E21 Planting roots

I must make a correction from the last blog. It was my 7th birthday party and not my 8th.

Everything else in the story is accurate but when you start to remember and take notes for future blogs they don’t all come out in the right order.
Carol has been extremely useful with the timeline so far.

Luckily I have remembered about 95 percent of everything but I have similar questions which are usually along the lines of how old was I when this happened?
When you didn’t speak to Helen for so long what was the outcome and was it resolved?

Having a memory like mine is both a blessing and a curse especially when many people around me over the years have extremely short memories.

I’ve lost count with the number of people I’ve fallen out with over money or people I’ve helped in the past giving me a nice fuck off when I’ve needed something from them.

This used to bother me and I wasted so much emotion hating these people or grinding an axe thinking how they had wronged me.

I’m so lucky that I have over the years saw how destructive this is to your state of mind especially when these people most likely don’t give you a second thought until they need something again.

The way most of these people see it as well it’s 50/50 he may say yes and if not ill move onto the next person.

I could not imagine living like that or having that state of mind.
Having said that I’ve stated many times that I am one of the lucky ones.

I don’t see myself as a victim for all of the fucked up stuff in my life because its that victim mentality which will consume you and stop you from getting ahead.

Even when things were at their worst and seemingly hopeless I was taught right from wrong and taught about the importance of stuff such as paying people back if they were good enough to lend you money.
This way you can always ask them again.

It’s also the same with favours if you’re around the right people and you don’t have a band of toxic friends around you.

This is a lesson I’ve learned the hard way and I hope whoever is reading this is taking stock of the company they keep.
It makes more of a difference than you will ever know.

I had finished in the infant’s school and had now moved to the juniors which was the building next door.
The only difference being when mum dropped me at school it was an extra thirty meters to walk to the new gate.

Woolton Junior school back in the 80s

We started the year and our teacher was Miss Clancy who was an amazing woman and a very talented teacher. I heard that she died about 7 years ago and I was really sad.

She took a genuine interest in all the kids and was very strict but not in a horrible way you could have a laugh and speak freely but if you crossed the line she put you right in your place.

I was one of those naughty kids but nothing groundbreaking but as soon as I got shouted at then I stopped.
Miss Clancy was a lot more evolved than the other teachers she knew that I was being naughty just because I’m a kid and seeing what I can get away with.

She knew it wasn’t personal and ten minutes after she shouted at me or whoever had done something it was all forgotten about.
Miss Clancy had a daughter called Kate who was the same age as me. Woolton school had three classes per year and she was in the other class.

Kate was very quiet but a nice girl who kept herself to herself. She was never in my circle of friends but we knew each other right the way through to high school.
It was hardly a surprise when Kate just like her mum is now a teacher as well.

I have not seen Kate since high school and she is not on my Facebook I know from mutual friends that she’s doing OK and has her own family now.

It should be noted that I didn’t become seriously disruptive until later on in my schooling.
My dyslexia then started to hinder me in my learning around the second year of Junior school.

I will talk about this in a lot more detail in later blogs but basically, there was no help available.
For a while when I was younger I saw an educational specialist called Miss Smith once a week.

She would help with everything from writing, reading, and problem-solving tasks.
This was helping a lot and like many other people with this condition, I had issues with balance as a child.

She helped a lot with coordination and gave me exercises to do all while being a lovely person and making it all fun and manageable.
Typically that all came to a halt because I was cured overnight.

OK, that’s not what happened you guessed right but the government funding for this project stopped and I was put in the class with the rest of the students and expected to get on with it.

Now the thing with dyslexia back then was as follows if you were full-blown dyslexic and could not write your name then it was recognised.
However, this condition takes many forms for example with me my reading was fine and well above a child my age but my writing looked like a five-year-old with learning difficulties.

There is some information below which explains the different types of dyslexia and how it affects the person.


Unfortunately, this was not recognised until many years after I left school but it’s hardly surprising that I acted out the way I did.
Most of the juniors I spent feeling worthless and being told I was stupid by teachers who you wouldn’t leave in charge of a fish tank let alone a class full of kids.

It got to the point in a secondary school in my first year where I just snapped.
No child should have to go through this but it was in a fucked up way a good education.
After that time in juniors (not Miss Clancy’s class), I never let anyone push me around like that.

I fronted many teachers in high school who tried to be bullies and not surprisingly they backed off when they saw I was game and the sheer hatred oozing out of every pour in my body.

I’ve said for years people are like plants. If you have a plant and you water it every day give it the best food and talk nicely and prune off the dead leaves you end up with a beautiful rose bush.

roses in summer

If you keep it in the dark feed it on shit and negativity and pay it no attention then you end up with a withered up dry ugly plant that is dying inside.

plant which has been neglected

The very fact I am writing this now and people are taking note proves I’m one of the lucky ones.

