I have been indulging in a bit of self criticism recently. Looking at all my writings here, and seeing friends fall about laughing when I tell my tales of woe, I question the veracity, and if I embroider and exaggerate. But now, with help, I am clearing 60 years of paper prior to down-sizing. Press cuttings, archives, photos absolve me from fibs. Dramatising? Again, not really, events were dramatic.
1966, piece of paper, discharge from Westminster Hospital, admittance for ‘Mania’, I remember the racket of London traffic on a Friday afternoon. And puzzlement as to where the bells were coming from. They were the ambulance, and I was inside. Then followed what must raise groans from many here, juggling a scary fear of mental instability and coping with family and business.
1975, where I acquired the doubtful reputation of being a ‘toughy’. The M25 was bisecting our farm. Contractors were due Monday afternoon. On Friday afternoon my 13 year old son said ‘Mum, whole lot of bulldozers going across to Top Field’. Contacted contractor bosses, ‘In meetings’, left message. We had lockable gates either side of the motorway cutting, which we locked, quarter of a million pounds worth equipment inside. Drivers came storming up. I got the police. They said they could not get them for trespass unless they hurt us or our property. Obviously the boys in blue were dying to get at the very unpopular contractors. Eventually bosses came storming up, threatening to sue us! Son and I still sitting on gates. We arrived at a consensus, they would put right the damage done by the last lot. I heard later that a discussion was held with our landlords, the local council, who said ‘It is not advisable to tangle with Mrs X’. And it stuck. Next major row with bankers in the 80’s – but they had given me a scholarship, and would have egg on their faces if they carried out threats. The veracity was through local press, because we became the local ‘David and Goliath’.
A photo shows me lying in bed with my leg in a plastic WPB. I had been stung by a Stingray on an Indonesian island. Was carted, in the dark, in a boat with about 6 inches freeboard and no life-saving equipment, lugged up a jetty while a Doctor (I think, no English) tried to remove the venom, I fainted, Mr G turned green. Son on mainland had contacted an NZ doctor who also dived. He said hot water, as hot as I could stand, to disperse the venom until we could get to help. I think that was the only life-threatening situation. Can feel the pain now, plus the geographical situation was pure paradise.
Minor dramas: nearly going broke. Homeless thanks to said motorway. Children having crazy accidents, own seat at A & E (definite fib). Earthquakes, volcanoes, floods, stuck in snow, boats not showing up, family caught on verge of civil war (one of worst horrors).
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