Thought for the Week

"A hug is a perfect gift - one size fits all and nobody minds if you give it back."

Letter to a young girl

Laney chanllenged me, assuming it was possible to send letters back in time, to write a letter to myself - aged 13, so here goes.

Dear Stupid,

No scratch that, I haven't been stupid yet, that is still to come.

Maybe I should warn myself about my first BIG mistake I was to make in my life 3 years later.

As I sit here, debating how the hell to tell a strong headed teenager what she shouldn't do at the age of sixteen, I am wondering if I would even listen. What teenager likes to be told what to do?

Dear Ali,

I have to warn you what a waste of space the guy you are going to get mixed up with is. He is one of the biggest a**holes anyone could have the misfortune to meet. Sure, he'll sweet talk you, til he's got you hooked, then he'll show his true, selfish colours. He has no clue as to the meaning of love, despite what he will tell you, and ......

Now see, here's my problem. This was the first guy that I had a physical relationship with. After only a short period of time I was pregnant and he was gone. He came back, which was never great and lasted for about a year, but he mistreated me and was physically violent to my baby in that short time.

You might be asking where my problem is in warning myself to steer clear of him. Without him, I wouldn't have my son, and I wouldn't change him for all the tea in China, and believe me, I have a real tea addiction!

So, I can't write to myself and warn me off him can I? So what would I write to myself.

Dear Ali,

The world is a huge place. It is filled with people from all walks of life. Some you will not care to be around and some will pretend to care and stab you in the back. Some will touch your life for a short period but leave a lasting memory. Others, although few and far between, will be true friends. These are the people you should treasure.

Take time. Don't be in a hurry to greet the next day, you may not like what it has to offer. Instead, make the most of today, of every minute. Be sure to tell those you love how you feel, and do it often. They won't all be around for as long as you might think they will.

Always look forward, it is the only road to be travelled. The past is just that, and no amount of pondering and regret can change it, but you can shape the future by your actions and deeds.

Learn quickly to forgive those closest to you and remember their actions, although painful sometimes, will not have been done to hurt you.

I'll leave you with the only advice you need and wish you Good Luck.

Live. Love. Laugh.


My eyes opened, it was 07:45. For the first time in I can't remember how long, I slept right through the night. Not once did I get up to use the bathroom. Not once did I awake and wander in the half light down the stairs to the kitchen in search of a drink of some description to quell the humungous thirst I had.

As I lay there, eyes wide open, I listened intently. Trying to force myself to summons the will to get out of my warm, cosy, safe bed, I continued to listen. I heard nothing. I wondered if anyone else was up, but guessed as it was Bank Holiday they would still be asleep, G certainly was, his body moving rhythmically to the tune of restful sleep.

I listened some more.

I coaxed myself into a sitting position. Legs dangling over the edge of the bed, not wanting to put them on the floor in case I made a noise, I listened. Eventually I stood up and made my way ever so quietly to the door. I paused. I listened. I looked at G fast asleep. Slowly, quietly, I pushed down on the handle of the bedroom door and gently, silently, opened it. Still listening I stepped onto the landing. Floor boards creaking, frozen in that moment of time, I held my breath so I could hear better. I don't know how many seconds I stood frozen to that spot, it seemed like such a long time.

When I finally exhaled, I crossed the landing into the bathroom to answer mornings call of nature, as quietly as I could. If only I had the pelvic floor muscles of a 20 year old I might have been even more successful!! Knowing my next task once I had left the bathroom was to go downstairs and put the kettle on, I paused once more, ears straining, but detecting nothing.

Deep breath. There was nothing for it, I had to go down there, so I stood up, flushed the toilet and dropped the lid very loudly. Having washed my hands, with the hot tap having caused the boiler in the kitchen to kick in, I noisely opened the bathroom door, stomped heavily across the landing and stopped at the top of the stairs. I listened.

Looking back down the landing, I realised my younger daughters door was slightly open, and daylight was visible inside, meaning the curtains were open. Then I remembered she was at work, even on a Bank Holiday, she had gone in for 7am. I breathed. I relaxed. I stopped listening and went downstairs.

Pausing momentarily at the bottom, I stopped outside the kitchens closed door. I didn't want to open it. I was afraid of what was on the other side. I changed my mind and went into the dining room first, making my way to the patio doors and peering very gingerly between the join in the curtains. Everything looked normal. The day seemed unperturbed by the night which had preceeded it.

Satisfied with this, I returned to the kitchen door, passing the dining room table which was strewn with piles of paperwork on my way. I took a deep breath and opened it. Normality.

I have never in my life been so friggin pleased to see normality. You see, this is Monday morning, and it's normal. Yesterday morning however was another story.

I had awoken several times during Saturday night and at 03:30 I had sleepily wandered downstairs, with nothing but the streetlights and my bare feet to guide the way, in need of liquid refreshment. I had done this again at 05:30. My sleep patterns are pretty much like this nowadays, but a drink and back to bed usually sees me off to sleep again. A 05:30 I wandered down the stairs, although it was daylight by now, I was still half asleep. As I had passed the dining room I noticed a small pile of paperwork sitting on my chair which had been in front of the computer. Wondering what G had been searching for when he came in at 01:30 that morning, I dismissed it. As I turned back towards the kitchen, I also noticed that the filiing trays in my desk were empty. Completely bare. One tray held the last 2-3 years worth of family history, one held all my bank statements, direct debit info, and other financial information and the third tray had various paperwork which I couldn't begin to remember.

Still confused, and slightly puzzled as to why he would move it all, I decided after a lads night out there is no telling. As I walked to the kitchen door, there was a lovely fresh breeze blowing through. Temporarily I was again confused. I knew I had locked up last thing before going to bed and I couldn't begin to imagine who was up so early and needing to go outside. As I walked to the back door to have a look I noticed through the walk in cupboards slightly ajar door that the window was open. We never, ever open this window. It's old, wired glass and crittle framed and wasn't replaced when we did the double glazing due to the extension plans.

Suddenly the penny dropped. We'd had a break in. I went stone cold and froze to the spot. What the???? Shit???? I went back to the dining room and the only possession that had been taken was my handbag. Everything else appeared to be paperwork. That felt very personal. Like we had been specifically targeted.

From then on the day was hectic. Police crime reports and SOCO dusting for fingerprints. Banks to call to cancel credit cards and debit cards. Store cards to cancel. Other numbers to cancel the cheque book. Yet another department to attempt to get our online log-in details altered for the banks. A visit to friends to beg a cash loan, as we now had no means of purchasing a thing and no means of drawing cash until our cards are replaced. It was just non-stop. By the time I allowed myself to rest in the late afternoon, the days effects had already taken a serious toll on my ME, and I still had the night to face.