Tag Archives: Mothers

A Grand Day Out

6 Oct
Everything you need for village living

Everything you need for village living

The conversation went like this:

Friend Pam: Look at these fabulous desserts at the restaurant where we took Mum and Dad for their anniversary.

Tilly Bud: Drool…

Friend Pam: I’ll take you there one day; you have to eat these puddings; they’re fabulous.

Will she, bud?: Droo…l

Friend Pam: Hang on a minute…your birthday’s coming up…I’ll take you for a meal on your birthday!

There is a God: Thank yo…r….oo…l…

And so it came to pass last Wednesday that I found myself heading out of Manchester and into Burnley.  To misquote Field of Dreams (and, in fact, tell an outright lie for comic effect), the only thing we have in common is that Pam came from Burnley; and I had once heard of it.

Pam suffers from a chronic condition: she cannot plan an event without it being a huge success and, as we were heading in that direction, she reasoned, why not go up the famous Pendle Hill (never heard of it) and be tourists in the famous Witch Trial/Trail area (never heard of it).  We could see the famous Eye of God (never heard of it) in the famous centuries-old church (never heard of it) where her husband had proposed to her (I’ve heard of him); call in at the Elizabethan Towneley Hall (never heard of it); eat lunch there (definitely heard of that!); call in to see her parents for some northern hospitality (we’re all famous for that up here); and finish off at the famous pudding restaurant (which sells other food but, seriously, who cares?).

The woman is a genius.

DSCF3292We had a fabulous day.  Pendle Hill was gorgeous; the witch business was fascinating and a little sad (hanging innocent women gets me like that; I dunno why).  The church was…open.  It was hard to believe we were in 21st Century Britain when we could walk into an open, unmanned church and be trusted not to damage/steal anything.  Amazing.  Of course, it probably helped that it was situated halfway up a mountain in the middle of witch country.

DSCF3264I forgot to take my camera but Pam obliged by taking photos with hers, including my request for a pic of the inside of the public toilet – it had a high cistern with a chain!  I was back in my childhood (complete with cold seat) particularly as, technically, it was an outside loo.  Pam and I have a friendly rivalry going to see which of us is most common and I think I win because I was born in a Liverpool slum and come from Irish peasant stock (hence the Liverpool slum): an outside toilet with a lock was a step up for me.

My favourite spot: The Long Gallery. Can you see me way back there?

My favourite spot: The Long Gallery. Can you see me way back there?

Towneley Hall was wonderful.  Walking through rooms which have been inhabited by who knows how many people over the past 500 years is one of my favourite things to do and I’m afraid my mouth got stuck in the Wow! position until it hurt Pam’s ears.  But that’s to be expected of a slumdog, of course.  I was, like, well impressed.

DSCF3297There was a slight change of plan when we saw the queue outside the restaurant door and, as we’d only had huge slices of cake for elevenses we decided – which is to say, Pam decided and I went happily along with any plan intended to feed me – to head straight for pudding paradise and eat there, calling in for a brew at Pam’s folks’ afterwards.  Which is just as well as Pam’s Mum was having her feet done and didn’t really want her guest to see that.  I don’t know why; I’ve got feet; I know how the whole thing works.

I am praying for the strength to dig in and climb out the other side

I am praying for the strength to dig in and climb out the other side

I forget the name of the place where we ate because I was too busy stuffing my gullet with a delicious carvery (which could have been called a spoonery because the meat just fell off the bone and the chef told me that sometimes he has to use a spoon to serve it) to write it down.  Pam tells me it’s called Sycamore Farm.  Check the desserts:


Now tell me it wasn’t worth turning 52 just for that.

We rolled out of there for the short journey to Pam’s parents’ house and I’m not sure that it wasn’t the best part of my day.  Her parents are lovely and her mother is adorable.  She hugged me despite never having met me before and then gave me an entertaining rundown of some of her neighbours, past and present.  They included friendly drug addicts who ran in to help during a crisis to the creepy bloke who introduced himself with the words, I’m not a paedophile and I’ve got a letter to prove it.  Pam’s Mum – or I should say, Pamela’s Mum, because that’s what she called her the whole time; no one ever calls Pam Pamela, she’s too friendly to be full-named;  but you know what mothers are like.  As I was saying, Pamela’s Mum wasn’t convinced by the not-a-molester, though she was glad to see him go when he was arrested for his cannabis farm and stealing his neighbour’s electricity to supply it.  I can’t decide which of her neighbours was my absolute favourite, but it’s a toss-up between the biker who stripped and rebuilt his motorbike many times over fifteen years, in the middle of his living room and partner and children; or the dominatrix who kept a dungeon in the basement but lived elsewhere.

