Life at 56 and three quartersl

Life as I know It at 56 and three quarters.
Always be The Good Child

Always Understand

Never talk of Private Things

It might get out of hand
Love me unconditionally however alone you feel

Don’t divulge secrets you know we have a deal

Dont do as I do, Do as I say

Don’t go with your instincts lock them clean away.
Don’t tell me your childhood fears or woes

Don’t tell me they were bad

Because I had it worse than you, so you don’t know how to be sad!
When you try and love me and help me through and through

Only do it my way, or I will reject you

Understand my foibles understand my pain

Don’t tell me about my mental health because in that there’s shame

If you try and keep me safe I will think you are insane 
Don’t let doctors help me when I’m clearly really ill

Don’t come round my house with any kind of pill

Help me until you drop and when you can do no more

Then I will turn on you and show to you the door.
My love is unconditional in a very conditional way

So live your life quietly please,put on your clownish mask 

Don’t come to me crying I really don’t want to ask
Don’t tell me I need more help, or ways to be more free

Don’t let me accept anyone’s help

Because I’m frightened of insanity

If you find me somewhere else to live

I will always assume the worst

Even though you’ve never hurt me

I will always assume you’re bad

So play the game or shut up

Or enough of the relationship I will have had
I know deep down you love me

And have always cared

I know you’ve held me in your arms when I’ve been really scared

I know that you gently told me you only want to help

But now I can’t remember and you must just jog on

I am sceptical of your motives now my cognition has well and truly gone
I know that you know these things

But I really don’t care at all

Because you are the worst daughter and you need to have a fall 
So don’t call me anymore or visit me or phone

I’d rather sit and stew and fume and be here all alone.

Heroines Of The Medieval World by Sharon Bennett Connolly publication date 15 September 2017

Blog on Sharon Bennett Connolly’s book: Heroines of the Medieval World by Karrie Stone
There is deep deep truth in the quote within Sharon’s book where it says that

‘Heroines come in many forms and it is no less true for medieval heroines’.
The difference then as opposed to now , is the strict limitations put upon them by the male of the species, be it King, Father, Brother, Husband or a combination of those; the religious guidelines on how women were perceived and should behave was often laid down by Priests too.

Bearing in mind these were Monks and that their perception of womanhood in its ‘purest form ‘ was somewhat askew when placed next to a living breathing intelligent woman, one cannot as a 21st century woman, begin to conceive or imagine the determination required to be seen and heard as a valuable human being not just a chattel .
It is true too, that when reading history, it is often written by the victor …’To The Victor The Spoils’ springs to mind , but for women it was also not really deemed necessary or that relevant to write about their achievements in detail even if a Queen. Certainly to write about their true personality, needs, mores, fears , etc was not relevant or so it seems to us now.

Regardless , women were for procreating, furthering the lineage, be it high or low, for making sure that the home was indeed their lords castle even if a farm or hovel and to be run smoothly.
However ,we do it seems ,have more written information on the Nobility than we do on women further down the scale in class or status within that time….Or at least that’s how it appears until one truly starts to delve as Sharon has.
When Sharon Bennett Connolly first begun her blog ‘History – The Interesting Bits’ I was immediately hooked by the women she wrote about , true there were the more famous or infamous ones such as the indomitable Eleanor of Aquitaine who introduced so much into the culture and running of not just her homeland but also in Britain. She was a force of nature in a mans world .

 But Sharon’s quest has been to unearth with painstaking research the lesser known women. Lesser known but no less important to history. For history helps shape the world.

Maude de Brause who spoke out against the ubiquitous King John I was slightly more aware of , but with Maude, Sharon has filled in the blanks effortlessly.

This book’s Chapters are beautifully set out to lead us through the variations of the perception of a Medieval Heroine.

We have the Religious, the Scandalous, The Mistress, Disinherited, Pawns,Captive, Warriors, Rulers, Literary and one of my personal favourites The Survivors.

 One such for me is Anne of Stafford, granddaughter of Edward lll and Phillippa of Hainault , daughter to their son, Thomas of Woodstock . She had the most incredible twists and turns in her life seemingly a sort of footnote to history . She was married at age eight or nine to Thomas Earl of Stafford who was fifteen years her senior, then after his death married to his younger brother Edmund at age nineteen.

