For some time, many years in fact, people have heard us tell the stories about our family and suggested I write about them. Well that’s not going to happen, mostly. My family would probably take out a contract on me to shut me up and I am not entirely sure about the laws concerning statutory limitations so I’ll not risk it. However, of the many ‘Harry’ stories there are I can probably share a few without actually landing him in prison or me in the doghouse.

So here goes….

My Dad Harry.

Dad was a youngster during World War II and was evacuated to Wales. After the war though he was part of the National Service generation and knew that sooner or later he would get called up. Then he realised that if he went in voluntarily rather than wait for conscription and did an extra year he could not only choose which branch he went into but would also go in immediately at a slightly higher rank.

So there he was, barely out of his teens, a corporal in the Royal Air Force.  His rank and moustache added to the fact that like all of us Fishers he looked and sounded much older than his real age, meant that it was assumed he had been in active during the war and would therefore have at least one medal at the very minimum.

My Dad Harry is not overly fond of the typical, pompous, military officer types who strut up and down with those little sticks under one arm and bark at people so it was inevitable that he was going to be spending quite a lot of time in trouble. An early example went as follows while they were on parade.

Officer: No medals corporal?
Harry: No, Sir!
Officer: Why not?
Harry: I’m a coward, Sir!

Like I said, he spent a lot of time in trouble.

Something has been driving me bonkers for ages is when we go to stay in hotels and everyone on TV is suddenly short and wide. I finally found out what is causing it, completely by accident. We bought a new (cheap) TV because we have guests visiting soon and wanted something for that bedroom. I was on the treadmill and trying to find the mute button and accidentally hit the aspect button. Bam! the new TV zoomed in, I hit it again and it zoomed out. Puzzled, I hit it again and finally people were normal looking. The really short and wide ones were still short and wide but not abnormally so. I plan on fixing it next time we stay in an hotel, which is coming up quite soon. I might just spend a few hours following the housekeeping cart around and nipping into each room I can access and change the aspect. I will be the ‘Phantom Stealth Aspect Changer’ around the world! Alright maybe that is a little ambitious but I do plan on doing my bit, hotel room by hotel room. So if you see a short, gently rounded, white-haired lady darting in and out of hotel rooms that are being cleaned, I am not stealing your stuff, I am fixing the &^%$* aspect on the TV.

We had a lovely day out yesterday. Mainly because it is hotter than hell here in Ontario and we have no A/C in the house. 99% of the time that is just fine, we open windows and the cross breezes take care of everything. But lately………….

So we decided that in spite of my strictly opinionated and ridiculously self- rightious youth when I wittered on about aerosol cans, A/C  and the ozone layer, we got in the car and I said ‘Sod the ozone layer. I will die before it runs out, crank up the air.’ My apologies to David Suzuki but sometimes you just get too hot and cave to the temptation. We took a trip through the County (Prince Edward County) and then Alan took me on a cruise. Granted it was the Glenora ferry (less than 15 minutes and it is free) but hey, it was a boat and on the water. that counts as a cruise in my book. Then we went to Kingston for lunch and a quick stop at an outlet mall where, of course as always, we met someone from Sears. Every time we go there we see someone from Sears. We reckon the company has a GPS on Alan to check if he is shopping outside of the brand. On the way back down the 401 we were passed by a bus/coach doing some considerable speed. It had no logos beyond the Canadian flag. The windows were dark and as they passed we could see all the windows had heavy duty grills. Don’t think it was miltary so prison maybe? If so, by the speed it was doing we think it was being driven by an inmate on the run.

Getting hot here, mosquitoes out in force though Alan was the first to be bitten, he killed it so feels somewhat vindicated. Meanwhile I was a wicked wicked wicked Mummy yesterday. Alan woke up with a migraine – no not a hangover LOL – and had to go back to a dark bedroom with heavy duty drugs. The only thing he can do when it is this, is sleep. Suddenly the driveway alarm starts dinging and donging and dinging and donging because these idiots decided to park and pray or something right by the detector and it woke him out of a good deep sleep. I was ticked off!!!!

