This is your very first post. Click the Edit link to modify or delete it, or start a new post. If you like, use this post to tell readers why you started this blog and what you plan to do with it.
This is your very first post. Click the Edit link to modify or delete it, or start a new post. If you like, use this post to tell readers why you started this blog and what you plan to do with it.
I want you to know that I am usually a pleasant person. I don’t always complain about things. I know a woman who complains at the slightest little thing. For example, she ordered tea in a cafe, and complained that it didn’t come in a china cup! Me… I don’t care what kind of cup the tea is in, as long as the cup is clean, and has no cracks.
But I have, very recently, had cause to complain, and my complaint is about the tourist attraction, Sale Water Park.
It is a beautiful place. There is a lake, a Visitors Centre with a cafe, and a nice restaurant halfway down the side of the lake, called The Boathouse.
Anyway, the Manchester Metrolink Trams, now run to the Water Park, so yesterday, because the writing group I attend (Sale Scribblers) was cancelled, I suggested to my husband, that we go on the tram to the park, for a day out in the sunshine.
Well, the first bad thing that happened was that the toilet at the Visitors Centre, was blocked up. The woman in the cafe was apologetic, but, even though I have a walking stick, she refused to let me use the staff toilet.
“We’re not allowed to let customers through the kitchen, because of the hot pans.”
but who was to know? I certainly wouldn’t have said anything to anyone, and her boss wasn’t there to object! Besides, there should not be just one toilet in a busy tourist place! She could have just let me use the loo, instead of telling me to walk down to the restaurant, and use the one in the water sports centre, attached to the restaurant. But that was just what she told me to do!
So I had to walk to the next loo. It’s actually not that far. I followed the path to the lake and into the wooded area. It’s the only footpath there is, and then… I came upon the stepping-stones!
Just as I said, there is no other way to go. In order to proceed towards the restaurant area, you are forced to go across the stepping-stones. Now I know that many people do not have a problem, but I do, because my balance is bad and that’s the main reason I always use a walking stick. I managed the first two steps, with some difficulty, but the third was a step too far. The space between the stones was too much. I lost my nerve and was truly afraid. My husband tried to help me, and a passer by did too, but I couldn’t cross the water. I managed to get back the way I had come. Then, the only way to get to the toilet, was to re-trace my steps to the Visitors Centre, and then walk along the road.
The road is dangerous! It has no footpath, and the cars are coming along all the time, both ways. So that was another nerve wracking moment in time. But I got to the toilets eventually, although my day was ruined.
The Water Park is not ‘disabled friendly’. Because it is a country place, it’s not flat, but there are no ramps anywhere, only steps, that is bad enough. But the stepping-stones are lethal. They are often wet, and anyone who is bad on their legs could not cross them, neither could anyone with a pram or pushchair, and if you were in a wheelchair… Forget it!
This is not good enough, in this day and age. I am no carpenter, yet even I can see that you only need a thick plank of wood, placed across the existing stones and secured at either end, then you would have a bridge, which would be much safer than those stones!
Where there are steps in the park, there also needs to be ramps, to allow access for wheelchairs and people pushing babies in prams or buggies.
And before anyone says, you can drive along the road, to the restaurant and toilets, let me remind people that not everyone is fortunate enough, to posses a car. Alan and I don’t have one. We have to walk or use public transport, so when we used the road to get to the restaurant, we had no choice, but to walk along it, and hope that the cars would not hit us.
Once again. This is not good enough. The Water Park could be a great place to visit, if it was accessible to everyone, but it is not. The problem is, that people just do not speak out, when there is a problem facing people with disability, or people with young children who need to be pushed in prams or pushchairs. If more people did, I am sure something would be done. It is a shame that the park is not a better place, for those of us who are physically disabled.
So I have complained, and am trying to get the word out there. I know this blog is a bit more downbeat today, but I hope you all understand why.
I wish you all a lovely day
I will post again soon
Best wishes from Mari
Hello again! I’ve got something badly wrong with the bottom of my back! I had an x ray last Friday and they told me I would have to wait 7-10 days for the result, but the Surgery called me this morning (Tuesday) to get me to make an appointment, so I have done. They must have got a result.
I’m writing a new blog post, to take my mind off my pain. I promised to tell the story of my Irish Nana. I shared that story, last time I was at the Storytellers Club, but for people who haven’t heard it. here it is.
