Saturday, 30 September 2006

My mum and her family

Thanks for the comments this week.

I thought while I had a quiet moment I'd write a bit about my mum's family.  She was born in Myslowice in Poland in 1925 and moved as a small child to Berndorf in Austria.  When she was about 8 years old she then came to England with her mum and dad.  Her father was a zinc roller and his skills were in demand and a local firm bought them over here before the War so he could teach the continental methods at the local Rolling Mill.  It must have been very daunting to come over here without a word of English but I was to find out when I was older why they didn't want to settle in their home town.  My grandad quickly learned to speak English, as did Mummy (oooh, we always called her that, right to the end).  Mum had 3 languages at 8 years old.  Mummy spoke so well she sounded like a lady and I was always proud of her when she came up to my school when I was in trouble etc.,  they used to get a shock after me with my London accent!

My Granny, Victoria, was a very difficult lady and out of the five of us kids, she only really seemed fond of my eldest sister.  Now I am older I realise why she was like that.  My Grandad led her a dance and I will tell you more below.  She couldn't speak a word of English and was also illiterate.  Apparently they only educated boys when she was young.  She was quite a plain looking lady with quite a big bosom.  She used to make us giggle when we were young because she would read the paper upside down at times.  We never realised she couldn't read and when I saw her passport many years later, her signature was a thumb print.  I remember she used to make us very beautiful dresses and she made the best egg and chips and always allowed us to put our own tomato sauce on and it was unlimited, not like at home!  They had a very long garden and used to grow lots of veg.  They had a shed at the bottom where they had lots of chickens, which they used for food.  They also had a big barrel with a lid on, which used to contain sauerkraut and I remember my Granny skimming off the old bit of the top and using what was underneath as it was still good.  I think they must have only done this in the winter though.  They still had the Anderson shelter but had filled it in and used that to grow things under too.  She had a little enclosed garden which had all different herby plants in, one of which was sorrel.  Well, I can't tell you what beautiful soups she used to make.  Her sorrel soup was to die for and I wonder if I will ever have it in my life again.  I can still taste that soup.

She was older than my granddad, who was a very dapper man.  There were quite a few Poles in London at the time and they all used to get together through events held in Islington at the Devonia Church, which was a Polish Church with a big hall underneath, where they had dances and social evenings.  They also had get togethers round each other's homes, where they drank their vodka and played cards -- and some other games I think.  Grandad was a great womaniser and my mum told me of many affairs he had had during the marriage which always ended with a big fight between granny and grandad and him being pulled back into line.  My granny must have had a hard life with him and I wonder why she didn't leave but what could she have done living here, not speaking any English and so far from home. 

My mum got married at the age of 16 but that is another story.  About 5 years before she died, she came to see me and told me that she had something terrible to tell me.  I shook with fear because I thought she had something wrong with her.  What she did tell me was that my Granny was not her mother.  Apparently Grandad had been carrying on with a young girl in Poland and when mummy was born, the child was handed over to him and my Granny, saying she is your child you bring her up.  Granny and Grandad never had any other child, perhaps my Granny couldn't have any but it must have been very difficult for her to bring up another woman's child and especially with her husband still carrying on all the time.  My mum was mortified about it all and it must have been really hard for her to tell me.  Things were a lot different for her generation I suppose and mum was embarrassed by it.  She had never been told by Granny and Grandad, she had been poking around when she was young and found some papers and found out that way.  When Granny and Grandad had passed away she discussed it with a Polish cousin, who filled her in on the great scandal.  I can only think that is the reason why they never settled back in Poland.  I suppose I was shocked to hear it at almost 40 years old but also felt very honoured that mum had confided in me.  I asked her to write her birth mother's name down and she wrote it on a Club biscuit wrapper which I still treasure.  Hmm, I am a strange girl with my little memories on my Club biscuit wrapper.  She said she would tell my 3 sisters and brother but could never find it in herself to do so and they only found out after she died.  They were a bit resentful that she had only told me but she probably had more time alone with me (I was her youngest girl) than them and I think that is why.  I showed them all the wrapper, so they could see her writing.  They all too felt how strange it was because we never thought for a minute that our Granny was not her mother.  Its funny because before I knew I had called mum one night and pretended to be Cilla, saying surprise surprise.  We never knew there was anyone missing!  There is a lot more on my mum to tell but the strangest thing is that mum had not been back to Poland for many years and had gone there 2 years on the trot to see her cousins.  The second time she became suddenly ill and died at the age of 69 in the same hospital she was born in.  Ahhh.

