Imagine that life is like a holiday. We arrive at our destination screaming as we’ve lost our luggage and we don’t speak the language.

We get a hotel that’s constantly under construction (our bodies). We try out all the entertainment and explore as much as we like. If we’re lucky we have a holiday romance.

 

It tends to get a bit sad when the holiday comes to an end but you’ve taken some super photos and have some lovely holiday memories

 

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My mother was born in 1940, just after the start of World War Two. My grandfather was at that time an aircraft mechanic and shortly after my mother was born he spent the bulk of the war in a Portuguese prisoner of war camp after his plane was shot down. My grandmother raised my mother by herself for the first 4 years and it was a tough time as you could imagine. Following the war my grandfather was a printer on Fleet Street for The Times, they lived in West London and if the photographs are anything to go by they had a happy time as the world healed its wounds.

 My mother was an only child and throughout her life she loved attention, as a young girl and young woman she was a chorus line dancer, with newspaper clippings from the local papers of her in fanciful costumes in My Fair Lady or something similar. She stayed living at home as her mother was stricken with Multiple Sclerosis – which scars the nerves and left her immobilised – and she needed a great deal of support. She sadly died when my mother was 21 years old. My mother was on an overseas holiday and was not contactable. They had to bury her mother before she returned home. I don’t think she ever really got over it. My grandfather re-married after 3 years.

 Some time later my mother married a handsome man who was a mounted metropolitan policeman, one of those coppers who rides around on a horse, a far more high profile job in the early 1960’s than it is today. All was fine until one day she returned home to discover another woman wearing her bathrobe. She turned her back on her husband and his mistress, walked out of the house and never saw him again. She went to her father’s house and pulled her life back together. Whilst she was waiting for her divorce papers she met another young handsome man. She was working on Harley Street as a dental technician and her boss introduced him to one of his friends, they had a whirlwind romance and fell in love. That man was my father.

 An often quoted story is how my mother learnt about the age difference between her and my father. On a flight to Paris before they were married my mother looked at my father’s passport and was shocked to discover that she was eight and a half years older than he was. This never bothered my father one little bit and we always used to tease my mother that she had a toy boy.

 My mother fell pregnant before she and my father were married, they had a little girl who sadly only lived for 3 days, it was terribly upsetting, her name was Emma Louise. A year later my mother gave birth to a bouncing baby boy. He had dark hair and green eyes. He was healthy. Two and half years later at 38 years old my mother gave birth to a little girl, Emma Charlotte. Life was wonderfully happy and they all lived in a little house by the sea.

 The 1980’s were pretty tough in England, it was the Thatcher era and we were plunged into recession. My fathers businesses struggled and money was tight. My mother was extremely creative and could make something from nothing and often did, be this clothing or toys, or whatever you can imagine. Our house bustled with activity, there was always laughter and I had a ridiculously happy childhood. My father worked a great deal and left the raising of children to my mother. Every summer for as long as I could remember my mother, sister and I would spend 3 weeks of the 6 week school summer holiday away from home. One week on the Isle of Wight at my Aunt’s house, she was an honary aunt and it was only in more recent years that I discovered she was in fact the sister of my mothers first husband. The other two weeks were spent house sitting for one of my mother’s old friends in London. They had a fantastic house with a swimming pool and we took their dog for a walk every morning. The dog was literally and figuratively dotty, an insane Dalmatian. It was during one of the house sitting breaks, just after I had turned ten years old that life took a dramatic change.

 I remember this night extremely well, my sister and I had secretly watched or attempted to watch through clenched eyes An American Werewolf in London, we had freaked ourselves out and had gone to bed quite late. At some point in the early hours of the morning my mother came into my room and something was wrong, the right hand side of her body had stopped working, from her face all the way down to her leg. She was very scared and between us we called my mothers friend, Anne. I’m not entirely sure why we didn’t call an Ambulance but I think she lived fairly close by. The rest of this is a blur. At the time it was thought that my mother had a stroke, in reality it was the first strike of Multiple Sclerosis (MS). It is said that MS isn’t hereditary which I really want to believe, but my mother had it, her mother had it and her great uncle had it. That’s a remarkable co-incidence. From this point on in my mothers life she needed a lot of support and she knew exactly what was going to happen to her as she had seen it happen to her own mother. As a consequence the family was drawn together very closely and I still remember a lot of happiness and laughter.

