Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Back in Leeds

I feel too tired to write very much. The highlight of my trip to London was listening to a man playing the bagpipes on Westminster Bridge. Wonderful!
I haven’t slept for two nights and feel thoroughly worn out. I was born in London, but now it feels like an alien country. It’s so big and busy, I felt lost. It’s made me see one thing clearly, I’d much rather be in Leeds.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Bank Holiday

I have a busy day tomorrow so wanted to get some relaxing done today. I had a bit of a lie in for the first time in weeks, caught up on my emails, watered the pots and cloches in the garden, then  watched the Grand Prix. After that I did some work. Finally managed to get a story finished that I’ve been working on for ages. Still not sure it’s good enough, but I reached the point where I wanted to get rid of it. If TAB don’t buy it, I’ll think about rewriting it then.
Today, I finally got the news that the new NAWG competition is being launched. I put off running my own competition so that I could help them organise theirs and was starting to think it isn’t going to happen. When I get back from London, I’ll have to start thinking of places to publicise it, preferably free.
It’s a shame the weather’s not looking good for my trip, but then it IS a Bank Holiday weekend.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Stil Not Writing Well

I started the day with four hours in the bathroom, tricky wallpapering and edge tiles. I didn’t even stop for a cup of tea, just kept going until I’d done as much as I wanted. Now I’ll be able to get it finished next weekend. What I’ve done so far looks amazing. I might not be able to write right now, but I can still hang wallpaper like the best of them.
After that, I took an hour for lunch then went back to work, looking for stories to send to Yours. I found two Christmas stories which I sent by email. Then I found a story for a Writers News (Holiday story) competition which needed its word count adjusting, so I did that and printed it ready to send off. Then I had a go at the Yorkshire Post cryptic crossword and managed to complete it for once. 
Now I’m going to do next to nothing.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Another week and not much done.

I had an appointment this morning at Seacroft Clinic to see if the NHS can offer me any help, fighting off this depression. They will get back to me in the next couple of weeks.
All I managed, writing wise, today was two photos and letters to Amateur Gardening. I have so little energy at the moment. I used up all I had in the garden. I was getting so far behind, some of my vegetable plants were practically crying out to be planted.
At the art group this afternoon they were working from Henry Moore drawings which didn’t inspire me much, so I worked on a nude using ink and a willow (!) stick.
I’m going to London on Monday, staying overnight. I’m hoping the break from home will refresh me. At least it will make a change.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Eating cake

It’s been another hard day. I managed to do the lessons for my two writing course pupils but it was a struggle. After lunch I went to the crossword class where we managed to polish off four cryptics in just over an hour. I came home via the optician where I collected my new glasses. I only use them for the theatre so they won’t get a lot of use. I went for the cheapest I could find. I called in at the greengrocer who had 4 small punnets of raspberries for £1. Such great value.
Again I fancied some time in the garden but again the weather has other ideas. Sudden heavy showers all the time. At least the rain will swell the strawberries, although it’s not going to help ripen them. .
The latest Fiction Feast arrived dated July! I have a story in it but it’s only a one pager which isn’t great. The postman also delivered a Spikethecat science fiction anthology which I have a story in. I thought it was never going to be published. It was supposed to be ready months ago.
I called the care home today to see how Mum was getting on. They told me she gets upset when Denis visits but has forgotten all about it minutes later. I can’t see the point of going all the way to Exeter to upset her (and me). I thought of speaking to Mum on the phone, but I wouldn’t know how to cope if she became upset. They seem to be looking after her very well – chiropodist, hairdressers and so on.
I’m seeing a counsellor tomorrow morning. Hopefully that will help me see things more clearly.
After playing on the Wii the other day, I ache something rotten. I’m sure it’s because I’m feeling so down. Everything is such an enormous effort at the moment, except eating cakes of course. That I can do.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011


