Spiders…

Eight words per line to give it legs…

I try to like them, I really do

But they make me freeze to the spot.

It might be the way that they scurry

Or that they can disappear in a shot.

 

Money spiders are just about acceptable, to me;

It’s a case of the bigger, the scarier.

I shudder when thinking of their multiple legs

And, if they are bigger, are they hairier?

 

I first remember being scared by the beasts

When I was just a very young daughter –

Mum rushed to check out my bloodcurdling screams

A huge one in my glass of water!

 

Another nightmare with spiders that I have endured

Was the day after a night of frivolity

Showering whilst hungover and the bath left unchecked –

Two of the blighters had joined me!  Eeek!

 

And here is one that I spun earlier… 

SPIDER 

My five year old daughter spied the spider.

Its fierce form stopped scuttling to review and then

It scurried to under sofa ‘safety’

It was no place to hide.  With sobs again

The girl came seeking comfort and I saw

A stream of tears on her blotched cheeks

I soothed her so her shock was not so raw.

Finally she smiled, and then her face lit up

As I found the spider’s hiding place

And a piece of paper and a plastic cup.

(My daughter is 19 now!)

Love Mandy xcobweb-morgentau-dew-dewdrop-53367.jpeg

 

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D Words…

I have been a bit strapped for time as I am full-time at the moment.  It was only meant to be a full time post for 3 months in August 2017, but here I am, always tired, sometimes grouchy! and not much spare time to speak of.  Don’t get me wrong, though, I absolutely love the extra responsibility and the challenge of my temporary role.  I thrive on it!  It is just time consuming and I don’t have much time to do ‘me’ things too.  I have booked Monday and Tuesday off to have some family time and some adventures, a few hours reading, a train trip, a few hours on Fortnite (latest obsession) and I am making time to write.  I miss writing.  I love writing.  So tonight, with The Voice on in the background, (Donel Mangena to win – he is fabulously talented!) I have a window of writing opportunity.

With Donel in mind, and my daughter home from uni until Tuesday, I thought that I would do my top ten of ‘d’ words… (alphabetical order, of course)…

Dad…

The best dad in the world.  Sometimes grumpy, like his daughter, but always the best.

Dancing…

I really cannot dance (or sing) but I like to boogie along to whatever I put on the Sonos in the kitchen when I’m cooking or cleaning.  At present it is mainly Dua Lipa, The Script, Eminem and AC/DC. A nice variety of dances there! Do what makes you happy; dance like nobody’s watching!

Danielle…

My beautiful and kind-hearted daughter.  I am so proud of her, I don’t know where to start.  She was such a delightful young girl, very placid, kind, funny and loving.  She was a little quieter than some of the children on the playground and, as a consequence, was picked on at school.  She is now my 19 year old independent university-dwelling angel and I miss her every single day that she is not here.  I don’t think that she is coming back home to live L. She can sing; her voice is amazing.  Even though she was bullied, it never deterred her from standing on a stage in front of a room full of people and singing her heart out.  She has a unique and angelic voice although she may disagree.  Her most outstanding performance for me was ‘The Lord Is My Shepherd’; the best rendition that I have ever heard.  The bullies are a distant nightmare now and she is thriving at university with new friends and goals.  She wants to visit Japan.  Go, Dani, enjoy yourself especially whilst you are young.  Just make sure you eat properly and look after yourself!  Wise words from mother.  XXX

Denim…

I’m a jeans and t-shirt kind of woman.  I don’t dress up much.  I like to feel comfy.  Again, maybe a self conscious thing but I like what I like.

Diversity…

‘The concept of diversity encompasses acceptance and respect.
It means understanding that each individual is unique, and recognizing our individual differences.  These can be along the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies.  It is the exploration of these differences in a safe, positive, and nurturing environment. It is about understanding each other and moving beyond simple tolerance to embracing and celebrating the
rich dimensions of diversity contained within each individual.’ (http://gladstone.uoregon.edu/~asuomca/diversityinit/definition.html)

I think that diversity should be embraced by all.  Why there are still segregations in society, I just don’t know.  I don’t have any answers.

