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Archive for the ‘family and relationships’ Category

Look what I bought for myself this afternoon. ☺☺ I felt I deserved a treat (besides the sunrise and sunsets) after all the stress this week. I’d been planning on buying it 2nd hand online, but suddenly felt impatient. Just a day ago I read the write up in The Guardian (February 2019) via @pilgrimtrust  and felt so inspired by their journey; the bravery of facing down the odds and taking the challenge head on. It helped lift me out of my slump, and reminded me that I have much to be grateful for – even though I’m still very grumpy about the dishonesty of that carer (and that she’s just going to get away with her manipulative behaviour) 😑😑😑 that’s how grumpy I am 😁😁 Anyway, whatever, I had a lovely long walk to Broadstairs and back and now I’m reclining on my bed and just about to dive in…. p.s. if you Google ‘the salt path’ the article is a few entries down.

The Salt Path

I’ll let you know what I think when I’ve finished it…although I’m pretty certain I’m going to love it. πŸ“˜

14.11.2020 Saturday 21:38

I’ve just finished reading The Salt Path. What an extraordinary story. Of pain, of loss and hunger and an enduring love that triumphed over the worst kind of adversity.

Its left me wanting to fetch my backpack and just go….

Fantastic read, definitely recommended.

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Sounds like the name of a band….😁

If I remember correctly, I think there is a band with a similar name….Smashing Pumpkins?? Which sounds just as much fun, albeit a lot messier than carving pumpkins πŸŽƒ

Its amazing how many British traditions we have been introduced to since living here for the last 19 years.

Although we came late to the tradition and have only carved a pumpkin once before, now that my grandson is older we’ve introduced him to the tradition and the fun of carving a pumpkin for Halloween.

Growing up in the UK, I’m pretty certain that this won’t be the last time we carve a pumpkin, and it will become a new family tradition.

My daughter bought the pumpkins a few days ago and yesterday we sat in the garden, thankfully it wasn’t raining, and carved our pumpkins.

Daddy of course honoured the boobee with his name and I went for the more traditional scary face, and for good measure and keeping it contemporary, I also carved out the word Covid…πŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺ Its current news, so I had to.

We left them outside to start drying out, a hopeless endeavour since the weather is so grim, but they were sufficiently dried by evening. Daddy sourced some candles and lights off, candles in and we had our ‘scary’ Halloween.

The boobee was more interested in retrieving the candles and ‘blowing’ them out than the actual pumpkin faces….πŸ€”πŸ€”

A lovely family day.

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One of the very first buildings I noticed from the taxi when I arrived in Lewes 2 weeks ago, was this amazing place

I’m totally smitten with this place
The 15th century bookshop 😍😍

I only caught a glimpse of it as we rode past but that was enough to tickle my fancy…..and the very next day, during my break I set out to explore. And I’ve had plenty of adventures….

But I determined that I simply had to visit this bookshop, only open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at least once while I was here.  So yesterday, after visiting the Lewes Castle and the Martyrs Memorial, I popped in for a visit on my way back to the house.

Bought by the current owner in 1986, the stock consists of thousands of second-hand and collectors’ books, from rare and collectable to recent over a wide range of topics and interests. Its amazing that the same person has owned the shop over 30 years!! Wowww.

The interior of the shop, smelt musty with the dust of aeons. It was deliciously cramped with books overflowing their shelves and stacked high on the floor. Books from decades ago piled up in a kaleidoscope of ancient dust jackets and calligraphy.
Sheer heaven for a book worm; metaphorically and I’m pretty certain…actually. How the owner ever finds a requested copy is anyone’s guess, but I’m willing to bet she knows where everything is.
I had the audacity to ask if she had a particular book from 2019, and in a very dour voice she replied “I only sell old books”.  Brilliant. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‰ Of course…2019 is so last year…

And of course you can’t visit a 15th century bookshop and not buy some books… Obviously I had to buy a couple for himself who loves books, although lord knows he already has a massive collection. The Rupert Bear book is a 1984 edition, and the Bobbsey Twins from 1959!! I could have bought another 15 at least, but reason prevailed, I’d have to lug them all back to Ramsgate next week…

However if I ever find myself in Lewes again, I will be sure to pop in and buy a few more. Delicious. I love books and really wish I could have spent a few hours there looking through the shelves. But with Covid-19, and only 3 customers in the shop at a time, there was a young man waiting patiently outside…

