A Different Life

September 17th 2016 a day that changed my life. My mum died on that day and the world I knew was changed forever. For 46 years this woman had been my best friend, my confidante, my compass, my world and in a short hour on that mid September evening last year she left this world. She left peacefully without any fuss, she left quietly in the living room that she had called home for 41 of her 74 years on earth. There was no obvious pain, no obvious fighting, she faced death and quietly took its hand into another realm. It was a good death, peaceful and almost serene after five years of fighting to hold on to life with every fibre of her being. Death came for my mum that evening and she followed, followed to where I could not follow. My constant my friend my Mum went with death and left me alone in this strange world.  My mum died and her body was lying on the living room floor. She had been put there so that my brother could perform CPR on her till the ambulance came. My brother put all his Police Officer Training to work and worked hard on her but we both knew she had gone. The ambulance people came and carried on CPR because my Mum a short two weeks previous to her death had refused to have a DNR put on her file. The paramedics were giving her CPR for what seemed an eternity. I went back in and pleaded for them to stop because I knew my mum had gone and that she didn’t want a fuss. But they had their ‘procedures’ Although my mum had been ill for five years hear death was still considered a ‘sudden death’ so the police had to be called, the undertaker and I had to tell my father who was separated from my Mum. When the paramedics finally pronounced my mum dead I just looked at her body lying on the living room floor. She was wearing her pink flannel pyjamas and a waistcoat like I had seen her so many times previously. But Mum was no longer there, the spark Nd twinkle in her eyes had gone,it was just a body, an empty shell that looked like Mum. I laid down next to her, I smelled her hair, I said goodbye…..my Mum had gone, I was there, I was with her I saw it with my own eyes. I stayed till my Mums body was taken away and calmly drove home with my partner.

That was the day my life changed forever. I was there at her death, it was a good death, I saw it, I experienced it but I had not been prepared for the grief. Big ugly grief that manifested itself in crying, in anger and immense irritation. I am nearly six months Post the death of my Mum and I am angry so so angry. I am angry at the world angry at myself and worst of all angry at my mum. I am so angry that she has left me. I feel abandoned. After years of being with me and being my constant her death seems like the ultimate betrayal.  Other people have left me, abandoned me, discarded me but my Mum never did. But now in the time I need her the most she has left me, ,ft me to cope alone and I am angry with her. I feel guilt for this anger too I know this was my Mums time to go but I just want her back.

I am working through my anger and I hope I make it…………I just need my Mum x

 

 

 

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Time Warp

Today it is August 2016 but this afternoon it was the 1950s. I have lived in Denbigh for the past 10 years and have spent 41 of my 46 years living in the Vale Of Clwyd. I consider myself to be interested in history, having been Head Custodian at Denbigh Castle in the early 1990s. I am also quite proud of my little corner of the Principality and am a keen supporter of local businesses and the like.

When I was a Custodian at Denbigh Castle, The North Wales Hospital was still open. It’s close proximity to the Castle meant we were a magnet to the suicidal escapees and would often have phone calls asking us to look out for people. The residents of Denbigh had free entry to the Castle and it became a magnet for young people and a few disturbed individuals. As the Custodian I was a captive audience and all kinds of individuals came to while away their days talking to me.

On the other side of The hospital was a farmstead called Cae Dai. This was the home of Sparrow Harrison, grandson of two Generals and educated privately where he met and became best friends with the much missed DJ John Peel. So different to myself the daughter of a bus driver and a caretaker. But similar to me Sparrow found that people used to visit Cae Dai from the hospital too.

I subsequently became a Social Worker. Sparrow also became a Social Worker of sorts. He set up the Cae Dai Trust to offer support and a second chance to the former patients of the North Wales Hospital.

Alongside this venture Sparrow set up a 1950s museum which houses all kinds of memorabilia from the era. It was to this museum we went today.

