Cats

If anything I prefer dogs over cats. Having said that, I wouldn’t be cruel or leave them out. So what do you do with a stray???

feeding time…. author’s own

We always had dogs, growing up, in our our house. Most of them your usual mongrel or mixed breed, whichever you prefer to call them. We loved them and they loved us.

When my eldest girl was 8 years old I promised her I would get her a dog. We were moving to Ireland and I intended to be home more, taking a part time job, instead of working full time. This would be a factor in getting a dog, so it wouldn’t be on its own all day.

We go a lovely mixed breed dog and called her Sally. Half sheep dog half collie and she looked like an old English Sheep dog. She was such a loyal and friendly dog and we had her for 10 years. It was pure heart break when she died. So much so I swore I would never get another.

People often say that after drinking too much and getting so drunk. They swear they will never touch the drink again. Like the drunk, with his self promised promises, I did indeed relent and get another dog a few years after Sally died.

This time it was at the begging of my other children (twins) who at the time were 14. We got a little miniature Yorkshire terrier and called her Indiana. She was cute. Not very smart, but cute and she was loved. Sadly, she came to a very sad end and was hit by a car after getting out of the drive. It was torture and we were all devastated…. again

‘Never again’ I said, and I meant it. It is too heartbreaking.

Again, I relented. A year or so after Indiana died, my eldest asked me if I would take a little west highland terrier, who would face certain death if I didn’t….. Well that isn’t blackmail….. much!

I took the said little Westie, Jack, and he too became part of the family and stole our hearts. He was 6 months old when we got him, but by the time he was 12, he was quite ill and deteriorated very quickly. We prepared ourselves to be heartbroken again. Indeed, we were. That was 15 months ago now, and I can categorically say, I will not have another dog. It is too too sad knowing, that they will pass before you and I don’t want to set myself up again for heartache. However, watch this space!

During the years of the dogs we have also been frequented by stray cats…. It started with the farmer at the bottom of our garden. He had cats, but they would wander down to us and of course, we began to feed them as they always seemed hungry and anyway, they are good to keep the mice and rats away.

After the farmer died the cats were taken by the WSPCA to be re-homed. However the odd stray would still come and hang around our house. As we live in the Country I would feed them as they are a good deterrent for the mice and rats.

Rusty has been coming to us now for a few years. We feed him daily and tend to his medical needs when he has gotten into a scrape, but he is feral and goes away after feeding, grateful for his daily nosh. Sometimes he hangs about in the yard, but he is a bit of a loner.

About 6 months ago or so, a black cat appeared. Quite a friendly cat with a lovely shiny coat. I advertised on all the local platforms trying to find its owner but to no avail. he would come, around the same time as Rusty and then off he would trot, back down the drive and to, well I am guessing, his own home.

Cats are like that aren’t they, they like to wander off.

Anyway, not only was he coming ‘at feeding time’, he would now push rusty out of the way and start eating his food. Well, I couldn’t have that, so reluctantly, I would also put a plate out for him. I couldn’t let him watch on, and not give him anything.

Black cat, affectionately named Blacky, how original, is cheeky though and if we leave open a window, will climb in and lay up on a bed or a sofa like he is King of the hill. What a cheek!

Rusty, wouldn’t have the same amount of cheek or nerve, he is far more ‘reserved’ and not so presumptuous or impertinent as Blacky.

This morning, I went to go out the door to feed them. Both of them on the step, waiting and the black cat, actually had the nerve to slap poor old rusty in the face to get him out of the way, so he could get the lion’s share. I was utterly gobsmacked!

Because of this I wrote a little ditty….. I hope you enjoy it!

Cats

I feed these cats

They are not my cats

But aside from that, which is a fact

I feed these cats

I don’t like cats

But they are good scare the rats

So I feed the cats

So they can do that

1st came the ginger one

Feral, shy, coy

I’m only grateful, that he is a boy

Takes his food then off he goes

To where I wonder,

Nobody knows

Then came blacky

He is black

He is a more forward cat

He is not at all shy, not one little bit

In fact, I would say, he is a cheeky little git

He pushes in first when I open the door

Knocks rusty out the way

Hoping he will get more

He is quite a greedy black cat

I cannot say much more than that

Soon as he’s fed off he goes, strutting

Wagging his tail, and swaging his but

In all the style like a cat walk model

Unlike rusty with his old man waddle

Sits on the bench like he is the boss

Licking his fur and shakes off the dross

Sits all day, til he gets a more peckish

And scratches at the door like it’s some sort of fetish

I looked out once and guess what I saw

Roland rat scurrying on all fours

Blacky the cat, didn’t even blink an eye

Let old Roland just strut on by

Am I too soft or feeding these too much

Cos I’m sure it’s nature they should hunt their lunch

Off he goes not even a hissing sermon

Coming from the cat to this passing vermin

Rusty plods back late in the evening

Head hung low, as if he’s been grieving

Jumps up on the window sill

Patiently waiting for me to give in

Black cat though has no such reserve

Can’t even open a window, cos in he will swerve

He has no shame nor decent good manners

I do protest and I don’t mean with banners

I chase him out like a cat and mouse game

I’m sure he’s laughing cos he has no shame

He’s quite cunning that little black cat

But he won’t best me you can be sure of that

Rusty comes like a big drowned rat

When the heavens open, but I let this cat

Come in side and eat his grub

He seems so grateful and I give him a rub

Mr black cat I swear has a home

He’s Just so greedy he comes here to roam

Costing me a fortune, cos I couldn’t leave him out

When I’m buying all the cat food to share it about.