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Hoorah! Today’s walk was fruitful albeit shorter than usual. Not only did I finally find the blessed Egrets Way path after going off in COMPLETELY the wrong direction πŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺ and wasting 45 minutes of my break in the process (Passing the railway station should have been a clue…πŸ€”πŸ€”),

But I am once again a ‘Trail blazer’ However, whilst it may appear that I’m a trail blazer, I wish I could tell them how useless I am at reading Google maps, especially when the map moves as I turn my phone to see which way to go🀨😠

And my mileage reached 40% on the Ring of Kerry virtual challenge and so another tree will be planted.

As for the toads crossing, I wonder what happened to the fast toads… 🐸🐸🐸

Alls well that ends well…and another day bites the dust. I only have 7.5 days to go and I’m off, back to Ramsgate. Can’t wait to see my Boobee

This adorable, funny, gorgeous little guy who holds my heart in his hands – my Boobee

His nickname came about from 2 sources….he has loved playing peek-a-boo from when he was tiny, so I started calling him Boo, and now he says “boo” which is just so cute I could eat him…. Meanwhile his parents have been teaching him sign language as a tool for better communication with people who have no hearing. He learned the sign for bee 🐝 and it was so cute I kept asking him to sign it….and one day, I got all muddled when playing with him and called him ‘Boobee’. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚β˜Ίβ˜Ί so now he’s my special special Boobee…..aka The Blur because he’s never still for one second and I can seldom get a photo of him that isn’t blurred….his Mummy, who sent me this photo, has the same problem…our phone cameras are just not fast enough to capture him in one place ☺☺

He’s a charm; funny, smart, cute, humorous, outgoing, friendly, loves Peppa Pig madly and is just adorable. I am so blessed to have him in my life.

Some other random photos from today, not as interesting as usual as my 6.84km walk wasn’t either….

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I’ve been chatting to my sister V in SA (1 of 4 who still live there) about coke of all things. She was relating an episode from yesterday when she and our youngest sister D were showing D’s kids how to make a coke float – for the uninitiated, that’s coke and vanilla icecream. It fizzes up and makes a delicious, albeit very unhealthy drink, and a glorious mess if you don’t drink it quickly enough 🀣🀣🀣

I went on to say that much as I loathe coke and the company behind it, it’s the only drink that will suffice on a hot summer’s day of walking. It slakes my thirst and gives me an energy boost when I need it most. It’s also very good with pizza and due to its chemical composition, it dissolves heavy food….the only other time I drink it.

From there the conversation went onto our planned Camino in 2022. We’re going to walk the Portuguese Coastal Route from Porto to Caminha and then inland to Valenca and from Tui to Santiago de Compostela.

It will be my 2nd walk along this route and her first, also her first time walking the Camino since she’s cycled the French Route some years ago with our father who was also a keen cyclist.

I’m not into cycling and prefer walking, so to her credit, she’s up for walking the route. Our conversation brought back memories of my pilgrimage and that I drank a lot of beer during my walk πŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺ My last reply to her went like this:

“No my tummy either but it seems to do the trick with thirst and heavy food (coke).
My choice of tipple on the Camino was beer πŸΊπŸšΆπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸšΆπŸ»β€β™€οΈof all things…I usually had my 1st one at between 10am and 11am depending on whether there was a place open to serve 🀭🀭 Mind you, now that I think about it, that’s probably why I enjoyed the Camino so much 🀣🀣”

Since I seldom drink, this was a departure from the norm for me, but as they say…..”when in Rome….” and all that, it made perfect sense to keep the Portuguese locals and other walkers company. Anyway that’s my reason πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸΊπŸšΆπŸ»β€β™€οΈ

11:14:58 πŸ˜‰πŸΊ

My memories of the Camino are many and varied. I had such a fantastic time….it was a huge challenge and I cried a lot from pain, but I also laughed a lot and met some super people along The Way. Portugal is such a beautiful country and the route follows the coast which meant I had the Atlantic ocean to my left every single day till Caminha.

So many memories of an amazing experience

More about my Camino https://notjustagranny.co.uk/2017/09/11/day-5-porto-to-vila-do-conde/

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19 years ago today, 08/10/2001 I embarked on what was to be a life changing event, and the adventure of a lifetime.

