The Day of the Move

movers

For the weeks preceding the day of the move all I wanted to do was go to bed because it couldn’t come quick enough.

When April 1st finally arrived, I felt I had stopped rushing forward and instead it was rushing towards me.

We’d moved out of our house the day before, which was the Thursday. Hubby was staying over night in a local Premier Inn to handover the keys in the morning.

I’d driven to Kimnel Bay to stay with a friend overnight as it was on the way to Anglesey where our new home was.

We planned that I would leave Betty’s house around 11 am as monies generally start transferring around midday. If we were lucky it would happen sooner rather than later as I’d heard people can be kept waiting for hours.

However, the plan was that the dog and I would drive to Holyhead, where the estate agents were based and wait at the sea front for the phone call saying we could collect our keys. Hubby was traveling directly to our bungalow with the removal van and waiting for me there.

That was the plan and as with all good plans, they  go wrong. As I was packing the car to leave, I was excited and anxious at the same time. At that point I was actually a homeless person, and that made me giggle.

Just as I was about to put the dog in the car, I received a text from my son in law. It said – “Mother dear, (his pet name for me) I don’t quite know how to tell you this….”

At this point I should explain that my daughter is 7 months pregnant. Her bump is on the large side and she had been having problems with her hips and suffering from extreme tiredness. Also, her blood pressure had been higher than it should have been, and she had been sick in the street whilst out walking.

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I knew she was at the hospital that day and was having a scan. So I was expecting some news.

The text continued: “They think they have found a second heart beat….”

At this point my legs turned to jelly as I tried to tell Betty why I had suddenly turned pale. She made me sit down and I immediately rang my son in law back, but there was no reply so I assumed they were in with the doctor.

A million thoughts were running through my head. She couldn’t possibly be expecting twins, and I gasped out this thought. Her two year old had been a difficult baby, how could she possible cope with two of them?

Betty made me a hot drink and told me to try and calm down. “People do, people manage,” she said.

“There is no history of twins in the family,” I said, thinking that the last set was three generations ago and wouldn’t count. “How can she possibly cope with Luka as well?”

Oh my goodness, I was moving house, two hours away from her now.

The shock manifested itself as tears. My heart thumped loudly as I rang hubby. Luckily he had stopped at Starbucks for a coffee, and took the news with a similar state of shock.

Betty hugged me told me not to worry and that it would all work out. I was shaking so much I couldn’t even contemplate driving.

Hubby said he would try and ring them, but came to the same conclusion as I did when there was no reply. He texted me to calm down, it would all right, he said.

I cannot remember the last time I had had such a meltdown. It was a horrible feeling. I wanted to get my keys to my new home but couldn’t possibly drive.

Then hubby texted me again. “Have you seen the date?”

I turned to Betty stunned. “What’s the date?” I said, unable to believe what I was thinking. They couldn’t have, could they?

For a moment she looked puzzled and finally I saw the penny drop. “Oh no!” she gasped. “That’s a horrible things to do!” April Fools day and I had been had.

I couldn’t delay the drive any longer and put the dog in the car and said goodbye. Betty looked so worried, I wasn’t really fit to drive, but what else could I do?

Just as I was about to pull out of the drive, my daughter rang. “You didn’t believe us, did you?” A fresh wave of emotion swept over me and lets say I was a little short with her as I rang off.

I was still shaken as I drove through Kimnel Bay and Abergele in Wales. I hit the North Wales Expressway with tears streaming down my face. I wasn’t angry, they honestly didn’t think. It wasn’t a relief of her not having twins either. It was just the shock of it.

I had dreamed for so long of driving towards Anglesey to collect the keys to my new home. I should have been excited and happy, but I felt nothing at all.1-107_0232

Finally, I arrived on the island and as the view opened up into fields, I became calmer and felt happier. My phone, which was in a holder on the dashboard, began displaying text messages from hubby. The sale had gone through and I could go directly to the estate agents to collect the keys.

