Archive for the birthday Category

La La and off to London

Posted in 40th birthday, alcohol abuse, alcoholism, birthday, creative / writing, Dalston, gothic, london, me and my world, music, pagan, travel, werewolves vampires and ghoulies on July 25, 2007 by Khlari

Do you know something, that’s the least exciting comment in the world if London is where you come from-makes it about as exciting as Wigan on a wet Wednesday.

Yes, the time has come to deliver M____ to her doting grandparents for the holidays. So it’s trial-by-parent for me for the next few days…. Down tomorrow afternoon, as Mr A____ has to work in the morning, spending tomorrow and Friday hanging about with parents, then catch up with Matt (my brother) and the lovely Kali on Saturday at some point, then head off to that monument of goth culture, The Dev. AKA the Devonshire Arms.


(The bar staff)

(For those of you who don’t know what Wikipedia describes as the longest running ‘Alternative’ pub in the world or
Look here

We had been thinking abouut going to Inferno at the Electric Ballroom, but lucked out on the date,

or to the Slimelight, look here for the world’s longest-running Goth club , but we again lucked out, as there is a band on and it’s only two floors, not the third neccessary for a traditional goth floor…….

So it’s off to The Dev for a pint with as many of the Scooby Gang as we can drag up for the occasion…….It’s the thought of that which will sustain me for the next two days of inquisition and torture (otherwise known as a visit to my mother). I wonder if she’d notice if I wore earplugs. She would you know, she notices EVERYTHING, like a superannuated eagle or something. I thought you were supposed to become deaf, blind etc…no, I think she’s been honing her spidey-powers to catch me out.

It comes to something when you have to smuggle your goth gear down and get changed at your brother’s to go out……aged 40. At least Matt has a flat now to go back to when trashed, used to be awful when we had no choice but to go back to Mum’s…..standing there going ‘Will I pass for normal?’ to each other at the end of the road before we got home like a pair of twelve year olds after a bottle of cider in the park. (Standard answer of course from both sides, was ‘you, never!).

Think to self- suffering- Dev- inquisition-Dev…you can get through it!


Health Warning- Normality Strikes…..#2

Posted in birthday, blogging, Child Protection, Divorce, hen night, me and my world, morecambe, wedding on July 23, 2007 by Khlari


Yep, this one is indeed very scary-pastelled to near-oblivion (Mr A said he didn’t like it- apparently I didn’t look like me). Quite frightening…..

One of those days…where I haven’t got a lot to say really!

Posted in birthday, blogging, creative / writing, Dr Who, me and my world, movies, travel, work/life balance on July 12, 2007 by Khlari

Hmmm has been a busy day really. Not been up to much really, apart from the obvious working, that is. Had a wander about at lunchtime, as Mr A was working miles away, and spent some birthday book tokens in Waterstones.

I got-

One Good Turn- Kate Atkinson

Her books seem to get better and better and she is one of my favourite authors so I am dying to read this one….

The Matchmaker of Perigord – Julia Stuart

Have never read anything by this person, but it looked really interesting…

My Dirty Little Book of Stolen Time by Liz Jensen

This one sounds really mad- which I really what I liked about it-apparently a dark gothic fairy-tale….

Apart from that- have a day off tomorrow filled with exciting things such as an eye test, and picking up the jewellery I commissioned for my 40th. Then Saturday am off to sunny Stockport with M_____ and Mr A to see Sal, my old uni friend, and Ali her daughter, as her daughter wants a sleepover with M_____ for her birthday, which is next weekend, day of the big wedding.

So we are taking M_____ and Ali off to Manchester to see the Dr Who exhibition. Then Sal’s sister is babysitting in the evening, we are off out to catch up with old Stockport friends, and then then M____ and Ali are off to the cinema Sunday morning to see the new Harry Potter film….. so a busy weekend. Next weekend, even busier as it is Berni’s wedding…..

Today I won’t blow your socks off- honest (but it’s not going to be about fluffy kittens either…)

Posted in 40th birthday, alcohol abuse, alcoholism, birthday, blogging, child kidnapping, Child Protection, creative / writing, Divorce, domestic violence, european union, family law, France, hague convention, Human Rights, international divorce, international family law, legal aid, london, me and my world, Misbah Rana, Mizbah Rana, Molly Campbell, morecambe, pagan, work/life balance on July 10, 2007 by Khlari

OK…thanks everyone for the comments on my last post, which was a tad on the serious side, I know. That might be because I’ve been bottling it up through a mixture of shame, embarrassment, worry about what anyone will think, panic re the legal case…..and many other reasons.