 A few years later, I would have been 13 years old, my mother was crossing the road and due to the MS was a little slow in getting safely to the pavement and was hit my a speeding car. She was clipped on the side of her body and hit her head on the pavement which left a large scar on her forehead, which for a pretty lady was terribly sad. During the time in hospital she was having a full check-up and they discovered that she had cancer of the womb. The cancer was quickly removed although they didn’t get it all. Through poor procedure something remained within my mother, it travelled up to her shoulder and was close to her spine, it got into her bone marrow and spread extremely rapidly. For the last 18 months of her life she was in and out of hospital before spending her final 4 months in an intensive care clinic where she passed away due to cancer on 2nd May 1991.

 My mother and I had a wonderful relationship and she was my world. We said all of our goodbyes and it was all carefully thought through. We’d often discuss what would happen to her after she left, would there be heaven? We had both gone to church together for about 8 or 9 years and were confirmed on the same day when I was 13. We agreed that if there was a way to contact each other, we would. I have since lost any faith I might have had, but my views on religion are another matter all together. By sheer luck my sister and I have always spent the 2nd of May together as it falls on an English bank holiday, even this year, I am 12,000 miles away from her and through sheer dumb luck we will be together in Sydney on the 2nd May, it’s 16 years later and we’ve been apart for longer than we were together. I still miss her and my life is influenced by these earlier years although I’m slightly numb to it all and I have found that I have stopped missing people. An example being that I haven’t seen any of my English friends and family for 7 months and I don’t miss them, they’re just not here. It’s borne from an emotional detachment that comes as a result of survival tactics. If you have ever lost anyone close to you I’m sure you’ll understand.

 What have I learnt from my mother’s life? I believe that life is too short and too precious too waste. Be happy. Love and be happy. Be decadent. Don’t settle for second best. If something upsets you, change it. If you want something with all of your heart, make it happen. Put things in perspective. Be creative. Don’t listen to negativity. Be extraordinary, because life can be taken away at any moment. Live for now, live for today. Be passionate. Be positive. Dream, because if you don’t have a dream, how are you going to make your dreams come true.  

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Have I ever been in love? Perhaps, yet nothing compares to the evening I truly, madly, deeply gave up my heart to the stars.

Suddenly the sky collapsed into darkness and a dozen bright stars appeared.”

Moreton Island, Australia: Midnight

My dreamy mind became instantly saturated by the whimsical production above me. The milky way summoned my attention and I was immediately lost within it’s vastness. The moment so surreal, laying on that desolate beach, consumed with the feeling of being alive and seeing everything I’d ever wished for dancing above me. It was a rare moment of immense perspective.

If I were conventionally creative and able to execute my thoughts to canvas, in that moment of frenzied inspiration, I probably would have created Van Gogh’s Starry Night.

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 http://wemetatcrabracing.muxtape.com/

  • MSTRKRFT – Easy Love
  • The Darkness – I Believe In A Thing Called Love
  • The Feeling – Never Be Lonely
  • Bat For Lashes – What’s A Girl To Do
  • The Presets – Are You The One?
  • Oasis – Wonderwall (awesome remix)
  • Bob Dylan – I Want You
  • Nina Simone – Black Is The Color Of My True Love’s Hair (Jaffa Remix)
  • Carole King – So Far Away
  • Al Green – L-O-V-E
  • Stevie Wonder – I Believe (When I Fall In Love It Will Be Forever)
  • Marty Robbins – The Story Of My Life
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My father was born into a hard working northern English family, his father and grandfather had built up a fishing empire on the north east coast of England which ranged from fishing boats through to distribution via trucks. They worked hard and enjoyed the fruit of their labour. The money had disappeared by the time I was born but we won’t concern ourselves with that.

My father had a happy enough childhood up until his parents got divorced when he was about 10 years old, divorce was pretty much unheard of in the 1950’s and he was sent to boarding school. During the holidays he would spend most of the time with his father whilst his sister lived with his mother. I suspect he was a bit of a cheeky little sod, he had a wardrobe full of tailored suits at 14 years old and it seems that money was thrown at the problem of what to do with this opinionated boy.