Feeling cheerier, despite the pouring rain, I approached the traffic lights at the end of the expressway. I noticed a mini driving a little erratically, as if they weren’t concentrating on which lane they were supposed to be in.

I pulled to a stop and was stationary with my handbrake on when I was suddenly shunted from behind. I looked in the mirror and there were two girls in the front. I couldn’t see the driver because of the reflections in the windscreen,  but it was obvious the passenger knew they had done something wrong.

The traffic lights turned to green and I pulled in at the first opportunity and watched them drive by without stopping. I was so shocked, even if there was no damage, it would have been courtesy to do so.

I then brought up the picture of the map which would take me directly to the estate agent’s office, only I took a wrong turn and got lost. I pulled over and tried to bring up Google Maps, but there was no signal and it wouldn’t load. I jumped out and checked the rear of the car and as suspected, there was no damage. I drove a little further and into a car park where I saw a lady and I asked her if she knew where they estate agents were situated. She did. I was in the right place.

The dog and I got out of the car in the rain, so I had to put her coat on, dropping my keys under the seat as I did so. Then I couldn’t find my purse for the pay and display car parking fee.

Eventually it came together and the keys were collected and I drove to the bungalow where hubby was waiting. I was pleased to see the removal men hadn’t arrived as it gave hubby and I a chance to look around on our own.

The bungalow was lovely and even better than we remembered from our viewing in January.

The removal men arrived soon after and it took them just over two hours to unload all our worldly goods.

While they were doing so, I looked out into the small garden at the rear of the bungalow and saw dog poo, so armed with poo bags, I went to remove it. Unfortunately it wasn’t alone and the whole garden was full of it. These poos, by sheer volume,  belonged to more than one dog for sure. My dog is a Yorkie and these were from something much bigger. It was totally disgusting. I removed 15 bags worth in the end.

The following day, I realised we weren’t too clever in packing and labelling of the boxes. I couldn’t find any towels or shampoo. I resorted to using a body wash and the dog’s towel and as I turned on the shower it broke. Not knowing the controls, I turned the thread on the tap too far and snapped it. So I ended up washing my hair under the taps in the sink instead.

Two weeks after the move, as I write this, I am happy to say we eventually found the towels and are almost settled in. I say almost because we are waiting for our broadband to be fitted. This will enable us to have WIFI. I have been using my phone’s data to access social medial and of course that costs money.

I am also waiting for carpets. The previous owner had wooden floors fitted throughout, which I must admit do look very nice, but practically it doesn’t work for us. We love the comfort of carpets. Everything has an echo and the dog tends to clip nosily around the floors and can’t jump onto our laps without sliding across the room.

floor

 

It’s going to be a beautiful home and already the view from our window is no comparison.

 

 

 

 

The Last Day

I was thinking about it as today is our last day in this house. I’ve lived in the Trafford area of Manchester since 1976. My family moved into the Old Trafford area and I married and moved to Stretford, then we moved to Flixton for 7 years before moving into this house where we have been for the last 28 years.

I know this area very well, every road, every short cut. I’ve seen it change over the years. I’ve seen new roads built, houses and building demolished. I could almost drive blind folded, except that would be dangerous.

I’m very familiar with everything and it feels very strange doing things and knowing it is the last time. I won’t be coming back to this area again. I will go to Stockport to my daughter’s house, which is about 15 miles from here and my son has now moved away to Norwich. So I have no reason to venture back this way and I don’t particularly want to.

We have someone in to give the kitchen and cooker a good clean. I want it to be sparkling for the young couple buying their first house. My four walls will become theirs and it feels surreal.

It’s hard to know when it will sink in exactly; I’m never coming back here; I’m never going to stand in my lounge and look out of the window again. I’m not going to see the plants change as spring turns to summer.

It’s goodbye to everything. I’m not sad. I’m melancholy. This has been a big part of my life and now it is time to move on.


Related to:

  1. Before the move
  2. This post

Cover Story

by Karen J Mossman

When I had completed my first book in 2012, my editor suggested I change the name from its working title of Love and War. It was difficult to come up with something new and original, and I went with Star Struck. I had no idea how to find a cover and was thrilled when he suggested one for me. At this point I hadn’t got a title.

