Sunday, 24 March 2013

5 minutes of fame!

When Karen revealed that she once worked for the Queen Mother and it got me to thinking about how we sometimes have a brush with celelbrity, our own five minutes of fame, or more likely a tenuous link with someone ala 'tenous link' made popular by Chris Evans in his Radio 2 breakfast show. 

My best non-claim to fame is that I babysat Thandi Newton, she of Mission Impossible fame. Her lovely Mum was a health visitor / district nurse where I was working in reception and one afternoon I took Thandi and her brother to the park.. yeah, that's about it!

Then a few years later I worked for a MSC (Manpower Services Commission aka 'job creation scheme') encouraging volunteer activity through a local Radio station. Being as how I lived in Mousehole and they had a 'do' there I got asked to help out, being on the inside of the cordon to stop crazy public getting close to .. yeah, right.. Buck's Fizz who made an entrance to Mousehole by sea.. oh the glamour!! It made me look carefully at it and realised that all the fuss is very strange, they are real people in an unreal situation, despite being all made-up, thick glossy tights (on the girls!) etc, they still looked darned chilly and full of false smiles.. all for the pennies and as puppets to their management no doubt!

My step-dad Phil Wallis was a Mousehole fisherman and often had minor celebrities on his shark fishing boat.. Keith Floyd, Tom Mangold (Newnight?) and others. Phil was into birdkeeping and had been a budgie / canary keeper and local judge for these breeds and later he was into boxing training.  When one of my nephews got into bird keeping (pigeons this time) and later boxing, Phil had no qualms about phoning famous names and asking favours.
I remember he once rang a boxing shop owned by Dave 'Boy' Green and asked to speak to Dave.. he spoke to him like he was an old freind and got a good deal on boxing gear and used to chat to him regularly like they were mates, he had no question of their importance, he just thought he was just as great!
Another time he called the top pigeon breeder in the country and told him 'I used to be a Western Counties Judge (not mentioning it was for canaries and not pigeons!) and got lots of well bred birds for Carl to add to his collection.

One of my favourite famous moments was when I was in Florida with Ross & Lisa Feb 1991, we had escaped the snow here, only to be in Sea World in a real cold snap. In the cafe Ross spotted Lionel Blair and kept telling me 'that's the man from Give Us a Clue'  Eventually we smiled and spoke, he asked if we too had gone to Florida thinking we would be avoiding the cold weather!!

Well there's more, but they get more tenous so I will spare you those for the minute!!

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

A Big Influence.. the biggest maybe.

Well over at Lucky Snapping I suggested we share some things we may not know about each other.. so far I have talked about where I was born and that as a family we all vary in our degrees of being 'Morning People'

Now for my Big Influence!  This man here.. Malcolm Dewar...( I got the screen shot from Friends Reunited , amazing someone snapped him just walking up to 'new Block' where he spent most of his days in .. Room 15  think!)

He was a teacher at my secondary school and took my form for geography in the first year (now called Year 7); he was dead scarey to us and story has it we were the first and last first years he took, then he settled down to take O level groups and be form teacher to the fifteen year olds.. the girls who had gotten used to school and could handle a curmudgeonly geography teacher as they edged towards full on puberty!  .

I was lucky enough to be in the fifth form he took during my year, 5 Dewar. We all kind of dreaded being the form which got him but once you were there you got to know him better and realised he was actually very real and such a cool guy, he didn't run with the stress as most of the 'lady' teachers did and you knew where you stood. He had five children, walked to school every day, had a huge collection of ties and kept a few pages ahead of us (not that I knew that til afterwards!) He wrote very small, never got the glasses he so obviously needed and had his hair cut once a year. Only the girls who did his subject really felt at ease with him, so optional Current Affairs which he also took meant a few hours to get him telling us all the non-geography stuff he knew.. stories of the police, Freemasons and corruption were my favourites!

I had to stay on into Sixth Form as I wasn't quite 16 at the end of the year and met him while in town after the O level results came out. We chatted about the next step and he told me I should start A levels even if I didn't really want to.. so I did.. I took A's with him.. Geography and then Geology and Sociology (just when that subject became a real option, but only just, he was teaching it at evening class, but school let him supplement it and even entered us for the exams for free)

Then there was the A-level field trips.. the first to the Lizard, discoveries of pebbles in a field way up above sea level and studies of the unique metamorphic  serpentine on the Lizard.. it would have been an earthquake Zone once you know!
Yes, it all sunk in and much of it stayed there. I was in awe..I even believed him the day he began talking about treacle mines, well it all sounded so plausible after discussions about magma and hot lava, treacle is sugary sticky stuff too isn't it and why shouldn't you mine it.. must have been April 1st and Kathi on gullible mode as ever!

