Sunday 28 September 2008

All Change At Victoria!

As you all know, Harry and I have travelled to our daughter's home town by coach, which meant changing for the last lap at Victoria Coach Station.
I was going to take a picture of the inside of the coach station, but thought better of it as I thought I might end up in jail! I read in a paper that someone had got into hot water with the Police recently for taking snaps in a shopping precinct. The reason being that the snapper could be a suspect terrorist or thought to be snapping for terrorist activities. I decided against taking a photo inside the station for that reason.

While waiting for the connecting coach we heard many messages on the loud speakers  warning us of pickpockets and drug dealers and the one we thought was funny, but realized it shouldn't be, was the warning that any luggage that was left unattended would be collected by the Police to be destroyed. In other words, blown up!
There were lots of ladies travelling on their own. Some of them had been visiting grandchildren as we had been and these ladies often got talking and asked us to look after their cases while they went to the toilet, which was down a flight of stairs.

We found ourselves being very vigilant while in that area. Watching our bags and avoiding pick pockets. We thought the coach station was very busy but quite a good way to travel. We also found it was quite cheap as we could go half price, as older folk, provided we didn't travel on Fridays or Saturdays.
However on the way back to Victoria, there was a giant gridlock on the motorway and the whole coach was one hour late and we all missed our connections. Luckily there were several later coaches going to where we live, but some people were not so lucky and didn't know what to do about getting back to their home towns.
Most of the older ladies were like me and didn't want to go on tube trains. Some felt claustrophobic and some couldn't manage escalators as well as their suitcase. In our case, we were afraid we should be hopelessly lost, being completely unfamiliar with the tube trains!
Fortunately for us, we were able to be squashed onto some spare seats on the next coach, but there was no guarantee that this would happen, until it did. Our first trip to our daughter's had gone according to plan with no hiccups. However on the second journey when we missed our connection, we heard of some real horror stories of people left stranded and the fact that the staff were not particularly helpful. One lady had come all the way from the North of England and had missed her connection due to delays and she was told there wouldn't be another one, so she was put back on a return journey to the North where she lived. The next day, she had to try again and was successful that time.
No guarantees with this method of travelling!

Once again, we are about to embark on our third journey from here to Victoria and then on to our daughter's home for the funeral this coming week. We will have one and a half hours after arriving to get our connecting coach. If we miss it that will be that! Only the one coach a day to that particular town.
However, the son of a friend of ours, has given me details of a London bus that goes from Victoria to the correct train station that will go overland to the town near where my daughter lives, avoiding the tube trains altogether. I can put this emergency plan into operation if we miss the connecting coach because of delays on the motorways. Lets hope we don't have to do this, as it is going to be a long day!

Back in one week! Unless we end up stranded in Victoria Coach Station for ever!

Friday 26 September 2008

Dry Stone Walling

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

I just love dry stone walling. This one is typical of the many walls that inhabit the Lake District and surrounding areas. I am reminded of the many Lakeland holidays that I used to have camping and then caravanning when I was a child. My Grandfather, aunties and uncles lived there for many years, so our holidays were always spent there.
These walls are built solidly from sturdy, light coloured stone. Always finished with the upturned stones on the top. They provide shelter for the animals and of course they keep them where they are supposed to be.

This one is purely ornamental and Harry & I stumbled on it while visiting some gardens. I loved it, so snapped it up.
I should imagine that in any dry stone walling, all sorts of creatures would make their home between the stones.

I think life can be a bit like a dry stone wall, sometimes. You have to have solid rocks at the bottom to support the weight of the next layer. With people, it is our roots that keep us firmly placed. People come in an assortment of sizes, shapes and colour. The stones have to work together, just like people do. If one gets taken out, the rest are in danger of going down. 
However, if they all work together, then they stand the test of time and endure even the worst storm.

These are my photos and this is my story for Photostory Friday, hosted by Cecily and Mamageek

Saturday 20 September 2008

The Resting Place

Everyone was really kind when I wrote my post A Modern Fairy Tale and left messages saying that the damsel did the right thing.

I said that the story had no ending. 
Very early this morning, the knight passed away in the hospice. Over the last week he became very ill and only then did the doctors say, 'Yes, it is terminal.'

During the last few days, the damsel made her peace with the knight and he was able to leave this world knowing that there had been an understanding and a kind of reconciliation.
The brown haired boy was able to go to see his father before he died and say goodbye to him.
The fair haired boy was much more upset about the oncoming death when he went to see him a few days before he died. He later asked the damsel, 'Will Dad still be shouting in Heaven?'
This is the boy who might be autistic and who is waiting for tests. He is the one who is having difficulty coming to terms with the death and also who might be more affected later on. We will have to see if the brown haired boy adjusts to the situation more easily.