(This is as near to cute fluffy kittens as you’re getting….)

Yep, it was a bolt from the blue very meaningful post, which you don’t often find on here I know, with this blog’s mindblowing overall impression of a mad old goth-mummy waffling on about stuff she just happens to like, things she might have done, and stuff that happens to her in no particular order and with no rhyme or reason whatsoever.

The only way I can really write about that kind of thing is in a very sparse and factual way, otherwise I’d just go even more mad whilst writing about it and thinking about it.

That said, it is undeniably part of me. I can’t just put it in a box and sing la la la and make it all go away to avoid any possible trauma to self and others caught in the crossfire. It happened. It’s not a period of my life I am particularly proud of (mainly because I cannot believe my own naivete and idiocy in hindsight).

It does make me the person I am today- I was very different before life decided to heap all of that upon me. There are sequels of cource- I am now less trusting than I was-now that’s a surprise. I am also more scared of things than I was, and have irrational fears of quite a few things, which are really difficult to explain to anyone who doesn’t know the full story. Not many people until now did know the full story, I just had to be ready to tell it in my own time.

I do this analysing thing, where I sit in a corner for a few years trying to make sense in my addled brain of whatever appalling shit life decided to throw at me this time. Then and only then am I ready to talk about it. There are still people who I may never tell the whole truth to. My parents for instance. That’s for their own protection and not mine, I wouldn’t want my father to spend the rest of his days languishing in a French jail, which is where he would be f he did what he would do if I told him, if you get my drift.

But this blog is largely about warts and all honesty, so that’s what you got- I hope I didn’t upset anyone. Just had to say it, that’s all. That’s just the way I am at the moment….Maybe it’s because I’ve started to go to counselling, that I am beginning to share with you, darlings! (Don’t worry- I’m not about to start dressing in pastels and hugging things/trees just yet though…)

Oh um…something really important I just completely forgot to mention…..!

Posted in 40th birthday, alcohol abuse, alcoholism, birthday, blogging, child kidnapping, Child Protection, creative / writing, Divorce, domestic violence, european union, family law, France, hague convention, Human Rights, international divorce, international family law, legal aid, london, me and my world, migraines, Misbah Rana, Mizbah Rana, Molly Campbell, morecambe, pagan on July 6, 2007 by Khlari

The death of my brain, and the death of my marriage (though it had been a zombie for some time).

This is documentary proof of what a ditz I am. You remember I had a migraine that lasted for eleven days…well, this is proof of the brainache it caused. I completely and utterly forgot to mention to you, dear mad readers, that at last, after many ( well, 4 1/2) years of teeth gnashing, custody cases across Europe, subpoenas being served lengthily through French and English courts and still not working, abusive phone calls from my ex, eventually having to take out a £5000 loan for legal fees in France (MEP got back to me only after the case with details of legal help…) which will take me five years to pay back…


Yes, with the head hurting as much as it did, I completely neglected to mention that as of 23 June 2007 (what a 40th Birthday present), I have a divorce. A lovley crisp Decree Absolute arrived in the post the morning before my birthday. I didn’t really manage to summon up any major enthusiasm for it at the time…even reading it was a little painful, and it seemed like a little bit of an anticlimax after the enormous struggle to get it.

I’m now putting in a spoiler-if you are easily upset, it might not be an idea to carry on reading…..

I got married on 21 July 2001, to a deranged Frenchman who glories in the middle name of Marcel (now, surely that should have told me something). I don’t know why I am bothering to disguise him, he wouldn’t know how to use the internet if it rose up and bit him in the arse. I’ll call him D_____, to spare his blushes, maybe. I was putting a lot of trust in him…considering he was a supposedly recovering alcoholic.

We met in 1996- I went for the weekend, and ended up staying for 7 years….which all sounds gloriously romantic, cue Edith Piaf singing and chocolate box scenes of joyful couple running through the streets of Paris hand in hand, a la Robert Doisneau. But it wasn’t like that at all. Think more of Emanuelle Beart in miserable drudgery in Manon des Sources, or a scene from Les Diaboliques….