Next there was the S Wales trip..the less said about that the better, I can't imagine why he put himself through it, especially arriving with a party of girls at Cardiff Uni halls of residence, just as the Coal Board boys were having their last night party ... we drank way too much and looking back we must have been real liabilities but he was still cool, making us cringe when we spoke the morning afters about whether or not we had been sensible!! 
But still we learnt and grew.. U shaped valleys, mature rivers and town planning in Cardiff.

I guess I should have gone on to do geography but I wasn't sure what I'd end up doing with it.. the decisions after A levels were much less stressful than our kids have today. My folks had not had a long education, you didn't back in 1940's unless you were dead smart and / or rich, so when my time to make decisions came they didn't have the experience to draw on. 
Mr Dewar would wander into Thursday form period, the UCCA book under his arm, the bible of all Uni courses..and there they were, the Social Admin courses, not quite pure Sociology, not too focused on just work, a good compromise for an argumentative 17 year old who liked a debate and soaked up information like a sponge (that was me, in case you are asleep or lost!) 
He talked to us all about courses to suit, most of the kids still listening to him at this point were those who knew him best, the dozen or so girls doing his subjects..we ended up doing everything from Art at teacher training to Mining Geology .. my choices were going to be at Canterbury (sounded posh and nice but soooo far away in my mind) or Exeter.
I pondered many times, he always quietly hung out for me to go, never pressurising but gently leaving that book about and the information settled in my head..

I didn't apply the last year as most did, I had delusions of a marriage and working in a bank but decent A levels results (all thanks to him, taking us step by step through many an essay and giving us that perk up at the end, an almost A grade essay the month before the exams, the perfect incentive to work a bit harder..).. and the resurgence of an old flame who snuffed out the current beau..made me try and get to Uni through clearing.. alas I needed a language O level that year, but hey, come to us the next.. so there it was, he had succeeded, I was off to Uni after all.

A year into my course in Exeter I went back to see him, the school was now a Sixth Form college, he and one of his pals he had mentored were bunked up in an outrigger Humanities building and rarely set foot in the progressive main building, he was contented to work his last few years playing the system, reading the Times every day and staying those few pages ahead on the Curriculum. I amazed myself by realising he didn't know everything, I had learnt about new things he hadn't heard of and I was kind of sad, but it was a big lesson. He invited me to go teach a couple of hours for him about Unemployment and it was great, maybe I should have taught after all (I do love my red pen even now!)

Sadly not too many years later, perhaps when I was about 28 he collapsed and died at school. His friend said at his funeral that  a few months before he had taken himself off when on a field trip to London to go search out the East End haunts of his youth (oh yes, he was an expert on Jack the Ripper), as if knowing he would not be going back again. He was that kind of person, did his own thing, pleased himself, unconventional but gave everyone the opportunity to learn and share his knowlegde, but in a quiet way, he was the kind of person in your past you think would always be there, larger than life, or to be fair, larger than death. 

Shame, but a big thank you.. I would probably have not had many of the thoughts or experiences I had as a young adult without his influence.. and my kids will tell you even know.. Mum loves Geography!

Tuesday, 19 March 2013


Ross should be a Gemini! Come the morning he is either dead miserable, taking a good while to 'come to', we call him Cornflake Man, you know the one who is like a caveman growing more like us as he eats his Kelloggs... or he is so perky he makes you want to lamp him!

I came down yesterday morning and he was on perky mode; to be fair he has been this way since he started his school job, it is a half hour drive in and he likes to be on time, so he gets going early...unlike the rest of us..urghhh,especially when you have had a late night over the weekend! Kate in particular isn't great in the mornings, school days especially, so tMonday she was chasing Ross about giving him grief for being so awake!

Famous for her dry sense of humour Kate observed as she was eating breakfast..
'if Monday were a pair of shoes it would be a pair of Crocs!' 
(Now I know they are very light, very versatile and an addiction once you have some..I may have alienated myself from half my 'readers'  but you have to admit it was funny!,)
I think they take after me, I never was a morning person, always got in trouble with Mum for saying some of the words you shouldn't say when we overslept and I was grumpy!

This morning I woke early, unusual for me, but it was a lovely morning, lovely enough to take this picture across the yard..I made a coffee and went back to bed for half an hour, suddenly I get why people like waking early.

