Attempting to make it as a writer

Posts tagged ‘rugby’

Neanderthal Sport

Having lost the battle of the TV remote I was forced to watched one of the six nations games.   I have of course watched many games of rugby over the years but usually with a vested interest in one of the teams winning.  To be honest whichever side won the match didn’t matter to me; what struck me more than anything else during this particular battle was how close to Neanderthal man we still are.

Great hulks of unkempt hairy muscle closing in on the prey with grunts and groans.  They hunt in droves to win their prize and whisk it away supported by other pack beasts

Neanderthal Prop?

Neanderthal Prop?

thundering down the pitch. Diving and coveting the quarry so no-one else can take it; whilst opposing creatures maul each other in a bid to steal away the prey.    A quick span of the watching crowd reveal vividly preened and painted females cheering on the brutality taking place in front of them.  The prize, in this instance is not the chance to win the love, ownership or dominance of the female spectators but a title which will elevate their prominence and their masculinity until the next competition.

In fact all games, hockey, football, tennis have an element of raw brutality, courage and dominance about them.  The Olympic games, the world cups even inter club competitions are all about being the best, the king of the pride, the undisputed top dog.   Winners not born to this elevated position; win by strength, determination and often sacrifice.  When the time comes, and it will come they will lose to younger fitter adversaries as their vitality falters.

The highly emotive and controversial sport of hunting is another battle of prehistoric supremacy lingering on into modern sport.  A team of contemporary well turned out hunters chasing down not; an unsuspecting ball but a cunning  fox or swift stag.  Opposition protesters protecting the prey who will go to devious extremes to prevent the chase.  Protesting has  evolved now taking its place as part of this quick thinking sport, where  three sides do battle;  hunters, protesters and prey and in this case  it is not always the hunters who win, often the quick thinking cunning can outwit the brawn and magnitude of an advancing hunt.   How many protesters will go home and catch the highlights of the six nation matches later on.      Watching and cheering as the bloodied winners leave the pitch in triumph when hours before their prize as antagonists was preventing the bloodied winners catching from prey.

Of course I feel blessed that my children do not behave in this pre-historic, grunting and intimidating manner.

Although watching No 1 Son playing rugby there are some very similar stances, builds and grunts.  The thunder on the pitch as they stampede towards another try before meeting the opposition with a deafening crunch is definitely reminiscent of the charge from out of control wildebeest. Thankfully No 1 Son’s team-mates are able to revert back from their animalistic instincts following a shower and cooked meal as do the international players.

I am assured by parents and friends alike that the grunts and shoulder shrugging along with the fierce dagger looks from Middle son is perfectly normal and he will grow out of it rather than regress further into caveman mentality.   Maybe if he played more rugby he could channel his barbaric behaviour into something constructive.  His rugby coach is certainly impressed when he finds time to turn up.

Meanwhile Mini Son is still perfecting the art of defending his ball before kicking it past the goalie to score.  Being the fastest and the best at football in the whole school is the only prize he desires. Sexy Sporty Dad and I are immensely proud that he has been chosen to represent the local Area Athletics Academy; one of only 9 to have been picked from hundreds who train weekly. I am not sure how the animal adrenaline will spur him but feel without a ball in front of him his focus will not quite be as motivated.

Having sat through two brutal demonstrations of supremacy and violence I have missed the Saturday afternoon Catherine Cookson weepie on Yesterday; one of the multi channels I could have inflicted on my family had I won the remote control.   Maybe if I am cunning and think like the prey I can hide the remote before the beginning of the Sunday game.  I can then enjoy a serious weep together with my box of Kleenex and a hot water bottle.


I am quite excited that I have actually managed to do some writing.  It was not a press release or a blog it was a short story.   I was given a brief for a story between 1500 and 1700 words relating to a valentines card for a competition.  I thought I might have a go and laboriously managed to get 600 forced words down setting the scene and describing my characters, without knowing where the story was going.   For a couple of days I pondered and added a few words till at 900 I gave up.  I left the characters pondering the card sorry I could not do them more justice.

Two days later the story had mulled and churned through my daily routine, I had tarnished passers-by with the characteristic flaws and failings of my heroine and her workmates.   I re-read the story.  I cut whole chunks as I went, adding in little phrases that had been brimming over the days, to the now growing text.  I became the heroine receiving the unwanted card but why and who from.    I added in all the possible senders filling in little tit bits of information and back fill.  Suddenly I was in full flight and had to finish the story but I was still unsure of who the card came from.