I’ve been fiddling about with a story for ages and just can’t get the beginning right. I wanted to send it off tomorrow but it will have to wait.
I spent an hour on the Wii yesterday evening. Now my arms are aching as though I’ve been weightlifting. I really wish I could get fitter.
Had a good sing at Heydays this afternoon which was fun. The choir doesn’t sound very good yet but I’m sure it will all come together before long.
It’s no use, I’m just too tired to type anymore. I’m going to give up and start again tomorrow. I’ve got such a lot to do, but when I feel like this, there’s no point keeping going.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Lost a day

I know I’ve been working for most of the day, but what I’ve done exactly, is a bit of a blur. I went across the road for a chat with one of the neighbours, the man came to measure the blinds, and I worked on a story, but apart from that, I have no idea.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Hovering on the brink of depression

The lady from the council was meant to come today about the licence for boarding dogs but it has been put off until 1st June. According to her the process takes TWO  HOURS. Goodness knows what they do for all that time. I hope it happens then as I have a dog due to come and stay on the 4th.
I went to the doctor this morning. I’d hoped to get through without seeking help, but I have to face the fact that I can’t. I really need to talk to someone. I know that the best thing for me to do about Mum is to cut myself off completely. Maybe if a  counsellor can tell me that it's OK for me to do that, and it's not my fault, then I’ll be able to believe them and actually do it. Right now I feel as though I could fall back into a deep depression which is the last thing I want to happen.
I wrote my next column for Writers Forum then finished a story for TAB. Another one I’m working on isn’t coming together so I’m going to have to sit on it a bit longer. I hate it when the words don’t flow well, but there’s no point sending something out when I know it won’t sell.
Tomorrow a man is coming to measure up the blinds for the conservatory. I can only afford to have part of the roof done, so I’m hoping it will make a big enough difference.
In a moment I’m going to watch Chelsea on TV. I don’t suppose I’ll ever get there in person. I’m not sure I’d even want to, it gets so crowded.  Harrogate might not be as big or well known but it’s good enough for me.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

I carried on with the bathroom for much of the morning. Very fiddly papering round a window, then putting up more tiles and grouting the ones from yesterday. So far it looks great but I'm not going to do the rest yet. I need to get my energy levels back up.
After that, I worked on a couple of stories but they really aren’t flowing at all well so I’ll put them to one side and come back to them tomorrow or Tuesday. Very very windy. So bad my (plastic)frame took off so I had to put it in the shed. Overall not much achieved. I was meant to be staying overnight in Harrogate tonight to attend a wedding reception but in the end I cancelled. I don’t know if it’s stress but my left leg has been playing up so I wouldn’t be able to dance. I don’t know the woman very well who’s getting married so I won’t be missed. 
I’d like to be able to get to the writers club tomorrow night. Right now, although I’m feeling very lonely, at the same time too many social events wear me out. Sometimes I think I should give up looking for love and just accept the fact it’s not going to happen, get myself three dogs and lock myself away, and avoid people altogether. 
Tomorrow the lady from the council is meant to be coiming to see about getting me licensed for dog boarding. I don't know why but that makes me feel nervous as hell. 

Saturday, 21 May 2011

saturday 21st May

I’ve been working so hard today I really am exhausted.
I started with two hours writing, then did some more work on the bathroom. As I battled to put up the edging tiles without getting grout all over my nice new wallpaper, which has a BLACK background, I began to have that all too familiar sinking feeling, wondering why on earth I started the job. After a struggle and several rethinks, one wall is now done, except for the grouting. At least the other walls aren’t black.
The next 2 pieces of paper are both awkward ones. I simply couldn’t face doing any more so I went back to the writing. I’ve ended up with 2 stories at the second draft stage. Next I wrote a letter of complaint to Devon Social Services about the way they’ve treated me. I know I’ve walked away, but I owe it to anybody else in a similar situation as me to casue a fuss.
After posting that letter, I  went into the garden. I haven’t done much out there lately thanks to the weather and the state I’ve been in. There’s so much to do. I spent about an hour planting out some more beans, and then some tomatoes cucumbers and more courgettes, then put in some other plants that needed doing. Then I had to water everything in case it didn’t rain. I think it will, but there’s no point risking it.
I was going to carry on working on the computer after I’ve had a bath and something to eat, but I’ve decided against. I have a couple of ideas I want to try and flesh out instead.
I scored a blank at the speed dating. 2 men chose me, but I hadn’t picked either of them. The one I really liked obviously didn’t find me as fascinating as I did him. 
I wish they did one for people over fifty, but they don’t. When the next one comes along, I’ll be too old.
I really really would like somebody  to love, if not that then somebody to go to the theatre with or even on holiday with (separate rooms of course). 

