My First Job

I haven’t blogged for ages, for a number of reasons, mainly because I lost ‘my mojo’Nothing grabbed me, or made me feel compelled to put pen to paper… Or rather, finger to keyboard!. And I’ve always said I wouldn’t blog for the sake of I, just to publish posts.

Then I saw the Post40bloggers’ writing prompt… And I was suddenly taken back to when I was 14 and desperate to earn some money on my own.

I lived in a small town ,without many opportunities for weekend or holiday jobs. . There weren’t the residential homes like there are now, where you could get a job as supper girl or laundry assistant, as you could when my daughter was looking for weekend and school holiday work. And I wasn’t old enough to be a Saturday girl at Boots….. Though I did achieve that ambition when I attained the magical age of 16….. Haven’t many of us started our journey into the world of employment doing that?

So what did that leave me with? I wasn’t sure, and wasn’t sure how to go about finding one. I was very shy and pretty quiet ( now now, stop your laughing!). Then
, walking through town one day I noticed a local tea rooms were looking for a waitress. So I plucked up all my courage and went in. I had never stepped foot inside it before. Meeting friends in tearoom so didn’t really happen then.

It was a lovely building with a big bay window and lots of oak beams. But as a 14 year old I didn’t really appreciate that then.

Inside I was greeted by an abundance of the most amazing looking cakes, the likes of which I had never seen before.

The owners were a young couple who worked and lived there. Sadly I can’t remember their names now. Mr. Tearooms did the cooking, and Mrs. Tearooms was responsible for the amazing bakes.

After a short chat they offered me a shift the next Saturday to see how I got on, and if I would be any good. I was to wear a black skirt and white shirt or blouse, and flat black shoes. No money was discussed, but I was very excited! And mum and dad were pleased I had found something.

Saturday came round, and I was up bright and early, raring to go. When I arrived Mrs. Tearooms gave me a frilly white apron to wear and a little ‘frilly thing’ to wear on my head. Yes, I know, now you’re all seeing Julie Walters in her famous restaurant sketch!!

The food was simple, compared to what we accept as the norm today, Welsh Rarebit, poached eggs on toast , scones, and the like. Lots of sandwiches (made with sliced white bread) and, of course, those amazing cakes.
Tea and coffee was served in bone china cups and saucers.

My job was to take the customer’s orders, and make the tea and coffee. And do the washing up. No dishwasher. I had never even seen a coffee machine before! And, going on my friend’s comments about my tea making skills now, I’m amazed anyone ever drank the stuff I made for them then!

It was a busy day, and the time flew past very quickly.And boy, did my feet ache at the end of the day! I don’t remember making any mistakes. Or Mr and Mrs Tearooms were too kind to mention them. Anyway, they offered me a job. And paid me for the day I’d just done. Not only that, but I had tips as well… I remember vividly that they came to £12 and on top of my wages I thought I was rich!! I danced my way home.

As I became more confident I was allowed to make the sandwiches…. And whip the cream for the Victoria sponges! I never rose to the dizzy heights of being allowed to help bake them though. And I was always very nervous about slicing the portions for fear of not giving people equal sized ones!

I loved it there. We had lots of regular customers, (whom I thought were very sophisticated when they came for their cream teas), and I got to know many of them, to the extent I would know what they were going to order before they said anything!! Creatures of habits

At the end of the day, when all the customers had left and we’d washed, and cleaned, and tidied, we would sit down and have a drink and Mr. Tearooms would make me something to eat. If there was any cake left (there wasn’t very often) we would have a slice. If, after that, there was any left, I was allowed to take some home to mum and dad and my sister.

I worked there every Saturday and in the week during school holidays for over a year, until Mr and Mrs Tearooms announced they were having a baby, selling the business, and moving back to be nearer their families. I had hoped it would still be a tearoom and I could stay on with the new owners, but it was changed into an antique shop. And with that ended my foray into the world of hospitality.