A few months earlier a number of events converged and conspired to change the course of my life.

The company I was working for in South Africa went into liquidation in July, and although I worked for the liquidators for 3 months, I was officially unemployed from end September.

In August, my daughter reached the grand age of 21….in South Africa, this is a milestone birthday and she was now an adult for real, and I gave her the ‘key to the door’. This is a symbolic key, and really means that now she was entirely responsible for herself and her life….

My younger sister, who was at the time living and working in Ireland as an IT Specialist, with her husband, was about to reach a milestone birthday too….the grand age of 30 in October!! ☺☺☺ She asked if someone in the family could fly over to help her celebrate, and since I had no responsibilities, I said YES!! I’ll come…

And so it came to pass that on 8th October 2001, just one month after 9/11 I flew from South Africa to Ireland.

I almost didn’t get to fly over across the seas to Ireland as the airline I was due to travel with; SWISSAIR had their planes grounded due to financial difficulties. Fortunately South African Airways aka SAA was linked to SWISSAIR and they made accommodation for all the stranded passengers and I was lucky enough to leave at the exact time of my intended flight.

Leaving South Africa on an overseas flight for the first time in my life was both thrilling and terrifying….would I find my way around the airports – we flew overnight into Zurich where I had to change flights…terror LOL. But I managed alright and even found time to have a hot chocolate and pastry…and Swiss Chocolate πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒ

I sent a postcard to my daughter from the airport and I remember walking past the postbox 3 times before someone showed me exactly where it was, it was green – I was expecting a red postbox. 🀣🀣🀣 I have learned so much since then.

From Zurich we flew over Europe and I cried nearly the whole way….as someone with a keen interest in history and particularly WW2, all I could think about was what had happened in those skies 60 odd years ago, and in the cities below. It was heartbreaking.

Finally we arrived at the City of London Airport where I had to take first a bus to a tube station and then the tube to Heathrow….my mind was expanding at a rate of knots πŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺ I can’t tell you how much I learned in those first few hours. I had to ask, absorb, remember and retain, and follow more information in a short period of time than I had ever in my preceding 46 years…

On my way to Heathrow on the Piccadilly Line, I remember exiting the underground near Hounslow and seeing all the houses and the chimneys….as a huge fan of Mary Poppins I was immediately smitten by the chimney pots and the tall houses and thought to myself “I could live here”. And now I am….to my everlasting surprise. I never in my life imagined ever living in another country other than South Africa.

I flew from Heathrow to Dublin and arrived in Ireland on my sister’s birthday πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒ Lots of hugs and kisses and high excitement ensued.

Loved Ireland. So much so that when the time came to return to South Africa in December, I didn’t go back. I stayed on for another 2 months till justbeforemy visa expired, then returned to London, spent a week there obtaining the relevant paperwork that would enable me to obtain my Ancestral Visa….I had already decided by then that I wanted to relocate to the UK/Ireland.

The 6 months I spent in Ireland were some of the happiest of my life and I wanted more. We had so many amazing adventures and travelled the length and breadth of the island visiting so many wonderful places.

I flew back to South Africa in March of 2002, and by 22nd April 2002 I was back in Ireland having sold my car (to my daughter) put my house on the market for sale and my possessions into storage. My daughter moved in with her then boyfriend once the house was sold and I settled into my new life in the UK….and I have never looked back. I have never had a day’s homesickness or yearning to return to SA.

In the 18 years since I’ve lived here, I’ve obtained my British citizenship, travelled extensively in the UK: been to just about all the English counties, Scotland, Wales, N.Ireland and a number of UK islands, innumerable times to Ireland, America 4 times, Iceland, France: Paris, Versailles & Calais, Italy: Venice, Verona, Pisa, Florence, San Gimignano, Lucca and Sienna, been to Amsterdam, Bruges, Brussels and Gibraltar, Portugal and Spain.