Time now to reveal the sender; the words just tumbled out surprising me as much as any future reader.   I suspect the novel I am reading at the moment may have something to do with the surprise.  I didn’t even realise that I had thought that seriously about the subject except as a background to my current reading. There it was though out and on the page.

My feeble 900 words had developed and expanded into 2641.  I have pared it down now to 1720 with judicious editing but where to lose those extra 20 words.  I feel like a slimmer who has reached a plateau just before her final target weight although I wish it was that easy to slim without noticing it.    I still have a few days before the competition closes so will see what my writing group think.  I may not even send it off as I don’t ever do very well at these things.  The fact remains that I have managed to write and come up with a passable piece of fiction.   If I could only find the same inspiration to finish my re-edit of Memories, it may actually see the inside of a publisher’s office.


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Getting the Grade

It’s been a long week of waiting especially for 16 year olds and their wearied families.  Last Wednesday brought a stream of successful A’level results; leading to young futures being mapped out as scenes of happy teenagers realise they had won that coveted place at university as they study the sheets of paper handed to them.

This week it was the turn of the GCSE results.  Boys and girls up and down the country have been back apprehensively attending school; for one long drawn out moment of intense emotion, as they learn how well they have done.  All those tedious hours of study, those nagged timely homeworks and all those missed activities; were they enough?

I made a point of being up early.  I had not been asked but I knew it would come and when it did it would be instant.   “I need a lift now?”

The last two years have been a long haul for No 1 Son dealing with more than just the usual teenage angst, lack of motivation and general ennui that his classmates seem to have overcome.

He, not surprisingly being such a keen sports player, opted to take Further PE as one of his options.   He would of course focus all his passion on rugby as his main sporting activity.  Fate however, was not of the same opinion and he was distraught and devastated by the distressing news he needed pins in his hips and would be out of contact sport action for a whole year.  The first operation was just before he embarked on his GCSE course.  Six weeks spent in a wheel chair and a further six on crutches before he tentatively began walking and gently jogging.  Then tragedy struck as fate dealt her next blow; the second hip gave way and he was catapulted back to square one.

The second operation took us less by surprise as we now knew there was weakness but the timing could not have been worse.   Weeks into the new school term and days before the first set of exams in his modular English, Maths and Science GCSE were due to be sat.   When the pain came it was almost routine, one phone call and we leap frogged the waiting list to be seen.  That day we were admitted and the operation took place early the next morning.

No 1 Son still suffering from the anaesthetic was taken from his hospital bed straight to school to sit his maths exam.  Unable to keep track of the time due to severe bouts of sleepiness; how was he ever going to remember how to divide fractions or work out the circumference of a trapezium.  He sat uncomfortably in his wheelchair wondering what day it was, as he filled in the hazy paper in front of him.  Two days later still heavily dependent on pain killers, still tired and angry we dropped him back at school to discuss the merits of the chosen topic book.  A story in which he had already struggled to find empathy with any of the characters.

Disappointing results were met with his school wanting to move him down a group in maths and to monitor his English.   I don’t get belligerent often, but armed with an arsenal of justifying persuasions I tackled the school who gave in without fight on the proviso his next results were better and he would retake these modules studying on his own.  The battle rules were laid.  Only he could pull it back, but at what cost.

The first year of his course for PE he watched longingly as the others played their sports and developed their skills while he read the theory.  Once fit but unable to play rugby he took to refereeing the game which helped his study of the laws and added another strand to his practical sports.  He took up tennis with less chance of being in a crash or wipe out. Sluggishly his serve found its home as he sauntered along the base line hoping for a long return with restricted stretch.

He had taken the battle rules and reworked them for himself, he was not going to let them move him.  He knuckled down and worked; creating revision timetables to focus his time and energies.  He limited his party going, opting if not preferring to have proper sleep rather than beer infused dozing.  He exercised his way to peak fitness, losing all the weight that had begun to drag him down after months of inactivity.  Back on his beloved rugby field he came from nowhere to take the end of season “most improved back” trophy.   He practised his new found tennis skills and can return a mean backhand down the line challenging some of his county level playing friends.

Notes of revision were posted over the house explaining assonance, alliteration and adverbs.  Diagrams of algebraic fractions and wigwams began appearing on the bathroom walls!   He dragged himself reluctantly off to extra classes and took on extra homework to catch up on his lost year.  Finally he sat the last exams and today he will want to go and collect his results.

Whatever his results give us he has scored an A* for his dedicated, disciplined and determined attitude to achievement and he deserves so much more than a sheet of paper with a few letters on.   He has overcome huge obstacles to get to this stage.  We asked for best effort and that is exactly what he delivered. So well done No 1 Son!

