I remember- when my mum had cancer

It may never seem so, but this one’s from the heart.

Nobody really expects me to remember much about when my mum had cancer, but sometimes, bits shine through. I remember my dad crying silently when we went to visit her. I remember my aunt, who was nine months pregnant, dropping everything and coming to our aid. I remember how my mum got diagnosed the day we got handed the keys to our house. I remember the whole family trip to the beach my grandparents organised to keep my mind off of my ill mum. I remember how, through all of it, my mum was always smiling and telling me to be glad we were still together then.

I remember

I remember how my dad and my uncles used to take it in turns to take me to school on their shoulders, so that I could never feel that my mum wasn’t there. My aunt used to cook for us every day, so we wouldn’t feel the lack of my mum’s cooking. When her baby daughter was born, it was really good for us. It made everyone happy after so much sadness. I guess maybe she helped my mum get through as well. She always says to me now that she only got through because she was fighting for something. She says she was fighting so she could see us get older and so we would never feel the lack of a mother like she did, so we’d always have her there.

I remember.

It seems silly now, nine years on, that all that’s left is the scar of the fear, the strength of the hope and the ‘I remembers’ from the girl who was only five when it all ended. When I was three years old I already knew how to call 999 and tell them if anything happened. I had to know. My mum was allowed to take care of me, but who would take care of her?

I remember.

I bet if my mum was writing this there would be five hundred pages by now. Her own mother passed away when she was fifteen, and I guess mum must have been afraid that would happen to her. But my mum can’t write this right now, because she’s downstairs with my dad, in front of the fireplace, happy and warm, because now she’s seen all of those things she never thought she would live to witness. My first day at secondary school, her 40th, my little brother’s 10th.

I remember

I’m near to tears now, because I can never know what she was going through quite as well as she does. Did it hurt? Was it hard to smile all the way through? Could she have ever done it without my dad, her siblings and her dad?

I remember

It seems ridiculous, when I think about it, that I could think of my problems with Barbie now as bad. I’m writing this at eleven pm on New Year’s Eve, but the words just keep on coming. Nine years ago my mum fought cancer and she won. My mum. My own mother. She battled every day for six months through intensive chemotherapy and a further year and a half recovering, taking frequent trips to the hospital, all so she could see me grow up. All of us can look at her as an example in our lives, because there is always something or someone worth fighting for. She hoped, when everything was dark and the world looked bleak, she hoped. Not a day goes by when I’m not inspired by my mum, because she is a living reminder, that no matter how bad things seem, nothing can destroy hope, and love, and if you just wish hard enough, that little spark of hope can turn into the biggest of fires, that’ll be all you need to come out of the darkness.

So here’s to all of those people who are fighting cancer now, for everyone who survived cancer and everyone who didn’t.
Here’s to everyone who’s fought or is fighting to see their loved ones at this new year, this new start. Here’s to them all, everyone who can look upon New Year’s Day as a new start, as a chance to leave behind, but never forget, the dark times they’ve faced and start anew.
Happy New Year and I HOPE 2014 will be your best year yet.

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My Amazing Little Cousin

Ok now, you may think I am going to go on writing randomly about a little kid, but hold on, you’re gonna want to read this.

My little cousin is eight years old. She is small, cute and slightly hyper.

Oh, and you must never give her sugar!

At the age of three, she picked up me, then seven, and her sister, then nine, off the top bunk and pulled us into the beanbags. At the age of six she knocked her teddy out of a window and made me climb out to get it ( thankfully we were in those Haven holidays caravans).  Just this year she accidentally knocked a door down while doing her science homework. On this occasion, l had to screw it all back before my dad came home. 

I was never allowed to babysit again…

Fail.

 

Is Barbie Giving The Wrong Message To Young Girls?

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Just today I saw a new advert for a Barbie ‘Accessories Vending Machine’.

Seriously? After lessons in school about not being too overly obsessed with material things, what exactly is a stricken, paper-thin blonde saying “I really need more accessories or else I will, like, die!” telling those six-year olds who are so worried about their body image.

Adding onto this, recently a controversial Facebook post surfaced asking people whether toy companies should start making plus-sized Barbie dolls.

At the end of this, 40,000 people answered yes, and a mere 5,000 said no.

What does this tell us? That people are bothered enough about little girls or that they want to feel better about obesity?

This also sparked a debate over whether these 40,000 Facebookers were right or not.

The main comments from the 5,000 against the idea were along the lines of ‘this size will just encourage obesity’.