But when it’s raining I don’t let him in

Now it’s my time with a big Cheshire grin

I watch him dash back out of the drive

Properly sulking and goes home to hide

He’s not one bit feral, shy or coy

He’s just cunning this little boy

Edging his bets to get all he can

That’s when I know, that animal is like man

Blacky with his full tummy, now he is swaggering off….. authors own pic.

ABRACADABRA

when relationships stand the test of time, for better or for worse. when love is tinged with sadness

I want to reminisce

Feel the warmth of his kiss 

His hand so tender

I give in and surrender

So two became one

But the time is long gone

And the hands are now feeble

And not quite so agreeable

Shaking and unstable

Barely engages, he isn’t able

It wasn’t that long ago

And both of us know

That it was only fleeting

Time, since our first meeting

Some 50 years since past

Some said it wouldn’t last

What did they all know

Old together, we did grow

Never much apart

all locked away in our hearts

The memories of our journey

But how, I am still yearning

To feel the warmth of his kiss

Gently on my lips

And snuggle by his side

A new and happy bride

And do it all again

Just take away the pain

A magic wish would be 

That he would recognise me

An abracadabra moment

Find the missing component

One to see him free

To bring warm and tender kisses to me

Randoms

Image and perceptions lead to opinions, judgements, if you will. Expression comes in many forms, but does how we interpret it say more about us ?

image – authors own hand painted mannequin. she feels your eyes on her and is watching you!

Fait Accompli

The Raven sweeps, though soaring high

And the spider creeps to snare the fly

To catch their prey they bide their time

Night or day they do not mind

The heron waits and sits it out

The pig berates and snorts its snout

But what is it that man must do

To catch the girl, he needs a clue

Not just to take for the night

But always and forever, to be his wife

The charm and beauty are only fleeting

Loyalty and duty are more beseeching

No cunning or tricks up his sleeve

Eyes will flicker as she leaves

Kindness, love, an enquiring mind

The girl will be happy with this kind of find

Considerate, funny and willing to work

When things get rough and make her irk

Give and take, stand close, stand back

Soon you’ll see it and get the knack

Up for the challenge, you can but try

Soon she’ll suss if you’re the guy

Do not assume a fait accompli

You must earn her trust or she’ll set you free

imagae authors own hand painted mannequin

First perceptions when you see this image… what comes to mind in the first instance from the outside world. Then in this conflicting world of conflicting views and the conflicting self expressing himself, one will make a judgement.

Photo by Ron Lach on Pexels.com

My Son John

Never mind the Buzzcocks, The Clash or Johnny Rotten

We can’t go there and show up, like someone’s been forgotten

With a head that’s shaved down to the skin

A coat of leather stuck with pins

Doing the pogo to a load of noise

No, not mine, not one of my boys

We are upstanding and tell the truth

You cannot trust those other youths

Stiff little Fingers, Slaughter and the Dogs

Doing drugs and on the rob

I’ve seen them all on the TV

No, not my son, no, not he

He is a good boy, my son John

He just looks different with his fashion on

He wouldn’t do what the bad boys do

I think I know him better than you

I think I know him better than you

We can’t come visit cos he looks a mess

His hair all gone and the state of his ‘dress’

He looks like a thug, but he’s really not

He’s just going through a phase and is quick to trot

He wouldn’t do drugs or jump on cars

My son John is going to go far

It’s not his spliff, it’s not his style

He’s a good boy John with a lovely smile

I saw all the thugs on the six o clock news

But my son John was with his muse

Down at the annexe, just holding hands

Not setting on fire those clapped out vans

I know you think, cos he’s a punk rocker

He really must be that destructive fucker

He’s not an angel, don’t get me wrong

But he is a good boy, my son John….

Photo by Ron Lach on Pexels.com

Subservient girl…

It pleases him to kiss his brow

To wander there, and do it now

Ask no questions, be satisfied

Sugar coat kisses can’t be denied

A gift from him, you should be pleased!

Thankful indeed, down on your knees

Subservient girl, do not ask why

He’s clipped your wings, you cannot fly

Your muted words scream in your head

But in you go, to his bed

It pleases him and you should know

There is no place for you to go

Subservient girl, perform your duty

Be thankful for your obvious beauty

Desiring men gripped by you

No taming here of the shrew

And so it was, she bent on her knees

She’d bide her time, for she had the keys

To break away and betray

All that she had become today

Her muted words spoke loud and clear

To plot and scheme to get out of here

Domineering men underestimate

The mind of the girl was like steel plates

They could not break or kill her spirit

Not for a second, not for a minute

I am strong and worthy too

I am more than subservient for you

She spoke her mantra over and again

Inside her head where she must lay

The key to freedom was deep inside

But her time, she must bide

She must use her whit to outsmart

Devise a plan and free her heart

She’ll dance and sing and smile and bow

Let them think they are winning now

But soon the day will come to rue

When subservient girl will wear a new shoe

One that fits, that’s fair and wise

Where she walks tall with her head held high….

