Grenfell tower fire

It been a while since I posted anything here, and I certainly didn’t expect to be writing about such a tragic event like the Grenfell tower fire in London this week.

I had been basking in the joy and blessing of my new granddaughters birth on the 11th June, and had just returned from dropping my youngest son at Glasgow airport , he and his girlfriend had flew in to meet his elder brothers new baby and were heading back to Spain where they work after a very short and happy visit.

It was around 4.50am when I switched on the tv while having a quick cuppa before heading to bed, and saw the blazing invero of the tower block and I was brought back to earth with a thud , filling with horror , tears and emotion for all involved.

I’v experianced a house fire, twice in fact.

The first time was when my daughter was about 3 and 1/2 years old and we were living in a tenement on the Maryhill rd above the chemist where the fire started.

My daughter had got up during the night and came to my bed, the firemen told me later, it had probably saved her life as the fire had started in the back of the chemest below her bedroom , her bed was black with soot and smoke damage, and the fireman said had she been in it she would have been unlikly to have survived the smoke inhilation, the whole house was smoke damaged , that smell, it lingers and becomes a trigger.

The firemen were great , they woke me , got us out the house and also the other neighbours in the building. We were lucky and greatful not just for the job the firemen did saving our lives, and our home , but the kindness of the old couple who lived accross the street, who took us dressed in pyjamas with bare feet, in till we were checked over by paramedics , giving us blankets and phoning my dad to come get us and take us to my mums.

Years later when my eldest son was about 2 years old we were living at the high flats at Cedar st, where I grew up, and where my parents lived.

It was the fire in my home  that night, I remembered when I watched the Grenville fire unfold on tv.

The fire that night stared in my baby sons room,  a portable tv, I used to leave on for sound, which I felt kept him company, had caught fire.

It was around 11PM, I’d just got out the bath and was about to do some  ironing, & watch “Cell block H”, my dog began behaving strangly, agitated, and when I went to see what was bothering him,the fire alarm in the hall began to ring. As I reached the top of the stairs I could see the smoke coming from the babies room.

I remember running down the stairs and grabbing him out of the cot, then to my daughters room and waking her, getting them both out the flat, handing my daughter the baby, telling her to go down to there grans on the 5th floor, not to panic, to tell her gran to phone the firebrigade. I was kinda in auto pilot,  we lived on the 11th.

Neighbors came to help, they had already phoned the brigade, wee Jonny Linch , my hero, a lad of about 13 years of age. He ran in to the house , shouting

“Were’s yer cats june?”

Running up the stairs before I could stop him , in a flat black with smoke already filling the hall way , as I soaked towels to lay accross the bottom of the door of the room where the fire was, having already turned off the main power box supply.

It was terrefying, Wee Jonny Linch, came back down the stairs ,

” I open the veranda door for the cats” he said. ” we need tae get the fuck oot a here”

By then the fire brigade had arrived, and as they opened the bedroom door with big sheilds up, the window blew out, but these heros soon had the fire contain, under control and out.

No one was hurt, although there was extensive smoke damage . The children were taken Yorkhill childrens hospital to be checked for smoke inhilation. Where they were met by partner who had been working  at the time. I was taken to The Western Infirmary, accompanied by Charlie the local beat policeman, an aquaintance through the dance club I ran for local kids. He who had just finnished his shift and offered to keep me company at the hospital while I went through the blood test and waited for the all clear. I was greatful, for his comforting reasurances and kind words during those frightening , anxious , caotic initial hours after the incident.

It probably seems strange , but I don’t remember the date of either of these fires I experianced. Nor  do I remember what I had been doing early on the days they happened.

All I remember is the fear, the anxciety, the smell, and the stinging eyes from the smoke. I remeber the proffesionalism of the emergancy services and what they did , their bravery.

I remember how Charlie,  who went above and beyond the call of his duty..

I remeber the kindness and concern of neighbors who offered support and well wishes in the aftermath of my badly smoke damaged home.

I , we , were lucky, and as I watched the towering inferno that was Grenfell, I was taken back to that night at  Cedar st, and tears rolled down my face for those resident at Grenfell, those lucky enough to escape with their lives, and those who sadly didn’t.

I thought of all those people accross the UK who will be affected by what they’v seen unfold these last days , those who live in high rise building , and now think

“There but for the grace of god , go I…”

I know the flats at Cedar street are presently undergowing refurbishment, and I  think of them, because even over 20 years on Cedar st, is dear to me, it was home, where I lived on the 5th floor as a child and teenager ,where my partents lived most of their lives.