I’ve walked on fire, climbed halfway up Mount Snowdon, flown over London in a helicopter (a gift from my daughter for my 60th birthday), had a flight along the Kent coast in a Spitfire in 2018 (another birthday gift from my daughter 😍) – the same year I got the wonderful news I was to become a Granny 😊. I’ve taken part in the Tudor Pull, travelled on the Trinity Tide, travelled through Paris in a soft-top convertible (a gift from my daughter for my 50th birthday), enjoyed numerous steam train journeys, explored 85% of the streets, lanes and alleyways of the City of London, attended all the major London annual/traditional events and commemorations, travelled on the Eurostar to Paris and a ferry to Calais, I’ve become a long-distance walker with 4 named walks behind me: Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, St Augustine’s Way, the Portuguese Camino and the Pilgrim’s Way, and yesterday I walked across the top of the White Cliffs of Dover – so now I’ve seen the cliffs from the sea, the air and walked across the top!! πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ˜€πŸ˜€ I’ve visited 146 places named in the Domesday Book, and hundreds of churches, and participated in an archaeological dig in London, and obtained my British citizenship in 2016.

My current goal is to walk the full England Coast Path and the Welsh coastline (a long term project I started on 22nd September this year) – it’ll take about 6 years to complete.

Because I had been to so many places I set up Project 101 with the goal of visiting or seeing 101 different categories.

Best of all my beloved daughter joined me in the UK in 2003 and is now happily married and has a baby boy – so I am now a Granny….the ultimate.

Always believe

I’ve learned how to blog πŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺ, built a small business and an app, wrote a book and had some poems published. I learned how to create videos and use YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter…although I’m no longer on the two last platforms.

I’ve been on protest marches and attended the 2012 London Olympics, voted in elections, voiced my opinions about the government 🀣🀣🀣 and the weather….always a good topic of conversation, and tonight in celebration we had a right proper British meal; fish and chips πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‹

When I first arrived in 2001 I hardly said a word to anyone, especially strangers, now I talk to everyone and anyone….wherever I go and as a result I’ve met some wonderful people, many of whom are now close friends.

3 events in 2001 conspired to send me on an unimagined path and the adventures of a lifetime. Happy 19th anniversary of a new and very different life to me πŸ₯‚πŸΎπŸŽ‰πŸŽŠπŸŽˆπŸŽˆπŸŽˆand of course a very happy birthday to my sister 😍😍πŸ₯‚πŸΎπŸŽ‚ you know which one you are πŸ˜‰

I wonder what adventures await in the coming years!! Oh, and next year I get my bus pass….hopefully 🀣🀣🀣🀣

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As someone else said “ironically I’m using social media to share this” – but I urge you to watch ‘The Social Dilemma’ on Netflix. I’d seen a couple of my friends make reference to it, but didn’t really take much notice. But today I had a bit of spare time so I watched it…..and it scared the hell out of me.

To quote a quote:
“There are only two industries that call their customers “user’s” : illegal drugs and software”.

There is such a lot of information in the documentary that my mind was thrown into turmoil. Interviewing the very people who set up these programmes and the ubiquitous algorithms that we all love so much.

It made for very uncomfortable viewing.

We are being manipulated by Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google, LinkedIn, Snapchat, et al….in order for them to make money off of us. It may have started off fairly benign, but now, every tool in the book is being used to manipulate us like puppets. Every emoji we use prompts the algorithm to feed us like a lab rat…their words, not mine. I would urge you to watch it, it is really quite important to understand what they are doing behind the scenes and how they are manipulating us. It’s in no way benign.

In the heydey of the new platform; Facebook I, like many others, friended people left right and centre. I connected with people I’d never met from the far corners of the planet…without any thought whatsoever to whether or not they were indeed ‘friendly’. Over the years and especially when I started with multi-level marketing, I ‘friended’ so many people that my feed was filled with stuff I had no interest in. Once I removed myself from the MLM industry I unfriended everyone I had connected with unless I had actually met them in person. The same went for the people I met via Personal Development. What I found was that unless you were superficial you were not worthy of their attention. It was the ‘fake it till you make it’ mindset. I hated that, So I unfriended well over 1000 people. People I never heard from again.

But I still continued to accept friend requests and once I got started on twitter I ‘met’ a lot of people that then transferred to Facebook. Over the past 4 years I’ve realised that despite having so many’ friends’, very few were actively engaged, and so I unfriended another few hundred until I was down to people I actually knew, or had met in person, or people I had formed a relationship with regardless of where they were from. Just over a year ago, due to an emotional upset I logged off facebook….and of all the friends I was connected to, only 1 actually contacted me to find out if I was okay.