Jungle Gym

what do children do. They play, they explore, they have fun. What do they see, in the world and the adults around them… Keep learning to play….

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Build me a frame, I want to swing and wrap and roll round everything

Climbing, hanging, upside down

Brings a smile, never a frown

Blood will rush to my head. My space my time alone instead

Of doing what others think I should

If only I could you know I would

Jungle Gym you were my saviour, kept me from the bad behaviour

My exciting rush, my perfect hit

I wish just now that I could sit, and touch the bars cold and round

Lift myself up off the ground

Freedom in the random spins, ligaments stretch, my time begins

Each little muscle, each tiny cell, blasts away from certain hell

Oh build me a frame I want to swing

Prepare that stage and let me in

Hanging on the bus stop pole, upside down, who said it was bold

Passers-by just walk on by, look so unhappy, I want to cry

When I grow up I won’t be down

Ill hang on the frame, have a smile, not a frown

Adult life seems so intense, give me a pole or a wooden fence

I find my strength in navigating, not sitting down, procrastinating

Up I’ll go and climb that frame and hang about not play the game

The twists and turns the ups and downs, spinning tops and broken crowns

Give me strength to play around, and find the way down on the ground

Oh build me a frame I want to swing and wrap and roll round everything

The best laid plans

Making plans is all well and good, until life decides to throw you a curve ball…. that is a whole new story

Photo by samer daboul on Pexels.com

Fail to plan, then plan to fail…. that is how the saying goes, right?

I have always lived by this motto, to a certain degree anyway. I always like to have a plan or a project, a goal to work towards. Whether it be skill based, knowledge based or pleasure based, like going on a nice little week-end away or holiday.

I like to keep evolving, growing and developing one way or another and I encourage those around me to do the same. At the same time, however, I like to be spontaneous, dive in, take a risk. Some you win, some you lose, but at least you tried.

I would rather fail by trying than regret that I didn’t try.

Years ago, my husband and I decided to try to invest. We had a lot of equity in our home and well, it was boom time, so we thought we would release some equity and buy another property abroad as an investment for our future and for our children.

Long story short, we handed over our cash to our Solicitor, who also happened to be the developer of the property we were buying. He is now very famous, here in Ireland. michael lynn, Solicitor, Developer, Gangster. He took our money and that was the last we saw of it. He did a runner with our money, the full purchase price of the ‘property’ we were buying, that of other ‘victims’ and lots of financial institutions.

We tried to be savvy, we thought we could invest in our future. We understood property value could go up or down and it was a risk we were willing to take. We thought we could trust a Solicitor. We were wrong. Having fled the country for a good few years, hiding from what he had done, he is now back, after being extradited from Brazil. I think he thought he was Johnny Briggs. He certainly seemed to want his notoriety.

That was a long time ago now, 2007, and we are still paying for that risk, but we survive. ‘We have our health, we have our home, the kids are healthy’ are what I said to my husband at the time it happened, ‘it’s only money’. We had both worked hard for what we have. I meant it. As difficult as it was to loose such a large amount of money and a picture of future we had envisioned, I had to look at what we still had.

‘Your health is your wealth’, is another saying and I would hear my parents say it all the time. They are right. If you have health, you have everything. No amount of money can replace it. Now of course, we expect, as we get older, for our health to let us down and fail us somewhat, so we have a responsibility to ourselves to not abuse our bodies with the wrong food or total lack of exercise.

We have a responsibility to not indulge in the excess. Everything in moderation, as it were. That includes stress. We all need a certain amount of stress, that is healthy, but stress in the excess, can cause untold damage to us and we may not even realise it, until it is too late.

So how do we know if we have too much stress. How do we know how much stress is healthy stress. Getting on with our day to day lives. Working, eating, relaxing, exercising, sleeping and repeat, over and over and over until one day, whilst doing this, you start to get aches and pains, you feel a little bit more sluggish. You want an extra 5 minutes in bed. Is that the time to say, enough is enough. I am over stressed.

Tell tell signs, are they always there? My husband had been feeling stressed lately, more so than usual at work especially, lots of pressures going on there. He felt so stressed he began to get chest pains, which lead to a doctor’s appointment, which lead to a hospital admission, which has lead to needing surgery, cardiac surgery. What a shock it has been for him, for me, for all who know him.

He is not yet even 60. We had made plans of what our future would look like when he retires. We hadn’t anticipated or bargained that he would ever suffer with poor health, not at this age. We thought we were clever. We thought that we had our plans for the future sorted and what we would do when he retired. He was planning on retiring a few years before retirement age, maybe 62. We thought that from that age and for the next 10 years after we would seek out an adventure and go travelling and/or trying living in another country for a while.