My Nana’s name was Mary. When I was born, she was already bedridden, and it was she, who taught me my prayers, and told me about God. I always think of her as my first Christian influence.
she was Roman Catholic. I was also brought up in that faith, but did not remain a Roman Catholic. I think of myself as a Christian, but of no particular denomination. Previous posts, explain my views.
But the Church was Nana’s life. Even when she was unable to leave the house, the priest used to come once a week, and she would make confession, and receive Holy Communion. I remember her, with her rosary beads in her slim fingers, mouthing her prayers, with the relics of her faith, all around her.
Nana came to England, from Dublin, in 1902, and within weeks of arriving in Manchester, she had met the man she was to marry.
Granddad’s name was Samuel Bradshaw. He was crippled, because of a fall from a tree, when he was a child. His broken leg did not set right, and never grew, so one of his legs was just half the size of an adult leg.
When he was 21 years old, he met Nana, who was walking down the street. Because he was carrying crutches, she was not afraid, when he spoke to her. They talked, and he asked to see her again. She agreed, and they began to meet regularly.
It wasn’t long before they fell in-love and wanted to get married, but Nana’s parents didn’t approve. He was disabled, he was English, and he was a Protestant, so she was forbidden to marry him, or even see him again.
Nana wasn’t having any of that! she disobeyed her parents, and eloped with Sam. Her future husband was a bespoke tailor, and he actually made the lovely two-piece suite, which she got married in. He also married her in the R.C. Church, as he knew how much her faith meant to her.
He also knew that she would need her family around her, so he made the decision to convert to Catholicism, for her. He also proved to be a good provider, so eventually, her family came round, and got to love her new husband.
Mary and Sam Bradshaw, had eight children. The eldest boy was also named Sam. When he grew up, he met a wonderful, down-to-Earth woman named Vera Warrington. They married, and three years later, their eldest daughter was born. Because Vera liked the actress, Marilyn Monroe, she called her eldest daughter Marilyn.
And here I am. Now aged 62, writing about my family, on by blog.
There is something good, on the radio tonight, to take my mind off my bad back. My wonderful Mika. My favorite singer-songwriter, has another episode of his occasional radio show, The Art of Song, broadcasting tonight on BBC Radio 2. My ears cannot wait. The episode is about the work of Carole King. It should be wonderful.
But I love Mika’s own work! I think he is peerless. Here’s one of his songs. I sang this at a previous Storytellers night. It’s a beautiful song called ‘Hurts’
I will post again soon
It was a brilliant night, last night at The Success Stories Club There were cameras in the room, because a group from Altrincham were filming us, for a documentary. Sharon, who runs the club, did ask if anyone would prefer not to be filmed. I don’t know how many put their hands up, but I certainly didn’t. All my life I have wanted be on film.
I really enjoyed the experience of having a mic, and knowing the cameras were rolling. Norma Desmond has nothing on me.
Actually, a few years ago, when I was looking into, perhaps, being able to work again, I was volunteering at an organisation in Altrincham, called, The Family Contact Line. I was working as a receptionist/admin. They wanted a commercial made for their organisation, which would be shown on a local TV station (not one of the big stations unfortunately) anyway, I jumped at the chance to be in the advert. I played a client, who was going for their counselling service. I had to meet the counselor, and then pretend to be having therapy (not much acting needed for that, in my case, ha ha)
The ad was made, and shown in places like, hospitals and libraries. Several people recognized me and mentioned to me that they had seen me on TV. I was made-up. I also saw the ad, one day, when I was waiting in a hospital waiting room.
Sadly, I never did get a job from my volunteering efforts. It might have helped if I had been younger, but I was 51, and had not worked for many years. I also had disabilities which, I think, stopped the prospective employers. They didn’t admit that though, they just said I didn’t have the relevant experience. They would not have been allowed to refuse me because of disability, so they made something up that they could get away with. A receptionist job would have suited me, and I could have been earning money again, but it was not to be. I tried for two years and was rejected by employers, every time. Then, when the government started to clamp down on the benefits, they picked on the disabled, and I lost my benefit, so Alan and I exist on very little money. My husband Alan worked hard as a binman. It wrecked his body in the end and he developed Asthma from all of the dust he breathed in, yet he hardly gets anything for us to live on. We think it is grossly unfair.