Dedication, discipline and determination A*

“Mum are you doing anything, could you just give me a lift to school my friends are meeting there in a few minutes……..!”


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PS:   Of course I cannot reveal his results as they are between him and who he wishes to divulge them to.   To say we are proud is an understatement but I feel my belligerence has been vindicated.  His English and Science were above predicted and his Maths was way above all predictions. Two years ago he was in a wheelchair; today he has exceeded all expectations delivering an incredible result in his Sports GCSE.


Border Line Senility

It was the domino effect rather than the senility, I hope, that resulted in embarrassment for me.

As most people know Mini Son and I go to the same school.  He studies hard and learns lots.  I work hard and also learn lots, however it is he rather than me that is able to leave on time.

He had been picked, for the school football team, to take part in a local festival against other year 5 and 6 teams.   I was planning; to leave work at midday, rush home, change and grab some lunch, then be back by 1pm to collect him.

With 15 minutes to go and parents starting to arrive to collect their children I knew plan A was not going to succeed.  One of the other parents offered to take Mini Son and give me precious time to eat and change.

As I left the house, I realised I hadn’t had a drink so grabbed a sports bottle and filled it with water.

There was no parking anywhere.  There could have been, if some of the cars had been parked a little more thoughtfully.  As I drove back out of the car park I noticed the tiniest of spaces tucked into the hedge at the end of the line of cars just at the entrance.   I manoeuvred backwards and forwards into the space leaving no more than a millimetre between me the car behind.  She did have half a parking space in front of her, so getting out was not going to be an issue.  I tucked in really close to allow others in and out of the car park.  Even I was impressed by my parking; unless you are a very bad driver, you could still drive a double- decker bus through the entrance.

I found the school team; arriving at their pitch just as the first whistle blew for kick off.  I joined the throng of parents cheering them on and shouting loudly at my lad and his team mates. With the other supporters; head in hands as a kick missed its mark by a hair’s breadth.

Looking round the pitch, I found parents I had stood together shoulder to shoulder with on the rugby sidelines, only now we were on opposite sides of the game.   No matter how friendly and close I might be on a Sunday, I was delighted we won and even more proud to learn Mini Son was captain; leading the cheering at the end.   “Oh what a clever boy!”

They say “Pride before a fall”.

It was after that first game I learnt both Mini Son and his friend had left their drinks bottles in the boot of his friend’s car. His mum only delivering them, my part of the bargain was to bring both back.  Thank goodness I had my precious bottle of water; I didn’t get a look in.

After winning three matches we then had a three match break, Mini Son joined me in a search for a water tap, to top up the now empty water bottle.  I again ran into parents I knew from Sunday rugby.  One was coming to my fundraising pampered chef party that evening.  She was there with her husband who I have seen a few times and a few other parents I knew.

They too had a break of two matches.  Wendy whose meeting had finished early, had dropped in as she passed on her way to another, managing to see her lad play a couple of games.  She was now going to drop her husband at the village shop.  It seemed such a good idea to get a few snacks and drinks for the boys.

I stopped momentarily to look at my car.  If I drove the half a mile I would most definitely lose my carefully negotiated parking spot.  I began to walk, after all the walk would do me good. I had a three match time window and it really wasn’t that far.   I began walking  in the now beautifully sunny afternoon, once I had left the pitch I was sheltered from the wind.    Wendy and her husband drove past and stopped.  Without a second thought I accepted the lift happily and waved her off at the shop with a cheery “see you tonight”.

Browsing the shelves of the shop I picked out a couple of bottles, a large pack of mini cheddars, they might share them with me if I was lucky, and a packet of haribos which I was not so keen to share.  I began wandering over to the till and reached into my handbag.

Only my handbag wasn’t there.

Crossed hands checking my body for tell tale signs of a hidden bag.  A rush of minor panic as I knew exactly where it was; hidden under the rain mac in the well of the car.   So what were my options?

I could run back to the car and then to the shop and then back again.  Really!

I could leave everything and wander back empty handed with the excuse that I had changed my mind.  Lost it more like!


I wandered still laden down the aisles until I came upon Wendy’s wonderful husband and said “Andrew I wonder if you might help me out”.   Bless him, he paid for all the boys snacks and afterwards we casually strolled back to the pitches chatting amiably about life in general.

I stopped at the car and retrieved the £20 note for which of course he had no change.   “Sort it with Wendy tonight” he said dismissing the money.

No Change of course!

I did try to sort it with Wendy.  She knew nothing of the earlier events but under protest allowed me to buy her a glass of wine which I was more than willing to do so.