The way forward will be difficult for the three of them, but I guess that once they get through the first year, the way might look more promising. I really hope so because they do deserve a better deal.

We shall be going to visit again for the funeral and for a short stay afterwards, but probably not till the end of the week. So if I disappear for a while, you know I will be back.

I guess there has been an ending after all................

Friday 19 September 2008

Chimney Pots

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

WELLS Somerset.

CLEVEDON, Nr Bristol.

I have a passion for chimney pots and always seem to be snapping pictures of them, like the picture of the house above and the whole street above that!  I am not sure why I like them so much, but I find them fascinating.

I was snapping away as I do, while I was in Scarborough earlier on in the year. I nearly discarded this picture altogether as the chimney pots were not terribly interesting. Then I noticed the background. I hadn't noticed Scarborough Castle in the distance! It was a murky kind of day and the horizon was misty, giving a kind of ethereal feel to it. The castle is just a ruin now, but the site goes back to Roman times!

This is my story and these are my photos for Photostory Friday hosted by Cicely & MamaGeek 

Wednesday 17 September 2008

Starlings In A Rusty Tin Roof.

The Wordless Wednesday Logo was designed by Crazy Cath and I stole it from her as I cannot make headings or logos myself. Its good though, isn't it?
Oooops sorry its supposed to be wordless! Ssssssshhhhh!

Saturday 13 September 2008

A Modern Fairy Tale

Once upon a time, there was a damsel, who lived in a large city. She eventually met her knight in shining armour and jumped onto his white charger and left the city behind, travelling miles away.
'Well that's what married folk do, isn't it?'

After a few years, the damsel gave birth to the fair haired boy, followed two years later by the brown haired boy.
Their happiness seemed complete.

After the fair haired boy was born, the knight noticed a mole on his shin, that was rough and bled a lot. The knight was told that it was a malignant melanoma, which was quickly removed. Yearly check ups reassured him that it was gone and the dangerous diagnosis was forgotten about in time.
After the brown haired boy was born, the knight became quite ill and had to take some drugs to control a medical condition that had nothing to do with the melanoma. The problem was that these drugs seemed to change the knight's personality for the worse and he grew very angry and critical. He started to control the damsel and did not like her seeing family or friends because he wanted her all to himself. After a while the damsel realized that she was in distress. 
She kept hoping her knight would change back into the man she fell in love with. She wished in vain, for he did not.

The years went by and the constant drip, drip, drip of criticism and the barrage of anger started to chip into her personality just like the rock in the photo has been worn down by the wind and sea constantly beating in to it. The damsel knew that the only way to save herself from being worn away was to leave, but she had nowhere to go. She made a secret plan to leave the knight when the boys were older and she could get outside work to support the three of them. This plan seemed to help her to survive the cruel way the knight was now regularly treating her.

Some time after, the knight developed agonizing headaches and was sick most of the time. It was not long before he was admitted to hospital with a brain tumour. The malignant melanoma had started to spread. An operation was quickly done to remove the tumour and it looked as though the knight would be saved for a while and be able to go back to work.
'This fairy tale is going seriously wrong!'

The problems after the operation started escalating. The anger worsened and the fair haired boy was heard to say, 'When my dad gets angry, my heart shakes so badly, I feel it will burst.' The brown haired boy also admitted that he was afraid of his father.
Now that people knew that, the damsel had no choice but to choose between her boys and the knight. She knew that she loved the boys more and chose them. The knight had to find somewhere else to live for a while, because he found it difficult to manage family life.

People were now divided into two opposing sides. The knight was obviously ill and looked vulnerable in his wheelchair, bald headed and scarred and unable to do much unaided. Some people were very sorry for him and said that the damsel was a disgrace, leaving her sick knight in his hour of need. The other side said that he had brought it all on by himself, with his uncontrolled anger and criticism. They felt sorry for the damsel and all she had to put up with.
Friends tried to help the knight, but he got too sick and had to go back into hospital.
The hospital does not seem to know what is wrong with him.
'Shouldn't people live happily ever after in a fairy tale?'

Neither the knight nor the damsel are happy, but the damsel is recovering from the constant verbal abuse.
But the fair haired boy and the brown haired boy laugh and sing and make a noise without fear and are growing  in confidence again. They seem to have gained the most in this not so lovely fairy tale.
At the moment there is no ending...............

Friday 12 September 2008

The Inset Day

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

What can two small but energetic girls do when there is a non pupil day at school?

Well....... we can play with the dolls house and the barbies!

We can try our hand at painting! Not quite finished yet!

We can go to the park and look at the view. Isn't it lovely? 