Draft Book Cover

However, as I discovered the world of the Indie Author, Markie Maddon, who is also a writer, said she would make a more appropriate one as this didn’t really much.

A friend who is a photographer had a great photograph of Salford Quays at night. I bought it from him and used it as the background. Markie found an illustration of a girl and put it together for me.

Star Struck Kindle

 

Joanna had very vibrant chestnut coloured hair, and although I liked the cover, the girl was never a suitable fit.  At the time, I didn’t know how or where to look for something different, so I went with it. I did notice, however, that when I ordered some print copies, she came out even more ginger!

In order to get my book more exposure, I employed a virtual assistant called Karina Kantas, She me a book trailer and teasers as well as promoting my book.  She asked me lots of questions to understand the story and come up with something to entice the readers to buy it.

One of the important questions she asked was how the front cover and title related to the story.

Originally, I wrote it spanning the 80s and 90s, and then decided it was too big, and split it into two books. The second part wasn’t out at this point. The published books was more about Joanna and her relationships and Karina was right. The cover didn’t relate well.  I needed yet another cover. This time one one that truly reflected the storyline. That was when I came across Ravensborn Covers Desiigner. I explained what I wanted and who Joanna was.

Using Andy Hatton of AMH Photography, who had provided the previous background for the book, made it a good place to start. Looking again through his collection, I found one of Chester Road in Stretford, Manchester at night and sent it to Anika at Ravensborn and the cover she produced was so perfect I will never have to change it again. Once I came up with the title, I knew I had it right at last.

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Read more about the story here

Didsbury, where Joanna’s Journey is set.

Joanna’s Journey is set in Didsbury, which is a suburb of Manchester. Many of the houses are large Victorian semi-detached ones. In the seventies were converted from affluent family houses to flats. When I went to the area in the Autumn 2015 to take photographs for this article, I saw that many had reverted to family homes once again.

This is a typical house where Joanna would have lived.

Clydebank

Back in 1974 I visited someone who lived in the top flat of a house in Clyde Road and the image of the room stayed with me. I transferred that image of what I remembered to make it Joanna’s flat on the top floor.

 

Predictive Text

by Karen J Mossman

Over the last few weeks I’ve realised that my texts and status updates have gone really bizarre and I thought it was just me being careless. But it’s not exactly.

When I look at what I’ve just written, it’s weird, really odd and I fell like I must have lost my mind during the typing of it, but I haven’t.

Since the last IOS update on my iPhone, it now predicts words groups. So as I am typing with one finger and I just happen to pause, it then predicts what word I’m likely to use next. It gets it wrong every time and it can be so infuriating as my texts just look like gobbledygook.

We should read back what we have written before any post on Twitter and Facebook, but I have to admit, I don’t always. I suddenly read it back and it looks like I’m illiterate. Along with when your finger occasionally hits the wrong key and it ‘predicts’ the word you were trying to write, and failing miserably. I just end up looking like an idiot!

Just saying!

Before The Move

by Karen J Mossman

It’s two weeks before our move from Manchester to Anglesey, and we went on a visit to the island to look around. It felt surreal standing outside our new home trying to imagine what it would be like to live there. We’d lived in our current home for twenty-eight years.

I’d always wanted kerb appeal, and I felt I could achieve it here. The bungalow hadn’t been lived in for almost three years. The driveway would come up nicely with a jet wash and we could replace the house sign and outside light. The front could be adorned with colourful flowers and the prospect of it all is very exciting.

We’d brought our children up in our Manchester house, I’d shed tears and laughed in that house. It had seen the worst of times and the best of times. My parents, my in-laws, elderly aunts and uncles had all graced that house before they passed on. I knew every nook and cranny; every squeak and noise. It has been our sanctuary and wherever we went in the world; it was the place we returned to. It’s where we felt safe; our castle, our home, our life.

