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Month: March, 2016

Congratulations to Eddie Izzard

What can you say about that man Eddie Izzard? He had to take a day off early on so on Sunday he completed two marathons just so he could say he had done 27 in 27 days. One for every year Nelson Mandella was in prison. Incredible achievement, and he raised over a million for Sports Relief in the process.

Just wanted to say a huge thank you to Eddie for the feat, money raised and hope all the pain was worth it to you because it is greatly appreciated. No joking when it comes to this particular charity as Eddie has done great things in the past (also running marathons). Anyway well done and great result for everyone concerned.

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The Mockery of Mimicry

Inspirational post, don’t be fooled by the narcissist. Please leave comments concerning this post against the original and not here, thank you.

Knowing the Narcissist

I love to copy. I have to copy. It is all I have known for as long as I can remember. It is my natural setting to mimic those around me. I have to fit in, I have to belong and the most effective way for me to achieve this is to replicate everything that I come into contact with. If I interact with an esteemed academic I will listen to his or her achievements and then pass those off as my own as I peel away their glittering accolades and apply them to myself. Should I spend time with an exceptional sporting individual then their record-breaking endeavours will be purloined for my benefit and sported as my own in furtherance of my own belief in my exceptional ability. Author? Yes I have written books too. Model? Yes I do some modelling from time to time. Chef? You should try…

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Chapter 2: 1960-1963

This part is only covering 4 years since I had started school, wasn’t quite at the point where I knew more than those trying to teach me, although this period was spent in the company of fools at school who knew less than me.

In 1960 we had lost Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper (J.P. Richardson) and Richie Valens the year before, Cuba was in the pipeline, the war had been over for 15 years and rebuilding was going ahead throughout the country. In Europe 6 countries had formed an economic alliance to prevent another war. France, Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg were joining up with Italy and West Germany, when they asked Britain to join the Prime Minister retorted “Why would we join up with 4 countries we had to save from the other two less than a decade ago?”. In among all this mess I was going to school, at first in Kinglassie but from September 1960 I attended High Heaton Primary school in Newcastle.

To begin with in 1959, as stated in Chapter 1, I started school with the ability to read, ask questions and hold conversations with my elders, I’d been taught to respect my elders so was never cheeky. Anywho, my peers were struggling with “Janet and John” and I was reading the Daily Mail, struggling with the big words still but more advanced than my peers. This made me feel as though everyone else was in a bucket of gloop and holding me back when I really wanted to follow through on books which contained more words than pictures. I remember when the teacher called on me to read a little I’d been daydreaming and the girl next to me pointed to the part of the page we were up to so I could read from there. This happened too often for the teacher to not notice so one afternoon she asked me to wait behind after class.

Everyone thought I was going to be in trouble (including me) but I waited behind anyway. She asked me why I was always daydreaming instead of trying to learn with the rest of the class. I answered truthfully (expecting to get my knuckles rapped none the less) that I found the books too babyish. Instead of rapping me on the knuckles the teacher asked me what I enjoyed reading (bear in mind I was 5 years old) and jumped when I said the Famous Five novels were my favourites but I also enjoyed the Secret Seven. She told me to get along to the library and choose an Enid Blyton book and return to the class. When I did that she took the book opened it a random page and asked me to start reading. When I’d read two paragraphs she was impressed enough to tell me that I could go and return the book the following morning. Needless to say I went home and read the book from the beginning to the end before bedtime.

Now, in those days I was an avid reader, I read anything I could get my hands on, belonging to the local library I was taking out 2 books at a time (had to be returned in two weeks to avoid a fine) and I was changing these every few days. By the way, dear reader, although this follows the time line from 1960-1963 it’s mixed in here although I will end this chapter with the events of November 22, 1963 and what these meant for me.

Anywho, if nothing else I didn’t have too many friends at school in Kinglassie where I attended from Easter 1959 until July 1960. Following our annual trek to Newcastle during the last fortnight in July (the Glasgow Fair when my dad’s work was closed for maintenance for two weeks). My mum found out she was pregnant (for the third time) and Graham and I were left in the care of our Nana in High Heaton. Of course we didn’t understand why, I was enrolled in High Heaton Primary school just over the road. I started in the September 1960 and hated it, everyone spoke with a Geordie accent but mine had been diluted into a Fife accent by then. Never good to stand out with a crowd of your peers when you’re only 5. Kids can be really cruel even more than adults. It was a relief when I came down with measles in January and after that I refused to go back to school.