Over the years it has been many things, including an Italian restaurant, and is now an exclusive restaurant that only opens 2 nights a week, and you have to make reservations way in advance. I haven’t eaten there yet, but it’s on the list. And I shall be intrigued to see what they’ve done with the interior.

But it will always hold a special place in my heart as what I considered to be a sophisticated tearoom, and as the place that gave me my first taste of employment and having my own money. Something I have never forgotten.

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Count Your Blessings

We all get so wrapped up in our lives, that until something happens to stop us in our tracks, we just carry on in our little bubble

There’s so much suffering, poverty, hardship happening  in  the world today that some days it just seems ‘the norm’ in newspapers and on tv, and perhaps we occasionally become a little blasé. So it’s not until things actually affect us do we stop.

Recently a few things have happened,  within the family and to friends, which have made realise how much I have to be thankful for.

A couple of weeks ago Son2 (Master Chef) was driving home from work around midnight. He works about 26 miles away from home, and is usually returning late at night after long days in the kitchen.  And because he knows he’s tired he’s conscious of keeping his speed down in case his reactions aren’t as quick as others may be. And thank god he was this night. He  was driving around a bend, only about 3 miles from home, only to be met by a car coming at him at about 60 mph….. On the his side of the road.  MC swerved to try and avoid him, but not enough and he was hit head on.The driver of the other car abandoned  his vehicle and “legged it” The car is a complete write off. Luckily, and goodness know how, he escaped with relatively minor injuries. Back, fractured ribs, sprained knee. And thumb. Though they are likely to keep him off work for a month at least. The emergency crews were fantastic. (Right down to the fireman who took charge of his chef’s knives and ensured they were returned to me the following morning.)  As were the staff in A&E the next day… Including the doctors, who despite what Jeremy Hunt would like us to believe, were there in abundance, and working hard.

Shock affects people in different ways. I’m not sure whether MC has been hit by it properly yet. Me? Tears flowed in the privacy of the bathroom. Tears of shock and fear that I could have lost him, tears of relief that I didn’t.  MC had a photo of his car, but wouldn’t let me see as he didn’t want me having nightmares. However they came on the Monday night after I’d taken him to collect the rest of his belongings. There was no front left on his car at all, and how he ever got out in one piece I do not know.  His guardian angel was definitely working overtime that night, and he’s lost another of his 9 lives. He’s got 7 left!  A car can be replaced…even though it was his pride and joy.

More importantly he is (along with his sister and brother) my pride and joy. And alive.

There are 2 other things which have had an effect  on me.

The first concerns a lovely girl I know, have known since she was in her teens. The daughter of a very good friend of mine. A beautiful, talented, funny young lady, heading towards her 30th year, with the world at her feet. We’ve done stuff on stage together, and partied together. I’m always amazed when the  ‘youngsters ‘ want to spend their Saturday nights with us ‘oldies’!!

She’s had some niggles healthwise over the years, which frustrated her, but didn’t stop her. Then last year a number of strange symptoms and ‘happenings’ meant several visits to her GP. He referred her on to a consultant… And after a number of tests, including lumbar punctures and MRI scans she was diagnosed with MS, with a number of active lesions showing in her brain. MS is one of those ‘invisible illnesses’ Sufferers can be well for long periods, then have an acute phase where their mobility is severely affected, and the extreme fatigue means they can struggle to even get out of bed. But since her diagnosis she has been determined not to be ‘defined’ by the MS.  She has to inject herself daily, but hopes she may fit criteria for a newer drug which doesn’t have to be daily. When she is well she carries on and lives and enjoys life to the full. When she is poorly she quietly gets on with it. She carried on with  her college course, completed her assignments and theses, and qualified as a counsellor.  And does fantastic work with young people with mental health issues. But there are so many issues and hurdles she faces… And i’m sure she will do this with grace and dignity, as she does now. Loved and supported by her family, her friends, and her wonderful boyfriend.