I am still the proud mum of Captain Mini Son who led his team to victory finishing top of their pool.  They were then beaten in such a close semi final, it could easily have gone either way.  Even in defeat his voice was loud and clear as he led the cheers for the victors.

Had I left work on time, I would have made sure the boys remembered their drinks and probably packed extra.  I who like to be early would have parked in a proper space in the car park.  I would not have needed to go to the shop at all. Is this how old age will start?

Or was I just dipping a testing toe across the border line of senility?


I have had some wonderful feedback on my powerful honour killings story but still not sure what to do with it!




Bruised and Battered

You will not believe my week again, waves of déjà vu, nausea and pummelled heart strings.

In some small ways that I haven’t worked out yet we are probably lucky where we live.  We do not however, have an A&E department nearby but like buses within an hour’s drive we have three.  Depending on the ambulance crew will determine where you end up.

At work the other day we had nearly reached break time when the call came through.  Ironically I was already taking a call from another member of top school staff on a less important matter.  I cut the call short as the other line was ringing.

“Middle Son has been playing rugby and taken a bad tackle.”

My mind on overtime “Have you called an ambulance?”

“No he’s fine, he walked off the pitch but is complaining of a sore neck.”

I know I spend a lot of time; some might say too much time dealing with the aftermath of rugby induced sore necks so maybe I am a touch hyper sensitive in that area.  He had, after all walked off the pitch.

I agreed to get there as quickly as it took me to go home and get the car.   I walked or teetered in my high heels and thankfully had the intuition or was it premonition to grab my handbag as I went.  As I drove, that horrible feeling crept over me; haven’t we been here before.

I got to the turning off into town and heard it.  It got louder as my stomach sank low into the well of the car.  I reached the roundabout and there it was coming from another direction; the paramedic, lights flashing, sirens wailing.   Swallowing down the wave of nausea I slipped in behind her and followed all the way to school.

He had become agitated and delirious they thought, so they had called the ambulance.  He is a teenage boy; he is always agitated and usually delirious but only on occasions when you can get anything out of him.

Assessing the tableau before me, I already knew what she would say.   “X-ray needed, neck injuries, just a  precaution,” all words I had heard previously.  How that word, precaution rules my life.

We waited, he breathing deeply on entonox to ease the pain, me pacing the room or holding his muddy hand telling him it will all be ok like an expectant father.  I gave all the complex and intricate medical history and elaborated when they learned he’d been run over, receiving a fracture to the base of his skull.  An event long filed in the memory banks of my mind was now being revisited with each delving question.

Unconscious, for how long?  What were the lasting effects?

The land ambulance arrived and I had to replicate and repeat all the same information.

Finally on our way; Middle son neatly cocooned in the new style back boards which are more like a swimming lilo strapped tightly over the prone body then inflated.  Apparently this cushions the body holding it still.  They also had to cut the collar off his rugby kit to get the neck brace round his neck.  Looks like I’ll be out shopping at the weekend for a new rugby shirt then.

We set off for a very windy, bumpy and rushed journey, well if the rugby didn’t injure the neck the journey had a very good attempt.  Middle Son was offered morphine to quell his pain, unaware of the beneficial pain relieving qualities and learning it involved a needle; he declined.  They unfortunately didn’t have anything strong enough to suppress my nausea or heaviness in my neck and shoulder.  The fact though that middle son was prepared to suffer pain rather than a needle levelled my emotions.

I was glad to arrive at the hospital and get him out.  The journey had become very claustrophobic for him and he was distressed.  He felt very sick, causing a problem in his strapped and prone position we could not turn him easily.  He started trying to fight his way out of the protective cradle while the ambulance crew struggled to hold him still.  It took a while before we were calm enough to be able to get out of the ambulance.  It had served a purpose though; an agitated youngster with a neck injury; they had the doctor look at him very quickly and we were taken to x-ray as soon as we were booked in.

The x-ray thankfully was ok.  They lifted his bed to a seated position, removed the head blocks and allowed him carefully to sit up.  Later, releasing him to a standing position, a wave of giddiness hit him as blood surged to forgotten places. The nurse went through the head injury leaflet with me, another to add to my collection.

If any of the following occur contact my GP or Emergency Department  immediately.

Increased drowsiness or difficulty waking the patient from sleep; he is a teenager!

Confusion or poor understanding of what is being said; he is a teenager!

Mood swings or irritability; he is a teenager!

We escaped.

Realisation hit me I was stuck in town; hungry and thirsty with a hungry thirsty grumpy injured teenager.  Sexy Sporty Dad was stuck the other side of the county in a meeting he couldn’t get out of.   Another ambulance crew and we could have been in the same town as him.

