Do not smile with pity in your eyes

Do not smile at me with pity in your eyes
because then I see an empty heart
Do not write with sadness in your tone
I can still feel every word you write
Or speak in a way that simplifies your voice
in case somehow I have lost my intelligence

When you think of me look at who I am
not who I was when we bounced against each other
Remember the times we had being creative
laughing and talking till all hours
Tthrowing our dreams in the air hoping
to catch them when they floated close enough

Listen when I speak to you because I am still here
I can still feel the same when you discuss a thought
I can still laugh and throw ideas your way
You may see a few cracks but don’t dwell on them
enjoy what I still have and am inside
Understand what I have to say is important
worth a serious listen and response
as you would anyone else in conversation

Think of me with the love of the friendship
we have embraced before, secrets we shared
happy days, the troubled times we put to rest
Now bring that to our communication
A knowing smile, words special to just us
Remember my personality and understand me
Its still lurking in me waiting to peek out
and surprise you.

How do you reach someone who appears a shell?

Speak to me with music that I listened to
being collected on my iPod ready for use,
Speak to me with photographs that I have taken
perhaps seemingly random but
those decaying buildings held sway for me once.
Read to me: poetry, a crime novel, no romance please
George Elliot; my favourite classical author

Know me, that I am not a stereotype
When touch is important, know that I HATE it
Unless I have a manicure or pedicure
Know me in dyspraxia and dementia

Brush my hair I love that feeling
Give me my 18” of personal space
know me that I needed that once

Know me that I love all things alternative
and that my sense of humour may be dark

It matters not
that you may not see these things in me
But know that is what shaped
my personality to the person I became
And to each of you, dear friends
I showed you a side that remained yours alone

So
Do not smile with pity in your eyes
Let me see instead, love, understanding
or a wonderful wickedness of a life enjoyed

A proud Mum!

A couple of days ago my daughter phoned me from London and told me she would be walking with some of her work colleague’s at Sainsburys Supermarket for Sport Relief http://www.sportrelief.com/.  She had recently expressed her dismay at the way some people are taking a “selfie without make-up” for breast cancer, saying what good will that do without donations to go with them.  She decided that she wanted to do ‘something’ rather than just give a simple donation and joined in the 12 mile walk to raise donations.  Now this is a person who has clinically flat feet, and who lately has complained of intense pain in her feet through wearing rubbish shoes as she tells it.  Working only 20 hours per week she does not have extra cash to buy good shoes for her feet, but here she is walking to raise money for others.

She got up at 5am to get ready for work at 6am, worked until 9am and then joined the walking team to start at 10am.  Their aim was to walk carrying buckets, to each main supermarket store collecting donations on the way.  After 8 miles the area manager surprised them all by joining them for the remainder of the way, and as she put it he could have sent an email to wish them well, but chose to walk instead.  She text me a couple of times with her progress saying her feet hurt but was enjoying it.  After taking a detour they finished the walk having completed 16 miles, in a pub for a drink paid for by the area manager.

When she was home she phoned me sounding exhausted, it was brilliant, she said, we were all buzzing, we must have collected about £200 plus our own sponsorship donations.  I hurt all over, I have enormous blisters, but I want to do it again, she told me.   I want to start doing things for charity, I want to run the marathon, it feels so good although I know that sound selfish!  There is nothing wrong in feeling good helping others.  She needed to eat, bathe and sleep next.  A hot bath would have been good but the landlady had the taps removed to save money leaving only a shower, it would have to do I told her.

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There is a matching one on the other foot – ouch!
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Claire is the one with the orange bag in the front 🙂

Right now I am the proudest mother ever not just because of her achievement but her wish to help others.

Our break away in Budapest – 15/02/14

Budapest is beautiful!  We stayed in the La Prima Fashion Hotel and I am glad I chose it.  My daughter and I walked our socks off around the city.  On our first day we walked the 2.5 kilometres up Andrassy Utca (street) stopping for coffee and a visit to The House of Terror where so many people died during the Communist regime in Hungary.  It was well designed and informative, but most of all very moving.  Continuing up Andrassy Street the buildings were unique in design with stone figures, ornate balconies or decorated facades.  There is a gothic feel to some buildings giving the appearance of opulence.  We went through into the inner courtyards of the many storied buildings peeking at the galleried residential apartments.  Our destination was Szechenyi Thermal Bath and Spa.  Paying for a little wooden cabin we changed into our swim suits and headed to the pool.  Through the door in front of us lay a labyrinth of pools each with a different temperature.  We tried out several pools; 34° – 38° and then went ventured outside into the open air.  The pool was hot and steam rose in the cold air like a thick fog.  It was glorious!  Our last pool inside was a hot 40° which we were in and out of quickly, we declined the final ice cold plunge pool!  It was a most pleasurable experience.

We ate and drank Hungarian, all the while chatting and enjoying each other company.  We walked to Buda and enjoyed the medieval town, taking the bus back.  My body screaming in pain is letting me know I have done too much.  But we had a fabulous time.

In the past, as the parent I have ‘done the talking’, this time I did not feel so confident to ask or explain things and passed to my daughter that task, which she did so eloquently.  I was aware of being inattentive to my surroundings more than once had to make sure I was not standing in the road whist taking photographs.  We talked about my fears that Mr Hsg is unable to care for me, and she reassured me that she would bring me nearer to her when the time is right.  London would not be my first choice, but being near her would be.

I have been to London on a train!

I was both excited and apprehensive as I stood on the station at Lichfield waiting for the train to London.  I have loved visiting cities on my own, catching trains, trams, underground, but for the first time I felt a little bit scared of getting confused with my new lack of sense of direction.  This was no problem though because my daughter would meet me at Euston Station and take me to Greenwich where she lives.

