Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A wedding

It was in June 1976 when Andrea dropped a bombshell.
Andrea, as readers will doubtlessly know, was my secretary, Girl Friday, second mother and close friend. I had inherited her from her previous boss about five years before and she was my right arm. She was a divorcee in her early forties and worth her weight in diamonds!
She came to me one morning and announced she was getting married again. This didn’t come as a surprise as I knew she had been thinking about it for some time. Now that her boy-friend had recently got his decree absolute, there was nothing to stop them.
I suppose it was selfish of me to think that they wouldn’t be starting a family and thereby losing Andrea but I was very relieved when she said that she wouldn’t be leaving.

That weekend, she and her fiancé held a small party for work friends and naturally, Iris and I were invited. The party was held in a pub we had all been to before and it was a very lively affair.
Andrea said that they were to be married in September, just three months away. In the meantime, they were buying a house and completely redecorating it.
Andrea had two sons; one newly-married and the other engaged but still at university. See blog March 2006) Her husband-to-be was an old friend of mine with no offspring and I was really glad they were finally tying the knot.
The wedding day dawned; it was bright and sunny. Iris and I were there to see them married and we watched as they drove away to a honeymoon in
Italy. Iris was a little weepy but that could have been expected. She was very happy for Andrea but couldn’t help feeling a little sad; weddings often do that to women.
Later that night, we went out for dinner. Iris wore the same costume as she had done for the wedding; she looked lovely and I told her so. She said she felt just as much married as Andrea was. She knew I loved her and that was all that mattered. This was typical of her; unselfish and devoted.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

A very welcome reunion

A few weeks ago in early March, I literally bumped into an old friend I hadn’t seen for over five years. The lady, Vanessa, was a fellow-member of my Boat Club and we spent many a weekend together swanning up and down the Trent and the Humber. I have mentioned this lady in passing in my blog. (“A one-off” Jan. 22nd 2006)

We had both changed a bit since then but we are still close friends. I’ve always had a soft spot for Nessie, as she was known in the club, and it’s really good to be seeing her again. I first met her in 1987 when she and her husband had a boat moored near mine. Being members of the same club, it was only natural that we spent weekends together either in the clubhouse or on board our boats. A few years later she got divorced but continued her club membership even though hubby had got the boat and she settled for the house.
Nessie would join us on board for an odd weekend. She was a very useful crew member as she could navigate and man the VHF radio while Barbara was preparing meals, etc.
Shortly afterwards, she left the area to work in
Reading and I never saw her again until recently. We had kept in touch by the odd letter and phone call but it was a most pleasant surprise to meet her again.

Nessie has most certainly spiced up my life quite a bit as we share a common interest in things I am heavily absorbed in at the moment. She is delightful company and we celebrated our reunion with a dinner date. Where did we go? To the Pack, of course!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

A slight little (furry) problem…

I’ve just realised that I’m going to be faced with a problem. In a few weeks’ time when we shall be going on holiday, there will be a very tiny kitten to look after. How we’re going to get round that one, God knows!
We always look after our daughter’s cats when they are away but it is quite easy for us as we have plenty of time and not restricted by regular working hours. My daughter and husband are in full-time work which makes it difficult for them to reciprocate when having to make a fifty mile round trip every time.
Normally, our immediate next-door neighbours look after Tiffi but they have moved recently and the house is now occupied by students. Whether or not they will oblige, I don’t know. Somehow, they don’t look the type to be concerned with domestic animal welfare. Tiffi, however, is no problem; she will wander up the lane to another neighbour three doors away, who will feed her and keep an eye on her. She will be able to come and go as she pleases via the cat-flap. The real problem will concern the little newcomer. The suggestion of a cattery for such a young kitten is totally unthinkable; as I said, I have a problem!

Any suggestions?

Saturday, May 19, 2007

To those who said she’d never make it!

When Sarah fled her home three days after her sixteenth birthday, the consensus of opinion was that she would be back within a month. She would be clamouring to return home, a sadder but wiser girl. Over six months have passed and although a lot wiser, sadness has never come into it!Sarah has bonded with her new family and is an accepted and respected member of her community.

There is a small selection of pics here to give you an idea of Sarah’s present lifestyle.
Eat your heart out!!!!

Sarah busy on her estate!