Other than that I also unfriended anyone who supported that snake farage, brexit or trump. And so my friends list shrunk to a reasonably manageable list of 150. Still there were people there I had never met or couldn’t actually remember why we connected, but with some I stayed connected because they posted interesting articles or we had things in common.

After watching the documentary ‘Don’t F*ck With Cats’ – the actual title, I immediately stopped posting photos of my grandson and put my profile onto private.

When Covid-19 came along at the beginning of the year, I logged back onto Facebook purely so that I could connect with friends just to make sure that everyone I cared about was okay.

But what I’ve noticed over the following months is that I am spending more and more time on Facebook and my emotions are on a constant rollercoaster. For example…..a friend will post a photo that I admire so I ❀ it. The someone else will post something about Syria and I click the sad emoji. Then another article will appear on my timeline about the useless UK government and after reading the article I click the angry emoji and share the article with a scathing or angry comment. And then someone else will share a cat video or a funny meme and I find myself using the laughing emoji. Or someone would share an amazing image and I’d click the ‘wow’ emoji. And then there are the posts that I just ‘like’. But, I was on a constant yo-yo of emotions and in a few minutes or hours I’d swing from love, to anger, to laughter, to sadness and boring old liking……every fucking day!!!

I’m exhausted. All my friends share different articles and they all share them on different days according to what they are interested in, love, get angry about, are saddened by or awed. And these all appear in my timeline on a constant loop. And my emotions are constantly swung one way or another…over and over and over.

What I found even more scary is that these platforms are only getting started with their manipulations, with their monetising. Try having a conversation with a friend about…..say….a wedding. Next thing you’ll see advert after advert about weddings, or holidays, or that cruise, or shoes or baby clothes…..this is not an accident! This is marketing manipulation on a massive scale.

Now if you’re okay with that, then fine. But it’s how they’re moving it forward, and how they use algorithms to manipulate your emotions, your beliefs, your values, your thoughts and your emotions….and your bank account!! Don’t underestimate the value that is placed on those adverts….they are designed to make you buy something you probably don’t need or want….much like adverts on TV and the papers…although that is just a little less pernicious, not much but they don’t work on algorithms designed to keep you scrolling endlessly seeking seeking seeking the next article or image or video…..I know. I do that every day till my thumb and wrist aches.

And it’s all being done deliberately so that the people behind the scenes can increase their wealth exponentially. I can’t detail it all here, but I would urge you to watch the documentary and make up your own mind.

Don’t be surprised if you find my profile shut down (actually, ironically, a friend reacted angrily to my post, and left a really angry comment, and that precipitated my logging off).

I left Twitter 18 months ago, and the only reason I haven’t hadn’t as yet left Facebook is was because it’s a way to keep in touch with you, my friends…but I’m very uncomfortable with what I’m seeing. I’m not understanding this for the first time, and I’m aware of how these platforms manipulate us, but it’s the first time the full reality of what and how they do it is becoming clear. And it is a drug. We are all addicted whether we find excuses or not to deny it…we are addicted.

I see it with my own family. My daughter and I used to have some amazing conversations…..now when I visit she has her head plastered to her phone. I’ve asked her time and again to please not spend any time we have together glued to her phone but she will always find a reason to continue…there’s always a reason. She can’t even watch a movie without engaging on her phone. It irks me tremendously, but my pleas fall on deaf ears. Her husband too, is always clicking on his phone and unless I can engage their attention with something, anything really, I end up sitting there staring at the TV, or I pick up my phone and do the same. What really annoys me though is that when the in-laws are visiting (the perfect family), she doesn’t sit with her face glued to her phone but chats to them.

Sadly, they have started their son off on YouTube videos and he cannot sit down to a meal without having to be entertained by YouTube. He is already addicted to the screen time, and Daddy rushes about desperately trying to find his phone so baby can watch the screen and be entertained while he has food doled out into his mouth. Screen time has gone from a few minutes to well over an hour, because that is sometimes how long it takes him to eat. I’ve no doubt she will disagree with me, and will probably be somewhat angry that I have written this down, but from parents who, when they were expecting said they wouldn’t be spending time on social media when baby is around, they’ve gone in completely the opposite direction…There was a time when my honesty was appreciated and I could talk to her about things like this…

Every time you click an emoji you are feeding your addiction. Every video or article you click on feeds your addiction and these platforms drip feed us every day every minute we have our phones switched on….watch the documentary and make up your own mind…their main goal is to keep you on the platform for as long as possible and the Ai programmes are designed and built to nudge you if you’re away for too long. Those notifications……!!!