It is a semi-detached building on a crowded road in a big city. We bought it because it was bigger and cheaper than the area we were living in when we first married and just 5 miles down the road. Our family was expanding, and we had outgrown the house we bought when first married.

 

In our Manchester house, we could only get one car on the drive, the other gets parked at the front. When visitors come, they have to find a parking space in front of someone else’s house. I get annoyed if I can’t park outside my own house due to other people’s visitors. It was a constant battle.

The gap between the house next door was about twelve feet. Our bathroom windows face each other and I can hear them, and they can probably hear us. Privacy is not always there.

It was a complex estate with main roads, side roads and cul-de-sacs all backing on to each other. Each garden fits against another, some longer, some short, and I often wondered how the plans were ever drawn up in 1925 to make it fit the way it does.

A mosque opened down the road to accommodate the growing number of Asian families. The streets filled with cars and at certain times of the day, it was almost impossible to move.

It was like that all over our area because we also lived near a big shopping complex, a football ground, and a conference centre. Some weekends thousands of people spilled into the area. Traffic was constantly nose to tail, and getting to places could be difficult.

Our house had a small kitchen, long hallway and a through lounge, with three bedrooms and a modest bathroom upstairs. We were lucky that the garden was south facing. Our tiny patch of lawn got so much sun that in the height of summer, a full line of washing will dry within two hours.

There were houses at the back of us, and some of them looked into each other’s windows. We were lucky that the ones behind us were at an angle, so we have a view right through the centre and more importantly, we are were not overlooked by anyone.

 

When I walk the dog, I walked along the main road and always looked for different places to walk and downside streets where it tended to be quieter. We had several schools around and bicycles can come up behind me without warning and rush hour was so noisy with the culmination of car engines and motorbikes. It quietened after 9.30, so I had to choose my times to venture outside.

Our new property is a detached bungalow. It’s the front driveway is square and we could fit four or five cars if we wanted. Although the idea was to downsize, I’m not sure we really have. All the rooms are larger, especially the kitchen, and we have a garage too.

Because the bedrooms are on the same level, it will be a different way of living. I love the idea of getting up early in the morning and taking a few steps to the kitchen to make us a cup of coffee and take it back to bed.

It has three bedrooms and one of them we are turning into a dining room/office and eventually we shall have a conservatory built. Having lived in just the one through room, we will have a vast choice of places to be. With the kitchen being so large, we can spend time in it. At present when my husband cooks, he gets annoyed if I go into the kitchen as it’s so small that I get in his way. No chance of that happening now.

We have a back garden and a side garden, both of them large. As summer approaches we will again have a choice of where we want to spend time.

The bungalow is situated in the countryside and five minutes from the beach. There are many beaches on the island of Anglesey and even in tourist season, it is still never as busy as where we are now.

It’s a two and a bit hour’s drive from Manchester and I feel it is more of a community and all of us sharing something special.

On Facebook and Twitter, I could join Anglesey groups and there is so much going on and I look forward to being part of it. I have plans for the future as our whole way of life will change. It is the perfect time of year as winter turns to spring, then the summer and we can enjoy both the inside and the outside of our new home.


 

Henshaws Society For the Blind

by Karen J Mossman

During the 1880s, my great, great-grandfather, Charles Henry Stott, was a stockbroker by trade, and visited places throughout Manchester and then sent them as articles to a local newspaper. In 1889, he put them together in a book and named it Various Subjects. This is one of the stories and is about an institution founded by Thomas Henshaw in 1837 to provide support, advice, and training to anyone affected by sight loss and other disabilities.

Written in Charles’ own words.


 

We received an invitation from the board of management of Henshaw’s Blind Asylum, which most people who reside in Oldham know it is situated at Old Trafford, to the annual distribution of prizes by Oliver HEYWOOD Esq., J.P., the High Sheriff of Lancashire. The invitation card bore a very attractive programme; at 2 o’clock there was to be an inspection of the workshops, schools, gymnasium, and other parts of the asylum. At 3 o’clock a hymn, distribution of prizes, and an address by the High Sheriff. At 4 o’clock a concert and at 5, refreshments.