There is a lot more on this but I feel I have gone on quite a bit, so I will write more another time.



Saturday, 23 September 2006

Saturday again

Well here I am again.  Another Saturday and its the wedding today of Roseanne and Glenn.  The sun is shining and I hope that it stays like this, yesterday was so blimming miserable with really heavy rain and I was worried that it would be like that today.  The wedding is at 3.30, so we have lots of time to get ready, I can't stand those weddings that start early.  It will probably still be a mad rush for us to get there on time though.  I got myself a new lippy yesterday, so at least my lips will look stunning!  I had a bit of a disastrous haircut this week, why is it they never do it like you want it done.  I am sure it looks nothing like the picture I took in ... oh well, lets see what me and my blowdryer can do later.  I have a lovely new top from M&S to wear, its cream and sleeveless and got all little shelly things around the neckline.  Oh, I hope no-one else is wearing the same, thats the only trouble with getting things from M&S.  I'll just have to keep my jacket on if I see someone else with it on!

I like Saturday mornings.  Its one of the only times Paul and I can sit quiet and have a chat.  Kids are still asleep, lazy so and so's.  Sometimes if we leave them we can get a bit of peace until about 11.  Rosie never stops talking from the minute she gets up.  Matthew is a bit like Kevin first thing, so at least he is quiet, ha ha.

I had a half day off yesterday afternoon.  Got home and had a really good tidy up and am now sitting wondering why it is a mess again?  It looks like I did nothing.  I can't believe how this house is such a tip all the tip, whatever I do.  Its just like groundhog day.

Got the telly on and its Colin Fry with Sixth Sense.  Paul says he doesn't believe it any of it but he always puts it on (for me??).  I love those programmes but not that keen on Colin Fry, I like the big blonde chap he gets on there at times.  He seems more genuine.  Can't stand that Derek Ancorah, with his oooohing and ahhhhing.  John Edward is pretty cool, I don't care really what he says but he has lovely lips.  I have always had an interest in this but although I hope there is something afterwards, I have not yet had proof.  I remember after my mum died I thought I would like to try to have a reading and decided to go to Belgrave Square in London at the Spriritualist Association or whatever its called.  I was not impressed with what I was told and so I decided that it was because I didn't really believe, so made my sister Chris come up there with me to get her read.  Poor Chris.  Anyway, she didn't get anything great either, so since then I have left that alone.  My niece is supposed to be psychic (can't spell it) and she also reads the tarot cards but there is no point her doing me, she knows everything about me.  In the quest of trying to get some news of loved ones, Carolyne, Chris and I have gone to the spiritualist church locally a few times and Chris has been quite miffed when both Carolyne and I have been told we are pychic especially when I am such a sceptic.  So, even though I am supposed to have this talent, I have never had any psyhcic experience whatsoever although I do live in hope!  I'd be interested to hear of anyone elses experiences.

Have a great weekend everyone.



