Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Captain
(My very much loved Dad)

20th August 1926 - 11th April 2010

I am heartbroken and the pain feels unbearable.

 I was given the gift of a father who always showed me he loved me and he told me often that he loved me. I have loved him my entire life... and will continue to do so.  A true gentle man who put his family above all else and who taught me the value of love, patience, humour and forgiveness.  He was loved by all who met him, including those who only got to know him during his final few weeks.  I know that no one can live forever but my heart aches to the point of torture.  I have never known torment such as this. I cannot cry or grieve, his loss is to much. I am sincerely honoured to be his daughter.

I have never spoken about my parents, at some point in the future I would like to introduce you to them and also to who I am, because of them.  They were extraordinary people for their time, adventurers, intelligent, and living sadly in a time that placed restraints on them. They taught me to break those restraints and fly. I thank them both for their faith in me and for making me the person that I am xxxxx.

Friday, March 26, 2010

I'm sorry that I have not been around of late.  There are things in my life at present that have taken over and I have to give them priority.  I really, really do miss my friends here in the blogosphere and there will come a time when I will, (selfishly), need you more than ever.

I have not had the time to check in on your blogs of late and with this in mind I sincerely hope that you are all well and I do think of you all often, I know that some of you are facing your own problems and even though I cannot check in with you, I hope that you know that you are in my thoughts.

I suppose that life has it's own way of reminding us not to take anything for granted. It has my full and undiluted attention at present.


Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Under Pressure

Unfortunately I have been feeling the effects of not taking my blood pressure medication over the last few days. Although I am back on them it takes a little while for them to work, so I've had a pounding headache for the last three days and I'm feeling a bit under the weather. Well I've nobody but myself to blame and I'm sorry if I haven't been catching up with you all, but trying to blog with my head feeling like it is going to explode is not a good mix.

Hopefully it will be ok in the next couple of days so as Arnie would say, 'I'll be back.'

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The old hormones having been a bit 'iffy' over the past couple of weeks. I've been stuck in a revolving door of emotions, happy, sad, angry, ... I don't know how I feel. I've also been very forgetful. On Wednesday I was supposed to pick up my prescription, blood pressure medication, I forgot. On Thursday I was supposed to pick up my prescription, I forgot. Yesterday I was supposed to pick up my prescription, I forgot. It's the weekend my GP surgery is now closed until Monday, I've run out of my blood pressure medication. Not a good start to the weekend.  I wrote HUGE notes in my diary and then drove home and forgot to call in on my way.

Yesterday I had a morning meeting in my diary... the same diary I have been looking at all week and noting that I have a meeting on Friday morning. I arrived at work in plenty of time, an hour later I received a rather turse telephone call wanting to know what had held me up. Oops that would be my current appalling memory. My diary was sitting on the desk next to me. After racing off to the meeting I returned to my desk, one of my colleagues asked me how it had gone. My eyes glazed over and I realised that I had sat for over an hour listening but not taking anything in. Ah well I'll just have to wait for the minutes to be sent out.

So if anyone is available to take minutes on my daily doings over the next few days I'll be able to update you with what I've been up to next week or I could just ask for you to be copied into the minutes!!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Auschwitz, Liberation..

This post is long... please don't sigh and turn away. It is long for a purpose. It is the story of a very couragous woman for whom I have immense respect and love. I only met her on one occasion but she had a huge impact on my life... today of all days her story should be heard.

A few years back whilst travelling with his Lordship on a business trip I found myself at a loose end in Paris.. as you do!  Not wanting to wander around aimlessly in the cold January air I headed for a place we knew and liked. It was a zinc bar but they served the most wonderful coffee and cakes. I took along a book and settled down for some chill out time.

As the morning wore on the place began to fill up until all of the tables were taken. Just as I was ordering another coffee and a round of the most delicious gateau they had, an elderly lady asked if I would mind if she joined me. I gave her a welcoming smile and answered in my appalling French that she was most welcome. Clearly she realised that my command of my neighbours language was not up to muster and addressed me in English.

"You are here for a holiday, yes?" She enquired.

"Something like that, I am visiting with my Husband, he is here on business." I replied, taking in her immaculate hair and make up. Parisian women are particular about their grooming. Although clearly in her late seventies or even eighties she was beautiful and she had the most amazing hazel eyes that met me with an interested gaze. She glanced at my book and then smiled,

"Please continue, I do not wish to stop you,"

"No I can read anytime." I said putting the book in my bag.