We can get Granddad to help us feed the wild life.

We can try and stop the pigeons from getting the nuts that we brought for the squirrels.
We were lucky that it didn't rain in the park and we had a really good time.
We had to climb down some steep steps and Grannie said, 'Don't go so fast as Grannie and Granddad cannot keep up and we could break our legs if we slipped.'
One of us said, 'That would be awful because we wouldn't have a bus ticket to get home!'
They thought that was quite funny but we didn't get it! Grown ups laugh at the strangest things!

Just as we jumped off the bus, near home, the sky went black and the rain tumbled down. We had to run very fast, so as not to get too wet. Then we had to take off our trousers and jackets and dry them because we did not run fast enough!

Sunday 7 September 2008

My Early Schooling. (Memory Lane)

"Tell tale tit,
Your tongue shall be split
And every dog near this school
Shall have a little bit."

I was standing in the playground, mortified.
It wasn't another child saying this to me. It was a teacher!
I soon learned not to tell tales.

Although I cannot remember my first day at school, I do know that it was in September of 1947.
There was no gradual transition period, where parents stayed with children until they settled in. Mums would drop their children off at school and disappear fast. That was how it was then. Normal for that time.
The school was a Mixed Infant Church of England, with the local parish church standing next to it.
It was a stone building and the playground was tarmac with small white stones embedded in it.
Schools in those days were very strict and my older cousins had warned me in advance that the Headmaster, Mr Upward, had a cane that he used.
Being an anxious child by nature, I do not think that school was ever a pleasurable experience, nor did it ever boost my confidence, rather the opposite. However one of the teachers, Mrs Boardman, was very kind to me and used to take me under her wing. She taught me how to knit and sew and I remember that she was a slightly older motherly type of person.

Although my mum must have taken me on my first day at school, I can remember that my dad used to regularly take me on his large, black bike. It had a small saddle clipped onto the cross bar in front of him and two footrests anchored onto the front wheel frame. He used to drop me off at the school gate before turning round and heading to town and then work.
One day I took my feet off the foot rests, with disastrous results. I got my legs grazed by the spokes and Dad nearly fell off his bike. He was not too pleased and I went in to school with blooded legs, using Dad's hanky to mop up the mess.

Inside the classroom there were rows of wooden desks with seats, held together by a metal frame. Children had to remain seated at all times and there was to be no talking, which was difficult for me.
If a toilet trip was needed, we had to put up our hand and ask, 'Please may I be excused?' 
The toilet block was outside the main building, in the playground and there was a short trip across the tarmac to get there. The boys' toilets were on one side and the girls' was on the other. I can remember it was very cold during the winter.
If an unfortunate child wet their pants then the poor mite would be placed in a corner of the room, facing the wall. Even though this never happened to me, I noted that everyone laughed and made fun of all who did. There were no spare pants to change into, so the child just had to dry out naturally and was shunned by others.

There were many crazes at school, depending on whether you were a boy or a girl, as in those days there was a definite distinction between the sexes regarding, hobbies and play.
The girls collected beads and used to carry them around in tins, to swop or just to look at and show them off. The glass ones were highly desirable, with plastic being the least liked.
The boys collected cigarette cards  and unusual cigarette packets, and played marbles. They were encouraged to take part in sport activities and were taught simple woodwork.
Girls, on the other hand, were taught to knit and sew and later on, to cook.
Boys played football and cricket, while girls played hopscotch and skipping in the playground.
One of the rhymes, which is politically incorrect by today's standards, that we chanted while skipping was,
"My mother told me I never should
Play with the gypsies in the wood."
I cannot remember the rest which might be just as well. I would be interested to hear the ending, though, if there is some one out there who knew it.

I work in schools and find it so hard to imagine how today's children would have coped with the harsher conditions and discipline of the era of the post war days. Children today are more confident and have so many choices about everything. Maybe though, they are not so lucky as they don't have the freedom to go out on their own, as we did then. So maybe it is a question of swings and roundabouts!
My schooling was as different as chalk is from cheese!

Friday 5 September 2008

The "Nosey" House

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

This is a very strange thing to fix on to the side of a house! I took the photo when I was travelling some time ago and thought it was worth a picture! 
I should imagine that birds would love to nest in the nose but didn't see any evidence of them doing so. Was not sure whether to call this story "The house that knows" or " The nosey house,"so you can take your pick! Oh......... pardon the pun! Did you get it?!

It is quite unusual as the nose is made of wicker and is somehow or other fastened to the wall. I have never seen anything quite like it before. Just happened to stumble across it!

So there you are, not much of a story this time!
This was prepared for Photostory Friday which is hosted by Cicely and MamaGeek.