Convo:
Little old ladies getting out of each side of car

Me on deck

Me: ‘What do you want?”
Her: Isn’t it a lovely day
Me: It is, what do you want?
Her: So nice out here.
Me: WHAT DO YOU WANT!!!?
Her: We want to invite you to a party to celebrate Christ’s……
Me (interrupting): Are you Jehovah’s Witnesses?
Her: Umm yes
Me: You PROMISED ME PROMISED ME last year when I explained in a very distressed state that I
find your constant badgering to be harassment and you PROMISED me you would put me on a list and
I would not be bothered for at least 3 years and I was, as always for the past 13 years, very polite and said thank you and NOW you are back less that 6 months later?
Her: Ummm we didn’t know
Me: Well you should know. You have the list.
Her: Have we offended you in some way?
Me: YES. I am completely offended. You harass me on my own property, you cause my husband pain because he has a headache and has worked a very long week and is trying to sleep. I am completely offended by you, your belief system and your lies when you promised not to come back for 3 years. You are liars and as far as I am concerned a cult and from what I have heard peadophiles.
Her: Ummmm
Me: BUGGER OFF!!!!!!

Can’t believe I did that but I finally lost it and got so cross. I have no doubt I will now be inundated by JW callers or we will be blackballed by local companies because the JW have a lot of sway around here but boy… it felt GOOD!!

Not sure if I have written about this before… if I have my apologies, drop me a line and I will find it and link back to the original blog post.

Any old how…. Many moons ago we lived in another country and the local post-master was very cute and charming but apparently …. so we were told…. his marriage was volatile. Let’s call him Fred which sounds nothing at all like Dave. He had a son named after him –  lets call him Little Fred.

As I know I have mentioned before, Alan was a volunteer fire-fighter, both here in Canada and in that other country.

So a call came in to 911. Scramble. Radios and phones going – ‘Fred’s been shot in the head.’ Cars, fire trucks, emergency vehicles flying out to Fred’s house while the town’s population of 903 (used to 906 before we moved to Canada) was either wandering down to the firehall/police station to listen or on the phone to each other. ‘I guess it happened, Fred’s wife finally shot him.’

Now there are protocols when a volunteer FF/EMT group gets to this kind of situation that means they cannot go in until the police have secured the scene but seriously… in reality…. protocols/schmotocols… at least back in those days. So their best and bravest volunteer went in – a lady called BettyLou and believe me, if you ever have a heart attack you want her to be show up, she will scare the bejeezuz out of you as she tells you to stop mucking about and get over it, and save your life, but as always I am digressing – and BettyLou  found ‘Fred’.

Only it was little Fred. His sister had shot him in the forehead with a BBgun pellet. BettyLou put her thumbs each side and popped that sucker out like a zit.

Both ‘Fred’s’ are alive and well as far as I know.

We went mad and bought new furniture, the deal was too amazing to give up, so the sofa I am sitting on will be moving to the basement where Alan can finally have his dream, a man cave where he can watch American football. He doesn’t drink but I’m thinking I should get some n/a beer and put a cooler down there for him so that he can pretend as he yells at the tv and gives advice to the players on his team, not that they ever appear to listen to him :o)

Parenthood ain’t easy. Today got reminded of the time Alan kicked one of our kids across the room. I can just hear the intakes of breath and people wondering which authority to inform but bear with me.

So there we were, in the Emergency Room (Casualty) with both kids, Jonathan around… 6 years old and Matthew around 18 months to 2 years old. Matthew with a gash in the back of his head which was bleeding. Apparantly scalps bleed like crazy even when the wound is superficial. I guess I should hasten to add at this point that there had been no concussion or trauma of that type, it was a half inch cut on the back of his head. The nurse bent down and asked Matthew “What happened to you sweetheart?” Matthew replied “Daddy kicked me.” She got this look on her face and asked Jonathan “What happened?” Jonathan said “Daddy kicked Matthew across the room.”

We were immediately separated from the kids and from each other.

