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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Playground Games

Screen Shot 2019-08-16 at 10.19.55When I was in primary school, which would have been in the sixties, we used to play proper games in playground. Playtime was in the morning, lunch time, and one in the afternoon.

I still remember many of the games. One of my favouties was called French Skipping, I never knew what was French about it! We’d spend hours threading rubber bands together until is was big enough to have one girl each end, and one to skip. (Occasionally a boy would play but it was mainly us girls.)

Another game was What Time is it Mister Wolf. One person would face the wall and start calling out the time, one o’clock, two o’clock etc., and at any given moment the wolf could spin round to face the advancing children. They would have to creep up towards the wolf while he wasn’t looking. If he turned and saw you moving then you were out. Whoever got to the wolf first without being caught, became the next Mr Wolf.

Everybody skipped, there was nothing more fun than a big long rope and lots of girls, and sometimes boys skipping in the middle, too.

We never seemed to be short of games to play, and they were such great fun. In my new book, The Magic of Stories, I talk about them in detail and the accomping songs.

Who remembers I had a little bubble car number ninety eight? Or A sailor went to sea, sea, sea, to see what he could see, see see, and even the clapping song – Under the bambush, under the tree, whoah, whoah, whoah? What is a bambush? I never thought about that before, they were all just words that we knew off by heart.

What games did you play and what was your favourite, see if you can answer using a gif.

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My Two Dads

I came across this on an old blog I used to keep, and thought it appropiate to post for Father’s Day.

Once upon a time I had two dads, one with hard brown eyes and the other with soft ones.

The dad with the hard eyes was a police officer who worked long shifts. He had a short temper and shouted at us for making too much noise.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, long hours, four children, and a wage that was barely enough to support a family.

I hated it when mum used those words, “Wait till your dad gets home!” The sound of the front door closing made me dread those hard, flat, angry eyes,

“Apologise to your mother,” or “Get up to your room now!” Was what he usually said.

It was worse when I got older and given a curfew,  as all my friends were allowed to come home when they liked. Dad always wanted to know where I was going and who I was going with. He disapproved of my ‘going into town’ because that was ‘his patch’ and he knew all the bad pubs and clubs. Without explanation he would ban me.

Now I know he was being protective and although it caused conflict,  I hated him laying down the law.

Now I just wish he was back here with me where we could talk about it, and I could tell him how I finally understood.

My other dad, the one with soft brown eyes, would make me laugh. “Give me your hand and I shall tell your fortune,” he would say. Then taking hand he’d peered at it, “I can see a farmhouse,” I looked closely and saw nothing but a criss-cross of lines. “And here,” he said, “is a pond.” Then he spat in my hand.

“Dad!” I would scream, and it was funny as I watched him do it to my siblings.

Holidays were fun too. We’d walk up hills and down the other side. We’d collect seashells on the beach and climb rocks. He built us, not just sand castles, but racing cars with seats and steering wheels.

He’d cover us in sand so that just our head was showing, or take us to a field where we would chase moles that only he could see.

Whereever he went, we followed. He’d do silly things like walk with a limp and we’d copy him, or he’d run and then walk and we’d all bang into each other.

He couldn’t tell a joke because he’d always forget the punch line, or the laughter in his eyes gave it all away.

The police officer finally hung up his helmet and the hard brown eyes became soft all the time.

Now we’ve grown up and left home, Dad and Mum had a their second family, four adopted children. They never saw the policeman with the hard eyes.

Dad eventually ran our of energy to run along beaches and began to walk with a real limp.  He still continued to tells fortunes, and his laughing eyes always gave away the jokes.

He died of pancreatic cancer in September 2010. Every father’s day, I remember these things and they make me smile.

Just Our Imagination

I was reading through other WordPress sites, as you do, and came across this interesting article about riding a bike.

It took me back to being a child when when played on the streets for hours with them. My brother and I used to pretend they were horses and we had an army of men. We’d ride down the centre of the road beckoning behind us with our hands, shouting “Come on, men!” Ten thousand men followed us!

What sticks in my mind the most is how I think back tand there really was ten thousand men there and we were on horseback, not our bikes. There really is nothing like a child’s imagination.

Read the full article called Look Mum, No Hands! on Stevie Turner’s blog.

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Love Quilts UK

by Karen J Mossman

It’s been a while since I stitched anything for Love Quilts and when an email dropped into my mail box recently thanking for me my contribution, I was suprised, and delighted. That was when I remembered how much I loved cross stitching fo them.

Love Quilts UK makes quilts for children under the age of nineteen who suffer from life threatening or life long illnesses.

I started stitching for them in 2012 when I applied for one for my sister. Each quilt contains twelve cross stitch squares and the child or parent chooses the theme.

As a stitcher, you would check the website regularly to see if any quilts were opening up and failing that, you can stitch an ‘Any Child’ square. These are usually used to make up emergency quilts, or to fill an incomplete quilt.

So the email I received was an ‘Any Child’ square I had stitched in May 2013. So no wonder I had forgoten! In the email, we usually get a message from the family. and in this one we received the following:

“Thank you so much for the absolutely amazing quilt, we as a family are completely in love with it. The detail and quality is completely incredible.”

It makes it so worthwhile seeing this messages and having been on the receiving end, I really don’t know which is more of a thrill – receiving the quilt or seeing a quilt I have contributed to.

You can see all the squares I’ve stiched here.

All these quilts are simply stunning, don’t you think?

#crossstitch #quilting #sickchildren #children #charity #quilts #love #children

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