Having cardiac issues was not on our radar, at all. It is not predominant in his family history. His parents were in their 80’s before they needed any sort of health intervention. He is in his 50’s.

The moral of the story is, yes we can make plans and for the most part, we may be successful in executing them, but sometimes, we are thrown a curve ball and it knocks us off the path of the plan. Because of this, live life well, live in the moment, this moment, still take the risks, be spontaneous and be as healthy as you can be whilst living your day to day lives, but remember, take nothing for granted and while we are all busy working, making a living, making a better life for ourselves and our children, make sure we don’t neglect our health or put it on the back burner, because it really is our wealth.

I’m 18 now…..

Who is controlling whom? Who is taking responsibility and who isn’t? It’s a difficult job being a parent and a teenager!

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

I’m 18 now….

Childhood is really fleeting; it only lasts for 18 years.  That is what we are told, according to the laws of our land. 

Once we reach 18, we can drink alcohol, smoke and buy cigarettes, vote and best of all earn our own living and live by our own rules……

In the country where I live you can legally have sex at 17, so technically you can get or get someone pregnant too. 

Not many 17 year olds have left home, have a full time job or are self-sufficient.

So where does the responsibility lay?  Whether pregnant or not once a person is 17 or 18 and still living at home, does that give them an instant right to live their life their way, under their parent’s roof?

At 18 the parent is still paying for the house that they all live in.  Is still going to the grocery store to buy the groceries.  Is still paying all the utilities.  The most important one, especially for the 18-year-old, is the electricity which is needed for the broadband which is needed for the 18 hours per day that they wish to spend on their phone, snapping, tick tocking or you tubing.

When I was 18 the only ‘snap’ I had heard of was a game of cards or if someone had worn or bought the exact same thing as me and we saw that in the real world when we bumped into each other, not in a virtual world where we may never have ever met, but are ‘best friends’.

Yes, call me old fashioned, if I were 18 I probably would too.  I would probably think that I am ancient because I have just turned 56…. practically one foot in the grave!  But I am not 18 and neither do I think that I am ancient.  I do think that I am a responsible parent though.

Having raised 5 girls, I can honestly say that the worst time raising them was during their teenage years.  They are sulky, moody, stroppy, self-indulgent, untidy, cheeky, and often very lazy. 

They are still my children and I  love them but I do not like what they morph in to during these testing years.

I have one left.  The other 4 have gone and are all living their own lives, with their own rules, in their own independent ways, some raising their own children and I say hallelujah, praise the lord and best of luck to them, for the world is a great place to be!

This last one, as lovely as she is, and she is lovely, has always pushed my buttons and tested my boundaries.  She is the ultimate social butterfly…. Or wants to be.

Covid 19 couldn’t have come at a worse time for her.  She was looking forward to turning 18, to finishing school, getting a tattoo, to going out with friends to pubs and night clubs, to flying off to Italy and be an au pair for the summer before college started in the Autumn.   Except, none of that happened except college did, sporadically, between online and on campus.

Now I understand her frustrations at all of that.  Covid 19 has not been a particularly welcome or pleasant experience for all of us.  It has been scary, frustrating, difficult and also for some, fatal. 

There have been some positives for people, getting more creative, re-evaluating their lives and changing direction etc. 

So what can we do with our 18 year olds that want to go against the rules, the Governments rules and hang out with their friends.  We have to say No, right.  That isn’t us being ‘controlling’, that is us being ‘responsible’ ‘conforming’ ‘adhering to the rules’. 

Friends are important, I know that and understand that.  I miss my friends too.  But, when my 18-year-old wanted to go and spend the Easter Break up where her digs are, where she attends college, and hang out with her friends, I put my foot down.  Why?

I couldn’t trust that they would social distance properly.  I couldn’t trust that she would become complacent and bring the dreaded virus home to us and then ultimately our other children and grandchildren.   But, not only that, I was actually hurt and disappointed that she did not want to spend the Easter break at home with her family.  That she felt she had no responsibility or even desire to be here. 

When she is here, she is like a lodger.  She comes out of her room for food and back she goes again on the phone.  She is constantly with her friends in the virtual world.  Is it wrong to want her to be a part of the real family in the real world?  To participate in family life for more than just meal times?  Am I wrong in thinking she has an addiction to her phone?

She does not work. She has a college grant. That pays for her lodgings when in college.  Yet, she wants to go hang out with friends over Easter ‘because she’s 18 now’.

Ok so let’s compare.  At 18 I was working full time.  At 18 I had a bedsit.  At 18 I did my own shopping.  At 18 I did my own cooking and laundry.  At 18 I had a boyfriend and went to the pub. At 18 I was totally independent and could live by my own rules.  At 18 if I went home and my boyfriend did I slept in my bedroom and he slept in my brother’s bedroom.  At 18, if I went home I abided by the rules of my mother’s house.  At 18 I called that being respectful and responsible.  At 18 I just knew, that is the way that it was.

