Forget him

Our dog was a cross-breed; cocker spaniel and poodle, chocolate, curly, large paws and a thick moustache. He was lovely. Our step dad brought him home one afternoon, telling us his previous owner had received him as a gift and didn’t want him – he’d been handed to a friend of a friend… When he turned up I was about nine years of age. He came running into our back garden where we were, to sniff around. We stepped towards him but he turned up his lips bearing his canines with a threatening growl. We were definitely not welcome, obviously invading his space.

I’m not sure how he was treated by his old owners but he was scared of anyone who tried to approach him. We were gentle, showed that we were kind, comforted him, changed his name showing him he was ours. He became my companion. I played ball with him, chased him round the garden trying to get it off him, I learnt to juggle – with him running round my feet trying to catch the balls, took him for walks, carried him like a child, and generally messed around having fun. To start with he slept on the a small square landing about two steps down from our bedroom doors but eventually I gave him my old ‘My Little Pony’ cushion that we placed under the stairs alcove which he loved.

When our baby sister was born I was fifteen years old. Mum used to place her in the Moses basket next to the sofa, in the corner. I’d stroke her nose and sing her a song to get her to sleep. Mum tied her baby tag, from the hospital, at the end of the basket – dangling and swinging in the breeze from the back door. She started to worry becoming paranoid that our dog would become jealous of the attention my baby sister was receiving and may attack. She only needed one excuse to get rid of him and that day came fairly quickly.

A few weeks after our sister came home our dog decided to have a little chew on that tag hanging on the end of the basket. Mum freaked! If he could do that to the card, he’d likely attack our sister. A couple of days later, I watched him walk to the car with his cushion, lead and water bowl to be driven away, never to return.

That was one of the many times when I stood strong, holding back my emotions and pretending I wasn’t bothered. I learnt very early on in life that it was far easier for me to shut down and show no emotion at all than provide the satisfaction to others when I was hurting. I wouldn’t have been able to change anything; whatever we said or did was ignored unless it was wrong.

Angels: The Hallucination

When I said in an earlier post I wasn’t an unusual child but sensitive and open to all, what I meant was – that I may have been a little peculiar, I’m not sure I know the best way to explain it – I was spiritual! When I was very young I spoke to people that others couldn’t see; intrigued, yet petrified by ghosts; and when I was tired, I’d hear voices in my head which scared me. I’m not talking about schizophrenia voices but it was the only way I could explain it. It was a weird buzzing, static and noises like voices. I’ve had them twice since I’ve been an adult and can only explain it now as a feeling of being outside my head, static, and a fullness – an extreme state of tiredness. I’m not sure if there are voices, as such, but either way I hate the feeling it produces!

I can’t remember how old I was exactly but I was younger that nine years of age. I’d caught measles or German measles for the third time. Mum was on holiday in Spain with her man and my nan and grandad whilst my sister and I stayed with our dad for two or three weeks.

I remember walking into the front room, looking into the mirror of the wardrobe, which wasn’t actually used as a wardrobe but to store books that gramps had purchased from Readers Digest. I believe I had a sore throat so went to check but instead noticed a few spots on my forehead. When I checked my belly, I was covered.

Either that evening or the following evening I was struck with a fever. On this particular occasion it brought with it hallucinations. I remember my sister standing towards the end of the bed or hanging over the edge of the bunk bed asking what the matter with me was whilst my dad sat beside me wiping my forehead with a wet flannel.

I scared them. I was reeling of my visions of angels floating into the room from a bright light which was shining under the bedroom door while they carried paintings of portraits. I can partially remember the sight, yet can not recall exactly what they looked like or of whom the paintings were. I’m not sure but I believe I was, at a time, crying and asking my dad to make them stop – to go away. As expected, my dad was extremely concerned and worried for my life but eventually the fever subsided along with my visions.


Childhood Trauma: Drink Driving

“STOP! No mummy please, turn round mummy, go back! PLEASE mummy stop the car, stop mummy, go back… Please!!!”