Her father Thomas was arrested personally by the King Richard ll, only to die in captivity not long after. Possibly smothered. Thus began further losses of the family fortune , then the death of her mother Eleanor de Bohun and her unmarried sister Joan. Anne’s only surviving sister Isabel took the veil and ultimately therefore Anne became the greatest heiress of the Kingdom at that time.

I could go on but this is Sharon’s book and there is no doubt in my mind that once you pick this up you won’t be able to stop reading about these women until the last chapter . Truth is definetely stranger and more fascinating than fiction within these lives.

Sharon has a wonderful way of writing, it appears effortless ,easy and utterly fascinating.

I’ve been a staunch fan of history for all my life but Sharon has, in my humble opinion, truly reached the core of what really was the backbone and making , even in the seemingly quiet lives of these many ladies, of Medieval Times. 

It is a book well overdue. Her research is thorough and painstaking. She took time to truly explore where these women lived where possible and the photographs are a beautiful adornment to this book.

Thank you Sharon I’ve learnt a lot about women I knew nothing of , gained so much insight. 

So as they say dear reader, it’s your turn to pick up this book, settle in and read on .
Thank you Sharon Bennett Connolly.

Art of Konstantin Razumov

Gorgeous painting


Some time ago I published a post “THE WOMAN WHO LEFT YOU”.

I explained in the post how I found paintings of Konstantin Razumov and gave a link to them.

Below is one of his paintings.

I hope that you will use the link above to read my short post, to enjoy Razumov’s paintings and a clip of music in the post.

There is also a wonderful poem in the post. It tells about spirit of beautiful women of Konstantin’s paintings. The poem is in Russian.

Here is an excerpt from it in English (! hope that my translation did not distort the spirit of the poem):

“The woman who left you will not

Remember your arms around her.

She will be older on one more loss.

But she still has her two wings.”


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Compassion in Caring

My mum has Alzheimer’s. My Dad had it 7/8 years and ended up initially in a secure EMI (elderly mentally infirm) care home as he became physically violent. Before Alzheimers he was the most gentle kind active generous man who then lived out his days eventually living as a man who couldn’t speak, walk, or do anything for himself basically in a foetal position. Pneumonia took him. I remember the day before he died; after two years of non recognition he managed to raise his hand and touch my cheek his eyes for a second were full of pure love. He died the next day.

I started by saying about my Mum, I mention my dear Dad as somehow its intrinsically all linked, this heart rending despicable disease. It is different with each person so as mum started to get ill 3/4 years ago she masked it well bless her although I knew she wasn’t quite herself. But she was living in her Home, surrounded by 53 years of memories of her life with my Dad, the man she met at 18, married at 20. She appeared to be managing.

In the last two and a half years she began to slide, memory wise. Mum was always proud , Independent  and whatever happens this must be respected. You can’t force your help. But then she had a fall, it wasn’t a large or particularly bad fall but enough to shake her psyche.

So she asked me to help her with every day finances basic living stuff etc.

What I then  found when starting this for her, was the true picture of a woman drowning in so many ways, but desperately holding on to the lifeboat of humanity.

I could write for days about getting her to doctors consultants etc this time I won’t.

One of the hardest things is in the last 8/9 months how sad, frightened lonely confused ,desperate, childlike, she now is. As her only surviving child and daughter I’m really the only one she talks to. Understandably. Some times 5/6 times a day as I cannot live with her. Physically be there all the time.

She will talk a bit to my husband but it isn’t the same, even though he’s amazing . There is no extended family who can help. I understand the reasons .

The issues are now that I need help for her, I can’t do it alone due irritatingly and frustratingly to my own long standing health issues. I keep fighting for her every day and it IS EVERY  day because one thing one learns as a carer to a dear parent, is it is a fight; a fight against apathy , people skim reading letters you send , hospitals doing the bare minimum even when your mother is in deep dark despair and wants to die because of her fear.

