Monthly Archives: January 2017


During January (up to. This morning) my posts received 416 views. More than in December.  

These were the top views by country

Not big in Africa, Russia or south America ūüėāūüėā


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The Sandman

At last week’s writing group Annette’s prompt was a nursery rhyme. Each of the group chose a piece of paper, without looking, from an envelope with a nursery rhyme on it. Each of us had a differnet rhyme. We then each chose four words from a pile of flashcards to be included in the story. The story had to have as it’s base the rhyme we had chosen. I had chosen ‘The Sandman‘, and the words gold, fruit, adolescent and pregnancy.

This is my thirty minute story:


During her pregnancy  Danielle talked to her expanding belly as she imagined the growing child inside. Many times she simply related nursery rhymes quietly to it. She had heard that intelligence and imagination starts in the womb and wanted to give her child the best of starts. She always thought of the bump as him, but had no real clue as to which gender it may be.

Whenever bump became too energetic and she wanted him to rest she chose relaxing nursery rhymes, when she wanted to get the action going inside she told bump exciting or frightening nursery rhymes. And when she wanted him to sleep she recited lullaby-type nursery rhymes.  Her favourite for these sleepy moments was ‚ÄėThe sandman‚Äô.

“The Sandman’s coming in his train of cars
With moonbeam windows and with wheels of stars
So hush you little ones and have no fear
The man-in-the-moon he is the engineer”

When bump entered the world he was indeed a boy. Danielle named him Casey, a name she associated with the Sandman’s train, steaming and a rolling, yet she often simply called him her little sandman.

Casey was a happy gentle child and Danielle‚Äôs work during her pregnancy seemed to have paid off. Wen she compared him to some of the other children of her friends he seemed to be streets ahead in so many ways.  At three he was able to solve puzzles some five or six year old children couldn‚Äôt manage.

When he started school a year earlier than normal he collected so many gold stars that the other kids, many of whom were at least a year older than him, started to resent him.  Despite the hurt that this caused him he remained kind and thoughtful, Just as his mum had made him.  He knew he was different from other children which worried him some, but his mum always told him different was special.

At eleven Casey moved on to the much larger school,  secondary school.  It was a short train ride from home and much more regimented than his primary school had ever been.  Casey didn‚Äôt like the change, but maintained his scholarly attitude and continued to get merit after merit.  He had a few friends that had moved with him from the little school but as the other kids at the new school started to pick on him those friends became fewer and fewer.

As an adolescent life was no better. Casey didn‚Äôt understand the changes in his body, but knew how they made him feel and that wasn‚Äôt how he wanted to feel.  His shyness increased and little by little he felt more and more isolated from his peers.  Being different no longer felt special. Being different sucked.

Almost every day on the train home, which was always a rowdy and generally unpleasant journey, Casey suffered some sort of nastiness.Although the journey was not a long one it was a hell every day in Casey’s mind. On Casey‚Äôs fifteenth birthday, which should have been a good day for him,  one of the older lads shouted down the carriage to Casey. ‚ÄúHey Casey, you lost it yet?‚ÄĚ

Casey knew the voice immediately. It was Jeremy, one of the worst of his tormentors. Casey knew that to not answer would lead to abuse, but to answer with the wrong answer would also get him ridiculed.  ‚ÄúMight have.‚ÄĚ Casey plumped for non-commital.

‚ÄúMight have? Might have? Don‚Äôt you fucking know, you camp little fruit. 15 and still a virgin.‚ÄĚ Jeremy laughed as he spat out his words. Everyone in the carriage joined in with the laughter. Casey had no idea what was funny nor understood the nastiness.

Alison, the only friend he seemed to have these days, who always sat next to him on the train slipped her hand under Casey‚Äôs arm and pulled him closer. ‚ÄúIgnore them,‚ÄĚ she whispered to him, then shouted down the carriage.  ‚ÄúFuck Off you moron. You‚Äôll only have lost it if someone put a bag over your head, and even then with yournasty little wiener it wouldn‚Äôt be worth the bother.‚ÄĚ

‚ÄúGot your girlfriend fighting your battles again,‚ÄĚ Jeremy countered, ignoring Alison‚Äôs sleight, despite the laughs it caused.