Cae Dai is on the Nantglyn road just outside the Medieval Market Town of Denbigh in North Wales. It sits in the shadow of the North Wales Hospital. You follow a steep dirt track down to the farm and park your car outside a non description modern building. This is a TARDIS. It houses so much more on the inside than it seems on the outside and it is most definitely a time machine.

From the moment you step over the threshold everything is of the 50s and 60s. There is a cafe area complete with a Jukebox in the corner and mannequins dressed in colourful teddy boy jackets. Film idols adorn the walls. It looks like the kids have just left. There is a display of Coronation memorabilia and a cabinet full of photographic equipment. Books, typewriters, toys even a Punch and Judy Booth complete with puppets. A small area is given over to kitchen equipment and various irons and every available space has old bottles packages and tins. It is all encompassing and you can’t shake the feeling that the people have only just left and if you wait a little they will return.

In the next room there is a bar in the corner a posh cocktail bar. Round the corner there is a 1950s living room set up complete with a programme on Churchills resignation that plays on an unbelievably small Television in a large wooden cabinet. Books and magazines are on the coffe table and a radiogramme sits quietly in the corner. This fascinates me as my parents bought a radiogramme in the 1980s which became our hi fi of the time and led to my lifelong obsession with 78rpm records.

Then in the next room is an area dedicated to radios, reel to reel tape players, record players and radiogrammes. The radios are explained with neatly typed information and you can almost hear and smell the valves as you walk around.

There ar vehicles too. The Ford Fiesta once owned by Christine Keeler from the Profumo Scandal a beautiful pink Cadilac and much more. There is a whole shop set up and also a a fabulous tobacco and smoking section with an impressive collection of lighters donated to the museum by other collectors.

The 1050s Museum is a gem that cannot be taken in on one visit and the informative guided tour by Sparrow Harrison is a delight. He regains you with tales of the 50s and his work at the Kray Tepwins Night Club and his prized possession the Lordy used in The Great Train Robbery.

We left the museum after a couple of hours and returned to the 21st Century. But I know I will be back, there is so much to see, so much to experience.

The 1950s Museum, Cae Dai, Nantglyn Road, Denbigh

Open 11-4   Admission £5       http://www.50smuseum.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blast from the past

Forgive me dear reader for a very personal blog post. I live in Wales in the UK. It is 4am here and I can’t sleep. I can’t sleep despite having a busy day and a busy day ahead.

Those of you who read my blog regularly will know of my ambitions to be a standup comedian. I have done a few gigs and am learning all the time.

This evening I was hosting an event in my hometown featuring ladies with talent. Included in the performers was my beautiful and talented partner Sarah doing her first standup set. I was the compere for the evening, a role which I usually relish. Tonight was different. Tonight everything was done in a bubble, on autopilot. The reason for my emotion or rather lack of passion? A member of the audience.

I arrived at the venue early and got set up. Sneaked out for a vape and then returned to the bar. And there she was. Sitting in the front row was a lady I hadn’t seen since 2004. My heart sank. This woman was the precipitator of one of my suicide attempts. But who was she? I have forgotten her name but she was an OT assistant at the local Psychiatric Unit I was on. She was loud and bossy and believed you could get better by pulling yourself together.

Back in 2004 I was in my final year of a Social Work Diploma course in Manchester University. I had been unwell since January and falling behind with my work. In June 2004 I found myself admitted to hospital. I had to make a serious decision. Was I going to try and catch up with the year or re do the second year. I had been communicating with my head of department for a couple of weeks. She gave me a deadline to decide my future and asked that I send her an email to confirm my decision. I decided this particular day to send the email from my friends house and I went there as I wasn’t sectioned and was free to come and go as I pleased. When I returned having decided to re do the year I met this OT Assistant who proceeded to tear a strip off me as I had not been at the mornings OT session. She said she had arranged creative writing which I had asked for and she wasn’t interested in my explanation. Having made a decision about the rest of my life I was stressed and also suffering from Major Depression. I was completely heartbroken with the attack and this unthinking act resulted in a suicide attempt.

