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It Was Only Money…


A little something I wrote to amuse myself while the stock markets continue to play havoc with my working day!

Todd’s head shook in disbelief as he watched. Had it really taken so little time, so few seconds, for the numbers on-screen to bleed from the healthy blue lake of profit to the sinkhole of dark, red despair that now reflected back at him? He reached a forefinger into his collar; tugging, loosening, desperately trying to dampen down his hysteria and regain rational thought as his mind struggled to accept that his entire portfolio – his whole net worth – had just sunk without trace in front of his eyes. His palms were clammy; beads of sweat broke out on his forehead. His hand fluttered uselessly over the keyboard: uncertain; unguided; unable to do anything to change the horror of what he was seeing. The nightmare, it seemed, had actually happened. The thing he feared most had come to pass. He felt utterly helpless in the face of such brutal loss. His useless hand sank back to the desk and he in turn slumped back in his seat; his other hand covering his eyes, shutting out the blinking red disaster that was his life. His thoughts flashed  wildly: what would he tell Ruth – his wife, his love? A forlorn and fleeting hope: was this some sort of computer glitch? Then epic dawning that there was no way out of this. No happy ending, no golden retirement fund, no paid-off mortgage and childrens’ trust funds. No well done back-patting and a sense of smug self-satisfaction. He was forty nine, a father of two, and his financial world had collapsed. No home; no money; no security. Nothing. He’d bet the farm – including the parts he didn’t yet own – and had lost the lot.

He rose shakily from the chair, burdened by a ton of concrete failure strapped to his shoulders. Unnoticed by most, one assistant did pick up on his pallor, his hopeless demeanor and zombie-like stumble away from his desk. She glanced up at him as he passed, wondered vaguely if he was OK but then resumed her personal call, gum rotating slowly in her mouth as she languidly discussed the relative merits of heels over flats for her night out.

Todd’s slow progress sped to a faltering run. Bile rose within him in waves, propelling him forward and away from the cruel sea of red numbers he had just witnessed. He slammed out through the office door and into a hexagonal hallway. Wooden portals to other firms stared in blank indifference to his entrance. He flew through the door directly opposite into an austere white bathroom where he only just made it to the cubicle on time – throwing up and up, his stomach heaving and retching its sorry contents out in sympathy with his wretched situation. Snot and tears flowed in equal measure down his face as he allowed the fear to overwhelm him at last and gave in to the sheer horror of it.

Slumped down beside the toilet, his chin smeared with his own vomit, he tried to stifle the painful sobs wrenched from within him. He knew it was over. He was finished. He was a useless, careless, reckless bugger and he’d got his comeuppance. Serves him right. Arrogant arse, thinking he would be the one to get the golden goose. A weird tingling down his left arm matched a sudden crushing pain deep in his chest; his breathing rapid, shallow. His jaw tightened and clenched. Something worse was happening, infinitely worse. His last thought before his over-stressed heart spasmed its last: It was only money…



Words fail me….

….And that doesn’t often happen! Yesterday I lost my best friend, my cohort, my partner in crime. My reason to get up early in the morning. The one I kissed goodnight last before bed. He who I always cautioned “Night, night – sleep tight. If you see any bedbugs, slugs or grass snakes – holler!”

Fred came into my life at a time when I needed him most. I had just lost my Mum and was feeling similar to a ring-doughnut: seemingly complete on the outside but with a great big hole in the middle. Fred slowly ate his way through my miserable exterior and took up residence firmly in the hole in my heart. And there he stayed for the past few years.

There was a pecking order in my house – Fred, kids, Fred, husband, Fred, fish, Fred. Everyone got it. Everyone understood it.

Now there’s a hole again, and I don’t have the words to describe how I’m feeling. To those who know me, its obvious how devastated I am. To those who don’t know me so well, they are a little embarrassed by my reaction to this loss. I apologise to those I make uncomfortable.

One day, the hole will heal and I will be whole again. For now, I’m lost and the rest of the family feels that too. Kids are resilient – they’re playing badminton in the garden already. Hubby was distraught yesterday, but will recover in his ever-practical manner. I’m glad for them – moving on is healthy. But I’m not so sure about me.

Fred was my soulmate. My pride and joy. He was also my dog, a gorgeous fat black labrador. RIP Fred –
words fail me…….xx

Mum’s the Word

Today has been a strange one so far. I awoke this morning and had the most overwhelming feeling of sadness and loss for my mother, who died a few years ago now. I am one of those annoying people who is usually relentlessly positive and upbeat – don’t you just hate that. But when other emotions are allowed to rise to the surface, they wash over me like a tidal wave and I am left reeling for a few hours as I try to regain my centre and go forward. Today is one of those days.

Without waxing too lyrical, my mum was great – really great. She got me in a way no-one else does – we could talk for ages about absolute nonsense and spent acres of times laughing about the most ridiculous things. She was dry, sarcastic and great fun. I miss her acid wit and kind heart more than I can put into words. She was my Yin Yang.

It got me thinking about mums in general, and the enormous effect they can have on our lives. And how the old saying you never know what you had until it’s gone is so true, and so frustratingly obvious, that you are left wondering if you walked around with blinkers on all those years.

As a mum myself, I am prone to the odd grumble at my own kids at their lack of appreciation for this fun-loving, witty, caring mother they are blessed with (ignoring for a moment those parts where I turn into a screaming banshee over a left-over banana peel on the bedroom floor). Not on a physical level in terms of what I do for them in the home, so much as their lack of appreciation for me as a person in my own right. A friend, if you will, who deserves the same level of regard as their peers. As mothers, in between the washing, cooking, cleaning and rushing about, we try to listen and to impart our experience, knowledge and wisdom on an almost daily basis – much of the time it falls on deaf ears. I must have been the same – in fact I remember putting my hands actually over my ears during one of my mum’s “talking to Jesus” sessions and actually mouthing the words “Blah, blah, blah” at her. So disrepectful and hurtful now I think about it, but at the time you dont think about it. I suppose that’s the point – as kids we don’t think about our mothers as people at all. Why I should expect any different from mine, I do not know!

So today’s blog urges those of you with mothers/carers/guardians in your lives to say one thing to them today that lets them know you appreciate them as a person. It can be anything from “I like the way you did your hair today, you look pretty” to “Mum, I never told you this but the help you gave me with my French homework that time really made a difference, I get it now” or simply “Mum, you make me smile/laugh/cry”. Because sometimes it’s that sort of appreciation that means so much more than “Thanks for dinner” or “Thanks for tidying my room” or “Mum, please stop nagging me” – maybe because such appreciation connects directly to the person we are, not the carer/housekeeper we have become. 

I wish I had the opportunity now to tell my mum that her simple dedication to making me behave in a ladylike manner and always displaying good manners is sooooo important to me as a mother bringing up my own children. Without her constant reminders of “Elbows off the table!”, “Don’t slouch!” etc, my own kids would not be as well brought up as they are, and I would not be half as proud of them as I am. I hear her words come out of my own mouth so many times. So thank you , Mum, for that and for everything else which I must have absorbed by osmosis along with the knowledge of your love and your sense of humour that is also imprinted in me. I wish I’d said it at the time, but I know you forgive me and hear me now.