So many children just like me were failed by the system and led very bad lives all because they were not given the help they needed.
I’ve enclosed a link below from Brian Grazer who talks about growing up with dyslexia in the 80s and the challenges he faced.


I would love to say that things have got better since all of this research has become common knowledge but due to a lack of funding, it’s believed that as many as 80 percent of pupils who have this condition are not being diagnosed until it’s too late.

There is more information detailed in the link below and like anything it always comes down to money but what’s the alternative?
If we pay for this then we will have to stop sending foreign aid money to countries that hate us and we can’t have that, can we?


It was around the same time that mum had gone back to college. She needed to get A level equivalent qualifications in the form of an access course which would gain her entry to university.
She had seriously hurt her back this time as well.

This was all connected to her old horse-riding injury and she had to spend 4 weeks in bed in sheer agony.
She joined the course 4 weeks late and somehow managed to catch up with her classmates.

I’ve said to her many times over the years why didn’t you just start the year after but she was adamant that it was now or never.
I can understand her mentality from when I went back to school years later.
I struggled enough with starting on time and don’t think I could have caught up as she did.

It was at Childwall college where she became friends with Nadia Knight. Nadia had a daughter called Lucy who was also in the same class as me at school.
So frequently after school or some evenings, I would be in Nadia’s house with Lucy or she would be in mine as both of our mothers had become friends.

That year we even went around to Nadia’s for Christmas dinner and it was a lovely relaxed atmosphere with plenty of food.
Nadia still lives in the same house and retired a few years ago. She has grandchildren to occupy her and always keeps herself busy so she is very content.

Lucy had two brothers Tim and Sam. Tim was 5 years older than us and I don’t know what he’s doing these days.
I asked Lucy a few years ago and she told me that he’s doing OK.
Sam who is about three years younger than me now has three kids and lives with his partner.

He has a good job working for Jaguar Landrover in Liverpool and we have a lot of mutual friends.
He has had a couple of amateur boxing bouts and has won as well.

Sam after winning his last fight in 2015

I heard recently that one of his kids has been signed to the Liverpool football club’s youth squad so as you can imagine he’s a very proud dad.

Lucy has done very well for herself and still lives near Woolton.
She started a kid’s party company called jumping jacks.
This originally started with incorporating exercise and fun into a kid’s party and it has gone from strength to strength.

The business has slowed down considerably due to COVID19 but I’ve every confidence she will bounce back from this and it will make her stronger.

Lucy and her husband David 2 years ago

She married Dave Campbell who went to school with us who is two years older they now have their own family together and it’s nice to see a couple stand the test of time.

If you are in the northwest of England and have a party or have a request I’ve put a link to the website below and I can tell you that you won’t be disappointed.


It was through Nadia that me and mum were introduced to the people who lived in the Winwood flats close to where Nadia lived.
This was ideal for me growing up as it was close to our house and at present, we didn’t have a car.

So me and mum could walk for 5 minutes and be on School lane.
Mum would be able to see her friend and I could see the other kids of Winwood as well as Lucy and Sam.

This also helped mum a lot when she started work as Linda Lee who lived in Winwood used to take her son Paul to school.
As Carol could not take me due to other commitments Linda would pick me up on the way and we would all walk to school together.

Paul was a good friend to me as A kid and he’s still on my Facebook now.
We chat once in a while but nothing regular.
Unfortunately, Linda died two years ago and it shocked us all.
Granted she was old but it still knocks you for six.

She was always lovely to me as a kid and old or not it’s upsetting. Especially to Paul because like me he was an only child.
I’m not sure what the deal was but I knew his dad wasn’t around so like me and my mum they were especially close.

Linda lee left Paul Lee centre his dad right

There was also Liz and her daughter Sarah who lived in the flats.
They both still live in Woolton and Sarah has three kids herself now and doesn’t live far from her childhood home.

I don’t have much contact with them but when I bump into them in the village I always say hello and stop and chat for a minute.
There were Clem and Tricia who I will talk about in detail in the next blog. They had two kids Ezra and Teddy.

We all used to play in the Winwood gardens together and sometimes venture into Woolton Woods or down to the next group of houses to ride our bikes.
Last was Matty Preece and his mum whose name escapes me but he was part of the gang of kids who used to play together.

Matty was a nice kid but he was always trying to push what he could get away with and always trying to be the top dog.
We were kids and there was no need for that.
We were all play fighting one day and he kept trying to take it to the next level and he went to kick me.

I sidestepped him and kicked him in the nuts. I found out later he had to have an operation as I had somehow damaged him.
It was honestly not my intention and I apologised but he was always trying to be a bully and that day it came back to haunt him.

I lost touch with him for years and then I joined the Army and like most soldiers fell off the face of the earth when it came to staying in touch with many of my civilian friends.

Matty, unfortunately, went down a bad path with drink and drugs and ended up going to jail for a few years.

He was on his way home with a girl he knew over the legal alcohol limit. He also had been up all night taking cocaine and they also found traces of Cannabis in his system.

