A blog by Boo

A blog by Boo

A blog by Boo

Random stuff that I think about

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Story telling..

May 12, 2010

The power of story telling as I discussed with a proper Communications person yesterday is the authenticity, the realness the truth. In environments of mistrust or lack of confidence story telling can help build a safe platform for growth, development and can often energize people once more.

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I was born on the 6th June 1960 – a remarkable date in history and a lovely date to be able to say is your birthday, however, some people on my travels have been spooked by the three 6’s. I hope this book and the story of my life will prove that these three numbers are nothing to do with Satan or the devil, but for me are special and I am proud of my life and how it has panned so far…….

I had quite a normal birth by all accounts, in a nursing home called Chatsworth House in Prestatyn, North Wales. My mum was a normal mum and my dad was in the Army, which proved to make our family life not so normal, which my story will explain. According to mum she married dad to get away from home, she didn’t even fancy him in the beginning as he was a blind date! According to her, the first time she met him, he had a bikers helmet on and a scarf over his face and introduced himself at the chemist where she worked. However, she soon fell for the charms of the Williams family, with our big blue eyes, pearly white teeth and ever so charming personalities!!! She did try, and get rid of him on a few occasions, but my dad is not a quitter and finally got her to marry him October in 1958.
As we all do at sometimes in our lives we try and think back as far as we possibly can, there are snippets of images here and there but nothing very tangible that I can go on, I can vaguely remember my Dad coming back from some posting or another with a beard and being completely spooked by this face looming towards me demanding a kiss, to this day I cannot stand facial hair. Dad says it was about 1963 when we lived in Colchester and he had come back from exercise. Exercise being a military term for going away to some unknown destination to fight, keep peace or general do stuff that us civilians can only dare imagine, which takes you away from home and your family for what seems eternity to them. Another memory was of running away from Kiwi school in Bulford at the age of 4, because frankly only one person in my class sucked their thumb like I did, so i didn’t think it was a very nice school at all. I also remember we had a lovely dog called Tarquin and I adored him, half Labrador half boxer but soft as they come. We would play for hours and when I wet my knickers once, he helped me dig a hole in the garden and bury them. Unfortunately for me my dad was a stickler for fibs and made me own up to the pair he found whilst weeding. Another time he reminded me of his stickler for fibbing was when I was sent to buy a loaf of bread and on the way home my friend and I became peckish, so we ate some. On getting back to the house dad enquired as to why there was a ruddy great hole in the bread and being a quick thinking four year old I replied it “must have been mice in the shop” – I don’t remember much about the beating I got with a belt for that, but I do remember mum sitting me on a cold work surface and me saying that I will remember the searing pain in my bottom forever, did it stop me telling lies? Nope! Which is why I have never hit my daughter, sad fact of life, hitting does not work!!
Another memory is of living in Bahrain, Dad had been fighting in Aden for quite a long time, and I think the Sheikh (Isa bin Sulman al Khalifa) needed some sort of protection from his cousin in Jordan, so who else to do the job but the British army.
Quite often the hot sandy desert and camels would periodically be led down the road by the local villagers and their snorting nostrils peered over the wall of our block of flats. The often bartering of dinars for locks of my brother’s glorious blonde hair (which I would unceremoniously cut off using mums nail scissors) and swopping old newspapers for chappaties from the locals. The guy used to spit on his hands before crafting the unleavened bread and slapping it on the hot oven for us to take

Karen

May 12, 2010

this is absolutely lovely stuff… keep going x

boo5

May 13, 2010

The guy used to spit on his hands before crafting the unleavened bread and slapping it on the hot oven for us to take home to our proud parents……..little did we know that my poor old brother had contracted Tuberculosis this way, but for now the virus was just sitting there minding its own business. There were daily trips to the Sheikhs beach in which we were treated like royalty by the emir of Bahrain. On one occasion being the usual shy retiring person that I am, I was quite affronted to say the least to have to be served with Lemon cake. I clearly remember mentioning it to my dad, who I think quite nonchalantly suggested I explain my displeasure to said King!! So I did! I went up to him sitting there in all his white finery, pulled on his tunic and as he turned to look at me I explained in an eight year old voice “I don’t like lemon cake”. Without even battering an eyelid this lovely small man, clapped his hands and in a trice one of his servants was by his side, “what sort of cake would you like” he enquired with the deepest brown eyes I ever did see. “Chocolate Cake” with that I trotted off to our family “table” within what seemed minutes, several pieces of yummy chocolate cake arrived and I duly tucked in and ate the lot. Another adventure I remember was when for some reason all our cars were set alight under the car ports where we lived. I am not sure why this was, but I have a notion it was some sort of protest against us Brits being there. Another fond memory was of being accepted in the Brownies, and being trotted off to Manama to be measure up by one of the locals and a few days later collecting my brownie uniform. I felt so proud, my grandfather Jim had been staying with us and I took great delight in showing off the amount of badges I had already accumulated. I remember sitting for hours and hours learning the lines…”I promise that I will do my best, to do my duty to God, and to serve the queen and to keep the brownie guide law” whilst hold to tightly clenched fingers up to my brow. Frighteningly 40 odd years later I can still recite it. I was once abused by a babysitter – nothing major actually, but in today’s eyes it was abuse all the same, but being eight, and told from day one that adults were always right and should never be questioned, I let him touch me in a way a grown man shouldn’t. It never has bothered me, and I have not had to have counselling nor need it, but warrants a mention in my story as the incident was part of me growing up, it became something that I could empathise with when being told of much worse abuse by people I came in contact with, and actually I should point out now that this story isn’t about abuse at all, its about how everyone goes through loss, trauma, sadness, things that are not nice, but can always make the decision to do something about it. To not sit there and feel sorry for yourself and accepting your lot, but to strive on for all those hopes and dreams that you are entitled to. Nothing in this world is impossible if you can imagine it, as a dear friend once said to me…if you dare to dream.
After Bahrain came a lot of moving and new schools such as Aldershot and Germany. Germany was interesting, my stay here has lots of great memories, from learning to ride on free lessons having mucked out stables for weeks on end! And I actually got very good at it, riding that is, not mucking out stables. Making fires in the woods with school friends and playing pretend armies with my dads old khaki shirts and using bottle tops for pips on the shoulders! In Germany my brother and I got to up to all sorts of mischief and had barrels of laughs, from nicking mums St. Moritz menthol fags which she got cheap from the Naafi to have a sneaky smoke in the pavilion, to hassling the baby sitter to let us play “what mixture is this” which consisted of us putting into a tumbler a teaspoon of whatever we could find in the food cupboard and then the other guessing as to its composition. I was a bit mean to my brother, as I do remember mixing agastura bitters, with daddies sauce and sugar! Needless to say the sugar and daddies sauce had no impact whatsoever on my brothers taste buds, but the bitters did, and not only that caused a massive onslaught on his bowels the next morning, oh the joys of little brothers.