And finally, there’s T. A former colleague, and a friend. I first met her when she came to interview for a post in one of the teams I managed. A vivacious redhead, who knocked the socks off all the other candidates with her knowledge and passion.  We appointed her, and all looked forward to her starting with the team. One her first day in post I didn’t recognise her! Her brilliant red hair was now blonde… And she told me that she had dyed her hair red for the interview as it made her feel more confident.. She didn’t want anyone to think she was a dizzy blonde, but whispered “I am really”and I whispered back “so am I”That kind of sealed our relationship.  We didn’t always see eye to eye professionally but were always able to sit and discuss things, and usually come to an amicable agreement. And our friendship was never affected. She was a breath of fresh air in the team, well liked and respected. We were professional but also had great fun. If you could see some of the memos that went between us you wouldn’t believe we were senior members of the service. I still have some of them, and I still cry with laughter when I read them.

Her  mum had early dementia and died young. It was always her  fear she would develop dementia as well. And used to laugh and joke when we were both sat there struggling to find the words we wanted, that we were both destined to be sufferers.

As happens so often, when you leave a post, you do lose touch with people.. No matter how determined you are not to. We kept in touch, but not as much as either would have liked. Then we worked together again for a while, but due to reorganisation of services she left to take up a post in another unit, and lost touch with most of her old team.

We heard she had been unwell and away from work, but no one really knew what was going on. Then last year we heard that her worst fears had come true.

In her late 40’s she had been diagnosed with early onset dementia. A particularly cruel type associated with a condition called Pick’s disease.

And now she is unable to work, doesn’t really know who anyone is, and has to have someone to care for her 24/7. she has no family so a friend has taken on this mantle, even though she more often than not doesn’t  recognise her.

And I feel awful that, for a number of reasons on both our parts,  I haven’t seen her for nearly 2 years now. If I do go to see her she won’t know me, and although I am able to cope with that professionally, and deliver training on dementia awareness, I’m not sure I will cope personally. (I’ve not had to yet, have been lucky enough not to have to. No one in the family has been afflicted with dementia) The thought breaks my heart. Does that make me an awful person?

And part of me just wants to remember the dizzy blonde laughing down the phone  to me “you know you can’t tell me anything important after 4pm cos my brain turns off”

So I sit here and think about my life… It isn’t  all a bed of roses….But.  I thank my blessings

The Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award……..

 

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About a hundred years ago the lovely Lara at lifeandloveinlondon.com nominated me for this award. I’m never very sure why anyone reads my blogs, let alone nominates me for these awards.Especially when it’s a blogger whom I admire very much.  But I’m very appreciative.

And it’s a fab way of highlighting and sharing some of the wonderful blogs that are out there.

So now all I have to do is answer 10 questions Lara set me, nominate 7 bloggers and think up 10 probing questions for them

So here we go

What’s your favourite way to relax ?

Well, that’s easy! Rain or shine there’s nothing I find more relaxing than a long walk on the beach. I’m lucky enough to live 10 minutes a way from some fabulous beaches. I particularly love being there when it’s stormy. I am constantly in awe of the power of Mother Nature. Our coastline has taken quite a battering of late, and changes every time I go there. I go there when I’m happy, sad, need some peace, have things I need to think over, and to learn lines!

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My Superpower would be

Hmmm. This  may sound a little clichéd, but having worked in the healthcare sector all my life, I think the power of healing. I’ve seen so much pain and suffering. At times it does make you question your faith. Perhaps I could add super intelligence to that so I could help and educate others to develop new treatments and options to aid healing/reduce pain

Who was your teen crush ?

Rod Stewart ! Most people think of Maggie May, but my favourite songs are Mandolin Wind and Handbags and Glad rags. Go have a listen on You Tube.  I’ve seen him live quite a few times and he still puts on a really good show

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Which actress would play you in the film of your life ?

Can I have 2 please? one for my younger years and one for now?? Ideally, if she were still alive, I would choose Audrey Hepburn. She’s beautiful ……(No! I’m not saying I think I am) and a wonderful actress. There was a certain air of naivety about her, with just a hint of underlying strength. But if I can’t have her it would have to be Emma Thompson. An actress I have always admired, and we share the same birthday….well day anyway

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What would be your last supper ?

