Friday, March 30, 2007

The Tag-box

Readers will no doubt have noticed that recently, there has been a spate of offensive messages left in the tag-box. They are posted under fictitious names and they consist of malicious lies and spiteful allegations aimed at two people by a mental cripple.
This evening we decided to resolve the problem once and for all and stamp out all anonymous posts. Regular readers can still add comments but will have to register first with a bona-fide name. All posters can now be identified by their ip numbers but genuine posters need not worry. It’s merely a way of controlling the idiots.

(To register, scroll down to 'Profile')

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Time3to remember

Regular readers will no doubt remember some research I did just over a year ago on behalf of a friend concerning her mother’s death. I managed to unearth old records and autopsy reports and a copy of her death certificate. Her daughter, being only six years old at the time, was shielded by the news on the radio and in the local papers and grew up without any knowledge of how and why her mother died. I undertook to find out all the salient information for her but warned her that the end result may prove to be very traumatic. She told me that she would sooner know the truth, however painful, than remain ignorant of what had happened.

It was a very tragic incident and the more I got involved with it, the more I found myself being affected as the story unfolded. The mother, Mandy, had been suffering from severe depression for a considerable time. She began to think that nobody cared, nobody bothered. As the days went by, she drifted more and more into a state of absolute melancholy with the ultimate result of her taking her own life.
As I unearthed further details of her life, I began to see the problems that she was faced with. Although she had children, she had not enjoyed a happy married life. She had rushed into marriage at the earliest opportunity to escape parental abuse at home.

After her marriage breakdown, Mandy entered into a partnership that resulted in the birth of a daughter whom she dearly loved. That partnership, however, didn’t last. It was a sort of off-on affair with little or no commitment from her partner. He was living in a 2-bedroomed house he had recently bought and was reluctant to take on Mandy and her two children with another one on the way. The father of her daughter abandoned her instead of staying with her through her difficulties. She was now struggling to bring up three children on her own. What social life she tried to enjoy was fraught with broken promises and neglect by those on whom she depended.
It was ten years ago that she decided to end her torment. She walked away from everyone and went alone to a quiet spot where she died from a tranquilliser overdose and hypothermia.
I compiled a dossier containing coroner’s findings, pathological reports and a selection of letters that Mandy had written immediately prior to her death. These
letters are among some of the most poignant farewells I have ever read. She had also written a poem in which she expressed her innermost sadness.

I never knew Mandy but I have discovered quite a lot about her and I now know that she deserved much better treatment than that which she had to live with. Far from being the drudge and the hopeless schizophrenic that she was painted by some, I found she was a caring mother and possessed a high level of intelligence. Had she been given a little more love and understanding, her life need not have been unbearable. Admittedly, she was ill but she should never have been driven to the point of suicide. She was only 35 at the time.

Further investigation revealed that someone she was close to at the time, a doctor, betrayed her and diagnosed her as schizophrenic before moving away from the area. It would appear that he was very worried that he may have been accused of professional misconduct. A patient with a serious mental disorder would not be given much credence had there been an investigation!

I think that those who deserted Mandy were fully responsible for her death and were also indirectly responsible for the tragic and traumatic suffering of her daughter at the hands of her abusers in the years to come. Had Mandy lived, her daughter would have grown up in a family full of love and care. There would have been no abuse, no neglect and no suffering.
Her daughter grew up thinking her mother had betrayed her and left her all alone. It was only recently that she found out the truth. Now that she realises how much her mother really did love her, she has come to terms with her death and found for her, a special place in h
er heart.

Mandy died around March 25th 1997. Today, I visited her grave today and placed some flowers there; red carnations on behalf of her daughter, Sarah and a single red rose from me as a token of respect for her memory.
I’m not a religious man but I wish that I could offer up some sort of prayer where I could express my deep regret for her having to die at such an early age and to hope that she has found the peace and love she was denied in her life. I’m not much good at this sort of thing but over the next few days, I shall be remembering her as I know those who knew and loved her will also be remembering.

(The cards attached to the flowers reads "Dearest Mum, you are not forgotten. I love you. Sarah"
and "A simple token of my respect, Griff.")

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Our Mad Witch!

The Mad Witch…
There seems to be a spate of enquiries among readers for a pic of our ‘Mad Witch.’
I shall publish this ‘one-off’ shot to satisfy them.