(I had my wedding reception here…)

I went for a conference on European Youth Exchanges…I was working in Bradford at the time, and I was the only person who could speak any French that they could find at short notice…..So they rang me on the Thursday night, and I was there by Friday. I met him at a social evening, where we spent 6 hours arguing passionately about young people, and another 2 or 3 snogging (sad, teenage, I know…and I was 29 at the time).

He came to see me off, we swapped phone numbers and addresses….we started writing, and phoning, and visiting. My ex was a major liar. It was at this point that D______ chose to tell me that he had Leukaemia. I’m telling everyone now, because I can, but for years that has made me feel such an idiot. That I believed him. Everything began to take on an air of snatched urgency, so little time and so much to do. Every time we separated it was worse. I made the decision in the end. I threw in my dream job I’d waited 10 years to get (Community Arts Officer for the Bradford Foyer in progress), the training they were paying for me to do, packed my bags, and moved to France. Work even offered to keep my post open for 3 months, in case I changed my mind. I didn’t ask him, I just did it. If you have principles, it’s important for me to live by them. If we had so little time left, at least we would have it together.

I didn’t question the fact that he drank quite a lot. Growing up in London, most of my friends were work hard, play hard, it didn’t seem that strange. But when I moved there, I realised that the Pastis started even before he got out of bed. When I questioned it, I was told that as he was dying anyway, it wasn’t a problem. How naive was my 29 year old self, with the benefit of hindsight.

I finally found myself a job, but it was becoming evident that whatever I did, it was all subsumed in a tide of Pastis. I can’t even smell aniseed now without feeling sick to the bottom of my stomach. I no longer had a home to go back to- my flatmates, I found out after a call from the landlord, had spent the rent money I’d left, sold or stolen half of my possessions, abused the cheques I’d left for the bills, and the landlord was keeping the rest against the money owed, or he had already put in a skip.. Everything I owned except what I had in my suitcase, gone.

I did love him. Deeply, it was only that that kept me going. It got worse, and worse. I succeeded in getting him a referral for detox, but after getting him to the hospital, they said they no longer had a bed. It’s hard getting anyone to detoix, they have to want to go, and if when they get there, that happens, you have lost your chance. Finally his job intervened, and he was taken to the Clinic attached to the ministry for which he worked. He stayed there for 2 months. When he came out, promising never to do it again, and telling me that now he had me with him he wouldn’t, everything was good. He wanted a life, he wanted a family, he wanted normality. Within a month of him coming out, I was pregnant, and overjoyed. I started preparing for the baby, fessed up some of the truth to my family, and carried on. But I then had a blood test which told me that I had a risk of Downs Syndrome, and I was asked whether I wanted an amniocentesis, to be sure. My mother had had one, so I saw no problem. Also, how was his problem going to affect a child?

It was excruciating, and I didn’t remember my mother telling me that. Two days later, I was assaulted on the RER, and was admittted to hospital, bleeding. By midnight I was calling for the nurse, I was in pain, I was told to shut up, and I had my still-born child alone in a hospital bed before anyone bothered to come. The nurse arrived after the event, and they wouldn’t even ring D______. I was very depressed, even more so after they left me in the maternity ward alone, having shown me the baby in a plastic bucket.

Within another month, I was pregnant again, with M_____. All went well, until July, when I met some people I knew from work in Bradford in the street (they were on a course)- when I invited one of them, Nick, back for a coffee, D_____ gave him a black eye, and knocked me unconscious for three hours, while he went out and left me. October, when his daughter from his first marriage visited for Hallowe’en, D_____ started drinking again with a vengeance. It got worse and worse, I had made my bed so I had to lie in it. I didn’t even have enough money left for the medical treatment most of the time.

M_____ was born in 1999, and no-one knew what was happening behind the smiles. The next year and a half I didn’t know what I would find when I got home from work, lied to friends, family, educational psychiatrists alike. To all intents and purposes we were a sweet little perfect little multi-cultural nuclear family.