My form is an example of what Barbie’s paper thin dolls and pink miniskirts can do to people. There is a pack of girls in every secondary school classroom today whose lives revolve around going to town after school, buying five new dresses every night and sneaking lipstick and mascara into school. All of these girls are part of the Barbie generation- and Barbie is getting more and more material obsessed, skinnier and sparking more controversy among body image specialists. This makes us wonder; what are today’s six year olds going to be like in eight years time?

When I was younger, I always wondered why nobody I had ever met looked like the extensive collection of pink-clad dolls I had. Then again, as soon as I got old enough to understand about all the gender stereotyping and body image stuff, the Barbie doll population in my little cousin’s room increased by 56.

This next paragraph is aimed at small children, or anyone upsetted by Barbie’s lifestyle:

Barbie is severely anorexic/underweight, and about a quarter of that small weight is made up of make up and those eleven inch heels she wears. Not many people on earth could live their whole life wearing nothing but pink, there is no way Barbie or any of her squealing girl friends and little sisters could afford all of their ‘Accessory Vending Machines’, big pink mansions, ALL of those hot pink miniskirts without being billionaires, and there is not enough billionaires in the world to have as many Barbie-Like teenagers as are swarming our TV screens in this day and age.

Maybe you disagree with me, maybe you agree, but either way, comment and let me know what you think.

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On Wednesday, Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor began a whole new regeneration to become the twelfth incarnation of the doctor, Peter Capaldi.

I can’t truthfully say that I like Peter Capaldi, but I guess I have to live with it for the next few years.

Also, if he brings any of ‘The Thick Of It’ ‘s Malcolm’s language to doctor who, many Whovians may convert.

That said, this is the kind of stuff said about Matt Smith when he gained the seat.

So the real question now, hidden in plain sight, is, Do we like the Twelfth Doctor?

I think that he’s hoping we do.

Comment if you’d like to answer this question. If you do comment, please can you answer whether you think he’ll ever figure out how to fly the TARDIS.

Chapter Two of Ice Story

On the corner of the road, a teenage boy stood, unaware of his surroundings. The wind leapt up at him like an angry dog, but he didn’t care. He liked it. He liked the way it blew his hair out of his face, he liked how the soft breeze filled his lungs and made him alive. Sitting right here, right now, unnoticed by the people of California, going about their lives, he felt normal. It almost made him forget why he was there.

Just as he began to retreat into the depths of his mind though, something caught his eye. He looked up, to see a man walking down the other side of the road. A man he knew.

            *************

She neared the bench, the dreaded bench, where only mourners sat. A little boy sat on that bench, hunched over, sobbing to himself. He was her little brother – Arthur. Slowly she walked over to him, keeping in her tears- If she cried, he would feel even worse. 

“Artie..” she spoke as softly as she could, wishing only that this was all a bad dream.

“Mum and Dad, Sarah, they’re dead!”

“I know. But I’ll be keeping you now, Art, we’ll be fine, I promise.” her voice was fading now, but she tried to sound lively. The little boy sensed her distress, and leant over to hug her, his only family in the world.”

               ************

Jake Evans. That’s who the man was. Arthur felt like running across the road and killing him himself, but he knew that in the end he would lose. How had he ended up here? He didn’t understand why; he would never understand why; but he knew that he had to do something.

There was another man there. He didn’t know this one.

“Must be another one of his stupid friends.” he thought aloud. It could actually have been anyone.

It could have been anyone. So why him?

           *************

“Artie! Help Me!”

“Sarah! Who’s in there?”

He ran through the door just in time to see three men look at him and jump through the window. They had left, but for how long?

“What happened? ” The urgency in his voice was unmistakeable.

“I don’t know. These men came in and then you came back. I think they may have gone to get reinforcements.”

Three men crashed back in, smashing the windows and everything in their way seemed to die. 

Arthur remembered, slowly and painfully how the next three seconds had slowed down.

The teenager was shot by a tranquilliser dart as the men  ran-or did they jump- away from him and made him watch. They made him watch as his sister was dragged out of the house, screaming his name. He watched as they took everything worth taking. He watched as the house became empty and the only thing left was a expired credit card.

The name on the card was Jake Evans.

           ***********

When Arthur finally came out of his dream, the men were pulling someone out of the car. Two minutes later, he had followed them around to an empty kebab shop.