‚ÄúIt‚Äôs never going to end is it?‚ÄĚ Casey asked of Alison, holding back the tears.

‚ÄúDon‚Äôt listen to them. They don‚Äôt really know you. Anyone who does loves you.‚ÄĚ Alison held him.

At home that night Casey wanted to tell his mum what was happening to him every day at school, and how desperately sad he was. She still thought he was doing well and enjoying school. He was a consummate actor.  But he just couldn‚Äôt tell her, it was all too huge. Instead he slipped  quietly into his bedroom and slowly popped  the sleeping pills out of the wrapper.. Enough was enough.




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Life as an only child was good. Then just after my first birthday, well just over a month after my first birthday my mum gave birth to a brother for me. For me? I’d never asked for one, and quite frankly I’m not sure it was ever on my Christmas list.. well I got what I was given, as so often was the case.

They named him Andrew, which having just checked the online dictionary of names means ‘strong and manly’ Well I guess one of us had to be, but I’ll reserve judgement on both words.

Having decided that smothering him as he slept as a baby wasn’t an option; my parents were far too vigilent, I decided I had to make the most of it. After all I was a big brother now.

During our formative years we had the odd (read regular) disagreements that siblings tend to have, but I like to think I was there for him: Just ask Jackie Newman. She was the mum of a girl on our estate who was bothering Andrew at school. I may only have been in single figures for age at the time but I told her straight that her daughter’s behaviour was unacceptable, much to our parents’ embarrassment.

Frankly he could be quite (very!!) annoying. He would insult me with some random word and when I asked him what it meant our conversation would go something like this…

A: “You’re a box, you are.”
M: “What’s that even mean? What is it?”
A: “It’s what you are, that’s what it is.You’re a box.”
Repeat ad-infinitum.

We also had a fun pinching game, that could so easily lead to tears before bedtime, called ‘Little flea’. This simply meant we tried to pinch each other anywhere on the body as many times as possible repeating ‘little flea, little flea.”  This was often a game for long journeys in the car, much to the annoyance of our dad, who although driving would often threaten / ask  “Do you want me to come back there in a minute and sort you out?’.  To which we often replied “yes”, knowing he was powerless to do anything being in control of an amazing Austin A40. (that’s a car)

He was quite a clumsy lad and around the time we hit our teens he fell off a breakwater in Shoreham (the town of our birth, well at least where the hospital was). I promise that I didn’t push him. In fact I was nowhere near at the time, being ungainly in climbing pursuits myself I was still trying to get off the pebbles onto the breakwater. Cousin Sheridan, who was with us at the time, can attest to this!

In the fall he broke his elbow which meant a mercy dash to Brighton hospital. Although one could rarely call the speed of our dad’s driving a dash. He was more worried about breaking the law than his sons’ screaming in the back seat. Yes: Note the position of the apostrophe: I was screaming too. One of the things that sticks in my mind of that evening was for some reason mum still had her slippers on. Subsequent trips to Brighton hospital fixed  up his arm to a degree, but he still hasn’t got full function.

Admittedly I did slam the back door in his face when our parents were away one weekend. How was I to know he’d put his hands up to stop it and put them straight through one of the glass panels. Luckily our mum’s mum didn’t live far away and took control of the situation. A few stitches later he was right as rain, albeit scarred, physically at least, for life. He could make such a drama of these little things.

Andrew wasn’t  a scholar, and I distinctly remember the local police visiting our house on one occasion to have a word with him. Our parents were mortified. However he got through the schooldays as we both did. In his teens he bought a double decker bus with a friend and they proceeded to convert it to a mobile home, very successfully I must say. Though I was sure it was just so that the pair of them had a place to take girls.

When I came out, during the reception of his wedding (yes seriously) in the aftermath he said that he’d always known I was gay. It has never seemed a problem for him. Happily he and his (new at the time) wife have always been there, and occasionally here too. During their earlier married days I remember sharing, shall we call them, dating tips with them.