Friday, 20 May 2011

Trying new things

The speed dating was good fun but slightly nerve racking  I didn’t expect everyone to be mixing in the bar beforehand! I stayed in a corner until the event started.
I met 11 men, spending three minutes with each one. I had no idea it would be so tiring. You really have to concentrate to remember who’s who. In the end I ticked four names, one of whom I can remember nothing about. There was one man I really liked. He was an architect called Jon. I haven’t heard yet whether any of the four I chose also picked me, but I very much doubt it. I was the oldest woman there and some of the others were really attractive and very well presented, but that doesn’t matter. I’ve been wanting to try it for ages and now I have. Hopefully I can use it in a story. The session finished just as my train was due to leave so rather than hang about the station for an hour, I treated myself to a taxi ride home. Very naughty!
This morning I started work on the next column for Writers Forum which is going to cover everything from the NAWG pumpkin competition to Christmas. Then I went out for a break to a new art class. I love art. It’s very relaxing for me, but I never make time to do it at home which is daft. We used white chalk on black paper to make a picture of part of a horse. I was really pleased with the result.That's two new things I've tried in two days which is great. 
I came home to another request for a critique which was good. I always enjoy doing those. 
It’s just gone half past six now. The plan is to wash up, then think about putting some wallpaper up in the bathroom. Or I could just collapse in a heap…..

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Getting on with things, slowly.

Although I feel better having made the decision not to fight Social Services for Deputyship over Mum’s affairs, I still feel pretty bushed. I’m going to have to take it easy, work wise, for a few days to allow myself to recover.
Today I sent ‘my story’ to a magazine to see if they were interested in featuring it. I really don’t want other people to be hurt the way Social Services have hurt me. I still can't accept the fact  that they didn't even notify th4e Home of my contact details when I'm Mum's next of kin. 
Apart from that, all I’ve done is go to my cryptic crossword class, and then to the optician for an eye test. 
I really don’t want to go out tonight but I need to force myself. I’ve never tried speed dating so it will be good research, but if I’m honest, I’d much rather crash out on the sofa or work in the garden.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011


I spent most of yesterday going over and over things in my head. I kept coming up against one unassailable fact – each and every time I get involved with Mum’s affairs, I end up hurt. In the past two months, I have felt as though I could, literally, die from the stress and worry and what it’s done for my work output doesn’t bear thinking about.
I have finally made a decision. I have decided to totally step away. I can't argue with people who won't listen to me and my mother is so far gone, she won’t even know.
Now that I’ve made up my mind, I already feel better, but what’s really strange is  this - as I made my decision I thought, ‘now things will start to get better for me.
Once again I have to thank people like Robert, Carol and Helen who have offered me so many wise words and encouragement. You really have helped me so much.
I had planned to go to Spice  tonight, but I’ve decided to put it off. It’s been one hell of a busy week and I’m feeling utterly worn out. It’s my much postponed speed dating session tomorrow and I really don’t want to miss that. I am fairly sure nobody will tick me (I’m going to be the oldest one there after all), but you never know…….
Now that I’m aware of Spice I can keep a watch for their next new members evening in Leeds and will definitely go to that (unless of course I’ve had a better offer!)