The windows were boarded up with old newspapers, and the room was lit with only a single LED strip light, but Arthur didn’t care about that. He was focusing on the girl they had with them. At first he had hoped she was Sarah, but now it was obvious it wasn’t.

             *************

“This is your new home, Arthur.” said the woman from the children’s home. “I know it’s been hard for you, with the death of your sister, but we’ll try to help.”

“I’m alright miss,” he answered, “Because Sarah’s alive. I know it.”

             *************

This girl was around his age, a couple of inches shorter than him, with red curls and green eyes, that glared at Jake as though they were having a staring contest.

“If you think you’re gonna get away with this, you’re kidding yourself.”

“We’re not gonna get away with this, are we, Miss Morwenna, eh?” the sarcasm in his voice needed perfecting, as he actually sounded rather silly.

“Do you know who I am? My father is the mayor of Manhattan!”

“Dear,” Morwenna looked disgusted and uncomfortable as he edged towards her “That’s sort of why you’re here. See, your dad is going to pay us an awful lot for your safe return.”

         *************

“What are you doing, Arthur?” George, his roommate in the home, looked really worried “Miss Kerridge is going to freak!”

“Just tell her you didn’t see me go.” Arthur didn’t want to get George in trouble for his running away. He edged towards the window with his bag and the £600 he had stashed from his house. Just as he was about to jump though, a hand hit his shoulder.

“Get off!” Arthur felt so scared that he fell backwards off the windowsill.

“It’s only me, George.” Arthur relaxed.”At least tell me where you’re going!”

“George,” he turned,”I’m going to America.” 

        *************

Five hours later Arthur was behind them on a small road in southern Alaska. The girl was still banging on the windows, the men were still flashing lights ahead of them, and nothing had changed.

Until, of course, Arthur turned on the headlight  on the motorcycle he was riding and saw what Morwenna  had written in the mist on the window.

‘I KNOW WHERE SARAH IS’

Christmas Presents

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Obviously, at six pm on Christmas Day, you’ve all opened your christmas presents.

You’ve also already given them.

Did you buy them in October? Or just on Thursday, like me? If you’d like to say,, just comment.

This post is not all about presents (unfortunately). You may have had secret Santas wherever you are. Listen to the weird story of ours.

My bus to school leaves at quarter to eight every morning. Our story starts when I actually left the house at five to, inevitably missing the bus. Our secret Santas were due to give their gifts on the bus, so, no matter how stupid this sounds, I had to get my dad to drop me off, whilst frantically texting my friend Jenny to not start the gift giving.

Fail.

On the plus side though, Joanna liked my gift, Jenny gave me bath bombs and Katie nearly blew up when she got her Christmas/birthday present.

All’s well that ends well.

Also, I’d like to know your best Christmas gift and what you’re planning to do with them (other than what’s actually on the label).

Goodbye and Merry Christmas. 

Interview with Bali Rai

IMG_1651All right, so today I had a bit of a weird opportunity when Bali Rai, author of Killing Honour and Rani and Sukh, turned up at my school, so, naturally, I had to interview him. So, here is my interview.

Which of your books, if any, is your favorite?

Well, I can’t really choose, because as an author I’m supposed to love them all, but if you put a gun to my head and said “Tell me or you die” I would probably say Rani and Sukh.

 Who do you look up to as an author?

I look up to Sue Townsend who wrote the Secret Diaries of Adrian Mole, because, as well as being a great author, she is also from Leicester, where I’m from, and that made me think that I too could be an author.

Have any of the things depicted in your books happened to you?

No, but some of these have happened to my extended family.

A lot of your books are based on controversial issues. What do you have to say about that?

I write them about controversial issues on purpose because these things actually happen all over the world and ignoring them is not going to do anything, so these issues really need to be discussed.

On a less serious note, what is the weirdest thing you have ever been asked by a fan? 

Actually, now you mention it, someone actually did ask me once what color my underpants were.

Anything else?

 Read. That is all I can say as when people ask me what my tips for young writers are because people will get nowhere if they don’t read. Reading is necessary for anyone who wants to be a writer.

Dated 29/11/13

Favourite Doctor?

For anyone reading this, this poll will show out of the small amount of people who read my blog, who the public’s (or 10 people’s) favourite incarnation of the doctor is. Please vote as it will really help to boost my page views.

Christmas Jumpers-Hit or Miss??

Now it’s finally Christmas Day, I have an excuse to ask this question – why are Christmas jumpers so BIG nowadays? Up until last year, they were those uncool, immature presents from Gran, but now everyone is sporting one.