Andrew’s wife, although no angel herself either, has kept him on the straight and narrow. Despite quite an inauspicious start for the two of us we became close too. We may not have started off asvery good friends. In fact I disliked her intensely. We first met at a cousin’s first engagement party..Her first words to me were: “you’re f’ing queer you are”. How she guessed I don’t know. Do you think the dungarees and cut off t-shirt gave the game away, or was it my penchant for hot gossip style dancing? I wasn’t out at the time, and was quite a way from being so.

Over the years Andrew and Jane grew a fairly large family, well three kids seems excessive to me, while Tony and I were travelling and partying the days and nights away. This meant we didn’t see that much of each other for a while, but usually got together at our parents place for (post) Christmas lunches. When our parents passed we grew much closer again.

Andrew is very much a family man. Three kids and eight grandkids (yes seriously!!) later it is clear when he is ever  with any of them he is in his element, the grandkids I mean, and the clealry love being with granddad.  His own kids continue to give him the occasional headache, I am sure, but he has always helped them out when they’ve needed it.  His alter-ego suitably enough is the character of Gramps in the children’s books I have written.

Andrew, like me , is also a workaholic. Hang on… that should be: Andrew, unlike me, is a workaholic. He has built up his own business as one of the premier, if not the premier, pest control businesses in Sussex, and is always on hand to help out all the local old dears with a bit of gardening, handyman jobs, and even shopping if necessary. He has quite a following of ladies of a certain age.  I don’t think he can say no to them. He’s also a retained fireman for the village which means he can be called out to an emergency at any hour of the day and night, and often is.  

Jane and I have more recently tried to get him to slow down. He is no longer a young man and a heart attack could so easily be around the corner. It’s a genetic thing! Has he slowed down? Has he buggery!

Andrew, if you’re reading this, and I am sure you are; as Jane will have made you, then you must know this: You are the best brother I’ve ever had. (smiley face with tongue out)

Today is Andrew’s fifty-somethingth birthday. He’s 13 months younger than me – just work it out. I know his family will be celebrating somehow and in a way in which I hope tells him just how much they all love him… no it’s not just your money they’re after, although you want to be careful of that….. (Zipped mouth smiley face) Joke!!

I know he’s not found dealing with my current state of mind that easy, well he’s been his usual self and remained fairly tight-lipped. And perhaps that could be a lesson to push him to slow down a bit. Direct message: Can you imagine Jane in a similar situation, old boy. I don’t want to. She’d have the support of your kids but it’s you that she shares everything with, you that she loves.

Andrew, have a wonderful birthday. I’d suggest kicking bank and taking it easy, but I bet knowing you you’ve still got just a little job or two to sort out before you relax.


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New Nationality / Nueva Nacionalidad

At Meritxell’s request, and because it feels right considering the subject matter today’s blog will be bilingual. With apologies for the heap of errors I am bound to make in the Spanish!

En la petici√≥n de Meritxell, y porque se siente bien considerando el asunto hoy’s blog ser√° biling√ľe. Con disculpas por el mont√≥n de errores me siento obligado a hacer en espa√Īol!



For anyone who doesn’t know: I am currently working towards changing my passport to a Spanish one. To do this there are two exams- one about knowledge of ¬†Spain and the other a test of the language, as well as the collection of a variety of documents to prove I am worthy.

Many of you are also probably not aware of the personal challenges I have recently been facing. I try as best I can to maintain a normal persona outside of  home.

Yesterday evening in Barcelona I completed the ¬†knowledge of Spain test (known as the CCSE). This was a huge challenge for me. I don’t mean the test itself; I knew I was ready for that, but being in ¬†a busy Barcelona late and travelling back on the train was the bigger challenge. I haven’t been out late since last March, and especially not in a busy City. Crowds and the dark are two of the worst triggers for my panic attacks. Anxiety and panic attacks have become part of my everyday life since the death of Tony last year. At the moment they are worse, as the anniversary of that awful day rushes closer and closer.

The exam was at International House in Barcelona. It was with International House that I studied, many years ago, to become an English teacher, albeit in London.
Outside the building there were many people clearly waiting to do the exam. I joined the throng. Each side of me people were on their phones doing the practice tests. I had done a couple on the train on the way in, and was happy to get 100% in each of them. Nonetheless my nerves were not calmed.