This is one reason why I will take any opportunity I can get, to put myself out there as a performer. I am a trained singer and actress, not only that, I am bloody good at both those things. I don’t say that to be boastful. Someone who has taken the knock-backs I have, is not able to be boastful, but I hope that, maybe, just maybe, even at my age, there may be chances for me to be a professional, and earn some money. Therefore, bring-it-on. I’ll put myself out there, with any chance I can get in the hopes that opportunities might come my way.
However, having said that, there is another difficulty I face, if I want a professional career. I have no transport. Last night, to go to the club, Alan and I got a taxi. That was okay, but we couldn’t make a habit of it, for the reasons mentioned above. So if I did work professionally, I would have to earn enough to pay for the taxis to where I needed to go. It’s such a pain in the butt!
Last night, the winner of the evening was a lady called Sue. She writes the most lovely poetry and was a worthy winner. I took a picture of her on my phone, but I don’t know how to transfer images from my phone, to the computer. If I had taken the picture on my tablet I could have transferred it, but for some reason, my phone won’t allow me to use a USB, and I don’t know how to use Bluetooth. My phone is capable of accessing the internet, but it’s only on a PAYG card, because I can’t afford a contract, so I can’t share photos by the internet.
I will take any advice I can get. I am better with technology than I used to be. For the first time I have figured out how to add a link to this blog. All hail Marilyn! So I am capable of learning new things, even at my age.
The next story night is about a tricky situation. I think I know what I am going to do. I think it will be another song. More on that in another post.
I did promise to write the story of my grandparents on this blog. It is the story I shared last night, but I got side-tracked today because of the filming, so I’ll share it in a later blog. For now, I’ll sign off. Enjoy the post and I will post again soon. Love from Mari
I really like this time of year. It is still the Winter, but the nights are drawing out and everything starts to look brighter. The snowdrops and crocuses begin to appear, and we start to think that Spring is just around the corner.
This Winter, I have been so glad I live in Manchester. We have had much better weather than many areas of the UK. We have had only had a slight dusting of snow, which didn’t last long, and no ice. I hate the ice, because I don’t have good balance at the best of times, and the ice makes me too afraid to venture outside.
I had an Auntie, named Betty, who I always remember at this time of year. Auntie Betty loved the sunshine. I think if she could have lived in a hot country, she would have. When February came along, she would go out to her garden and look for buds on the hedge. When she spotted them, she would be so happy. But Betty could not go and live in the sunshine, because she looked after her aged mother. Her mother was an Irish woman whom we all called Nana. Nana died in 1974, aged 91, and she had never lost her Irish accent, or her love of that green isle.
This brings me neatly onto the storyteller’s club which I go to. We meet again on the 13th of February, and the theme will be “Tales From The Emerald Isle”. I don’t know any Irish folk tales, or anything like that, but my Nana’s story, of being a young Irish immigrant and what happened to her after she came England, is a fascinating story, and I will share that story on the night. It’s actually very romantic. I will write the story on here, after I have told it at storytellers.
One aspect of the story, which I will share on here today, is about my Nana’s father, William Wright. He was a sailor, until he decided to give up the sea for the sake of his family. That is when he moved them all to England, as there were better job prospects here, for him. However, when he was a merchant sailor, he actually served on the famous clipper ship, ‘The Cutty Sark’, so there is important history in my family of which I am very proud. In the house where I grew up, we actually had Great Granddad’s old sea chest in our spare room. My mum used to hide, mine and my sister’s Christmas Presents in it when we were children.
So I hope you have found this interesting. I will post again soon. Love from Marilyn (I call myself by my full name, Marilyn Mastin, as a storyteller)
No one should worry about getting older. It’s something I used to worry about, but not anymore.
When I was twenty, I was a lonely girl. I had a good family, but no friends. I could not keep up with people my own age, and I was not a pretty girl. I was, what people would describe as, “plain”. I could not grow my hair, as it was affected by all my medication. I used to have it permed, so that it looked like there was more of it than there was, but because it was so thin, if I tried to grow it, it looked like rat’s tails.
All of the handsome boys who worked in the same place as me, used to make a bee-line for the pretty girls, with lustrous long locks. They ignored me and I used to feel so upset. When I occasionally, did have a date, they would take me out once, and then not ask me again. They would never give me an explanation. I think that, maybe, they had taken me out for a bet.