I have been a strict parent.  I want my girls, all of them, to be strong independent women.  I want them to stand on their own two feet.  I want them to challenge things, including me but, when at 18, they are not ‘earning’ their own money, not doing their own shopping, cooking, cleaning, bill paying etc. etc. and live under my roof, is it too much to ask that they abide by my rules.

I have a rule that she goes to bed the same time as me.  I usually stay up ‘til midnight or after.  It has always been the way.  Unless they were out with boyfriends, clubbing it in which case they would just come home and go straight to bed.

This one cannot go clubbing it because of Covid, so the last thing I want is her up all night on her phone, leaving it charging, being a fire risk or keeping me awake with chitter chatter and burning lights all night.  She already can’t get up in the mornings.  We are lucky if we see her before lunch time. 

Yes, yes yes teenagers need more sleep, or so they say.  Go to bed earlier then, is what I say…

The point is, when does their ‘responsibility’ kick in.  To converse, to observe, to happily want to participate in family life.  To happily want to seek a job and work during the holidays and earn a few bob?

Has this generation gotten so bad that it actually thinks that they are just ‘entitled’ to do very little by way of being helpful or respectful, and expect to spend every waking moment with friends, either online or offline.

Do they all think they are just going to be the next big sensation on you tube or be the next big influencer in applying a shiny nose in a ‘trowel it on’ make up tutorial where everyone looks the same as a Bratz doll? 

I mean, come on people.  Surely you want more for yourself than that.  Something that you can achieve and be proud of based on your own judgment of yourself and your effort.  Surely you don’t really need the approval of ‘strangers’ in a world that you may never ever meet them.

If so, I ask of you to ask of yourself, why.  Why do you need that?   Why not put your phone down?  Talk to the people in front of you.  Take an interest in what is going on in your own home, in your own family and balance your life with real family and real friends. 

Your family cared for you, nurtured you, protected you, loved you, even when you were sometimes not very lovable. 

Your family are not asking you to forsake your friends or to forsake yourself.  They are saying the exact opposite.   Be happy in yourself, with your own approval.  Work hard, real work, where you can have a sense of achievement.  Ask, ‘is there something I can do for you’ and take some ‘responsibility’ for the lifestyle that you want to live. 

The Government are controlling all of us at the moment because of the Global Pandemic.  Yes it sucks, but in order to get rid of it, we must abide by the rules, don’t we?

If you want to live how you want, when you want, with whomever you want, then do it.  Get a job, get a flat, get the bills and all the paraphernalia that goes with independence.  It really is a fantastic thing.  I know I loved it when I was 18, standing on my own two feet, whilst also going home and spending time with my family.  Go on, just do it!

Turning 18 is not a licence to say, I will do what I want, whether you like it or not.  Turning 18 is about growing up.  Being a grown up means, taking responsibility and not just expecting to still keep ‘playing’ like you did when you were a child, then throwing dolly out of the pram when you don’t get your own way.  After all, you are 18 now!

the interview….

Interviews are never easy. We turn up looking smart and hope to give the best impression. They do, after all, make their mind up in the first 90 seconds, if we will cut the mustard….

Photo by Matheus Bertelli on Pexels.com

Ever been to an interview….. Remember how it felt. Nervous tension, butterflies in your tummy and sweaty palms perhaps. It’s daunting. But, you know you can do the job as laid out in the job description. You have the skills. They know what they are looking for in a person to fulfill the position, and they will scrutinise your resume and do some fault finding, before deciding whether or not you ‘have the job’

Did you ever take the job and then after a while, realise that it wasn’t actually for you. That you didn’t really feel welcomed by other members of staff or that you just didn’t like the way that they did things. Perhaps it just grated on you and wore you down. That it didn’t seem how it first appeared in your mind as to how it would be? The demands were more than you believed they would be and the sacrifice was ultimately too much, so you left.

We are lucky if we can do that, just hand in our notice and leave. Is it luck or is it that we are free? We are free to leave.

Remember as a child doing what your parents asked you to do. Eating what was put in front of you. Dressing in the clothes that your mother bought for you and conforming to all the rules of the house, until you became a teenager and perhaps rebelled a bit.

Did you always agree with your parents? I doubt it, I know I didn’t. Did you feel that you could have your say, particularly when you were now an adult child, and be heard, listened to and valued? Did your parents always welcome with open arms your friends or partners of choice? Or were there times that you felt let down by them so you perhaps agreed to disagree. You are after all, now an adult.

Did you have the freedom to leave home though, and be with your partner of choice, because you loved them and wanted to be with them, share a life with them and make decisions with them about your life together. Aren’t we lucky if we can answer yes?

I love the T.V series The Crown. I watched every episode and I had a great new found respect for the Queen and what she had to endure, sacrifice and do in order to be ‘The Queen’ . I felt sorry for her and for other members of the Royal family for the sacrifices they have had to make in order to be a Royal.

I know some of it is fiction, but you can see the constraints, the privilege, turning of a blind eye, the bullying and dismissing of peoples rights and feelings. I felt that so much when I watched it.

