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Ivor Gunn

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          We’re not quite at the moving stage of moving house, but we’ve definitely entered the pre-packing stage.  As a hoarder, this stage is painful to me.  Hubby clears things out regularly and so most of the things in our house belong to me and since we’re downsizing, I’m supposed to be being ruthless.  I’ve never been ruthless at anything, maybe that’s why I was never any good at sport and why I very seldom get annoyed at losing at cards, not that I lose very often mind you.  I thought I was doing well, I’ve already thrown out a pile of old calendars from as far back as 1998.  One for each year we’ve lived here, but Hubby apparently thinks not and keeps offering stern words of encouragement.

          I’ve been busy digging into all the little corners and cupboards where I’ve hidden away things in case they were needed later.  And as for the shed… well, I blame my grandfather, Pop, for that, “It’ll come in useful it it’s never used”, he used to say, and very often it did come in useful as it was used.  To be fair, although it’s become a bit of a joke, “Mum’ll have one in the shed”, the contents of my shed have saved the day on many an occasion.

          I’ve been up in the attic today, passing down boxes and boxes to Hubby who seemed almost too happy at the number of bags and boxes which I sent straight to the back garden for a trip to the tip with Youngest Son-in-Law this afternoon.  He ended up doing two trips for me, taking the first load himself while I set about an old set of shelves from the back of the shed and piled up my reserve bits of wood and piping.  I still have to sort through my tools and a few more boxes of bits and bobs but that’s a job for maybe tomorrow.

          Youngest Daughter is coming round tomorrow, after her ,”mandatory weekend lie in”, I’ve got a few boxes, and bottom drawers of old broken electrical stuff that needs to be sorted out.  You know the type of stuff, old phones, remotes for TV’s we no longer have, chargers for phones which don’t exist anywhere other than in a museum anymore.  I do like moving house, but all this “ruthless” lark can’t be good for me.

          I’ve still got a few more places to sort out, also a few more things that I can’t find.  At some time or another I think pretty much everyone has had a go at writing a book, I know I did when my girls were small.  They were particularly frightened of wasps and so one year we bought Eldest and Middle Daughters a little soft toy each in the shape of a wasp, it’s wings zipped together to form some sort of cocoon around it and I wrote them a story about Wendy Wasp who lived in a cake shop.  I’m not too sure where they are at the moment, I’m sure they’ll turn up. 

          I did find my original handwritten versions of my attempt at writing a novel though.  “Ivor Gunn”.  He was my private investigator and I had a whole string of stories ready for his character and a variety of others.  I even wrote a sequel.  That was before I realised that since my reading age hadn’t got very far above thirteen, then my writing age couldn’t be expected to be very far from the same number.

          Still, everyone can dream and my dream of semi-retirement at the seaside is so close I can almost hear the seagulls.  A new home in Weymouth, not quite a stone’s throw away from the beach, but less than a five minute walk from the boats.  And the semi-retirement bit … I can see the tunnel, but cant quite see as far as the light at the other end yet, but “One day.

The boxing

          I knew Hubby really wanted to watch the boxing on TV but we were away for the weekend, the B&B we were staying at was run by two “little old ladies” although this had its benefits… extra biscuits with the tea and coffee facilities in our room, plenty of butter for the toast at breakfast…  Unfortunately,  Saturday night boxing on TV didn’t quite reach the menu.  With this in mind I suggested that Hubby found somewhere to watch the match.

          This is how I found myself in the middle of a noisy crowded pub on a Saturday night, I can’t even begin to describe how far out of my comfort zone I felt.

          I have this ability, be it a blessing or a curse, to detach myself from my surroundings and retreated inside my head. I guess that’s how I can fall asleep so quickly, obviously a blessing in that case.  Hubby’s world moves at a much faster pace than mine and if we’re in a hurry my mind can’t keep up with him but I’m confident enough in his ability to manoeuvre us both that I don’t even try to keep up with his world, I just reach out for the firm grip of his hand and away we go.

          This is basically how I planned to make my way through on Saturday night, we’d find a table where Hubby could watch the match and a protective seat where someone like me, who has no interest what so ever in watching two grown men beat each other to a pulp in the name of entertainment, could log onto the Wi-Fi and spend a few hours at a much quieter, slower pace online.

          There’s one of those four lettered words again… PLAN… I’m not usually one for a hard, fast plan, I usually go more for “progressive planning”, otherwise known as “make it up as you go along”, so really I should have expected the quiet table to be non-existent, I should have expected the sea-side, food-serving pub to have booked in a party or two on a bank holiday Saturday evening, an 80th birthday?  an 18th?  a hen night?… Or, as was the case here, all three.

          Hubby found us a space next to a post where he could see a TV through the archway and I could stand in close to the… banister rail would be the best way to describe it I think… Three gentlemen of short, stocky stature…  (although, to be fair, they might not have been that short, they were seated)… were seated in front of us, their chair backs up against our banister rail and in their musical Welsh accents they discussed the entertainment to come.  All was not well with the world, but in my little part of it, it was well enough for my bodily existence to feel secure enough for my mind to wander elsewhere.