Planting out in her herb garden

Target practice!

Below is Sarah's pet snake

Don’t tread on me! Christopher Gadsden 1724-1805)

"And don't tread on me either!" (Sarah Cain 1990-?)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The long-awaited pics...

The kittens are not yet a month old and these are the very first shots of them.
They are still a little wobbly on their legs but they are so very, very, adorable!

This is Jet

Jasper, Jet and Amber

Here they are again!


Can you imagine anything more beautiful? I can't wait until Amber is old enough to leave her mum.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Sarah… A happy outcome

At several points in my blog, I have made reference to a young friend who suffered greatly from abuse at the hands of her guardians. I never went into great detail and I never mentioned her name.
She had a very miserable childhood but for all that, she possessed a degree of intelligence that made her virtually a child prodigy.

She built her own PC at thirteen and was an acclaimed public speaker on the nationalist scene as a member of the Young B.N.P. Behind the facade, however, was a frightened bullied girl who was subjected to evil mind-control by an Internet paedophile. Sadly it came to a situation where she couldn’t bear her present environment any longer and three days after her sixteenth birthday, she ran away from home to a new life in the U.S.
She crept out of the house in the very early hours of the morning. (already having obtained flight tickets) got a taxi to the station, went to
Manchester Airport, boarded a flight to New York, changed airlines and flew to her new home in the Southern States. A valiant achievement for one so young!
Now, six months later, despite pathetic attempts from her father to disrupt her life, she’s a totally different person. Gone are the fears, gone are the nightmares and she is now settled with a loving and caring family.

At present, she is working on an autobiography of her young life. (warts and all!) When published, it will raise a few eyebrows! She is also speaking at local schools in the area on the subjects of Parental Abuse and Domestic Violence. She is well-equipped to speak as she has had a great deal of previous experience; it is only the subject matter that has changed. Her deliverance is as good as ever and she is now fast becoming recognised as a young counsellor for children who have suffered similar abuse that she did.
Sarah has picked up the threads of her life and woven a new rich pattern. She is living in a very beautiful surrounding and has taken to growing plants and herbs. She has also amassed a small menagerie comprising of a hamster, two doves, a dog, a cat and a rabbit. (Plus the occasional snake curled up in her rockery!)

From the frightened, abused girl that she was, has blossomed a young lady with confidence and the will and ability to enjoy life to the full. Very shortly, I shall be publishing a few pics of her in her new environment thus proving wrong, once and for all, the sceptics who said she would never make it!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Tempus fugit!

This year seems to have flown! It’s the middle of May; another month and half the year will have gone! It’s time to think about holidays; where to go, what to see.
I have already planned to go back down to
Brighton and up to Scotland again. I love both these places although the Brighton journey via the M25 is a little boring and usually the road is choc-a-bloc with traffic. The Scotland run is quiet by comparison and there are several stopping-off places worth calling at.
I’m hoping for a trip back to
Germany if I can fit it in. I haven’t been there for about five or six years and I would love to see old friends again.

This first half of the year hasn’t exactly been a bed of roses but it certainly was an improvement on the previous year. To date, I’ve found a couple of old friends with whom I thought I’d lost contact.
One of them is an ex-member of the NF back in the early 70s and the other is a very charming lady I first met in the late 80s. I spent a very enjoyable weekend with Dave B and we reminisced about old times, old comrades and how things have changed so dramatically on the nationalist scene
I found the lady, Vanessa, (Nessie) as delightfully bubbly as ever and it was a great pleasure to see her again.
I have to plan the holidays with a little more thought this year. I have several prior engagements in June and July that I cannot defer so it will be a case of a few days here and a few days there, so to speak.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Missing you

.I haven’t published any poetry on here for some time now. Several readers have asked me to include some. I’m pleased that you like my verses so I shall oblige…

There was nothing as romantic as the nights we spent in front of the old coal fire on winter evenings. We would sit and stare into the flames and tell each other our dreams. They were warm, cosy nights and we were in love.
Recently, I happened upon a small country pub that had a cheerful fire burning in the grate. I hadn’t seen a coal fire for ages. I sat there in front of the fire with a drink in my hands and my mind slipped back thirty-odd years.
The flickering effect mesmerized me and I started thinking about those days so long ago. I just had to write about it.