I can’t remember how old I was but assume younger than eight as I don’t think I’d learnt how to swim yet. Mum was taking swimming lessons at a pool complex called The Dolphin. If I remember correctly, for some reason it wasn’t a school day so we went along to the lesson with her. I held onto the edge of the pool playing in the water whilst waiting for mum to finish. She’d made friends with another lady in her class and we were invited to her house for lunch.

I can recall very little of that day other than knowing we played upstairs with her children whilst they sat downstairs talking and drinking; my mum obviously a lot more than the other lady. It was starting to get dark and time to go home so mum called us down to get ready. The lady didn’t think mum should drive but mum said she’d be okay, it would be fine.

We all knew that mum was drunk and not in a fit state to drive but the lady didn’t argue or push the case so we got into the back of the car asking if we could stay, knowing it wasn’t safe. Once she started to drive off the car went up the kurb. My sister and I told her to stop but she carried on ignoring our pleas. The car was swerving on the road sometimes hitting the kurb or banking it slightly. At one point I believe we got very close to going over the edge of a slip road that led to the motorway, at least that’s how I remember it!

My sister and I were screaming and crying, pleading for mum to stop, to go back. Eventually, in tears, mum managed to turn round and go back. We knocked on the door still crying uncontrollably where mum apologised. My sister and I were led upstairs to calm down and play with our new friends. Mum remained downstairs to contact our step dad to collect us.

I don’t remember much after that other than him turning up over an hour later. By that time it was very dark, he was shouting at her for attempting to drive home, let alone get drunk during the day with children, then he drove us all home.

We never told our dad what happened on that day! ūüėĒ

Building blocks of life

For a child growing up – being in a house with no toys or friends to entertain or be entertained by and limited conversation – you would assume would leave some psychological mark!

I wouldn’t say my childhood was horrible but it was definitely strained to say the least. Unlike my older sister, I never found it difficult to make friends, which I managed to do fairly easily as I was free spirited, roaming and open to my imagination. However, after we moved and as I got older, things started to happen and that innocent child, disappeared into what I can only describe as a walking through mud.

My parents divorced whilst I was still a baby so I was never used to them being together and our weekends were spent with our dad – Friday evening until Sunday evening. On Friday evening my dad would pick us up from our mum around six o’clock on his way home from work. Since their divorce, my dad had lived with our gramps in their old family home which was on a main road and not a place for children to roam around; where my sister and I spent all weekend. We’d arrive around six-thirty in time for dinner, which on most occasions was pie and chips with some baked beans. We’d watch some television and then it would be time for bed. There was a familiar routine that I established the older I got was more for my dad than me! I wasn’t an unusual child but I was delicate and open to all!

Saturday we’d have toast or cornflakes for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch and something like fish fingers and chips with bakes beans for tea (dinner). On the odd occasion gramps would make nannas suet steak and kidney pudding which was one of my favourites. We always had ice cream for pudding (desert) except on Sunday. Sunday we’d usually have American style pancakes for breakfast with maple syrup, dinner would be roast beef or lamb with Yorkshire pud, boiled potatoes (cooked with mint so there was a rough film over the potato), peas, baked beans and brown sauce. We never had ketchup, it was only ever brown sauce! At some point on the Saturday we’d make a cake with gramps and fight over who was going to lick the wooden spoon, spatula and bowl. Late afternoon we’d put a mug full of rice into a sieve and leave it to soak overnight in a bowl of water. This was for the rice pudding we’d have after dinner on Sunday; always with a nutmeg skin which my sister and I shared. Saturday evenings were spent watching TV, in fact gramps and my dad did that all weekend except for cooking and going out. Sunday mornings we’d have a bath and hair wash with either the sailor bubble bath or some cheap washing up liquid that gramps had purchased from the market. After we’d finished, we’d get dressed and our dad would dry our hair whilst we sat in front of the fire watching songs or praise, or a morning version of it. Afternoon tea would be bread and jam with banana and cake before leaving to go home to mum. We always left at the same time each Sunday evening as we would hear the bells as we drove passed the church.

