Thursday, 31 December 2015

My Sad and Lonely 21st Birthday (and other stories)

May 11th 2012

We went to Ealing Broadway where David had an appointment at the bank.  Mum and I just had to stand and keep our lips sealed as he told constant lies about being employed and commuting to and from Grottsville every single day.  They still wouldn't give him a bigger overdraft anyway.

Mum and I walked to H&M where we got some G4 bracelets and a necklace.  I was finally able to snap pictures of a couple of the rides on the way there too.

When we got home, Mum decided to get on with tidying up and accused me of being "lazy by doing desk jobs".  Well, I'm sorry, but I had to catch up with my eBay chores!

In fact, I had so many parcels to pack that I ran out of packaging!  David and I had to go to Greenford to buy brown paper.  It was about 3.30pm by this time and all the kids were coming out of the local school.  I was horrified to see a number of "bronies" (teenage boys) with Rainbow Dash armbands and MLP emblems sewn onto their bags.  After all the hate mail I had received, I was concerned that they might recognise me...  But I suppose the likelihood of those being the hate mailing bronies was quite slim!

Later, we went to Grottsville to collect more eBay stuff.  A peculiar man came to the door while we were there, claiming to want a job replacing our windows.  But David told him that he couldn't make an appointment to give a quote for the job as we were "never there".  Well done, David.  It's always good to advertise an empty property, especially in such a crime-filled area!

I sat outside the storage depot while David went inside for something or other on the way back.  We also got yet more McDonalds fries using the free Monopoly stickers that we'd got on the last lot!

I was feeling really poorly, I kept going dizzy and had what appeared to be allergies of some kind (a burning tongue and various other curious symptoms).  I couldn't be sure how much was physical and how much was pure stress though.  I was horribly stressed and kept grinding my teeth until they really hurt.  I just wanted someone to help me work out what to do with my life but my parents were not the ones to do it and I had nobody else to turn to.

Ebay was causing me a lot of stress too.  I suppose it was only natural that the more I sold, the more problems I would encounter.  Somebody claimed that two of the MLP comics I'd sold were missing pages (even though I was certain that I had checked them all thoroughly).  Strangely enough, she never pursued this, even though I offered her a partial refund if she told me how much she thought was fair...

It was yet another free listing weekend and I wanted to get as much listed as possible.  David was angry with me for this though. I should "forget about free listing until THIS was cleared up", he said (indicating at the stuff I was about to list...)  "Okay, THIS then!" (He pointed at some gifts for Emma's kids...)

I was stressed to death about my future and lack of qualifications as usual.  I felt sad and lonely, but Mum couldn't get this.  "You don't need anybody but yourself, and you don't need qualifications either!  How do other people make careers for themselves with no qualifications?"  I don't know.  Maybe they didn't want to work in musical theatre?  Then again, I couldn't find a lot of available jobs in any industry that didn't require at least basic GCSEs!

May 12th 2012

I was severely disturbed and awoke from the most horrible dream.  David was driving to Brighton for our birthday but I wanted to go to Herne Bay.  He wouldn't listen though so we ended up in Brighton where I crossed the street to some kind of dogs' home.  I was almost scared away by a growling rottweiler at the gate but had to get inside to collect my MP3 player and change out of the ugly, worn out brown t-shirt that I was wearing!  By the time I managed to get back to the car past the rottweiler, Mum had gone to Grottsville and it was midnight so too late to go onto Herne Bay!

Another whole day spent on eBay, both listing and rearranging my sales pictures in Photobucket.  I managed to sell four comics directly to somebody on the MLP Arena too, so it wasn't such a bad day.

I was still waiting for the comic buyer to tell me how much of a refund she wanted at this point.  David yelled at me for not checking the comics better (even though I could swear I had!)...then proceeded to not even look at the magazines that Mum had sold on eBay!

We went to Hoover Tesco and Grottsville that evening.  Then, once David had dropped us back at Woodberry, he returned to Grottsville for the night, concerned that the curious window man might return and break in during the night.  This would no doubt mean that we wouldn't get to a car boot sale in the morning again.

May 13th 2012

We did end up going to a boot sale as it happened, but it was only boring old Hounslow Heath and it was terribly late.  I still managed to get this little beauty for £1 off of the regular toy dealer though.

I already had Autumn in my own collection but knew she was quite a rare pony so I couldn't stand to leave her there.  Perhaps I would finally force myself to start selling MLPs on eBay?

The toy dealer cheerfully told me that she regularly had old (G1) ponies but she sold all of them to a couple at Denham car boot sale every saturday which was why she never had any left over for Hounslow Heath!

Mum wanted to go to Taplow car boot sale in the afternoon but her knee was too bad for her to get upstairs and have a proper wash so David slept the afternoon away instead!

While he was asleep, Mum got increasingly bad tempered and spiteful.

Frustrated with the "holes in the wall", she hung towels in the opening between the extension and kitchen!

She then accused me (again) of causing the pain in her ribs by restraining her from smashing the cabinet a few days previously.  Because of this, she had "written me out of her will"!

I was still trying to research education options on my own.  Mum had mentioned Access Courses as a means of getting into university without traditional GCSEs and A-levels.  But, as soon as I started to look for them, she discouraged me.  I found that there was only one performing arts access course in the whole of London (in Greenwich, I think) it turned out, they'd decided not to continue it that year due to lack of interest but, even if they had done, Mum had already put me off due to the "hard journey" and the fact that it "wasn't a real educational course and didn't lead anywhere".

So I started trying to look at academic subjects instead.  But that wasn't right either - I'd "fail any Access Course due to lack of concentration".

We went to McDonalds in the evening for more unhealthy calories.  There were a group of seemingly crazed Native Americans practising some kind of dance in the car park around us.  I decided to try a sundae instead of the usual McFlurry...David was in such a rush to get us home that he ran in without even asking which flavour I wanted.