Her fear is because her mother had dementia and it was a hideous end ; her fear is she will be locked away with ‘old Ill folk’. Understandable. She doesn’t see herself as old , do any of us?  Her fear is fear itself of not understanding the fog in her brain. As she put it once  at the beginning …’I see what I want to say or think , but there is a fog in the way, I can reach the thought but not touch it’ 

She doesn’t remember I’m helping her with everyday basic living stuff that insight has gone and more goes everyday.

It’s a living bereavement. For her. For me. For my husband.My son…

I’ve had lots of well meaning advice about her going in to a Care Home. How many people really know what these are like? I do I’ve seen plenty. The staff can be utterly fantastic but also indifferent. 

Does anyone know how much they cost ? I do . Minimum £1300 per week. When someone has no savings are in debt yes they sell their home to fund it but when the money runs out they can be moved anywhere. There are No care plans to help them stay in what would now be their familiar surroundings. Don’t be fooled. I’m not going to get political but I will say this has been like this at least 20 years using my life experience .

I’ve been round a few more recently. Some are palatial buildings made up to look like 5 star Hotels . Great you think . But £1800-£2000 per week. And no joy just corridors with rooms and a chill silence . No real interaction. And that’s the part that’s not for folk with dementia. Don’t get me wrong I’ve experienced what severe dementia/Alzheimers sufferers need. I’m not belittling the nurses…but ….well no words.

The other spectrum is how my dads was; wonderful staff but everyone immobile. Mum ….is she ready to be surrounded by that?  I’ve waited many months for professional medical consultants advice still waiting. When she moves for move she must it must be right for her. Can’t keep moving her for emotional upheaval issues and sadly financial.

My mum is ready, more than ready ,for help. She doesn’t realise. She wants to live out her days near me, as I do with her, in a little house with a pretty courtyard garden and her faithful cat.

How do you say this isn’t possible. 

You know you have to.

That day is here.

Don’t weep for me weep for her. Weep for the thousands who have no family support .

The Queen’s Baby Sister

I know I say it a lot but really enjoy the people you find to write about; yer another lady of whom not much is known in regards to her personality as was the case with women at that time. I do hope she had some happiness in her third marriage.
She would have been a fascinating person to talk to about all she has seen and lived through.

History... the interesting bits!

Coat_of_Arms_of_Sir_Richard_Wydeville,_1st_Earl_Rivers,_KG Coat of arms of Katherine’s father, Sir Richard Wydeville, Earl Rivers, KG

Katherine Wydville (or Woodville) was born into relative obscurity. Her father was Sir Richard Wydville, a Lancastrian Knight who had made a shocking and advantageous marriage with Jacquetta of Luxembourg, widow of the king’s uncle John, Duke of Bedford. Born around 1458, Katherine was probably the youngest of the couple’s 14 or 15 children. Her eldest sister, Elizabeth, was already married to Sir John Grey and had 2 sons by him.

Little to nothing is known Katherine’s childhood. She did have at least one playmate; her sister, Mary, was just 2 years older than her and it is likely they were raised and educated together.

Katherine may have spent her whole life in obscurity were not for her sister Elizabeth and the fortunes of the Wars of the Roses. In 1461 Elizabeth’s husband was killed in the 2nd…

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Witchy Woman – the Fall of Eleanor Cobham, Duchess of Gloucester

Great blog on a fascinating woman

History... the interesting bits!

300px-Starborough_Castle Sterborough Castle, possible birthplace of Eleanor

Born around 1400 and probably at the castle of Sterborough in Kent, Eleanor Cobham was the daughter of Sir Reginald Cobham of Sterborough and his wife Eleanor, daughter of Sir Thomas Culpeper of Rayal.

As is often the case with Medieval women, nothing is known of Eleanor’s early life. She appeared at court in her early 20s, when she was appointed lady-in-waiting to Jacqueline of Hainault,  Duchess of Gloucester.

Jacqueline had come to England to escape her 2nd husband, the abusive John IV Duke of Brabant. She obtained an annulment of the marriage from the Antipope, Benedict XIII, and married Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, in 1423. He would spend a large amount of their marriage trying to recover Jacqueline’s lands from the Dukes of Brabant and Burgundy.