But there is someone for everyone, and as it is nearly Valentine’s Day, I want to say that, even though I never thought I would meet someone, I did! I have a wonderful husband and we have a fantastic son, who is a credit to both of us.
I met Alan when I joined a Singles Club in Altrincham. In the old days, if you wanted to meet someone, you had to go out and meet them. You did not join dating websites or facebook, you joined Singles Clubs. This particular club, met in a pub called the Moss Trooper, and it was there, that I met Alan. He had been very lonely too. He had lost both his parents and lived alone. We needed each other, and soon realized that we were each other’s soulmate. We were married in 1981.
Another reason to not fear getting older, is that you never know what is around the corner. This time last year I was doing nothing except staying in the house, but I began to go out and I joined a craft group, then a creative writing group, and from the creative writing group, I had an opportunity to join a Storyteller’s club. I mentioned this in a previous post. I began to perform, which is something I have always loved to do.
Last month I won the heat. I was ‘Storyteller of the Month’ and I won an engraved keyring. I will be headlining at the next Storyteller’s meeting, next Monday Night. I have a story to tell, and will sing a Mika song, called ‘Hurts’, which fits in well with the Love and Hate theme.
As well as all of these new things which I am enjoying in my later life, I have also made some wonderful friends. I have a confidence which I never had before, and I feel that my life is definitely worth living.
So no matter how old we are, we can still have wonderful surprises and we can still enjoy great new experiences.
And for anyone who is alone, this Valentine’s Day. There is someone for everyone, so don’t despair. Love to everyone, from Mari
When I started this blog, I thought of it as an adventure. Not just for me, but for anyone reading it. I don’t really plan what I’m going to write about. As a disabled person, maybe I will write about my struggles with rare disabling conditions. As an older woman, maybe I will post about something from my past. As a Christian and a woman of deep faith, I might talk about the things of faith that matter to me.
If you’ve read my previous posts, you will know that my husband and I don’t adhere to the teachings of the church on Earth, as corrupted by man. For example, Alan and I celebrate the Sabbath on a Saturday (as Jesus did) and we maintain that Jesus died on a Wednesday, to conform with the fact that he was in the tomb for three whole days.
So now I have heard God’s voice in my heart. I believe he wants me to share something else. It is something I found out, by chance (or design) some time ago, and it answered some questions which had always puzzled me, about the creation story, told in Genesis.
The first puzzling thing, is something that puzzles many people. The Bible only goes back a few thousand years, yet the Earth is supposed to be millions of years old. Science proves this, but whenever I have questioned this in the past, I have received one of two replies. The first reply states that, yes, the Earth is very old, so the six days of creation are not to be taken literally. They always quote the “a thousand years is but a day to God”, idea, and say that the writer just simplified things for the reader.
The second reply I always got is that the Bible speaks the absolute truth, and that God took just six days to make the Earth. They maintain that it’s the science which is wrong. Some people even go so far as to suggest that if dinosaurs roamed the Earth, they were here at the same time as man, which goes against everything in the fossil record.
So which answer is right? Well, The Bible does speak the truth, but neither of those answers explains what actually happened.
Another thing which always puzzled me about the story, is the appearance of Satan. When he appears to Eve in Genesis, Chapter 3, he is already a bad guy, yet in Isaiah 14: 12-20, we read that he was in Heaven, but he wanted to become higher than God, so God cast him out of Heaven, but if the universe, and the Earth itself, were still brand new, at that point, when did that happen? It makes no sense.
One day I was reading something in a pamphlet, just flicking through, and something caught my eye. I began to read, and have you ever experienced a feeling when, you find something out, and a light comes on in your head? It illuminates your thoughts and joins them together , and suddenly everything makes sense?
I had such an experience.
So here is what I found out. Yes, the Earth is millions of years old. Verse 1 of Genesis states that God created the heavens and the Earth.
Yet, verse 2 goes on to say that the Earth was formless and empty. Darkness was over the surface of the deep and God was hovering over the waters.
Christians are always taught that those two verses run concurrently, but if they do they make no sense. If God created the Earth, as it clearly states, in verse 1, then why is it not a viable planet in verse 2? Why is it without form or void (as some versions of The Bible State)?