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Five Stages of Grief

When you lose somebody there are different stages of grief that you go through - shock, denial, sadness, anger and acceptance. I think you can safely say I’ve reached the anger stage.
I’ve just come home from seeing Leeds carers. Basically they’ve told me that there are no guidelines, so far as they are aware, regarding keeping relatives informed, and that due to ‘confidentiality issues’ my Mother could have simply said that she didn’t want me to take care of her, and that would be enough. Whether she meant for ever, or just until something happened to her carer, wouldn’t matter. And, of course, they don’t have to tell me anything.  
The problem is, I know what my mother is like  I know that she will say black is pink to get attention. I know that one minute she will say Denis is horrible to her, and that he shouts and swears at her and sometimes hits her, the next minute Denis is wonderful and she didn’t know what she would do without him. I know because I’ve had dozens of phone calls saying that.
I wish, oh how I wish I hadn’t got back in touch with her after I moved. If I’d done that, I would have missed all the agony and stress of the past year and a half. I’ve lost so many days work, so much  income, not to mention the stress the tears and the broken nights.
I keep thinking  I should walk away, write the book so that people who want to know the truth can read it, and try to get on with my life. If I don’t do that, Mum’s poison is going to kill me. 
Alas, that’s a lot easier said than done.

Monday, 16 May 2011

The morning after

I’m feeling a bit better today.
I spoke to the manager of the home this morning and that’s helped. They don’t want me to contact Mum for a while as they don’t know how she would react. They want to wait and see what happens when Denis visits. Apparently they’re going to put a charge on Mum’s house to recoup the fees.
The manager told e that Mum’s toe nails were three inches long and they’re going to get a chiropodist to see her. That gave me a terrible feeling of de ja vu. Before I managed to get my father moved into a nursing home, he spent three months in a mental hospital. When I took Mum to see him, he was lying on this bed with his feet sticking out and they were in a terrible state. I took a photograph and complained about it so that something would be done.
I’ve spoken to a few people today, Joan from Harrogate, a woman at Leeds Carers, another at a counselling service,  and Moira from Good Neighbours. They’re all telling me the same thing, that I’ve done what I could and that if other people think badly of me, that’s their problem, and more than that, there’s nothing I can do about it. The trouble is, I’ve always judged myself through what other people think of me. I’ve always wanted to make other people happy and changing a life long habit is proving hard. I’m going to see Leeds Carers tomorrow and I might pop into the drop in centre in town to see if I can get some counselling. I could really use somebody  to talk to right now.
Thanks to Helen for pointing Spice out to me. If I can find the motivation, I’m going to their prospective members meeting on Wednesday evening. Plus I’m going speed dating on Thursday.  S**’s law I think they call it. The event was cancelled in March and again in April, but now when I’m really not in the mood, it’s going ahead. I’d cancel but I’m sure there must be a short story in there somewhere.
Keep busy, is the key. I know that if I stop going out, or start finding excuses, I’ll slip back down the slope into another depression. That is one thing I really really don’t want to happen.

Sunday, 15 May 2011


Had a horrible, unsatisfactory day. It’s like the troubles with Mum are there all the time, even when I’m doing something else, trying to explode to the surface. Thanks to the weather, I haven’t even been able to escape into the garden.
I just wish it would stop.
I keep thinking I’ll feel better when this happens, or that, but I’m kidding myself. I need to stop judging myself from the way other people see me. I know I’m honest and caring,  and that I’ve always done the best I could, and tried to help Mum in any way I can. I know what I gave up for her and what she put me through. That should be enough, but it isn’t.
It’s strange, but in the weeks she was calling me, umpteen times a day, I felt that I was being useful, giving her somebody to talk to when she was upset. Now that’s not going to happen anymore and I feel lost. I don’t have a cause or a reason to live. I don’t love anybody and nobody loves me. I have no family apart from Mum. I haven’t made any close friends since I moved. I don’t even have any volunteering since the board games group moved to Wednesday.
I have this terrible fear that I’ll turn into my mother.
When my father went into a nursing home, she told everyone she met about, desperate to attract attention and sympathy. I fear that this problem will have the same effect on me, that I will become the woman whose only topic of conversation is the fact that her mother was bunged into a home by Social Services.
My other fear is more obvious. Dad had Alzheimer’s, now Mum’s got dementia. What are the chances of me avoiding the same fate?
Sometimes I wonder if I’m already crazy.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Why I’m angry.