I think of all high rise  resedent accross the Uk who will be fearful of the state and risks that may be there and the effect recent events will have on their minds.

My heart bleeds for those who have lost everything in the Grenfell disaster, because let their be no doubt, this is a distaster, and I am greatful to all the heros of the frontline services ,and indeed, the ordinary people of the community who remind us of the importance of compassion and community, and compasion in the community  .

Most of all I pray that steps are taken to ensure this never happens again, in the UK or anywhere else, and as a UK Tax payer I demand a full tranparent inquiry and that those responsable for risk assesment and saftey who failed the resident of Grenfell tower are held accountable and brought to book.

 

 

Posted in The Unconventional Thesis of a woman from Glasgow

Guidance from a wise woman for a journey ahead…

When an obstetrician tells you, you must be confined to hospital for 11 weeks until the birth of your baby, who will have to be born by arranged C section at 36 weeks, as there is a risk to life for both you, and your baby if you don’t”, you don’t argue, you take heed and do as he says.

This was the scenario I found myself facing just over a week after the death of my father in 1995.

Without doubt it was a frightening and depressing time, of course I agreed, and was admitted to hospital, where I spent the next 12 & 1/2 weeks.

I wasn’t a first time mum, I had two children already, I had read books and information about pregnancy before, I had experienced of pregnancy and given birth. I knew of the various conditions and complications that can occur, there had been complications at the birth of my last child and following it,but I guess most of us think that our pregnancy will be one of those without serious complications, every pregnancy is different as my mother used to say.

I had a grade A placenta previa, and as time passed, in addition, I suffered SPD (symphysis pubis dysfunction), it was a difficult and worrying time.

I think its fair to say, generally, when we think of maternity wards, we think of them with much positivity, a place where life begins, but in 1995 I realised that the maternity ward is a place where life and death walk hand in hand.

For me, my 12 week stay was both an education and experiences.
I saw many wise, and sometimes, not so wise woman, pass through the maternity ward doors, and I was humbled by the care, compassion and support of the nurses doctors and auxiliary staff who worked there.
I had read about conditions like mine, placenta previa, and others like pre-eclampsia, to name but two, of course there are many more.

I was aware that sometimes miscarriage happened. I was aware some pregnancies were very difficult, that some babies could be still-born, or premature and very poorly, but during my 12 week confinement the reality of all the complications that may occur were hammered home as I experienced, and felt the emotional hurricane that in an instant can whirl through a maternity ward like the one I was on, leaving pain, sorrow and devastations in its wake. Such emotional hurricans touched us all on the ward, not only the parents of stillborn babies and their families, but touching the staff too, these amazing people who hold in their hands that balance between life and death. And of course, we mothers in waiting were affected when other women experianced a tragedy knowing that we too could face a tragic ending, we were all high risk.

I was also aware of and felt the joy of premature babies who struggle and fight to live and who survive against the odds and bring hope to all expectant mothers who face complications in pregnancy.

Post birth baby blues was common, almost normal on the ward, and I suggest there were also cases where signs of post natal depression that would follow were also prevalent in some cases , although its only 22 years on when I think back to some of the signs I witnessed and indeed felt, stories shared that I recognise that.

When a patient under these circumstances it’s not unusual to be told you’re in the best place, and of course you are, but that does not elevate the fear for the life you carry inside you should the worst case scenarieo occur.

During my 12 week stay the reality of my own circumstances and vunerability of my unborn child never left me as I witness both the joys and sorrows of the woman I shared time with, sometimes fleeting, sometimes prolonged time.

I saw and felt the joy of many mothers who left with healthy babies. I also saw woman leave without babies who had endured difficult pregnancies or births, and I saw fathers or grandparents leave with baby, who no longer had a mum.

During my confinment I cried a lot, not just in regard of my own fears and trepidation but for the mothers of babies I had come to know, who’s journey’s I had partially shared. Indeed, 22 years on I still think of some of these woman and their children and wonder how they are now.

I also wore my happy, I’m fine mask a lot, trying to hide my fears and worries from family in order not to worry them, and of couse, to not be a bother to the staff who had more than enough to contend with.

Fortunatly, my baby was born as arranged at 36 weeks, and although he was small and fragile, had jaundice and a heart murmur, 10 days after his birth we went home together.