"Ah a heady pleasure not to be taken lightly, being allowed to read is having the opportunity to feed the soul, yes." She said as she raised her gloved hand to signal the waiter.

I have no idea why, well actually if I am honest I do, but I was drawn to this lady, her elegant appearance was enthralling, but for me it was something else, a chance encounter with this lady felt, well it is clumsy to say, but like fate.

Her order arrived and I noted that she was drinking chocolate with a small glass of cognac on the side. She laughed and I blushed, "your's will be here shortly, you finish your coffee and they will bring it,"

" I didn't order one,"

"No, I did, when in France," she raised her cognac and took a sip then dabbed at the corner of her mouth with the napkin and smiled.

We chatted about my time in Paris and as we both drank our chocolate and cognac we relaxed into each others company. She was not a native of France after all I discovered, she was originally from Germany she came to France after the war and married a Frenchman who had fought in the resistance, they never had children and they had settled in Paris.  I don't know why to this day, but it seemed natural at the time, I asked her what it was like in Germany during the war. She took a deep breath and then took off her left glove, I was shocked and to be truthful I felt as though I was about to cry, (it could have been the cognac), a faded blue line of crude numbers and a symbol, a star, were tattoed onto the inside of her arm. She must have seen my shock and once again my embarrassment, she took my hand and squeezed it. For the rest of the morning and into lunchtime she told me her story.

She had been born Rachel, (she never told me her surname), she had been in love with a young man who worked for her father. When the Germans began rounding up the Jews and putting them into the ghettos they tried to escape, a few hours prior to their attempt they consumated their relationship. Their escape attempt was thwarted by one of their neighbours who told the German soldiers. Her lover was shot and killed, his body was left in the street where he had fallen as a warning to everyone of the consequences.She was taken by the soldiers to the local headquarters and 'interogated' for two weeks. She was then taken back to the ghetto and lived there with her family for the next four months.  Rachel had to walk past her love's decaying body to and from the factory in which she worked producing ammunitions under forced labour. Whilst his body decayed her's carried new life.

One morning in the early hours she and her family were awoken to the screams and cries of the families in their block being rounded up and forcibly moved from their homes into trucks. The men were separated from the women and children, her younger brother Jacob was thirteen years old, he went with his father. Rachel and her mother were put into a truck. She never saw her father or brother again and she never found out what happended to them. Over the following months Rachel and her mother were moved to various holding camps. Eventually they were put onto a train and arrived at Auschwitz.

It had not been easy, but with the help of her mother and the other women with which they travelled, Rachel had managed to keep her pregnancy hidden.  You may be thinking why would her mother condone such a disgrace... I asked the question on your behalf. So many things are different in such times, why would she have given herself to the man she loved before marriage at risk of losing her soul. War has a way of bringing clarity to some situations. She gave birth to her son in Auschwitz, her mother clasping her hand tightly over Rachel's mouth to stifle her screams. They managed to conceal the baby for two days. On the second day as they worked in the sorting room, sorting the belongings of those who had been sent to the gas chambers, the baby was discovered by one of the supervisors. A man who was himself of the same faith but 'employed' by the guards to supervise his own kind. He made Rachel put the baby onto the floor and in front of her he stamped his foot down onto it's tiny body. It was gone. leaning into her he whispered softly, "you would both be going to the gas chamber now if it were not for me."

Rachel and her mother survived for several months, then during September of 1944 her mother collapsed on her way to the sorting rooms. That was the last time that Rachel saw her. On January 27th 1945 an eerie quiet befell the camp, the chimneys no longer belched their disgusting plumes and Russian soldiers marched through the gates to liberate the occupants of Aushwitz.

I have to say I was a mess by the time she had recounted her story. Then she put on her gloves and invited me to attend the service at Notre Dame. I remember I shook my head, "you are a Jew!"

"It is not the place, or the manner in which you pray, it is what is in your heart, will you come with me and see?" She asked.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Arctic Odyssey 4

(Click on the images to enlarge them.)