Behind the scenes it was only the Prozac, the Xanax, and the Stilnox that kept me halfway sane. As a ‘jeune mere’ you have to smile infinitely, isn’t it wonderful, isn’t it lovely……when behind the scenes your heart is breaking. I had no money to pay the creche, to buy nappies, to buy baby food, to eat lunch even. The whole motherhood and family thing for me was such a sham, I had to seem happy because everyone expected me to be, but in reality it was one of the worst periods of my life. I woke up each day dreading the day ahead. Oh, and how my friends were jealous of my pretty storybook life, the handsome Frenchman, the little family. It was nearer to the original fairystories, of darkness, suffering, and death than the sanitised Disney, Irma-la-Douce type fantasies of my friends

We were even taken as an example of wonderful multi-cultural living by the anglophile town we lived in- invited to premieres where I had to prop him up in corners, that kind of thing. The European Union in action…

I couldn’t even find solace in my usual eccentricities. The longer we were together the more he took exception to everything I did, wore, said. Reading in English was a subversive action, along with having friends and dressing strangely. If I had a phone call I had to have the speaker on and do simultaneous translation….His paranoia reached such levels that I couldn’t go to the supermarket without being accused of torrid affairs. It wasn’t until M_____ was nearly 2 that I finally achieved him getting detox again. For that, I had to threaten the psychiatrist that I was going to self-harm and admit myself instead. He had kept asking me to marry him, in the good times. I told him I would if he would go. It took his boss, three work colleagues, and an alcohol-induced epileptic fit that went on for 45 minutes.

My friends begged me not to do it. But I had promised. So we married in July. One of my friends, C________ even took me aside just as I was about to go into the town hall to beg me not to go through with it. I haven’t seen him since, he was so upset he went off to Algeria never to return.

All was well for a little while- then I was made reundant. I decided to study for my CAPES, French secondary teaching certificate with the money. I was at home for the year. The paranoia was again rising. I couldn’t go to the library or talk to a friend without accusations. Even so, amazingly, I had friends like Cathy, Linda, Kyriaki, who put up with his rudeness and abuse. By June he was drinking again, he started on my birthday. he made an enormous scene at my friend Cathy’s party (we share a birthday), and was so drunk driving home that he couldn’t find the way home from Rueil-Malmaison- where he used to live.

We had decided to make a new start. he had applied for a transfer back to home, to Brittany. We ended up in the Vendee instead (which isn’t so far). Any excuse. This is where he really started being slap-happy. I became his punchbag. It was evident he’d had practice, it was never where it would show.

We went on holiday to Biscarrosse. It was the worst time of my entire life. Fourteen days trapped in the middle of nowhere with a paranoid alcoholic, what fun. I poured every bit of alcohol away. He just beat me up and found more. It came to a head when his brother came to join us. After we had all been out, he knocked me unconscious, left me for dead, and left me. His brother left after he had beaten him up as well. I woke to find M_____ asking me if I was dead. I told his mother, showed her the bruise, and she told me to ‘deal with my own shit’. The day we moved to Sables d’Olonne, he was stopping on the motorway to drink.

It got worse and worse. The beatings were becoming standard, and I was very alone. My parents came for Christmas- a veneer of normality. The day they left, he beat me to a pulp, and I awoke to find him raping me. That’s when I knew, I had to go. I’d tried before- but he wouldn’t let me take M_____. I am five feet two, he is six foot. I had to plot carefully. Finally, he was again admitted for detox (the seventh since I’d known him). I rang my parents, admitted all (the hardest phone call of my life), waited for the money they had wired me to arrive, packed my bags, took M_____ out of bed at 4am, and raced to the border- he was leaving hospital earlier than expected. I raced to Paris, onto the Eurostar to London, and there the phone rang, just after I had cleared customs, and the doors were closing on the train. I went back to my parents, with nothing.

He couldn’t believe I had done it. I was getting 20+ phone calls a day from him and his family. He refused to accept the divorce petition- I have been trying for this since 2003- and tried to get M_____ back. Everything was a lie. He lied about the leukaemia, lied about his job, lied about his first marriage, lied about his past, and I could take no more. It had been a seven year, painful sham. He still wouldn’t accept it was over. he even rang me on July 7 two years ago to see if I was alive after the bombs. I coudn’t resist asking him if he had hoped I wasn’t. Legally, the whole divorce was an expensive minefield, no-one could ever tell whose subpoenas were valid, whose law applied as he was French and I was English…

It took me a long while to put myself back together again. My friends helped- Matt, Peggy, Catherine, Martin, Mia, Martha, Jack…….without them I could never have got myself back.