Fish and chips on my favourite beach, surrounded by my favourite people

What is your  ultimate holiday destination ?

I have always wanted to go to China and walk the Great Wall

What seemingly little thing annoys you beyond reason ?

People sniffing! Particularly if I’m stuck on public transport with them. I have been known to offer a tissue on occasions

Paris or Vegas ?

No competition. Paris. every time.

Who is your hero ?

My first Ward Sister, Sister Latimer. I was 17 and working on a children’s Orthopaedic ward. An amazing woman. So knowledgeable and skilled. Caring. Funny. She loved her patients. She loved her nurses. she taught me so much, and not just about physical nursing, but about human nature, humility,and how important it was to look after your staff.

If you could be anybody besides myself, I would be…..

Emma Thompson. See question 4.  I always wanted to be an actress and, to me, she epitomises everything great about British actresses. She’s funny, elegant, sophisticated, not afraid to laugh at herself…….and she got to act opposite Alan Rickman

Thanks Lara, they made me think

I now nominate the following fellow bloggers if they would like to join in

Tracey at theanxiousdragonsblog.com

Claire at ninjakillercat.co.uk

Kathy at randomat40.wordpress.com

Tracy at insidetherainbowblog.wordpress.com

Jacqui at jacqquiwright.com

Ali at cilentofairytales.blogspot.it

Clare at dorsetdivorcee.com

So, here come the rules

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and link back to their blog
  2. Answer their 10 questions
  3. Nominate 7 other bloggers for the award
  4. Write 10 questions for them to answer
  5. Display the award on your post or blog

Here are my 10 questions

  • What would your perfect day look like?
  • what are your three favourite albums?
  • Something too serious to joke about
  • Tattoo or piercing?
  • When was the last time you cried?
  • What is the best book you’ve read this year?
  • If your house was burning down and you could only save one thing. What would it be and why?
  • What skill that you don’t have would you like to learn?
  • How would your friends describe you?
  • If you had to be in a reality  TV show, which one and why?

I look forward to hearing from you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Five Go On An Adventure….

It all started with a throw away conversation with my ‘bestie’C, one evening over a cup of coffee (well, okay, it may have been a glass or two of rosé)

We were talking about our ‘to do before’ lists. C has recently completed a sky dive which was on her list. I mentioned that I wanted to climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower. I’ve been to Paris a few times but, being terrified of heights,  and usually having a small (ish) child with me to whom I could apportion the blame, I have never plucked up the courage to do it.

Now, C’s current mission in life is to take me out of my comfort zone under the pretence of helping me overcome my fears.

So far she’s ‘made me’ do the London Eye ( yes, I know it’s not at all scary really. Though I do think the champagne at dusk flight  helped calm the nerves)

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A ‘flight’ on the Emirates cable cars

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And speed down the zip wire at the Eden Project

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So we decided that we should have a girly weekend in Paris, and tick another thing off my list. We thought we’d go for a couple of nights.

Fast forward to an evening with the rest of the ladies in our little circle, a couple of bottles of prosecco, and hey presto ! The other 3 thought it would be a great idea to join us. And, while we’re at it… Why not go for 5 days?

So diaries were checked, child and grandchildren care discussed and we agreed on the beginning of April. What better than  Springtime in Paris?

Then due to a little glitch, I. E. We’d all forgotten that Easter  was so early this year and aforementioned children and grandchildren would still be on holiday,  We had to meet again to rearrange another date.  So child and grandchildren care sorted we were all sorted for the week later. And. Oh! It just happens that it will be my birthday while we’re away. So even better Springtime AND my birthday in Paris!

Off we all went to research travel and accommodation, agreeing to meet up again in a couple of weeks.

Now, one of our group, M, is a highly efficient and organised person, and before we knew it she had called a planning meeting. So we all head to T’s house armed with prosecco and rosé ( it’s compulsory. No wine, no entry!)

when we get settled we discover not only has M looks into a few things she has researched

  • Flights
  • Accommodation
  • Paris Passes

And has put together a ‘suggested itinerary’ We are buying her a large red, white, and blue umbrella!