Throughout my 12 week stay going home with my baby was all I could think of, all I wanted to do, but I was unprepared for how I would feel when that day came, and when it did I was overwhelmed.

Although I would like to say the state of my home when I got there was irrelevant and immaterial, as I was finally home, with my new baby and other children, it wasn’t. My home was untidy, unclean and in truth not how I expected to find it. For this particular story the details or why this was the case is by and large irrelevant, and is covered in my forthcoming book “A Girl From Glasgow” but of course finding my home thus, did not help my mood or emotional state.

I felt like a stranger in my home, everything felt surreal to me.

I had undenyably felt guilty about being away from my other 2 children during my confinement, I had felt guilty about leaving them with my poorly, grieving mother and once home I felt anxious about spreading myself emotionally, caring and giving equal time and attention to all of them, as well as getting the house back in order and returning to my caring for all of them. I felt useless, incompetent and depressed, and I felt guilty that I felt that way.

I recognised I was depressed and I saw the doctor in regard of this.

I was constantly tired, couldn’t eat and felt I got little or no support from my children’s father, who seemed never to be there and constantly on my case when he was. When I tried to discuss these feelings with him, I was told I was paranoid, stupid, and mellow dramatic.

When the health visitor came to the house to see me and he was always there, and he tended to speak over me and for me, something my health visitor told me, on one of the rare occasions when I was able to speak to her when he wasn’t present, she had noticed.

In the summer following my babies birth in May, around July, two old girlfriends from my past came to visit and stay with their children for a holiday. It had felt like a good idea at the time, but hindsight tells me that it was probably not the best time cos it added to the feeling of responsibility to be “fine” when I clearly wasn’t and my happy mask slipped on more than one occasion. After a doctors visit, during their stay, when I had been put on anti-depressant pills which I had a bad reaction to that night. I threw a wobbler, screaming and shouting at everyone out of control I guess, so the following day one of my friends returned home, the other went to stay with my mum to give me a break, she couldn’t go home, she lived abroad and her flight was still a week away.

My friends had tried to be supportive, but I felt judged and repremanded by their  opinionated words of support and felt like no one was actually listening to what I was saying when I tried to explain how I was feeling.
I felt terrible, I felt lost and I no longer recognised myself and when I next took my baby for his check up unaccompanied by my then husband, I told my health visitor, the wonderful wise woman, aka Mrs Forbs, exactly how I felt, through a deluge of tears.
In that moment it felt like a weight had been lifted, when she took my hand and gently reassured me what I was going through was not so unusual and that I was not alone.

The Royal Collage of Psychiatry states that “Postnatal Depression is a depressive illness which affects between 10 to 15 in every 100 women having a baby & the symptoms are similar to those in depression at other times.

Postpartum (puerperal) psychosis is the most severe type of mental illness that happens after having a baby. It affects around 1 in 1000 women and starts within days or weeks of childbirth. It can develop in a few hours and can be life-threatening, so needs urgent treatment.

Some 22 years on since my own experiences with post natal depression, and aditional further diagnosis of clinical depression and mental illness, I am aware there is much more information and support available to woman who experience PND , and thankfully the internet has made information and available support groups much more accessible for all of us.

Additionally I think its fair to say that PND, like any other mental illness, does not only affect woman sufferers but can also affect men.

Husbands, fathers, brothers, sons and indeed friends of those who experience post natal depression will be touched and affected, the impact is much wider than mother only. 

Now, in 2017 as many support departments and agencies see cuts to funding that helps those in distress, I feel great concern for those who suffer PND or any mental health condition as the disparity between physical and mental health funding and support continues and appears to be getting worse. 

I was very fortunate to have the wise woman Mrs Forbs to guid me, and can’t imagine what would have become of me without her advice and support, on that day when through my deluge of tears, I explained how I felt.

Mrs Forbs told me it wasn’t unusual for mum’s to feel how I did.

Mrs Forbs told me my symptoms were normal, and given all the other things I had been though during my pregnancy it was hardly surprising I felt as I did.

Mrs Forbs told me I had been though a great deal, my dads death, all that I felt, and saw on the maternity ward, and some of the other feelings I had shared with her in respect of my personal life, were bound to have an impact.

Mrs Forbs told me, all things considered I had done well to cope as I had, but that bottling up my feelings was counter productive, which of course was true.

This wonderful wise woman, said feeling I had lost myself was not something to feel guilty about, it was normal, and the solution was to find myself again.