          The hen party, whether by design or accident, left shortly before the boxing match started and somehow we secured two chairs at their vacated table.  The new position wasn’t quite as safe feeling as our little banister in the archway, but after our day’s wanderings between Weymouth and Portland, my feet very much welcomed the chair.  My chair, not a straight up and down backed dining chair, was more of a cupped shaped seat, with my own little bannister protecting my space so I stretched my feet out under the table and unlocked my phone.

          Hmmn…  No signal.

          Ok, no problem, the main part of the pub was at basement level, under the tall buildings above, not below sea-level,  but definitely below street-level so I accepted that my phone’s signal might not make it through. I’d use the pub’s WiFi.

           No WiFi…  Or at least, not enough strength in the WiFi signal to reach to this end of the building… No signal… No WiFi…  No escape…

          The crowd around me thickened and became louder as the fight started. Chants of “hit him” filled the air as waves of anticipation and disappointment took hold.

          I pulled my chair tighter into the table and huddled nearer to Hubby.  A bad move on my part as the crowd behind me moved forward for a better view. 

          I tapped into my phone and pulled up the one game I have stored on its limited memory.  Mahjong, a sort of pairs game played with tiles and strategy.  There was no strategy at all as my fingers poked at random tiles, searching for the calmness of the hidden world in my mind, the world I slip into all too often with no effort at all.

          With the cheers of the ever thickening crowds ringing in my ears I found the way in, I made a conscious effort to dull the sounds of reality and my mind took a sudden lurch towards the hidden world inside my head…

          … “Hit him!”…

          … The words drifted in with me…

          … “Fight… Fight”…

         My mind jolted, as if hit from the side and with another lurch landed in another, all too familiar place.

          …”Fight… Fight”…

          … The crowd closed into an inescapable circle and at the centre the school bully laid into an altogether weaker personality…

         … Cheers filtered through to my mind, the crowd started to disperse.  My hand hurt from the white-knuckled grip on my phone, but I had no cuts or grazes, no torn school uniform or broken glasses.

          I remembered to breathe, I put on my jacket and Hubby steered me through the much quieter pub and out into the night air.

          We emerged onto the promenade where the wind wrapped my hair about my face and the waves crashed into huge white horses on the tiny pebbles, for once it was more peaceful in reality than in the hidden world which is my mind.

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          I wonder if the school bully has any idea of what she did to me, after the scrapes and bruises faded, the only scars left were inside my mind.  The shame of not being able to protect myself, the fear of stepping outside of my comfort zone, of risking a situation I can’t control and of not having the strength to change it.

          These feelings and thoughts are part of my everyday life, mostly, they’ve become small, insignificant thoughts and feelings over time.

          I grew older and had children of my own, the mother in me now over-rules the small pathetic child.  The need in me to protect my girls has shown me that I am often much more than I used to be but I do worry from time to time, as I slip towards old age and a “second childhood” that the scars are still there. 

ANT Memories

          I remember a cafe in a small seaside town.  I remember a little fourteen year old girl, very shy, bullied at school, trying to blend in and hide in the shadows of the brighter stars in the school yard.

          I remember working at the cafe, a few hours on either a Saturday morning or afternoon and one evening a week after school. The bullies still found me after school, they found me out and about in town and sometimes after work, but they never ventured into “my café”.

          I remember one older girl who worked in my café too, I don’t remember her name or her face, I remember she was slim, and wore jeans and a t-shirt under her apron.  She may have been pretty, she may not, but to me at that time she was the most beautiful person in the world.

          She took this shy timid fourteen year old under her wing.  She showed me the ropes, gave me the confidence to handle the tired Saturday shoppers,  the ability to hold my own with the teenagers who came in of an evening to drink fizzy drinks and play the game machines.

          I don’t remember much of her at all, but I remember when ADAM ANT came on the radio she would turn up the volume and staff and regular customers alike would belt out the words of her Prince Charming “ridicule is nothing to be scared of”

IMG_9131. ADAM ANT.

IMG_9129. Ant, guitar & drums.

          At REWIND over the weekend, ADAM ANT topped the bill on the second day and Ant music filled the air.

IMG_9137. Ant people.

IMG_9138. ADAM, big screen.

          Adam Ant has had a rather rocky relationship with his sanity over the years but managed to do his act with enough togetherness to play at REWIND this year. Even though I can only recall three of his songs, and even then only sing along to the chorus. I still waited through the whole of Sunday afternoon in the pouring rain to share the moment and show support to someone who has no idea how much his words helped this timid fourteen year old all those years ago.

IMG_9139. Ant, big screen.

           More from before : Relax and “REWIND 2015” or “REWIND 2016“.