2 weeks later at the next get together we discover M has booked:-

Flights and accommodation.

Lunch at The Eiffel Tower and dinner on a Seine River Cruise booked on my birthday. This day is now lovingly alluded to as ‘Fat Friday’

Paris Passes to include a wine tasting trip on the Saturday, followed by visit to The Louvre on Sunday.

Passports have been handed over to her to be checked and double checked. The only one who needs a new one is……..M!

Lifts to and from the  airport have been secured.

On Saturday evening, over dinner, I mentioned I had looked into going to The Moulin Rouge, but wasn’t sure how people felt about it as it can be quite pricey. The general consensus was that you couldn’t go to Paris without seeing a show there. So we all went off to see what deals we could come up with. By yesterday afternoon M had booked us all in with tickets for the 9 pm show on Saturday complete with half bottle of champagne each. Saturday is now known as ‘Smashed Saturday’!!

So now all we have to do is decide what to take to wear. Somehow I don’t think one piece of hand luggage each is going to cut it!

So, look out Paris…… Here we come!

 

It’s A Matter Of Opinion…. Or when you really think you know someone

The other day I was unfollowed on a number of social media platforms by someone I had been friends with for quite a long time.. ( in fairness, I said for them to feel free to do so if they felt they wanted to. But suppose , in my heart of hearts, sort of hoped they would just cut the RL contact and stay with the safer cyber one) Someone I had met often and got on pretty well with, but who has decided our friendship wasn’t working because we had differing opinions on a number of things, felt my opinions were a direct and personal slating, and saw disagreeing or discussing as being confrontational as opposed to being able to have an honest conversation with ‘a friend’

I had noticed a few times that if I said something they didn’t agree with they would disappear. I would then be left wondering what I had said or done wrong, usually being the one to make the first move at addressing things, taking a bunch of flowers as a peace-offering… When, in fact, I hadn’t really done anything wrong apart from express a personal opinion.

And I am inordinately and ridiculously upset by this. And I don’t know why, other than I have quite a lot going on in my life at the moment so am possibly ultra sensitive, and less able to be logical and sensible about it.
Confrontation is the last thing I like. I will do anything to avoid, often to my own personal detriment.

Believe it or not I am a sensitive soul, who hates the idea of deliberately upsetting anyone, and over the years this has had an impact on both my personal and professional life. Perhaps if I had confronted some personal issues head on I may not have found myself lying awake at night agonising over things.

Perhaps if I’d stopped that member of staff in their tracks all that time ago, when they were hell-bent on a mission with their own agenda, I wouldn’t have been driven to the brink of a total meltdown… Rendering me unable to walk through the main gates of the building without becoming a shivering, gibberish wreck.

However, having said I’m not one for confrontation, I do tend to say things as I find them. I don’t believe in lying in order to preserve someone’s fragile ego. But I do try to be gentle and am always open to discussion, and the first to apologise if I’m in the wrong…. Which I often am. I can’t be someone or something I’m not. And, anyway, if you are you will invariably be found out at some stage.

I’m lucky in that I have a small circle of very good friends, who also feel the same way as me, and we can be completely open and honest with each other. Express opinions, disagree without it causing upsets or rifts. After all isn’t that what real friendship is all about?
Perhaps in this day of cyber friendships we find ourselves being drawn to people we most likely wouldn’t be in the real world.

Having said that I have met some really wonderful people through social media.. Some of whom I am very fond of, and we have a fab time every time we meet up. There are a few I haven’t been able to meet yet, but plan to.. And I’m pretty sure we will get on famously.
And there are some very special ones I’ve got to know, and we will be friends for life now.

What you see is what you get with me… And if others don’t like that then I have to learn that it’s not my problem, and I shouldn’t have to change to appease them. And perhaps they aren’t meant to be part of my life… However hard I find that.

I am who I am and I can’t, and actually don’t want to, change.

 

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Who ? Me?