We walked, well he walked I teetered; not really the time to remember I was wearing high heels, into town.  I found Cafe Nero and we both indulged in well earned lunch and the most delicious cup of tea.  I am not sure if this is representative of Cafe Nero or just my timings and need.

On his phone he facebooked all his friends who despite the no phones in school rule all managed to answer him.  I got a text from Sexy Sporty Dad to say he would be able to leave in about 2 hours and would drive straight to me (another hour).

My I-phone came into its own; I googled train times.

There was a train at 29 minutes past or another an hour later.   We crossed to the bus stop there was a bus to the station at 5 past the hour that would get us to the train on time.  It was now 10 past the hour.

Tottering round the corner I discovered the taxi rank.  The driver knew the train times and reckoned barring traffic we could make it despite it now being 20 past.

We arrived with three minutes to spare to find no one in the ticket office.  The station master hardly older than Middle Son was also ticket seller, guard and playing porter when I found him.  The train pulled in to the station as I told him I needed tickets.  Loading top up drinks and snacks, he relayed my need for tickets to the guard on the train, who allowed us to hop on and pay on board.

All well and good but my last cash had been eked out to pay the taxi, who had let me off the last 7p as we were now officially cashless.

The guard however didn’t need to settle for my body or selling my son he arrived at our seat with a portable card reader.

I don’t actually know how much lunch was that day or how much the train fare finally cost.  I know the guard said that in school uniform Middle Son counted as a child.

My final teeter of the day; back up to get the car from school.  I did contemplate getting another taxi home but we needed the car later.   The idea of a taxi to school also crossed my mind, but we had no money left between us.  We walked.

Apart from researching for this week’s blog; I have still to write some new stuff.  Even rugby was called off this weekend so no match report.

Have a safe week


Have you tried  Check out this weeks recipe.



Battered not Broken

It is so difficult as a mother watching your child hurt themselves.  I now also know that it doesn’t get any easier with time.

I find it so easy to step back and remember the moment when that perfect little bundle was placed in my arms for the first time; all labour pains and that effort just vanished.  They really don’t melt they disappear in such an instant that you don’t even believe they were ever there.

Of course with Middle Son it was never like that; so keen to get here; he arrived a scary shade of blue three weeks early.  I was given a fleeting glance as they rushed him up to the special care baby unit.  Hours later I was permitted to hold him, as Sexy Sporty Dad and I had a photo with him.  I still have the photo somewhere today.  What it doesn’t show in the photo is the oxygen pipe running up my back with Sexy Sporty Dad holding it just over my shoulder, or one side of this tiny bundle carefully tucked close into me with the leads and tubes hidden from view.

That was the day real life took over, splitting away from the safe black and white route of the parental handbook.  I learnt a hard lesson that day; the handbook was fiction.

I am not looking for sympathy; after all Middle Son grew up; albeit with many trials and tribulations along the way, to be a strapping young man.  No less than my first bundle; No 1 Son, who likewise has grown into a sturdy well-built rugby playing young adult. The same bundle that now expects me to stand proudly watching his self destruction and injury induced sport with neutrality and unfeeling.

Having seen No 1 Son through a year of frustration and immense bravery where he had both hips pinned and was away from sport; in particular his beloved rugby for a whole season, each game he plays is special.   Emotions for his parents are heightened to a volcanic pressure of watching, waiting and wishing.    Sexy Sporty Dad who has finally given up coaching the team to concentrate on his triathlon training cannot help but turn his trail past the club timing it to the start of the match.

I have never really been a good spectator of the sport, I watch in order to write a match report on a game where I do not even understand the laws.   Each week I try hard to learn a new expression, this week it was “charge down” and “overlap”.  Regardless of the actual game play these will appear prolifically in the match report.   Having written “Scrum Down” I now have a much better insight into positioning and roles that the team have.  I however am particularly protective of the whole team and get very vocal with annoyance when the other boys all land on top of a green shirt.

I was watching as the tackle happened on Sunday and immediately the hairs prickled in indignation at the audacity to floor my boy.  I held my breath as the maul moved away and he didn’t rise from the pitch.  That was the point the match report was assigned to the never written pile.  As the game moved across to the other side of the pitch I shouted at the coach to notice the man down, unnecessarily

Down but not Out

really as both coaches were thundering on to the pitch together with our fabulous first aider who reached him first.