At 5.30 on the dot they called us in.¬†Our seat was pre-assigned by the registration number we were given. I ended up sitting next to a Moroccan man who when I told him I was English laughed and said ‘because of Brexit?’ and told me what a mess it all appeared. I had to agree.

The exam paper was already on the desk, like a threat of things to come,  inside a folder with a pencil, rubber and sharpener. All very organised.

We were told the exam would start at 6.00pm and how to complete the exam papers. We were also told that we could not leave before 6.15, but if we had finished we could leave after that after putting up our hands and we would be escorted out to cause minimal disruption.

At 6.00 we were told to turn the paper over and start. The questions were all ones I knew, and I soon completed them all and then checked them. I looked up at the clock. It was 7 minutes past 6. A full 45 minutes is allocated to do the exam, but never in the practices had they taken me more than 10 minutes. I was satisfied and happy with what I had done. ¬†The invigilator passed by and asked if I’d finished already, I smiled and told her yes and that I thought it was easy.

At 6.15 many of us raised our hands and were given a form as we left which explained the results would be on the internet (Cervantes site) in 20 days.

AS I left my anxiety levels spiralled upwards. Luckily the amazing Nick whatsapped me and continued a flowing chat for the whole journey. Although I took a few moments out to check my questions/answers against the sheets I had printed out from the internet. I knew I had 100%.

I was relieved to get home to the kids, who were keen to get dinner, and of course I obliged. I also quickly made a pizza and popped that in the oven. I then settled down to a gin and tonic whilst I watched TOTP (Top of the pops) from 1983 – always great and sometimes poignant memories from the first whole year Tony and I were together.

So in 20 days I fully expect to be announcing that I have a good pass mark in the exam. Thank you to everyone who sent messages of support (Whatsapp, Facebook) and to everyone who sent their congratulations. You can’t have known how big a challenge the hole experience really was to me.

The first 7 of the 25 questions (from a database of 300) that I had to answer are below (only in Spanish) If you want more & the answers send me a message…


Para quien no lo sabe: Actualmente estoy trabajando para cambiar mi pasaporte a un passaporte espa√Īol. Para ello existen dos estudios: uno sobre Espa√Īa y el otro una prueba de idioma, as√≠ como la recopilaci√≥n de una serie de documentos que prueban soy digno.

Muchos de ustedes probablemente no son conscientes de los desafíos personales recientemente he estado mirando. Yo intento lo mejor que puedo para mantener una persona normal fuera de casa.

Ayer por la tarde en Barcelona hice el exam del conocimiento de Espa√Īa ¬†(conocida como la CCSE). Este fue un gran reto para m√≠. No me refiero a la prueba en s√≠ misma; yo sab√≠a que estaba preparada para ello, pero al estar en una concurrida Barcelona tarde y viajar en el tren era el desaf√≠o mayor. No he salido por el tarde desde el mes de marzo del a√Īo pasado, y especialmente no en una ciudad con tanta gente. Las multitudes y la oscuridad son dos de las peores activadores para mis ataques de p√°nico. La ansiedad y los ataques de p√°nico se han convertido en parte de mi vida cotidiana desde la muerte de Tony el a√Īo pasado. En este momento ¬†son mas peores, como el aniversario de ese terrible d√≠a ¬†acerca cada vez m√°s.

El examen fue en International House de Barcelona. Fue con International House que estudi√©, hace muchos a√Īos, para convertirse en un maestro de ingl√©s, aunque en Londres.

Fuera del edificio estaba claramente que muchas personas esperando para realizar el examen. Me uní a la multitud. A mi dos lados y enfrente habia personasa en sus teléfonos  haciendo las prácticas de pruebas. Yo había hecho un par en el tren a la ida, y estaba feliz de recibir el 100% en cada uno de ellos. No obstante mis nervios no se calmó.

A las 17.30 en punto nos llamaron. Nuestra sede fue pre-asignado por el n√ļmero de registro que nos dieron cuando registraron. Estaba sentado junto a un hombre marroqu√≠ que cuando le dije que soy¬†ingl√©s se ri√≥ y dijo, “porque Brexit?” y me dijo qu√© l√≠o todo parec√≠a a el. Estuve (Estoy) de acuerdo.

