Living Between the Lines

A wry look at family life

  • Living Between the Lines

    We saw a dog…

    We saw a dog… Not a major event in most people’s lives but in Charlie’s? Well, put it this way, for the past few months, Charlie Brown has been undergoing intensive training to rid him of the panic he gets into when another dog approaches him while he is out on the lead. He has been getting progressively more anxious ever since he was set upon by three dogs, in the woods, when he was a pup. Well, could that be the reason? Maybe. Anyway, on a walk back in the Spring, we chanced to come face to face with two large dogs. Charlie immediately went into defence mode although…

  • Living Between the Lines

    An English Holiday

    Need I mention the heat? Nope. I think not. We had respite from the worst of it for ten days when we went to Fowey, in Cornwall, where temperatures were a few degrees cooler. (Who goes on holiday dreaming of rain? Are we never satisfied?) I won’t mention the heat though. Rain – I will mention the rain. Such cool, refreshing and thirst quenching rain it was that met us as we set off on the ferry from Fowey to Polruan, a mere 5 minute trip. Of course, the trip itself was not without incident. There we three were, alone on the quayside, the only ones in the queue. Presently,…

  • Living Between the Lines

    Who are we to judge?

    ‘Follow me, through these doors – I think it’s already started but you’ll be fine…’ beams the enthusiastic woman who has just met us. Thrusting a sheaf of papers into Zoe’s hand, she ushers us away from the brightly lit foyer, through two sets of double doors, into the extraordinarily loud, darkness, leaving us without further instruction. The three of us stand there for a moment, taking in our unknown surroundings. Students are already striding along the catwalk to the vibrant blast of a well chosen House instrumental. (I am not an expert but it is loud). Spectators sit in rows on both sides of the catwalk, their attention on…

  • Living Between the Lines

    A very different battle…

    In the town of Battle, Sussex – April 2018 Thanks to the hand-held electronic guide that I carried that day, I now know far more about the Battle of Hastings than I did previously. Despite having learnt about it in history lessons (the very act of learning about it now confined to history itself, of course) my knowledge was scant. i.e. On 14th October 1066 – William, Duke of Normandy, beat the English Saxon King, Harold who took an arrow in the eye. That was the sum of my knowledge on the subject. Now, thanks to the excited commentary that accompanied my walk around the ancient battlefield, I have a…

  • Living Between the Lines

    There is hope…

    When my younger brother, John, was three years old, I remember our grandfather bending down to kiss him goodbye. Three-year-old John took a step back and frowned, “Mens don’t kiss mens,” he informed Grandfather. Everyone laughed and Grandfather dutifully gave him his hand to shake, which John did with some aplomb. I was reminded of John’s innocent statement recently, when reading an article in The Times by Alice Thomson, about the ongoing struggle for gay equality. It beggars belief that we should still have a need for this discussion but we do. As readers of, “The Boy in the Cowboy Hat,” may remember, my brother John, was gay and died…

  • Living Between the Lines

    Misplaced Guilt…

    Do you suffer from misplaced guilt? The smallest thing can cause this condition to appear, such as wondering if you have said the right thing or if your actions have been misunderstood—the latter is a big one for me. I am working on it though. I give myself a good talking to if unwarranted guilt threatens. That said, it is always there, biding its time, ready to pounce at any given moment. It can seem as though someone is standing at my side demanding, “Explain yourself!” Today there were two occasions when misplaced guilt raised its ugly head. The first was as I left the supermarket and headed back to…

  • Living Between the Lines

    Mother’s Day Mayhem

    “Aha! You are the ones who are in the Gods!” The lady who met us at the hotel reception seemed triumphant. We were bemused. The last time I recall being, “in the Gods,” was the time I went to Her Majesty’s Theatre, to see Phantom of the Opera, starring Michael Crawford. Our seats were so high up on the vertical incline of seats, that one had to hang onto the rail in front to avoid being sucked down into the abyss below us. The hotel we now found ourselves in, bore no true resemblance to her Majesty’s Theatre although it was Olde Worlde with a plentiful supply of oak beams…

  • Living Between the Lines

    Basket only…

    The checkout operator had paused to alert a supervisor of a problem with her till. The lady in front of me had just loaded her shopping onto the conveyor belt and the customer being served was waiting to pay, I presume. I was happy to wait and was rather enjoying the time to stand and observe those around me. (Those conversational gems might crop up, one never knows). It was a busy Monday morning. Several tills were unmanned, clearly something the hovering supervisor was not happy with. He signalled for a young lad to man the till next to me. It was of no use to me of course, it…

  • Living Between the Lines

    The mind boggles…

    It seems that having launched my debut Christmas novel on an unsuspecting world, sending it into the wide blue yonder – perhaps never to be seen again, I have been slow to rekindle the fire of the written word. It isn’t that I have not wanted to, nor that I have not tried. I have begun editing the final chapters of my next novel and it lies begging for attention. I have read and enjoyed a couple of excellent novels and can feel the muse bubbling up inside me. Yet, housework, family demands and life in general, have thwarted any real progress these past few weeks. So, it was with…

  • Living Between the Lines

    Paperback in town!

    I have jumped through hoops with the formatting, made some mistakes and learnt a lot. Here it is then, the paperback version of my debut novel (debut in the sense it is the first of my novels to be published) Once Upon a Christmas Eve. Christmas is upon us and tomorrow I will be watching yet another nativity in which my two younger grandsons are starring. One is a King, the other a camel. I say starring because aren’t they all stars? The first nativity I attended as a grandparent was quite eventful. Child number one was overcome with anxiety and stared out like a frightened rabbit from the makeshift…