May 14th 2012

David and I went to Ealing Broadway to buy birthday cards for each other.  How ridiculous when you think about it, to go to a shopping centre together and split up so that you can secretly buy cards for each other!  I got a t-shirt for myself at the same time.

We then went on to Grottsville for another vegetarian cottage pie - probably our last for a while considering we now wouldn't have access to a car.  We went to Hoover Tesco while it was cooking to buy a birthday cake.  I was sad to see the old trolley sheds being pulled down and replaced.  They'd been there as long as I could remember.

There was a nice programme on TV about pathé news with various old clips and "behind the scenes" style information.  Sadly, David rushed us back to Woodberry before the end of it.

I still hadn't got any definite plan of somewhere to go for the annual birthday outing.  Pretty sad to think how I'd always planned to go to Los Angeles for my 18th and Vancouver for my 21st.  I still hadn't been to LA and now wouldn't be in Vancouver either.  The best I could think of was Felixstowe but I didn't even know if it was open for the summer yet or if there were any amusements left there TO open!  I couldn't find anything else to put with it anyway and neither of my parents would even look into it with me.

I knew I wasn't getting any material gifts as usual.  Mum was talking about giving me driving lessons for my birthday though which was probably more constructive in the long run.

May 15th 2012

My 21st birthday.  God, I was old, and what had I achieved with my life so far?

It turned into a real nightmare.  Doesn't every birthday?  I had a bath and tried to wash my hair the night before.  Bad mistake.  I can't have rinsed my hair properly as it dried really greasy.  So I was up until 4am rinsing and re-rinsing to try and get this horrible conditioner out.  It made no difference though - I awoke at 6am and it was still as sticky as anything.

I didn't do quite as badly on the present front as I thought.  I got five cards (including the one David had bought the previous day), a purse and £21 from Mum's Uncle John and a picture frame from Mum's cousin Ruth.  So I did at least get two presents I wasn't expecting to get!

And I gave myself a few gifts too.  I even wrapped them up for myself.  Yes, I know, how sad is that?  But I just didn't want to go through my 21st birthday with nothing.

Mum's knee was too bad to come out with us so I was upset.  Not sure why I missed her company so much though...she was utterly mad.  She got angrier and angrier throughout the day and completely ruined any little bit of fun that I might have had.

We did end up in Felixstowe because I couldn't think of anything better to do.  We stopped at the Tiptree Jam Museum on the way there...which I actually thought was a little mean of David as Mum had wanted to go there for years but, again, we couldn't think of anywhere else to go.  It was a very interesting museum but I couldn't think straight for wondering what Mum was up to at home and crying over my "wasted special birthday".

Mum didn't even know where we were and she was hopping mad that we were out without her.  She rang to say that she'd "thrown the birthday cards in the garden and the cake would be going out there soon as well".  And that was before we even got to Felixstowe!

There was nothing at Felixstowe anyway.  Just as I'd feared, the place was closed up and dead.  Well, it was out of season and the weather was awful with frequent heavy rain showers throughout the day.

I photographed a hand full of rides outside the couple of modern arcades and on the pier but nothing of particular interest.

The only potential old rides (at the seafront Ocean Boulevard funfair which I'd specifically gone to see) were covered over due to the weather.  Typical.

What makes this all the more hilarious is that there was a specific horse ride, Glass Fibre Products' Prince, who I believed was still there and really wanted to photograph/film.  Since I couldn't see him, I decided to pose with what I believed to be his canvas covered self.

I now realise that these rides were common old Falgas Derby horses and Prince was under the furthest cover away in the second photo!  Oh well, none of this matters now as Prince has since been sold on eBay...and I never did get to see my beloved horse ride again.

The rain started coming down heavier again after that so we ran and sheltered in the car.  We saw a bloke who must have worked at Ocean Boulevard and David was going to go and ask him when they would be open...but he got into his van and drove off while we were still sheltering.

I went into one of the arcades and played on the 2p pusher machines, playing 68p and getting 64p back.  Well, not such a bad loss as usual anyway!

The sun came out for long enough for us to have a quick walk along the beach and David took some photos of me.  It seems to have become tradition to have my photo taken in front of the murky British sea every birthday.

I took a couple of pictures of my favourite present to myself, Munchy, as well.  (Yes, I had managed to buy the cheap Munchy on the MLP Arena and received her in time for my birthday!)

Even the ice cream stall was shut.  Mind you, who'd want ice cream in that weather?

I took a couple more hurried shots before David drove away from the seafront.

In fact, he was in such a rush that he drove into a wooden pillar as I was taking the second snap from the car!  Truth be told, I think he was as worried as me about what Mum was doing back at Woodberry...

We stopped off very briefly at Felixstowe's shops.  Well, actually we just went in one shop - a supermarket - where David bought some pick 'n mix for himself.  I'm glad we did though as the shop opened out into Felixstowe Station where I spotted the best ride I'd found all day; a JM Kiddie Rides Massey Fergsuon Tractor!

I remember the good old days with JM Kiddie Rides' machines were all over Felixstowe seafront.  But now this seemed to be the last survivor of those days.  (Well, unless any others were lurking under those covers, of course!)

There were some lovely charity shops in the main shopping street but I never got to see them.  David couldn't wait to get back to the car and start the long and terrifying drive home.  He kept falling asleep all the way and we had to stop on the roadside for over half an hour at one point.  A lovely birthday was had all round really!

When we got back, we discovered David's two cards torn up in the front garden.  Mine were not out there (nor was my cake), but were neatly piled on the stairs out of Mum's sight.  She was pretending to be asleep on the floor but I could see that she had added a little more graffiti to the walls...writing over her original ballpoint pen in thick marker!

