A place to call my own?

I’ve been living in my current home now for 10 years. After splitting with the father of my Son and being officially ‘homeless’ for nearly two weeks, my local council found this property for me. My fear even then was that the rent was too high and I would never be able to afford it alone. I was assured, however that this would not be a problem and I don’t know who was most keen for me to move in; the council – as they were helping me to stay in a hotel in Portsmouth where the price was considerably higher, or myself so I could be back in the town where I worked and not have to wake early enough with my little boy to miss the inclusive breakfast so that I could leave in time to drop him off at nursery and get myself into work.

A Hotel? Sounds Nice really…

Every time I think back to this point in my life it brings up such an immense menagerie of emotion, I am so grateful to have been somewhere comfortable in a more than pleasant location,  somewhere that I had discussed with my boyfriend previously as a place I would have been happy to live. I had my closest friends come to see me and some family members, so that I didn’t feel too isolated and alone. And I wasn’t even there for long. The manager or owner of the place (I can’t remember which) seemed lovely and from the poems and letters of gratitude I could see on display I was not the first person to be helped here. I always meant to send some thing myself but a combination of procrastination and that half feeling of wanting to distance myself from that time period meant I never quite got round to it. In writing about it now I am fighting back tears and so very much has changed since then. But also not.

If anyone knows of the manager/owner of the then Anstey Hotel, Southsea in 2007 I wish for him to know of my gratitude too. I fear, however that it may be too late.

The house I’m in now came up and I couldn’t believe my luck. I often describe life as a roller-coaster (it’s no wonder I get depressed- I hate roller-coasters and can’t do them with my eyes open) This particular part of the coaster track was especially jam packed with climbs and falls. Go with it, yeah? I love to over-elaborate on an analogy.

It was a two bed room house with new carpets and white goods gifted to me. It was easily walking distance from my sons’s nursery and my work and I could get up and have breakfast whenever I liked.

Due to a combination of my propensity to think I’m not good enough anyway and anxiety that prompted me to hide from tricky situations there were two major things that I gave up during the split & move. One was an Open University course which I didn’t feel I could continue with in my new position as a single Mum, not knowing where I was going to be living and without a computer (I’m good at excuses). Despite leaving the course fairly early in, I still had to pay back my Student budget loan which made having given it up all the more frustrating. I also gave up my Job as a ‘TAB’ carer, as prior to moving this involved visiting a lady who was just round the corner to me for a couple of hours a week. I didn’t know where I was going to be living etc and how I was going to sort anything out. Again, I made excuses.

I had already been in my retail job for a while but hadn’t progressed in this and still maintained that this wasn’t where I wanted to stay. Before I had my boy I was going to go to university to do Fine Art: the one thing that had remained constant throughout everything, I still did the odd drawing and bit of painting throughout everything that went on. I have never believed myself to be some creative genius and  have never got close to being as skilled and able as I would like in this profession but I believed that my passion, ideas and what small skill I did possess meant it was worth giving this another shot. I got to the stage where it was ‘now or never’, I  had to go with it and perhaps it was just as well I  did because the whole recession thing happened near the beginning of my course, a bunch of political stuff happened too and in among every thing some thoughtful beings decided to triple tuition fees. It turns out I did my degree just in the nick of time.

My plan was to go to university, work my socks off. Then maybe put my socks back on again before doing a PGCE. If we could see round the corners and get visions from those crystal balls I wonder if we would make any of the decisions we do. As it happens, I’m kind of glad we don’t have this power, because we wouldn’t take any risks and would stop learning from our perceivable mistakes.

Where I’m at now is a complete unknown. There’s lots of story to tell between then and now and there’s an even bigger prologue. I’m in a bit of a funny state at the moment but bare with me and I might just have some more to say.




Running for Alex

From what I remember, my son befriended Alex in his last year at infant school. He said how cool and funny Alex was, that he liked DOCTOR WHO and  talked about how eagerly he wanted to be picked as Alex’s partner when he got to go to the computer room.


Whilst my son grew to love one of his new best friends we learnt a little of Alex’s enormous battle to get to where he was. Even now I find it hard to comprehend what he and his family must have been through. Let me explain:

When Alex was 7 he suffered a stroke, which left him unable to ‘talk, swallow, lift his head or even move the right side of his body.’ This led to a long hospital stay where he received physiotherapy and occupational therapy. By the time he joined my son’s class , he had made huge progress in his recovery but has still been left disabled and struggles to do a whole heap of things that many of us take for granted.  His attitude and approach astounds me – he is funny and has reprimanded me on at least one occasion because I didn’t realize his memory had also been effected by the stroke. He has taught us things we would have never known. The friendship between he and my son makes me smile.

Alex’s Mum Angela, is also amazing. I’ll never forget the time she took to stop, chat and listen to me jabber away before going home to make an appointment for Alex regarding the migraines he was enduring. Angela has always come across as patient and understanding despite the fear and worry that must some times be prevalent. Alex has a kind and caring family who go to great lengths to get him the continued support that he needs to prevent his condition from worsening.  Understandably, they hope to give Alex a chance at the best quality of life possible. There really are a myriad of health problems that stroke sufferers can be left with. One thing Alex desperately needs to optimize his health and to support him in the things that – again many of us take for granted, is intense physiotherapy.

This intense physiotherapy costs, and in order to raise the money for this Alex’s Aunt, Barbara is running  the Great South Run. If you can give anything towards this please see the link to Barbara’s Crowdfunding page which I shall include in this post.

It is believed by medical professionals that Alex’s stroke came about due to an extremely rare but very serious reaction to the Chicken pox Virus. Before anyone panics about this let me say that according to Live Science ‘about 6 out of 100,000 children under 15 have a stroke each year‘ and it is an even smaller proportion of children whose strokes are linked to chicken pox.* However, it can happen, and when I contacted Alex’s mum about writing this post she was keen to raise awareness of the risks.

Angela also pointed me in the direction of http://www.stroke.org as I wanted to include information about signs and symptoms. The national stroke Association suggest the following things to look out for:

SUDDEN numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body;

SUDDEN confusion, trouble speaking, or understanding;

SUDDEN trouble seeing in one or both eyes;

SUDDEN trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination;

SUDDEN severe headache with no known cause.

The advice on their page in the event of the above symptoms is:

Call 9-1-1 immediately if you observe any of these symptoms.

And to

Note the time of the first symptom.
This information is important and can affect treatment decisions.

I wish Alex’s aunt all the best fot her run and hope Alex and his family can raise as much as possible to help them with Alex’s Physio. If you would loke to make a donation the link is to Barbara’s page is Here


The following websites were useful for this post and are good sites to visit if you wish to find out more:

*Live Science article

National Stroke Association