never happy with it. Then, Paul White, from Electric Eclectic made this one for me and it says just what I needed it too, plus it is very clever having the book on the stairs, who’d have thought of that!

The second photo is the creature that haunts the house. It started out as a man but soon turned into something demonic. Here is a small excerpt.

I’d brought Damien into this and he was good enough to stand by me, the least I could do was to protect him. He was a non-believer; he shouldn’t be seeing this.

Screen Shot 2020-07-13 at 13.07.01

The picture underneath the ghoul is Cassie as she stares in wonderment around her. She sees more than she ever tells and has learnt to leave the undead to make their appearances on their own.

Finally, the biker is Damien, one of two sporting brothers who are also models. Winning cups and the hearts of girls is what they do. Daniel is married to discover the house he bought with his wife his haunted and she refuse to go inside.

Damien comes to Cassie to ask for help. She soon falls in love with him but is aware of his disbelief in all she does and fears their relationship may not last because of it.

Damien’s love for Cassie is severely tested, and it may be too much for him to stay with her.

 

 

Gifting a Book

by Karen J Mossman

Here’s what you do if you use Amazon.com:

  • Head over to Amazon UK or Amazon US
  • Find the eBook you want to send as a gift.
  • Click on the ‘Buy for Others’ button
  • Enter the personal email address of your recipient
  • Enter a delivery date and an optional personal message
  • Click Place Your Order

The buy for others button is country-specific. I get around that by asking someone in that country to buy for me, and if you both have Paypal, then it is easy.

Screen Shot 2020-03-29 at 16.16.04
This is where the option is.
Screen Shot 2020-03-29 at 16.16.21
When you click on it, this is what you get.

 

 

%d bloggers like this: