Eyes On Friday

Reblogging this 2-year-old post because it’s Friday and I still think ‘thank God it’s Friday!’

The Glorious Outsiders

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I said the same thing last week. Thank God it’s Friday. Can’t wait til it’s Friday. I said it last week; it’s been one of those weeks! That was because everything was broken. The oven, the washing machine, the dog. I wanted Friday and a glass of wine.

I’ve been saying it again this week. It’s been one of those weeks I am glad to see the back of. I will be glad when this week is over. Roll on Friday!

Poorly baby, poorly dog, doctor’s appointments, vets appointments. Falling behind in everything I try to do. Scrabbling for time. Existing in exhaustion. Forgotten bills. Forgotten P.E kits. Not enough time for anything.

But it will all be all right once Friday comes. We all do it don’t we? Keep our eyes on Friday, keep it in our sights. We veer around the obstacles, we duck and dive and dodge…

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The Many Wonderful Worlds of a 3 year-old

I realised today that you don’t live in the same world as the rest of us. And why should you?

Yours are so much better.

It does me good to let go of my own adulthood, of the chains of washing up and preparing meals and sweeping up dust and driving from here to there and back again. It does me good to give in to you completely.

Sometimes I view being with you as a chore. Sometimes I think, how much easier it would be to get things done alone, without a little voice chattering at my side. But that’s the adult me. That’s the tired Mum me. That’s the 39-year-old woman who wonders when she will ever stop feeling tired. That’s the woman who has been up since half five this morning and craves the odd snatched five minutes of coffee drinking and Facebook scrolling in the kitchen, out of sight…

But I need to shrug her off. I need to push her away and free myself from those weighted thoughts of shopping, and finances, and to-do lists and never enough time in the world. I need to be in the moment, in the here and the now, existing purely with you. I need to be more like you and enter your magnificent worlds more often.

Days like today remind me. Days when I give in purely and completely to you. Days when I become as you are and see the world as you do. Because you don’t just live in this world because this world, do you? You live in so many others, and there is no strain or drudgery in any of yours. One moment you are a ‘little puppy’. The next you are a burger flipping character named ‘Cooker.’ We never know who or what you will be next. My mind is fascinated by yours. What goes on in there? You are so tiny yet stuffed tight with so many stories!

Today you wanted to use bricks to make car-parks for your cars. You say ‘please, you be this one. Please, you build more par-parks.’ And I’m thinking, with a sigh, but we’ve got to take the dogs out, because we’ve already been to toddler group and had lunch, and it’s not fair to make them wait any longer. You don’t want to go, but I tempt you with a biscuit and in seconds you have your coat and shoes on and we are off.

When we get there, you want to choose the ways. You want to go the ways I don’t want to go. I slip into the usual habits. Grumbling, muttering under my breath, pulling at the dogs, snapping at them to behave, and you just want to climb on the big boulders and jump in the puddles. You want to show me a tree and ask why it has a knobbly bit on it, and it’s there and then that I swallow the exasperation and the impatience and just give in. I feel the fight and the stress seep right out of me.

Because I realise that it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if you choose ways that I wouldn’t or if you want to climb on rocks and through brambles. It doesn’t matter if the walk takes longer than I intended. None of it matters!

So I let you take charge. And you show me your world.

‘Don’t step on the black bits! They suck you under!’

‘This is my house. This is my fire.’

‘This is my hitting stick.’

‘This is my party.’

At this point, my heart melts entirely. Since you could string the words together, you have referred to a cluster of tree stumps as a ‘party.’ I have no idea where this comes from, but the sight of tree stumps makes you think of parties. So you show me your party, and jump from the tree stumps, then you say we have to go because everything is on fire.

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We run to the next one, further up the hill. A few weeks ago this place was a haze of purple, the heather in full bloom. Now everything is turning orange and brown. Leaves are falling and the earth is dark and wet. One of the dogs runs off and you yell;

‘That’s my dog! Where my dog going?’

So we chase after her and find another party. You make another fire. You show me your bed on the lime green moss of the forest floor. You are totally and utterly inside this world. You slip between worlds so effortlessly, so naturally. You tell me to watch out for the tripping up steps (tree roots) and we abandon the party to march further up the hill.

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I let you choose the way, and we go left, out across the flat of the hill, walking along narrow flattened paths between burnt orange heather and ferns.

‘Don’t walk on that path! Walk on this one!’

‘That one a river!’

‘That boat with tiny people on it.’

‘That tree is my house.’

‘Here you have to do a dance like this…’

‘Here, you have to do a funny walk like this.’

‘I’m the Doctor. I’m Doctor Dad. You’re Amy.’

And just like that, you create another world and invite me inside with you. You’ve got the Tardis key around your neck and your sonic screwdriver in your hand. You stomp your tiny way through ferns taller than you are. You crouch down to bypass needle sharp gorse and tell me we have to find the Tardis because the aliens are coming.

We circle around and down the hill. You pretend to die by going all stiff and then tell me you are another Doctor.

Which one? A girl or a boy?

‘A boy Doctor.’

Are you old or young?

‘I’m an old man Doctor. But if I get hurt, I be another Doctor.’

We walk on, and you never stop talking, never stop imagining. There is no such thing to you as just a tree, or just a fir-cone, or just a stick. Everything has infinite possibilities. Everything becomes a story.

We walk home, we make it back to the Tardis and your key lets us in, and then you see your bricks and cars, and instantly you are back in that game. A small part of me longs a coffee in the kitchen, checking my phone, taking a breather. But I shove that small part away briskly and firmly.