Having found out that Mum was in a home,  I called them to see how she was and when she actually moved in.
They say she’s fine, and they’re probably right. Her memory is so bad, she only lives from one minute to the next. I asked the manager to call me on Monday to talk about her care. I also want to know if Mum can telephone me from the home or if they think this might upset her. I already know the home as it’s not far from where I used to live. I have no worries that Mum will be taken care of. What I’m angry about is not being told the move was happening.
The home informed me that Mum moved there last Saturday so when I spoke to that Social Worker on the Wednesday, they must have been planning to move her. I had a feeling something was going on when my chat with the woman was cut short by her boss.
I didn’t even know about the respite break or the two days when Denis was in hospital when once again, they chose to put her in a home rather than call me.  
I would have gone to Exeter looked after her myself. I told them this in no uncertain terms the last time Denis went into hospital. That time, my Aunt took care of her. Again, I wasn’t even told. I wanted to try looking after her myself. Then I would know whether taking over her care was a possibility. There’s no way I’d want to move her up to Leeds, decide I can’t cope and bung her back in a home. That just wouldn’t be fair.
I say this again, how can they move somebody’s mother without telling them?
When I called, the home didn’t even know I existed. If anything had happened to Mum, I would have been the last one to hear, that’s if anyone had bothered.
I could fight this. I could apply for Deputyship myself  and have Mum moved to a home in Leeds, but I know that any more stress will kill me. I just can’t take any more so I’m going to leave things as they are. Say goodbye, once again, to my inheritance, and put everything down in the book. I should have made a fuss years ago, I should not have stepped aside and let Denis take over, I should have done what was best for me for a change, but I didn’t. The stupid thing is, if I HAD been the heartless, money grabbing daughter people think I am, I would be no worse off. .
It’s wrong that Social Services should try me and find me guilty having only listened to other people. It’s wrong that they should decide to cut a daughter out of her mother’s life, whatever the circumstances.
If I can stop this happening to one other person, it will be worth it.

Friday, 13 May 2011

Not even a goodbye

My mother has been put into a home.
I spoke to the Social Worker on Thursday who said that Denis was now too ill to take care of her and the plan was to move her to a home. Apparently she’d been there for a week to give Denis respite care. I was also told that Mum had stayed at the home for a couple of days when Denis had to go into hospital.
I hadn’t been told on either occasion. I was so shocked by this sudden development that when the Social Worker asked if I wanted details of the home, I said no and asked her to email me. I didn’t want to have to scribble it down on a pad in the state I was in. I had no idea they were actually moving here there and then.
I tried calling Mum yesterday evening and Denis answered so I hung up, I tried again today, no reply, so I asked my lodger to call again just now. He spoke to Denis who said  that Mum’s already been moved. He wouldn’t say when this happened, and ended with ‘why should you care?’
To try and find out when this happened, I asked my lodger to call my Aunt to see if she knew anything. She DID  know that Mum spent a week in the home, a short while ago (I wonder who told her and why they didn’t bother to tell me) but didn’t know about the permanent move.
I feel I have to explain. Mum’s been calling me less often since she’s been going to day care. Sometimes there have been days when she hasn’t called. When that’s happened, I’ve left it a week and called her. She must have been in the home in one of those gaps.
I just don’t understand why they didn’t tell me. I’ve begged to be kept informed. Even if I was the worst, the nastiest, the most evil daughter in the world, I still think they should have told me what their plans were. As it is, I didn’t get to say goodbye. I had no idea that  when I spoke to her on the 4th that would be the last time she would call me. I spoke to her social  worker too that day, but there was no mention of moving Mum to a home.
I want to know what gives them the right to do all this.
Whatever they may think of me, I’m still her family.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011


I don’t think a trip to Liverpool next week is on. I’m still having trouble straightening my left knee and my back is aching, not much point going if I can’t walk far.
At singing this afternoon, the lady who runs Healing Voices told me they’re having a gospel session at Trinity next Tuesday so I think I’ll go to that.
I came home to a message from my mother’s social worker, wanting to ‘catch up’. I guess she must have received my letter! I tried to call back, but there was no reply so I had to leave a message.
I don’t know what’s up with me at the moment. I’m feeling really down and grumpy, even thought I’ve managed to write what I think are two decent stories this week. I’d say I was need of some sales to Take a Break, but I think it’s more than that. I think I’m fed up being me and I don’t know how to change. All right, that’s a lie, I do know how to change, I just can’t seem to be able to do it.
As today is meant to be a day off, I’m going to turn the machine off, and maybe sort through the NAWG stories again to see if I can make a shortlist. Then, when it’s cooler, back or no back,, I really must get some work done in the garden.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Tuesday 10th May