Dogs…

They say that people are either a dog person or a cat person.  I am both, for sure.  When I was young I longed for a dog.  I had cuddly dogs that I pretended were real; I took them for walks around the block and sat them on my knee to pet.  My mum wanted a dog too but my dad put his foot down.  My mum had had dogs when she was growing up, her favourite was Patch.  I am now the proud owner of a cheeky, cute and cuddly Shih Tzu.  I love her to pieces.  I wanted a bigger dog but my OH wanted no dog, so a little dog was a good compromise.  Now that I have her, I don’t want any other dog – unless I can have two tzus!  She is a beauty.  Also, my dad has relented and my mum has a cocker spaniel.  My dad treats her like the baby of the family!  Woof!

Dramas…

I do like to get lost in a good television drama.  I get really involved in the whole story and have been known to binge watch dramas rather than wait week after week.  I like the suspense but I also like to know.  The writing, production and cast all have to be spot on to make the perfect tv drama and the following ones have not disappointed me. I always wonder how the next great drama can equal or outdo the last one.  ‘Lost’ almost made my top ten list – I sat on the edge of my seat every week wondering what would happen next.  And, I am not shallow, but Josh Holloway, oh my! It didn’t quite make my top ten cut as I was not overly impressed with some of the storylines or the ending but it did not take away the overall thrill of watching it week in, week out.  Here are the ones that come to mind that make the top ten (alphabetically, of course)…

24, Breaking Bad, Dexter, The Fall, Game of Thrones (my favourite of favourites – if you haven’t watched it, I do urge you to.  It has blown me away), Homeland, The Line Of Duty, Save Me, Strike, The Tunnel.

Currently watching:- Come Home with Christopher Ecclestone

Driving…

I love driving, I could definitely drive for a living.  I find it relaxing and I can listen to Francis Dunnery et al or just let my thoughts drift away…

Francis Dunnery…

This is not the first time or the last time that Mr Dunnery will be mentioned in my blogs.  I first fell for Francis’ music in 1986 when I saw It Bites singing Calling All The Heroes on TOTP.  It was edgy, catchy and different.  I went to Lotus Records in Stafford and bought the vinyl album the next day.  It is one of my all time favourite albums and I have been a die-hard fan ever since. Francis is the most consistent man in my life apart from my dad and I have lost count of how many times that I have seen him live.  I have all of the T-shirts and lots of memorabilia, a true fan.  I once wrote an ode to Francis but I don’t know if he ever read it hah!  A copy is probably in the depths of my garage somewhere – note to self to dig it out and share on here.  Us Francis fans (there are a few!) are called Dunneraks and I am proud to be a Dunnerak ‘til I die.  I have made loads of Francis friends over the years and have even travelled to gigs alone because you are never alone with your Francis family!  A big hello to you all especially Mikey, Baz, Lisa, Julie and Izzy.

My current favourite Francis tunes are (in alphabetical order, you get the idea)…

Chocolate Heart, Driving In The Rain, Immaculate,  Jackal In Your Mind, Kiss Me, Strange But True, Sunflowers, Too Much Saturn,  Underneath You Pillow, What’s He Gonna Say?

Check him out!

Love Mandy x

*Update – Donel was runner up to Ruti – beautiful voice – but I don’t think that is the last we will hear of Donel.*

Reference:

http://gladstone.uoregon.edu/~asuomca/diversityinit/definition.html, (online) Last updated 8/26/99
mrock@gladstone.uoregon.edu viewed on 7th March 2018

Carol and Katie…

 

I made a list of inspirational women today and I was going to compile a top ten list to share on my blog site. I was truly flummoxed and was unable to narrow the list down as I have been, and am still, blessed with knowing, meeting, conversing and corresponding with amazing women on a daily basis;  my mum, my daughter, my family and friends, my colleagues, social media friends and acquaintances – many have left an imprint on my life.  Without these ladies in my life, my world would have been a little less light.    

However, as the list is very lengthy, I will delve into the list again at a later date.  Maybe I can do various lists by various categories; family, occupation, or something? My waffling about great women will go on forever at this rate! Instead, today I am going to write about two inspirational women who are two in a million; Carol and Katie.  I have had and do have the honour of knowing, working with and being friends with both sisters.  I am meeting Katie later on tonight for a catch up and, so, not for the first time, Carol is sitting at the forefront of my mind again today.