Despite knowing all of this, last year HWCBN viciously tried to put me back to where I had started again. Thanks to AD and TNO, Spicy and D, Beaut1ful, Dam and Woo, for being there when I needed you. I have Mr A to thank for saving my sanity, and even for de-demonising the past for me when we had to go back to Sables d’Olonne in February.

I still have problems with my head and my back from the beatings. I still have nightmares where I wake up in bed next to him. But at last, it is over once and for all. The chapter is closed. It took long enough. I was married for six years- of which, I only spent 1 1/2 years living with my husband. I wasted 7 years in total on the relationship, and the only positive outcome is M_______. I can now close that book, and put it away once and for all.

Mr A says I have now spoiled his fun though. He was enjoying living with an adultress……



Techno-Bimbo Babe About to Join the Twenty-First Century (watch this space….)

Posted in 40th birthday, birthday, blogging, creative / writing, gothic, me and my world, morecambe, pagan, technology on July 4, 2007 by Khlari

Oooh this is dead exciting for an old luddite like me! If only I knew how it worked properly. As part of my 40th birthday present, the very lovely AmethystDragon has bought me my own domain name! So now I can do all the twiddly bits, put in widgets (when I find out what they actually are), and have flashy things in my sidebars…….When I find the book entitled ‘Putting Twiddly Bits in for Twerps’ that is……

(Think mine would have to be blogging for bimbos…)

I am very excited…..(yes, I know everyone else has had one for years and years and years….) but I only actually OWNED my first PC in mid-2004.

At school I totally ignored the BBC Basics that trundled in as I was in the middle of my A levels… university I was proud to boast that in 3 years I never once used the computer indexing system..(it was quicker to find the Dewey code and go look…). I bluffed my way through all my student temp jobs with a ‘oh, yes, course I can…(not). Through Wordperfect, and Wordstar, and little eyesight ruining things with green screens….

I never got into games, my brother went through the Spectrum and Commodore, but that just went right over my head…..I don’t think that you can really count the Amstrad 9512 I owned c 1992 in that. (Actually, looking at this ad makes me realise how damn expensive the thing was though… cost me £550 .00 in 1992… present PC cost me less than that……). I thought it was really clever at the time…….

(I thought I was so cool with this….)

In between that I just had to learn on other people’s PCs when they were feeling nice, or at work when I could. So it was quite a long and slow learning curve….I had a patch learning graphics and DTP on a prehistoric MAC or two (which confused me even further…)

(And off to the banlieue ouest……)

I discovered the net, and taught myself MS Word in French, in 1997, when I worked in an English book and toy shop in the Paris suburbs. My boss decided that it would be good for us to have an online ordering service, and publicity for free on the internet, and not have to pay for graphical layout on adverts, and to be able to produce everything in-house……. So he bought a PC, set up a 56k modem….and was too tight to do anything else. I had to teach myself the rest. (oh- actually I was the one who got the modem working…)

(Here, you have to be a millionaire to afford a sandwich…)

Luckily for me I came across some brilliant people online who gave their time and effort with no personal gain. Thanks Tulip and Steen for that one! Tulip and I still talk to each other 10 years later…we’ve never met. She’s in Ohio. Would you believe he then complained that I had spent too much time on line learning how to do it………in the good old pay per minute times. I thought that I didn’t do too badly for a techno-bimbo…..

(Posh suburban middle of nowhere…I used to live here once upon a time…not in the station, but literally opposite…..)

Then followed a long period when I was dependent on the devices of internet cafes and public libraries all over France- my husband (at the time) thought that the only reason anybody ever went on the internet was ‘pour draguer’ (to pick people up). Living in the ‘banlieue ouest’ (the posh suburbs to the west of Paris), everyone was presumed to have their own PC, along with their million pound villa. Hence I had to fight people off in the library to do all my CAPES research online…and sending emails was forbidden (if they caught you….). It was the only time at that point that I ever got to speak or write English….and talk to my old friends without a constant barrage of questions or requests for simultaneous translation…. I didn’t even have a job where I got to use a PC, I was teaching all over Paris.