The police spotted him doing 70 miles an hour and he crashed into a wall with his friend in the passenger seat killing her instantly.
I’ve put a link to the article below and Matty is lucky to be alive.


I saw Matty for the first time a few years ago out in town. he was dressed up and was out with two girls.

They were all over him like he was Tony Montana and he comes over to say hello.
As fucked up as it as I would not turn my back on someone for making a stupid mistake like that but what followed next made me want to get as far away as possible.

Hello Arlo Lad

Hello Matty it has been a while

Yeah I know lad he said smiling

Guess where I’ve been lad

What tonight?

No lad he says smiling I’ve just got out of jail you know

Oh right erm congratulations I guess

This went over his head and he didn’t notice my lack of enthusiasm.
He was on a roll now and he felt he had impressed me so he took it to the next level

Lad, I’ve killed someone you know

Yes mate I read it in the echo

then one of the two girls came to life

Yeah he has you know and he was making pure money at the time working with (John Smith)

That is not his name and he is still active in the criminal world so I won’t disclose it.

Didn’t you kill people in Iraq lad Matty said smiling?

This time he wasn’t so stupid and he picked up on my silence and my thousand-yard stare.

The other girl came to life right on cue

Have you killed someone as well that’s boss that did you meet Matty in Jail?

I couldn’t even hide my contempt for these two girls as well as being bad skip rats they were the type of girls who would stand in the rain outside the Big Brother house to see whos been evicted.

I just scowled at the girl and she shut up quickly once again realising how little I thought of her.

Matty then starts trying to talk all kinds of business with me all in an attempt to be the big man and try to make out he was Tony Montana to these skanks.

I cut him off quickly but tried to be nice about it telling him I hadn’t seen him in years and I’m happy to have a drink with him but I’m not going to talk shop in front of these two girls who I have never met and thankfully have never seen again.

He starts talking to me about John Smith and telling me they were business partners and they were making pure money together.
Me and John go back to way before he was involved in that that world and I just didn’t see it to be honest but went along with it for the time being.

I finished my drink and shook his hand and then disappeared into the night with my friend who was watching this all unfold.

My friend, who ill not name shook his head and said to me are you seriously mates with him?
I couldn’t defend myself and just said it how it was he wasn’t always like that mate believe me.

The next day by sheer coincidence I ran into John Smith in Huyton and ended up going for a coffee with him.
I told him I ran into Matty and what he said and John answered

Are you fucking messing Arlo he said that?

Mate word for word

Is fucking messing or what

Mate, I’m in the dark here whats happened

There is no fucking way he was ever my partner

Ok then what was he doing

Lad, he was a driver at the most and he did some running around for me. I fucked him off though cos he’s a little snake.

Looks like you made the right choice mate I hadn’t seen him for years and he’s telling me your business in the middle of town.

John was fuming at this and he was being very quiet. When John goes quiet its never a good sign so I had to get him out of his mindset before he snapped.

I tried my best to defuse the situation and said to him mate we get put in these situations to see what people are like if you hadn’t of fell out he could have got you nicked down the road.

John nodded and agreed and he left the coffee shop about thirty minutes later before we said our goodbyes.
I speak to John once in a while on Facebook and he’s still about and in the world, unfortunately.

I just see him as my mate who helped me out numerous times when he never had to and for me, that’s a hard bond to break.
We first met years earlier in the same gym then we both worked in the same nightclubs together doing security.

He may be from the wrong side of the tracks but let me tell you there is no better person to have stood next to you when you’re in the middle of a pitched battle and yes I’m speaking from experience.

This will all be addressed in later blogs the only thing which will be changed is the names a bit like Johns.
I haven’t seen or spoken to Matty since that night but I hope he’s away from that world.

Matty means well and he deep down isn’t a bad person just very misguided. It’s also possible that John isn’t the only person he’s upset from that world.

It is not exactly a secret that the profession can be very unforgiving.
If you’re wondering why I don’t think he’s a bad person after all that it’s because as an ex cocaine addict I know how that drug can get a grip on you.

He’s not the same lad I used to play with on my bike with the only difference between me and him is I hit rock bottom quicker and luckily got clean.
Let’s hope that girl’s death was his rock bottom and next time I see him he’s got a real job and surrounded by nice people.

So everything was going a little too well and obviously, we can’t have that and a massive spanner was about to come into the works and it was from a place that none of us were expecting it from.

Published by aab01uk

A traveler trying to find his place in the world. Trying my hand at most things and making a new life for myself outside of the UK while enjoying the journey along the way. A very diverse path but always entertaining as the saying goes the truth is stranger than fiction. I've experienced some serious highs and lows and even hit rock bottom multiple times. This is my long diverse journey which will make you laugh and hopefully teach you some life lessons along the way.

2 thoughts on “E21 Planting roots

  1. Love reading anything you write! We will have to catch up when you’re back in Liverpool. I used to love your terrapins! Ha ha!


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