We didn’t take toys with us and we didn’t go out very often or know anyone around to be able to make friends. Our days on those weekends, bar the above, were spent using our imagination. My sister would spend most of her day after watching the Saturday morning TV, listening to her cassette tapes in my dads bedroom. Wham, George Michael, A-Ha, Fame, Madonna… Whilst I spent my time listening with her, or building imaginary bunkers and tents with blankets draped over the edge of the bunk bed or table. I spent time in the summer cleaning the outside of the windows, mowing the lawn with the petrol mower along with other gardening, or pretending to cut through a jungle or building more camps out of the large tree branches from a large tree that later, had been cut and left at the bottom of the garden. I remember running around with an old machete from the bottom shed – not something I’d trust today’s youth with! The bramble like pile of the tree seemed to remain there for a good year or so from what I can remember. ¬†Up until that point we had always had a weekly bonfire on Saturday evening at the bottom of the garden. I recall burning the end of long sticks and drawing into the air with the red hot end. During the summer, as it wasn’t dark enough to see what was being written in the air, we’d use the charcoal end to write on the concrete slope of the shed entrance instead. All paper and card that was saved for the fire was kept in an old coal bucket in the kitchen next to the boiler. At some point on Saturday morning we’d drive around for gramps to collect rent from certain people. The last stop would be just round the corner to our nan and grandad so my sister and I would jump out and run to their door for a quick kiss and hug before running back to the car. On the way home we’d stop off at Bejams (later Icelands) or Sainsburys where gramps would load the trolley with about 5 boxes of cornflakes and ten tins of baked beans, lots of toilet roll, a massive tub of margarine and the rest of the shop. Sometimes we’d go in with them, other times we remained in the car; again using our imagination as the car park was under a block of flats and felt like a secret place. Sunday after dinner my sister would get some money for washing the car and I was allowed to wash the wheels. Sometimes we were allowed to run across the road to the corner to post a letter. Occassionally I’d go to church with gramps who was the secretary at Bromley by Bow.

I suppose our weekends were very carefree, relaxed and open. Yet secluded, unsocial and lonely!

Vortex into the World of Social Networking

Isn’t it weird how the world of social media has taken over; actually it isn’t weird, it’s to be expected and part of the natural progression in life, but it doesn’t mean we have to agree with it and give in completely to its pull. When I was younger all I had were colouring pens, pencils, crayons, a bike, two dolls (without all the different clothes for changing them), a skateboard, at some point a scooter, Lego and eventually a Commodore 64. My time was spent out in the late afternoons/early evenings talking with my friends or running around climbing over people’s gardens to get home whilst playing run outs.

Today, children are too busy with their faces stuck in their mobile phones, on the Xbox, Wii, Play Station or DS style hand-held gaming device. They take over your PC logging into either a social media account such as Twitter or Facebook and for the younger generation, sites such as Club Penguin or Moshi Monsters. Some children are even lucky enough to have their own laptops, iPhones, iPods, iPod Touches or iPads; gone are the days when we used to play with marbles, seeing who can get to the end of the street the quickest by kneeling on a skateboard, or walking round the corner and knocking on your mates door to see if they wanted to come out and play. There’s a change in how we play, interact and communicate; we’ve lost that closeness and physical bond. They don’t notice the subtle differences as time moves on, they weren’t raised in the past, it’s all about the now and the now includes technologies like we’ve never seen them before. Literally!

They are logged in to the web, posting photos, adding friends, playing games, trying to see who can keep their pretend on-screen garden the cleanest, they use text talk and even struggle generally to complete a comprehensive sentence using the correct grammar and punctuation. People have over 300 friends on their account, but why? Surely they don’t interact with them all?!!? They don’t talk to 90% of them and 7% of those they do talk to are only contacted through that site. (I’m estimating, that isn’t a researched figure!) It isn’t just the younger generation either.