David retreated to the loo before going to Grottsville for the night and Mum continued to pretend to be asleep, leaving me all alone for the rest of the evening.  What a horribly sad 21st birthday.

Best wishes,
Desirée xxx

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Tricky Trichologists, Overgrown Gardens and Tiny Car Boot Sales!

May 6th 2012

I'd intended to get an early night the previous day but ended up sitting up working on my kiddie ride website instead.  Unsurprisingly, I spent the day in a semi zombie-like state!

We went to Grottsville in the afternoon to try and do some clearing out.  I developed severe allergies though and between those and the tiredness, I wasn't able to to do much.

The house was falling apart; damp, mouldy and neglected.  The ivy in our front garden had almost completely covered the neighbours' upstairs window and as for the back garden...well, it was so overgrown that I couldn't even see where the path ended and the lawn began!

I rescued another box of ponies and brought various other junk back with me but there was still so much more.  Why had my entire life been wasted on collecting possessions rather than living?  I was still stuck with the consequences even now.

Mum was still in terrible pain and couldn't find a comfortable way to sit.  She took two Nurofen (when she usually managed with just one) and it didn't even touch it.

I was worrying about my lack of education and future again but nobody cared to talk to me, of course.  They were either in too much pain or generally disinterested.  And so my life continued to tick by...

May 7th 2012

Got up early in the hopes of going to a car boot sale.  Epsom was rained off so we ended up at Hounslow Heath.  What a waste of time.  There were only about forty tables there and they still charged £1 for the entry fee!  I'd never seen such a small boot sale there.  Where was everyone?  The weather wasn't even that bad really.

Mum hadn't been able to get washed in time to come to Hounslow Heath so she wanted to try the afternoon car boot in Wycombe.  It wasn't to be though as the heavens really did open by the afternoon and it wouldn't have been worth the drive.

Instead we spent our afternoon at Grottsville again, failing dismally at clearing up and making use of the oven for another vegetarian cottage pie.  We took the rubbish bag with us too (rubbish collection day was the following day and we liked to make the house look more inhabited than it actually was) and David managed to spill some soup on the floor.  It must have dripped out of a can in the bag.  He then turned on me for "not washing the can out before throwing it away".  Maybe I'm sheltered but do other people wash empty cans out before putting them in the bin?

When we got back, a bloke was sitting on the kerb outside the house opposite ours and sobbing.  We thought the old bloke who lived there must have passed away (he'd been ill for years and was always being carted off to hospital), but no, their kitten had run away.  Well, it's nice to know that the locals feel so strongly about their pets anyway!

Emma wrote to Mum, concerned about Allan who kept wanting to go to the park on his own.  Mum laughed, "And then I get called the overprotective one.  She's having a bit of it now."  Uh...I think there's a bit of a difference between a 10-year-old wanting to go to a relatively isolated park and a 20-year-old getting shouted at for walking to the local shops and being out for more than 40 minutes!

Oh well, at least her knee was a bit better.  She had persuaded herself that she had "dislocated her rib" though and kept pummeling it to see where and how badly it hurt...and making it far worse in the process!

I had two separate complaints from eBay buyers, claiming that their items hadn't arrived.  Was Royal Mail really going through a bad period, or was this the latest scam?

May 8th 2012

Went to Ealing Broadway to post a couple of parcels.  I almost accidentally sent a surface mail parcel by air and suddenly shrieked out when I remembered my mistake to stop the bloke behind the counter from sending the pony for the higher price.  I didn't realise how loudly I'd shrieked - everybody in the post office was staring at me.  How embarrassing.

I withdrew £150 from my bank account (the stupid woman behind the desk almost gave me £350...well, thank you very much...except I'd have ended up with an overdraft!) and then had a little stroll around the shops.  I bought some facial cleansing wipes ("soap", as David called them) in Savers and a new MLP t-shirt at Primark.

We went to McDonalds for more fattening fries in the evening.

Mum had insisted on setting a mouse trap in the back garden. (Much to my disgust - I thought she was a wildlife lover!)  The door on the trap had closed a couple of days previously, so we could only presume that we had caught one of the poor things.  David finally removed the trap but didn't replace it.  Within less than an hour, another mouse was running around outside the back door.  Well, did Mum really think that killing one of them would do the trick?

My hair was driving me crazy but nobody had bothered to discuss the trichologist appointment of the following day or printed out any comparison pictures to show how my hair had deteriorated.  Typical of my family really - always willing to throw money at things, but never to actually do anything constructive.

Mum's knee was bad again too, but that didn't stop her obsessively trying to tidy up and shouting at me that I wasn't doing enough to help!

I spent the evening researching kiddie rides again and came across this lovely photo of an Edwin Hall Giraffe ride in Largs.

The original photo can be found here:

The interesting thing about this giraffe was that she was named Gracie and I had previously believed that all Edwin Hall giraffes were known as Georgie.  Hall certainly knew how to cash in on a popular design.  Perhaps he thought arcade owners would buy a pair of identical rides if they were sold under different names!

May 9th 2012

The very expensive trichologist appointment was a complete waste of time and money.  We found ourselves at a tiny house half an hour before our appointment time.  Not realising we were early, we went ahead and knocked on the door.  Never mind, the trichologist Melissa's slightly eccentric mother was on hand to show us through to the very messy back room until her daughter was available to see me.  There we watched an exciting episode of Jeremy Kyle with Melissa's eccentric mother while a rather aggressive dog (whose breed the eccentric mother couldn't remember but we recognised as a Staffordshire bull terrier) named Missy growled at David.

Eventually we were called through.  Melissa couldn't see anything wrong with me or my hair and said I was just "using my hair as a displacement for other worries".  "Of course my hair wasn't covering as much of my scalp as when I was a child - my head had got bigger as I aged!"  She would be more concerned about my toilet habits as apparently it was only normal to "poo three times a day".