120px-HumphreyGloucester Humphrey Duke of Gloucester

Humphrey was a younger brother of King Henry V and…

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The Wendy Bird and Dementia….Never forget the person inside💫✨🌟


*Peter Pan and Wendy and its connection to my life with my mum…*
My mum was born in 1937 and was christened ‘Wendy’.

She was named after the famous character in the story ‘Peter Pan and Wendy ‘ written by JM Barrie, founder of The Great Ormond Street Hospital.
‘Wendy ‘ was the girl in Peter Pans life , who, when he was searching for his ‘Happy Thought’ to help him fly and take him from Neverland and the struggles of his life, flew with him out of Neverland to find something he had lost but wasn’t sure he needed..but eventually found, in London.
He initially found through a window , Wendy and her brothers (who became part of the Lost Boys…the boys who stood for all the orphans who had been left and forgotten by Adults or ‘Pirates’. )

Basically people who had let them down even if it was not of their doing.
When we grow up we try to clutch on to our inner child, the part of ourselves who represents utter joy, utter freedom…if we are lucky we can hold on to a part of this within ourselves .

But as we all know this cannot go on forever we all have to grow up. Be responsible….
Going back to my dear Mum, who now at 79 has dementia and has retreated to that childhood status….a mind that lives in the past joys of the freedoms of childhood and at the same time , feels the loss just like a small child of her parents….particularly her father now, who she was inordinately close too.
He too was an orphan, raised in a workhouse in London with no happy childhood freedoms …but still retained the joy and need for freedom, probably because of the restriction and privation of his own childhood and the separation from his brother and sister.
I often muse, now I’m a gran myself the reason why my mum was called Wendy.

A made up name …a rare name and yet one that suits her well.

She , I have realised throughout my entire life retained that ‘lost boy youth’ herself. Her joy, her need to be free but at the same time the sadness and rage towards a mother who didn’t understand her and was impossible to reach emotionally, and then , a Father who loved her utterly, and wanted to protect her from harm .

My father , I know now protected her from so much. He and I would discuss in my teens the need to ‘protect ‘ my mum from family emotional devastation….but it wasnt until he died I realised the extent of his ‘protection of the child within’ if you like.

Mum is an amazing lady has achieved so much as a mum, a role model when it came to learning, work etc which always had an aura shining from her, even pre dementia ….a aura of ‘Peter Pan’.

The need to keep the inner child and laughter alive.

 This I recognise in myself but have the other side too, reasoning as an adult like my dad.
So why did I start writing this you ask!?

Because on re reading ‘Peter Pan ‘ and his love for Wendy who became his touchstone to escape to another ‘great adventure’, I muse….why or what did my grandparents,particularly , I wonder my grandpa, see in my mum as a newborn, did he see the ‘Wendy bird’ in my mum?
I wish I could ask because of the nature of just the name itself, I can’t help feeling there was more to the naming than sheer chance.

Mum will always be my ‘Wendy bird’; for her love of childhood, her need for a loving parent , the joy of flying (albeit by plane) the feeling of her joy of life that she has passed on to me.

It highlights why we need to talk to our parents as people not just as parents, to understand them , their past helps us, our child(ren) and grandchildren to see us in a new light . A light always with a glow from Tinkerbell.✨💫

A light that somehow should never leave us even if it flickers faintly.

So look to your dreams, follow that star that leads you to wherever your ‘heart -home’ takes you in the mornings.
To live is an awfully big adventure.

Wendy taught me that.

The Sad Story of Little St Hugh of Lincoln

Mureder or Accident? The sad tale of little Hugh of Lincoln were the Jewish community guilty or scapegoats for prejudice. Fascinating reading from History The Interesting Bits

History... the interesting bits!

046 Lincoln Cathedral viewed from Lincoln Castle

While researching Lincoln this week I came across the unhappy story of Little St Hugh, a young boy whose death caused a lethal backlash of blame and recrimination which attracted the attention of the king, Henry III, himself.

The story revolves around a young boy called Hugh. Born around 1246 he  was probably 9 years old when he disappeared on 31st July 1255. No one seems to know who Hugh’s father was, or even if he had one – some sources suggest he was illegitimate – but his mother was a Lincoln lady called Beatrice.