El documento de examen ya estaba sobre la mesa, como una amenaza , dentro de una carpeta con un l√°piz, goma y sacapuntas. Todo muy organizado.

Nos dijeron que el examen comenzará a las 6.00 y cómo tenemos que completar el examen. También se nos dijo que no podíamos salir de la sala antes de 6.15, pero si hubiéramos terminado podríamos salir después y teniamos que elevar nuestras manos y nos escoltarian fuera a causar las mínimas molestias.

A las 18.00 nos dijeron que podriamos comenzar. Las preguntas fueron todos los que conocí, y yo pronto completado todas ellas y luego comprobaron. Miré el reloj. Fue 7 minutos pasados 6. 45 minutos es asignado para realizar el examen, pero nunca en las prácticas me tomaron más de 10 minutos. Yo estaba satisfecho y feliz con lo que había hecho. Aprobado por el supervisor y me preguntó si había terminado ya, me sonrió y le dijo que sí y que pensé que era fácil.

A 6,15 muchos de nosotros planteadas en nuestras manos y nos dieron un formulario cuando nos fuimos, que explicó los resultados estarían en el sitio de internet (Cervantes) en 20 días.

Como ya salí mis niveles de ansiedad aumentaron. Afortunadamente el mejor amigo de Inglaterra: Nick envió un whatsapp y continuó un chat para todo el viaje. Aunque me tomé unos instantes para verificar mis preguntas/respuestas contra las hojas me había impreso desde internet. Yo sabía que tenía el 100%.

Me sent√≠ aliviado al llegar a casa con las mascotas, quienes estaban listos¬†por¬†cenar, y por supuesto yo obligado. Tambi√©n he hecho r√°pidamente una pizza y pnerlo en el horno. Luego me tom√©¬†en un gin tonic mientras miraba TOTP (Top of the Pops) desde 1983 – siempre grandes memorias y a veces conmovedoras memorias desde el primer a√Īo completo cuando¬†Tony y yo estuvimos juntos.

Así que en 20 días espero poder anunciar que tenga una buena nota en el examen. Gracias a todos los que enviaron mensajes de apoyo (Whatsapp, Facebook) y a todos los que enviaron sus felicitaciones. No puede haber sabido cuán grande es un desafío el orificio experiencia realmente fue para mí.

Las primeros 7 de las 25 preguntas (a partir de una base de datos de 300) que tuve que contestar sigan, si quires mas preguntas y las soluciones enviarme un mensaje. 

TEST DEL 26 Noviembre: 

1, En la constituc√≠on se establece la separac√≠on de los pderes judicial, legislativo y …
a) administrative     b) ejecutivo     c) ecenómico.

2. Si el Ray o la Reina de Espa√Īa fuera menor de edad, ¬Ņquien deria el regente hasta su mayoria de edad?
a) El Presidene del Govierno   b) El padre o la madre del Rey   c) El ministro del interior.

3. La Constituc√≠on garantiza la seguridad … de los espa√Īoles.
a) juridica     b) legislativa   c) ejectiva

4. Deben repetar de la constituc√≠on y el resto de lgislation vigente….
a) los cuidadanos    b)los poderes publicos  clos poders publicos y los ciudadanos.

5. La Bandera azul con 12 estrellas amarillas en circula es el simbulo de …
a) la UE.    b) la rganizacion de seguridad y cooperacíon de Europa c) la comisio de UE.

6. Todos los espanoles tienen el deber de conocer la lengua…
a) autonomica    b)oficial   c)local

7. El plazo de que dispone el Senado para decidir sobre un proyecto de ley es…
a) 2 meses     b) 4 meses     c) 6 meses



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Like every other day I missed you;
Like very moment of every hour of every day.
Waking up; it was cold and I thought of our snuggles under the duvet.
Xali between us as we would chat about the day ahead.

I remembered this time last year. It hurt.
You in a hospital room waiting news.
Me visiting and never having enough hours in the day.
Both ignorant of the shock to come.

