Tag Archives: I heard that – pardon?”

The Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award

The Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award

Many thanks for the Award! The rules of acceptance mean that I must now tell you 7 random facts about myself...

It’s been a while since I received an award of any kind but what a lovely way to start the New Year! Thank you to Teresa Ashby who has passed this award to me though, I confess, I have never thought of myself as being irresistibly sweet. I have been told I have a sharp tongue at times (I call it wit) and perhaps that is why my blog describes itself as a wry look at life.

It is an interesting thought, though, being irresistible. I suppose everyone is irresistible to someone or something, in some way.

I was evidently irresistible to the young man with Down’s Syndrome who approached me in the hospital café last November. My eldest sister and I were taking a break from keeping vigil at our middle sister’s bedside. As we sat there, probably red eyed from crying and looking decidedly miserable, I dithered over what to do with the tray on which the waitress had earlier placed two hot cups of tea and coffee with some dubious looking pastries that neither of us really wanted. We felt we should eat them for lack of anything else edible to hand. Having placed these items on the table, I was left holding the tray.

The young man smiled across at me from where he sat at his table.

“I will take that!” he said, beaming and was by my side in an instant.

“Thank you, that is very kind of you,” I smiled back.

He looked pleased and I thought he was going to turn and take the tray back to the counter. Instead, he moved closer and bent to give me a hug.

One 

This is the first thing you may not know about me – I am not particularly ‘huggy’. I hug my family, my children and some friends but strangers? Not usually!

However, I had no choice but to accept his hug as he said happily,

“Aah, I love my new friend,” and began stroking my hair.

“That’s nice, it is lovely to meet you,” I replied or something similar. I was relieved that he had stepped back a little, though his hand was still on my head.

He moved in for another hug and repeated the words before slowly walking away, stopping to wave and smile as he went. I waved back and my sister raised her eyebrows at me.

It reminded me of the days when I used to take the bus to town when living near London. Nine times out of ten, I would be listening to someone’s life story as we stood at the bus stop waiting…and waiting…and waiting.

Two

This is perhaps the second thing you may not know about me, I am incredibly patient at times.

It was whilst taking the bus to the cinema one evening, in the seventies, that an elderly gentleman, we shall call him Fred, boarded and sat next to me. He was smartly dressed in a dark suit with a ribbon of medals pinned to his jacket. It was quite a cold night.

“Chilly!” he said.

I nodded and smiled and probably replied politely as I always did.

“I’m going to the British Legion – meeting lots of my old war buddies.” ( World War One for those who may not be familiar with the time span here)

“I am 84!”

I murmured that he did not look 84 (indeed, he did not). He then proceeded to regale me with tales that covered his lifetime from birth to the present day. I was not bored. I was about eighteen and he intrigued me.

He got off at the same stop as me and I watched him walk down the road, head held high, a spring in his step – no, he really didn’t look 84.

The following week, I was again catching the bus to town when Fred sat down next to me. I greeted him with a smile but he clearly did not remember me. I sensed what was coming. For the rest of the journey he regaled me with more tales, or the same tales as the week before and again, I listened and chatted as the bus trundled on. As we reached ‘our’ stop, he turned to me and said proudly,

“I am 86 you know!”

“No, you don’t look it!” I parroted.

Two birthdays in one week? I don’t think so. I watched him walk down the street to the Legion – no, he certainly did not look 86.

Three

Being irresistible to dogs – now that was one of my attributes as a child, not a lot of people know that!

The attraction was mutual and I was determined to own a dogs’  boarding kennel when I grew up – the idea of dozens of four legged friends being under my care was extremely attractive to me. I was so taken with the idea that despite having a perfectly lovely family dog of our own, I was constantly on the look out for a stray to adopt.

I would stand at the bus stop (not always listening to someone’s life story) when I was about twelve and wonder if a little dog would wander up to me and practically beg to be taken home. I’d see straggly-haired mutts meandering up and down the road and mentally wish them to come pawing at my door.

This was not an entirely ridiculous wish. I could clearly remember a beautiful, black and white, rough Collie wandering through our back garden in the school holidays, when I was about 6 or 7 years old. Dad allowed us to invite him in when he had been seen wandering around the nearby gardens for some time. The dog displayed no desire to leave and Dad said we could keep him until we found the owners. Dad, being a policeman, put the word out. Mum, asked around. (Her own childhood seems to have been run along pretty much the same lines as far as dogs were concerned – she has told me she often turned up at home with a waggy-tailed stray attached to a piece of string, trailing behind her.)

We children fell in love.