Have you ever realised that just as you feel the heat of a blush rising through your body, you can actually feel the blood drain from your head down, from your arms back to just keep your heart fluttering.   The pain is physical as if you were the one hit.  The pit of your stomach tenses, releasing sharp daggers of emotion and nausea.    We of course have been here before throughout his rugby career.  He was knocked out during a festival and carted off in an ambulance about 5 years ago, that was the time we concentrated on his head and didn’t realise for weeks he had also broken a finger in the same tackle.  When the crack of ripping back muscles was heard in a training game, they all thought he had broken his neck.  Another four hour stint spent in A&E for his weary parents thankfully turned out to be a treatable tear.

This time he took too long to get up, we could see him moving his hands rubbing his hips.   I could feel the tension radiate from Sexy Sporty Dad as he stood beside me.  My hand crept in through the layers of warm clothing to rest lightly on my mobile.  How many times have I called, guided or liaised with ambulances for other children.

I broke the rules.  The same rules that with any other match I would be expected to enforce, but I went pitch side and waited as they helped No 1 Son to walk off the pitch.   Yes he did walk.  Well it was more a lob sided hobble but the fact he walked meant his hips may not yet be quite as broken as we all feared.  My breathing began to regulate and the blood seeped slowly back to all extremities as I walked beside his shuffling body to the changing rooms.   As I contemplated the quickest route to A&E by road, who should go with him and what to do with the other children, he put on his jumper shuffled back out to watch the match from the subs bench; commenting fiercely and understandably angrily on the outcome.

He joined his friends for the post match meal and Sexy Sporty Dad and I were allowed to finally stamp some authority on the day by refusing to allow him to ref the under 15 girls that afternoon.   He could hardly walk so chasing girls up and down a full size pitch was never going to be a realistic option.  His wonderfully supportive best friend stepped in and offered to ref for him.   Their builds may be poles apart but Stuart, wearing No 1 Son’s somewhat larger than required ref kit officiated a fast and furious match. No 1 Son fitting in and wearing Stuart’s slim line warm coat supported from the sidelines.

I was unimpressed at the ref co-ordinator who should know better than to come and start asking a somewhat still distressed No 1 Son why he was skiving from the match.  His passion for the game is such that he must have been in so much pain and inner turmoil to have allowed us to prevent him being ref that afternoon.

I am delighted to report that a combination (well lots) of  my homeopathic remedy Arnica, a hot bath and lots of rest No 1 son is walking well, his bruising is recovering rapidly though he will not be at training this week.  My boys have heard yet again my mantra “what is wrong with synchronised swimming it surely cannot be as dangerous as rugby.”

Writing :  having finally plucked up the courage to let my novel “memories” out to open critisicm I have now received my first review back

Once I had started reading, I read the whole thing in one day….. very compelling and a real page turner – very good!!  I liked the way that, although I figured out what was going on pretty early, you tossed in a few twists and turns to keep the reader hooked!  On the negative side – one or two slight inaccuracies of details (although only if you have direct experience of the matter and did not affect the overall story)….   overall, I thought it was an excellent story – well researched and well written!

Maybe the next step is to brave it out and send it to some editors, Stay posted.


check out family pizza time at ;

I am not known for my trailblazing fashion sense but I would never go out without my nails looking top notch, grateful thanks to Sarah and Lorraine at the Nail Workshop who not only keep them looking good but also put me in the spotlight   I of course went for Electric Metal Lover.

Wicked Mother

That is me not my mother; just in case you were wondering, in the eyes of my children.

I feel that I am quite defensive and proud of my children but there are still times when we do not see eye to eye.  My idea of “For the greater good” is not necessarily their choice of pathway.

Mini son was once an athletic socialite, who could not stay still for one moment.   A footballer for his local team, Saturday mornings would see me drive miles for his matches.  I have stood in pouring rain and sleet cheering his school team on.    He progressed through the levels in swimming not wanting to move from his fabulous teacher who has advanced his confidence as well as stroke.  He is the proud owner of the under 7s “player of the year” rugby trophy which adorns my kitchen unit, and had me again driving all over the county each Sunday morning to watch him tot up tries as he outran all opposition.

In July it all stopped.

We were busy, summer holidays were full of activities to keep him occupied and I was not too upset if he chose to sit out these past times.

September arrived upon us all too quickly and with it Mini Son announced he did not want to do anything.  Now he is happy to miss football training, content to pass up the chance to play rugby and battling valiantly to avoid his swimming lesson.  What has changed?

We did; we finally succumbed, to his pleas and desperation.  He is not a child who wants for much but, he did want a DS because, all his friends had one, both his brothers had one and he was always left out.  The benefits, we thought,  to a long journey if each child has their own entertainment are immense, so it seemed a reasonable request and we acquiesced; buying him the latest model and a couple of games for his birthday.   Since that day in July he has spent a considerable amount of time on his toy.  Naively I thought he was rushing out to play with friends and he was; on his DS which has a link feature and he plays his team games sat on friend’s sofas surrounded by DS playing chums.