Carol Fittes nee Owen was my work friend when my daughter was small.  I met her when she was Carol Garrington circa 2000, when she joined hmcts. Her sister, Katie, was also an employee and the family resemblance was very much apparent.  They both loved a giggle, a bit of fun, both had radiant smiles.  Carol’s eldest son is pretty much the same age as my daughter and, as well as having this in common, we hit it off immediately and became great work buddies.

We both worked a weird working pattern of Thursday, Friday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday on and then the following week off.  On some of our days off, we became closer and visited parks, the zoo and were ladies that lunched often. The children enjoyed each other’s company and Carol was an amazing mum; she adored her boys.  I remember babysitting for the boys a couple of daytimes too.  We both loved our kids immensely.  We even talked of Morgan and Dani being catalogue models at one point!  That would have been quite an adventure.  So, so far, there is nothing out of the ordinary, nothing special, you may think.  Most mothers love their kids.  Lots of people make friends at work and juggle jobs with families.  But Carol was one in a million in more than one way.

Carol has touched the hearts of many and in 2006 was awarded ‘most exceptional working mum’ by online magazine mother@work.  I believe that Katie nominated her and, trust me, Carol truly deserved this.  After leaving hmcts she went on to run a successful PR business and set up a network which gave women the chance to meet other busy working mums in the main.  Carol was also very involved in her local community and helped to lead the way with the Hednesford partnership.  She wanted to live in a brighter, better community and be involved; get others involved.  As I am sitting here writing, it is hard to convey of how much Carol helped others and of how many people’s hearts she touched along the way.  I believe that she lived her 45 years as full as she possibly could and grasped every opportunity whilst making new ones too.  The most incredible part about Carol, though, is that she was born with difficulties and at the young age of 12, she made the decision to have her left leg amputated.  Her prosthetic leg never stopped her from being the dynamic, energetic and motivated person that she was.  She was even told that she could never have children but defied the doctors over and over again.  When I first met Carol, I was unaware of her amputation and only learned of it later on.  I couldn’t tell.  She didn’t let it get in the way and she walked, drove, worked, juggled, touched hearts, and inspired.  She was a warrior princess until the end. 

Sadly, we did drift apart.  This is such a shame, but with moving jobs and working patterns, friendship circles can change.  We did remain ‘facebook’ friends though and I am so glad to see her social media pictures.  Her radiant smile lights up every photograph.  She found happiness with Andy and they married last year, 2017.  Their Australian beach wedding pictures are stunning.  Beautiful.  Katie was able to go to the exotic wedding which must have been the icing on the cake for Carol as she loved her family so much.

2017 brought great happiness to Carol but also it was the year that she was diagnosed and when I learned her illness.  A mutual friend said that Katie had been in touch and that Carol and herself would love to hear from her old friends with good thoughts and kind messages.  The big ‘C’ had struck Carol.  She was diagnosed quickly after suffering with a cough that would not go away.  This did not deter Carol from working and juggling for as long as she could.  It is beyond heartbreaking that lung cancer took Carol away from her new husband, her sons, her step-children, her parents, friends, colleagues and Katie.  It must be so hard for those who were closest to her.  I am weepy whilst editing, they must be weepy every day.  Carol has left a big hole in so many lives.  This is, on reflection, the only good thing about it all – that she did touch and enhance so many lives…  

…So, today, I met with Katie.  It was so sad, so nice, so nostalgic and so inspiring.  Katie is a tower of strength to her parents, to her own sons and has been a huge shoulder for Carol’s friends and family.  I hope that she knows that she is a blooming amazing lady and is an inspiration in her own right.  I was actually not aware that Katie, for charity, climbed three mountains in Transylvania; one of the Bucegi mountains and two in the Carpathians.  What an achievement and I can only imagine the feeling of accomplishment, the exhilaration and the breathtaking scenery!  Katie has motivated me to look at doing something, perhaps on a lesser scale, in the not too distant future, perhaps for Compton Hospice where Carol spent her last days.  My grandma spent her last days there in 1988 and it is so important for hospices to receive enough funding and donations to continue to supply excellent end of life care.  Katie has, now, sent me a few links about fundraising and Iceland looks the most appealing at first glance,  That, or a UK Jurassic Coast weekend.   *total raised for Compton Hospice, so far, for Carol is £8,000* 

Katie actually worked at Compton Hospice.  In fact, I am in awe of Katie’s work experience, it is vast and varied and includes working with children, in the media, at the civil service, charity organisations,  the fire service to name but a few.  She has also modelled wedding dresses and, more recently appeared in an edition of Woman’s Weekly modelling clothes for ‘every day women’.  