To say that I hate Facebook would be an understatement. And if you think I’m overexaggerating, try looking around you…on the bus, on the tube, in a park, on the streets (how many times don’t people practically knock you over), in the cinema, in a theatre, in the doctors waiting room, driving in their car…people are killed every day because that truck driver, or bus driver or your own family are unable to put their phones down even while driving, in your own home…look around you, observe and realise that this is all down to manipulation, by platforms DELIBERATELY designed to engage and keep your attention for as long as possible, and when you step away, they are designed to grab your attention and get you back on for as long as possible.

Watch the documentary and make up your own mind. Even the very people who created these platforms and the machinations behind them, restrict their children from using social media. Ask yourself why!!

For me, I’m out.

29/09/20 a friend of mine in Australia suggested that he’d be curious to hear what effect my leaving facebook would have in a few weeks…..I could immediately tell him that it had induced a state of anxiety. Which as I said to him, absolutely makes me certain I’ve done the right thing. I find my brain and my hands wanting to log on (but I’ve forgotten my password LOL) and see what’s been posted. I’ve used facebook as way to keep myself from getting bored when I have downtime on my job, but I’m going to find myself a hobby to keep busy.

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β€œHow else should I think, they don’t even consider me human.”

The Refugees Journey.

My name is Farid, I was an anaesthetist at the Damascus hospital, it was a job I loved and proud to be.

That all changed though one night, my world stopped and it still hasn’t started. I was lay in bed trying to sleep, we lost a patient on the table and it was hard on the whole team. I just lay there wondering what more we could have done. Then it hit, there was no noise immediately but then everything collapsed around me, followed by the noise of the explosion, I tried to get up but I had to get the rubble off me, I couldn’t see because of the dust and my ears were ringing. I felt blood coming out of my left ear, the pain told me my eardrum had burst.

Then the panic set in, my family Bushra my wife was next to me, my heart broke into as many pieces as the apartment, my beautiful wife of 15 years was lying there, eyes open, not moving. I reached across to find a pulse but knowing I wouldn’t, I sat there for what felt like an eternity holding her and screaming but I could not hear my screams. I had to lay her back down to look for my children, I went to my sons Mahdi’s room but there was no room only a hole where it once was, I could not find him and desperately turned to my daughter Atifa’s room, it was a scene of desolation but her cot was still there, she looked out from the side, silent and afraid, less than 12 months old and she experienced this. I picked her up and held her close but she made no sound, no attempt to hold me back, I had to get us out of there before anything else happened. We went outside and we walked into what was now a war zone, my beautiful city Damascus pummelled into the ground in the matter of hours. I grabbed an emergency worker and told him of my wife and son, they told me that right now they are only concerned with the living.

Day 4: We are in a camp, it is packed out with people and we are in a rudimentary shelter of canvas. My daughter is still unresponsive, I have tried to get medical assistance but there is none, I make sure she has water and food when it’s available. It can get cold of a night, I wrap her up as well as I can and hold her so we both can keep warm. We are going to die here, many already have, we have nothing, what we had lays in the ruins along with the bodies of my family. I cannot make contact with anyone I once knew, I have no idea if my brothers or mother have survived. My sister is safe, she is a doctor in the UK and has been there for many years.

Day 8:
Still nothing changes here, many are now with disease and are dying, we shall die too should we remain. I spoke to the others, they tell me the whole of Syria lies in ruin and many millions are now dead, the country has been lain to waste, there is nothing left for anyone apart from disease and starvation. They are heading out tomorrow to try and get safe haven in Europe, they will make their way to Turkey and then through Greece but their only means of transport is to walk. The distance to Turkey alone is around 800km and will take us over a week but what choice do I have, stay here and die with my daughter or try to get to sanctuary and possibly die on the way.

Day 17:
We reached the boarder of Turkey yesterday, myself and my daughter have not eaten for three days and our water ran out over a day ago. Nobody in the convoy had any apart from an old lady who gave us a few dried crackers she had but they were impossible to eat without water. They have us under arrest at the boarder but they are giving us food and water. A few people from some organisation have been around and given us more clothing, I can at least get my daughter a little warmer now. She is still unresponsive but they had a doctor come see me, he thought it was down to the shock and she should eventually come around but if not I would need to get further medical assistance. Given my current situation that wasn’t going to happen any times soon. A man from the organisation had found some nappies for me, I removed the rags that was once my shirt from Atifa and put her in a clean nappy, she was red raw with a rash but what could I do?