So there I am in a room with a very stern looking doctor asking what happened? Me: “Well it’s all my fault. There is a chest of drawers opposite our bed. I had left the top drawer slightly ajar. It’s Sunday morning.  On Sunday mornings the boys come into our room and climb into our bed. Then we play Humpty Dumpty where we lie in bed, our knees up, the kids climb up and sit on our knees, we all recite the Humpty Dumpty poem and at some random point we drop our knees and the kids, like Humpty, fall down and everybody laughs. Matthew was climbing back up onto his daddy’s knees for another go…. Alan has an ingrown toenail. Matthew stepped on his toe, Alan kicked out, and Matthew sailed across the room and ……then he hit the drawer.”

The doctor just kind of looked at me, silent. Then he left the room and after a while they showed Alan in. I said “What did you tell them?” Alan said “The truth, how about you?” Me: “The truth. Oh gawd we are never going to see our children again…”

Then two doctors came in and said “You’re OK. That story is so stupid it has to be true. If you had done it deliberately you would have come up with something more plausible.”

They put a stitch in the back of Matthew’s head and we all went home. Both kids are now adults and no, we didn’t kill either one, accidentally or on purpose. But as I said, parenthood ain’t easy. And to any ‘authorities’ reading this please, accept that sometimes a step on an ingrown toenail and an involuntary kick is just a step on an ingrown toenail and an involuntary kick. Those doctors showed common sense and gave us the benefit of the doubt.

Boy am I ever going to get flamed for this one I reckon……

OK have had a funny day and it got me reminiscing about days of yore, well at least of days gone by in my youth. When I was 17 I ran away from home with the boy next door, all the way to Guildford. From Sandhurst, so not that far. I learned how to pick the cheap padlock with a hair grip on the electricity metre and yes, learned how to turn the clock back. If the landlady is still alive and wants to sue, come find me and I’ll send you the 20 or 30 pounds that you were overcharging us anyway. Not to mention the huge amount of rent paid for one damp room sharing a bathroom with about 30 other people. So now I have admitted online and in public that I am a criminal.

After that I moved to the Isle of Wight. Several reasons. 1: my cousin had sent me the fare to get there. 2: my uncle and auntie had offered the free loan of a 3-legged caravan (trailer type thingie – yes folks I was trailer trash 🙂 ) in a field to live in and 3: there was a really fab rock show happening in the summer that was in its early days back then. Jonathan wasn’t born ‘at’ the rock show but it was close.

Just after we moved there I had another crazy night. Went out for the evening, about 7 or 8 of us piled into a car with my cousin’s friend driving. Saw a cop car and he took a side turn into a field and turned off the car and lights etc. We all held our breath and the cop car kept going. I asked why and the driver of our car mentioned that he had been banned from driving for 2 years. I asked why. He replied that he’d been caught driving without a licence or insurance the previous year and was told that he could not drive again until age 17 – the legal minimum for driving in the UK. I said ‘Well how old are you now!?’ He replied: ’15.’

I was 18 years old and pregnant with Jonathan and while he was a bump on my front he spent a lot of his time riding on a Suzuki 50 motorbike. Chris driving, me sitting on a PanAm bag on the luggage rack on the back and ‘the bump’ on the passenger seat. No wonder Jonathan still loves to ride bikes.

After a while in the caravan/trailer we moved into a room in the town where Chris was working, rented out by guy who had the most fabulous outside toilet, Delft blue inlay in the china, it’s probably worth more than the house by now. I have forgotten our landlord’s name now but he had been a teacher but was retired. His friend was a headmaster at some private school who visited from time to time. One evening we were talking about me being pregnant and our landlord said he did not understand how I could be pregnant and his friend explained it to him, and explained that his mother must have had done that (had sex – yes folks Jonathan was not the result of immaculate conception) in order to have him, her son. Our landlord, remembered now, I think his name was Humphrey Something was horrified. Never believed it. Said his mother would never have done such a thing.