‘The Crown must come first’, is what the Queen would say. But at what cost? ‘The crown’ costs lives. Lived ‘freely’ lives. I pity those born into that life for their choices are not really of their own making. If they are, somehow they will be punished because of them.

Charles finally got to marry the woman he always wanted to marry, but couldn’t, was not allowed to, because she wasn’t deemed suitable. She had a past. She wasn’t royal enough. So he married Diana instead and ruined his own and her life. He did however, get his fairy tale ending. He got the bride he wanted, but he did pay dearly for it. The crown must come first.

I wonder the impact on their two boys growing up in such a loveless marriage. Fueled with anger and resentment. It would absolutely have made an impact on them and perhaps made them realise that love is worth more than ‘The Crown’.

We saw it with Edward and Mrs Simpson. He abdicated for love. He sacrificed a lot for love.

I still really respect the Queen, she has a very tough job and is dictated to by rules and must conform to the rules, even though it may hurt her and/or her family.

I watched ‘The Interview’ last night and my opinion is that I saw two people who love each other. Want a life together, free from scrutiny or control and raise their children. Sounds like most of us?

I see so much hate on social media and in the media, particularly directed at Meghan. I am shocked by this. I had never heard of her, before she met Harry. I had never watched Suits. I was however, happy for him that he met someone to share his life with.

He had a tough time dealing with the death of his mother, as did William. They have endured so much as the children of Charles and Diana. They have heard so many stories, good bad and indifferent all their lives, by people in the media and otherwise, and that cannot have be easy or without negative impact.

In my humble opinion, I think Harry did right to stand by his wife, and try to take a bit more of a back seat in his Royal duties. Taking a back seat wasn’t allowed, so now they are standing on their own two feet. They, I feel, have the right to say how they feel or felt.

I don’t think they were awfully disparaging or disrespectful. Only they know how they feel or felt. We cannot tell them how they feel. We cannot tell them how they should live, what they should or shouldn’t say. We can’t tell the Queen or any of the Royal family for that matter, how they should feel either.

Meghan may have gone in with her eyes (naively) open, thinking she had the skills:- maturity, willing to learn, strength, good work ethic, conforming to new rules, being told what to do and when to do it, for example, but then realised, that actually, no she didn’t have those skills after all, that it was too much, that she was at breaking point. She now also had a child to think about. This was a far cry from the life she was used to or from the one she thought she was getting into, but she tried and did so with dignity.

Also, Harry must have anticipated, on some level, that Meghan, entering the Royal family would not be a ‘walk in the park’ and he must have considered what he would do, should she not be able for ‘the job’. They were not teenagers getting married, they were grown up 30 somethings….

Also, Harry, having seen what ‘that life’ did to his mother, took action and tried to stand by and support his wife, like a loving and loyal husband should do. Is that bad?

People are always going to be divided but at the end of the day, people don’t have to live his life, or Meghans, or the Queens or any of the Royal familiy. I think though, the level of vitriol targeted at them, especially Meghan, is actually disgusting.

People saying she deserves an oscar, she’s acting, she had this plan all along….. How do they know that? I believe her intentions were good and she hoped she would be able for the life she thought she would be entering when she joined the Royal family. Like any ‘job’ it shouldn’t have to define you or hold you to ransom. You should be able to walk away.

I think Harry, walking away from his family to live a ‘more free’ life will be easier for him to endure, if they remain somewhat estranged, than it would have been for Meghan to stay within the confines of the restrictive rules of the Royal family, and feel suffocated, unsupported and undervalued.

I say good luck to them and good luck to the Queen. Their lives are not easy and I am just thankful, that I am a ‘nobody’, making my own life choices, speaking freely my own mind and living on my own terms.

For those people that think they have a right to add negatively to Harry and Meghan’s mental health, I say think again and be careful with your words. I am sure you would have something to say if they told you how you should live, how you should do things etc.

It is none of our business, at the end of the day, so on that note, I wish them all well and hope they all find peace and heal the rifts between them, in time.

The Section

It’s not that simple, having a baby. Even getting pregnant can be a challenge, it was for me. Medicine by way of fertility soon took care of that but when it came time to having my twins, it wasn’t that easy, or was it?

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Yesterday was my twins 27th birthday. It’s hard to believe that I had them 27 years ago, when I can remember their ‘birth’ so vividly.

At the time I thought I was only going into hospital for my final scan, number 5, (usual for multiple pregnancy) and then going into town shopping. It was apparent, however, during the course of the scan, that the sonographer was not happy about something, so went to fetch someone else to take a look. I began to feel a little anxious at this point. After this person had a look at the scan they asked me to take a seat in the little room next door as they wanted the consultant to take a look at the scan. My anxiety levels by now were very high. ‘is everything OK, I asked nervously’. ‘Yes, of course, we just want the consultant to take a quick look’ she replied, but I was not convinced.

Soon the consultant came and asked if I had been resting since the last scan, ‘One of the babies is very small and you must rest’ he had told me at scan number 4. I had rested as much as I could, given that I had a 4 year old at home and a part time job.