DSCF3278Don’t think that any of this is my usual hyperbole; I swear I had it straight from the horse’s mouth – which was wearing its false teeth at the time, as she happily informed me.  Only the best for Pam’s friends.

I think I love her.

Thank you, Pam, for giving me a brilliant day, showing me a fantastic time, and for having a wonderful mother.

All photographs courtesy of Pam Robinson.


13 Jun

The two poetry books I told you about last week weren’t the only free things I’ve had lately.  Feel free to read on.

Free Tickets

Thanks to ShowFilmFirst, I got two free tickets to see a preview of Annie Get Your Gun at Manchester Opera House a couple of weeks ago.  I took Spud, who has discovered a love of stage musicals since Godspell.  Jason Donovan played Frank Butler.  He was really good…except for the singing.  His voice was weak, like he had a cold or something.  I was disappointed.  Despite that, we enjoyed the show, especially Emma Williams as Annie Oakley.  When she told Frank she could do anything better than him, she wasn’t kidding – she sang the highest and then the longest note I have ever heard.  When she finally let the note go, the whole audience sucked in a breath for her.  Fabulous.

Free Time

I have been absent from the blogosphere because I needed the time to catch up on poems – I have managed to edit, type, print and file 71 poems so far this month.  I was aiming for one a day so I’m pretty pleased with myself.  With another thirteen notebooks to work through and an average of thirty poems per notebook, I only have another 390 poems before I’m finished and will be back with you.  See you in November!


Freedom to Boast

I have availed myself of this particular freedom ever since I beheld my first screaming baby.  I honestly don’t understand parents who don’t boast about their kids.  It’s hardwired to my genes.

Watch out, those of you who don’t understand me – here’s a boast coming up: Spud received a letter yesterday to say that he has won the school Drama Prize.  We have to spend two hours of  boredom on Speech Day in a fortnight’s time, for our ninety seconds of glory when he goes up to accept the award.  Those 7,110 seconds of tedium will be worth it, believe me.  I’m bursting with so much pride, I had to rescue my fat clothes from the charity bin.

Free Speech

I watched the story of Meriam Ibrahim unfold on the news.  If you missed it, she was imprisoned and sentenced to death for refusing to renounce her Christian faith; and adultery because her Christian marriage was considered illegal.  She was heavily pregnant at the time of her imprisonment and was chained to the floor to deliver her baby.   It made me grateful that I live in a country where no one particularly cares which God I worship; or how.

More Free Time

Spud has finished his exams!  His official, state-mandated schooling is over for ever.  Congratulations, Spud, for surviving school and growing up into a well-rounded young man in spite of your helicopter parents.  You’ll soon be free of us and able to paint your face blue and bare your bum without having it smacked.  Enjoy university.

Click on the images to link to the source.


31 Mar

Yesterday was Mothering Sunday in Britain.  

It was also the day the clocks went forward.

The one day a year a mother gets an extra hour in bed and it’s stolen from her by British Summer Time?

The calendar is clearly compiled by a man.

A Tale Of Two Parents

25 Mar

The Hub wears a new t-shirt to the play and is ‘awesome’, ‘best dad ever’, admired by all of Spud’s friends.

I pay a teacher a compliment and I’m banned from ever speaking to anyone Spud ever knows for the rest of his life, ever.

Here’s the Hub’s shirt:


Here’s my compliment to Godspell’s choreographer:

Wow!  Spud told me the dancing was really naff but I think it’s great!

I don’t understand Spud at all.

I Cried Yesterday

19 Mar

Click on the photos to enlarge them

Actually, I cried the day before yesterday but I wrote this post yesterday so the title was correct for yesterday’s yesterday but not for today.  Anyway, me crying at all except at the end of Love Actually is such a rare event, I felt I had to blog about it.