Sighted visitors to the institution could not fail to be struck by the marked cleanliness that was everywhere to be seen.

In visiting the institution for the blind we always consider that visitors convey the greatest amount of pleasure to the inmates by entering into conversation with them, not as sightless beings, but as ordinary mortals. The intelligent blind appreciate, understand, and know more than many who have the assistance of sight. With the blind, there is a concentration of thought, no attractions elsewhere, and no wandering of ideas. Of course, there are grades of blind people, as they are grades of those who are able to see.

Our first halting point after we’d had a few words with the secretary was in what we were told was the men’s yard, where we noticed three young men arm in arm promenading, and who on our saluting them thus, “Well, young men, you are quite enjoying yourselves; it’s a nice day.” The prompt acknowledgment was, “Yes, it’s a very nice day.” Although we were told by the trio that the boys’ yard was through the door at the end, the gymnasium next commanded our attention.

Here we found a large room, with gymnastic apparatus as near perfection as it is possible to approach perfection. There were girls suitably dressed, short blouses, waist belts, and trousers and boys and young men ready for any athletic display. A girl who tackled the Swiss ladder, a very intricate piece of work, might almost be called a contortionist. The instructor, Sergeant Grane, kept her well before him, but there was no fear of a mishap as she understood her part well. Here were also given exercises on parallel bars, a balancing beam, horizontal bar, rope ladder, bridge ladders, spool ropes, and ladder plank. The smiles of the girl gymnasts silently but effectively told us that they consider the afternoon quite un jour de fete.

From there we went to the workshops, Here we found men making baskets. They told us there had been in the institution between seven and sixteen years.

Having spoken to the young men, we were just too late to see the work in the schoolrooms, but not too late to have a few words with the pupils. In one room there had been reading, in another writing, a third arithmetic and in a fourth, the pupils had been busy with maps. There were also sewing and knitting rooms and lastly, we came across some young scholars who had been building on the Kindergarten system.

The pupils were anxious, perhaps even impatient to receive their prizes. These were to be given out in the dining room, which was crowded. The recipients had distinguished themselves in Latin, general excellence, history, arithmetic, geography, general improvement, physiology, dictation, writing, general progress, and general industry. All, big and little, those who were young, and those who had arrived at a mature age, there were all sizes and all ages. They seemed to be well pleased with what they had received, books, and writing frames being the most numerous.

The distribution of prizes, address by the High Sheriff and the short speeches by gentlemen on the platform being over, the visitors next proceeded to the concert hall where the pupils waited eagerly for us. So that our readers may know what it was like, we repeat the programme:-

Part song             “Break, break, break, on the cold grey stones, O Sea,” Macfarren
Pianoforte           “Wellenspiel,” Spindler
Trio                       “The Flower Greeting.” Curschman
Solo pianoforte   Grand Fantasia – “Mose in Egitto,” Thalberg
Chorus and solo  “Daughter of Error”
Bishop Song         “There is Music in the Fountain,” Donizetti
Song piano           “La Source,” Blumenthal
Song                       “The Day is done,” Balfe
Glee                        “Thy Voice, O Harmony,” Webb

So charmingly and carefully did a pupil sing the “Daughter of Error” that every word seemed to have been mentally weighed before utterance had been given to it. Miss Crighton deserves words of praise for her song “The Day is Done”. We regret that thanks were not accorded to those who took part in this entertainment, but as nobody moved in the matter we may conclude that such proceedings are not encouraged.

Today, on looking at the 48th annual report which was presented at the annual meeting held in February, we read that: “Today there are 157 inmates in the asylum, 48 men, 47 boys, 29 women, and 33 girls. At the end of 1886 there were 143. During the year 1887, 42 were admitted, 34 left, and three died, making the number by 31st December, 148. In November last, nine were elected, who have since this year commenced come into the residence, thus making the total at the date of this report, 157, as stated above. Of these 157 we find that four came from Oldham, and one from Royton. The ages of these five persons range from 11 to 53 years. We also find that the youngest blind person, a male, in the institution is eight years old and the oldest male is 57 and came here on 17th November 1856. Another male resident, however, was admitted on February 21st 1841. Of the females, the youngest is nine years old and the oldest 67, who was admitted in the 20th February 1843.

