Skyscrapers and String

Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the My History category.

Losing The Plot

Hello everyone,

I hope you’re enjoying the weekend so far.

Sleepless and stressed, I have spent the last week in turmoil, not knowing what to do, because my dreadful Stepdad got in touch out of the blue for the first time in nearly three years, and he said he and Mum were in a bad way, and would I visit.

I said yes, and all week I vacillitated between I should and I shouldn’t, and in the end, I remembered Jane Eyre, where her horrid Aunt summons her on her deathbed. I figured that as the book pretty much describes my life, and Jane managed to suck it up, I was big enough to do the same.

That was the easy part.

After I called my Mum, (which was weird as she had no idea who I was, saying I’d been to their new house when I was small, and then she sent her love to “my children”) I looked up their new address and then sighed as it was not in the next village and just a bus ride as the address led me to believe, it was half way to Purfleet. So it’s going to cost me a packet to get there now in a cab. It would have been so much easier not to go.

My aunties, and some of my friends, who urged me to go, seem to think I’ll get some closure or peace from the visit.

What I have obviously failed to communicate to anyone adequately is that I have peace, as much as my poor broken heart will allow me. I feel like I am merely confronting my tormentors today, a bit like someone going to testify in court, only the difference here is that no-one will be talking about the evil wrong that they did to my Grandad and to me and my family.

And I am sure, the ones that urged me on to visit probably think my parents must somehow be intrinsically good people, and they can’t imagine as I can from long experience how the visit will turn dreadful. Not being me, they won’t know what its like to have parents who are selfish narcissists, but my friends they expect its possible that my parents will want to talk about what they did and make amends, that they’ll express their remorse at cutting me and my Grandad out and they’ll acknowledge all of this and ask me to forgive them.

Some hope. I haven’t slept, but I have to get this done. Afterwards I’m heading to the gym.

Here you can see my new vase in its glory, and my cat sleeping on my knitted notions case. Some things in my world are very good indeed, I just have to take the rubbish with the good like everyone else does.




Holiday Truths

This holiday has been wonderful. I know, being in a hot and sunny place we know well, surrounded by the sparking sea and the beautiful scenery and the marvels of Ancient Greece, should guarantee a pleasant stay.

But for me, the best bit has been the serene atmosphere between us as a family, watching Jon and Amber rub along so happily together, the peace from the three of just loafing about in silence for hours, or giggling about some silly thing or other.

Yesterday, Jon and Amber had got up early and trailed round in the baking heat whilst I went on a mission to see the craft stores of Napflion. Then Jon went to see the War Museum, and Amber delightedly emptied her purse in the teen fashion shops in the adjacent street.

Jon finished long before Amber, and even though our individual respective interests had caused the others to have to lurk about in 36 degrees, there wasn’t a cross word, or a glimmer of impatience, and when we came home we lolled about together in the apartment, then either napped or went to the pool.

Last night after dinner beside the sea, we’d spent a few hours together already and watched the sun set over cocktails, and had eaten yet another superb dinner and it was dark; I was sitting at the dinner table quietly lost in my own thoughts and Jon and Amber were both talking and laughing about some random bit of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, their faces warm with smiles and I thought, “This is it. This is what good family is about. This is all I have ever wanted.”

After all my years of striving and restlessness, and worrying if I am doing the right thing or not, and desperately trying to please people I don’t like or even speak to now, I know that at in this moment everything is fine, we are all doing well and I can relax.

Seeing love in motion, looking at happy faces gently surrounding me I don’t need anything, I don’t need to keep trying so hard all the time and I know what I have built will last, whatever happens we will get through it together.

For the first time in my entire life I can truthfully say I feel safe and the peace this brings me is overwhelming.

Also, looking at my life with new eyes I can see this has been here all along, but I just didn’t get it. Just like the ruby slippers moment in the Wizard of Oz.

It is almost like I am being guided by gentle hands to the top of a mountain, and everything I could ever need is all around me and someone is telling me to free myself from the burdens I put on my own shoulders as no-one was asking me to carry them anymore.

For the first time I don’t feel angry, I have not a twinge of anxiety or discontent, or shame or envy, my heart soars with happiness. I am whole and everything feels new and clean and fresh.

We still have a few days to go, my crochet blocking has dried and is ready to finish, and I still have plenty of time to make more things.

But making myself see how happy I am with what I already have has been the best bit of the holiday, and I can hold onto that truth long after we get home to our dear sweet cat and little house.

Oh My! A Thousand Likes!

Morning all!

It’s my day off, I’ve woken early and outside it looks like Wuthering Heights weather-wise! Suppose I’ll have to put away the factor 30 sun cream then for today and make indoor plans. Oh right! I can stay in and knit! Lol!

According to WordPress, I’ve now had a thousand likes on my blog since I started it a couple of years ago. Thanks everyone!