Sunday, 17 September 2006

This and that

Yesterday I must have visited every rotten shoe shop in Harlow in the quest for a pair of shoes for Rosie for the wedding next week.  She has a nice dress she wore last year and which luckily still fits but her feet have gone up 2 sizes since then.  At one point she wanted a pair of 4 inch bright red heels from New Look, can you believe.  Anyway, finally found a (yes, red) pair of lowish shoes for her in Asda, which she was quite thrilled with and they do go with her dress.  Its all boots and black shoes everywhere, I should have looked earlier but there you go, job done and it only took 3 hours.  I bumped into my friend, Mary's daughter when we were in New Look.  Mary was my best friend but I lost her last her when she had a stroke, she was only 56.  She was lovely, an Irish dynamo.  I met her on the train years ago when she used to go up to Victoria where she ran a taxi shelter (a little hut) like a cafe for all the taxi drivers.  It was really small inside but Mary was only about 4ft 10ins, so had no trouble fitting in.  Her husband, Ron, was a taxi driver and that was how she had met him years before when he came in for a cup of tea.  She had a hard life, she was one of 14 kids in a small cottage from a village near Cork.  Her mother got fed up and when one of her older daughters had settled over here, she buggered off and left Mary, who was one of the oldest, to look after the kids, including a young baby, and never went back.  I suppose you can't blame her, she was pregnant all the time and it was the only way of escaping.  Anyway, I had known Mary for over 20 years and after she finished with the taxi shelter, she bought a cafe in our village and ran than for a few years before she started up an ironing business.  The woman never stopped, if she was not ironing, she was child minding or mowing the lawn.  She was a terrible swearer, one of my friends used to call her f******ing Mary!  But that was Mary.  She had such a big heart and had had some terrible things happen in her life.  She was a great friend to me when the kids came to live with me and helped looking after them before and after school.  We took a trip last January to her home town for a family party.  I am so glad we did that.  It was lovely to see where she was born, which was the back of beyond and she showed me how far she used to have to walk to go to town etc.  She was so funny, she nicked everything everytime we went for a cup of coffee etc.  She came back with loads of new cups and milk jugs.  I threatened her with death if she nicked anything from our B&B!  She was looking after Matthew and Rosie and driving to pick up her daughter when she had her fatal stroke.  Thank god she pulled over as it started to take effect with a terrible headache.  The kids managed to call for help, it was terrible and very traumatic.  I miss her so much.  She made the best cup of tea and I have not had one since.  Oooh I have gone on here a bit.

The two young lovers, Martin and Julia, are still getting on well.  I am waiting for the next drama (lol).  She is really nice though and she did tidy up for me yesterday when I was out on my expedition!

We had a great evening last night watching Maria.  Didn't think much of that Connie one though.  She seems too over the top.  We were all hoping Helena would win but our favourite Maria was Abbie, ahh.

Just had a shower and will out again to go to local car boot in a little while.  I also have to go to M&S to get a wedding present and am still looking for a shirt for Matthew.  I might pop in and see my sister, Chris, while I am out and about.  She is a great girl.  She had a masectomy about 5 years ago now and is alwas upbeat and cheerful, despite us losing Andrea and Barbara.  She works with me up London, so its great seeing her every day.  We have had quite a few adventures together.  She is the second and I am the fourth in the family. 

Anyway, done the quiz, see below.

1. yourself: miserable cow

2. your husband: miserable sod

3. your hair: Excellence No.6

4. your mother:lost 1994

5. your father: lost 1973

6. your favorite items: fan, handbag

7. your dream last night: can't remember

8. your favorite drink: diet coke

9. your car: Vauxhall Astra

10. the room you are in: messy one

11. your ex boyfriend/girlfriend: can't remember

12. your fear: rats, mice

13. where you want to be in 10 years: sitting pretty

14. what you're not: rich, young

15. your best friends: Paul, Alex

16. one of your wish list items: menopause over

17. the last thing you did: showered

18. what are you wearing: towel

19. your favorite weather: cool, windy

20. your favorite zoo animals? tigers, meercats

21. your thought for the day?love Sunday

22. your favorite book: can't remember

23. last thing you ate: cheese snips

24. your life: busy, good

26. your body: oooh eerrrr

27. what are you thinking about right now: blimming quiz

28. your crush: Ronan Keating

29. what are you doing at the moment: thinking, sweating

30. your fall schedule: hopefully not

Catch you later.


Saturday, 16 September 2006

Weekend/Good book

Oh well another Saturday is here.  I am faced with a mountain of washing and ironing again, ho hum! 

Kids are all asleep.  They are worn out after a week at school, bless them!  I changed my working hours this week which is great at the start of the day as I have more time but am getting home half an hour later which made it manic last night trying to get everyone fed and Matthew up to Scouts for 7.25 ... yes, he ended up being a little late.  Then a quick dash to the library before it shut at 8pm to pic up a book, Step by Wicked Step, for Rosie that she ordered as they are doing something about it at school.  She is a great reader too and also an avid TV fan - hmmm.  Matthew has now started reading a lot more and is enjoying the Horrid Henry books, which surprisingly keeps him occupied for an hour at a time.  As you know, Matthew goes to a special needs school and things are a bit more difficult for him and the fact that he has started to do this is really amazing.  Normally, he loves to play on his Nintendo DS or Playstation or kicking a ball into either my fence or the goal in the garden.  I think his teachers at school wil be amazed that he is now doing this of his own free will.