She said she recognised that perhaps, I had lost me in the responsibility of motherhood…

I had perhaps become known as, my children’s mum…   my husbands wife… my mothers daughter… and with that, I had forgotten who June was.

Mrs Forbs told me ,that I needed to have some time that was my time, for my interests, away from being mum, daughter wife…

Not that these roles were not important, but that I mattered too, and so did  my interests and goals apart from my role and responsibilities as mother, daughter, wife.

She asked about my interests and life before and I told her of my past career, my interests and voluntary work within the arts. She suggested I get in touch with some groups and get involved in these things again, even if it was only for a few hours a week, reiterateing,  I had to find time for me, to be me , it didn’t make me a bad or neglectful mum, and that it would allow me some space, time away from all the other responsibilities that would allow me to make new friends, which since being a wife I appeared to have lost.

I truly believe that this was quite possibly the best advice I could receive at that time.

I took it, and got involved with the Harbour Art Center near where I lived, where I got involved with the writing group and drama group.

Through my involvement with these groups, and the friends I made there, I began to feel a little more like me again. I regained confidence in myself and my abilities.

Through my involvement with the wtiters group, which I am happy to report is still going strong under the managment of my dear friend David Mclaughlan, I was able to descuss various emotions & issues , but more than that it gave me a voice which allowed me to openly ask questions that were, for whatever reason, taboo. Questions that affected and troubled me.

Indeed, I think the writers group offered me a format where I could formally wear the mask of poet/writer with an air of impartiallity and anonyiminity, in which I was enabled to openly discuss and ask question I had previously been afraid, for a number of reasons, to ask.

Not only that but in this guise and areana, I was also able to get impartial feedback from other writers on many topics that had impacted on me for years , and this, was for me, theraputic.

Additionally, the writers group helped to rebuild my self esteem, and confidence in my creative skills, something that was very much a me thing, and I began to feel less lost and more like June and not just, the childrens mum, my partners wife, my mothers daughter…

During my involvement with The Harbour Art center between 1995 & 1997 I was involved with three amdram productions, A pantomime, a production of  Willy Russell’s play Educatin Rita  and a musical tributes show which I produced, directed coriographed and preformed in .

I began to feel good about myself again, I found confidence in my creative and practical abilities , I remembered the strong person I had once been and was able to express my emotions through my writing and involvement with the theatre group.

With my new found confidence I volunteered to be involved in some outreach and summer youth arts programmes which were organised by the HAC, and I was delighted that others had faith in my abilities too when I was invited to work there part time in the role of Events Co-ordinator.

For me this was not the end of my journey with depression and mental illness, but I am sure it was the guidance from the wise woman Forbs, and all I learned from heeding that advice that prepared me for the journey through the abyss of mental illness that would follow later and eventually lead to the strategy and agenda for what I now call The Hethen Project.

I shall be eternally grateful to the wise woman Mrs Forbs for her support and the advice and guidance she gave me, and to the friends I met at The Harbour Arts Center who helped and supported me though that time, that has helped mould the me I am today over twenty years on.

REFERANCES & LINKS

http://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/placenta-previa/

https://www.tommys.org/pregnancy-information/pregnancy-complications/symphysis-pubis-dysfunction-spd-or-pelvic-gird

http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/healthadvice/problemsdisorders/postnataldepression.aspx

https://www.tommys.org/pregnancy-information/pregnancy-complications/pre-eclampsia

https://www.uk-sands.org/why-babies-die/stillbirth

http://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/postnatal-depression-and-perinatal-mental-heajWVOLR0w

 

PROLOGUE TO AN UNCONVENTIONAL THESIS by a woman from Glasgow

“A journey of a million miles begins with one tiny step…”
you took yours now its my turn…

These were the words I scrawled across the freshly decorated wall in the living room of the marital home I was about to leave & lock the door on, for the last time. It was the spring of 1997, and these words felt like a fitting epitaph to my dead marriage.
The kids were waiting in the car on the drive, half an hour earlier I had waved off the van with all our worldly goods including the kitchen furniture, fittings, fixtures and sink, which a dear friend had helped me dismantle a few days earlier. I had been organising this move secretly for weeks, its true what they say ” hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”.

I had chosen this particular quote because my soon to be ex husband had used it when he had persuaded me to give up my independent, happy life as a single mum to one, indeed, he had led me to believe it was his own!!