This is the view from my other bedroom window, down into the extension. Concrete for the slab arrives Thursday and you can just see the utility around the corner..can't wait.. well, yes I can.. that's something I have learnt about myself., that whilst I feel nervous and excited about something and think that maybe I just can't do it, (childbirth, moving homes, dentist, anything which gives you that unknown pit-in-your-stomach kind of feeling), but when the time draws very close a kind of composure sets in and I can !!!                                                                        

Monday, 18 March 2013

West of Hayle River..1 of 5

Well I thought I'd show willing and be amongst the first to share some of my 5 things you may not know about me..  but as you may expect I will make the fact which is actually quite simple into rather a ramble..

I was born in Redruth! 

There , I said it.. I am not proud of it, but the fact remains and I cannot lie!
There is a great book about the far west of Cornwall called 'West of Hayle River' and it says that in some people's opinion you are not truly Cornish unless you were born 'west of Hayle River' ... I quietly tend to agree but then on the same hand disagree as it makes me not eligible!  But proudly I can announce that all my children are.. just!

I grew up, the formative first thirteen years of my life, in my special special place, a fishing cove way out west, decidedly Cornish by this definition.  But in 1960 the nearest maternity ward was in Redruth Hospital. It must have been a busy place as ladies came from as far apart as Newquay, the Lizard and Land's End, in fact Mum made a lifelong friend in one of the ladies, Hazel Broad of Manaccan, she had a son the day after Mum had me... and hey, they discovered that they also had wedding anniversaries on consecutive December about nine months before we were born!

It must have been a trek to visit as well, about 25 miles each way. Dad didn't drive but I guess with the goodwill of friends visited Mum for three evenings after the Wednesday (when her waters broke after a short sharp shock of an iron burn on her arm my Godmother suspected) with no baby appearing, until eventually on a Saturday night he got a call just when he got home to say I was in the world! They say he didn't see me awake for a week until they brought me home, but seems he heard me then pretty good! 

Mums and babies were transferred after delivery to a maternity ward for a few days, Mum told me that they were in a room where they climbed out through a window and handed babies out afterwards, to get to the ambulance which took them.  Not sure why, maybe it was to short circuit the trip through the hospital?
Redruth for those of you who don't know is a more industrial town in our area, the kind of place which suffered a lot of depression in the years when trendy towns were booming and good old fashioned moning and industry was being replaced by service jobs..  the kind of place they joke about having a million pounds worth of improvements after the recent floods..or where they had a proposal for development, bulldoze a local peak called Carn Brea into the town and raise it to the ground!  so you can imagine thta it does grate rather to say that technically I was born there whilst feeling I really 'belonged' and grew up in a picturesque fishin cove.. but hey, fifty-few years later I can live with it... (the hospital is gone now, new housing sits teasingly where the grey dull building once taunted me.. )

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Chasing my tail..Views and Laughs

Where did that week go.. STS was busy and I was running about with all kinds of family stuff..

Kate got herself a place for college next year, she is going to do beauty but may venture into Travel & Tourism later if she wants to go travel and work..ahh it all comes eventually. And of course we had to go do a bit of shopping afterwards.. 

Ross went to London on a school trip, he does good on these as he is the 'cool teacher' guy the kids like to have accompany them.  Yesterday I had the girls for Lisa to reorganise things at their house, little Lyla is still under the weather two weeks on from the start. She is perking up a bit but it's never easy having a babe that is poorly.

Col goes away for a few days next week but will manage tea with Zac tomorrow so that makes it seem much less like a trial!  He is sorting his van now while I write and we are going to have an hour in st Ives with a bite to eat to make the 'day before he goes' nicer.

I am so far back on the photos, I even forgot that I usually do a Mount view, but who knows, that may come later for good measure are two of my owings..

Window view... can you see what I can see? Yes, a cement mixer just outside.. and you know what that means..

Ding dong the porch is dead! never to be seen again, our blimp on the back of our house is gone!  The builders are great , the concrete for the slab goes in this week and then some scaffolding up to allow them to work all weathers..haha, maybe that will give us good weather for six weeks because we are expecting rain to stop play!

If you compare the yard pictures you can also see the hard work Ross and his mate are putting into the trees and hedges, we are pretty overdue for a tidy up after ten years of letting everything just grow away..

Anne has challenged us to share some laughs this week..nice to lift the mood and share the things which tweak our own funny bones. 

When I think of laughs I had as a kid I remember being in a cafe in Babbacombe with my Mum, on a holiday staying at a B&B in Torquay. (I realise now that Mum must have worked hard, not only to save the money but to actually take a ten year old who was in between playing with dolls and being a teen on a week's holiday to the English Riviera in 1970!)