Sitting by the fire…

I’m staring at the flames that dance before my eyes,
I’m gazing at the embers as they glow,
And I shed a tear or two as I remember you,
And I see you there as you were long ago.

I see you on a summer’s day; you’re looking up at me
And smiling, as I see you standing there.
I tell you how I miss those lips I used to kiss,
As the gentle breeze blows softly through your hair.

You’re in my heart, you’re in my dreams, forever by my side,
And thinking of you, turn to thoughts sublime,
And sitting by the fire, my heart fills with desire
To lie with you and love you one more time.

I look into those burning coals and think of times gone by,
When you and I did live and love as one.
And through the smoky haze, I can see those far-off days,
Alas, my love; they are forever gone!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Loved by all

When starting to write this account of Iris, I found myself in a quandary. Where do I begin? How can I explain why she was so very special? What did she possess that nobody else I had ever known have? Why was she so popular with all my friends and family? Why did they love her?
I have asked several people who are still around who knew her for their views.

To answer all these questions, I must start right at the beginning of our relationship when I first got to know Iris. At that time, she was just another girl whom one would pass in the street without so much as a second glance. She was a quiet mouse-like creature who hardly ever went out and for many years stayed at home looking after her idle semi-invalid mother who never worked in her entire life! However, for some reason I was instantly attracted to her; maybe it was because of her eyes. They were the most beautiful grey eyes I’d ever seen. I was mesmerized by them and from then on, I was smitten!
Iris wasn’t a dummy however. She was hard-working and held a responsible position as a shorthand typist with a commercial company in the city. She had studied shorthand at night-school after first joining the firm she worked for and soon became most proficient.
However, her social life was virtually non-existent before we met. I have explained this before in early posts in my blog, so regular readers will remember how it was.

At the time of our early relationship, the only people who knew about us were our very close friends; friends from work and social friends. Neither of our families was involved at this stage and it was over a year before they found out. Iris’s family were virtually non-existent and rarely contacted her. By that time, we were in a deep and lasting relationship.
I think the greatest quality of Iris was that she could readily adapt to any situation. This was a throwback from her childhood while in care. She realised from an early age that as a socially labelled ‘Deprived child’, she had to perform just that little bit better in her school work than the rest of her classmates. Fortunately for her, she was naturally intelligent and her school days were very happy even though she had been separated from her family. (see blog dated
Feb. 06th 2006, The early years)
When I first met Iris she was very withdrawn and not a good mixer. Apart from an unhappy on-off relationship that had lasted for around a year and fizzled out long before I met her, she never had a regular boyfriend. I remember the first few times we went out together; she was decidedly uncomfortable inasmuch that she wasn’t used to the attention she was being given. However, it wasn’t long before Iris blossomed out into an entirely different person who became instantly popular with my friends and acquaintances. A classic example was when my younger daughter first met Iris. She was immediately captivated by her even though it was long before she realised just how important she was in my life.

My mother, a stickler for family values also became very fond of her and accepted the fact that we were lovers despite her great affection for my wife. It was largely due to my mother that Iris became fashion-conscious. She had never really bothered about make-up and dressy clothes, as before we met, she never went out anywhere. After we became an ‘item’, she was mixing with my friends from work and with others and she gradually emerged from her shell. By the time mother and Iris met, (see blog May 20th 2006) she was taking great pride in her appearance and later, with mother’s help, she was encouraged to develop her social status; something she would never have dreamed of doing earlier. My mother wasn’t a snob in any way but she took Iris under her wing and introduced her to the ‘Coffee morning’ clique just as she had done with my wife several years earlier. I remember my mother taking her to be fitted for a smart costume. Iris had never worn anything like this before and she took to her new image like a duck to water! Mother was immensely proud of her ‘creation’ and they became firm friends until the day she died.
When eventually, my wife found out about Iris, it wasn’t long before she invited her to dinner and to join her in shopping expeditions. I once asked Barbara about how she felt towards Iris and she replied, “I can’t hate her or be jealous; she’s so very nice!” This was an opinion echoed by most of my friends who knew her.
Looking back, I realise I was so very lucky to have the three most important people in my life, my mother, wife and Iris in close harmony with each other.