The dog was gentle and well trained and he answered to the name of ‘Prince”. To me, he was a prince among dogs. He watched my little brother empty his Smarties out on the floor and did not move to eat them. He sat patiently while we petted and cuddled him and was happy to play ball or just follow us around.

When no one had claimed him after a fortnight, Dad said that he could stay. Prince became ours. He stayed with us for about 6 weeks. He was waiting by the gate when I came home from school and followed me up to bed at night, sleeping at the foot of my bed until he was called back down to the kitchen by Mum or Dad.

Sadly, all good things come to an end and at the end of the second school week, my eldest sister, who attended the local secondary school, came home with the news that a girl in her class had lost a dog. The description fitted Prince. Dad went to investigate.

With aching hearts we had to say goodbye and Prince was returned to his rightful owners who were, it has to be said, overjoyed to have him home. We had to ask what his real name was, was it really Prince? The owners said no, the dog’s name was Bins. Now, was that Binz or was it Bins? We never did find out. I preferred ‘Prince’.

I suspect that ‘Bins/z’ enjoyed his short stay with us and his Royal title. I suppose, despite the fact that we then adopted a gorgeous Golden Labrador, as mentioned before in this blog, I always wanted to replace Prince.

To get back to the bus stop or the vicinity of the bus stop, I should say that my wish was not in vain. One afternoon, my Father parked the car by some scrubland close to the shops. A car pulled up in front of us. The car contained two small children and two, adorable little puppies. The driver opened the door and let one of the puppies out for what we thought was a toilet break. Indeed, the puppy ran straight to the area of long grass and we smiled before making our way to the shops.

On our return, we saw that the car had gone but the puppy remained, looking lost and confused, at the side of the road. We all tried to coax the puppy to come to us as it cowered, shivering with fright but it refused. Only when the others stepped back and I knelt down, did it crawl onto my lap and lie there. Once again Dad put the word out and we drove around for a bit to see if the car was parked elsewhere. Maybe the puppy had been left behind by accident.

No one claimed her. Dad wanted to take her to Battersea dogs’ home, we wouldn’t hear of it. We kept her. Bess, first cross of a welsh collie, with the same nature as Prince and very pretty, was with us for the next twelve years.

Four

I am also irresistible to people with clip boards, you know the sort, the ones who try to catch your eye as you walk through the precinct and jump out in front of you if you dare walk on. I confess I now look straight ahead and side-step them wherever possible.

Five

I have discovered that it is ok to step on the cracks in pavements but I don’t – just in case.

Six

I do not believe in meddling with the paranormal and I would not go near an Ouija Board, but I have seen ghosts.

Seven

My first love is writing but I am also both an artist and craftswoman – I sew a good seam. I once supplied a private dental surgery with twenty four small cloth figures and several giant-sized versions of the same, to grace their waiting room. My eldest daughter, then three, is pictured with a selection of the smaller of the figures. Oh, and I cannot wait until I can build another doll’s house!

The smaller of the dolls

A Motley Crew! Circa 1984

Well, the rules of acceptance of this award are that I must tell you seven things about myself that you did not know before, or have forgotten, or about which you are too polite to say,

“Yeah, we knew that!”

This I believe I have done.

Once again, thank you Teresa for bestowing this award on me and allowing me to bestow it on others who, I feel, are far more worthy than I of receiving it.

So, without further ado, I nominate 7 of my own favourite blogs for the award:

I hope you all enjoy each other’s blogs as much as I do and I look forward to reading them all.

For those I have nominated, the rules, as I understand them are:

1. Thank and link to the person who nominated you.

2. Share 7 random facts about yourself.

3. Pass the Award on to some of your own deserving blog friends.

4. Contact those friends and let them know.

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Filed under Living Between the Lines

“I heard that – Pardon?” *

As I will be on an island somewhere in the blue Aegean Sea for the next couple of weeks, I am scheduling a couple of re-runs to fill the gap. The following post was first published on 9th September 2010.

 

This post is inspired by what I now see as selfish behaviour on my part. Yesterday, the telephone didn’t stop ringing. As well as calls from family, there were many from British Gas, BT and a variety of sales people not to mention those irritating automated calls that begin by telling you it is an important public announcement (it never is).

Having spent most of the day answering the phone and part of the evening, I began to think Alexander Graham Bell was perhaps my least favourite person. I even stated on ‘linked-in’ this morning that I was ‘out’ to callers.

How wrong could I be?

Where would I be without this means of communication? In fact, I am now thinking that I should use it more often instead of complaining about its incessant ringing.