According to reports young Hugh had been doing what all boys do at the age – he’d been out playing with friends. But when it got late the lad could not be found. His mother spent days looking for him and apparently was eventually told by some neighbours that…

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Yepton Estate Cottages Isn’t A Place It’s A Feeling!

Yepton Estate Cottages Isn’t Just A Place it’s a feeling!  

 It’s a cold rainy day, the winter drags on, the work has to be done, family has to be cared for but in my heart , the thing that keeps me smiling, keeps me filled with sunshine is the knowledge that a few thousand miles away there is an Island in the Caribbean. An Island I have had the good fortune over the last 20 years to visit, to make friends, to find my joy. This Island is Stamped now on my heart.It is Antigua. Last year I needed to get there somehow. It was June and after many years of staying in a Hotel in Five Islands, even though I was travelling alone, I wanted to experience the true feeling of mixing in with the Antiguans, to feel a teeny tiny part of being ‘A true Islander’. My problem was as a solo female how to do this and feel secure. I talked to my Antiguan friends and found..a true gem, the best of both worlds if you will. I found Gabriela and Douglas Luery at Yepton Estate Cottages in Five Islands , a part of the Island I knew well have friends there … From the first tentative enquiry with the delightful and ultra efficient Gabie, as she has now become to me, I knew it was the right place to try. She and her husband Douglas have created an oasis of sheer beauty tucked away from the City of St John’s. Between them they have created several self contained Caribbean style cottages using Douglas’ years in engineering and skills along with Gabies incredible efficiency, attention to detail and utter warmth and generosity of spirit. Need a taxi to meet you at VC Bird Airport? Sorted using the amazing Spencer. Need to hire a car? Tell Gabie what you need and joy of joys a car can be hired and delivered to you on the day you ask. Should you wish to hang on to the car longer? All sorted . The cottages are a delight with all that is needed. Good cooking equipment, lovely lounge area with TV,Music System , Safe, Free Wifi, dining area. A glorious Bedroom and Bathroom. All scrupulously clean. Don’t bother packing towels, there’s Bathroom Towels and Beach Towels in abundance. All this with a glorious wooden verandah wrapped around the outside with BBQ and hammock for swaying gently in, catching the warm breeze. The lawned gardens are gorgeous with a wee dipping pool surrounded by chairs and loungers. Perfect for that late afternoon chilled glass of beer or wine as you watch the incredible bird life flitting in the trees and the fishing lake in front of the cottages which separates you from the nearby beach, fringed with palm trees, flamboyants and hibiscus bushes . My first morning Gabie drove me to the nearby Epicurean Supermarket. An amazing Supermarket; one of the things I loved was chatting and joking with the local Antiguans as we chose our freshly cooked Salt fish and Ackee, Jerk chicken , rice and peas , sushi etc. There’s everything you need there including some very good wine! Then the drive back through St John’s Market Street and Corn Alley ,Cathedral ,Market Stalls full of life, to then meander past Heritage Quay along the seafront and return to your delightful air conditioned cottage, unpack, unwind on the hammock gazing at the cerulean sky. Once settled Douglas spent time going over all there is to do and see on the Island , the beaches, the restaurants , historical places of interest. When my hire car arrived, what joy to take the plunge and go for a leisurely drive by yourself in the afternoon sunlight. Just to stop and gaze at the beauty around you, to pop in on old friends on the Island. One extra thing which was a massive boon was the local mobile or cell that Douglas and Gabie supplied; which meant avoiding the usual hefty mobile bills on your own, but also knowing wherever you went you could contact either one of them . Simple idea but liberating as a sole traveller. Whilst there Gabie and Douglas had arranged a wedding on the beach for a young couple. I was lucky to be included in the celebration. Glorious food lots of laughter. That’s one thing you do at Yepton ,you laugh, you can chat or be as quiet as the teeny lizard that scurries past. The one problem I had was leaving. Had to be practically eased out of my Cottage with a bottle opener. Suffice to say I rapsed so lyrical about it to my husband Mike we went back together two months later for another glorious fortnight. Don’t hesitate going to this lovely place , don’t think either you can’t go after June for the weather is just as glorious. As I say it’s not just a lovely collection of buildings but it has a heart too and their names are Gabriela and Douglas Luery. Book now