Well Mum, being a fisherman's widow knew there was rain coming before long so we headed for a cafe., and rain it did, stair-rods rain, you know the type. We sat and drank tea, watching the less weather-wise rush to get cover. One lady, I guess she was quite old, couldn't walk down the big stone steps with a flourish, she had to go one step at a time, you know, the way little old ladies do sometimes.. but imagine watching her do it, in a rush, as fast as she could to avoid the downpour which was well under way, one foot on step, next foot joins it, next step, next foot joins it.. sad but oh so funny when Mum and I realised we were both watching her.. we cried laughing but I think we didn't miss the point Mum said, that one day it would be her who would take those steps one at a time..awhh, we used to remind each other of it as the years went by.. lovely memories..

 As you know we love stand-up comedy and over the years we have seen lots of the more popular acts doing the circuit. With Dave showing Live at the Apollo almost on a loop and so many television shows having snippets of different routines there are some phrases which as a family we use now on a daily basis! 

Micky Flanagan does a piece about telling the careers teacher he wanted to drive a van.. to be told .. 'nah, no-one from this school ever left to drive a van, this school supplies people to carry stuff to the van...'  Col says this was like his school on the Wirral in the late 70's.

We love all his stuff about dating in the 80's, I guess because we were there...'if a girl wants a wine glass with a bed of lettuce with prawns on top, served with the sauce of a thousand island, then that's what she will get..a prawn cocktail'

I have tried to find a Micky Flanagan video you might like, but most of them include maybe bits you would cringe at.. so here is another classic sketch from Rhod Gilbert..we never tire of this story..he has ways of relating a story about the mundane and making it hilarious.

... oh and as I browse youtube, I just have to share this, Rhod Gilbert did 'Work Experience' as a farmer.. will surely appeal to Janice way up there on her farm..

... and lastly here is my Mount view for March, nice to see some people out and about.. and the pockets of blue sky..

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Pizza travels and Views galore!

Happy Mother's Day from Zac x

Can't believe how the time has run away from me the last two weeks! I have been reading blogs from everyone quite a bit but not been able to comment much as on my phone and just so so busy..I feel like I have lots to tell, time to account for but not sure where to here's the highlights:

..25-27 Feb caught up at work, ticked all the boxes for things I 'should have done', the train to Southampton on 28th Feb, met Zac, had Pizza Express and a lovely hour with him..
.. met his flatmate, yapped for England, had Domino's pizza when Col got back from ferryport about 10pm (only one piece for me!)

..stayed in Winchester for a couple of nights, cute little hotel but the parking (for a long wheel base van) was a nightmare, we had to get special agreement with the Council Parking dept to be sure we didn't get a ticket, even in a coachpark!

..1st  March, Pizza Express for dinner and then out to see Al Murray with Zac & Sean, great seats in circle at the side.. Al is a brilliant clever guy and incredibly talented with an audience.. and the Winchester theatre is wonderful.

2/3 March we travelled home and had a pretty good night out in Torquay, plenty of wine and oh yes, a Prezzo pizza!!  (can you see a pattern here.. we are nothing if not predictable!)

This week.. back to the grindstone, well the office, plenty to do and great to have Col home for another couple of weeks before his next trip! 

Tuesday 5th :JB & I had a nice sortie to Truro after she secured herself a Foundation Diploma place for next year at a great little college called Tregye.  We shopped for her, we don't do it so much lately as she drives herself now.. oh and there were birthdays to think of:
In the evening we went to see Micky Flanagan, again a great comedian but for sure Al is King xx

Pop's first hold..

7 weeks

Wednesday 6th March.. Kate turned 16 years old and Lyla was 2!  We all got together and had takeaway here, a bit chaotic and a little sad as Kate and her first b/f are looking like they are splitting up... but hey, there are more fish just over the hill!! ;-)

She had lots of clothes for presents and when the weather improves she is having a camp out..

ahhhh I knew there was something else to tell.. the porch has gone! So my views from outside are very different! I am made up, we even went out to look at kitchens and lights this weekend.. more on that later! Happy bunny!
Here are some of my pictures from the last week, and my views..

March Sofa view on Mother's Day..why are the boys the ones sitting down?
We went to our Mum's today with Ross & JB, the weather was very wintery!

Sure fits this month's verse:

March brings breezes loud and shrill, stirs the dancing daffodil.

... and very lastly I have sinned in Lucky Snapping, the first time.... I did not post last week for Lynne's challenge..

 'look closely, the beautiful may be small...'  a little guy Jordan found on our holiday..the island is full of them, so cute!