Living Between the Lines

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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


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.

I am an Author, wife to one, mother to five and grandmother to six. I live in the English countryside in Hampshire, UK, with my husband and two dogs and am a non exec Director for Glow


  • Teresa

    Oh Deborah – what a wonderful post! I welled up reading about the hug to start with (I’m not a huggy person either) and then the old gent (which brought back memories for me of another old gent – you’re good at that!) and your 3, oh… Thank goodness that little pup came to you – I had a lump in my throat reading first about Prince, then Bess.
    I used to mess around with Ouija boards and after my experiences with them, I would never go near one now. As for your beautiful dolls – you are a lady of many talents!
    Lovely, lovely post x

    • Deborah Barker

      Thank you John – I clicked your name but was told you don’t exist. I know this not to be true because I am clearly talking to you and have done so for some time. For anyone else clicking on your name here I should point them in the direction of Screenscribbler on my blog roll 🙂

  • Patricia

    Thank you very much for the award and for your good story telling!

    I will be back to and work at following directions!
    We are still having power outages and I computer server problems right now, so it may take me a few days to figure this out and I would like to have several consecutive days of being on line…
    What fun and those dolls are lovely – what a lucky dentist!

    7 more facts about myself – wow I just lay it all out…I think I may have covered nearly everything! 🙂 What a worry!

  • Deb

    I’m honored, Deb, to be included in such wonderful company here. Thank you so much. I love the way you’re able to turn even a challenge like this into a wonderful story. This one made me go hug my dog. 🙂

  • J.P. Lane

    Deborah, a well deserved award! And another humorous, heart-warming post from you. Confess I thought you were joking when you said you’d nominated my blog for the Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award. Imagine my huge surprise when I paid your blog a visit tonight and saw it’s true. Thank you so much for the honor! I already have the link to your blog on mine. Will follow the rest of the rules tomorrow as the sandman has got the better of me right now.
    P.S. I’m irresistible to dogs too, though don’t ask why.

  • Barb - The Empty Nest Mom

    You sew a good seam, avoid clipboard toting folks AND believe in ghosts? You’re my kind of girl. I stopped by from SITS where you left a comment on today’s featured blogger – the Zen Mom – or something zen-like. Enjoyed your comment about crafting. I have 2 daughters – one who inherited the “sewing gene.” We have a lot of similar interests because of that.

    • Deborah Barker

      I have visited your blog before Barb and will be over again very soon. Many thanks for taking time to read mine. My three daughters all inherited the sewing gene along with a love of craft and design, the boys were into making things from nothing too so this house was often tagged “The Crafty House” by friends. 🙂

  • Dr. Brown

    Congrats Deborah on being irresistably sweet! It’s been a while since I visited, and so for that reason, I’m going to subscribe as one of your followers to make sure I keep reading.

  • Deborah Barker

    Hi Dr Brown, thank you for subscribing. Visitors are always welcome, however long the timespan between those visits. As for me, I am off to subscribe to a few more blogs that I have been meaning to read…

    • Deborah Barker

      Hi Tia, we have met before, I once found you on WOW! Thanks for your comments, yes, we do seem to have quite a bit in common – I even have a house by the sea (our holiday home in Cornwall) Do return often 🙂

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