Very soon after our relationship was cemented, every time I was invited out, it was always the same… “Will you be bringing Iris?” or if I went anywhere on my own, it was a case of “Where’s Iris?” We were accepted as a couple almost right from the start by all our friends
Iris was the first to help anyone in trouble. I suppose that this was due to her having had such a rough childhood herself. She was always there to lend an ear or to comfort. She was more than just a loving partner to me, more than just a good friend to others; she was a bloody saint!
Her funeral was attended by almost a hundred people; six from her family and all the rest were our close friends and work colleagues. This showed just how much she was loved.
Now, twenty-seven years after her death, she still lives on in my heart. I have a constant reminder of her in the form of a small photograph sitting on my desktop that I gaze at several times each day and I love her just as much now as I did all those years ago.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Kittens again!

When we finally get our new kitten, we shall have to remember how we coped the last time. We aren’t used to rearing kittens as most of our moggies adopted us when fully grown.
The only exception to this was over thirty years ago in 1975 when we took in a stray. It was in February of that year and I happened to notice a marmalade coloured cat sniffing round the back door one evening. This was when I was staying with Iris and neither of us had seen it before. It was obviously a stray as when we let it in (and who wouldn’t?) it gobbled virtually everything we fed it.
Iris told me that the cat looked as though it had been neglected for some time so we set about cleaning her up a little. It was then that Iris discovered she was heavily preggers! What were we to do? We had a cat already to look after, Smokie, who had been with us for about a year. She was used to being on her own during the day as we were both out at work but to take in another cat was going to be very difficult especially if she was going to give birth at any time.

Back at the family home, we had a large Newfoundland Labrador, as daft as a brush but no cats. I decided to take the newcomer home with me where it could be properly looked after.
I told a bit of a white lie to my wife saying I’d come across the cat near work and couldn’t leave it to wander about on its own. I omitted telling her of the suspected condition it was in! Barbara immediately fussed around the moggie and the dog,
Sheba, never batted an eyelid.
Surprise, surprise! Two days later after coming in from work, Barbara told me that the cat, now called Smudge, had given birth to four kittens! They were all various shades of ginger/black/white and the mother had taken them upstairs and kept them in the front bedroom in the ‘Walk-in’ wardrobe. (Some folks call it a clothes closet!) The kittens all survived and were visited every day by the dog, Sheba, who insisted on washing them until they looked like pieces of wet string!

To cut a long story short, we found homes for two of the kitties but the other two remained with us for the next twenty-odd years. I hope that our new kitten will enjoy life with us as much as they did! I dunno how Tiffi (our present moggie) will think about it but I reckon she will take it in good faith..
As soon as the kittens are old enough, I'll take some shots and post them on here

Friday, May 04, 2007

April in Paris Easter 1974 (Epilogue)

The mini-series has finally ended and I hope you enjoyed reading it.
That break was very memorable, as although it was only for a few days, we thoroughly enjoyed it. As I have said before, we had many holidays together and much longer ones but this one has always stood out as something special. I think that I got as much pleasure out of showing Iris the delights of the city as she got out of being there.
After our return, I did find a suitable venue where Iris could wear her beautiful scarlet dress for the first time and she looked an absolute picture! After her death, I took the dress away as I couldn’t bear to think of anyone else wearing it so I disposed of it in an incinerator along with several other items of her clothing. Mind you, after the ‘vultures’ had been round, there were precious few things left as I have mentioned before!

I have often been asked why Iris was so very special apart from the fact that she loved me so much.
I shall, in the course of the next few days, try to explain this ‘Special’ quality and the effect she had on my friends, my family and, of course, on me.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Kitten update...

I went to see the little kittens at my daughter’s place today. Only just over a week old and they have opened their eyes! They look absolutely gorgeous and I can’t wait until they are old enough to leave their mother.
There are three of them; one black and two ginger. The black kitten and one of the gingers are toms. At present, there is no name for the black one but he already has a home waiting.
The ginger tom and queen will be called Jasper and Amber respectively. I think we shall finish up with Amber as my wife thinks a queen will get along better with Tiffi, our present cat.
I owe a big ‘Thank you’ to several people on our local forum for suggesting names. I have already chosen a couple of very suitable prezzies for the two who came up with 'Jasper' and 'Amber'.

Incidentally, this is the 200th blog I have posted since I opened it on New Year's Day 2006