Two tubes and a bus ride later, and we were in the house where she rents a room.  Taking our cameras we went to Greenwich Park and as the sun heated up she took me through little shaded paths to where the squirrels scamper openly.  As she sat on the path and got out a packet of monkey nuts, out they came and ventured up to take them from her hand, one after another.  Occasionally one would screech or grunt at her and she laugh.  It is so lovely to spend times like this with my daughter. 

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Feeding the squirrels in Greenwich Park, London

 As she sat I saw a unique side to her, this is someone who I had told could do anything she wanted, and this was it in its basic form.  Whilst people walked by, she simply sat and ignored them and fed the squirrels and coal tits that sat on her hand.  She was engrossed with the moment and the wildlife around her.  This was what she wanted me to experience with her.

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We walked around the park, through the trees following paths that her boyfriend had shown her.  We climbed the hill to the top where the Greenwich Observatory is, and I took her photo standing on the Prime Meridian Line.  The climb was hard and my back and legs were very painful.  The view from the top across the London skyline is indeed beautiful. 

We walked around Greenwich as she showed me her favourite shops and places, she is so at home there.  As we walked we chatted about anything and everything as we have always done.

 Out for dinner at…Jamie Olivers Italian in Greenwich, which we were both looking forward to and had a lovely meal, in a very  relaxed atmosphere.  Back home and to bed as I ached in every joint I have!

 The early hours of Friday morning I was woken up around 5 am by the freight trains trundling along the line at the end of the garden, followed by Claire’s housemates taking showers next door at six, along with a chorus of birds; gulls, jays and parakeets squawking outside.  She says you get used to hearing the constant noise of the traffic also, but I am not sure I would.

Claire persuaded me to stay another night so that we could have another day together, so we set off to the British Museum.  How anyone can remain overweight in London is amazing because there is so much walking even though you hop onto buses and tubes.  I decided not to take my camera so that I could enjoy the exhibits.  The museum was packed, and each glass exhibit was hidden behind groups of mainly Asian tourists taking photos before moving on quickly to the next one.  We started out with the Ancient Egypt part but there were so many rooms and things to see, by the time I was in too much pain to continue we still hadn’t finished it.  She took me to the Dome to look round; it was packed with people eating in the restaurants before seeing Michael Buble who was playing there later that evening.

 Again we had had a lovely day together, chatting as she showed me the sights of London near where she lives.  I am so pleased I caught the train to see her, and will be visiting her more often, but understand my difficulties with directions.

 A couple of times I was aware of my lack of attention, especially when I was looking in my bag on an underground escalator and she said “Mum you need to get off now”!  I had no idea where we were on the underground or where we were going, but Claire did so I just followed her.

 She took me back to Euston Station on Saturday morning to get the train back home, as I would not have found it easy to find my way there and back I came to the peace and quiet of our boat home.

Photography and friends

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My lovely friend on the very top of Snowden Mountain in Wales, UK

Having recently lent my camera to my friend whilst we were on holiday, I have learnt a little more about camera’s and photography through my dear friend of 30 years who is recovering from breast cancer and is an inspiration with her cheerful outlook to life.  I lent her my Panasonic Lumix G5K, set it on iA (automatic) for her showed her how to focus in on a subject and away she went.  David Bailey eat your heart out!  Not only did she take good photographs, her photographs were well thought out.  Her home life is not pleasant, so it was such a delight to see her come alive with enthusiasm.  She said she did not know she loved photography until she was given the opportunity.  As I talked to her about camera the bits I found I knew and realised that I am slowly learning more and more even it is taking a long time.

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A dandelion to be captured!

Every time I turned round Sheila was bending over or on her knees photographing some flower on the side of a road.

Having realised that she can no longer work at her three cleaning jobs anymore she has been looking for some purpose for herself.  This is a woman who gives all of herself to others, feeling that she herself should take second place…it breaks my heart when I think of how miserable her life is at home.

On holiday she bravely left off her hat unless the wind was cold!   “Nobody knows me here” she said “so they won’t laugh at me“.    “They laugh at you because you have had cancer?” I asked her, and she gave me a look that understood what I was saying.

When we got home, I set about printing out her photos for her.  She does not have a computer and is not technological in any way.  At present she says she would never learn how to use one…we will see 😉  Whilst we were away I ordered paper and inks ready and set about printing the 600 plus photos she had taken!!  When we viewing on my laptop she would say “I want that blurred one, because I took it as we were driving in the car“.  It has taken several days and I finally finished having got through two and a half packs of inks.

We will take them to her next week, (sadly we live too far apart to just ‘pop round’ with them)  and I can’t wait to give them to her.

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Bee on flower taken by Sheila

A single parents bond – Mothers day 2013

Monthers day came without the card from my daughter, posted late I would be waiting till Tuesday to receive it!   Then she announced that she would be coming to visit on Tuesday with the boyfriend I had not yet met.  My daughter’s train arrived at 1:20 and we hugged a ‘miss you so much’ hug.  The boyfriend is a nice looking lad, shy with good manners, I like him and it is clear that C is besotted with him.  However quiet he is, his words are carefully and wisely chosen.  He is her grounding.  I cooked curry whilst C and I caught up with news, and then we reminisced, I realised at some point that this was a private moment where Mr Hs and J could not join in.  My daughter and I have a close bond that often single parents and their children have, that cannot be breached by anyone else during certain moments.  It was one of those moments; she was taking us down memory lane and only we were walking arm in arm.  I miss her, I miss talking to her, I miss the in-depth conversations we have about various topics and the news.  I miss our closeness.  I miss watching her life unfold in the delightful way she shares it.  I miss her humour. Image