E28 A trip to Scotland and a surprise exit

We were set to get a new teacher but before that, the class went home for the Easter break half term.


If I remember rightly we got 2 weeks of vacation time and I had received a call from dad.
He wanted to take me up to Scotland for a family holiday and to get out of the city for a while.


I had never been there and to top it off it would be a good getaway and I would get to spend quality time with dad.
I was to find out it was a family break and Sandy was going as well. She was bringing Rheanna who I have spoken about in an earlier blog.


This was Sandy’s niece and Tracey’s daughter. My granddad Jack was always there as was my uncle, George.
I found out George had been living up there for about a year and we would be staying in his place which was out of the city and close to the highlands.


This would be the last time I would see my uncle, George. He is still alive and doing ok from what I’ve heard but all of my dad’s brothers seemed to fall out with each other at some point.
Then some would be talking to others and not the other brothers and there was a lot of bad blood.


I’ve been in similar situations like this as no matter who is right nothing is ever resolved.


You have to remember as well this was the 80s and men were not exactly known to talk about their feelings especially back in those ancient times.
Things have not changed much in that department either which is sad.


The world seemed to be a much bigger place back then due to the fact there were no mobile phones nor was their internet. So George moving away and everyone falling out with each other was a lot easier back then.


Granted you can still block people on Facebook and disconnect from them but it’s much easier to get back in touch or get a message to them through a mutual friend.
All George would have to do is change his landline number or better yet just don’t answer the phone.


I’ve heard so many stories from the 70s and 80s where a man would leave his wife and move 10 miles away and start a whole new life.
They would bump into each other 10 years later and have no idea they were so close the entire time.


Good luck with that with the invention of smartphones and social media in today’s world but as I’ve mentioned numerous times the world we live in now is very different.


I should also stress that I’m not taking a side about what happened and I don’t know exactly why everyone fell out. There was been many stories told and everyone feels like the wronged party.


Luckily I keep myself out of all this as I have enough of my own problems.
I’ve no idea what George is doing or where he’s living now all I know is he’s still alive.

When I was in Kosovo and was in the newspapers he got my address presumably from my dad and he sent me a letter asking if I was ok and told me if I needed anything to let him know.

The author left in the Liverpool Echo


I was happy to hear from him as at the time it had been ten years. On top of that if you ask any soldier who is away on deployment getting mail is the best thing ever and great for morale.

Kosovo music video


So I wrote him a letter back telling him what I was doing and I was ok and a brief overview of the past 10 years.
Unfortunately, he never responded and that seemed to be the end of that correspondence.


Having said that stranger things have happened and maybe he will read this and make contact. It would be nice to make contact again as tomorrow is promised to nobody.


This would also be the last time I would spend with my grandad Jack. When I was a baby we had a good relationship and had spent a lot of time at his house playing with his dogs and he and Betty my other grandma were always good to me.


When Carol and John broke up the relationship with my dad’s side of the family dwindled.
I’ve spoken about this in detail in earlier blogs so no need to repeat it now.


I had no relationship with any of them which unfortunately has carried on until now.
Luckily because of Facebook we still chat but without this, we probably would have never spoken again.


So I didn’t know that this would be the last time we would have any time together and when your a kid you think you have nothing but time.
It’s only when you get older you start to realise you have a limited amount of days on this earth which is another reason I do my best not to get involved in bullshit.


You think about these things a lot more as a soldier and when you write your own will at 19 then this opens your eyes to how unforgiving the world is.
I remember about a year after the trip my dad came to pick me up and I asked him if we could go to the cinema and right away he told me no.


When I asked why he told me I had to go and see Jack.
We drove up to Skem and I found out on the way up there that he had cancer and had got it not long after the Scotland trip.


I wish I knew this but the family was estranged firstly and secondly, men didn’t talk to each other the same back then like mentioned earlier.
It would have been nice to have spent more time with Jack but everyone is the same when it comes to dealing with death.


They don’t believe that it’s happening until it’s close to the end.
I think denial is a part of the grieving process. Nobody wants to say my dad is dying so they go on about their lives as normal convincing themselves that it will change.