The answer is simple. The verses do not run concurrently, they are millions of years apart. There is a gap of an indeterminable size between the two verses. The Hebrew word for “was”, is the same as for, “became”, so if the Earth “became” without form or void, that indicates that the Earth was there, perfectly fine, supporting dinosaurs and other living things, until something terrible happened which destroyed it again.
Basically, what God did, during the six days, was repair a broken planet and get it ready to receive life again. So when the Bible says that God took six days to make the Earth, it is true. The Earth as we know it was completed, and all living things were in place, within six days.
So what of Satan? It’s quite simple really. The war between Satan and his followers, and God and his angels, was a cataclysmic event. It is the event which destroyed The Earth between the first two verses, and left it without form or void..
Some people say that this theory, which is known as, ‘The Gap Theory’, or ‘Ruin-Restoration-Creationism’, isn’t true,because if it was, it would have been mentioned in The Bible. But very often, The Bible leaves out details of a story, such as the childhoods of Jesus and Moses. We don’t know why some things are included and others aren’t. The other argument against it says that sin entered the world with the fall of Adam and Eve, but if the earth was already there, sin would have entered with the fall of Satan. But I suggest that, as Satan is a spirit being, he doesn’t count as a physical person. I also think that when God re-made the Earth, he chose to give it a completely fresh start. He hoped mankind would not be tempted by Satan. When mankind did become corrupt, he considered destroying The Earth again with a flood, but in the end, he left a few survivors to begin again. This proves to me that God did want our planet to exist and thrive. He knows we are not perfect, but he did have a plan in mind for our salvation. His own son Jesus.
So I hope you have found this post interesting. Here is something for you to look at, about what I have touched upon in this post. Until next time, may God bless you all. Love from Mari
Hello, and a very Happy New Year to anyone who reads this blog. It was a quiet Christmastime in our house, but even so, it is good to be getting back to normal, and to try and shed the pounds I have, no doubt, put on over Christmas.
Last evening, I was looking on Sky Movies, for something to watch for a few hours, and I found, The Sound of Music. The thing about this film, for me, is that it is full of memories. I would like to share them with you.
The movie came out, I think, in 1965, when I was eleven years old. I know I was still eleven when I went to see it for the first time, because I came out singing
“I am eleven, going on twelve.”
At the time, we did not have colour TV at home, and I had only been to the pictures once before. My mum and Dad, you see, did not have much money, and did not believe in wasting it on going to the pictures. They preferred to take us out in the fresh air, but I always longed to go to the pictures.
An auntie of mine, called Betty, took me to see The Beatles first movie, ‘A Hard Days Night’, and I loved it, but the film was in black and white, so I didn’t see much colour at all.
When I heard about The Sound of Music, I longed to see it. I had a cousin called Angela, who was married to a wonderful man called Norman. One day they came to Auntie Betty’s home, while I was there, and invited her, and me, to go and see the film. I was ecstatic! I would be going out at night, in Norman’s car, to see a film I longed to see. I felt wonderful.
It was a magical experience. From the first shots of the mountains as the helicopter sweeps across the landscape, getting lower all the time until it zooms towards Julie Andrews, singing the title song, to the final shot of the family escaping over the mountains, to Switzerland, I was enthralled. I remember hating The Baroness, who tried to come between The Captain and Maria, and I was really glad when she left and The Captain and Maria got married. I was really excited when they were hiding from The Germans, and happy when they got away.
But the memory, for me, is bitter-sweet. My lovely cousin-in-law, Norman, died about a year afterwards, of a sudden heart attack, so I always think of him, when I watch the film.
The second time I saw it was with my mum and sister, after Norman had died. I loved seeing the film again, and this time, I had a bit more sympathy for The Baroness. Despite her wealth, she was really a lonely woman, who thought she had met the man who would end her loneliness. She loved him truly, and then had to watch him fall passionately for a younger woman. I could, at last, see her point of view. How she tried to get rid of her rival, and when she knew her cause was lost, she left with grace and dignity. Over the years of watching the film. I grew to think that, maybe, she was the character who was the most real of all of them.
I saw The Sound of Music again, on a date when I was nineteen. Once again it was magical, but the relationship with that particular guy, proved to be less so. We didn’t stay together.
When I was twenty, myself, my sister and Auntie Betty, went to Austria, and actually saw many of the locations where the film was made, so now when I see the film, I can say that I have been there.