Today, too, Katie has inspired me further.  I struggle with weight, as may have been reflected in previous blogs, and since Mothers Day (and probably before!) I have done nothing but eat.  I have no excuses except for weakness.  Katie mentioned that she was not going to eat when we met today as she was trying to get back into shape.  She has saved me from a chocolate fudge cake more than likely and I have eaten perfectly all day.  Long may it continue.  I am actually motivated enough to go to aquafit tomorrow too.  So, thank you for that. (I did go!) 

A few thoughts before I go.  Make sure that you live life to the full and don’t let it pass you by.    Grasp at opportunities and make new ones.  Carol and Katie’s parents must be so proud of their two amazingly inspirational, caring and beautiful daughters.     

RIP Carol.

Mandy x

What’s in a name?..

 

‘Mandy’ – shortened version of Amanda – meaning loveable or to be loved.

My name is Mandy but it’s officially Amanda because my birth certificate says so.  This has caused confusion with initials throughout my life.  Am I an A or an M?  My mum picked the name, Mandy, when she was young herself, a long time before I was even a twinkle.  Her reasoning for this was that she watched the film of the same name starring Mandy Miller and it became one of her all-time favourites.  ‘Mandy’ is a heart-warming story about a deaf girl who wanted to fit in and be treated equally by the other children where she lived and she had the help of a teacher who, it transpired, was also deaf.  I have watched it several times but not for years.  I think that I might have to go e-mooching for a copy on DVD.  Funnily enough, Mandy Miller’s real name is not Mandy or Amanda but Carmen Isabel Miller.  I wonder if she ever had initials confusion.  Coincidentally, Terence Morgan, actor, also starred in Mandy.  This is my dad’s name!  Interesting stuff, huh?

So, you may be asking yourself, why are you officially called Amanda if your mum loved the name Mandy?  This is where my beautiful grandma stepped in.  My grandma didn’t want me to be called Mandy due to the Profumo scandal which involved Mandy Rice-Davies.  My grandma was called Patricia, Pat, by everyone that she knew.  Her real name was Thelma!  But that is another story to research for another day.

‘He would, wouldn’t he?’

In 1963 at the height of the Profumo affair, Mandy appeared as a witness in the court case involving Stephen Ward, the society osteopath who had introduced the Conservative Secretary of State for War, John Profumo, to Christine Keeler.

‘While giving evidence at Ward’s trial, Rice-Davies made a famous riposte When James Burge, the defence counsel, pointed out that Lord Astor denied an affair or having even met her, she replied, ‘Well (giggle) he would, wouldn’t he?’ (often misquoted ‘Well he would say that, wouldn’t he?’).’  By 1979, this phrase had entered the third edition of the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, and is occasionally abbreviated as MRDA (‘Mandy Rice Davies applies’).’ (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mandy Rice-Davies).  After reading about Mandy Rice Davies, today, I have found out that her name was never Mandy either.  Curiouser and curiouser!  Her name was actually Marilyn.  At least her initials didn’t change.

My official initials, then, are AJ, the same as my younger brother Ant.  There is nothing wrong with a fine set of matching initials for siblings until, in teenage years especially, written correspondence was received, often, to AJ Morgan of the same (of course) parental address.  I had a few interesting reads over the years, believe me.  My unofficial non birth certificate initials of MM has caused stress and anxiety on a very mild basis throughout my working life.  How should I sign things?  How should I refer to myself in letters?  What will my reference be at the top of legal correspondence?  I eventually settled upon MM at work rather than AJM due to there being another AJ in the office to start with.  Nowadays, I am one of two MMs in the office. M and Ms.  Mmmmmm.