I was a different person then, I hadn’t heard of Lao Tzu, though I had heard of Confucius, because as a child my mum began every little quote or words of wisdom she liked to say with the words “Confucius say…”

Of course it matters little which of these wise men said it, only that one of them did, because as I stared at that wall I thought, fuck , that’s a great quote!

I felt rather smug as I surveyed my graffiti work, in bright ruby-red lipstick.

He’d called me a crazy bitch many a time, now he was about to learn the extent of what this particular crazy bitch was capable of, and indeed, so was I.
There was little regret as I walked out the house, got in the car and drove away, telling the kids to wave bye-bye to the house. No fear or trepidation, no voice in my head filling it with doubt. I guess, in the moment I embraced it, I felt strong, stronger than I had for a very long time, and of course there was an element of anger, but it could be argued that there is strength in anger.

The months, in fact, the preceding years hadn’t been easy, there had been much to contend with, many emotions to mask and hide from many people, and not just in respect of my marital relationship.

I think its fair to say I had several stressful & emotional issues to contend with and not just in relation to myself but also relating to family health, and that particular journey began in 1995, when within days of  my dad dying unexpetedly from a heart attack and cremaiting him, I went for an antinatel scan and was told I had to be confined to hospital there and then. I had a grade A placenta previa and would have to spend the next 11 weeks confined to the hospital & bed rest. They agreed to give me a day or two max, to organise the family and I was addmitted for the next 11 weeks.

I was understandable distressed. I had a poorly, disabled, frail mother who was grieving to look after and support, not to mention two other children aged 4 & 12 who had lost their grandpa who needed to be looked after and supported, and I was well aware my husband wasn’t up to takeing care of them all properly, he was too busy working unsocial hours as a DJ, and fucking about with other women under the guise of buying and selling second-hand cars, though to be fair , he did fit a bit of that in too.

Of course I had no option but to go into hospital for the safety of my unborn baby and indeed my own health risk, so I made arrangements for the kids to stay with my mum. Friends, her neighbours and relatives, rallied round to help mum, and I tried to convince myself it helped support her though the moarning period.

Sometime, later when my baby was born, in the early summer I was diagnosed with postnatal depression. I would pinpoint this as my first proper diognosis of depression, although hindsight suggests I had lived with depression for many years before.

It was then I was fortunate to be guided by a very wise woman called Mrs Forbs, who was my health visitor who told me it wasnt surprising that I was suffering depression given I hadn’t even had time to grieve my dad before the pregnancy complications set in, and there was other stuff too, but as I said that was just the beginning of the journey….

In recent weeks I have reflected on The Hethen Project trying to put together an “about” description of where it began and what it is, for the purpose of this website I realised that I’ve been doing something my dad often found me guilty of , “putting the cart before the horse” because The Hethen Project is a path on the journey of a girl from Glasgow, a path still being forged with a horizon beyond, and it is also a seed sown on the path planted by a wise woman known as Mrs Forbs, but that is another chapter, for another day ….

old friends…

I felt sad today, and it came on me very suddenly and caught me off guard.

I feel it relevant to the Hethen Project as it happened in a place where my writing and arts as a therapy began almost 20 years ago, so let me give you some background.

In 1995 following a very difficult pregnancy with eleven weeks confined to the maternity ward & the birth of my youngest son I suffered from post natal depression, I was put on anti depressants but they really were not helping me at all, if anything I felt worse. My health visitor a wonder lady and beautiful soul, Elizabeth Forbs, recommended I find something for me, some June time she called it , away from family , home and responsibilities, my hobbies, she asked what my interest were and when I told her she recommended I contact the Harbour Arts Center in Irvine and join some groups, so I did.

I joined the writers group and the drama group and I know now, much better than I realized at the time, just how much that put me on the road to recovery, and finding a little of the me I hadn’t realized I’d lost, at that time.

When my problems relating to the issues I had in 2007-20011-12 which are reflected in the Justice uk style section of the Hethen Project which relates to things I was posting about on various social media websites, blog spot entries and facebook pages which i got locked out of accused of apparently being a fake me account!!!,…

Anyway, justice uk style was the seed of the Hethen Project, an I guess when it all hit the preverbial at that time my subconcious memory of how writing and art had got me thru that post natal depression and other problems I was having at a previous time became the link to mesh or bandaid that held me together, where the link conects in my mind between the Harbour Arts center and art as a therapy for me.

I have written my thots and dreams and all sorts of things down since I was a child, perhaps as an only child it becomes your invisible friend, your unseen sister or brother just a connection of communication with for the secret things you can’t talk about to your parents, everyone has these sort of generation issues.