Unfortunately, Jack had drunk heavily for years and also smoked like a chimney so it didn’t take long for cancer to take him and within a year he was gone.

Jack Bailey as a young man


I went to Jack’s house with dad and spent the day with him.
He was on some serious pain killers and was putting a brave face on things.


It’s difficult at the best of times to hold a conversation with someone who is sick but when you know that’s the last time you’re going to see them then it becomes a case of trying to act normal but not forgetting to say or ask everything you want to know.


We left him after a nice day together and we found out he died a few days later.
As shit, as it is to lose a family member at least we got the day to hang out one last time like things were normal.

This is what people want when they are dying they want everyone to treat them the same and then they can reminisce about when the time was just an illusion to them and their biggest worry was what they were going to wear on a night out.


The week in Scotland went by very quickly and we all had a great time. I did not take into account how cold it was there but George’s house was so warm.
We had some nice days out and in the night watched movies before it was time to drive and go back to school.


School holidays always fly by especially when you’re younger and going back to school was never welcomed after so much rest and recuperation.
This was also when school started to become problematic to me due to my dyslexia.


It didn’t help with some of the horrendous teachers I had over the years as well. Many of them didn’t care about education or development they just wanted the paycheck and the pension and to try and throw their weight around with children which said a lot about what made them tick.


The teacher we got Mr. Moore was no exception to this but this guy was one step beyond all of this.
I don’t know the exact story behind this but I know he had to resign from another school under a black cloud.


I think it must have been a case of if you don’t resign we will fire you or investigate you.
So he came to our school and was under the microscope but still allowed to be around children which baffles me even by 1980s child protection standards.


He was an old guy about 60 but like many men of his generation, he looked his age.
Back in the 60s 70s and 80s, the only people who trained regularly were athletes and boxers. Now so many more people take care of themselves but back then this was an alien concept.


The men would spend their nights in the pub and the woman would be at home taking care of the children and doing the housework.


I’m so glad this has changed but that’s how it was for years.
So he looked his age and he always smelt of tobacco or mints which in hindsight would be to try and mask the smell of tobacco.


He was a real old school teacher with little regard for any of us kids and any chance he got he would stand in front of the class and shout at us for really serious things such as talking to each other or coming in from the playground noisily.


He also had a very unhealthy interest in our classmate Luan Howitt.
Luan was my buddy and me and he was close through school.


I haven’t seen him for years as people drift apart when they leave secondary school.
He was on my Facebook for a while but then he came off it so who knows what he’s doing but wherever he is I wish him well.


He lived around the corner from me in Woolton so we would always be playing in each other’s houses.


His mum Janet was a French teacher at Gateacre comp as well so we had a good healthy relationship for many years.
So Luan become the class golden boy and we would ask Mr. Moore a question and he would just rant or shout at us for being stupid.


Once in a while, you would look up and see him looking longingly at Luan.
Then he would go over and start talking to him and since we were all sat in silence everyone’s attention is to where the noise is coming from.


He would be stood over his desk chatting to him for a good ten minutes and if he saw any of us watching he would start ranting get back to work right now and then continue talking.


Obviously, as kids, we didn’t realise how inappropriate this behaviour was and it was to only get worse. A couple of times he would come in with a toy car or something along those lines and give it to Luan.


Oh, I was just out and saw this and thought you would like it.
Luan was just a kid and like all kids just thought wow what a nice guy and was happy to be getting attention from an adult.


Things with Mr. Moore and the class got worse he would give us work to do with little explanation.
On top of that due to my dyslexia, my handwriting was awful and he told me at every opportunity how hopeless I was.


It wasn’t just me who got this treatment there were many others as well we were just made to feel like the stupid kids.
This continued and I started to dread going to school as every day there was something else that would piss him off and I wasn’t learning anything.


Granted education has changed a lot in the past 30 years but it still baffles me how people thought standing in front of a class shouting at kids then getting them to copy off the board is the best way to learn.


So I remember this one morning going into class and I didn’t have a pencil and asked Mr. Moore could I borrow one he then goes into a full meltdown calling me hopeless and shouting at me for a full five minutes.