Tonight I was back there. Back with the hurt and frustration. Back to the desperate darkness. This woman did not recognise me but I recognised her it was like a portal to the past and I was shaken to my core.

Ghosts can rear their heads at any time……………….but she was only a memory a bad memory. I am shaken……..but will not be stirred.

 

You Get Your Kids Back from a Rottweiler

Last night I stood on a stage. Last night I stood on a stage that has had the great and the good of comedy on it. John Bishop, Sarah Millican, Johnny Vegas and Peter Kay. Last night I stood on a stage and tried to Beat The Frog.

Beat The Frog is an Open Mic Comedy night at the famous Frog and Bucket Comedy Club in Manchester. New comics get an opportunity to step into the arena Gladiator style and try and deliver 5 minutes of standup to an audience armed with cards without getting honked off. Last night the Frog and Bucket was my nemesis. Having failed to negotiate the steep staircase to the stage I launched into my act. I had managed to memorise five minutes worth of cutting edge observational comedy but two minutes into my set the horn was sounded and I was off. I never got to share my Angela Eagle joke or my tirade about getting older. My spot had been cut down on its prime. Was I disheartened? Hell no? Was I scared into not coming back hell no.

As I climbed off the stage all I felt was the belief that I would do better next time and this was just the beginning. I was the only woman on last night and the only thing it showed me was the process was arbitrary. I was proud I did it and it made me even more determined. Despite being voted off I stayed in the audience. I cheered as a fellow Social Worker took to the stage. He looked straight at me and pointed and asked the age old question “What’s the difference between a Social Worker and a Rottweiler?” Quick as a flash and without drawing a breath I shouted “you get your kids back off a Rottweiler” to howls of laughter from the audience and an incredulous look from the comedian. It was a super heckle but I genuinely thought I was helping out!!!! Moral of the story……..in a room full of comedians………write your own bloody jokes!!!!

Would I do it again? Hell yes. When? 26th September. Will I Beat The Frog? I have no idea. Am I giving up? Hell no. Things can only get better……….Nia Lloyd Williams is here to stay. Last night was only the beginning………………watch this space…….

 

 

It’s a funny old world

It’s a month since Brexit and my how things have changed. We now have a new Prime Minister that has, so far, managed to make Margaret Thatcher seem positively cuddly. Theresa May elbowed her way into power and she is now strutting around as if she owns everyone and everything. I can’t say I have been overly aware of her in the past but the woman is pure evil. Her playground attacks on Jeremy Corbyn mark her out as the arrogant schoolyard bully she is. Getting into power b default she is arrogant and self assured.

I myself have been counting the cost since the brexit vote. To avoid being confused as Boris Johnsons love child I had to have an emergency haircut. When Michael Gove and Owen Smith came out of the woodwork I had to buy new glasses. The emergence of that moanng Minnie Angela Eagle made me ashamed to be gay and threatened to push me to Narnia and now Theresa May is Prime Minister I’m now considering a sex change.

Michael Gove disappeared and so did Angela Eagle, I’m told because Eddie Izzard wanted his dresses back!  Now we are left with Jeremy Corbyn and a Welshman no ones ever heard of so I guess I face a move from Wales to Scotland (that’s a thought that Nicola Sturgeon is one of my not so secret crushes)

On a lighter note Monday sees me venturing to the teeming metropolis that is Manchester for the Beat The Frog Open Mic Comedy Competition. A Comedy Club with a real pedigree stars such as John Bishop, Johnny Vegas and Sarah Millican have all appeared here. I am trying desperately to memorise my set leaving enough space for any last minute topical stuff that might just turn up.

I have spent the last month or so in a state of frustration and near constant state of anxiety so my comedy spot is likely to be an explosive ranty type performance about life post Brexit. Speaking to my CPN the other day I realised that Standup and Performance Poetry is my only way of releasing my anger safely. So watch out Manchester you have been warned!!!!

So I will watch the developments with interest in this messed up world of ours, examine and have a rant, after all if you don’t laugh you cry, it’s a funny old world.