I returned from town greeted by the kids, not your voice.
I made soup for lunch, a mundane task that yet held memories.
An hour’s siesta reminded me again of how big the bed is without you.
I whatsapped with Nick, somethings don’t change.

I’m returning to our (my?) bed now.
My “Goodnight, love you loads,”  not echoed.
Snuggled with our kids: six more warm bodies each vying for space.
And still it’s your body I miss, as I hope for sleep and oblivion.





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A few days a go I saw the following painting by Edward Hopper in a Barcelona Exhibition at the Caixa Forum. I have written using Edward Hopper paintings as prompts before. When I first saw this painting on an internet site I knew who the woman was (for me). When I read the background to the painting ¬†at the exhibition her role in one of my¬†ongoing stories was confirmed. May I present Beatrice, daughter of Alice, Mother of Steven …. This is part of her and their story….

Like previous chapters of this story it can be read on its own. 
To follow this story from it’s beginning click the links¬†at the bottom of the page.¬†


The hotel room was basic but clean. Beatrice knew for what she could afford to pay that it was as good as it could get, at least the sheets were included in the rate and clean. Some places she had stayed were not that good.

From such lofty aspirations, Beatrice had reached another¬†all time low. ¬†She had just received a letter from her mum. The letter had been following her around for a while as she changed addresses, finally catching up with her that morning. In the letter Beatrice’s mother explained that her husband, Beatrice’s father had died. ¬†Despite their estrangement for the previous few years Beatrice was heartbroken.

As she sat  on the bed with the letter in her hands she considered her journey to this place.

At eighteen she had gone off to university to study the ins and outs of marketing with an intention to be one of the first women in that field. She enjoyed her studies and the new life the university campus brought with it. Her parents were lovely people but a bit old fashioned, at Uni she finally felt completely free, apart from the coursework.

Everything was going well. She was¬†in her final year when she met Walter. She was at a friend’s party ¬†and had had a little too much to drink when she was introduced to the most beautiful man she had ever seen. He was tall, dark, good looking and charming. They started ‘stepping out’ together as her mum might have said. Although they rarely went to many crowded venues Beatrice was happy. ¬†It wasn’t long before the inevitable happened and they ended up in bed having ¬†the most passionate sex that Beatrice could never have imagined.

Just before Beatrice was due to take her final exams she started to feel unwell so went to the doctor on campus. He told her she was pregnant. She was devastated, but knew Walt well enough to feel secure that he would do the right thing. Sadly her faith in him was unfounded. When she finally plucked up courage to tell him it was in a very similar hotel room to that in which she was now sitting.  As soon as she told him he left the bed and started dressing. He told her he would support her as best he could, but that she must have realised by that point he was already married.

In that instant Beatrice’s world fell apart. The man she loved belonged to another. She was pregnant with his child and had no way to support herself and a baby. Her best friend at the time told her she should ‘get rid of it’. Beatrice knew she could never do that. Eventually she plucked up her courage once more and called her mum. ¬†She couldn’t see any other option but to ask for her parents’ support.

Alice, Beatrice’s mother, was shocked and saddened at the news her daughter had shared but agreed that she could move back home until she found her feet. Alice also prepared the ground with Beatrice’s father, so she didn’t have to suffer his anger or disappointment. Beatrice completed her final exams and the next day moved back to her parents home, heavily pregnant. Alice continually¬†asked a barrage of questions about the identity of the father. Beatrice never shared.

On the day Beatrice’s¬†son was born, her parents, Alice and Harvey had another shock. Their new grandson was clearly of mixed heritage. ¬†Alice swallowed her prejudice and loved the boy like any other. Her husband, Harvey, on the other hand was a man of his time and could not accept the child into his family. He ¬†told Beatrice that she had brought shame on the family and that as soon as she was back on her feet she must find herself a place to live.

Leaving the hospital Beatrice moved back into her old room: Her mum suggested that perhaps Harvey would come round having the beautiful baby in the house, but the situation was untenable. Alice regularly took Steven, as the baby had been named,  when Beatrice was at the end of her tether. Alice simply sat in the old rocking chair by the window and sang a gentle lullaby to her grandson. Harvey avoided both Beatrice and Steven, regularly making undisguised hints that it was time they left.