After witnessing the majesty of the snow bear I really didn't think that anything else on the voyage could live up to it. Perhaps only another bear! The following morning was clear and we headed for a small canyon that was home to a huge bird colony. The scouting party went ahead to check out for bears and when the all clear came over the radio we headed off to shore in the zodiacs. There was a small chanel of open water in the ice and we had a limited amount of time in which to get to shore and return to the ship before the chanel closed and we would be stranded. It was exciting and scary in equal amounts and right up my street for adventure.

The frozen tundra was alive with tiny alpine plants that clung to life in the icy conditions. We tiptoed as best we could in wellies between them not wanting to damage them as they had taken decades to grow into squat little mounds of just an inch or so across. Our impression of a boozy ballet over we reached the narrow entrance to the canyon. Suddenly one of the scouts signalled for us to look at a point half way up the canyon wall to where the cliff rose and the scree descended. Staring intensely I realised that we were not a lone, there just at the base of the cliff sat a small Arctic Fox. She was looking back at us with the same intense stare.  She had been hard to spot because she was wearing her 'summer' coat of rich brown and cream.

Her Ladyship gripped my arm and I could see that she was struggling to hold in a squeal of delight. This was what she had come to the Arctic to see. Little did she know the amazing encounter she would have over the next couple of hours. The entrance to the canyon was narrow and the path was only a couple of feet wide with the steep scree slope to the left and rapid flowing stream to our right. The water was in full flow as the melt water raced to meet the icy sea at the shore.

Once inside the canyon the tens of thousands of birds nesting on the cliffes made a deafening cocophany of sound and created the illusion of a moving ceiling as they flew constantly above. Every inch of the cliff was taken and the walls shimmered as the birds restlessly flapped their wings or changed their position to get a better foot hold. Then the Arctic Fox darted into the past on her scree ledge and we realised that she was accompanied by her cubs, four of them. It is unusual for so many cubs to be born and for them to survive to the age they were was incredible. However this mother and her family were extremely lucky, the canyon was the perfect hunting ground. Fresh chicks delivered to the canyon floor daily, if not hourly. As we watched she circled the canyon checking for new food, her cubs following her every move. Whenever she found a chick she would quickly deposit it into one of her 'larders' secreted about the canyon. They know all too well that the feast will last for only a few short weeks and they must be prepared for the long winter to come.

As we all stood watching this magnificent spectacle the expedition leader took her Ladyship deeper into the canyon. He knew that this was what she had dreamed of seeing and after a few short moments she began to inch her way slowly up the scree slope. She managed to get half way up and lay motionless as the Arctic Fox mother and her cubs darted apprehensively past at the top.

She lay there for almost an hour on the freezing ground, not daring to move. Then as we were nearing the end our time there the mother fox inched her way towards her Ladyship, finally as if on command she lay down beside her. For the next ten minutes they lay together sharing body warmth and so much more, the cubs happily playing about on the new feature that had appeared. I could only imagine the excitement that her Ladyship was feeling at that point. Then by another unseen, unheard command she stood up, stretched and was heading back to the cliff base to start scouting for food again. As she reached the top of the scree she turned around and momentarily stared at her Ladyship, as if reading each others mind they both turned at exactly the same moment and each headed back to their own world.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Opera Sideline

Did I tell you that I can sing? No... phew, then I don't have to apologise publicly for fibbing. I can't sing, not a note, I am tone deaf. That probably has something to do with the fact that I was classed as being profoundly deaf for four years. After surgery a few years back I am now just classed as being mutton and ignorant by those around me that don't know my history. My hearing is deteriorating again.

So when I was asked to get involved in a project working with the regional opera company I was a little nonplussed to say the least. I protested loudly, (I sometimes forget to adjust my volume control), to the powers that be, 'you want me, but I can't sing, I won't be able to hear the flipping music properly.'  Their reply, 'ah but if they can get you to sing then it won't be a problem getting some of our morally challenged bods to sing.' I suppose there was some method in their madness. As you know I am always game for a new adventure and things have been a tad slow at work recently, so I agreed.

Yesterday I set off for the venue with an array of the morally challenged in tow. I did not hold out much hope of engaging them as at least two of them thought they were going to the cinema and one very large chap named Junior told me in no uncertain terms that he was only there as it was this or attending the job centre.  So we arrived at the dance studio, yes a dance studio, very elegant, lots of nubile distractions for Junior and his new posse. I smiled bravely at the waiting opera singers who were to attempt to engage my morally challenged crew.