I’m going to shut down the PC early and carry on reading the competition entries. I’ve managed to get two decent short stories finished already this week so that means from tomorrow I can switch to something else.
I’ve had visits from 2 salesmen today. I need blinds fitted in the conservatory roof as it gets too hot to use when it’s sunny. I had no idea how expensive it would be, so much so I’ve just called the people who made the conservatory to ask them to quote to put a window in the roof.
I’m due a decent payment from the photo agency on Thursday. I had hoped to use it to go away, I haven’t had a holiday for too long. I don’t really want to have to put it towards the conservatory.
Tonight, courtesy of free tickets courtesy of Heydays, I’m going to the west Yorkshire Playhouse to see ‘Tis Pity she’s a whore’. I’d go to the theatre every week if I could afford it.
All’s quiet as regards Mum. I thought I’d get some response to all the letters I sent but so far, nothing’s happened. It’s odd that she doesn’t call me as much anymore, but I guess I should be grateful. Now I’m not getting all those interruptions, it’s easier to write.

Monday, 9 May 2011

nobody steals my pumpkin

I called round to get some quotes for putting blinds up in the conservatory roof. It gets so hot in there, it’s impossible to use the space. The only plants I can put out there are cacti.
Two people are coming tomorrow to give me a quote and two on Friday. One said it could be as much as two thousand pounds, if it is, I’ll have to carry on boiling!
I’m hoping I can get away for a few days next week, hopefully to Liverpool. National are running a short trip which leaves on Monday and comes back Wednesday but I need to wait a couple of days in case I get called up for The Chase as I’m still on the shortlist.
Carole popped round with the application form for the dog boarding licence. I had to look up all the terms and conditions of the internet so I knew what I was signing for. I couldn’t’ believe this list of things you had to have – smoke alarms, a friend or neighbour with keys, a pet first aid kit, a clean house (!), insurance, the works. There were pages of it. I’m pretty sure I’ve covered everything but I’m sure if they wanted to find something, they could especially as I’m definitely not the world’s best housekeeper. I’m sure it’s all designed to stop unscrupulous people boarding six dogs in one room, but it does seem a bit over the top.
Carole had spoken to people at another agency about the man who caused the trouble in the first place. Apparently his dog doesn’t just need to go out in the middle of the night, it’s also incontinent.
I’m  a great worrier when it comes to following the letter of the law so I’ll be glad when the inspection is over.
The entries for the NAWG last line short story competition arrived today and I’ve made a start reading them. So far I’m very impressed with the variety of plots especially as the last line the entrants are lumbered with is this
        nobody steals my pumpkin.
I was going to go to the Writers Club tonight but the weather, hail stones and rain, has conspired to put me off. Plus I seem to have hurt my back. I’m hobbling about like an old crone.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

50,000 and counting

I decided to spend most of today working on the book about Mum. I’ve now reached 50,000 words and it’s time to take a break from it for a couple of days. It’s hard work, mainly because of the bad memories it’s stirring up, but I’m convinced that once it’s done, I’ll feel a real sense of relief. Writing really can be good therapy. My stance is this, who cares whether anyone believes me? I know that what I’m writing is the truth and that’s good enough for me.
On that note, I’ve decided it’s high time I started to treat myself better. How can I expect to find love if I don’t love myself? I’ve had the spare bedroom ready and waiting, in case Mum or anyone else came to stay. Now  I’m going to move some of the furniture from my room into there so I can make my bedroom a nicer space to sleep in. I might even get a quote for  a fitted wardrobe with sliding doors as that will give me extra cupboard space. Who knows, the extra space might even encourage me to start using the desk I bought a year ago for my painting and drawing.

