And now, a word from our sponsor…

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My sister-in-law is doing a sponsored ‘sober October’ to raise money for Macmillan cancer. Please, if you can, give just a couple of pounds to this very worthy cause: No more than the price of a pint will do. She’s determined to raise £500 – any less than that, and it’ll drive her to drink! I’m sure she can rely on your generosity. Thank you very very very much 🍷🍸🍺🍹


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When I was in Manchester in the summer, I visited a magic art shop-cum-emporium which sold everything arty you could ever want ever. It went on for miles. I bought some things, brought them home, and forgot about them.

I sometimes get very restless in the evenings. I don’t want to sit and watch telly, I want to do something. So I reached for my dusty art supplies. 

They’re lovely. I’d forgotten I bought a beautiful black sketch book ((in which I will do colourful drawings) and a really really lovely plain book. The paper seems to be too nice to ruin with my scribbles, but that’s what I’ve done tonight. I got the bug. 

I’m not very good t drawing. They always turn out too… flat, somehow. So I try to make them look 3D (and usually fail). They don’t look 3D. They look flat and at an odd angle, but I don’t care. I drew them, they’re quirky, they’re mine. 

You don’t have to like them, but I do. So there. 

Gardening advice

  Weekly shop  
 Inside the inventor’s studio 

A glimpse into the neighbour’s 
Two posts in as many days? I spoil you lot. 


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all about me / mental health / ocd

I recently went on a nostalgia bender. That involves watching 1990s music videos on YouTube. Cher – Do You Belieeve in a Thiiiing Called Love! 4 Non Blondes! Madonna – Beautiful Stanger! Lou Bega! Len! And Soul Asylum…
Runaway Train was released when I was 14. I always liked it, if I thought it was a little sad. But I’d never watched the video. A little sad?!
It chronicles the details of about 12 children who have missing on America’s streets since 1990. Some, like Thomas Gibson (b 1988), have officially been pronounced dead. Others, like Byron Eric Page (b 1974) are still missing.
I remember Nearly Running Away. I wrote a note and packed my things and everything. I had my toothbrush and Chewy, my pink rabbit. Things at home weren’t like the events depicted in Runaway Train; my parents weren’t abusive or drunk. The reason I decided to run away was because I didn’t feel safe. Because I thought dad was out to get me.
I vividly remember being by the front door, with my toothbrush and cuddly rabbit, and, in the end, I went back upstairs. I think I ate the note (I used to eat paper). I don’t know what made me turn back, because my head was urging me to go. It was like an irresistible force, making me open the door. But I didn’t. If memory serves, I cried for days and prayed and cried and prayed. But I stayed at home.
That’s why this video resonated with me. I was very very very naïve. I would have been murdered or picked up by some awful pimp. And looking at the photos of these children, they would have been too. Wilda Mae Benoit has been left a cryptic message by her sister – he’s been sober a long time now – but I fear that for Wilda Mae, she was taken in by people who prey on the vulnerable. And she didn’t escape, much like I wouldn’t have done.
Watching this video, I not only keep the memory of Ginger Sue Gudson et al alive, but I give thanks I turned back all those years ago.
Otherwise I’d be included in some lust like that in the video. And I can’t emphasise how close an escape I had.

Resquiat in pacem, children.

My Holiday

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books / mental health

I’ve blogged before about Marian Keyes and how flippantly she seems to view OCD. (The book was Last Chance Saloon, and I really enjoyed it, OCD jokes excepted). Well, my audible credit rolled round again and I thought I’d give her another shot. And I’m glad I did.
Rachel’s Holiday is about Rachel Walsh, an Irish New York resident who enjoys recreational drugs. One night, she goes a bit too far and ends up having her stomach pumped. After that, she gets carted off to the Cloisters, an Irish Priory-type thing. Treating it as a holiday, she comes to terms with herself. It’s well worth a read.
It’s brought back memories for me as my time as an inpatient at the Priory. Whenever Rachel describes the Cloisters, I picture the Priory. I thank my lucky stars that I had a room to myself, unlike poor Rachel. But it ran deeper than that.
I was very lonely before I was admitted. I had come back from university and had no friends left in Bromley. I had just split up with my boyfriend of 7 years, who went on the rebound who forbade him from talking to me. My siblings are all gregarious and extroverted and had lived of their own. I was very, very alone.
Then 20th December saw me settling into my bedroom at the Priory. After a few tears, I went into the television room and there were sweets and oranges on the table. “Help yourself,” twinkled one of the inmates. I helped myself, then asked her why they were there (it was Hanukkah). Turns out that weren’t her sweets, but someone else’s, but that said sweet owner “wouldn’t mind”. And they didn’t.
That was the start. I made friends! We went out for NYE, we went out to Hayes High Street, we stayed in and watched television. I taught one inmate (the sweetie lady, in fact) how to purl. We made friends on Facebook. I even dated one of them.
Well, my social life took off and we eventually drifted. I accepted that I would never see these people again. Until…
I met Sally again. Completely by chance. At a church in Eltham. I didn’t recognise her, but she recognised me. Cue joyful reunion. A few weeks after we had met, she showed me a card I had given her upon her readmittance. It was a picture of Roald Dahl’s BFG and in it, I had pledged always being there. Of course, people drift and whatnot, but now we’re back in touch, I’m happy that I’ve fulfilled my promise to her.
What is the point of this blog post? Well, it’s to recommend Marian Keyes, to teach you not to judge a book by its cover (literally), and to tell you to cherish your friends. A bit cheesy, but why not text someone you’ve not spoken to for ages and see how they are. Not only will it help you with any loneliness, but you may well be helping them too.