The scene in the studio reminded me somewhat the film Zulu. The three beautiful and elegant performers facing a group of bods with eyes narrowed, jaws set and expressions begging the performers to bring it on. As the studio floor was polished wood, they had been told to remove their shoes, I looked down the row to see an assortment of odd socks, holes, socks that looked as though they would walk out of the room under their own steam and a set of brightly painted toe nails with gems. Very pretty, however the aroma wafting up from the said feet was beginning to fill the vast space. It seemed however that our elegant performers were not in the least phased and their gracious smiles glancing off perfect white teeth remained set in place.

As the day progressed I was astonished to see that my dysfunctional brood who barely a few hours previous had communicated in grunts were now bonding, not only with one another but with the performers. Further more they were beginning to make sounds akin to music and moving in a purposeful and coordinated fashion. There was a definite buz in the studio and no it wasn't the feet.

At the end of the day we were performing, yes performing a mini opera. Then Junior opened his mouth and threw his arms out wide and sang solo, with an incredibly rich baritone voice that made the hairs on my neck stand. A huge grin on his face replacing the previous sullen challenge. The performers had broken into his world and he into theirs and it was then that I realised just how much these three beautiful people had achieved. They understood the facade, they are actors who sing, they simply broke down that facade in a new way.

After the performance we all sat together and it was clear that the people I had taken there in the morning were no longer in the room, they had been replaced by a confident outgoing group of people who were now communicating in sentences, making eye contact and smiling, there was lots of smiling. They had been accepted, holey socks, sweaty feet and all, by a group of people who to them were elite and a world apart. They will all be carrying on with the project over the coming months with the intention of gaining work placements with the Opera. this is however only if they stay out of trouble and behave themselves, a huge incentive as they will not want to loose what they have tasted and savoured. As for me, I gave them a few laughs as I attempted to sing, but my days of singing opera are now at an end and it is back to my usual day job.

There are some, perhaps some amongst you, who do not like this form of intervention. I fully understand that and I don't have all of the answers. I suppose being the Saint of lost causes, I like to at least try and think that people can change otherwise I am simply reduced to being a jailer!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Take Two!!

Well it is official, it now takes two chaperones to accompany Mrs Beeton on her weekly shopping trips. For those of you who have no idea what or who I am talking about then you might like to read this post, oh and perhaps this one if you have the time.  His Lordship has been flying solo on this mission for a while now due to my having 'other committments', you know the sort of thing, naval gazing... oh sorry we did that three posts ago, ok, what about catching up with my heavy workload of reading, blogs. Alright I admit it I achieved senior shopping burn out some time last year and in all honesty I have not been able to pluck up the courage to take her recently.

As the weather has been terrible of late she has been housebound so as soon as the snow and ice began to clear she pounced. Feeling sorry for his Lordship I foolishly agreed to accompany him I also thought that it would provide an opportunity for me to get a few bits of shopping too. When we arrived at Mrs Beeton's home she was standing in the doorway and looked as though she were layered in every garment she owned including two hats and a scarf... it would seem you can never wear too many hats in cold weather.

After being dropped at the door to the hallowed chapel to shopping I busied myself with getting the trolleys. Yes I know, Mrs Beeton and trolleys do not go together, but unfortunately due to a rather bad back and a dicky knee a trolley is now a necessity for her to lean on. She is however not allowed to navigate that is a job for the chaperone. So when his Lordship arrived we set off into the inner sanctum.

By the end of the fruit and veg aisle his Lordship seemed to have things well under control so at the agreed signal I pressed on with my own shopping. A short while later as I was nearing the end of my quest my phone rang.

"I, I don't know what happened, I must have had my guard down," his Lordship moaned.

"Take a deep breath sweetheart," I uttered soothingly, although my insides were doing their own version of the Samba.

"She wanted scones, you know the special one's with lots of fruit and sugar, I was only a few feet away, I promise,"

"It's ok, don't worry," I inhaled deeply, I needed oxygen, "we just need to follow the carnage"

"Listen! I mean take a moment and listen," he replied.

I took the phone from my ear, moments passed and then it hit me, no clean up crews, no shrieks of pain, no hopping shoppers. The awful realisation hit me... OMGA! We really had lost Mrs Beeton.