Evil as it may seem, particularly if the tears and “I hate yous” are anything to go by.  I have banned him from his beloved DS.   There is however an “unless”; he has to earn the time through some kind of activity, I have not specified which; he can choose.  This week he has joined in with Tag Rugby Club and Simply Football Club after school and splashed and dived for half an hour proving to his teacher he needs to be moved up.  I am happy for him to now play on his DS for the weekend.    He is after all in the school football team for next week’s match.  Not one to gloat too much but the grin on his face as he returned from the clubs and the smile as he once again was allowed without argument to resume his latest DS challenge proves that maybe I am not so horrid.

When are you justified in doubting your child’s motives?

The other day was not really a good day to be stuck indoors learning while the sun was out and the teachers droning on about their boring subjects.  So when I got a text from Middle Son saying he had a headache, I confess I was suspiciously unsympathetic “have a drink” I responded harshly.   The conversation continued via text on the phone he is not allowed in school.  “Come and get me – I will just go to bed”.

I can’t just turn up at the school and say I want to take my son home as he has a headache, and following a few weeks of trying times with some verbal bullying I had my slight doubts as to the severity of the headache.   To be fair he has inherited my propensity to suffer migraines and with the heat and closeness of the atmosphere not only did I too have a headache, I had already sent three children home from my school.

The school phone rang and I answered it.   It was his school, laughing I told her I already knew what she was going to say.  Perfidiously, I asked if she thought he really was ill.

“I have checked his timetable and he doesn’t have science this afternoon, he has just had PE”.  Guilty as I felt, the school were ahead of me and had already checked his timetable; science being the subject with the bullies in.

It made sense that having done PE he probably hadn’t drunk much and probably did have a headache; borne out by him coming home and sleeping all afternoon while his wicked mother went back to work having given him painkillers and penitent sympathy.       Thankfully sleep and quiet is a great healer and he was miraculously recovered when friends came to call after school.

There are times in life when your children make you immensely proud and there are times when you do something to be proud of.   Sometimes they even link together although both of you may not be on the same wavelength.

No 1 Son has been through a long harrowing and painful year of major injury.  His whole life revolves around his rugby and it is a bitter pill when he is unable to play and train with his team.  He has been very brave and patient as his team developed their game and gained success last season.   Towards the latter part of the season he was joining in with the training and even playing the odd training match, but his horrible mother did not relent and allow him to play a proper match.

His consultant finally agreed to allow him to return to his cherished pastime so reluctantly I had no choice but to permit him back on to the pitch.   Under my very protective eye and vocal protestations he played a full match against an unsuspecting opposing side.  I would hope that as he walked off that pitch he felt as much pride as if he had scored the winning try in the world cup final; not because he helped his team to a 40:15 win but because of the personal battles he had overcome to get to that point.

With a relief that only a mother can even begin to imagine I walked away, full of pride and the germ of a story for the local paper.  Pen to paper and some consultation with my new found friend at the RFU and I was able to produce a press release charting his triumphant return to the game.

A child waiting for Christmas day could not have outweighed my anticipation as I waited for the paper to drop through the letterbox on Friday morning.  In my excitement and fear I nearly ripped the paper apart to find it.  Page 105 was a long way through; I should have started with the rugby and sport pages really.

It was there, my article and my photo for the whole of the world to see.

Leading the Tackle

Ok, so they had changed a few words and described his injury in lay man’s terms, added a few extra bits and left out some of my carefully crafted copy and the worse thing of all added a typo to a sentence they added but; it was mine.  They also forgot to credit it to me as they don’t credit any of their stories but I was on top of my world.

I woke Sexy Sporty Dad up as I danced into the room flinging the page at him.  He reluctantly obliged by opening his sleepy eyes, reading and commenting favourably on it.  I forced it under the nose of Number 1 Son who was less than impressed, even to the point of acutely embarrassed.

I was over the moon, another piece to add to my slowly, very some might say, growing portfolio of published writing.   More was to come, my new best friend from the RFU has asked if she can send it into their own magazine “Touchline” for publication.   Do you really think I turned her down?

A wry smile crept over No 1 Son’s face as he told me he was asked “what it is like to be famous?” the following morning at the rugby club.

We sometimes don’t walk along quite the same pathways but parents only do what they see is best for their children; hard and wicked as it may seem in the eyes of their offspring.