In less than a month Beatrice could handle her father’ animosity no more and packed up everything she owned and moved out. ¬†Alice was heartbroken, Harvey was relieved.

Day by day Beatrice felt less and less able to cope. She couldn’t find a permanent address. People were always nice to her face but she could see the look on their faces when they saw her beautiful dark skinned son. ¬†The places in which Beatrice could find a bed for them both were often the least savoury and it wasn’t long before she experimented with, then became dependent on drugs.

Eventually things became so bad she couldn’t manage any more and simply dropped Steven at his father’s door. She had hit rock bottom. From then on she moved around getting work, drugs and a place to live wherever she could. It was years before she ever saw her son again.

Then Jesus found her.  He looked deeply  into her eyes and told her she was beautiful. He told her he loved her and gradually weaned her off drugs. But he was no better than some of the other men she had met. He wanted her clean so he could pimp her out.

Prostitution was not on Beatrice’s preferred list of professions, and with the help of a new friend, Janice, she cleaned up her act and got a job in an advertising agency. The work was hard and the pay low, but it allowed her to pay for the hotel room in which she now sat reading the letter from her mother, the letter that contained month old news of her father’s death.

Previous part РAlice 
Part Two РSweet dreams
Part one – Who’s that girl?


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“I’ve got them, I’ve got them,” I shouted excitedly as I opened the flat door and almost tripped over Chasca, our border collie. Her cuddles always took precedence, she was still a puppy and we were all so much in love. She followed me to the bedroom where I dropped my bag on the floor and fell onto the bed under an assault of licking and mad tail/bum wagging. ¬†Hers not mine, I hasten to add.

“Come on then,” Tony called from the kitchen where he had started preparing dinner.

I wandered through with Chasca running round and round my legs excitedly. One hand in the air I waved the tickets I had picked up from the Keith Prowse office in the hotel that day. ¬†“I’ve got them.”

“Yes I got that, but got what? Not crabs again?” Tony joked holding out a spoon for me to taste his efforts.

“Don’t think I’ve ever had crabs,” I retorted. “Mmmm, that’s nice. Stew: perfect for this bloody cold. It’s freezing out there.”

“I know I left the heating on when I came home at lunchtime so she didn’t get too cold,” He nodded at Chasca. As she was new to the family Tony popped home every lunchtime to check on her, so that she didn’t get too lonely, or into too much trouble. We were already missing a few socks and had several items with teeth marks on them.

“Good idea. FGTH,” I told him.

“What?” Tony looked non-plussed. My sudden switch of subject had confused him. Over the years we got used to each other’s conversation switches and rarely were confused with each other’s muddled thinking. ¬†These were still early days.

“Frankie Goes…” I began.

“Concert tickets?” Tony finished. “That’s great, put them somewhere safe out of madam’s reach.”

Over dinner, among other things, we made plans for the upcoming concert. We decided that I would take my change of clothes to work (jeans, t-shirt, check.shirt, leather jacket, Boots and gloves) while Tony would rush home, feed the pooch and meet me in town.  We both had a thing for one of the band members and were looking forward to the concert, even though it meant schlepping all the way to Wembley, which was completely the other side of town .

The cold weather continued through the following days, and I was glad we were going to be wrapped up (dragged up?) well as the day of the concert arrived.

Looking out the office window towards the end of the day I noticed it had started snowing. Normally I would have loved that, but didn’t want London transport to be fouled up because of it. We didn’t want to miss the concert because of delayed trains or tubes.

Just before the time came to leave work the¬†phone on my desk rang. “What do you think?” Tony asked without preamble.

“Probably the same as you.” I replied.

“You sure?” he asked down the phone line.

“Yes. Definitely. We can’t go and leave her all alone in this cold. If traffic gets really snarled up we could be back really late and she’d be freezing. I’m going to come home.” ¬†I told him.

“Disappointed?” he asked knowing the answer.

“Of course, but not enough to not put Chazzy first.”

That was how we came to miss a music concert we both were really looking forward to, but our baby had to come first. She always did. They always do.



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