"Aliens?" I enquired hopefully. There was silence. "Stay where you are, I'm on my way"

I raced through the other shoppers to the bakery counter, his Lordship stood rooted to the spot, as I got to him an announcement came over the tannoy, "would the owner of an elderly lady with hats please make their way to the rear of the store and make themself known to a member of staff." I looked at his Lordship with steely resolution. He nodded, together we could do this and he took my hand firmly in his. Slowly and with heads bowed we took the walk of shame to the rear of the store.

Two security guards were positioned either side of two rather large doors, I have to be honest I had not noticed these doors until this point. His Lordship stepped forward and with voice lowered, "we've come for the lady the elderly lady, ah hem, in hats."

"We've got her contained in the dry goods section sir," he replied with a genuine look of sympathy.

As the two security guards pushed open the doors I heard the one to my right whisper into his radio, "we're coming in, is the perimiter still secure?"

We rounded the cereals to find a line of warehouse staff blocking the dry goods section at both ends. Mrs Beeton was blithely ignorant to their presence. A path of destruction followed her as we picked our way through the lentils, flour and pasta now scattered over the floor, the line of warehouse staff closed in operating a pincer movement and we were forced to promise that we would never darken their doors again. We managed to negotiate safe passage via the rear door. 

And so my dear friends we are now scouting a new supermarket that has not heard of or been forewarned about Mrs Beeton. From now on there will always be two chaperones present and she will never be left unattended.

I promise.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Who on earth does she think she is!

As I float around the ether that is blogland, visiting interesting places and people, (that would be you sweetie), I realise that I have given very little of myself.  Well what I mean to say is that I feel that I know far more about you than you know about me. It seems a little one sided really don't you think. (Obviously, you know some parts of me rather more intimately after my birthday post.)  Anyways I was thinking... I do that on occasions, it is the start of the new decade and well maybe you would like to get to know me a little better. I could be completely wrong and you don't give a rat's bottom who I am or what I get up to when I am not here.

So being the adventurous sort I am going to give you the opportunity to ask me any question you like and I will endeavour to answer it truthfully. There are, I hope for obvious reasons, a couple of rules.
1. No questions about my profession, I can't tell you what I do otherwise I will be evicted forthwith from blogland. Not kidding. Besides I believe I have given sufficient clues, information to give you some idea already.
2. Please don't ask me my real name or where I live exactly. Yes some of you know, I know I can trust you as my friends.
3. Urm, actually I don't think there is a three...

Oh giddy aunt I am probably going to live to regret this.

mapstew said...
Well we know you have at least one piercing, but do you have any tattoos?

A) Ok I have to answer honestly. (Take a deep breath St Jude, and remember The Captain reads your blog). Yes, I have a rosebud tattoed on the inside of my left hip it was hidden in my birthday photo. 

Sorry Captain, did I mention the tattoo as well???

Jimmy Bastard said...
Did I leave my watch on your night stand?

A) Oh that would have been, perhaps, a dream my dear Jimmy. (Don't worry the package is in the post as we speak.)

Madame DeFarge said...

I understand the working one as you know, so how about 'if you could be anything you wanted, what would you do for a living?'

A) Hmm a difficult one... In my final year at school I had to complete my careers guidance form, it asked what I would like to do for a career. Being the sort of girl I am I wrote, 'be a lady of leisure or marry a millionaire. Actually it would be one of my great loves, a marine biologist. You can't beat digging about in a bit of fucus vesiculosus or laminaria sacharina.
Kevin Musgrove said...
Have you ever been startled by a tortoise?

A) Well sweetie it's funny you should ask that. The answer to that is yes! In one of my previous incarnations I worked at a wildlife hospital where they had a posse of tortoises who roamed around the grounds and slept in the potting shed. One spring morning I was rudely assaulted by Bertie the only male tortoise when he became aroused by my wellies passing by. (Tortoises are not renowned for their good eyesight.) A male tortoises idea of foreplay is slamming into the object of his desire. They are somewhat noisy lovers and being humped by a randy tortoise is a painful experience.

@eloh said...
Have you ever been touched by a monkey?

A) Well I was terribly touched when a monkey offered to carry my handbag for me whilst I was visiting Gibralter. It was something of a tousle to make it give the bag back though.

Kim Ayres said...
Have you ever been caught?