I am good at my job; normally within the limited scope I am permitted, I am good at prioritising.

Stress Balls

I have come from a highly charged and pressurised career where I had to deliver accurate and timely financial data onto live systems for immediate dispersal around the world all before 8am in the morning.  I have run my own property management company from home where the discipline of dividing home life and work was paramount to success.   So why now do I find it so difficult to prioritise my writing?

I describe myself in my CV as methodical, organised and accurate, which on the whole I would stand by.  Sexy Sporty Dad might dispute some of these, as he can never find anything on my desk.   I, on the other hand, know exactly which pile to look in to find things, if people would just not move anything around.   I can actually lay my hands immediately on all our passports, medical cards, car insurance with MOT Certificates.  A few weeks ago we were challenged about the extent of our property boundary; I was sadly able to pull out the copy of the deeds to prove the point in question.

An untidy desk is not a mark of an untidy mind.

I confess, although I would never consider myself OCD at anything, I do compartmentalise my time.   I allot time slots for certain jobs, inevitably running over and throwing my time frames awry.  My working hours at the school are easier to adhere to; although it is not in my nature to walk away leaving things unfinished and impossible to leave a crying child.  I have fallen into my own routine and mornings are my special time; no-one in the house is up and probably few people in the town are stirring.   Alone with the early morning Dawn Chorus emanating gently from the surrounding trees, I have gained one, self centred hour every morning for writing.

It doesn’t matter too much what I write but I must write.  E-mails and facebook status updates do not count as writing.   So, yesterday morning, I clambered reluctantly from my large, warm and peaceful bed to stumble downstairs to a cold, miserable morning and lonely desk to spend an hour and a half on Rugby.

I could justify permitting myself to do this;  I was due to finish work at noon and would spend the whole afternoon catching up with myself and my writing,  what a pleasure to look forward to.   I left work late at 1.15 and came home to a stack of more rugby orientated emails which needed immediate attention.   All afternoon I spent scrummaging through fixtures, throwing challenges to the opposition and trying to appease our teams.  Even during the evening whilst I was at a meeting, at guess where, the Rugby Club, Sexy Sporty Dad forwarded a message confirming No 1 Son’s team has a game this weekend.

My novel, it sounds good doesn’t it?  My novel, Memories, lies still unopened with the third draft only partly complete. NANOWRIMO – write a novel in a month (November) is looming hesitantly on the horizon.    I have no short stories to send off to the copious magazines I buy for research or the competitions I dream of entering if not winning.  To cap it all, at the moment, even Middle Son’s under 15’s team still have no game this weekend.  So what was it all for?

Is it just that I can’t say no; does it go deeper into the psyche than a simple word.

My history is littered with extra-curricular clubs and societies; early on it was the socialisation and charitable need that drew my attention.  Latterly, school based committees and now the rugby club are not as much for my benefit as that of my boys.

One Sunday morning a few years ago, I looked round at the family dynamics to realise I had lost my three boys and my husband for good.    Three rugby players and a rugby coach left me deserted every weekend, with nothing in common.  I had a choice: let them go or join them.    Playing rugby was not an option, even watching it as a mother, was a heart rendering pastime I found too difficult.  What was left?  The one thing I was good at: volunteering!    Every organisation can find room for a volunteer and so did the rugby club, the more I did the more I became involved.

Now a few years down the road, only No 1 Son is really playing the game.  I am unable to break the spider’s web of commitment I have invested into his club.  Not while he is still dependent on our support, both financial and parental, can I cut the threads.  He himself is carving a name for himself at the club.  While out injured last season we pushed him to take up refereeing which he is developing as another strand to his rugby career.  A rising star, full of determination to succeed and already being congratulated on his ability and fairness, he has local RFU referees watching and mentoring him.

Of course there are benefits to being involved, free RFU stress balls and with the world cup coming to this country in four years time I am hopeful that my involvement with the club will help me gain a ticket to watch No 1 Son as he plans to play for England at that time.   Although I am not sure I will have overcome my horror at the game or the carnage left behind.  I suspect, No 1 Son will not want his mother screaming at the opposition “get off my son”, instead he will have some gorgeous model hanging round the hospitality suite on my ticket, to soothe his battered and bruised brow.

So just maybe I now know where my priorities lie.  My needs, in my mind, come below that of my children!

The meeting last night did however introduce me to a press officer who gave me tips on match reporting and how to develop a human interest story.   It also left me with a tiny germination of a seed for a story this weekend.

My personal preference is writing and clearly the boys’ priority is fun sports; “never the twain shall meet” or maybe they just did.


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