As you must know, because I’ve bored you to death about it for months now, Spud is playing Judas in his school production of Godspell.  The first night is tomorrow tonight.  I can’t get the songs out of my head and as I was preparing his sandwiches for tonight’s tea between tweaking-rehearsal and performance, I sang Beautiful City to myself.  I suspected I might be allowing it to take over my life when I came to the line, We can build a city of man and sang, We can build a city of ham…


Yesterday (‘s yesterday) was the dress rehearsal.  The Hub is an excellent photographer and took some great pics of the last three school productions Spud starred in (no bias here, honest).  He gave them to Spud’s drama teacher and she loved them and asked if he would go along to yesterday’s yesterday’s dress rehearsal to take photos of this production.

The Hub has M.E. so of course he needed his loving and supportive wife along to hold the spare camera batteries.  The fact that I got a sneak preview of the show was purely coincidental.


We had front row seats and we needed them, because my heart swelled with so much pride it took up all of the space between the audience and the stage.

I know he’s my son and I’m biased and all that rubbish, but Spud was fantastic.  He began as a happy, hopeful man and changed over two hours to anger and betrayal via confusion and doubt.  

He sang, with music and without.

He cried in Jesus’ arms the moment before he left to betray him.  He sobbed on the floor after the crucifixion.  

He was totally believable.

IMG_5205smallTeachers made a point of coming up to tell me how good he was and how he should pursue acting as a career.  But better than that, the director told me that, for all of his talent, he is a lovely, lovely boy and she hopes her own son will grow up to be just like him.

Can you blame me for blubbing?


I Do Love You, Spud, Honest

11 Feb

Wednesday 15 January, 2014

Where’s my birthday post?

I’m not blogging at the moment!

You don’t love me.

Spud turned eighteen while I was on a break.  I didn’t write a happy birthday post – because I was on a break.  I did take him tea in an eighteenth birthday mug, buy him banners and balloons and not say a word about the girl in his bed on a school day; but, no, all he can see is no birthday post.

Apparently, I didn’t write him a birthday post last year when he turned seventeen.  I wrote one for his brother and his father, a hundred readers and even myself – but not one for him.  My argument, ‘But you don’t read my blog!’ didn’t cut it, because, apparently, he does.

I have been ordered to write a make-up post and not to make this make-up post all about his brother, which is what I appeared to have done in last year’s make-up post, saying how great his brother was and how he spoiled Spud on his birthday blah blah blah.

I’m a terrible mother.

But I can’t say that, because this post is all about Spud.

Spud was the biggest baby in the hospital, the week he was born – about ten pounds.  I have mentioned before that he looked like the V alien baby when he came out all blue and crinkly.  And absolutely gorgeous – which is how he’s stayed:


Spud is now a man, and he has a learner’s driving licence to prove it.  He has done a lot of thinking this past year about what he wants to do with his life; but the decision was really made in the summer, the moment a sweaty Macbeth spat on him during the performance at the Globe: Spud wants to act.

This past year he has played Greek tragedy, Shakespeare and farce.  At the moment he’s rehearsing Judas in Godspell.  He doesn’t want to be rich and famous; he wants to work in theatre.  He is deadly serious: he wants to pretend to be other people for the rest of his life.  I couldn’t be prouder; or more scared.

Happy birthday, my darling boy.  Whatever you do in life, I know you’ll obsess about it until it’s right.

I love you.

Joke 911

20 Sep
Enemy Engaged 2

Enemy Engaged 2 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A young man finds the woman of his dreams and asks her to marry him. He tells his mother he wants her to meet his fiancee, but he wants to make a bit of a game out of it. He says he’ll bring the girl over with two other women and see if his mother can guess which is the one he wants to marry. His mother agrees to the game.

That night, he shows up at his mother’s house with three beautiful young ladies. They all sit down on the couch, and everyone has a wonderful evening talking and getting to know each other.

At the end of the evening, the young man asks his mother, ‘OK, Mom, which one is the woman I want to marry?’

Without hesitation his mother replies, ‘The one in the middle.’

The young man is astounded. ‘How in the world did you figure it out?’

‘Easy,’ she says. ‘I don’t like her.’


From batchmates.com


Vivinfrance's Blog

mainly poetry, also quilts, pictures, life-writing and the occasional short story.


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