‘I think we will keep you in, for bed rest’ he blurted out, ‘nothing to worry about’, he said before turning to the nurse then leaving. I was both anxious and confused now, why would I have to stay in. Of course I was worried about my 4 year old too, and not being able to go home to mind her.

Fortunately, my mother had come over from Ireland just two days before, to stay with me for a month or so and be there when the babies were born as I was going to be induced at 38 weeks, 2 weeks early.

After I was brought up to the ward and shown where my bed was, I sent my husband home to tell my mother what was going on, and told him not to come back until he had collected our daughter from school and to ensure he didn’t panic her about my having to stay in hospital.

Whilst he was gone the consultant came back to see me with a change of mind, so to speak. ‘I’ve had another look at your scan and well, I think, rather than risk both babies, we’ll get them out in the morning, see what’s going on’ he said, matter of factly……. ‘Nurse, prepare her for a c section, nil by mouth after midnight’ he said, then left again.

‘Rather than risk both babies’, what did he mean, I wondered, now they will be 6 weeks early too instead of two weeks, isn’t that risky, I thought. Although anxious I couldn’t help but feel a little excited too, knowing that I would be having my babies the next day. It was a little surreal, but definitely exciting. It was an emotional roller coaster.

It definitely wasn’t what I had planned or even contemplated. I had imagined that my husband would most probably be at work, doing the night shift, when I would go into labour and it would be all panic stations to get to the hospital on time. My first child came quite quickly once labour had started and they say your second and subsequent babies come even faster.

By the time he came back to the hospital that afternoon, my husband, with my mum and daughter I had completely processed the news that I was having my babies the next morning. All I had to do, was give him the good news….. He almost fainted, without a word of a lie, he was so shocked he began to cry, the big softie that he is.

I could barely sleep with nerves and excitement and praying that all would be well with my babies. ‘Rather than risk both babies’ kept going over and over in my head. I had insisted however, that I be awake for the section, so I could know, straight away, that everything was OK with them, and the consultant had agreed to that request.

The ‘section’ itself wasn’t as straight forward as it should have been either to begin with. As I had asked to be awake, it meant I would have an epidural, a needle inserted into my spine to numb the area from the bump down. They know that it has worked when they proceed to spray water onto your tummy to see if you can feel it. I could. We waited. They sprayed again. I could still feel it. While this spraying and waiting was going on, my husband was being holed up in a waiting area, where he was gowned up in his scrubs.

After about 10 minutes, they proceeded to give me another dose of epidural, waited, sprayed, I could feel it. We Waited, he sprayed again ‘If you can feel it this time we are going to have to give you a general anesthetic’ the anesthetist said. I could feel it, not as much, but I could feel it a bit ‘No I can’t feel it this time’ I lied. There was no way I was having a general, that was for sure!

Finally, my panicked husband was now allowed in to be by my side. There was a big cage thing over my tummy so as to block my view from what they were doing on the other side. Announcing that he was just about to make the incision, I turned my head to my husband and a tear ran out the corner of my eye, waiting to feel the pain……. I didn’t feel a thing! Thank God.

Baby Number one was lifted out, after a bit of tugging, wrapped, handed to me for a second to see her, before being whisked away for her apgar score to be done. At least she was screaming, so that was a good sign. Next, baby number 2 is lifted out, again, wrapped, handed to me for a second before she too needed to get her apgar score done, screaming merrily along with her twin.

After they had finished with me and gave me a nice little suturing which resembles the shape of a smile, they wheeled me into another room and I was well and truly numb, no matter how much I tried to wake my body up, by tapping it, from the tummy down, it wouldn’t cooperate.

‘Everything seems to be fine with the babies, there is only one placenta, so it looks like one of them was just being greedy and taking all the nourishment’ I was told. The little one will have to go into SCBU (special care baby unit), just because she can’t retain her body heat on her own, but apart from that, she is all good’ I was reassured.

What a relief! Both babies were fine and they were girls, which is what I had been hoping for. I was overjoyed, elated in fact.

After 4 days I was allowed home, with baby No 2, whilst baby no. 1 remained in SCBU and where I would make twice daily trips back into the hospital to see her, feed her, cuddle her and lay her twin beside her. She remained in hospital for a month before being deemed able to ‘hold her own’ and now a hefty 5 pounds in weight!

Something kept niggling at me as the days and weeks went on however, something that I had not been expecting. I felt ‘cheated’ somewhat. The fact that I did not give ‘birth’ to them, did not go through the labour and do the hard work of bringing them into the world. I couldn’t shake the feeling off.

As I would feed them or cuddle them or just look at them, I knew they were mine, I was there, wide awake and the only thing between us was the cage, but they were mine. Why then, did I feel like they weren’t? It was a weird and strange feeling, that is actually quite difficult to explain.

I loved them, I had bonded with them, I was more than happy to have them, but I felt something was missing. I had the scar to prove that they came out of my tummy, yet I felt, perhaps, separate or divided from them. My heart and mind knew, loved and wanted these babies more than anything, but my gut was making me feel that I had not worked hard enough for them, that I had let them down because I had failed to ‘give birth’.