Under the heading of “The Cause of Blindness,” we find amaurosis, accident, brain disease, congenital, convulsions, cornea, from infancy, granular conjunctiva, glaucoma, inflammation, inflammation of the brain, measles, neglect in infancy, ophthalmia, optic neuritis, purulent inflammation, scarlet fever, sympathetic disease, smallpox, staphyloma, ulceration of the cornea, vaccination, and water on the brain. Perhaps if of all the causes of blindness that we give, that of “neglect in infancy” will command most sympathy, as preventable diseases, when they become incurable, are the saddest of all.

Those who feel anxious to visit the institution will be glad to learn that it is open to visitors weekdays from 11 o’clock to 1 o’clock and from 3 till 5, except on Friday and Saturday afternoons. Subscribers and donors, upon signing the visitor’s book have free admission. To concerts, strangers are admitted by the purchase of articles that are exhibited for sale or by giving silver at the entrance.

Henshaws are still around today, although they are in a different place now. You can visit their website to find out what they are doing today.

 

 

 

Days Like This

by Karen J Mossman

My sister had just had a baby. It was 1999, and we had one of those new mobile landlines that didn’t have an aerial on it. So I rang her, and we talked for a while. Later, I went shopping and came away with lots of things I hadn’t intended to buy. One was a pair of earrings. I usually wear dangly one, but this time I bought some stud ones for a change.  I tried them on and was about to visit my mum and the earring I was wearing matched my necklace so decided not to wear the studs this time. Now bear with me. This is relevant.

As I drove to my mum’s house with my daughter, she asked me why I asked wearing a poppy.  She was with me when we both bought one for £2 each. I glanced down and saw 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 looked in the mirror and sighed. I’d only put one of them back in.

Later I went into my handbag for my phone instead there was the house phone. I sighed again.

 

It’s not the first time I had days like this.  On another occasion, I was getting dressed in the morning and put on a big cardigan and went downstairs. I was thinking about how it was heavier than normal and when I got to the bottom realised a velcro strapped shoe had attached itself to the bottom.

Later, about to take the dog for a walk I stood in the hallway, and 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 there wondering if anything hurt or had snapped. My two new knees felt intact, my shoulder, where I landed felt ok, too. My coccyx was a little jarred, but thankfully no damage.
After a moment, I moved carefully around, so 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 go and 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 looked at me as if I was stupid. “I do live 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 sorts of things happen to you? It can’t be just me, surely?

Embarrassing!

by Karen J Mossman

One day a few years ago I heard Dr. Hook’s song A little Bit More on the radio. It’s a beautiful ballad, but whenever I hear it now, it makes me smile because it reminds me of my dad.

Of course, a song Screen Shot 2016-03-24 at 15.13.18like that isn’t supposed to remind you of your dad, and that makes me chuckle, too.

The reason was that back in 1976 we lived in Bury, Lancashire. Dad was a policeman with the Manchester Police and 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 were my usual commute.

Dad worked shifts and sometimes he would leave the house at a similar time to me, so I had 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. I hated having to get out and go into an old Ford Cortina that didn’t seem to warm up till we had reached our destination.

This song often came on the radio and I’d be sitting next to 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 squirmed with embarrassment. The song was obviously about sex and you didn’t talk about sex in front of your dad!  I remember developing 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 went 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 mother, and especially when you are only 16. Who was the more embarrassed, I don’t know? I just remember us sinking lower and lower in the seat.

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

It was so embarrassing!

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 and added some foliage.  For days she watched the butterfly grow in its cocoon sand reported back to me on its progress.

“I can see it moving, inside,” she told me.

Then as the days went on, she’d come back with things like, “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.

Mum was heartbroken.

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