A) Yes! When his Lordship and I were considerably younger we were once 'caught' in a rather embarassing embrace by the local bobby in the back seat of the Fat Controllers' (his Lordship's father),car, he wasn't with us by the way. 

Lee said...
So, all this confession... do you feel better for it? Just curious.

A) Hmm, they do say that confession is good for the soul and as a Saint I have to maintian mine on a regular basis.

Pat said...
Is there anything you haven't yet done that you would like to do?

A) So many things, but perhaps top of the list is a journey to the Antarctic, or perhaps base camp at Everest, sadly I am not permitted to attempt the summit due to high blood pressure. I would also like to see my book published at some point in the future.

white rabbit said...
Do you think I could plait my nostril hair? If the answer is 'yes' is thios advisable?

A) Whilst on a trip to the Bahamas once I met a lovely old lady in Nassau who used to sit each day outside the straw market. She made her living braiding hair. I saw much of her handy work as we returned to the airport to board our flight home. She was very persuasive and there were several gentlemen sporting braided beards, moustaches, leg hair and yes nasal hair, there were also a couple of bald chaps  who walked with a slight gait that suggested she was indeed a tenacious lady. Therefore the answer is yes you can plait your nostril hair, however in the current weather and the tendency for drippy noses, I would advise against it, unless of course you consider nasal candals fetching dear.

Charlie said...
In all the time I've known you, I've pictured you thusly: a saintly Englishwoman who is a bit eccentric, a bit dotty, a bit frumpy, a woman who always wears a print housedress and support hose when her ankles swell up--in short, a much younger version of Mrs Beeton, or perhaps Mrs Beeton in training.

With your last few posts, you've wiped that picture completely off my mental hard disk. In short, I'm shocked.
I was up almost half the day yesterday, about fifteen minutes last night, and I cannot think of ONE question to ask you.

I don't think I want to know any more.

A) My dear Charlie I am many things to many different people, my last posts are only one facet. Knowing you as I do I do not believe for one minute that the picture you paint was truly how you saw me. I am still and always will be your Saintly friend... should I say live long and prosper at this point?  By the way the Sonoran desert is a wonderful place, I once took a trip with an ex vietnam war helicopter pilot through the Red Rock canyon. ;0}

tNb said...
Tell us about your favourite pair of shoes? (you can tell so much about a person by their shoes)

A) Well hun here goes, I actually have a shoe closet. Lined with shelves with all of my lovely pretty shoes in their boxes. I have never counted how many pairs of shoes I have but suffice to say the closet is full and the boxes are stacked on top of one another.  Oh dear, can I only choose one pair? This is very difficult as I love them all, for different reasons, for instance there are the beautiful cream silk hand embroidered shoes with the dainty stilletoe heels, that I wore on my wedding day. Then there are the black killer heels that feel like feathers on my toes, they cost me more than I care to admit, they are my jimmy choos, and the first time I wore them was to a charity bash in London, George Clooney and Brad Pitt were there, (it was at the time of Oceans 11), it must have been love, I spent the night ogling my wonderful choos. But if I am truly honest my favourite footware has to be my slippers, they are fluffy mules that slip slop as I walk so that his Lordship always hears me approaching, but when I put them on it means that I am home and it is time to relax at the end of the day.

Stinkypaw said...
Why do you keep cards you received?

A) Because I like to be reminded that there are nice people out there who have taken the effort to send them.

Addendum; 15th January. I promised to be honest, all of the above answers are true.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Potentially 'she' and a flustered me.

(Charlie, is this better?)

Recently someone new commented on one of my posts and as is my way I clicked on their link intending to be polite and thank them for doing so. On hitting their profile I discovered that this was a thirteen year old girl who had posted a picture of herself on her profile. Not only had she done this but she had also put her email account on her blog inviting people to email her.

Now at this stage obviously it goes without saying that 'she' could in actual fact be a hairy biker from Germany who just wants to get in touch with his feminine side, she could be a honey trap, or she could simply be a thirteen year old girl who has launched into the blogosphere.

But what if it is a thirteen year old girl? My work is all about protecting the vulnerable from those who are most at risk of harming them. I work specifically with those who pose the highest risk of harming children through their sexual preferences. I see the extent to which this kind of behaviour exists and the terrible damage it does to the victims. The internet is not a safe place for children.