Matthew really enjoys going to Scouts.  He has been a member now for almost 3 years and I must say that they are wonderful with him and very patient.  He really liked one of the chaps who was running the troop and I was a bit worried when we found out he was leaving at the end of this summer but Matthew still is ok about going and enthusiastic about all the events coming up.  They certainly keep busy, this summer they took the troop off to Barra!  Barra is blimming miles away from Hertfordshire and is in the Hebrides.  They had a wonderful time, all coming home adorned in ticks!  I was a bit worried but the leaders take everything in their stride and they all had a wonderful time.  They sent home a disc last week and it looked like a lovely place where you can really get away from everything.  Although its a small island it has its own hospital and shops where you can get everything.  Coming up soon for Matthew are a few night hikes and weekend camps.  I think the people who work in the Scouting movement are wonderful, they give up so much personal time so that kids can have a lot of fun and also give them values and teach them about comradeship and self-sufficiency and all children are welcome whatever their ability.

Rosie is still settling into secondary school.  It seems that some of the older girls are real cows, picking on the younger ones, swearing etc.  I have told Rosie not to react and then they will get fed up doing it near her.  I would like her to learn new vocabulary but when she repeated what had been said to her yesterday it made me wince!  She is pretty fiesty and I know its hard for her not to react but we'll see what the coming weeks bring.  I certainly intend to mention it when I meet the teacher, I actually think the older girls are bullying by doing it.  Rosie seems to enjoy the sparring but its not really on.  There was me thinking all the older girls would be welcoming .... last week Rosie was the girl with the bum bag and freakishly long skirt ... wonder what next week will bring!

Martin, my older nephew aged 28, is still living with us.  He has an on/off relationship with Julia who lives in Staffordshire.  Well, last night I dropped him at the station as he was going up to Shoreditch, London, to a nightclub to meet up with his work friends for a do.  Got up this morning and noticed a gold coloured flip flop  .... then found a note to say that Julia was staying ... now I wonder where they found each other, was she just passing by or did she bump into him up there, all very strange!  She is a lovely girl though and if my luck is in I might be able to play on her good nature and get her to help with some ironing and things, keep your fingers crossed.

Next week we are off to a wedding.  It's my husband, Paul's, best friend's daughter, Roseanne, getting married.  She has been with her boyfriend for a few years now and they have a lovely little girl aged 2 called Ella.  They are a lovely couple and she is also my goddaughter.  She has asked Rosie to do a reading of a poem at the service.  Rosie can't wait as she loves to do things like that.  The kids are really excited as they haven't been to a "proper" all day wedding before and I must go out later this afternoon and get Rosie some shoes and Matthew a new shirt to wear. 

We're all looking forward to the final of "Maria" tonight.  The kids and I love all these programmes and can't wait for X factor to start properly.

I have started to be brave and to post my comments on other people's blogs.  I am really enjoying this! 

By the way, I have read a good book this week written by Ruth Ellis' sister.  Do you know that Ruth Ellis' trial only lasted a day and a half before they found her guilty?  I can't believe it.  Anyway, this book is really interesting and her sister brings up a lot of anomalies, implying that it was all a set up with spy stuff etc. involved.  The book is called Ruth Ellis, My sister's secret life by Muriel Jakubait, if anyone wants to get it from the library.  I manage to do quite a bit of reading on the train to and from work as the journey is about 50 mins. 

Anyway, over and out for now.

Have a great weekend.


Sunday, 10 September 2006

School and all that

I can't believe how hot it is today, wish we'd had more days like that when I was off work!