Maybe he thought I was trying to steal Luan away from him god only knows what was going on in his mind.


I know this sounds so naive now and clearly, I didn’t realise this was inappropriate but I remember thinking wow if only Mr. Moore liked all of us the same way he like Luan things would be OK at school.


Read into this what you want but I think he loved children but not in a healthy way and Luan was the top of his list.
The morning was spent as usual with me copying off the board and trying to figure out something with no help.


If any of us talked to each other we would be screamed at so I remember being so happy to hear the lunch bell.
The afternoon came and we came back into class to find lots of big drawing paper on the desk and we were doing an art class.


I can’t remember the project but I remember I thought I will need a big ruler to do this and like an idiot, I asked Mr. Moore.
This meltdown was even worse than the morning one and I was tired of this and so fucking angry.


About 3 minutes into the meltdown I launched all of the paper on my desk onto the floor and he screamed at me to go and see Mr. Owen the headmaster.


I was scared to get into more trouble so I decided to just walk around the school for as long as I can then go back in about an hour and tell Mr. Moore I had been seen by the headmaster.


My timing was horrible and Mr. Owen caught me doing this and asked me why I was walking around out of class.
I told him why I had been sent out and Mr. Owen didn’t know any of the background information so I ended up getting a huge bollocking and sent back to class.


I got back to class just as the art lesson was finished and then we continued to copy out of books which was a welcome change from copying off the board.
I went home that night in the worst possible mood and mum asked me why I was so unhappy and I told her everything.


She was appalled and disgusted. Granted she didn’t know any of the stuff which was happening with Luan but the treatment I was getting alone made her angry.
There was no education about grooming back in the 80s so that’s why I didn’t tell mum about Luan and what was happening in full view of the class.


It was only years later when you think back and say wow that’s not OK what a scumbag that teacher was and how this would not be allowed to happen in modern times.


Mum went up to the school the next day furious and was taking no prisoners with Mr. Owen the headmaster.


Now I don’t know the exact parameters of what had happened in the past but I think there must have been some serious dirt on Mr. Moore.
There would normally be an investigation and many steps before a teacher was fired but they fired him very quickly.


I also imagine by the way he was acting that many parents complained. The only person he was nice to in the class was Luan.
He never shouted at the girls but girls are usually a lot better behaved than boys.


So I didn’t know all of this had happened as a kid but I remember going to school the next day and just before the lunch bell rang Mr. Owen he the headmaster came to our class and told Mr. Moore to come and see him at lunchtime and it was urgent.


None of us knew Mr. Moore had been fired and the next period was like no other.
It was not a free for all but all of the kids were chatting amongst ourselves but nothing was happening.


Normally within a few seconds, we were being screamed at but our teacher was just stood there defeated like his life was over.
We went on afternoon break and came back to class with two hours to go before the end of school then everything became clear.


We filed back into class and Mr. Moore explained everything to Luan.
He told Luan he was so sorry but he couldn’t come back to teach him anymore.
Luan was just as confused as the rest of us as none of us had any idea what a paedophile was or this was not OK.


So Mr. Moore then became emotional he was stood wiping tears from his eyes telling Luan he was going to miss him and that he was devastated that he wouldn’t see him again.


Luan at this point was a little uncomfortable but wanted this moment to end like the rest of the class.
Mr. Moore told Luan he was sorry and if he knew he was leaving today he would have bought him a present so he could always remember him.


Mr. Moore reached in his pocket and handed over all of his change which was about 7 quid.
Oh, thank you said Luan confused and Mr. Moore told him to buy himself something nice.

Mr. Moore then nodded at all of us and the tears were free-flowing now and he walked out of the classroom leaving us all unattended.
He had to walk out of the front gate and he kept looking back with tears in his eyes and the two-minute walk took him about ten minutes.


Maybe in his fantasy, Luan would come running out and they would have a tearful goodbye and a long lingering kiss like at the end of the movie the bodyguard. See the video below.

Unfortunately for Mr. Moore Luan was 10 and had no idea what was going on so he left the school never to return.


We still had two hours until the end of school and we all just started talking and having fun.