Day 26:
I don’t know how long we have been walking for, the days are blurring into one. We managed to escape the compound in Turkey or they just let us go I’m not sure of which. We have to just keep moving, finding food and water where we can, they say we have to just keep moving, sleeping under any cover we can find along the way. My daughter has started to respond, she reaches out for food and water and I give her what I have, sometimes I give her nothing because that’s all I have.

Day: Unknown.
The hours become days, the days become weeks and the weeks feel like an eternity now. Where once we were 70 plus strong there is less than a dozen left. Some just disappeared, some just walked off some just didn’t wake the following day. We have seen the worse in humanity, cursing at us, some driving at us and we are run from the road, the names they call us saddens my heart, they do not know me, they do not know of the life I once had. They treat my daughter the same way yet she is innocent but they do not care. We also saw the best of humanity, the farmer that let us sleep in his barn and the next day fed us all before we left. The drivers that drove us for parts of our journey to save our feet getting worse than they already were, the angels who tended to us, gave us medicine to keep us strong, food and water so we didn’t perish on the route.

They came to us one day offering passage to Calais now only a few hundred miles away but the money they wanted was more than I carried, over 6 months wages from home. I had little money but I hoped it would pay for the last leg of my journey were I simply could not walk. I had to refuse and take my journey on foot again but I left as soon as I could, I feared for our lives from these men.

We moved on, I carried Atifa either in my arms or on my shoulders, even though she was small the weight became unbearable at times. We did it though, we reached the last camp in France, there were tents upon tents but it was filthy, rats scurried around and their was a stench in the air, I knew this stench though, I carried the same smell of the forgotten and the abandoned. She approached me, a woman aged before her years, she asked me from were I came and I told her Damascus, she came from Aleppo or what was left of it, she was all that remained of her family, she lost everyone and everything, they had a bakery in the family for over 50 years, gone in one night witH one bomb, only she got out of the ruins, 12 members of her family perished that night. I gave her a hug, it was all I had that I could give away.

β€œYou need to leave right now” I was shocked and looked at as to why I should go. The baby, if the authorities find her here they will take her from you. I started to panic, what could I do? She asked if I was planning to get across the channel and I told her of my sister who lived and worked in the UK. Could I pay she asked, I told her I had some money, she guided me into her tent and told me to wait, was I being foolish? I had told this stranger I had money, what if she had gone to get some men to rob me.

I was at the point of panicking and running when she returned, with her was a man, medium build but a scowl on his face, once again I was afraid. She told me he can get me over the channel today but at a price. I went to introduce myself and he said no names, then asked how much I had. I told him what I had in Syrian pounds and he snorted and told me my money was near worthless now but it might just get me across the water, I told him about Atifa my daughter and he just said no, not enough money for two. I took in a deep breath and picked my daughter up to make my way. He told me to wait and walked away speaking on his phone. A few minutes later he returned, said they could take the both of us but my daughter would have to stay on my lap for all of the journey so we only take up the room of one. I agreed, I had no choice, he put his hand out for the money, again I started to panic, what if he just went and I never saw him again. I told him I would pay when we were on the boat, β€œno pay, no boat” he said and turned to walk away. I had no choice, I was at the mercy of stranger, what else could I do but give him the money. He told me to wait here, he would be back in a little while.

Time passed like an eternity, all the while I’m thinking I have made a mess of any future we might have had. There was nothing more I could do. A van arrived at the camp and he jumped out of the passenger seat, β€œcome” was all he said and I climbed into the van with Atifa. Inside there were other people, we all looked and smelled alike, unkempt and desperate. We travelled for a hour or so and we came to a stop and told to get out. We were on a beach and in front of us was a small rubber dingy in poor condition, way too small for the amount of people they are going to put on it.