My Facebook account never had more than 50 friends at one time and the majority if those were family members who I rarely saw. We didn’t talk, even via the web so why did they ask me to be their friend? Was it a popularity contest to see how many they could include on their account, were they intrigued about my life or maybe it was a bit of both!? Over time and more so after leaving my last job, I whittled down my account to those who made some form of contact and eventually I had only 30 contacts. I say had, but I have only thirty contacts. A couple of old school parents who have moved to another country, some old work colleagues and the rest family. Compared to the majority, that isn’t a lot at all but I didn’t and don’t see the point in having friends who you never talk to and they only want to compare their life to yours.

Everyone puts everything on these social media sites, from photos to updates on their status, a check-in on where they are about to eat or visit and even what a wonderful time they had at so and so’s. Some even go as far as to place sympathy statuses up where they want attention, it’s there to get a reaction; most of us have done it in riddles to provoke replies but some more than others do it to hang their dirty laundry on the line for all to see. It’s not a pretty sight!

Personally, I found you are able to interact in a little of people’s lives without actually being there, but some things would depress me or make me jealous or I’d question why them and not me. What I didn’t understand was that although I had those feelings, if I was put in the predicament where I’d be given that opportunity they had, I wouldn’t accept it, so why did I feel that way?

I stopped using my account two weeks ago – to start with I wanted to log-in out of habit and check what people were up to, but over time I wasn’t missing it. I did peek twice during that first week and ended up coming away thinking about other people too much for more than just those days, it wasn’t and isn’t healthy. I’ve left my accounts active so that family can contact me via Facebook if they must, I’ll receive an email which I can reply without logging in and I can share a photo for them to see, I miss the interaction a little but at the same time, I don’t miss the stress. Whilst I don’t like not knowing what’s going on in their life, I know I’m better off not being wound up by things that have little significance in my life.

You could argue that my reason for not hating but disapproving of the amount of our life it’s taking away from other things and people is purely due to my inability to cope with my feelings and emotions, but its by stepping back that I started to realise just how much it’s taking over our lives.

I suppose you could look at technological devices as a vortex into another world where most of us get sucked into. Once there, we lose all memory of the old and never want to return for the good!

Related articles, comments and topic idea from:

Is Facebook Like High School

Say Something: Commenting Etiquette – From the comments section

Feliz Dia de los Muertos!

Happy Day of the Dead to my friend and his celebrations for the rest of this week.

Now back to Halloween…

I don’t recall ever celebrating Halloween as a child; it wasn’t until recently that we started to celebrate, or at least dress up and make a thing of it. I can’t say I felt I was missing out on Halloween when younger, in fact, I don’t think my generation really did a lot of ‘Trick or Treating’ which is probably why I don’t remember too much about it. I believe it wasn’t until I was in my teens that the American craze of Halloween celebrations really started to kick off here in the UK. Films like ET were the ones to highlight what us Brits were missing out on and until then it wasn’t something we’d really thought too much about. My younger sister who is fifteen years younger, was the first in our household to start dressing and making props for the kids on our street and it wasn’t until my Mum mentioned it today that I felt a little pang of jealousy over the added attention or free-reign she received compared to my older sister and I. However, I do remember that we belonged to a ‘club’ where one year we attended their Halloween disco and me and my granddad dressed up – he was Dracula and I was a Bat. We¬†won¬†that year, to my joy but for the life of me I can’t remember what we won but I do remember we went up on stage briefly – to be¬†honest if I don’t remember what the prize was, then it’s highly likely to be something very trivial as I tend to remember the really exciting stuff.

In 2007 we moved into a new area,¬†away from the hustle and bustle of the town and into a small village. There are about five villages closely knit together and I assumed that being so cliquey as some families are, they’d all be out Trick or Treating. To my dismay in the first two years we received about 2 knocks; our children were disappointed and so was I. I’d heard families out and about in the village so I knew there were a few going around and it dawned on me that as there are no street lights in our section of the village, unless you have your front light on, the children wouldn’t come into the garden.