I have seen the movie many more times with Alan and other members of my family, on the television. It still holds great power, and I always love it. When I see it, I am once again with Norman, Angela and Betty, all deceased now, and I always feel that God is also in the movie. It is one I know he would approve of.
I hope you have enjoyed this latest post.
Hello again. For those of you who have been keeping up with my blog, you will know I am a Christian. Therefore, you may be surprised to learn that I am really looking forward to tomorrow. I am going to see the new Harry Potter spin-off movie, ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them’.
Alan and I have been to several churches, as I mentioned in a previous post, and we never fitted in anywhere. I remember the pastor of one such church, breaking a DVD of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, by jumping on it. I kid you not. The sharp bits of the DVD were flying everywhere and could have easily gone into someone’s eyes! I’d say that was more dangerous than Harry Potter is.
Why do Christians have such a problem with the Harry Potter phenomenon?
Well in my opinion, they see how popular it is, and they think it is spreading the idea of The Devil’s Black Magic around the world. But like so many fundamental ideas, they judge it, without looking into what Harry Potter is really all about. If they really studied the magical universe created by the visionary author, J.K. Rowling, they wouldn’t see so many differences, they would see many similarities.
From the very start of the first story, ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’, we are introduced to a world of magic, which exists alongside our own. Non magical people, known as ‘Muggles’, do not know this magical world exists. They don’t have the combination, to make the bricks part, so they can enter the alleyway, where all the magical shops are. They can’t enter The Ministry of Magic and they can’t get onto Platform 9&3/4 to board the Hogwarts Express. They don’t understand that there are good magical people, fighting the forces of evil, which is happening all around them.
To me, this seems very similar to the relationship we have with the spirit world. The world beyond this one.
Children have always been taught that Heaven is in the sky, however, people who return from the brink of death, and talk about entering the tunnel and the light, often say things like…
“I looked one way, and there was the beautiful meadow. I looked back, and saw my relatives around the bed.”
When they return, they often say that the spirit world is just another dimension which actually exists alongside our own world.
I believe that too. I think that the spirit world is in exactly the same place as this world, but because we are trapped, at the moment, inside our physical bodies, we cannot access the spirit dimension. We walk this world, mostly unaware of the spirits who are all around us, and we don’t see how they, and Christ himself, are guiding and protecting us. So in a way, there is a magical world out there, which is not too dissimilar to the magical world in the Potter books and movies.
There are also many people who believe they have had encounters with angels. Maybe someone has suddenly appeared and pushed them out of the way of a speeding car, or helped them escape from a burning building. The helper then disappears, never to be seen by that person again. They are not wearing tutus and wings. They don’t have halos, but people are convinced they were angels. I also believe that they were.
When J.K. Rowling first thought up the world of Harry Potter, I don’t think she was trying to start any kind of religion. I don’t think she thought of it that way, she just wanted to tell a great story. That is all it is, a great story about a fictitious world and made-up characters. But I don’t think her brilliant work deserves to be thought of as unholy, just because the characters are witches and wizards. I think that that is very unfair. The good characters always win against the evil ones, and if people are going to say that Harry Potter is evil, then, in my view, so are movies and books about made-up serial killers and thieves, for aren’t murderers and thieves also sinners? Couldn’t those films also be promoting evil? Yet, when we read those books or watch those films, it doesn’t make us into a serial killer of a thief, we just enjoy the story.
At the end of the day, a story is a story, and in J.K. Rowling’s case, she created something very special (in my opinion) with the Harry Potter franchise. It’s a lot of fun, and fans often say it’s about love, and tolerance, about not judging someone because they are different. I agree with that, and if such positive vibes are created by the world of Harry Potter, how can it possibly be evil? My own opinion is that God would not be against it.
So this is why I love everything to do with Harry Potter and have read all the books and always go and see the movies when they are in the cinema. I am 62, but I get just as exited as a young girl when I see the films. I am really pleased that there are more ‘Fantastic Beasts’ movies to come.
Will post again soon. God bless you all.
Winter is here, as they, now, say in my favorite TV show, Game of Thrones. It is cold and wet, and I expect to see some Whitewalkers strolling around in Sale before too long.