Bzz bzz bzz

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colour / photos

“I’m your biggest fan
I’ll follow you until you love me

The term ‘paparazzo’ was (apparently) coined by Federico Fellini in his 1960 film La Dolce Vita. He had a character called Paparazzo who was a photographer, and sources vary, but Fellini thought the sound reminded him of an insect. I’ve also variously heard that it means ‘little sparrow’. Whatever, it means taking pictures of people. Which I might have done today…

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Holiday! Celebrate!

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In the immortal words of Madonna, “if we took a holiday / Took some time to celebrate / Just one day out of life / It would be, it would be so nice”. You know what? It is so nice.

In case you can’t tell, I’m on summer holiday, yippee! More to come, promise, but Ill leave you with this doodle I did. It is a weak pun on band names (one of many. I’ll post others soon).


Hospital trip

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all about me / mental health

I like visiting people in hospital. I like the smell and general cleanliness of hospitals. I don’t, however, like going to hospital for me.
Take today. I was in the outpatient section, which also doubles up as blood test waiting area. I have NEVER been able to have an injection. I’m not one of those people who “isn’t good with needles” – I’m seriously phobic. In school, I ran away during the BCG, and had to be brought back by a geography teacher. I then had the head and the deputy practically sit on me whilst I screamed and about three nurses gave me the injection. I was then sternly told not to come into school the next day. I am terrified of needles. It’s not that that I’m not good with them, or don’t enjoy them, but I am completely and utterly petrified.
So I’m in the blood unit, feeling queasy, when I was thinking about the last time I had a blood test. It was about this time last year, and the only parent either available or willing to come, I forget which, was my dad. Now, regular readers of this blog (hello mum!) will recall I have slight issues surrounding my dad. Specifically, him touching me. Don’t like it. It would have to be a very exceptional circumstance for my dad to touch me.

Well, as you can imagine, I was crying and screaming and generally getting hysterical. Shh shh shh, said dad. I turned my snot-bestreamed face to him. I don’t want this! I want to go home! I feel much better all of a sudden! – all came rushing out. The nurses (note the use of the plural) came in. They had a special baby needle they’d use, and they’d do it in my hand so I didn’t have to take my jumper off – like that was happening – and could you just relax, Maria, when –
“I want my dad!”
He’s already here, said one of the more irritable nurses. “No!” I screamed. “I want my real dad!” My father, who was not only having to watch his daughter in great distress, but having his reality called into question, gently piped up that he was there. And this shows how upset I was: I gave him a hug. I buried my face like his coat, like I’d done when I was 3 and they were using tweezers to get the rolled-up bits of tissue out of my nose (long story).
You see? clipped the no-nonsense nurse, your dad’s here. Nothing to worry about. And there wasn’t. For my OCD had met its match. I let dad hug me and, to an extent, hold me down. It was almost like having him back (I often feel like I had a different dad when I was younger).

So as I watched people trooping out with their cotton wooled elbows, I sat back and thought of that day. My dad had comforted me, and I had let him. We have had a couple of hugs since then, but that was the nearest I’ve got to being unafraid of him as I can get.
Every cloud.


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all about me / jetsetting lifestyle yah / photos

Bom dia! I’ve just returned from a very relaxing week in Portugal with my parents. All the time I was away, I didn’t ruminate, click my joints, pull my eyebrows, or walk in circles. Sudden I come back, however… One day at a time. Would you like to see some rubbishy iPhone photos? Yeah you would!

          We went in May.