Three years back I made sure the porch light was on and that something spooky could be seen and on that occasion is was a fake spider web on the hanging basket under the light. We managed to get five knocks that year; I’d dressed as a dead surgeon, our youngest as a skeleton and our eldest as a cat. Last year our eldest went to a friends for her first Trick or Treating so we didn’t dress up, however I did include¬†a carved pumpkin of Kermit the Frog and we managed to get seven knocks. Our children dressed as a Ghost and a¬†Bat/Devil/Dracula! Our youngest couldn’t make up his mind and wanted a little of each costume.

An old work friend who celebrates Samhain (pronounced sow-en) every year has given me the greatest incentive to pay more attention to the celebrations;¬†we also brought home a lot of Halloween¬†candy¬†from Disney World. We started about a month ago collecting items or purchasing them from the shops after a few months checking out ideas and pinning them to my board on Pinterest. I remember another post being Freshly Pressed about Pinterest¬†and that we seem to pin but never use it – I can now say “I have made use of the board and try to limit my use to interests (although there are the odd dream posts)”.

Over the last three days we have spray painted bottles and jars, carved pumpkins, stuffed witches legs, painted a skull and¬†filled the jars.¬† Last night we put up a spider web that we stretched from the porch wall around, over a plant and up into a hanging basket just below the outside light. We put a glow-in-the-dark tomb stone into the plant tub in front of the window and distributed LED lit skulls around the lawn.¬†I’d made spiders from pumpkin shaped squashes and these were put¬†out in numerous¬†positions from the door to the gardens edge. The jars were filled¬†with dried Cranberries (Toads hearts), raisins (Warts), dried Apricots (Cockroach guts), Pumpkin teeth (orange from Disney), Devil teeth (purple from Disney), and Pumpkin babies (Pumpkin shaped gummies from Disney);¬†these were placed¬†out on the doorstep in front or behind the lanterns which were lit. We had covered the tops of the bottles and jars with tissue paper and elastic bands to make them look more authentic and they’d been sprayed black or lilac to make them seem like potion pots. The Witches legs were positioned¬†nicely under the car port door with the witches broom to make it appear¬†like she’d been squashed and the large white-painted skull was put to her side with glow sticks inside to make it stand out. I’d carved three pumpkins to say ‘BOO!’ and another two¬†that¬†had been spray painted on the top with black and sprinkled with a mixture of gold and silver glitter which were placed¬†either side of the door mat. The last three pumpkins (one each for us all – not including my husband who shares mine) were carved as the Jack o’Lantern, Stitch and Perry the Platypus. To top it off, I added a small cauldron with apples in water which nicely tied it all in.

We did have a few additional items such as more webs, cr√™pe paper for shapes,¬†and ‘Be Warned’ or Do Not Enter’¬†tape but it was far too windy to put them out. These are now under the stairs ready for next year. Unfortunately due to the¬†wind, the¬†candles wouldn’t¬†remain lit in the pumpkins so we had to resort to using thin bracelet glow sticks which weren’t as bright but they did the trick for the evening.

Once everything was out and all the sweets including bracelets and stretchy spiders, were in the tub, we ran up stairs to get ready. Our eldest was a dead bride with a pale face and black lipstick, our youngest a mummy also with a pale face and dark eyes, then I was an angel of darkness¬†with a very short angel dress, large hole fish net tights, a long black cape (that I used to hide my very short dress ūüė≥ ), a white face with black mascara and lipstick and to top it off a glow in the dark white wig that looked fantastic with our black-light on at the door. We did have black nail varnish that I had specifically grown my nails for, but it was cheap rubbish that cracked and started peeling instantly!

Over all, the evening was a success. People commented on our costume or house presentation and we succeeded in beating last years knocks with approx eleven or so this year.

Next year, as long as the winds stays at bay, it will be even better. I’ll have to think hard and search further for some good ideas to add; we have a relatively small garden so can’t be too generous with our props as it will start to get¬†tacky.