When I moved to Sables d’Olonne it was even worse. That truly IS the middle of nowhere, most messgaes went by pony-trap, literally. The town’s only net cafe had one computer…… It truly was the ‘end of the line’ in all senses of the world. In the winter, there were only about 3 trains a day…..Hell, the French still think that the Minitel is at the cutting edge of technology…….. This little netcafe next to the station saved my sanity in the last dark days of my marriage…made me realise that there was a world out there…..

(The middle of nowhere….and the tracks that lead back to civilisation)

It wasn’t until I came back to England, and finally got my own place that I could have MY computer. Ha ha ….at last. Finally no-one watching me, and no-one booting me off after half an hour! Yay! Spicy came in at this point in fact, without him I would have been in tears over the cardboard box I fear……I had a shiny lovely new PC and a lovely shiny new superfast cable broadband to boot…..and all was well until HWBCN came on the scene and suddenly my PC went kaput….. strangely enough, so I had to use his, monitored one. Mind you, the internet was responsible for me meeting said HWCBN (now that was a bad move)….though it also meant that I met AmethystDragon and Co, as well as putting me back in touch with Spicy, so not all bad! This was later compounded by the shower-gel he poured into my PC on the day of the clothes slashorama episode…..

(The end of the line literally, I hope!)

So several hundred pounds later, It’s back with a vengeance, not that I ever get near the thing. It’s so good I now have to fight M_____ and Mr A for it……not to mention the total hassle I have had getting a viable broadband connection, as Morecambe seems to be at the end of everybody’s list…that ‘includes 70% of households’ should have the little codicil’ * except anywhere in Morecambe….’ AD and Spicy have helped decode the mess for me though (I would be totally useless were it not for my clever and technologically literate friends…) and now it is an all-singing all-dancing boy racer of a thing! They have put up with my idiot questions, my crying down the phone that ‘I can’t make it work…’

So, I digress. As per usual. Ohh this is very very exciting. I have a domain that is all mine!!!! I can do pretty, unusual, glorious twiddly things on it! yay! Thank you SOOOO much AmethystDragon! Just need to find out how it all works now…lol! Gosh, excited…..

Watch this space…..



Talent Nights, Timewarps, The Catholic Church and Taramosalata…..#2

Posted in birthday, blogging, creative / writing, london, me and my world, migraines, morecambe, pagan, Rocky Horror, work/life balance on July 3, 2007 by Khlari

So I woke up feeling like…urggggh. But determined to go and wish TNO a Happy Birthday, so it was off to AmethystDragon’s house, armed with M_______, Mr A, a host of books on suicidal home-brewing for TNO…gems such as ‘How to brew Psychotropic Ales’ and ‘Brew like a Monk’- TNO loves to make weird and wonderful brews, which led to many weird and wonderful discussions. Kitty and Skit were there, as was Silent, Unfortunately ended up feeling a lot worse, after only a can or two of Grolsch (I had foregone the interesting brews). Had to be a real party-pooper and go home at 9.30 or so which is most unlike me. Yuk yuk yuk. Retired to bed with lots more hydrocodeine, and still felt rubbish in the morning…….It’s not fair. Maybe I’d have been better off with the psychotropic ales.

Things could only get better….but then on Sunday morning I had to troop off to Mass. Yes, you are thinking right, I am a Pagan, not normally given to this sort of behaviour. Lui (Mr A’s nephew and M____’s classmate) was however making his First Communion, so everyone had to be on parade. So Berni, Giana, Mr A’s Mum (Nonna to everyone), and even Mr A after lots of prodding and poking managed to get themselves there on time.

I had my orders from M_____. No black. Have you any idea how difficult that is when 98.9% of your wardrobe is black? It took me over an hour to assemble a non-black outfit. M______ was singing in the choir. She had wanted to make First Communion (her choice, it is a Catholic school (they don’t have any Pagan ones)). But the Priest ruled if anyone missed any classes they couldn’t take Communion. So, because she goes to London in the holidays (as I don’t have enough leave), she wasn’t allowed to do it. Beecause even though it is a faith school, he insists on doing classes on a Saturday rather than having them in lunchtime, as used to happen when we were children. How mean did that make me feel? The only child in the class not to. She was really really upset. So much for Christian charity, to make an eight year-old feel so left out of everything. Pah, you wouldn’t see a Pagan doing that.

So….still feeling crap, back home for an 84-course dinner…….thanks to Nonna, and cake. And I still have a headache…….