Saturday, 7 May 2011


Every couple of months or so, I go to a women’s writing group, an offshoot of Leeds Writers Circle. I almost didn’t go today. When I feel down, it’s very tempting to hide away, but that’s the last thing I should do, or I could end up depressed again. So I went, and avoided the showers.
They’re a lovely group of people but they only write the occasional story. That means they’re not as dedicated or as focussed as me, which is fine, but…
When I got home, I couldn’t decide what to do. Going out has made me feel weary, but I want to at least try to get something done, so I made my favourite lemon ice cream. It’s divine and so simple to make. Ice cream, now that I've given up chocolate, is my top comfort food. I often have a bowl of an evening. It makes me feel better for some reason. 
Now I’m going to sit down with the latest Woman’s Weekly fiction special, read all the stories and analyse them. I could really do with selling them more stories so some more market research wouldn’t go amiss.
I’d like to say thank you to Helen and Robert for their recent messages. You have no idea how much I appreciate them. I’m sorry if I haven’t replied  in as much depth as I would have liked but right now I feel as though I have two mountains to climb and only one pair of worn out shoes.

Friday, 6 May 2011

Tomorrow will be better

Today, my solicitor finally sent his bill. I’ve written to everyone concerned – aunts, Mum’s doctor, social workers and so on, explaining that I can’t take over Mum’s financial affairs and that I’ve tried to find out what the problem was with the EPA and hit a brick wall. Basically, I’ve told everyone that I can’t do anymore but it’s not for want of trying.
To add to my distress over losing Milo, I’ve also found out that my pet agency hasn’t been doing things exactly as they should, having been given advice that was not up to date.
Now I have to be inspected by the Council too and apply for a licence myself when I thought that was the point of boarding through an agency. They can’t come round until the 23rd which is annoying as I’d really like to get everything sorted.
I know all these checks and paperwork and licences are designed to prevent animals coming to harm, but there’s nothing to stop anyone obtaining an animal and mistreating it. The man who caused all the trouble never takes his dog for a walk or allows her to interact with other animals, but there’s nothing to prevent him from having pets.
I wonder when we’ll reach the point that when your next door neighbour asks you to feed their cat when they’re away, you’ll have to say no because you don’t have the right paperwork. I  shouldn’t be ranting, but sometimes everything gets to me. It’s been another s****y 24 hours and I really need some good news for a change.

Falling in love

In January, I fell in love for the first time in far too many years.
His name was Milo and the moment I saw him I felt a connection. He was a ten year old English Springer Spaniel. When I had to give him back after seventeen days, I cried, and cried. Now he’s dead.
His owners called last night saying they had to gave him put to sleep. They wanted to let me know because they knew how fond I was of him. I haven’t stopped crying since.
I remember thinking, when he went home, how was I going to cope if I became so upset every time a dog went home, but it hasn’t happened. I love dogs, but he was special. I was so looking forward to having him come to stay again and now that‘s not going to happen. 

Thursday, 5 May 2011


Thursday is, technically, one of my days off but I decided to do some work this morning instead.
I finished another story which I posted on my way back from voting.
After the crossword class, I spent a few hours in the garden, sorting out some pots and putting some more plants in. As I watered the plants I’d just put in, I prayed for rain, and bingo, it rained. Not nearly enough though. I hope we get some more, preferably overnight, then my water butts will get a bit of a top up. I was busy, at the end of the garden when Carole from the pet sitting agency called to tell me I wouldn’t be looking after the Yorkshire terrier who came to see me a couple of days ago. He wanted to see all Carole’s insurance and other paperwork which she keeps in the office. There was a bit of a row and a few words exchanged. Now he’s going to contact the Council and make a complaint. I know people need to be careful these days, but he’d met me (apparently I was OK) and seen that  the garden was secure. As the poor little dog would only have been staying for one night, I would have thought he could have been a bit more relaxed and not lost his temper. Looking on the bright side, I won’t have to get up in the night to let the dog out. Maybe I can make that trip to Manchester I’ve been putting off. I’ll have to see.
Having spent ages talking to people at NAWG yesterday, I’ve also had to spend ages answering their queries and coming up with a possible entry form, rules and so on.
I chickened out re calling my solicitor and sent him a letter instead. Hopefully he’ll answer that and I’ll know where I stand. .