Karen

May 15, 2010

your writing is rich and delicious … a book surely
x

boo5

May 15, 2010

Mum and Dad used to have little cocktail parties, not sure why, didn’t care at that age, but these would be a wonderful source of playing up and showing off. One particular night we had been peering through the banisters like Jane and Michael Banks in Mary Poppins and waving to various visitors when we were told sternly to “go to bed” by mum. My instinctive stubborn self wasn’t going to put up with any of that draconian nonsense so I convinced my brother that a wonderful game of sliding down the banisters was best for our morale at a time that it dipped due to lack of attention! Dad heard the giggles and laughter as we slithered down two flights of banisters and was heard to say “right, if you are not in bed by the time I get up there you are going to be smacked.” Of course, my sprightly young brother was able to jump off the banister and jettison himself into his bed before you could blink, but not I, oh no, I was wearing a bright red, winceyette nighty from Woolworths that decided to get caught on the knob at the end of the first flight, dads footsteps stomping on the stairs were getting louder and louder and the more I struggled the more the bloody nighty got tangled…..Whack! I was un-hinged from the banister and literally dragged to by bed, followed by another whack! I think my dad was not amused, he stormed out of the room, muttering something like I should go to sleep like my brother, failing to see this heaving mound on the other side of the room, jiggling about with laughter and muffled sounds of joyous chuckling at his big sisters punishment….I was, however, to pay him back for that many times over, my brother I mean….and actually, my dad too!
Another memory which we often recall is the day my best friend and I decided that my brother and her sister should join our “army”, we had it all planned. She was Colonel Abu, I was Major Nerak, bro was corporal hicr, and my best friends little sis was corporal nilliag…. Okay its not clear, but Alison was known as Abu, I was Karen, bro is Rich and her sister was Gillian, so we weren’t that good at spelling backwards, but that doesn’t matter when you are forming the next generation of fighting forces. Anyway, armed with wooden pretend guns made of sticks and a box of matches, stolen bacon, egg and sausage plus the dirtiest smelliest old pan we could steal we marched off the “the woods”. This army was hungry so decided to make a little fire of dried old bits of leaf and cooked our “booty” it was lovely….we were just about putting the fire out, stomping frantically in every direction so it didn’t spread and trying to wipe the sooty tell tale marks from our faces when a German woodsman appeared shouting what we thought was “I am going to shoot you, you nasty mean vicious army personnel” – in true Abu style she proceeded in doing the now illegal Hitler salute shouting “handi hoc mein fuhrer” …I wasn’t staying around to be shot so I legged it with corporal nilliag and dived behind a pile of mango wurzels. The woodsman now got his gun and started to point in in Colonel Abu’s and corporal hicr’s direction. I was hunched down trying as hard as I could to think of a way of explaining the demise of my brother to my mum, without of course admitting that we had been lighting fires in this protected wood. All of a sudden in true military style, Colonel Abu and corporal hicr leapt over our heads and shouted “leg it, he’s going to shoot us”. We don’t recall what happened next, we probably passed out, but I know that we didn’t go back to cooking in the woods for a long time.
Our next adventure as the fantastic four was when we decided to increase our collection of toys by means of obtaining goods without paying. It wasn’t stealing, it was a game, and for days on end we would marvel at the simplicity of leaning over the NAAFI counter in the baggiest top you could and using especially adapted front pockets, lifting little toys, books, sharpeners, rubbers and legging it out of the store before anyone saw you. I don’t know how long this went on, but I remember thinking that my mum is not going to carry on believing that I had such generous friends that would

Karen

May 22, 2010

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