What are words anyway?

My mother says that I learned to speak before I learned to crawl. Passers by would look into the pram and wonder where the words were coming from. I guess that I must have continued in the same vein because ‘chatters too much!’ was often the theme of my school report. Oh and I also had an opinion about everything apparently, and wasn’t afraid of sharing those with my teachers. (I expect those of you who know me well will be unsurprised!)

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A rose by any other name?

A rose by any other name...

A rose by any other name…

The nature of a thing is indeed more important than its label.

I wore round-framed National Health glasses, very much in the style of John Lennon, from the age of two until I was sixteen. Worse than that, as a very young girl a plaster patch was placed over one eye in order to train my wandering pupil to focus. I felt neither stylish nor accepted. I simply felt different. Helpfully, this was pointed out at regular intervals by my classmates. Well I certainly hope they were trying to be helpful- at the time it seemed very nasty!

‘Speccy four eyes!’ and ‘Pirate Pete’ all may have been well intended but I can assure you that by the time I was twelve my response to these frequent jeers was less than polite.

You may have heard the oft-told fable, ‘Sticks and stones may break your bones but names will never hurt you!’ Those of us who were victims of vicious taunting as children know that this simply is not true. Name-calling can hurt very much indeed – in fact its effects can be life long. Continue reading

What are you watching on TV tonight?


What is your favourite TV programme? Do you watch EastEnders? Even the theme tune brings me out in hives but there must be something addictive in this show to bring the audience back day in and day out because it has been going for thirty years! The characters are larger than life: the situations they find themselves in remarkably complex. Dealing as it does with life, love and loss this popular soap opera focuses on family relationships within a tight knit community and has tackled some hard – hitting topics such as racial prejudice, unemployment and euthanasia to name but three.

Our young teenage house guest loves watching ‘Friends’- an American soap which has enjoyed enormous success over the past twenty years. Replays of old episodes are watched time and time again- I am sure she knows the scripts off by heart!

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No means No!


When my eldest son was two years old he was a consummate actor. Hurling himself face first onto the ground, red with rage, he would wail loud enough to be heard in Blackpool.

Andrew wasn’t too fussy about his audience and would think nothing of lying down in dramatic fashion, middle of the supermarket, to shamelessly exploit the embarrassment of his mum. Not getting his own way was a complete travesty of justice in his view and the world should hear about it! (I will be reminding him of this when he has children of his own!)

There can be few more public places to run the gauntlet of disapproving onlookers than Tesco. Every one of them secretly felt relieved that curly haired bundle of fury wasn’t with their child, every one of them a silent, disapproving witness to my parenting ability- or lack of it!

Happily, the defiant phase didn’t last very long- but at the time it seemed endless. Every well-planned shopping trip became, in my minds eye, a potential battle field and I would plan for it like a well trained commando.

His brother was much more placid. Sam did however perfect the art of becoming rigid, like a cardboard cut out every time we tried to put him into his car seat and he would object very strongly to being put down if I needed to do any housework. I wouldn’t swap either of them however for all the tea in China.

Of course it would be so much easier if we were all given user manuals when first handed our babies. Instead like most parents, I made it up as I went along.

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Are you dancing?


I love ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ and so, as a Christmas gift this year my husband brought me some dance lessons. Not any old dance lessons oh no, Mr D has decided that 2015 is the year that we learn how to dance the Argentine Tango.

If you are a fan of strictly then you’ll know all too well that it’s that dance with all the leg flicks and complicated twirling.

I suspect that you can picture the scene. In my head Ian and I twirl around in perfect synchronicity to a gorgeous melody from Buenos Aires. In reality a few toes are routinely trampled and we try very hard not to giggle as we mess up yet another routine. Carnage! Some of the other dancers take it so seriously- you just have to laugh! I don’t think I will ever score a ten from Len.

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How do you spend family time?

bonfire night

As a child I hated fireworks. I think this aversion came from my mum. Anyway on bonfire night every year our family would eschew the traditional firework display and go instead on a pilgrimage to the cinema. My brother and sister would see some adventure film or other with dad, and mum and I would choose something more cultural – Anne of a Thousand Days was one such gem.

On really exciting years there would be a new James Bond released and we would queue for ages in the inclement British weather in order to secure a seat. These were special family times and became over the years part of our rich tapestry of family tradition.

Family time is really important for young children. Some of my nicest memories of growing up revolved around the dinner table and dinner time conversations. Some evenings we would still be at the table late into the evening – my dad played his piano and we would make up silly songs and dances. I hope my own children recall our daily tea-time laughter and debates with such fondness – they were definitely as noisy!

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