Now we’d like to know if Christmas Jumpers are really hot, or really not.

P.S. MYSTERY SERIAL VOTER PLEASE STOP VOTING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Part of Stories-Chapter 1

“What? Not again, please, I’ll pay you back!”                                                                                                                                                                               The window slammed shut in Chloe’s face as she was forced to walk back up along the snow-ridden path. Freezing slush filled her boots through the holes that could not be darned shut and tears welled up in her eyes like a tap that was so frozen it could not turn. That was how she felt now. So cold her joints creaked as she pulled herself along to the next gas supplier, the final man on her list. She wanted to punch something so badly that she found herself grabbing air to let out her anger at the world in whole, at all the people that made her life a misery. Chloe’s hand moved up to knock at the window, but before she could, an elderly man with scraggly grey hair and a cigarette in his hand opened the hatch. “Sir, we just need one more canister of gas, we’ll make it last.” She wasn’t going to let it go this time. She had to get it now. Her eyes flashed like an angry lioness’, but the man seemed to not notice.                                                             “Sorry kid, no can do. I know you can’t pay us, and this is a business I am tryin’ to run.” His hand reached out to shut the hatch, but Chloe’s arm shot up to block it, stronger than ever before.                                                                         “Uncle Mark, believe me, some day I will give you your money back, all forty five dollars, just trust me. Mom and I will not survive this winter; you know what the weatherman said, snowstorms galore. Please…” The tears were back and it took every fiber of her being to stop them from flowing down her frozen cheeks.                                                   “Chloe, you’re a good kid, but you’re not even thirteen yet, you’re barely five foot four and I just can’t see you with forty five dollars any time soon. I know your Mom’s ill, but I can’t help you. I need to provide for my family too.” With that the door closed, and all prospects of living to see Christmas closed their doors with it.

* * * * * * * *

“Mom, I’m home!” she yelled up the stairs, partly to signify to her mother that she was there, partly to wake her if she had fallen asleep.                                                                                                                                                                 “Chloe, did you get gas?” she asked weakly.                                                                                                                      “No Mom, couldn’t pay, but that doesn’t matter, we’ll be able to find wood.” Chloe’s voice had reduced to a soft whisper, her dark eyes glinting in the cold light, her cheeks rosy but pale from the harsh wind outside. It had been more than a year since her mother had fallen ill and her father had left. Chloe had been only eleven then, and the weight of the family was thrust onto her shoulders, having to spend every ounce of her spare time trying to earn money for her mother’s medicine, food and heat. She pushed herself harder than ever at school, so as to be able to earn more for her mother, to prove her dad wrong, to show him he was not needed for them to thrive. Her every waking hour had been devoted to studying and working. She had even sold most of her knee length, dark hair to get enough money for her and her mother. After all of that, it hardly seemed fair that her life had come to he point when it seemed all hope was lost. But then, the doorbell rang.

Random Matador Poem

Whistle after whistle
Hoof after hoof
Fighter after fighter
Lose after lose

On sand red with blood
My teeth hurt from killing
Horns nearly broken
But to fight I am still willing

I run to hit the blanket
They have dyed the colour of blood
My horns twist in the man’s chest
Watch his face crash into the mud

In the pounding heat of the Spanish sun
A strong matador steps out
To try his fate
But it’s too late
For life he had to go without

He is fearless of the biting jaw
Which makes my small mind wonder
Where he’s left all of his wits
How long until surrender

I run to him, to drop the pin
Now I do just what I must
A roar of pain, what do I gain
When another one bites the dust

A new man now emerges
His time wears oh so thin
The crimson flag has waved
Let the games begin

If you guys would like to comment, I’d be grateful if it could be only like critiquing this as this is for the area high schools contests.

#NativityAtSchool

Everybody’s getting Christmassy and I wondered “What are schools across the country doing for Christmas?”

Well, as I just learnt, my brother’s school is doing a Nativity play for the eight and nine year olds and the nine and ten year olds are doing a service in the church. Also, the younger children are doing their usual “I fowgot my linies!” and parents finding it cute thing, and they have their entire pantomime thing (he forgot his slip and began running around to look for it) and Christmas trees and decorations and presents for the whole school.

Lucky them.

At my school, we are thought to be too old for all this festivity, so we have one Christmas concert (25 girls singing the school anthem) and not one Christmas tree in sight.

So can anyone tell me why people are suddenly too old for Christmas Nativities and going off timetable as soon as they hit 12?