Imagine my surprise and delight when I received a tweet a couple of Sundays ago from the lovely Tracy…..She of mummyshambles fame…..to say she’d nominated me for a liebester award. “Oh brilliant”, I hear you all say….followed by “A what award”?   

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A liebester award is given by fellow bloggers to bloggers who aren’t up there with the “big guys”  We’re the ones who tootle along, sometimes somewhat intermittently, and are always amazed that anyone ever reads our scribbling so. Well, I know I am. And I’m always very flattered when  people like Tracy and others like her, who produce fab writings, take the time to read my inane ramblings.

So what’s next?

Well, it’s now customary for me to pass the love, and nominate some other fellow bloggers for their own liebester award. Answer 10 questions that Tracy has set me, and then set 10 probing questions for my nominees.

So. Here we go

Why did you start a blog? It all started as a bit of a joke when I told a group of ladies I regularly tweeted how many tweets I’d posted. One of them said I could write a book, and then suggested we start a collaborative blog. Which we did,  Thetwitterhousewives Then a few months later someone said I should set up my own blog, and after a lot of persuasion and encouragement I did. And found I really enjoyed writing. Even if it is a little sporadic at times. But I’m a firm believer that if it doesn’t flow naturally and quickly it shouldn’t be written

Favourite quote of all times ? “We ourselves feels that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop” Mother Teresa  

Favourite post you’ve written .. The last piece of the jigsaw . It was both difficult and cathartic to write, and I shed many tears whilst doing so

People, dead or alive, you’d  like to meet?  Oh, only 5?! Okay. 1. Stephen Fry. Love his humour and intelligence 2. Audrey Hepburn. She’s just my idol. Beautiful, talented. Funny. 3. David Cameron. Just to tell him what an appalling job he’s doing with the NHS, and try to find out some of the reasoning behind the decisions. 4.Wallis Simpsom. Have always been fascinated by their story, and would love to hear her side. 5. Jennifer Saunders. Because she makes me laugh. Lots.

Do you believe in ghosts ? I didn’t until I started nursing. Working in an old hospital one night an elderly lady called me and asked for a cup of tea. When I took it back the ward was empty, and the bed made. I ran out and asked the other nurse where she’d gone. She said there’d never been anyone in that ward. She asked me what she looked like. I described her and she said “oh that’s Mary. She used to be the laundry lady here years ago. She died about 15 years ago but always comes back when a news nurse starts here” that made me shiver again!

Has anybody ever told you that you look like a celebrity, and who? Have been told I looked liked Sharon Vaughn. I can’t see it. At all, though I wouldn’t mind being married to Trevor Eve!

If you were a character from a movie who would you be? Holly Golightly, in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.. Who else?!

What book would you want to be stranded on a desert island with ? Dear Scott Dearest Zelda  The love letters between F Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda 

 Name your guilty celebrity crush  Robert Downey Junior!

Happiness is……Being surrounded by my children and grandchildren, and having the house resounding with laughter and happiness. Or. A deserted beach at the end of a stressful day

Right so now on to the important business of the evening

*cue subdued lighting and appropriately dramatic music*

and the nominees are………..

awrightdisaster  The honest and amusing account of the dating misadventures of a middle-aged Goddess

Chitchatandpics a lovely blog from a fab British lady living in France. Wonderful photographs

iirritatinglyoptimistic A mum of boys who writes about her life, and, sometimes!, her holidays

40yearolddomesticgoddess  A mum of teens whose blog never fails to make me smile  

grenglish Wife to a Greek man, rolling her eyes and writing all about it

feltarighttit  an open, honest and moving blog about living and recovering from breast cancer

dorsetdivorcee  A divorced mum of a teen and a tween, taking on the world

recoveryfromcml   Another very honest blog about living and recovering from cancer. This time Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia

And now here are your 10 questions:

when you were growing up what was your dream job?

Jack of all trades or Master of one?

Your favourite piece of music, and why?

Fondest  childhood memory?

Book or Kindle?

if you could speak another language which would it be and why?