They told us to hurry and get in the boat and put on the life jackets, as I grabbed one there was none for my daughter and I asked where it was. We don’t have one that small, put her inside yours, that couldn’t work, I put it on but left it untied in case anything happened. We had been in the boat for a while when someone remarked about the water getting in, they spoke to the driver and he just shrugged. A little while later and the passengers are trying to bail the water out, the driver said not to worry he was making good ground. I wasn’t happy and took my life jacket off and put it around Atifa and tried to tie it as best I could.

I kissed my daughter and told her everything would be alright when the world spun. Suddenly I was in the water and trying to get back to the surface, I had taken in water and my lungs were burning. As I breeched the surface it was horrific, people shouting and screaming, the boat upside down with a tear right along the bottom. I looked around and a few people hadn’t made it then I remembered Atifa and I began to splash around screaming her name, I saw the life jacket first and swam over to it but it was empty, she was too small but please, please, please say she is alright. Then I saw her and I couldn’t get my breath, she was floating in the water, not moving, face down. I ushered all my might to get to her, pulled her to me and turned her over but as soon as I did I knew my little Atifa was gone, the sea had taken her after all she had been through this was the one thing that took her from me.

I screamed and held her close, I’m not sure how long I screamed for or how long I was in the water, I wondered if I should simply let the water take me too, I had nothing left.

I felt the hands on my shoulders as they hauled me out of the water, they got me on board a ship and someone came to speak with me, he said he wanted to take my daughter to care for her, I said no and held her tighter. He leans forward and felt for her pulse but we both new he wouldn’t find one. He was British, it took me a few minutes to fathom out his language, he asked if there was anything they could do, I just shook my head and said no. He placed his hand on my shoulder and looked at me. He pulled me forward and gave me a hug, he said nothing just held me close and I cried, I could not stop the tears from falling, I cried for the loss of my family and friends at the hands of an enemy we did not see, I cried for the destruction of my city and my country, I cried for the many miles we had travelled and the scorn we had met because we had become homeless at someone else’s hands. I cried long and hard.

A few weeks later and I’m sat at my sisters table, she had managed to track me down and bring me home, my daughter now buried in a foreign land and I’m struggling to come to terms with anything.

β€œAre you OK?” she asks.
β€œNo, I have lost more than anyone would believe, I’m not even 38 and my whole world, my life has been ripped to shreds, I have no one left apart from yourself yet even now they call me a fucking immigrant, tell me to go back to a country that no longer exists because their government sold the arms that killed my fellow man. I’ve applied for a position in a hospital that I’m confident of getting but I’m still not worthy of being here. I heard some of the British said we should have drowned in the channel. Well my daughter did and I sit here wondering would it have been better if I had too.”

β€œDon’t think that way”

β€œHow else should I think, they don’t even consider me human.”

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If I say I’m really tired, that would be an understatement 😜😜

So tonight I shall keep it short.

I’ve spent way too much time reading articles on Facebook and trying to keep up with developments and news, but my brain hurts. It’s all just going round and round, and at every turn the bloody government hack things up. PPE from Turkey- fail. Tracing app – fail. Care homes – fail. And the number of deaths keep going up.

I feel quite sad that we’re unable to celebrate VE Day tomorrow, but I dug around my client’s cupboards and found a flag that I shall hang out the window tomorrow. I saw a few out on other houses

So the current full moon is known as a flower moon and is the last supermoon for 2020. I took a walk up to the mound this evening in the hope of seeing the moon as I did last night but it was nowhere to be seen πŸ˜”πŸ˜”πŸŒ• Instead I got to see a spectacular sunset…bonus.

Late update πŸ˜€πŸ˜€ I was already in bed and noticed how bright it was outside, so gown and slippers on and quietly down the stairs and outdoors to see the moon!! πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸŒšπŸŒš obviously not brilliant photos, but I’m happy I saw it

Apparently my grandson has started counting, but he’s decided that 1-7 are worthy of no more than a giggle, and goes straight 8, 9, 10 πŸ₯°πŸ₯°πŸ₯°πŸ‘πŸ‘

We had our weekly clap for carers again tonight and it was lovely to see everyone out. I was going to use my client’s bell, its huge and makes a noise, but I chickened out πŸ€£πŸ€£πŸ€£πŸ“πŸ“πŸ“

I did however go pit for a walk this afternoon but spent so much time on the phone with the agency trying to sort out my next job that I ran out of time to go far. I did see the lovely rainbow in the header photo though…🌈🌈🌈

Take care all…..catch you tomorrow

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