She then gave me some barley grass powder to put in pure water and a link to a website where I could buy more of the stuff (where, coincidentally, she got a commission for every packet sold).  She even advised me to set up my own business selling the stuff from the website (meaning she would have got an even larger commission!)

So it was a rather disappointing appointment all round really and I was still none the wiser as to why I was losing my hair.

Mum's e-friend Jill was continuing to be rude about me and my ride hobby while Mum argued with her.  Mum said that Jill had now "pushed it too far" and she was "getting rid of her".  Ha, where had I heard that before?

I spent my evening cataloguing G3 MLP catalogue pages (no pun intended!) and tearing pages out of more recent catalogues which I had been saving for the files.  I would get rid of all of this paperwork, by hook or by crook!

I didn't get much else done due to being really sleepy.  I wondered if there might be a gas leak in the house...there was something seriously wrong with me.

May 10th 2012

Wasted most of the day sitting around and waiting for David.  He spent hours in the loo at Grottsville and then went shopping, meaning he didn't even get to Woodberry until 1pm.  When he did finally arrive, my parents spent ages doing family history before finally looking at a train set that Mum wanted to list on eBay...but discovered it had been ruined by battery leakage.

We then went to Grottsville to eat another vegetarian cottage pie and watch a TV show Mum had wanted to see.

We had to keep moving the car as the parking permit had run out (just five days before it had to go back anyway so there was no point renewing).  No doubt we would get a parking fine before the week was through...

I almost wished David would stay at Grottsville all the time.  My parents argued constantly the whole time they were together - if it was stress causing my hair loss, no wonder it was continuing to get worse.  Nobody would spare any time for me or help me work out what to do with my life or how to get a proper education.

I did all I knew how to do, moving my eBay stuff to an eCrater store and Facebook sales page, hoping to make a few pennies that way.  But it wasn't going to help me to get my dream theatre career, was it?

Best wishes,
Desirée  xxx

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Doctor and Hospital Appointments...My Very Healthy Family

May 1st 2012

David had an early morning appointment with the nurse.  Mum was still in a bad mood with him so didn't wake him up.  Hence, he was late.  She gleefully described him as "having a face worse than a thunderclap"!

He was supposed to be taking me to Ealing Hospital to see the useless dermatologist but, of course, due to David seeing the nurse late, I was also late for my appointment.  Mum refused to come with us so David decided to hurriedly park on double yellow lines.  Stupid, as I wouldn't let him come in with me for my appointment anyway.

It was pointless going to any appointments with that ridiculous woman anyway.  She spent my whole appointment talking to herself and trying to work out an excuse for how my blood test results had been lost.  Perhaps there was "a clot in the tube and they'd had to throw it away".

She was really insulting to be honest.  "I take it you're still not happy with your hair then - is it the thinning you don't like, or the flakes?"  Yes, she was still convinced that I had dandruff.  She couldn't understand that it was dry hair shampoo which I used between washes to try and give it some volume!  I told her that I was concerned because no new hair seemed to be growing and she said it "was good that it was growing"...proving she wasn't listening to a word I said anyway!

All she told me to do was keep taking the iron supplements and sent me for another blood test for hormonal imbalances and alopecia.  She then told me she wouldn't see me again until September!

I had the blood test there and then.  The phlebotomist couldn't find a vein and made me go quite queasy.  In fact, I almost fainted!

We stopped in Brentford on the way home so that I could take more photos and film the Robinson Partners Circus Pony I'd spotted the previous day.

Luckily, the shopkeeper was very friendly and okay about me doing so.  In fact, he found it funny and said it was the best laugh he'd had in weeks!

Mum had been relatively okay towards me all day but turned funny at dinnertime.  She was writing a letter but said that she was hungry so I started cooking the dinner.  I think she felt rushed in writing her letter or something even though she had plenty of warning that the dinner was almost ready/being served up.

We were having spaghetti that night.  The argument was such a ridiculous one that I can't even remember the details.  I think she wanted plain spaghetti and I was having a tin of spaghetti and vegetarian sausages from Asda.  Mum preferred Asda spaghetti to Heinz (which was the only ordinary spaghetti we had).  So I thought I'd heat them separately, take the sausages out of the Asda can and let her have that spaghetti, then give myself the Heinz can...if that even makes sense?  Anyway, she didn't like the idea, burst into tears and accused me of "taken all of her spaghetti" before throwing her dinner away.  The spaghetti and sausages can was twice as large as the ordinary spaghetti, by the way, so there was an equal amount of pasta in each tin.  That's what you get for trying to be kind to people!

May 2nd 2012

I didn't wake up until 11am and spent the day clearing the hobby room.  David went to Ealing Broadway to post some parcels and pay in a cheque.  Minutes after he left, another buyer paid...and he realised that I'd forgotten to sign the cheque anyway!

Mum had developed a very painful rib on top of her other problems and wanted to see a doctor about it.  David rang the doctor and apparently the doctor rang straight back (unheard of for Grottsville's surgery!)  He came downstairs with the phone to get Mum to speak to the doctor.  She, not realising that anyone was on the end of the phone, swore in front of it.  Then she got too embarrassed to speak to the doctor at all!

David couldn't think of an excuse on the spot and stammered, "Sorry...she's in the toilet..."  Then, realising they must have heard her, he corrected himself.  "Sorry...she doesn't like talking on the phone..."!

Well, they say good things come from bad and this was the thing that finally pushed Mum to switch doctors to the surgery just six doors up the road from Woodberry.  Thank God for that!