Alan has gone to the dentist (lucky him) and I am spending the day inside (actually, lucky me)
I thought that, today, I would share a story from my past. Something that happened when I was a child.
first, let me explain something. When my mother was a child, she was a champion swimmer. She used to win every race she entered, and she almost qualified as a lifesaver. She could have become a lifeguard if things had been different.
Just as she moved into her teenage years, she began to have trouble with her skin. She developed a weird kind of rash all over her body. By the time I was diagnosed with the genetic condition, Tuberous Sclerosis Complex, my mother had died, so she never knew that her skin problem had happened because she had had the condition, and then had passed it on to me through no fault of her own.
Mum stopped going to the baths, because of her skin condition. If she had continued to go to the baths, then the incident I am going to talk about, would never have happened.
Until I was ten years old I had never set foot inside a swimming baths. I had heard my mother’s tales of triumph, when she was young, and had always wanted to go and learn to swim. My Dad could swim, but he was working most of the time and when he wasn’t, he was tired. He had a very hard manual job, laying and maintaining the railway tracks, so when he got home, the last thing he wanted to do was take his daughters to learn to swim.
Then came the time when I was due to go to the baths, with the school. I was so excited and someone in the family gave me a swimsuit. I arrived at the baths in Altrincham, got changed and then started to walk down the steps into the water. I don’t know how it happened, but I was suddenly UNDER the water! I was drowning!
I really thought I was going to die. I seemed to be under for ages and the bubbles of my breath were all around me. Then, a hand gripped me from behind, and I was saved.
I never really got over the experience of almost drowning. A few weeks later I was at our local shops when a torrential downpour happened. It was one of those monsoon-like storms that we sometimes get in the Summer time, and the big drops looked, to me, like the bubbles I had seen all around me when I was drowning. I experienced my first panic-attack.
Of course, I knew what had caused the attack. I didn’t need a psychologist to tell me it was linked to my experience of almost drowning. But, for a time, I was furious inside. I blamed my mum and dad. I felt that if Mum had not been bothered about her skin problem, and had taken me to learn to swim when I was younger, I would not have had that drowning incident. I also felt that my Dad had let me down. He could have taken me instead.
The thing is that, because, my first time in the baths had been with my class at school, no one had noticed me going under. There were so many children, they couldn’t see them all at once. If my first time had been with my mother, or father, both strong swimmers, the incident would not have happened. If I had slipped under, they would have just pulled me back up quickly, and I would have been okay.
I did not know, at the time, that Mum had been thinking the same thing. She wished she had taken me to learn to swim, and had ignored the rash on her body.
Of course, I learned to put the incident in the past, but it left me with two longtime effects. I can not go out in monsoon-like rain. If I am outside, and caught in a sudden downpour, I have a panic-attack. I have also, never learned to swim.
However, I did force myself to go into the water, so that I could take my son. After he was born I swore that he would learn to swim, and I took him into the swimming baths myself. Then, when he was five years old, I took him for lessons, and he did learn to swim, even though he hates it. But I know that if he fell into some water, he would be okay.
I always hope my son knows that I did my best for him.
I did not continue to be angry at my parents. I think every parent looks back and wishes they had done something different. My parents were fine people who did their best in difficult conditions. Neither of them were healthy. Mum had undiagnosed Tuberous Sclerosis Complex, and Dad had a very bad stomach ulcer which affected his health badly. They both, also developed heart problems which killed them both, in the end.
They were named, Sam, and Vera, and they were both kind, good people. I know I will see them again someday, when I go to the place where they both are.
Hello again. I hope, if you are reading my blog posts, that I am keeping them interesting. I like to write about many different things.
This time, I wish to talk to you about the time I heard a wonderful singing voice.
If you have been reading my posts, you will know that I rely a lot on voices. I don’t recognize faces, but voices, I can recognize. However, there was a time when I heard a voice I did not recognize and I was desperate to know who that voice belonged to. When I found out the identity of the man with the golden voice, it kind-of changed my life.
I was working in a charity shop at the time. It was 2007, and it was the year of the big floods in the UK, but I heard a man singing on the radio, and it was like, he brought the sun with him, in his voice. I knew I had never heard his voice before, or the lovely song he was singing, but I knew, I had to find out who he was.
Let’s cut a long story short. I learned that his full name is Michael Holbrook Penniman Junior. He is half American, and half Lebanese and his home is in the UK. All of this is encapsulated in one short word.