The shoulder to cry on becomes your diary page , cos growing up as  in adulthood best friends are not or cannot always be there, so for me I wrote things down, it was my support my therapy that lightened the load, from there a pattern develops I think and when i couldn’t talk about things I wrote them down, or drew pictures about them, child psychologist do it with children, as play therapy exercise, of course it works with adults too, i learned to do it myself as an only child, so I have a record of who i’v been.

Writing poetry kept me sane, writing Hethen the story, was a way of writing my truth, as I was experiencing it in the only way I knew how to write, I don’t know how to write academically,and frankly, academic papers don’t raise awareness with the general public where the awareness is needed, because frankly, their fucking boring and difficult to read for the average working class person trying to hold down a job and raise their wanes to be good people, anyway I diversify sorry,how I write, well its just not how its done  apparently, but it kept me alive, and it kept me fighting , It stopped me feeling stupid and like I might be losing my mind, cos I knew I wasn’t.

I was totally aware of what was happening to me, but could not understand why it was., all the time becoming more stressed, anxious and yes paranoid, I had cause to be, and to this day have evidence to prove that, which of course in its self raises the question of its only paranoia if its not really happening , which it was , and thus for me it was a were a major factor .

So where am I going with this,

Since I started the Hethen project, I’v been fairly reclusive, paranoia does that to humans, so does fear and bullying, and of course that to makes you the victim, you distance yourself from people, and to be honest, in my case, when I was going through the issues from 2008 to 2011 most of the friends I had dropped away or disappeared, even my closest friends couldn’t handle how I was behaving, but they weren’t wearing my moccasins.

I left Telford and came back to Scotland, not just because I wanted to be near my family, but because between the Telford & Wrekin Housing Trust, Telford & Wrekin council, The DHSS & West Mercia Police I was made to feel dehumanized, and the fact is, whither that sounds like i’m being over dramatic or not, that is what happens when your human rights are abused. To this day I have the legal documentation that proves my human rights were abused and I was the victim of a crime of violence at the hands of police officers, in my own home, who were there on a concern for welfare incident ,that was not a legal matter or issue, I was denied my right to a fair trial and justice for the crimes against me none of which were a result of my errors but by errors by these same named government departments with a legal obligation to my welfare & civil rights, who were frankly bullying and intimidating me, to the point where I feared from my life, genuinely, and when I let it was because I didn’t think I would make it through another winter if I stayed.

For the three years since, I’v continued to try to find my feet, and it hasn’t been easy, my kids and I avoid talking about that period of my , of our lifes , and by and large I don’t go out much, and dont socialize, but i’m not living , I feel like a large part of me has merely existed.,although, I feel there is a reason I continue to exsist and part of that, and what keeps me going again is writing, my art and the Hethen Project which is incomplete and on going.

In the past 12 months I have tried to push myself to move on to the next phase of the Hethen Project and to do that I know I need to find that lost part of me again, my confidence, my ability to be around others without being paranoid or afraid of being me, and so, I went back a few weeks ago to the Harbour arts center, and why I was there today and found myself caught of my guard and feeling sad.

There are two members of the group still there who were original members when I was there twenty years since, one of them now leads the group, a dear friend, who back during that period of my life came to be like a brother who supported me through the break up of my marriage, the death of my mother and visited me on the psychiatric ward with books and a shoulder to cry on when my life went arse for elbow first time around.

The other a lovely lady and former teacher who used to type up and help me edit “A Girl From Glasgow” in its 1st draft., which was no easy task given some of it was written long hand and she transferred it to floppy and printed it out for me and my spelling well, there’s no doubt it must have been a nightmare for a teacher!! but she was always kind, patient and helpful with little constructive critiques, suggestions guidance and encouragement.

Today was the first time I had noticed this lovely lady on her feet and walking and thus I was caught unawares and felt sad, helpless in fact as a rush of mixed memories washed over me in an instant, nothing to do with writing, or art more to do with old friends, the passing of time and how things link us to our past and I guess on to the future…

My dear friend is crippled with arthritis and as I saw her walk out at the end of group I saw reflections of that same determined but painful walk of the those inflicted with arthritis, my own mother had , she had rheumatoid, and indeed one of my last conversations with Moira before I travelled south was s, when we were sat during the break in group at the bar drinking tea and she held my hand and comforted me regarding my mums passing,