We went to Grottsville that evening to switch over the eBay stuff again, dumping a load of stuff that was already listed and collecting another pile to list.  While we were there, I found a notebook I must have started to write detailing all of my kiddie ride sightings in 2003.  From this, I managed to determine that one of the mystery Muffin the Mules in my photograph collection was in Newhaven.  Sadly, this also allowed me to look up the arcade on Google...and discover that it was demolished in 2008.

We also had a nice cottage pie and watched "War Hero In My Family" while we were there.  I missed having basic things like ovens and televisions at Woodberry.

May 3rd 2012

David was totally wasting his last few days with the company car.  He got up at 3pm, then went to Ealing Broadway to post some more parcels and go to the bank.  He didn't even offer me the chance to go with him so I just went out for a boring walk.

I went to the charity shops in South Ealing first - the only thing of interest that I saw was a Beebop in MAPF but I figured I had enough G3 ponies to sell already and left her there.  I desperately needed dry hair shampoo but the Co-Op and Sainsburys only had the "Blush" variety (which made my scalp sore and itchy).  I finished my walk in Lammas Park where I had a go on the gym equipment for the first time.  I was only out for a total of 45 minutes but Mum was still worried when I got back...

We went to McDonalds in the evening for fries and a chocolate fudge brownie McFlurry, promptly undoing any good I'd done on the gym equipment!  It made me feel sick anyway, despite the fact that it tasted nice at the time.  Too rich and chocolatey for my delicate stomach, I think!

I was in a terrible state with my nerves and kept shaking.  Mum was in a terrible state about her knee and rib and finally signed up with the local doctor.  There was a lot of paperwork to fill in so she asked David to do it for her.  She had to declare any former health issues etc. and David called out the list.  She got really highly strung and upset when he asked about miscarriages.  Not sure if I've mentioned this before but, just between you and me, dear readers, I have reason to believe that I should have another sibling about nine years my senior.  Mum remained "friends" (which is what she has always sworn he was) with his or her father, despite the fact that this guy "stopped coming to see her" at around the time I believe this happened.  It was only relatively recently that she found out the "friend" stopped coming when he GOT MARRIED to another woman and moved to Scotland.  Even when she found this out, she continued to hide the fact that she was any more than friends with this guy from David and I, but it was clear from her attitude towards him what had happened.  I wonder if this is half the reason that Mum's so cranky.  She obviously loved this guy (moreso than either mine or my sister's fathers) - I think she dreamed of getting back with him years later, even after she married David and I was born.  But he treated her like dirt with no explanation, with her only finding out about the marriage while doing family history years later...and I believe she lost his child.  I often wonder how far along she was, and if she'd told anyone, even her parents or the father of the child.  It's a shame she doesn't just come clean about it.  David's too stupid to pick up on it but I worked it out years ago.  It obviously damaged her deeply but you can't help anyone to heal if they won't own up to their problems.

Anyway, even having filled in all these forms promptly and upset Mum, the doctor still wouldn't see her until the middle of the following week.  She needed treatment now.

David made me an appointment with a trichologist for the following week too.  My hair was still thinning badly and the dermatologist wasn't going to help.  Trichologists weren't available through the NHS though so just this one appointment would cost £90!

May 4th 2012

Back to the orthodontist.  I was starting to get really disillusioned by it all.  They'd said 12-18 months, it had already been almost 15 months and there was no end in sight.  She didn't even change the wire on the upper teeth and, in fact, changed over to a thinner wire on the lower ones!  She said that the elastics were still working on the upper teeth but the lower teeth were being stubborn.  Anyway, the whole orthodontic thing depresses me so I'll leave it to "Desiree-of-the-Past" to tell you more about that...

My hair was still in a very bad way too.  I hadn't washed it the previous night on Mum's advice but it really didn't make any difference.  My scalp was really sore and my hair was so horribly greasy.  If anything, I think I lost MORE hair when it wasn't washed!

I had some nasty dry skin on my legs at the time and asked Mum for advice on what ointment to put on it.  Of course, instead of helpful advice, I got another tirade of nonsense about how I'd done it to myself by shaving.  "Too much removing hairs, that causes all of your problems!  Who wants to remove body hairs except a weirdo in a strip club anyway?"  Uh...most of the female population in the modern world, mother.  What did she have against me doing the most normal things in the bathroom?  Oh, I know, she kept nagging me in Yorkshire (where I used my best bag which hung on my forearm instead of my shoulder) about my "red and inflamed arm"...caused by the bag on my arm, of course.  It didn't even hurt, it was just a red mark where the handles cut across.  Apparently she had decided this was due to hair removal too.  WTH?

My family were weird in general though.  I'd written a friendly message to my sister and she'd taken offence, telling Mum that she "hadn't intended on having that many kids".  What?  I'd never even mentioned how many children she had!

Somebody listed a Munchy for sale on the MLP Arena, one of my grail ponies.  I wouldn't normally buy such an expensive pony, but she was quite cheap compared to what others were selling for at the time and, with my birthday coming up a week later, I thought I'd treat myself.  I just hoped she was still available!

David and I went for a quick walk in Brent River Park in the evening.  We didn't get very far though because it was bitterly cold and started to rain (not to mention the fact that it was getting dark and a strange homeless man was following us around).  We did get to see some rabbits and what David described as a "Nightmare Bambi Statue" before we came home though!

May 5th 2012

Another wasted saturday.  David seemed to have no intention of doing anything with the car while he still had it.  He spent five hours scanning just one photograph album!  The furthest I went was Osterley Tesco, and even then I didn't get upstairs to look at the clothes.

I spent my afternoon blogging (Ha!  Got me a long way, didn't it?) and trying to tidy up without much success.