I do love coming here and sharing my thoughts and woolly ideas with you all.

I read a lot of other people’s blogs and I know what a fiddle it can be to actually log in and post a comment, or ‘like’ a post, so it really means a lot more that you’ve wanted to do this a thousand times over!

I wish you all a Happy Friday and send you all my best wishes for a jolly day.


Still Looking

Hello everyone!

I have been really busy today. I got up, showered and started on chores and I have done everything! Plants have been watered, clothes washed, counters wiped, you name it. The rain has been tipping down, no going out for me!

Only 2 rows of knitting so far today so I am going to sit down after this and knit until steam comes out of my ears.

Before I moved into my Grandparents house, I knit, but not so well, and not so much. I sit in the same room as my Nannie did when she was alive, and it seems somehow we are now always together when I am knitting. I hope she is watching me as I miss her a lot.

If I had a time machine and could go back to be with her without breaking some science fiction universal law I would stop with her and show her all my work, and my lovely hand painted yarns, and all my coloured needles. She would love those, and all my books with beautiful patterns in.

My Nannie was welsh, from South Wales, and I can still hear her voice and her accent. Sometimes I hear myself speaking in the way she would. She used to call me “Pet”.

When I was tiny, she taught me how to count in Welsh. She would often sing the national anthem and I was mesmerised because it was so beautiful but all foreign. She was very small but she loved to sing.

I have been looking up the family tree again today and deleted a whole bunch of welsh relatives off. I am trying to find my great grandmother’s birth record, it is not easy as there were so many Matthews, and so many Ada’s.

It has occurred to me that my Great Grandmother remarried when my Nannie was 13 years old, her Dad had died when she was three years old in a mine collapse in Abertillery. I always thought it was the poverty of being left a widow had forced her to send my Nannie into Service in St George’s Hospital in London at age 14. I hadn’t realised that she had remarried with a working husband and decided to do this. Hmmm. A lot of people in my family have had tough situations forced on them by their parents, it didn’t start with me did it?

When researching online, it is very easy to give yourself the wrong relations, god knows in real life you sometimes think you have got the wrong relations, and it’s not just a mouse click to get rid of them either!

A friend of mine set up in business and inside three months, an uncle she had never met asked her for money so he could buy a house in Spain. I ask you!

I am ready now to dig up some local records. I will report back next week on what I find out.

Now for some knitting! And some dinner! Pasta tonight, with meatballs.


10 Teachers

Here is a list of my all time teachers

  1. My daughter. She tries harder than anyone I’ve ever known. I am inspired by her work ethic and her cleverness, her courage and honesty. She amazes me on a daily basis
  2. My Grandad. He never spoke badly of anyone, or complained about anything, apart from when I made him his mother’s cake and every week he said it was soggy inside
  3. My cat. She taught me how to love more deeply or eloquently than any poet or songwriter. Wordlessly, she is the most generously loving being I have ever encountered
  4. Oprah. Her shows gave me strength when I had nothing. I learned to forgive myself for my mistakes
  5. Jon. He is the most patient and tolerant person I have ever known. He always sees the best in me
  6. Alison. You are the most courageous person. When I was stuck, or scared, I learned to be strong by boldly doing what I imagined you would do
  7. Dylan. You showed me personal integrity and I learned from you how to do what must be done because it is the right thing to do
  8. Uncle Roger. You gave me my first doll. I clung to that doll when things were really bad at home with my Stepdad when I was small, and there was no-one else to comfort me
  9. Mr Wellington. You gave me the courage to try to get my daughter into the best school when I clearly had no hope of my own
  10. My Nan. She taught me to knit, to cook, and to sing, and gave me the guiding principles to raise my child by. I still do what I think you would want me to do. You are my compass
  11. Thank you all, from my heart.

Who Do You Think You Are?

Hello Everyone,

Well it has been quite a week, being off, with limitless time to do things, loads of things buzzing through my mind about what I should get done, including a vast pile of enjoyable and exciting books to read and very little motivation to do much more than knit and watch re-runs of “Who Do You Think You Are?” on the tv.

The weather was so spectacularly useless and off-putting going out was out of the question yesterday and the day before, so I’ve been kicking my heels and goofing off, it’s been a bit like school holidays where you get really bored although you can in fact do anything, there’s nothing to stop you.

In the middle of a US episode yesterday at 4pm after another aimless day doing close to nothing I put the tv on pause, leapt up, got my parents marriage certificate out of the filing cabinet (I’d had a copy made in 2004 so I could try to find my Dad who I never met) and called the local registry office. The lady there was kind and said she thought she’d found my Dad’s birth certificate, and would call me back in the morning.

I had seen all these tv celebrities clicking online and relatives popped out of the woodwork so to speak. I thought I’d have a stab. My Nipper came downstairs at this point and she joined in, helping me register and set up an account.