I picked the beautiful name Danielle for my daughter.  I liked it.  It is a pretty and strong name.  Someone once told me that double letters in names are meant to be lucky.  I do not believe in such things but this may have had an influence on my choice at the time, 19 years ago.  It gets shortened it to Danni with two ‘n’s.  I prefer Danielle or Dani with one.  Why add one?  When I made my choice, I did not know the meaning of Danielle – from the Hebrew name Daniel – meaning God is my judge.  A great pick for an atheist!

If I could have picked any name at all for myself, I might have considered Genevieve.  This name is a little out of the ordinary and strong yet feminine, I think.  But then again, would it have been shortened to Jen with a ‘J’?

Love Mandy

MM

Reference:

WIKIPEDIA, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mandy_Rice-Davies, (online) @March 12th 2018 (last updated) viewed on 18th March 2018.

Alice…

ALICE…

She is daughter of Stafford, born in 1863

To a very proud couple, Ellen and Henry.

One of ten born to this working class family –

The warrior woman; Alice Hawkins nee Riley.

 

She left school at thirteen and moved to Leicester City.

The family pursued work there, in the boot and shoe industry.

In 1884, Alice met Alfred; they were soon to marry

And they went on to have their own large family.

 

Alice joined the trade union with support from ‘Equity’

For better factory workers’ conditions – she fought actively.

She wanted women to be given the same opportunity

And in 1894, she joined the Labour Party.

 

Alice was reported by journalists, locally

For wearing bloomers and ‘outraging public decency’!

She wanted to have an equal say in democracy

And joined the suffragette movement at the turn of the century.

 

The day after the Kings Speech, 13th February

Alongside Emmeline, at a suffragette rally

Alice was charged down by mounted police at Westminster Abbey

And she was jailed for 14 days for being disorderly.

 

Rise up, women! for the fight is hard and long;

Rise in thousands, singing loud a battle song.

Rise is might and in its strength we shall be strong

And the cause goes marching on.

 

At Leicester 1909, Winston Churchill spoke publicly

Alfred cried, ‘Why don’t they secure the vote of the women of the country?’

Alice tried to enter the meeting, forcibly

And was, one again, imprisoned fighting for democracy.

 

It continued up to 1914, the suffragette activity

Alice was detained 5 times at the pleasure of His Majesty

She stood up for the rights of women of society

But was not one to talk of her achievements publicly

 

In 1918 World War I ended suddenly.

This year, it was granted, due to the suffragettes, partly,

That women could vote, if they were over thirty

(So that men did not become the voting minority).

 

Alice lived until the great age of eighty-three

She fought for the rights of women and is part of our social history.

A statue has been erected in Leicester, this 100 year anniversary

To help us not to forget her; one in a million Alice Hawkins nee Riley

 

(c) 19.02.2018 written by Morgan, Mandy

A bit about Alice, in my own words.

Whilst writing about Alice Hawkins, as requested by a friend who is fighting for a Museum for Women’s History in Stafford, I feel as though I have got to know her.  She was a remarkable and determined lady who became heavily involved in the fight for equality quite early on in her life.  My friend and I both live in Stafford which is of an added interest to us as Alice lived in Red Lion Street, Stafford.

Her family moved to Leicester (when Alice was about 19) to pursue work in the shoe and boot trade and Alice soon started to act upon the inequalities in the workplace.  She did have support from Equity shoe factory and was allowed time off to participate in political organisations.  Alice became disillusioned with the trade unions as they predominantly supported men.  Men were seen as the ‘breadwinners’ of the family.  This has quite enlightened me as, in my experience, this is still how some industries and people think.  Recent media coverage proves that pay inequality is still rife in many professions including film and politics; many women are paid substantially less than men.

One example, according to Sky News is as follows: 

Mark Wahlberg will donate the $1.5m (£1m) he made for reshoots of Ridley Scott’s All The Money In The World to the anti-sexual harassment campaign Time’s Up.

The actor decided to donate his pay after reports emerged that co-star Michelle Williams had been paid less than $1,000 (£728) for the same reshoots…’

A big shout out to Mark Wahlberg!