Love and light

Mwddrwgimage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rememberance and Respect

As a brass player of nearly 30years Rememberance Sunday has never been an ordinary day for me. Back in 1987 when I first joined a brass band as a 17year old Armistice Day was always meant a freezing cold March and playing dust old hymns in the towns garden of Rememberance. In the shallow days of my youth I remember the irritation of having to get up early on a Sunday morning and marching with a load of old men in blazers and grey flannels wearing their berets and their medals. To my shame I once thought to myself this can’t go on forever, soon they will die and nobody will be left to March.

The garden of Rememberance was on the seafront nd when the wind got up you landed u with sand in your bell and the March cards would be ruined. The Solo Cornet played the last post and Revallie then the strange piper woman played her bagpipes. Some old bloke in a dress said Godly words then we marched them back to the RAFA Club where we had food…….the best bit. It never got to me……it was just another band job with irritating old soldiers and something we did before the carolling started.

As the years went on I started working for SSAFA The Armed Forces Charity and started to talk to Second World War Veterans and their widows. To them the War was real, it was their youth. Next Rememberance day our principal cornet was 18 and I realised that it wasn’t about old men marching but young men going to war. I have two brothers and suddenly I realised that in another time I could have lost them both. I had never let it in it was never real. But from that day onwards it was real to me.

2009 Harry Patch the last fighting Tommy died and a link to the First World War Was forever lost. It was that year I visited The Battlefields of France and the Thiepval Memorial and found the name of my Great Uncle Tommy who perished but his body was never found. I put a poppy in Rememberance…..now it was personal.

Since 2011 it has been my honour and privelige to play the Last Post at Bodelwyddan a small church in North Wales that has Commenwealth Graves of Canadian Soldiers. It s a job I take seriously.

This year we commemorate The Battle of The Somme. My Great Uncle Tommy died on the 10th July 1916. Tomorrow is the centenary of his death. I will place a poppy wreath on the Grave stone of my Great Grandparents where he too is commemorated. It is not an unusual story, it is the history of many families. I shall play the last post for Uncle Tommy and remember him for we mus never forget.

 

 

 

It’s the simple things

Last week was one of the most challenging weeks of my life. After a long time avoiding and ignoring my various debts………….they came knocking………big time. I will not bore you with the details here, suffice to say that Saturday, our five year anniversary consisted of phone calls to Step Change Debt Charity finally facing up to the level of my debt. There was incredulity and tears as I was forced to lay bare the details of my debts and the minutiae of my spending, down to the last penny, justifying why it would not be possible to reduce the amount of cats we had as four were over 15yo and on borrowed time and that time would sort it out for us. Little did the poor girl know on the phone that we would not eat so that they could eat. The future looked bleak the bailiffs were on their way and we had to wait till Monday to do something.

I  have been a volunteer for a charity for the past 22years and have helped hundreds of people in my time with debts and the like and for the first time in 22years I approached them to possibly help us. I spoke to a wonderful woman on the phone and I cried as I told her the story. She came round to see us the following day and went through the assistance form with us as I had done countless times for others. She was kind and non judgemental and very patient. As the visit drew to a close she asked for the bailiffs number and paid the outstanding sum for us. This was a gift to us from the organisation itself and I cried. It was a recognition of my 22years volunteering as well as my partners ex service history. I cried, cried with relief that the bailiffs wouldn’t be coming and cried that my voluntary service had been recognised. The charity is SSAFA The Armed Forces Charity and that day I was so proud to be involved with such an empowering organisation.

Be kind in your interaction with others, considerate and non judgmental for you never know when the boot will be on he other foot. In the darkest week of my life the kindness of a stranger changed my life for the better. It is the little things that are important. Today It was confirmed that funds had been granted for one of my cases which will enable a young man (who has been in hospital for six months) to come home. He will be home for his birthday which is on Saturday and his wife’s birthday is on Monday.

Be nice to people, you never know when you might need them x

Mwddrwg