The last week has been busy with both the kids back at school.  Rosie started secondary school on Monday and I was a bit worried about she would settle in as she had a major wobble during the last half term of primary.  She really wanted to go to this school and we had a lot of problems getting her into it after the allocations last year, when she was given her third choice!  Its a girls only school and already she has been called "bumbag girl" and told she has a freakishly long skirt plus a few other choice things (oh well, its a girls school!!) .... anyway, I've suggested she gets drops the bumbag but she doesn't want to - she does have a strong spirit, so we'll see whether she'll continue to want to be different, I hope so.  My sister would be so proud of her.  Its been 4 years now since we lost her mum Barb to breast cancer and Rosie and her brother, Matthew, came to live with me and my husband, they were then 7 and 8.

Matthew went back to school on Tuesday.  He goes to a special needs school and is now 13 but he is the youngest in his class being born at the end of August.  He has dyspraxia and some other probs.  He is great at reading though and although he can be difficult at times on the whole he is not a bad boy.  He never forgets anything that is important to him and is very precise about wanting to know whats going on and likes to keep to routine.  He always like to help me and would never let me carry anything heavy.  He and Rosie argue like cat and dog, they are the best of friends and the worst of enemies!  Just like all kids, I suppose.

I was one of 5 children.  I lost my eldest sister, Andrea, in 1999 to breast cancer and then we lost Barb in 2002.  My sister, Chris, has also had breast cancer and had a masectomy in 2001 but has just had her 5 year all clear.  She is a great girl, I'll tell you more about them all another time.  I also have a brother Peter, there was 16 years between him and Andrea, so he really suffered having 4 big sisters.

My friend Alex had her baby Ruby yesterday, she was 8lb 4oz and about 5 days overdue.  I just can't wait to see her and to talk to Alex.  I really miss working with Alex, she was like a little sister to me.  I work with about 12 girls, some nice and some very difficult.  I am back to doing full weeks now but still plan to take 3 weeks unpaid leave on top of my annual leave of 5 weeks 2 days next holiday year (starts 1st Oct) so I can manage to cover school hols etc.  I have promised myself at least one day to myself, where I will be alone, no housework, no kids and doing something nice just for me!

Yesterday, we spent a lazy day at home - just a minute it wasn't that lazy, I cleaned and I washed and ironed for England and still have loads to do later on today.  I didn't even bother going to the supermarket until about 6 to get the week's shopping.  Then I got charged £34 for 2 £3 quiches!  I thought my bill was high and then checked it as I walked away from the till, so heres a warning you cannot trust them on them blimming tills!  I even said as I paid that I thought it was a lot for what I had.  She had keyed in 21 instead of 2.  Quite often I have thought my shopping has come to a lot but I will be checking like a hawk in future.

We've just got back from the car boot.  The kids love it there and have come back with lots of things, Matthew managed to sneakily get a bb gun, which has been confiscated until his big brother is here to supervise him.  Can you imagine if I let him loose with it ....  It was his birthday the other week and so he has money in his pocket to get his dream things.  Shame.  I got myself a book called Wild Cat about Jessie Wallace, I do like a good biography.  Rosie has a few Beezer and Topper Annuals, she loves comic books and particularly the Beano but she has most of those old Annuals going back a few years now after going up the car boot regularly.  One day the ceiling will fall down with what she has got up there.  In fact I am going up this afternoon to try to clear a space for her as she starts her homework this week and I think it will be better if its clutter free for her to do some up there.

Dinner today is honey and mustard chicken tonight with greens, carrots and mash, mmmmm!

Over and out for now.


Thursday, 7 September 2006

Getting up to date

Well, I haven't been keeping up with this very well.

Got back from our holiday at Pontins the other week and Rosie aged 11 won the talent competition reciting her Lion and Albert.  She won a weekend to compete in the final at Prestatyn in December and she is really excited about it.  She has a busy week as she started her secondary school on Monday.  We had an almighty fight to get her in after they allocated a school which wasn't even near to us.  Thank goodness it ended happily and I hope she will enjoy her new school as its the one she had as her first preference.

I am back at work full time now after having worked a 4 day week during the school holidays.  My work are very understanding and it has made life more stress free for me, apart from having to play catch up there all the time.  I work as a secretary nr the Tower of London and have to travel for about 1 hour each way to get there.  I have worked there for 30 years almost can you believe!!

Heres a happy holiday picture.