You want me. You ask for me. You require me in your games and in your many, wonderful worlds. I am honoured to be asked, and needed. For I know you won’t always want me there. And when the places you take me are so magical, they make me forget I am a grown up, they make me forget about unpaid bills and unanswered emails, how, why would I ever say no?

Character Interview; Terry Dacosta from ‘Sucker’s and Scallies’ by Kate Rigby

Are you ready for another character interview? This week I am talking to Terry ‘Tez’ Dacosta, who I hope won’t mind me describing him as a bit of a rascal. You can find out more about his turbulent childhood in Suckers and Scallies  by Kate Rigby

1) Tell us what your positive character traits are.

 I’ve got a loads of positive traits, me.  I’m resilient, I bounce back when the going gets tough, you won’t catch me moping about.  I’m driven and I’ll fight my corner and that of my family and those close to me.  Oh yeah and I’m big enough to own up if I’m in the wrong or if someone makes a suggestion, like how I can improve my attitude or my work I’ll always take it on board.

2) What would you say your negative traits are?

 Anger is my main one.  I told you I’ll fight your corner but you don’t wanna get on the wrong side of me.  If I’m under attack you will know it. I do have a bit of a short fuse and I’m not gonna make the usual excuses of my upbringing and all that shite. Not like our Jackie who blames our old fella for all his drink problems and his dodgy back and sits about whingeing in groups and that. OK, so I’ve sat about at Anger Management groups but that’s because it’d got out of control and I had to do something about it. I’m not proud of it.  But I think our Jackie is just avoiding responsibilities and blaming others for things that have gone tits up in his life but one thing our ole fella taught us as well as standing up for ourselves was to face up to our responsibilities.  Not go blaming others.

3) What are your current ambitions or dreams?

 My main ambition is to be a better father to my youngest daughter than I was to my first.  I let my first daughter down by being an absent father.

4) What are your fears?

 I’m pretty fearless, me. But I don’t mind admitting that I hate going the dentist. I don’t like someone else being in control that way and inflicting pain on me.  Another thing, I hate standing up in front of an audience and reading out my own stuff. I agreed to do that a couple of times in open mic sessions with some hard line poems I wrote but I was bricking it.  It’s weird that, coz I’ve been in bands before and don’t mind all eyes on me when singing and playing front man.

5) Do you have enemies?

 Do I have enemies! I’ve been Public Enemy Number One at some times in my life. Like when I lived in Jersey and it felt like the whole of St Helier wanted me and our Chas gone from the island (when he was living there an all).  OK, so we did get up to a bit of trouble and my ex’s family hated us and the name Dacosta.  But you get these stuck up people who hate you coz you’re a Scouser and if you get on in life they can’t wait to do you down or they think we’re all on the rob or smackheads and that.  I’m not saying that I’ve not done bad stuff in my time, who hasn’t, but I’ve no need to go on the rob – I earn decent money as a graphic designer.  But yeah, I’m used to having enemies, it comes with the Dacosta territory.

6) Tell us about your best friend

 Our Jackie was always me bezzie. It’s that blood thing, you know.  There’s less than a year between us so we were like twins growing up.  He’s in Ireland these days, mind, so I don’t see a lot of him.  I did have this bezzie called Kit. He was a kind of blood brother, we even did the ritual when we were kids.  He was from a posh family but he was sound.  We bounced ideas off each other.  Good times they were.

7) What’s your biggest secret?

 Well, they’re not such big secrets these days but when I was growing up, we sometimes used to mess around with other lads, me and our Jackie. We were bad lads, I suppose. We roughed Kit up a bit, we were just messing about, experimenting. In those days you didn’t want to be called a shirt lifter but these days it’s no biggie. Gay, straight and all shades in between – who cares? But I do remember the time when you had to keep stuff like that secret or risk being battered.

 8) Do you have any regrets?

My biggest regret which I touched on earlier is not being there for my oldest daughter, Holly. I was too selfish back then.  Her mother and me split up and I didn’t keep in touch. I didn’t really wanna be saddled with a kid.  I just wanted to have a good time, playing in bands, doing mad stuff, you know. So I missed out on her growing up but I’m not gonna let the same thing happen with Ciara, even though me and her mum have split up.

9) Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

 A lot more settled and not so turbulent, I hope.  Seeing a lot more of my daughter and making my latest relationship work.

10)  How would you like to be remembered?

As that tenacious Scouser with a chequered past who proved you all wrong and won you round! Something like that anyway.

Thank you so much Terry! It’s been great fun catching up with you. I’d been wondering what you were up to these days…

 

 

 

Stan

Reblogging for #ThrowbackThursday this piece I wrote about my Grandad Stan over 2 years ago. One of my Aunts has been doing her family tree and recently found out Stan (who was actually my mother’s step-father) was related to one of the Tolpuddle martyrs. There were other fascinating stories too and I’ve been thinking about him a lot since then. Good old Stan.

The Glorious Outsiders

Stan was a man. Bigger than most. But not in a way that made you look up to him or fear him. Stan was a man who lived mostly in the background. No one knew what he thought or felt.

Like most men, he was a creature of habit. He never came downstairs in his dressing gown. He always arrived fully dressed in his trousers, shirt and cardigan. I never once saw him wear a t-shirt or jeans. While she made us hot buttered toast, Stan sat in his chair at the table by the window. He always sat one side, and she always sat the other. Every morning he had the same breakfast. Half a grapefruit and a cup of tea. He was a polite, neat eater. Though his hand shook as he lifted the spoon to his mouth, we tried not to look.

He always shaved before he…

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