I have only one excuse and that is that I find it very hard to hear people on the phone. Not all people you understand but the majority. Just the first few words usually sound like gibberish to me. Friends and family tend to realise this and try not to say anything important when I first pick up the phone. I can hear perfectly after a few moments. Sounds odd? Well, I am odd. When I leave the phone I often experience the same phenomenon when someone speaks in the same room as me. I gape at them as their mouths open and shut but I don’t hear what they say. Yes, I had my ears checked and no, they didn’t find anything wrong.

Yes, some day I will get a second opinion.

This problem of missing the first few words of a conversation is not good when dealing with cold callers of course. My family tease me as I plead,

“I’m sorry, who did you say you are? Where are you calling from? I’m so sorry, I can’t understand a word you are saying,” Normally, the person on the other end does not break to breathe let alone explain anything. They are reading their set script and hurtle on before I get time to grasp any of it. To these callers, trying to earn a crust, I apologise but I must hang up.

The other kind of caller is the ‘old friend/relative of my husband’. I recognise the tone of the voice. I recognise the inflection but the words? Swahili?? I guess. Sometimes I am correct. Sometimes I am wildly wrong. No one seems to mind.

At some point, the conversation starts to make sense. Sometimes I think I have been speaking to one person and it is only midway through the conversation that their identity becomes clear. This happens when my daughters phone me. To be fair, they all sound much the same. My youngest phoned me to tell me she was expecting without first saying her name and I had to check which daughter she was. Yes, seriously. Well, so would you I am sure!

Having said that, when my eldest son was young, before his volice broke, he had a very ‘girlie’ voice. So ‘girlie’, that when he dialled the fire brigade aged six, (long story, he was going to see a fire station the following day with his Beaver group and must have decided to dial 999 and see what happened) the operator assumed he was a girl. She was of course, extremely unimpressed. She blocked the phone line so that when I returned to the house (bad mother had been across to the shops and left eldest daughter in charge)I picked up the receiver and was astounded to be berated by the lady on the other end because she said my daughter had rung for the fire brigade and she had informed the police. My 13 year old ‘babysitter’ knew nothing about it.

The police arrived in due course and wanted to speak to ‘my daughter’. My younger two daughters were in the house by then but both denied the offence emphatically and of course, I believed them.

“I think it must have been my son,” I told them. The police woman shook her head.

“Definitely a girl’s voice,” she said firmly,

“Can we just have a word with your daughter please? It’s usually all that’s needed to make sure she doesn’t do it again.” I was horrified. My reliable, slightly ‘Goth’ looking daughter who had an after school job and enjoyed doing a bit of charity work? No!

“My son has a very girlie voice, he’s only six.” I told them. They were not convinced.

I tried to find my son but he had vanished as children do when they have done something wrong. (Bad mother let her children play out in the cul-de-sac where we lived). My daughter spoke to the police of course but could tell them nothing and their gentle lecture did not go down well.

I found my son a little later. He denied everything.

It took him six months to confess. We were out walking one day and walked right past the fire station.

“Is it very bad to phone the fire brigade if there isn’t a fire?” he asked.

“Yes, it is,” I replied. I did explain why, but you don’t need to hear that, you know why!

“Did you phone them that time then?” I asked.

“Yes, but I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to be naughty. I just wanted to see what would happen,” he confessed.

His voice broke eventually, thankfully. Now he can take responsibility for his own actions!

So, back to the phone and what has changed my mind about it.

This morning, having said I was ‘out’ to callers, I bumped into an old friend who lives about two miles down the road. I haven’t seen her for about ten years. We had a lot of catching up to do, happy news, sad news…the lot. Our youngest sons were friends when small so I suppose that’s the time when we saw each other the most. When the boys grew and went their separate ways, we did too. Work replaced those coffee mornings and the friendly chats we’d swapped in the school playground.

It made me think though. The odd phone call would have been a good idea. In fact I had one from another friend who I haven’t seen for a year or more, only recently.

It made my day!

So, I have ditched the selfish attitude and if you can bear with me as I struggle to hear the very first thing you say, I am definitely ‘in to callers’ today and every day from now on. I may even make a few of my own.

* “I heard that – pardon?” : An oft repeated quote in our house, taken from the BBC comedy series “I didn’t Know you Cared” aired in the 70’s by Peter Tinniswood and loosely based on his books.

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Filed under Tidbits - the written word

“I heard that – Pardon?” *

 This post is inspired by what I now see as selfish behaviour on my part. Yesterday, the telephone didn’t stop ringing. As well as calls from family, there were many from British Gas, BT and a variety of sales people not to mention those irritating automated calls that begin by telling you it is an important public announcement (it never is).