Our story gathers speed when on a school holiday at my grandfathers house one of grandfathers friends touched my father. Touched him in a way that was not acceptable. My father was incandescent with rage. He ran to the wood shed, gathered up an axe and then went chasing the man around the house and garden. He took one swing that almost took the man’s arm off. Then my father ran. He ran and he ran and he ran. He was 16 years old and joined the merchant navy within a matter of weeks and then spent two years travelling onboard ship as a deck hand. he saw the world but it was a tough life and one which you can imagine would be very character building. He still sports some rather fetching naval tattoos that he hates, one of a South Pacific Hula Girl and the other a North American Indian face. He hates them and sees them as the folly of his youth and as a consequence I have never been tempted or even found an image that I would want to look at forever.

After sailing the seven seas my father joined the Royal Air Force as a winch man on helicopters. During an assignment to the Yemen – at a time when there was war in the region – my father and his mate both went down on the winches to pick up bodies, whether alive or dead. My father went to one body, his friend to another. The other body had been placed on top of a mine as a booby trap. The friend was blown to pieces and my father ended up with a lot of shrapnel in his back. Lucky to be alive he spent the following 12 months convalessing and generally mooching around the RAF base until he was approached by a Vice Air Marshall who after hearing my fathers story asked if he would like to become his personal attache for the next year. My father gratefully accepted and spent the year travelling the world again as the high ranking officer visited each and every base. He proudly reportedly that he had the same level security clearance as the Queen.  

After leaving the RAF and tired of all the travelling he went back to the family business and quickly became bored of the simple lifestyle and so he went to London. He did various jobs and ran hotels for a while. He strangely lived in a brothel just off Leiciester Square, it was a church run building and the rent was very cheap. He was happy and comfortable. He socialised with an interesting crowd and a friend of his who was a dentist on Harley Street introduced him to a beautiful girl that was working for him. They fell in love. The beautiful girl was my mother.

My mother… now that’s another story altogether….

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An endearing memory told to me by someone very close.

Years ago, before little brothers, farm houses, more extravagant lifestyles and divorce a very young girl learned a very valuable lesson about the importance of thought.

In a small town, in a rather small house, two children, of the same age, awoke with the sun and raced towards a brightly lit Christmas tree downstairs. The one girl ravished through her gifts while the other unwrapped them slowly. Precisely placing them lovingly in a neat pile beside her. Even then, so alike yet so different.

Mother and Father arose with the delighted squeals projecting through the walls. They made their way to where their twins sat content and happy with their shiny, new possessions. Beside the one girl -who was much more of a “girly girl” then the other- was a box-set of 12 beautiful earrings fit for the princess she was. A gift hand-picked especially for her by her Father. A present he was proud of until Mother informed him that their daughters ears were not pierced. Even at such a young, impressionable age the girl knew that her Father felt as though he’d failed her. He’d thought they were tiny broaches to pin to her blouses. How was a young Father to know about young girls jewelry? As intuitive as she was, she was charmed at her Father’s attempt at making her dreams come true that morning.

She tucked the gift away in a safe place. There was never an occasion grand enough to wear them out.

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This is a story that could be reminiscent, funny, unfortunate, scary… but all true. It’s a quest for something that potentially exists yet may never be endured.

An online “advice” column insures the perfect kiss is achieved through a 6-step process. It promises that if followed precisely you will be soaring through the clouds in a steamy, dreamy haze in as much time as it takes for a spaceship to launch.

STEPS

  1. Getting cleared for takeoff
  2. Final instrument check
  3. Down the runway
  4. Gaining momentum
  5. We have liftoff!
  6. Cruising altitude
  7. Houston we have a problem (troubleshooting)

These steps are demonstrated visually by a generic couple who seemingly have nothing more then a platonic chemistry. I don’t trust those who compare kissing to aerodynamics, it seems too “mechanical” and in my personal experience “spontaneity” makes for a much more passionate pash. This spawns the question, does a RIGHT-minded person rival the performance of a LEFT-minded person when it comes to the quality of a swoon-worthy lip-lock?

RIGHT BRAIN FUNCTIONS:
uses feeling, “big picture” oriented, imagination rules, symbols and images, present and future, philosophy & religion, can “get it” (i.e. meaning), believes, appreciates, spatial perception, knows object function, fantasy based, presents possibilities, impetuous, risk taking.

LEFT BRAIN FUNCTIONS:
uses logic, detail oriented, facts rule, words and language, present and past, math and science, can comprehend, knowing, acknowledges, order/pattern perception, knows object name, reality based, forms strategies, practical, safe.

I’m on a mission to find out…