Mum's friend Jill went to Wells-Next-The-Sea.  I knew there had once been an amusement arcade there with Edwin Hall rides so Mum mentioned my ride hobby to Jill in passing and asked if the arcade was still there.  Jill was horribly rude, saying how much she despised amusement arcades and how pleased she was to inform us that it had burnt down in 2005.  Charming.  Even if you don't like arcades, that was somebody's family business and livelihood.  One small arcade was hardly ruining the perfect scenery, certainly no more than the burnt, boarded up remains had been for the past seven years!  I think some people just have to be argumentative for the sake of it.

Best wishes,
Desirée  xxx

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Old Kiddie Rides In Yorkshire...And Just Around The Corner?

No rude comments about how much further behind I've fallen, please.  I know it all too well.  To be fair, I've been really busy with real life in the present day.  Perhaps I'll have more time to write over the holidays.

April 26th 2012

It rained all day.  Non-stop.  Oh well, looking on the bright side, this encouraged us to find an indoor attraction to visit to shelter from the bad weather...which meant that I got to see the Scarborough Fair Collection.

The Scarborough Fair Collection is a charming working museum of fairground rides and related items.  Once you've paid your admission fee, the rides are relatively cheap so I got to have two rides on the gallopers and also try the Ark.  I almost wished I hadn't ridden the latter.  The attendant was rather silly and made the ride go far too fast.  Apparently he didn't notice that I was actually slipping off of my horse.  Mind you, the fact that I was laughing hysterically rather than screaming for mercy probably confused him.  As it happened, I managed to stay on the back of my steed - just - so there was no harm done, although I was quite shaken up when I got off!

Mum actually got out of the car and came inside (I think this was the only place she actually did so during our entire trip) and managed to get around quite well.  She enjoyed looking at the old fairground organs.  As it was relatively quiet, I got the chance to have a go at playing one of the organs, as did David (who, annoyingly, played it a lot better than me!)  Mum stood back as if she didn't want to have a go, then got upset that she'd missed her chance.

Anyway, enough chatter.  Here are a small selection of the photographs I took while we were there.

Ugh, excuse the horrible pictures of me there.  At least I'm not quite as big now!  Although, to be fair, I decided to wear thick tights underneath my trousers so that I could change into my dress when we got back into the car.  You know, because it would be indecent to try and climb upon a carousel horse in a dress, but is less indecent to do a subtle striptease in the car!  Anyway, it was most stiff and uncomfortable to try and walk around in tights and trousers, and obviously didn't do any favours for the appearance of my fat thighs either!

We drove down to Scarborough seafront after that.  A severe disappointment as there was not a single old coin operated ride remaining in the arcades there.  I spotted a nice two horse carousel from the car but, try as I might, I couldn't find it when it came to walking around the arcades!  Maybe I imagined it?  Or maybe it was just that David was rushing me and putting me off of going too far along the road because of the heavy rain.  Silly really, as we got soaked anyway.  Walking further couldn't have harmed us any more after our clothes were already drenched!

Still he insisted on driving a little further down the road and parking again so that we didn't have as far to walk to the arcades at the other end of the road.  Due to the rain, we didn't check properly for parking signs so, ever the optimist, David decided to take a risk and park there.  If we had just walked a little further down the road, we would have seen this.

You guessed it - we ended up getting a very expensive parking fine.  David was cross with Mum for not arguing with the traffic warden since she was stuck in the car at the time, but what could she do?  She could hardly move due to her bad knee, and if we were parked illegally, how was she supposed to argue us out of it?

Anyway, so the few photos of modern, ugly rides that I took ended up costing us a lot of money.  My blog readers might as well enjoy them then, right?  Even if they do leave a very bitter taste in my mouth and are of little interest to me personally.

I fell in love with the little horses that decorated this arcade...I wonder who made them?

On top of the parking ticket, another little present awaited us back at the car...

Well, gee thanks, seagull.  I always wanted a little decoration on my window!

So, after such a pleasant trip to Scarborough, we headed on to Bridlington.  That turned out to be equally upsetting.  The rain continued to pour down and make everything look grim.  We couldn't find the Old Penny Museum I had wanted to visit so David rang them up.  "Is that...the museum?" he asked.  (It might have helped if he'd found out WHO he was ringing before he did so!)  Anyway, it turned out that the museum was no longer there and was now a restaurant.  Great.

Having read the Pennies By The Sea book and found out about the history of the arcades, it felt even sadder to see them, especially Joyland (sorry, THE FORUM) and Bay View, in their modernised state.  As for John Ling's arcade where I had happy memories of Edwin Hall rides when I was a child?  Well, there are no rides at all there now.  Just an empty space where they once stood.

(They used to be along that wall alongside the bowling alley - Edwin Hall Dalek, Panda, Muffin, Ostrich, Silver, Bugs Bunny etc.  So sad.)

I took a couple of snaps of the arcades for interest's sake due to reading the book.  But, to be honest, the arcades are unrecognisable even from when I was a kid, let alone from the period the book mostly talked about!

There were next to no rides in Bridlington at all and the arcades were full of heavy security who looked like they'd shoot me if I dared to get a camera out!  So these were the only three ride pictures I took there.

The toys had even fled from this juvenile set as apparently anything remotely kiddie ride-like is now banned from Bridlington!

Well, one good thing came out of our visit anyway.  I went in a charity shop opposite The Forum and found this beauty for 50p.

Not just a Fairy Tails Bird, but one I actually didn't have in my collection.  If that's not an achievement, I don't know what is!

We drove on to Hornsea next.  Gosh, it was as sad as Whitley Bay.  A total ghost town.  What has become of our beautiful seaside resorts?  I used to cry when the old rides of happy days gone by were replaced by modern ones, but it's even sadder to see the arcades closed down and demolished.