Having spent most of the day answering the phone and part of the evening, I began to think Alexander Graham Bell was perhaps my least favourite person. I even stated on ‘linked-in’ this morning that I was ‘out’ to callers.

How wrong could I be?

Where would I be without this means of communication? In fact, I am now thinking that I should use it more often instead of complaining about its incessant ringing.

I have only one excuse and that is that I find it very hard to hear people on the phone. Not all people you understand but the majority. Just the first few words usually sound like gibberish to me. Friends and family tend to realise this and try not to say anything important when I first pick up the phone. I can hear perfectly after a few moments. Sounds odd? Well, I am odd. When I leave the phone I often experience the same phenomenon when someone speaks in the same room as me. I gape at them as their mouths open and shut but I don’t hear what they say. Yes, I had my ears checked and no, they didn’t find anything wrong.

Yes, some day I will get a second opinion.

This problem of missing the first few words of a conversation is not good when dealing with cold callers of course. My family tease me as I plead,

“I’m sorry, who did you say you are? Where are you calling from? I’m so sorry, I can’t understand a word you are saying,” Normally, the person on the other end does not break to breathe let alone explain anything. They are reading their set script and hurtle on before I get time to grasp any of it. To these callers, trying to earn a crust, I apologise but I must hang up.

The other kind of caller is the ‘old friend/relative of my husband’. I recognise the tone of the voice. I recognise the inflection but the words? Swahili?? I guess. Sometimes I am correct. Sometimes I am wildly wrong. No one seems to mind.

At some point, the conversation starts to make sense. Sometimes I think I have been speaking to one person and it is only midway through the conversation that their identity becomes clear. This happens when my daughters phone me. To be fair, they all sound much the same. My youngest phoned me to tell me she was expecting without first saying her name and I had to check which daughter she was. Yes, seriously. Well, so would you I am sure!

Having said that, when my eldest son was young, before his volice broke, he had a very ‘girlie’ voice. So ‘girlie’, that when he dialled the fire brigade aged six, (long story, he was going to see a fire station the following day with his Beaver group and must have decided to dial 999 and see what happened) the operator assumed he was a girl. She was of course, extremely unimpressed. She blocked the phone line so that when I returned to the house (bad mother had been across to the shops and left eldest daughter in charge)I picked up the receiver and was astounded to be berated by the lady on the other end because she said my daughter had rung for the fire brigade and she had informed the police. My 13 year old ‘babysitter’ knew nothing about it.

The police arrived in due course and wanted to speak to ‘my daughter’. My younger two daughters were in the house by then but both denied the offence emphatically and of course, I believed them.

“I think it must have been my son,” I told them. The police woman shook her head.

“Definitely a girl’s voice,” she said firmly,

“Can we just have a word with your daughter please? It’s usually all that’s needed to make sure she doesn’t do it again.” I was horrified. My reliable, slightly ‘Goth’ looking daughter who had an after school job and enjoyed doing a bit of charity work? No!

“My son has a very girlie voice, he’s only six.” I told them. They were not convinced.

I tried to find my son but he had vanished as children do when they have done something wrong. (Bad mother let her children play out in the cul-de-sac where we lived). My daughter spoke to the police of course but could tell them nothing and their gentle lecture did not go down well.

I found my son a little later. He denied everything.

It took him six months to confess. We were out walking one day and walked right past the fire station.

“Is it very bad to phone the fire brigade if there isn’t a fire?” he asked.

“Yes, it is,” I replied. I did explain why, but you don’t need to hear that, you know why!

 “Did you phone them that time then?” I asked.

“Yes, but I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to be naughty. I just wanted to see what would happen,” he confessed.

His voice broke eventually, thankfully. Now he can take responsibility for his own actions!

So, back to the phone and what has changed my mind about it.

This morning, having said I was ‘out’ to callers, I bumped into an old friend who lives about two miles down the road. I haven’t seen her for about ten years. We had a lot of catching up to do, happy news, sad news…the lot. Our youngest sons were friends when small so I suppose that’s the time when we saw each other the most. When the boys grew and went their separate ways, we did too. Work replaced those coffee mornings and the friendly chats we’d swapped in the school playground.

It made me think though. The odd phone call would have been a good idea. In fact I had one from another friend who I haven’t seen for a year or more, only recently.

It made my day!

So, I have ditched the selfish attitude and if you can bear with me as I struggle to hear the very first thing you say, I am definitely ‘in to callers’ today and every day from now on. I may even make a few of my own.

* “I heard that – pardon?” : An oft repeated quote in our house, taken from the BBC comedy series “I didn’t Know you Cared” aired in the 70’s by Peter Tinniswood and loosely based on his books.

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Filed under Tidbits - the written word