We were not happy nor sad we didn’t understand what just happened until years later.
After about an hour of getting louder and louder, Miss Brookfield walking past came into class asking us why we were so loud.

She quickly saw we had no teacher and figured out what had happened. She had her own class to attend to so told us to keep it down.
She told Mr. Owen but an hour to go we were just left to chill out most probably as there were no spare teachers to supervise us.


We went home as normal and only learned the next day that Mr. Moore was gone.
Miss Brookfield again picked up the mantle and we had a new teacher coming in the next few days.

The school was still fucking awful but at least Miss Brookfield cared and she did her best for us probably without thanks or any extra pay.
It’s not even about money but the number of extra work teachers is expected to do without any thanks is shocking.


It would be at least thirty years before I found that out for myself.
things were very uncertain but we were all interested in who would replace Mr. Moore.


Granted we didn’t get another sexual predator but who we got was only marginally better. Until then it was nice to be back under the care of Miss Brookfield.

E27 Mr Hughes, Ex boyfriends and a very merry Christmas

The school year continued the rest of the pupils and I were all high on life due to our 2 victories.
If you remember from last week we had secured a classroom and we had also got rid of Miss Jacob.


I’ve no idea what happened to her but she has to be dead by now she was 60 back then in the 80s.


We were also blown away by the invention of heat. All of us could come to school and actually be warm instead of shivering past ourselves in a 1960s style portakabin without even a Calor gas fire to keep us warm.

calor gas heater 80s


I didn’t include in the last blog as well being sat there clueless on what to do regarding our schoolwork we were not allowed to wear our coats and we were all sat in short trousers shivering.


the school policy was the pupils had to wear short pants in all weathers until they got to secondary school which was when you turn 11.


This was a ridiculous rule and they still wouldn’t reverse it. They came to a compromise that we could wear tracksuit bottoms at break time and at lunchtime but short pants were here to stay.


In the 4th year of juniors, we had a new kid join us called Dave Cleary. He was tall and skinny and came to school with long pants on.
He told the headmaster that he could not find any short pants to fit and nobody challenged it.

Dave Cleary 4 years ago

Within a week most of us had done the same so they were forced to change the ruling to suit everyone which was a huge win especially in winter when we were forced to play outside in sub-zero temperatures.


I remember telling this story to my mum’s ex Gordon and he laughed and told me he was in short pants until he was 14.


I haven’t seen Dave for years but we are in touch via Facebook and we briefly shared the same Thai Boxing coach but at different times.
He’s doing ok and still lives in Liverpool.


So the new teacher came in Mr. Hughes and he looked like a cartoon character.
He had the tweed jacket with elbow pads and spiky blonde hair thick. he was about 40 and the lessons mainly were him stood at the front of the class talking at us.


We were allowed to talk and no matter what you did wrong from fighting with your mates to not paying attention the punishment was always the same which was one house point off.
The house point system was a little weird and ill explain it. There were four colours


Roscoe was red (my team)
Norris was blue
Salisbury was yellow
Green was green


Everyone in the class was given a team and everyone wanted their team to win.
We didn’t actually win anything and the points never carried over we would just be told in assembly, oh this team won.


For some reason, all the kids really got into this and it would usually be Roscoe or Norris that won.
It’s bizarre that we didn’t get fed up with this but yeah I can understand why the teachers used it.


So we would be chatting and laughing when we should be working
ARLO STOP SHOUTING ONE HOUSE POINT OFF
STOP HITTING EACH OTHER ONE HOUSE POINT OFF
WHY ARE YOU EATING IN CLASS ONE HOUSE POINT OFF


you get the idea and it got really dull quickly but not as boring as PE.
We would get out the judo mats and spend most of the class doing forward rolls.
Even as kids this got boring quickly and we called Mr. Hughes out on this.


It was clear he was making it up as he went along so one day he got us to do dance moves.
All of us were as crude as possible all doing stuff like the ravishing Rick Rude dance shown below and to us, it was the funniest thing in the world.


It was like he was oblivious to our piss-taking and kept telling us well done. The more he wasn’t wise to this the funnier it was.