I use my blog as an escape, it is my sanctuary if you like, it is the home of St Jude the person who spends her days with the extremely morally challenged, getting inside their minds, (trust me, not the most pleasant of places to be), restricting their attempts to hurt yet more lives and dodging the bullets they send flying my way when I block their efforts, metaphorically speaking of course, it's usually fists, feet, heads or the nearest object they can find. Don't worry I'm pretty good at dancing like a butterfly. My blog is the opportunity to escape into the person I like to be, with friends I like to be with.

So what on earth do you do when there is a potential risk to someone, who may or may not be who they claim to be, who you don't know. Well I left 'her' a friendly, hopefully non patronising comment warning her that not everyone is who they seem in the blogosphere and perhaps she may want to reconsider putting her email address on her blog. That done I returned home, as I did so my eye caught the photo in my sidebar and I remembered the post that was hidden beneath it... giddy aunt, nice one St Jude!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

25 Years ago, V, 25 Hours Ago! It's my birthday 6th January 2010

This photo was taken 25 years ago for a competition, it won. At a time when women were power dressing and liberating themselves from the kitchen and their children to take up careers this photo won a competition aimed at capturing the 'woman of today'. Strange don't you think, perhaps the judges were harping back to a time different to those in which the competition was set? Actually the competition was more than just the photo it was about the woman being captured in it. This particular 'woman 'did not see herself as as second to anyone, be they man or woman, she saw herself as being their equal. She simply was herself.

At the age of thirteen she realised that her life was being directed along a path she was not prepared to take, at school she was 'allowed' to take housecraft and needlework classes whilst the boys did interesting lessons such as woodwork, metalwork and technical drawing.  The introduction of Act of Parliament provided her with the opportunity to challenge this long standing practice. Being a somewhat naive young girl at that time she marched into the Head Masters office and requested her right to be given the same opportunities as the boys, she wanted to be able to study the same lessons as them and they in turn would have the opportunity to study housecraft and needlework. That was the 1970s. She was the first girl in the North of England to use the Act to gain equal rights within the education system. There was no press coverage or fanfare the Local Education Authority simply gave their grudging approval and at the start of the next term she began studying woodwork and technical drawing. Neither of which were her best subjects.

In 1977 she met the love of her life, it was at a time when women were still barred from certain areas of pubs and other places, she did on one occasion cause something of a stir when she walked into the tap room of a pub and proceeded to play dominoes with her love. She was escorted from the premises by the landlord... oh what a scarlet woman. Perhaps she should have demurely sat with babycham in hand in the lounge,

In 1981 she and her love married. Four years later when the photo above was taken she was the mother of two young children, they are now grown and her eldest has two children of his own whilst the youngest is now a young woman herself with two step children. She is a grandmother to four lovely children who she adores. She no longer has to endure the humiliation of being treated as a lesser person purely based on her lack of equipment in the trouser department, although she has on occasions been described as having 'balls', (his Lordship suggested the use of this word), being a lady I don't normally use such terminology.

so the above picture was taken 25 years ago and the photographer, his Lordship, suggested that it would be fun to recreate it. The picture below was taken 25 hours ago.

Today I am 50 years old, and yes that is me and no there is no photoshop trickery.  So the girl is now a woman.

Urm, Captain did I tell you I had my navel pierced... sorry!

Saturday, January 02, 2010

New Year, New Me.

Well I have decided that this blog is looking a tad tired. So I have been thinking about getting it spruced up a little. I have trawled the tinterweb for a template that I like, but I have sadly left each and every place I have visited empty handed. The problem is that I know what I want and it just isn't out there.

You see my blog to me is more than just a place I visit to write the odd post, it is the place my blog friends pop by to say hello, to have a chat. It is my 'virtual' home, the home of St Jude. So I would like it to reflect that. There are a lot of templates out there but they are obviously geared to appeal to as many people as possible, I want my blog to reflect me.

So to celebrate the start of the new year, new decade and my upcoming momentus birthday I have decided to treat myself to a makeover.  Unfortunately not being particularly clever with the old template design thingy I will need to find someone who has the ability to transform my blog into the image I want for it. This is where I need some help, is there anyone out there who can offer some recommendations for someone who could design me a template. I would prefer to go on a recommendation rather than just jump into this blind. 

So if any of you have any suggestions they will be gratefully accepted.
A Tykes Progress. Design by Exotic Mommie. Illustraion By DaPino