Our last stop of the day was Withernsea.  It wasn't quite as bad as Hornsea, but certainly on its way there.  I admit we arrived late and everything was closed for the day but it seemed that most places were closed for more than the day if you know what I mean.  The cafe I remembered with three old rides outside was still there (but shut for the evening).  I looked through the window though and there were no old rides there now.

Only one arcade remained there and the oldest rides there dated from the 90s.

The place was in a bad way...someone had even stolen a horse off of this carousel, it would appear!

And still, poor Mum sat in the car out in the rain.  Mind you, I don't think she'd have been too enthralled with the rubbish David and I had seen that day.

April 27th 2012

Aw, was the week really over already?  Yes, sure enough, it was time to head home.  But not before a few more ride-hunting stops on the way!

Filey seafront was our first destination.  Yes, one final attempt at getting into that funfair.  Alas, our efforts were in vain as the place was still closed!  Oh well, at least I had the sense not to leave without taking a few photographs over the fence.  At the time I was stupidly content with this anyway as I believed the rides no longer worked for filming since their cash boxes had been removed.  Of course it didn't dawn on me that these were probably just taken away when the funfair was unattended to put off potential vandals/thieves.

Poor Mum was still cramped up in the car so I suggested that we went to the RSPB reserve at Bempton Cliffs because I thought she might push herself to have a little walk if there was bird watching involved.  David had other ideas though.  He "hadn't realised you had to pay to get in" so we just sat in the car park and watched some tree sparrows before driving off again.

To soften Mum's disappointment, David drove us to Flamborough Head (without telling us his plans).  What a stupid place to go.  He might have known it would be steep with steps everywhere.  Mum obviously couldn't navigate those so we had to drive away from there without walking round too.

Then back to Mablethorpe.  I'd remembered seeing photos of some 1960s BRH Fibreglass kiddie rides at a market there so we went in search of those.  No luck.  One of the markets was closed and there was nothing at the other.

I was still too scared of being told off to photograph the rides at Jackson's Amusements, but I did snap a Whittaker Brothers' Coco the Clown Train in a small corner shop.

We went back to look at the plush G3.5 My Little Ponies too, but they wanted £12 each for them!  I know it takes a lot of money to win on the crane machines, but even so!  They were only the very small ones.  God knows what they'd have charged for the larger sizes!

As we drove away from Mablethorpe, I remembered this was where kiddie ride manufacturers' Amutec's factory was located.  I'm not sure how we found the place (and we obviously couldn't see much) but it was still a thrill to know that this was where some of my favourite childhood rides were made.

Our next stop was Ingoldmells.  Poor Mum tried to hobble into one of the arcades only to discover that all of the rides were up on the second floor!  She gave up after that and went back to sitting in the car. Gosh, the place was huge, but with Mum in the car, I didn't feel like I could walk around all of it.  I was saddened to see that Fantasy Island was little more than a dirty, smelly market with a few run down rides hanging around between bunches of stalls.  I remember that place being full of life when I was a child.

Well, I took a few snapshots of rides as David and I raced through a few of the arcades and also filmed two nice horse rides for the website.  At the time I believed the "gun horse" to be one I remembered from my childhood at Skegness Pleasure Beach but I now believe it was a more modern version of the same model.

Despite rushing as fast as I could and not getting around any of it properly, we were just over an hour in total and Mum got cold in the car.  Due to the chill, she had to break all her rules and ask to stop at a public loo.  The only one we could find was a horrible-looking open air council bus shelter.  It was surprisingly clean for the circumstances but the seat was wet in my cubicle.  I wiped it off, put a layer of paper across the seat to try and protect myself from germs (yes, a stupid idea passed down from my mum and grandma!), hovered above the seat, peed on the paper "cover" and soaked myself!

Our last stop was Skegness.  I knew I wouldn't have time to walk around, but I still wanted to drive along the seafront and see if I could spot any obvious kiddie ride gems.  And boy, was I glad we did!

One of my childhood favourites, Sammy the Snail, was back outside the Pleasure Beach!  He'd had a makeover but there was no mistaking him.

For many years, I had wondered who had made old Sammy (and other rides of a similar design that came on the same base).  The initials on the footplates were "BRH" so I was none the wiser at the time!  But at least it gave me something to research when I got home.

Sammy was the only ride I had time to photograph, then Mum and I quickly dashed down the pier where we found another of my old ride "friends", RG Mitchell's Humpy the Camel.

Unfortunately, a bloke who worked there wouldn't stop pestering me (I feared he was going to tell me off for taking photos, but I think he was just trying to flirt!  Asking me where I lived and if I drove and would be around later...  I was so naive that I didn't even realise what he was doing until Mum pointed it out that evening!) so I didn't get to take any photos.  He was a bit of a weirdo anyway.  He didn't even know that the Mitchel family were the owners of the pier...a bit odd to not know who pays your wages!

Oh well, I did at least get a film of the ride.  He came back and began pestering me again even before the end of this (you may just hear my mum trying to keep him talking towards the end of it...or maybe not in all the noise of the arcade!) and practically escorted us off of the pier straight afterwards as he followed hot on our heels still desperately asking my name right up to the entrance. >.<

Speaking of RG Mitchell, we drove past their old factory (which isn't actually too far from Skegness seafront) on our way back to the motorway.  It's the Jolly Roger Amusement Rides factory these days, one of the only companies in Britain still producing kiddie rides to this day.

We had an amazingly speedy trip back to London.  David didn't have to stop at services once.  I think he made a desperate effort to get Mum home early enough that she would still eat dinner, but we still didn't get back until gone 8pm which she deemed far too late for a big meal!

April 28th 2012

Back to reality.  The day went on wrapping eBay parcels and then going to Ealing Broadway to post them. The coin operated rides in Ealing had changed again but it was far too crowded to take any photographs.

Ebay had another free listing promotion but I only got around to helping Mum list thirty items as all the postage rates had gone up and needed to be changed.