Wednesday, 4 May 2011


I’ve done hardly any work today, yet I feel completely exhausted.
The National Association of Writers Groups (NAWG) have been considering running a national short story competition and have been picking my brains until they bleed. More people keep getting involved and I’m starting to regret offering to help. I must have spent an hour on the phone today, talking round the subject when all they need to do is get on with it, and make a decision.
Heydays started again, that’s my Wednesday at The West Yorkshire Playhouse. This term, I was ‘lucky’ enough to get my first choice of class. I wanted to do something art based for a change as right now, my life is totally out of kilter – all work and no play.
The class is about animals used in art throughout history but all we did was play a drawing game and cut out trees. I hope it’s more challenging next week or I’ll end up drifting back to creative writing.
During the lunch break, I started a tai chi class. I’ve tried before and felt thoroughly hopeless but this time felt better. My arms don’t though. I’m so unfit, just holding my arms up for more than twenty seconds hurts. After lunch, it was singing. A different tutor this term, but I’ve sung in one of her choirs before so that was good. I was pleased with the music choice, a good selection including Abba.
I almost didn’t go today. Just as I was leaving, Mum rang asking, as always, if she could come and stay with me. I could hear somebody I the background ask if they could speak to me. I asked who it was, and Mum tried to fob me off, but I asked to speak to whoever it was. It was one of Mum’s care workers saying that my mother was more upset than usual. It became clear that she hadn’t a clue what had been going on so I explained about the EPA and asked that if somebody somewhere could tell me what was going on, I’d be grateful.
I still haven’t heard from the solicitor. I’m starting to wonder if he received the emails I sent him. 
I should call him. The trouble is, I’m not much good at that kind of thing. It’s too easy to get upset, but I’ll have to summon up the courage soon. I need to draw some kind of line under this.
Today I’ve felt as though too many people want a piece of me and that there really isn’t enough to go round. I care too much about everyone else. I really would like it if there could be somebody to take care of me for a change.  

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Late frost warning

I’ve spent most of the day working. First I wrote my column for Writers Forum, then I typed up two of the stories that I drafted yesterday. I was happy with one of them so I’ve printed it off ready to post tomorrow. Carole, who runs Pampered Pets called to see if I was interested in taking a Yorkshire terrier just for one night, so I said yes, I’d have a look at her. Such a sweet little thing.. You would never have known she was thirteen. Apparently she needs to ‘go’ in the night, so if she comes to me, I won’t get much sleep but it’s only one night. Her owner seemed very uptight and cautious – he wants to check all Carole’s documents before deciding.
Having planted out lots of vegetables yesterday, I’ve now heard there may be a frost tonight so had to dash out to buy some cloches. The ones I hadn’t planted, I’ve bought indoors and put them in the conservatory. 
The other thing I did today was chase the solicitor who still hasn’t replied to the email I sent at Easter. 
He’s probably been away, enjoying himself, but it would have been nice if he had told me. I really do want a reply, then I can send letters to everyone involved, telling them how it is, and that it’s not my fault that I’m unable to register the EPA.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Another Bank Holiday weekend

In the morning I went to Wetherby Race Course to look at the boot sale. I came away with a few plants, and a snake brooch.  We came home via Morrisons as I needed the loo, so was able to buy some meat to freeze. For me, their meat selection is far superior to any of the other, local, supermarkets.
I was going to put the plants in, but the wind ruined that plan. I decided to spend most of the day working on the book about Mum. I haven’t do0ne much work on it this week, as  I’ve been in two minds about whether to continue writing it.
When I was looking for something else entirely, I came across an old diary from 1996. There are only a couple of lines for each day and they’re mainly written in note form, some of which I can’t read, but it was still interesting, if depressing reading. I found mention of many incidents when Mum played up, caused trouble, complained or told out and out lies about me to gain sympathy. Reading the diary has been a great help.
Things were as bad as I remembered. I have to finish the book, even if the only people who get to see it are social workers and my aunts.