If you had to choose to live without one of your 5 senses, which would you give up?

Craziest thing you’ve ever done?

How did you choose your Twitter name?

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?

So, now all you have to do is:

Thank the person who nominated you and link back to them

Copy the Liebester image from their site and paste into yours

Answer their questions… They’re not to hard or probing!

Choose people to nominate  ( should be blogs with less than 200 followers)

Ask them some probing questions

when you’re finished leave them a message on their blog or Twitter to let them know they’ve been nominated

So, thanks very much Tracy. And keep on blogging everyone. I love reading them

 

 

 

 

 

The Soundtrack Of My Life

I’ve  kind of lost my blogging mojo lately. It seemed to happen as I said I would try to blog every week!

I have  racked my brain to come up with something interesting to blog about,  to no avail. Or it’s been too personal to share. Even those helpful prompts left me totally uninspired.

Then, earlier this evening one of my Twitter friends posted a tune, one that was very special to me. And, suddenly all these tunes came rushing into my head. And the memories with them

So, please bear with me while I share some of them with you

1. Itchycoo Park . The Small Faces
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This was the first single I ever bought for myself. I still have it somewhere, along with the iconic Ogden’s  Nut Gone Flake LP. The Small Faces were my first ‘group crush’  Sadly, all but one of the original group have all died now.

2. Without you. Harry Neilsson

This was ‘First Love’ and mine’s song. If any of you have read my blog about First Love you  will know he wrote to me declaring his love for me. He had included all the lyrics of the song in the letter… Which I didn’t get until about 3 weeks after he’d written it!

And do you remember the record shops where you could go in and sit in a booth to listen to the songs before you bought them?.. ..(yes, I am that old!) Or, if you were broke, you just sat there for ages listening to songs without buying a thing! Anyway, we used to go in and listen to Without You whenever we went into town … And he bought it for me. And yes. I still have it!

3. Here Comes The Sun. The Beatles

I was never really a Beatles fan, but my room-mate in my first Nurse’s Home was. And she had a record player. J was my first room-mate, and became a life long friend. We still laugh and giggle like teenagers when we get together. We played this song nearly every night, getting ready to go out, or while we were getting ready for bed. We both knew all the words.. And would quite often fall asleep with it still playing!

4. Hound Dog. Elvis Presley

At my first training hospital we had a ‘recreational hut’ in the grounds, where we could go for coffee or to socialise in the evenings. It also had big blackboards in there, and when we were revising for exams we would often go there and draw diagrams etc on the board. Anyway, there was a very old record player in the hut… And 2 records!! One of which was Hound Dog. It used to be played on repeat…. Until one day it mysteriously disappeared. Never to be seen or heard again

5. Maggie May. Rod Stewart

J and I went to Bournemouth to see Rod Stewart and The Faces just as  Maggie May went to number 1. Because we couldn’t afford to stay in B&B and the coach fare, we decided to ‘thumb’ to Bournemouth. I can hear you all sighing now, but it was a quite acceptable ( and safe) form of travelling in the 70’s, and all part of the adventure. The concert was brilliant, we got autographs, and the B&B was pretty good

However, on this occasion it ended in disaster as we were involved in a serious road accident on the way home the day after the concert. Caused, apparently, by a lorry driver changing a cd. J and I both went through the windscreen … There were no compulsory seat belts…  But luckily neither of us were seriously injured. I remember being very upset that the heel of my boots came off, and I’d only bought them a couple of weeks earlier on the Kings Road.

Unfortunately, the driver of one of the cars suffered serious spinal injuries, and never walked again. J and I were in the ambulance with him. It was very distressing. A very kind policeman drove us back to Plymouth when we’d been checked over and discharged… And we never told our parents!