I think it took me a good 6 months to shake the feeling off, maybe a bit longer. It didn’t stop me caring for them and loving them and I didn’t suffer any sort of post natal depression but I couldn’t shake the feeling off or even rationalise it. I would look at them in wonder and my heart would burst it was so full of love for them. I just found it such a strange sensation, one that I had not expected so it took me by complete surprise because it was so different to how I felt when I had my eldest daughter. I think, for me, there was a sense of pride for having ‘given birth’ and going through the labour and safely delivering my daughter as opposed to have someone ‘do the work’ for me?

I makes me wonder why do they call it a section, because the definition of ‘section’ is to divide something. I am not saying I am not grateful for having one, that, at the time, it was best for my babies to be delivered that way, but I wonder how many other women feel the way I felt. Is it a normal feeling. Is it because after having my first child, naturally and felt so euphoric having pushed her into the world, I felt worthy of her? I don’t know.

I know having a c section is absolutely necessary to save lives, mothers and babies and we are of course very thankful and grateful for such interventions, to safely bring our babies into the world.

So here we are, 27 years later, looking back at old photographs and reminiscing. I remember the day they were born, the joy they brought then, to hear them scream their little lungs out and the joy they continue to bring and not only am I thankful, I am blessed.

The Heavens

Almost a year now and our vocabulary, our way of life and our outlook changed. From lock down, social distancing and restrictions to working together, front line workers and better days ahead, we are all in this together, so lets help each other get out of it…..

I think this has been a particularly difficult lock down, this third one. I know for me it has been, and most people I speak to tell me the same. Is it because it has been during the winter, at the beginning of the new year, when we all hoped upon hope, that by then, we would be through the worst of it? Instead we were only at the beginning of the worst of it and so it has laboured on and we have had to sit it out. The dark wet days haven’t helped. The feeling of restraint have at times been suffocating, but I tell myself, it is all we have to do, sit it out, in the comfort of our own homes. For me, it is a comfortable home and I consider myself very lucky in that fact. Others, however, do not have such a comfortable or even safe home to sit it out in. So for them it is even worse. Then there are the front line workers, particularly the doctors, nurses and all hospital and care staff. I think of them, when I feel that I am being hard done by. They have to venture out, since the beginning of this pandemic, almost a year ago, and do their ‘job’. What about how they must feel. Leaving home, their children and families, to work with an unknown entity, a dangerous and often deadly virus. Their feeling of angst and worry, fear and frustration must be magnified on a daily basis, their mental health as well as their physical health must be taking a battering, we know, it is taking a battering, and so, we must sit it out and do our bit, to help them. To aid them, by not breaking ‘the rules’.

Yes, it feels like our wings have been clipped and the sense of isolation is huge. Feelings and emotions with regards to gatherings are palpable. Close relatives dying and we cannot attend funerals, pay our respects and be united in grief with loved ones. Weddings and other celebrations, curtailed, very intimate numbers or non existent. The world we live in at the moment. But that it all it needs to be, a moment in time, a snapshot of a period in our lives, that we will over come, with cooperation and with science, in the form of hygiene, distancing and vaccinations.

Many people have adapted well and taken up new hobbies, skills and even businesses. I myself, set up a card making business during the first lock down. It gave me something to do. (insta@taylormadecardcreations, Facebook: Caroline’s Card creations). To marry my photos and my words together to make something positive and to send a positive message to a loved one during a very negative time. This kept me and my mind occupied and gave me a sense of purpose in my day.

As a people we are resilient and we have to remember that. We have to hold on to the knowledge that things will get better and this, is only temporary, that if we all work together, we will of course, reap the benefits, together.

I attach a poem I wrote a few weeks ago, after a close relative passed away, but I feel that not just in death do we feel the darkness and the mist, we feel and have felt it it often during these times of lock down. As we learn that ‘life goes on’ after the death of a friend or loved one, we too must know that life will go on, as it did, before the pandemic, it will just be a matter of time.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

I watched the birds on the treetops

Surveying all around

What are they looking for,

Something on the ground?

High up in the heavens

Just taking it all in

Is it quiet and peaceful up there

Or is that felt within?

The mist is descending

Like a blanket it falls

I can barely see in front of me

I just slow to a crawl

No more can I see you

As the trees go out of sight

All  is shrouded in darkness

As you turned out the light

So you may soar even higher

Far above the soft white clouds

And I’ll look up to the heavens

And hope that you’ll look down.

The Heavens

love and loss is the sharpest pain, and can be difficult to navigate a way out….

I watched the birds on the treetops

Surveying all around

What are they looking for,

Something on the ground?

High up in the heavens

Just taking it all in

Is it quiet and peaceful up there

Or is that felt within?

The mist is descending

Like a blanket it falls

I can barely see in front of me

I just slow to a crawl

No more can I see you

As the trees go out of sight

All  is shrouded in darkness

As you turned out the light

So you may soar even higher

Far above the soft white clouds

And I’ll look up to the heavens

And hope that you’ll look down.