By midnight I had gone from being a person with no family and no idea of history to being a person with relatives in spades. I managed to go back three generations on my Grandmother’s side, and find her original marriage records, all her aunties and uncles, you name it.

Back in time, the names children were given in my family were really pretty. Genetta, Rosalind, Violetta, Price, Core, to name but a few. Who were all these people?

I have so much still to find, I have very little knowledge of my family as no-one would ever discuss these things freely, my Nan never divorced her first husband, she didn’t know where he was I expect, and her and my “Grandad” didn’t ever marry. I remember when my Nan was in hospital at the end of her life, she mentioned then how much she wanted to marry my Grandad, and he wouldn’t hear of it. He was brought up a Catholic, it isn’t the done thing.

My Nan had a horrid time of it, by her account, in her first marriage, and it seems from what she said, and what my Mum told me, that my Nan’s three surviving children ended up in care, separated from each other completely, during the war.

My Mum was really small when this happened to her, and she was badly let down by her relatives, and the Council arrangements for caring for abandoned children were awful then. Having recently observed the interaction between some children and their care worker going to a local home on the bus, it is not great now either.

What my Mum could never understand is why all these relatives never stepped in to help my Nan, and I think my Mum was treated really badly whilst in care, she seemed to feel really strongly on this point.

This part of my Mum’s life shaped her character, and she never had much to do with my Nan’s extended family, due to her feelings that they abandoned her when she was vulnerable and desperately in need. I am going to look up these records if I can and see if I can find more evidence from this time.

She talked of being kept hungry all the time, of being fostered with strangers who treated her badly, of my Nan only making monthly visits, of swapping her only dolly for an apple when the hunger became too great to cope with.

My Nan wouldn’t talk about these times, ever, I remember mentioning at a family dinner what happened to my Mum when I was in my twenties, and my Grandad was appalled that no-one had ever told him. He got together with my Nan when my Mum was about 11 years old, when she was fresh out of Care, and she probably was very angry and traumatised.

Grandad never mentioned that Mum was difficult as a teenager, he never said anything bad about anyone as far as I can remember. My Mum often told me how they had never got on, and she had married at age 20 to leave home. I think he had had an argument with her just before her wedding. I can’t imagine what it must have been like for her, or for my Nan.

Apparently the Council had decided they no longer wanted responsibility for the three children, and handed back my Mum to my Nan, who was at this point apparently able to look after her, although I am unclear as to what had changed all of a sudden. I would really like to understand this period of my family history in more detail.

They tracked both my Nan and her former husband down, I think he had moved to Birmingham at this time, and he was told he had to take the two boys, Ambrose and Jimmy. I think also that he met someone, Marjorie, census records show he was living with her by 1955.

Well, enough of this now, it is only interesting to me, as my Dad abandoned both me and my Mum, and my poor abandoned Mum abandoned me, and I guess I am trying to make sense of what she went through to make her like that. And what made him like that too?

When the lady from the Registry office calls me back this morning, I’ll be able to find out if in fact my Dad died in 1999 aged 61 in Norfolk, as seems to suggest. My Mum always said she’d heard he had other children, and he had remarried. I wonder how many other people are walking around with my eyes…..

Norman Charles Wood

According to my birth certificate, that’s the name of my dad. I have never met him, although I do have a picture of him, and, in it, he’s about 30 years old, and smiling. I have his eyes. Mum would never talk about him much. I do think about him regularly and I am curious really.

When I woke up today, I wondered how I’d have turned out if he had stayed together with my mum, and we’d had a regular family life with no drama.

As I lay there trying to imagine what the hell that would have been like, it occurred to me that being a bit off kilter is probably fundamental to my personality, and has been the single most powerful element that has shaped me. The yearning for what is missing, looking endlessly for what would complete me, fuels my soul as a creative person. And no, I couldn’t picture it either.

The need to make things continuously is a result of the need to make myself happy and pretend I’m not being ignored or lonely; it allows me to quietly keep busy till the storm around me passes. It makes me occupied so I don’t fret, and it makes me feel safe. Also, when you make things for yourself, you don’t need or expect so much from other people, and being independent is something you become when you have to take care of yourself and you can’t be let down if you take care of yourself, can you?

I hope my dad is well. I think if he is still alive he’ll be in his seventies now. I imagine he probably lives in Essex, somewhere like Billericay or Stanford le Hope. Apparently he remarried after he and my mum split up and she did say she’d heard he had other kids with his new wife. I hope he has a daughter who makes him his favourite cake on his birthday, that’s what I would do. I’d also hand knit him socks but not everyone can do that, so it’s not an easy wish on his behalf.

What would I have been like if I’d grown up feeling really loved and safe and accepted and nurtured by two parents? Like you see in other families and on the tv and in books, and you know, not like Jane Eyre. What would I have become?