His was the voice I was listening to. Until that time I had never heard of Mika, but he had already had a huge hit with a song called ‘Grace Kelly’. I had been listening to his 2nd UK hit, ‘Love Today’. Of course, I got onto the computer at home and looked him up. I saw different concerts he had performed, on You Tube, and I became a huge fan of this charismatic, curly-haired young man, with the beautiful smile and stratespheric vocals.
In 2007, Mika was very well known in the UK. His first album, ‘Life In Cartoon Motion’, sold over 6 million copies worldwide. He won four World Music Awards, that year, and it seemed his career was really taking off. I envisioned him performing in The O2 in London before too long, but sadly, that never happened.
Why did Mika not remain a driving force in music in the UK? Well, I think there were several reasons.
First, he was a bit of a loose cannon. He wanted to make the kinds of music which suited him. He wasn’t interested in the commercial aspect of the pop industry. He wrote his own music so he could not bring out his albums as quickly as someone who could get someone else to write their songs and the people he collaborated with, in the early days, were not well known. .
This should not have mattered as there are other songwriters who don’t produce albums every year, and don’t necessarily colaborate with people who are famous, but I think there were other reasons, for Mika not remaining in the media spotlight.
For some reason The Powers That Be, and the media, made a big thing about the people who had influenced Mika’s music. People like Elton John and Freddie Mercury, who he was always being compared to. But the thing is, every pop star is influenced by someone who came before, but usually no one bothers about those influences. With Mika, however, people were always writing that he was channeling Freddie Mercury, or that his music had this, or that, influence. No one gave him credit for the wonderful songs he wrote and sang. To be honest. I think Mika’s music is unique and it’s a shame the whole world does not hear it.
There was something else that the UK media did not like about Mika in 2007. They did not like the fact that he would not utter these three little words to them…
“I am gay”
If he had said those three little words, they may not have been so hard on him. But Mika would not say them. For heavens sake! It was none of anyone’s business. Of course his fans had mostly guessed, and we were fine about it, but Mika took his time. He was not going to come-out to order. He came out when the time was right for him to do it. By the time he came out, in 2012, the UK press were no longer interested in him, so it’s possible that UK people who were not following Mika’s career, did not know that he finally said that he is gay. He has a long-time partner and his song ‘Origin of Love’, from his third album ‘The Origin of Love’ is dedicated to the man Mika loves.
Actually, Mika is the gay icon that the world’s gay population do not seem to know exists. His music was always influenced by his sexuality, and songs like ‘Billy Brown’, from the album ‘Life In Cartoon Motion’, and ‘Toy Boy’, from the second album, ‘The Boy Who Knew Too Much’, are very obviously about gay relationships. But in his fourth album, ‘No Place In Heaven’, there is a song called ‘Good Guys’, and it has a line which says. “Where have all the gay guys gone?” It’s about all of the gay guys who influenced Mika when he was young.
He also never managed to break America. If a UK act breaks America it garners great respect for them in the UK. Adele and One Direction broke into the American market and the UK media were thrilled about it, but Mika never managed to make it big in The States. American radio did play Grace Kelly, but there is a line in it where Mika says “I tried to be like Grace Kelly,” and the DJs thought he wanted to be a woman, so they wouldn’t play the song enough to make it a hit in the US. It didn’t occur to them that the song is metaphoric, not literal. It is, in fact, a wonderful song about finding one’s own place in the world. Not being dictated to by other people.
Mika, who is multi-lingual, has spent the last few years judging The X factor in Italy, and The voice, in France. He has also hosted an occasional radio series in the UK, called ‘The Art Of Song’, where he plays the songs of the artists which have meant something to him over the years. He plays a wide variety of wonderful music on the show, and also performs some of them himself, at a piano, donated by Elton John.
The radio show has received critical acclaim in the UK, and I’m so proud of Mika.
The latest episodes of his UK radio show are on BBC Radio 2, on the 8th and 15th of November, from 22:00-23:00
I wish more people knew about Mika and would listen to his work. I have found a link to a great article, which also has some of his best known videos included in it.
Here is one of my favourite Mika song. No Place In Heaven, from the album of the same name.
I urge you all to look up this wonderful, sadly overlooked singer-songwriter. You will not be sorry if you do. Like he did for me, he will put the sunshine into your life.
Will post again soon
Love from Mari