We picked up a parcel from the post office on the way home.  It was my trade box from MLP Trading Post member NSunshine.  My first G4 ponies!  (Well, apart from the one I'd bought in America the previous year).  She included the MIB set and all the other goodies for free.  I felt bad that I hadn't sent her as much in return.

I researched the mysterious "BRH" who made Sammy the Snail.  Apparently there was a company called BRH Fibreglass based in Skegness in the 1960s.  I couldn't find out much about them but remembered reading an article about a chap called Bill Hussey who made coin operated rides in Skegness at about that time.  Maybe it had something to do with him?

I also discovered an interesting blog written by an Australian collector of Nerf guns.  Apparently she had used the Taobao website to buy some factory reject guns based on guns which had not yet been released.  Hasbro gave her a lot of trouble, even sending somebody to lurk around her apartment and threaten legal action for her photographing these prototype guns for her blog.  It made me wonder about the implications for pony collectors who used that site...

April 29th 2012

Horrible, horrible day of arguments and unnecessary nastiness.

Mum was in a terrible mood.  David took me to Grottsville to drop off some more eBay stuff (to "get it out of her house"), pick up some stuff to list/pack and weigh some other larger items.  Mum was cross when we got back "so quickly".  She wanted us out of the way for longer so that she could wallow in her own misery and anger apparently.

Still I tried to help her out with her eBay listings.  I ended up wishing I hadn't bothered.

I asked, innocently enough, what she wanted me to write in the description for her knitting machine.  This set her off screaming at me for reasons best known to herself.  I'd "written the wrong thing in the description before".  I was "a b*tch and a turd-face who never wanted to help her."  Pardon?  What was I trying to do now?  If I'd written the wrong thing before, it was probably because SHE wasn't being cooperative that day.  The fact was that she didn't want me to help her with her eBay listings, she wanted me to do it all for her...and describe her items accurately when I knew nothing about them!

She then demanded that I walked to the Co-Op in South Ealing with David as she "wanted us out of the way".

Upon our return, we found utter chaos.  The lovely books that I'd spent hours struggling to accurately list on eBay for her earlier that day were in pieces all over the floor...

...and she'd decided to graffiti her angry thoughts all over the walls again!

And there she sat in the middle of the madness, a smug smile on her face saying how she "felt better for doing something having sat there since 5.30am".

I took one look at her and admittedly did something stupid - I hit her over the shoulder with part of one of the torn up books.  Two wrongs never make a right but I couldn't take any more.  She said I never helped her but whenever I DID help her, she just tossed it back in my face.

David, equally angry, threatened to smash a cabinet full of her china ornaments.  She didn't care and said she'd "do it for him", making a beeline for the cabinet.  I grabbed hold of her to stop her and she let out an ear piercing scream, saying that I had "pushed her" and "made her knee worse".

A vile argument ensued that continued for several hours.  I was "a little princess who got everything I wanted by dragging her around Yorkshire".  She "was bored at the Scarborough Fair Museum and had to touch things to look like she liked them".  She "didn't see any birds or family history there" (well, of course she didn't - she couldn't get out of the car due to her knee, nothing to do with me!)  She "wanted a divorce".  David could have however much of her money he liked, the only condition was that he "must take his kid back to Grottsville to DIE of allergies as she never wanted it anyway".  I was "a violent person who had pushed her over" and she "couldn't even use the same bathroom as me because it smelt of body scrubs and other dirty princess things".  WTH?  So I couldn't even use basic cleaning products in the bath without her complaining now?

David offered a compromise and told her to go to Grottsville since she hated Woodberry so much.  She agreed and packed her bag...but didn't follow through with it, of course.  After all, who would get her dinner when she couldn't stand up for long with her bad knee?  She wouldn't have the turd faced b*tch who never helped her there, would she?

David had accidentally bought her cherry Lucozade instead of the Original one.  She took one sip of it and threw it all over the floor for me to clean up.  Lovely.  Who was the one acting like a spoilt princess again?

I just felt so sad and lonely.  I must have cried something about wishing that someone loved me which gave Mum the opportunity to tell me that I should "try being nicer to people and maybe someone would".  Who?  Certainly not her, and I didn't have the opportunity to mix with anyone else.

April 30th 2012

Mum was still in a temper with "the little princess" but, having fallen out with her e-friend Jill again who had pointed out to her how "overdramatic" she was being, she was starting to calm down and talk to me again.  She even helped me to wrap a couple of my eBay parcels.

David took me to Brentford Post Office to ship them at 4pm.  Then we had to go shopping in Morrisons (the only place with a car park around there) and David offended me by joking about "small animals" (bacon).  I try not to be one of those vegetarians who enforce their beliefs on everyone else, so I get even more annoyed when meat eaters feel the need to joke about eating innocent animals.

I had a bit of a shock on the way back when I spotted something familiar outside a little newsagents.

This Robinson Partners Circus Pony ride was there when I was a kid.  But I honestly believed it had been disposed of years previously.  All the long treks to go kiddie ride hunting in Yorkshire and Lancashire and, unbeknownst to me, we had an old ride not more than five minutes' drive away from our front door!

Alas, my camera battery wasn't charged up so I couldn't film him but David promised to bring me back the following day (because, you know, having discovered the pony had been there all those years, it was likely to disappear in the near future - I knew my luck!)

I did some more online ride research that evening and stumbled across the Project Dalek forum which had some interesting information about the Edwin Hall Dalek on it.  I was particularly interested to note from Geoff Biffen's message that my predictions about Hall's relationships with Edward Savill and RG Mitchell seemed to be correct.  I might not have many actual facts on the history of kiddie rides down in writing, but I did seem to be pretty good at piecing it all together in my own mind!

Best wishes,
Desirée  xxx