When my dad brought my mum down to collect us and to show Paul off at the beginning of March 1961 I was so pleased to see them and more so when I found out I was going back home with Graham and the new baby. Paul was unique in so many ways, Graham and I had both been born in Newcastle General, Paul was born in the Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy, he was the youngest (still is by the way) and I never tried to kill him since I already had felt the pangs of jealousy when Graham arrived.

Having a new baby around meant the two bedroom’s we had in Kinglassie were no longer enough so dad started looking for a bigger house for us. In late 1961 we were told we were going to be moving to Glenrothes and moved in to our three bedroom house in Woodside in the January before school started after the Christmas break. In a huge change for me I was going to be attending the local Catholic Primary school which meant a bus ride morning and afternoon. As the “New Kid in Town” I was given a mentor, Philip, who introduced me to the “cool kids” in class and hung out with me at dinner time for the first week. After that I was left on my own and met another outsider who was picked on because of his size, Peter, and as the outsiders we got on well together and started to stick up for each other before we had properly been introduced. Anyway we seemed to hit it off and no-one tried to pick a fight with us because they quickly realised we could fight, I’d knock them down and Pete would sit on them.

I often walked home from school with Pete, and once I realised he would walk to school in the mornings as well we did that together as well. The 6d I was given for bus fare was spent on an apple every morning which we would share (a cooking apple was our favourite). We started hanging out after school, at weekends and during the school holidays quickly introducing our respective mums who also became good friends. I still hung out with my other friends who lived either side of us, even though they attended the local school, so not at school with me. Pete started hanging round at mine from time to time as my friends accepted him as well being my friend. I was getting a rather unique collection of friends around me. Following my first communion aged 8 (in 1962) I decided to take Latin lessons from the local priest and to become an altar boy. Within 8 weeks I could recite, and understand, all the prayers from the mass and was duly started as an altar boy.

For those who aren’t catholic (and I couldn’t care less what religion you follow dear reader) an altar boy is a youngster who assists the priest to celebrate the mass. I’ve no doubt that following on from the scandal concerning the church of Rome and priests which has been brought to light recently many will think, wrongly, that my priest abused me. Truth is no-one was ever abused by Father Grace to my knowledge. He was the best adult, apart from family, I knew at that time. He taught me Latin and all about philosophy, in fact he was the first adult who told me to take nothing I didn’t understand at face value. He taught me the wrongs of the world and, while not having any solutions he told me to work towards finding some.

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st_pauls_church_glenrothes_1st_pauls_church_glenrothes_2st_pauls_church_glenrothes_3st_pauls_church_glenrothes_4Welcome-to-Glenrothes

On November 22 in the year 1963 John F Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, TX. This didn’t just ripple through America, the effects were felt all over the planet. The cold war took a sudden turn for the worse, Cuba may have rejoiced at the time but the Soviet Union came to realise what a great man had died that day. Here in the UK a 9 year old cried at the loss of the man who was capable of leading the world towards a new age in space. Had he not said that before the end of the decade we would watch a man stand on our moon?

The next day a new sci-fi adventure was launched on BBC1 at 17:15 and Dr. Who gave us a new age look at the past and what may happen in the future. More to follow in Chapter 3: 1964 the year I turned 10.

Lonely Author: My First Pedicure

Ouch! As always dear reader please leave comments on the original post and not just here. Is it really that good getting a pedicure?

The Lonely Author

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“You never had a pedicure?” Stunned, my wife and daughter stared at me.

Maybe the Chimp needed to get in touch with his feminine side.

Coming home from my doctor’s appointment, I journeyed into a beauty salon.

To ignore the strange looks from the women I picked up a magazine.  Apparently, Caitlyn Jenner doesn’t feel like a woman anymore.

A tiny Asian woman led me to chair that stood above a tub. Removing my sneakers, socks, and rolling up my jeans, I sank my feet into the warm water.

I could get used to this.

I started clever salon conversation. “Are you excited about the new season of ‘The Voice?’”

The thin woman next to me made awful sounds with her gum as if she learned to chew by watching cattle grazing.

Forget the conversation.

This Chimp knows there’s no greater turn off than a man with crusty nails. So…

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Yep

Always a good week when this happens… Please leave comments for the author against the original blog post. Made me laugh which is why I’m sharing.

Adventures and Musings of an Arch Druidess

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Chapter 1: 1955-1959

This chapter isn’t going to be very long, owing to me being born in 1954 which I kinda covered in the prologue.

In 1955 we were living in a flat above a Newsagent (for those unfamiliar with the concept this was a shop selling newspapers (printed they were then on paper), tobacco and tobacco products (I hadn’t started smoking at that time so that wasn’t important) and sweets (candy for our cousins across the pond).

