Two Things: My Scan, and My Schooldays

Hello again.  Well, the biggest news I have to share, is that I had my brain scan last week, at Wythenshawe Hospital.

I last had an MRI scan, just before my ill-fated stay in the David Lewis Centre (see last post for details) and that was quite a while ago, so I was a bit nervous about it.  But it was fine.  I know some people find the MRI scanner claustrophobic, but I found it okay.

The scanner was located in a portable building, outside the main hospital.  It was compact, but organised very well, with the Scanner itself, just beyond the place where all the work-stuff happens.  I had remembered that there had been a mirror, in the last scanner I entered, but I was informed that  there was no mirror in the one they put me in this time.  At first, I wasn’t keen on having to lie there with nothing to look at, but when I slid into the thing, it was okay.  There were lights inside, so it wasn’t dark, and there was air blowing into it, so no one could think there was no oxygen to breath, in the confined space.

The worst part for me, was when I had finished the scan and I had to sit up.  The room began to spin, and since one of my problems is light-headdedness and balance problems, I felt quite unwell for a while.  But I knew the feeling would pass, and the gentleman with me was very kind.  He got my husband so that I wouldn’t have to descend the steps from the cabin, on my own.  I was very grateful for the help I received.

So now, I just have to wait for the results, and see if they have found a reason for my new symptoms.

In my last post, I told of how I had been on sedation, in the form of tranquilizers, all of my life, even when I was a child.

At this time of year, when the schools go back, I sometimes remember my schooldays.  Do not think, for a moment, they are happy memories, they are absolutely not.

Many bad things happened at school, ranging from me being forced to write with my right hand, when I had been left-handed, to being forced to run  in the sports days, when I could not run, and having the whole school laughing at me when I came last.  The problem was, if I tried to run, I looked like King Kong, staggering home after a drunken night out and I was very slow also, so of course the whole school laughed at me.  Then, because I had been singled out as “different from other kids”, inevitably I was bullied.

I used to suffer from “absences”, which were put down to Epilepsy, even though the EEG tests never showed I had it (see previous post for more details) and because there was no proof of Epilepsy, my mum did not know what to say to the teachers, in order for them to help me.  I think many teachers thought I was lazy, in fact one of them actually said that to my face, and I was so upset.

Maybe the absences were more to do with the fact that I was zonked out on tranquilizers, but I was given the nickname, “Dozy”, and people would call me that, and maybe even worse, even when the teachers were present.  The teachers, of course, did NOT put a stop to it.

I am talking about this now, because bullying is still going on.  Children are still suffering.  Some even kill themselves.  I never got that desperate, because my faith in God and Jesus, helped me to cope.  In those days, we prayed in the morning, in assembly, and that used to help me to get through the day.  My Mum used to say.  “She who laughs last, laughs the longest”, and I think that this is true.

But when I hear of bullying still going on, I wonder why the teachers are not stopping it.  At times they must see it happening, as they did with me, and just like they did in my case, they must simply ignore it, or put it down to “teasing”. “Nothing to be concerned about”.  But it IS something to be concerned about, when you are the child it is happening to!

So I ask any teachers who might read this, to be on the look out for any withdrawn child who seems nervous all the time, or if you see or hear any name-calling, or several children, ganging up on one child in the playground, for God’s sake put a stop to it.  Don’t just think of it as normal childhood behavior, because, trust me, it isn’t.

Another message to teachers.  If there is a child in the school who cannot do the things other children can, don’t force them to do what they are unable to do, so that they show themselves up, in front of the whole school.  I think my teachers imagined that it would do me good, to get off my backside and compete, but what child would pretend to be unable to do the things his/her classmates could do, if, by pretending, the child would be subjecting his/herself to the ridicule of the whole school?  No child would do that.  I certainly didn’t

I did win a race, when I was five, but later, got a very high fever, which Mum said, might have been Rheumatic Fever, but the doctor wasn’t sure if it was.  After that, I could not run.  If I could have still run races like I did at the start of my school days, I would have enjoyed myself at every sports day, instead of dreading it, because I knew the humiliation that was coming to me.

I share my story, to help others who have gone through, or are going through, similar problems.  I hope it helps the victims, and makes others think about the way they treat people, especially in a school, or workplace.  I don’t think of myself as a victim, now.  I grew up, and I have a good life..  I don’t dwell on the past, but it is something that I can draw upon, in order to let others know they are not alone.  This is the main reason I started this blog, because I can share my experiences in life, so that I can help people who are going through similar difficulties.

I hope you have enjoyed my blog post.  I will post again soon.


Watch Your Step, At Sale Water Park

Hello again!

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



Nana Mary’s Story

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



Girl On Film!

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 was not to be.  I tried for two years and was rejected by employers, every time, but looking back, I doubt I’d have been able to do a job successfully.  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


Spring Is Nearly Sprung!

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)

Life Begins at 60+

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

The Sound of Memories

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.