Late 1970s to early 1980s Magic Kingdom map

My 1 metre by 0.8 metre Magic Kingdom map.¬† I’m not sure if framing it will make it fade? It’s a little tatty with the tape glue marks from 1980s – shame! However this is my favourite keepsake from my childhood and wish they still made them.

I also posted this on another Disney blog site for those who have seen it, it’s not d√©j√† vu.


Fading Memories – Pack Your Bags

Some people travel abroad to a different country a few times a year, others once a year, but a lot don’t even own a passport. I remember being told or reading somewhere that this is true of the majority of the American population. If you think about it, America is a huge country with so much history and culture extending across lots of states; why bother leaving and going anywhere else when you have so much on your doorstep? but I digress!

When I was younger, up until the age of about 5 or 6, my holiday adventures didn’t even extend past caravan parks in Cornwall, Cambersands¬†or anywhere similar. Sometimes I didn’t even holiday at all, my Mum would go off with her man to Spain, along with my grandparents while we stayed with our Dad for a few weeks, who lived with¬†my grandfather (or pops as I liked to call him) ever since our parents divorced when I was a baby!

I was lucky, my father had been to Walt Disney World and loved it enough to want to take us. He used our child savings that were given to us as a gift at an early age (he wasn’t going to use all his own money, but I don’t know what his financial circumstances were like then and I’d rather have gone to Florida so I won’t quibble) and paid for my Mum to go too. My sister had a fold out bed, my father a double and my mum and I shared the other double. It was an amazing time.

We only spent a week at Disney and a week in St Petes Beach or Miami. I remember we only visited the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Sea World and Kennedy Space Centre. My favourite rides at the time (or what I can remember) were Peter Pans Flight, The Haunted Mansion, Space Mountain, Jungle Cruise, Carousel of Progress, 20,000 leagues under the sea (now being renovated into the new Fantasyland) and the PeopleMover (now called Tomorrowland Transit Authority). Tom Sawyer Island and the Swiss Family Treehouse also stand out in my memory Рall from within the Magic Kingdom plus the enormous park map (must have been approximately 2 by 1.5 metres) that we asked Cinderella to autograph for us (I still have it).

Epcot: I remember the big golf ball globe ‘Spaceship Earth’, the Monorail, Universe of Energy (now Ellen’s Energy Adventure) and Journey into Imagination¬†with the original Figment and the Dreamfinder. I loved Figment and still have my photo where I stand beside them both. One other thing that stands out in my memory are the Phineas Fog¬†balloons from the Land Pavillion food court,although I thought they were in a different food place, but that’s the last place I’ve seen them!?!

Seaworld¬†and Kennedy didn’t leave as much of an impression as Disney; I remember Shamu and my sister being chosen to kiss and be given a rose by a sea-lion¬†ūüôā obviously I remember the big splashes but also walking through a weird flower garden with streams and a bridge. At Kennedy, I only remember the space rockets in the garden.

I loved every minute of my two weeks in Florida in the early 1980s; it was only the beginning of my Disney adventures.

I’m Smokin’ a Fa’ag

When I was nine years old we moved to a different area but within the same town. It didn’t take too long to make new friends (and that’s a different post) but the road we moved to, I later learned, was the worst road in our borough. When I say worst, I mean we had the roughest, bullying kids, bad parents, lack of good influence and full of bad mouthed little terrors.
Where I lived, the road was shaped¬†like the curve on the letter D, with a cul-de-sac running off each end. I was lucky that we were perched in the heart of one of the cul-de-sacs, shielding us from the horror that lay around the back-end of our road. This isn’t to say we didn’t have the rough at our end of the street, but we didn’t have it as bad and people rarely ventured into our zone unless they needed something or someone within it.

I wasn’t perfect and neither were my new friends,¬†we were curious about things and one of those was smoking. I can’t remember who initiated the conversation nor whose idea it was to steal tobacco and roll-up papers from my parents but I don’t suppose that’s important. I took some Drum tobacco¬†and papers from my step dads tin and we made a hide out at the end of the alley that backed on to my garden. I made a roll-up and had some matches that I took from my mums collection (she liked to take the easy light match packs you used to¬†get in hotels) and we lit one up and gave it a try.