Ruth says she's a witch but then again, she never could spell!!!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Unwelcome comments

It was over a year ago that I started this blog, the purpose of which was to create a lasting memory to my partner who died so very tragically some time ago.
Interspersed with narratives and anecdotes about our life together, have been other postings that I thought would engender some interest to my readers. They range from personal reminiscences to recent events.
I have never sought to use this blog as a weapon to denigrate anyone unfairly with whom I may have disagreed. The only time I have expressed my anger was against a very tiny minority who posted libellous statements against my partner and me. Apart from that, I have always tried to encourage posts both in the comments section and in the tag-box. Fair criticism is always welcomed and counter-criticism is also allowed.
Recently, however, there has been a spate of invective that has, unfortunately, gone beyond the bounds of that which can be accepted. In every case, these messages are posted under an anonymous name and in order to circumvent this state, I shall alter the tag-box so that only those who provide a genuine url or e-mail address will be allowed to post. This, I think, is only fair to everyone.
One person who appears to be getting undue flak is a close friend who moderates my blog when I’m away. The comments are directed at her and have nothing whatsoever to do with the blog. As a moderator, she has the unenviable task of having to delete objectionable posts. She has my total trust in this matter and I’m very grateful for her help.

Friday, March 09, 2007

"I want your baby!"

The second year of our relationship was looking good. We were settling down to a steady life-style with very few clouds on the horizon. We shared common interests in going to clubs, travel, visiting and receiving friends, etc. We both loved to entertain our friends at home and Iris was becoming quite an expert in the kitchen.
One evening as we were watching some trivial TV programme, Iris, who was snuggling up beside me, dropped a bombshell… She said, “Graeme, could we start a family?”
I didn’t know what the hell to say to that! I had never dreamed that Iris wanted anything other than a close, loving partnership. She had accepted the fact that I was married and had three children to think about but this was a bolt from the blue!
I asked her if she was sure about it and she gave a wry little grin and said, “Graeme, it’s just that I love you so very much, I want part of you that I can keep forever.”
I felt very humble, knowing that Iris loved me enough to want my child. At the same time, I was practical enough to realise it could only be a dream. Iris was now 35 and I was 39 and already had a son and two daughters. I said that we should think about it very carefully.
If I hadn’t been married, I would have loved to have had children by her. I would have married her as soon as I realised she loved me.
Iris was staring into the fire, watching the flames licking the coals as they burned. She said, “Am I being silly?” I told her that she wasn’t being silly at all and I felt honoured that she should want to bear my child. She replied that she had merely voiced a daydream but in her heart, knew it was a non-starter. I asked her how long she had been thinking of this. She told me it was just something she would have loved but realised it was both impossible and impractical.
Iris said, “I know you love me and that’s enough.” I reached over and hugged her as she lay in my arms on the settee. At the same time, I felt torn apart as this was the very first thing she wanted that I couldn’t give her.
How I wish I’d met her fifteen years earlier! It sounds so selfish, I know, but that was how I felt. I loved her so very, very much!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Cats... I love 'em!

I like cats; I love ‘em! All my life I have never been away from a feline pet. I remember a cat we had at home when I was about four or five years old. He was called ‘Ginger’ and we had him for quite a long time.
When we were first married, Barbara and I moved into a house we had bought and we hadn’t been there for more than a couple of weeks when a stray cat wandered in, sat down and miaowed to be fed! Naturally, we took him in and he was the first of a succession of moggies over the years.
I had a friend, Jean, who bred and showed cats. These weren’t the run-of-the-mill flea-bags but pedigree cats worth quite a lot of money. I would take her to cat shows all over the place and she won quite a few prizes.
.Jean’s house was where I had first met Iris who used to baby-sit for her so they knew each other very well. Iris loved cats but her mother had never allowed her to have any pet at all. One day, Jean asked me to take her to the National Cat Show in Leicester at the De Montfort Hall. It was a very important event in the cat world so I agreed. The three of us set off early on the Saturday morning with three show cats. Two were Silver Tabbies and one was a Tortie-point Siamese.
It was a very successful result with Jean winning ‘Best of Class’ for the Silver Tabbies and a Commendation for the Siamese. Armed with the awards, she decided to breed one of the tabbies as she had orders for the kittens even before they were conceived!
The queen had six kittens; all healthy and in perfect condition. Two of them, however, were not up to show quality as they were a little darker than the required standard. As soon as they were old enough, Jean offered them to me. I snatched her hand off. Iris had one and my mother, another moggie fan, had the other. Iris called her kitten ‘Smokie’ and mother named hers, Sophie. They were both spoiled absolutely rotten!
Sadly, Smokie was run over two days before Iris died. I took her home and buried her in the back garden. She was a beautiful creature and I still have a couple of shots of her with Iris. Some of you will remember the photographs published on here last March. You can also see Smokie in the pics that I use as avatars on MSN and Yahoo Messenger. Even today, I still have a cat in the house. I have mentioned her before; she is called Tiffi and is absolutely boofuls!

Smokie with Iris in 1974. 30 years later, Tiffi sitting on my printer