Lost Childhoods

On the tarmac

On the tarmac

Maybe this was my ‘plane. Maybe not.

My head is still partly in NI. Talking to Aunt this evening, telling her who I had seen, what I had done, I mentioned that I have obtained a copy of my mother’s birth certificate, and was surprised to see that it was my grandmother who had registered the birth, almost a month after that auspicious event, and just two days before Christmas.

I have said before that Mother and her siblings had a hard childhood. Aunt had a particularly tough time. Both she and Mother were taken to live with a couple who treated them very badly.

Mother ran away.


The first time she took Aunt, and they each carried their meagre possessions. As Aunt said tonight, that made their progress through hedges and across fields difficult.

They didn’t get very far before they were caught and taken back. Mother was beaten to within an inch of her life with a stick cut from the hedge. Her vest stuck to her back with blood. Aunt could do nothing but howl. Then Mother was sent to bed in a loft, told the police would come for her in the morning because of her wickedness, and Aunt was forbidden to speak to her.

The sisters were seven and four at the time.
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Little Butter Ball

When Cookie found our garden she was a skinny little thing. Compassion stirred in several hearts and was translated into cat biscuits and food sachets. Cookie blossomed, grew sleek. We began to think about monitoring her food intake. Emails were circulated asking people to tell her foster owners if and when they fed her so she did not grow too big. Not everyone was on the same page. Piles of biscuits would still be left in the garden; mounds of wet food that she had not eaten lying temptingly in MasterB’s path, distracting him from the benefits of his special diet to keep him crystal free, and the target weight he had in his sights.

But she seemed to suddenly get rounder. Chubby Chops, I called her the other day, then Little Butter Ball. Rebecca compared her to a sausage roll. It was a visitor who described her accurately; pregnant. The vet confirmed her condition this afternoon. Three or four kittens; probably conceived at Christmas time.

On my watch. Continue reading