But, for ages afterwards, whenever Maggie May came on the radio I would black out. I guess you would call it PTSD nowadays

6. I Can See Clearly Now. Jonny Nash

This song came out as I got my Orthopaedic finals results. It was a tense day. I was working at an outreach clinic at a hospital 25 miles away from my base,  and couldn’t get my results until I got back. No mobile phones or Internet to get them from in those days. I didn’t get back until 4 ..And you had to go and see your tutor to get the results. There was a buzz going around the hospital because someone had failed. The first for 16 years! I met a few of my set as I was making my way to the tutor’s office, and they had all passed. So I had convinced myself it was me who’d failed. I knocked on the door and was invited in by Mr H. “Ah, come in Eileen. Have a seat” he said. Yep. That was it. It was DEFINITELY  me who had failed. I was almost in tears.”Well” he said.. “How do you think you’ve done”? he asked “I’ve failed haven’t I” ? I shakily replied..  “No. You’ve passed. With distinction ”

Well, I could have hugged him.. But that wasn’t the dome thing

Off we all went to celebrate at our local hostelry. I Can See Clearly Now was playing on the juke box and we were all singing it. Very loudly. It was very apt. Though the edge was taken off our celebrations by our friend who had failed. We all felt really bad for her.

7. Pick up The Pieces. The Average White Band

This was a big dance tune in the clubs and discos when I frequented them. One night there was a dance competition in a one of the clubs, and my friend and I decided to take part. The prize was a year’s free admission to the club with your first drink free each time. Now, I’m not a great dancer but always enjoyed getting on the dance floor and having a good ‘boogie’

Well.. Surprise Surprise… I won.. Dancing to this song!

8. Nathan Jones. The Supremes

I heard this song one night but didn’t know what it was called.. Then didn’t hear it again for ages… Then J and I were in Bristol and we heard it and discovered what it was and who it was by. We then spent ages trying to find a record shop, and getting hopelessly lost in St.Paul’s, to buy it. I always said if I had a boy I would call him Nathan. I was overruled the first time, but put my foot down when our second son was born and had my own Nathan

9. Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow. Carol King

This was, and still is, one of my favourite Carol King songs. Back in the hazy days of student nursing, most Sunday nights we would go to a pub where there was live music. Mostly folk. One Sunday the singer had let them down, and after few drinks I  was persuaded to go up and sing. So I did, and sang this song. And was offered a regular Sunday night slot! I couldn’t do every Sunday as my hours wouldn’t allow it, but I did a couple a month for about 6 months. It was great fun.

10. Come On Eileen.  Dexy’s Midnight Runners

Now, I love to hate this song! It has been the bain of my life ever since it was released. People still shout “Come on Eileen” at me

But the one time I shall never forget it being sung to me was the morning my daughter was born. It had been a long ( well, 9 months obviously, but seemed longer) and difficult pregnancy. It was also very much longed for as I had lost 3 babies previously, and was beginning to think I’d never have a child. ( even though, for those who have read previous blogs, originally I never wanted to have children)

The labour was long and tiring and they called in my consultant who said he Thought I should consider a Caesarean section. I really didn’t want one, so asked if I could try a bit longer. So there I was with a whole obstetrics tea, including the consultant and an anaesthetist who’d appeared from nowhere! And they were all singing “Come On Eileen” to me!! The horror was enough to encourage my daughter into the world without the aid of a section!!

11. So. Ian Gillan

This is a little known song that was written by Ian. He lives quite near me, and was friends with a singer/songwriter/playwright I have done a  lot of stuff with. We had recently put on a rock musical, and during the early stages Ian was at rehearsals and I had pleasure of doing some improvisation work with him.. Along with a few others. After the show was over S decided to,put on a concert of music from the Rock musicals he had written, and some of his other work. But we weren’t allowed to sing the songs  we’d sung in the shows… That wouldn’t have challenged us! I was lucky enough that Ian said he had a song I could sing. It was  beautiful, haunting ballad. I felt very privileged … And on the night of the concert Ian was cohosting, and introduced me! A night I shall never forget

I love how music can instantly take you somewhere and bring back so many memories, both happy and sad. The ones that instantly came to mind, and I’ve shared have all been memories of happy times. There were some that brought back some sad and unhappy memories too… But I’m not ready to share those, and you may not want to hear anyway.

Thank  you for indulging me

 

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