At first we didn’t take it down, but just liked the feeling it gave of appearing cool, or at least that’s how it seemed to me. I felt like a grown up, like one of those people in a film that everyone admires – only that admiration is for their personality not for their smoking habits but still that’s how I associated it in my youth.
The man, whose garden we’d made our den against, came to the end of his garden to check-up on what was at his gate – he was okay, but that scared us a little so we packed up and went on our way.
We’d be walking along the street within the first week of our trial, where I’d pick up half smoked fag butts¬†I’d find on the floor. We went down the alley opposite my house where no other house backed on to, it was overgrown, so we sat in the grass half way down the path out of sight. I tried to light the fag-end but the match dropped on my trousers and burnt a very small hole. I was very self-conscious and decided to tell my mum what we had done, my friend afraid she’d tell her parents. I was grounded for the week and when my friend came knocking, my mum said she wouldn’t tell her parents but maybe it would be the right thing if my friend did. Of course, she never did!

It was later, when in senior school that we tried smoking again. We were in our first year and the girls thought it would be good to persuade an older pupil to buy their 10 Benson and Hedges for them and puff away. This time I tried it, I even took it down and I liked it! but I was an athlete and my conscience was greater and my knowing how bad they were, pulled me to the side that told me I shouldn’t. I held my ground but my friend never did – even to this day, she smokes (well at least I think she does – another post).

I can’t say I’ve not smoked since that day – I did like it, but while I might have had the odd puff or ‘drag’ as I was growing up, out at a nightclub or in a pub, I’ve never had more than a few ‘lugs’ – it makes me dizzy and faint (that and I know it’s not healthy and can lead to lung cancer).

Goldilocks and the Three Hairs

There are many things that I don’t like but there are not many things that make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, a chill run down my spine and a shiver wave through my body.

Hairs and fluff make me cringe – I remember when I was about 3 years old, we were at a caravan park staying in one of the static vans and my parents took us to the swimming pool. I refused to go into the pool because when I looked to the right of the steps, I could see a snake under the water. I remember it vividly, I think it more likely to have been a hose pipe used to clean the pool but neither of my parents could see it and they believe from their memory, it was a hair. This is my first memory of hating hairs.
I can go in the shower and wash my hair without any problem, gently clean the plug hole but make sure not to pay too much attention to what else is attached. I can dry my hair and collect all the hairs that have fallen to the floor, or clean the wheels from the Hoover where my long¬†hair has tangled. Yet, I can’t put my hand in a sink with small hairs from my husbands head or¬†fill up the sink and tip in a tub of things needing to be washed where small bits of hair or fluff fall in. It almost makes me gag, makes me shiver and I have to close my eyes and spray water over to wash it away. However, if I were to find a piece of fluff on my clothing, that’s perfectly fine and I can remove it without a second thought. I can’t stand small hairs on work surfaces or on pillows, yet if I were to see small shavings in the sink that’s okay! I swim away from hairs and fluff seen in the swimming pool – even today it makes me shudder, and I have to tip toe and try not to shiver when walking through changing rooms in bare feet.

Would you call this a phobia of sorts? How can you justify what is or isn’t a phobia? Who decides if this just falls under the umbrella of hate and dislike?

Another hate of mine is a similar thing from childhood: seaweed and beach worm holes. I used to refuse to walk over any of it and at one point was sent back by my father in the direction of where my mother sat, only to walk off at an angle and get lost. They had half the beach looking for me and a kind man with binoculars leant them to my mother to help find me almost a mile away crying but luckily my hair stood out from the crowds!
I was told¬†many times that the seaweed won’t hurt me and the worm holes were just mounds of sand, yet they resembled worms and in fact are created my lugworm. To this day, I wouldn’t walk on them unless necessary, but I am happy to tip toe over the seaweed.