My cousin (Ann) used to baby sit me when she wasn’t at school on the odd occasions when my parents went out. I loved going round to hers (actually it was my Uncle John and Aunt Nella’s house) because she would put on her latest records, Buddy Holly, The Crickets, Jerry Lee Lewis and Cliff Richard were her favourites but she also had some by Chuck Berry and Little Richard. I had a preference for the American artists at that time. On a Friday night when my mum would take me round to her sisters, the adults would sit talking in the kitchen and Ann would take me into the living room to listen to the radio, hardly anyone had televisions in those days.

The biggest problem was the interference we used to get, I remember the signal fading in and fading out (just the same as Radio Luxembourg used to in the 1960’s). Or else she would take me upstairs into her room and put some of her records on. If her friend from around the corner came to visit then they would talk about girl things (just as well I was only a baby through most of this as it could have put me off girls completely for life). From 1956 onwards Ann started teaching me to read, starting me off with some simple Ladybird books and then moving up to her magazines (music ones she wasn’t going to start me reading her girlie ones which spoke about break-ups, periods and other intimate girl things). By the time my brother came along in August 1957 I was at the stage of being able to read almost anything. I asked Ann if I came across anything I didn’t understand (hence the reason for not letting me read her teenage girlie magazines).

The thing was that I would also be taken round to my Nana’s (my maternal Grandmother) who lived about 20 minutes walk away from us and my Uncle John, Aunt Nella and Ann. On occasion my Aunt Freda and Uncle Stan would be there with my other cousin, Stanley, who was 5 months older than me. We used to be called the Gemini Twins as we would do most things together whenever we met up. In these days there were no mobile phones (cell phones) and landlines (house phones) were rarer than televisions. My Nana had a television set, it was a rental set and absolutely massive with a very tiny screen, about the size of my iPad. Because two of my uncles (Uncle Bill (known as Buff) and Uncle Norman) lived there as well as my Aunt Joyce they had all clubbed together to get a television set in 1953 for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. I used to love going round there not just to watch tv but also to listen to some of my Uncle Norman’s records, he had some 78’s of Duke Ellington, Nina Simone and others that I can’t remember now. American Jazz was his favourite music. Ann, Stanley and I would stay there on Saturday mornings while our respective parents would go shopping with my Nana into Newcastle. I really loved those days of doing very little but having fun and listening to all this different music, Jazz and Rock ‘n’ Roll. Nothing much has changed as you will see as we go through this brief history of my youth.

In 1958 my dad started becoming home sick and missing his siblings and parents, but it was approximately 6 months into the year before he moved up to Scotland, taking a job with Alexanders bus company in Kirkcaldy. The three of us (Graham, mum and I) followed him up with all our belongings about two weeks later. We were living with my Grandmother and Grandfather in St. Andrews until we got our first Scottish council place in Kinglassie in late 1958. At this time both my parents smoked and mum hadn’t given up either time she was pregnant. There was no Catholic primary school in Kinglassie so I was enrolled in the Episcopalian school just up the road. We had to travel on two buses every Sunday to go to church (Kinglassie-Cardenden then Cardenden-Kirkcaldy) with another two to travel home again after mass.

Anyway, it was about this time that I started driving my mum up the wall, aged 4 I started school in September 1958 and screamed when my mum left me at the classroom door until she had cleared the grounds, I think it took me about 2 months to start talking to the other “stupid” kids who didn’t know how to read. After I turned 5 I had stopped carrying on when being left so my mum had started dropping me off at the school gates. Even at that young age I knew I didn’t want to be at school as they were all conspiring to hold me back. I was refused permission to join the library unless I stuck to the kids section which contained books I’d already read with Ann. I felt that I was too intelligent to remain at that school and anyway, they were all different to me. There was one kid who told me I should go back to where I’d come from and he started picking on me every day before school, during breaks and after school. Since he lived across the road it was kind of hard to avoid him. However, the bullying stopped when the new kid moved in next door to me and we started hanging out together, walking to school together, sitting next to each other in class and doing things together during breaks.

This was the start of a beautiful friendship, not just for me but also for Ann when she came to visit as Andy had an older sister who was about Ann’s age so they would get together whenever Ann was up for a visit. So here we are in 1959, that year for Christmas I remember I was given a Meccano set, a building set with metal parts (small scale) and the tools to put it all together.

I also got another building set consisting of boards, pegs and other pieces which all clicked together to form roads, bridges etc. Anyway, we always attended early mass on Christmas Day after Santa had been but couldn’t open any presents until after we returned home. More to come in Chapter 2.