Alice attended her first meeting of the Women’s Social and Political Union in February 1907 followed by a march to the House of Commons to actively demand the vote for women.  When suffragettes are talked of, the Pankhursts may first spring to mind.  Alice became involved with the Pankhursts and Sylvia even sketched a portrait of Alice.

At this meeting, as my poem shows, Alice was charged down by mounted police and arrested and jailed for the first time.  Over the following seven years, she served five sentences at Leicester and Holloway.

Alice had the support of her husband Alfred who aided her at meetings and rallies.

I hope that you enjoy my homage to Alice and I hope that by reading this, it has helped to keep her memory alive.

Love Mandy x

And with thanks to Ali x

Reference:

SKY NEWS, Wahlberg donates $1.5m reshoots pay to Time’s Up, (online), @2018SkyUK viewed on 19th February 2018.

https://news.sky.com/story/wahlberg-donates-reshoots-pay-to-times-up-11207296

Correspondence…

…Any written or digital communication exchanged by two or more parties. Correspondences may come in the form of letters, emails, text messages, voicemails, notes, or postcards.

This week I have engaged in lots of correspondence so I thought that I would write about it!  Since my last post, I have used the written word so many times and wanted to share…

 

Work…

I work in a very busy administration office as an Acting Manager (not a real one!) and I am constantly corresponding by e-mail with customers and agencies.  We receive, probably, 200 e-mails per day and prioritise, usually in date order.  Complaints need to be dealt with as soon as is reasonably practicable, whether there is substance to them or not.  So, yes, I correspond a lot on a professional level and have lots of experience of good and bad e-mail communications.

Police…

I have received written correspondence from the police to be on stand by for a possible trial.  I was witness (by telephone) to various threats and gave my statement last month.

Daughtershine…

I miss her constantly and call her more than she calls me.  I believe that she is having a ball at university and I wish her all of the luck in the world.  This week I sent her a daft postcard, just because.  She texted me to say it had arrived.  ❤

Friends…

After meeting some wonderful people on holiday last year, we have kept in touch, now and then, by phone or card.  I have posted them (two separate couples) note cards this week to see how they are and to share news.  I have also sent two birthday cards, one Valentine card (received two!) and a Get Well Soon card.  I have received and sent text messages, messenger messages and messages via social media.  My favourite is Twitter.  It is nice to stay in touch with old friends and new.

On a completely different note, I have almost finished a poem, inspired by a friend, about a lady called Alice Hawkins, Stafford born suffragette.  If I finish and like it, I will share it on here.  I am determined to finish it, if Alice can fight for the vote for women, I can, surely, salute her in a poem. Watch this space!

Competition…

Sonny Jim has been awarded second place in the local poem competition with his ‘Captivity’ poem – he is over the moon.  It is amazing what a few hours away from the PS4 can achieve.

The Queen…

I decided to put pen to paper and send my ‘Me –v- Plastic’ poem to Her Majesty The Queen this week.  I hope that she reads it!

I hope that you do not mind my random ramblings too much.  I am still very new to this and am just dipping my toe into the water.

Love Mandy x

PS – I had a great food week, I worked hard at it and I lost 5.5lbs.  🙂

 

UPDATE…

I had a lovely reply from Buckingham Palace! 🙂

Captivity…

I am a bit tired, another long day.  I went to fat club after work and actually stayed to the group chat.  This ate into my evening heavily but I feel inspired.  I hope that it lasts.  I lost 2lb this week.  I had some chocolate burning in my bag so at the end of group, I gave it to the consultant for her to bin it.  She threw it down onto the floor and stomped all over it!  Brilliant.  I felt liberated!  I hope that I have a good food week this week.

 

Here is Sonny Jim’s entry to the poem competition (under 11s category)…

CAPTIVITY 

Animals in captivity that don’t have that much space

Are really sad and worried and hate the place

That they are in.

If they run free, as free as birds fly in the sky                                                                                                              

They will be happy, 

But if not

They may become hard to spot.

 

Whales kept in captivity are like humans’ slaves

They don’t get enough food or space

They should be swimming in the oceans’ waves.

 

Falling asleep to Question Time, so until tomorrow night, goodnight.

Love Mandy x

 

UPDATE… Sonny Jim came second in the competition and was awarded a poetry book and had a picture taken with the poet and the mayor!