One time when I was walking back from a trip to the doctors, I tend to walk looking down, it’s what near-sighted people do, trying to figure out where the next step should go, I was wearing a mini dress and ‘the bump’ was all at the front so from the back I didn’t look pregnant, there were some workmen digging a hole in the road, like they do, wolf whistling and yelling at me ‘Cheer up darling, it might never happen!’ I turned around, pointed to ‘the bump’ and replied ‘Really?’ It was funny, we all had a good laugh…

Jonathan was due on August 5th and because I was so naive I assumed that was when he would show up. At just past noon, on August 5th he arrived. So naive or not, I was right! It was the Saturday of Cowes week on the Isle of Wight and I couldn’t get a taxi or ambulance for love or money, so I was considering going to hospital in labour on the back of the motor bike when some neighbours offered to drive me. Wonderful people, very kind, Christian Scientists. Kept telling me the pain was not there. I kept thinking “You’re not sitting where I am obviously…….”

But anyway after a few hours Jonathan arrived, in spite of me being left alone and a cleaning lady almost delivering him but in the nick of time doctor and a Swiss nurse came in and helped him into the world, tiny but lovely. I remember the nurse showing me the bruises on her hand that I had made holding her hand so hard. The maternity ward of that hospital overlooked/overlooks(?) the UK’s most high security prison. The prisoners were upset about conditions and were up on the prison roof. They used to wave to us new mothers and we would wave back.

Jonathan: You are very, very, very lucky that you were born male and named Jonathan Andrew. I had been reading a book when pregnant and was just enthralled by the heroine/main character and wanted to name my baby after her. Had you been born a girl you would have been called Rizpah http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rizpah

We decided to leave the island when Jonathan was a week old though I had been offered a roof over my head by a gay (male) couple if I wanted to stay there. Wealthy and they just adored the baby, what might have life have turned out like if I had said yes? We will never know. As we were on the ferry going back to the mainland a couple asked to see Jonathan and put a coin in his tiny hand to wish him luck and wealth.

I was reminded of all this because the other day in Toronto we saw a very new baby and I did the same thing. Felt good to pass on a tradition.

Last weekend we had our annual visit from a bear. I am pretty sure it is the same one which has been passing through for the past several years. My how he’s grown! More of that in a while.

When we first found this house we were completely enchanted with the wildlife, just amazing. Though admittedly my current feelings about raccoons are torn. Yes they are cute. But leave my tomato plant alone! We also have birds galore, deer, groundhogs, the occasional fox, snakes that luckily are rare, squirrels, chipmunks, turtles and sometimes, black bears.

The first bear we saw would not have been in any great danger of being turned into a rug because it was older and quite motley looking. I spotted it from the office, it was out by the washing line and was slowly making its way around the house. It disappeared from sight so I moved to the kitchen to try to see it again. Nothing. So I climbed up on the kitchen counter by the sink to get a better look. Our house is built into the side of a hill so the kitchen window is up one floor which is probably just as well. Suddenly I heard a kind of huffing sound and there it was, front paws against the side of the building just under the kitchen window, looking at me through the screen. Had there been an Olympic athletic scout in my kitcehn I reckon I could have had a chance on the team. For a gently rounded, middle age woman the dismount I did from the counter was fast and high, and I landed on my feet. TaDa!! Apparently unimpressed, the bear just ambled off into the bush.

That particular year there were many bear sightings locally. So many that it made the larger press. A very irritated ‘man from the Ministry’ in Toronto issued a statement saying we were all imagining things, that there were no bears in this area and that any damage seen was done by cows. I wrote him an open letter in the local newspaper. I invited him to a free weekend of camping in my garden. I would even provide a tent, sleeping bag and food as long as he took a quick note of the ‘cow’ claw marks on my shed door and didn’t mind sleeping beside the big pile of ‘cow’ poop beside the tent. I recommended he wear his brown trousers. The newspaper kindly published but sadly the man from the Ministry did not reply or take me up on my offer.

Over the next few years I would see bears come up the hill, across the deck and through the arbour but I was never quick enough to grab the camera. Then, two years ago we spotted a new one, fairly young, I would say maybe a two or three year old out on his own for the first time. Here are some photos.

Young Bear by arbour

Bear two years ago

Hello?

Then this past weekend, another visit. I reckon it was the same young man, all grown up. Sorry for the lousy photo but he’s quite definitely male 😉
July 2011 all grown up