Even when I lay on the matt and starting humping the floor everyone was screaming laughing but I honestly think Mr. Hughes had never had sex as his eyes were just blank and just thought we were having fun with his lesson.


As quickly as Mr. Hughes came he left and we were to get a new teacher in about a week and yes it was going to be another supply teacher.
This teacher was in controversy and was forced to leave his other school. quite quickly.


Bear in mind this was the 80s so it was simply a case of moving him to another school and hoping the mess went away.


In modern times he would be removed from children and any access to them immediately but unfortunately, this would not kick in for a few more years as it takes a child to get hurt to actually implement any changes.


I will talk about this teacher in detail in the next blog and explain everything in full.
I can’t stress enough that none of us were harmed by this dirty bastard but it would have been on the cards and his behaviour was very questionable at best.


Back at home life went on my mum started dating another guy called Graham who I suppose was a decent guy.
He was always good to me but he looked like a Kmart Tom Selleck.
Unlike Tom, he never went to the gym but sported the moustache and had dark hair.

Tom Selleck 1987


It was going well with him and mum when it suddenly came to a halt.
He decided that he was moving to London as he wanted to get a much higher paying job than he had.


I think in hindsight that he realised going out with someone with a kid is a big commitment long term.


There were no bad feelings but they went their separate ways.
He was always alright with me and nice enough and I would see him a fair bit over the next few years.


He had a lot of links to Liverpool and had many mutual friends with mum so from time to time he would be in a mutual friend’s house and to be fair he and mum were civil and he always took an interest in what I was doing.


In hindsight, mum had a lucky escape which we found out a few years later.
A good friend of my mum who we will just call Paul as I want to protect his identity became good friends with Graham.


They spent a lot of time in each other’s company and Graham became close to Paul’s girlfriend as well because they all spent so much time together.
They were close for many years and there was a point when they were all supposed to go on holiday.


At the last minute for personal reasons, Paul couldn’t go on holiday and it looks like their plans were ruined.
Paul like an idiot insisted that Graham and his girl both still go and have a good time and even took them to the airport and waved them off.


Then the inevitable happened Paul’s girlfriend and Graham ended up sleeping together. They came back from Spain as an item and as expected their friendship was over.
The romance didn’t last but the damage was done and even more so to Graham’s reputation.


Paul and he also had many mutual friends and most people took Paul’s side so he went back to London under a cloud.


As much as I hate to say it if your willing to do that with your best mate’s long-term girlfriend then your really not a good person and I especially don’t want you seeing my mum.


I saw Graham about 15 years ago in my mate’s flat. We had all been to Garlands nightclub and went back to Rick’s flat.
Ricks flat will be spoken about in detail in later blogs but it was the ultimate after-party place.


It was like the house in fight club but the place was always booming with DJs, ravers, gangsters, drug dealers, dancers, strippers and always a shit ton of randoms who ended up back there.

Fight club house
Rick in Ibiza three years ago outside his bar


People compared Rick’s place to the Hacienda nightclub in Manchester which has long gone but still has legendary status.


That like Ricks place everyone had a story to tell about the place which was always hilarious and involved drugs and alcohol.
So I hadn’t seen Graham for years and it was nice to see him. He was easily the oldest there but he was not out of place.


This was not his first rodeo and we ended up partying for about 2 days which was normal.
He even gave me a lift home and I was sorry to see him go. He was heading back to London the next day and had just come up for the weekend to party.


This was way before the days of Facebook and I haven’t seen him since that night.
I know he is still about as we have too many mutual friends and if something had happened I would have heard about it.


Whatever he’s up to I wish him well. Just because I don’t want him dating my mum doesn’t mean I have any ill-feeling towards him in fact he’s fucking hilarious and we had the best night together.


So Then I ended up having my 9th birthday in November and not long after it was Christmas.
As usual, I got spoilt at Christmas and mum got me this wildcat bike that I had wanted for a while.


It has a box on the top of the handlebars like you can see in the picture and when you pushed the buttons it made different types of siren noises.
Now, this does not sound like much but you have to understand this was all pre-internet so children would spend so much time outside even in Winter.

best bike ever for a kid
The author aged 9


We only had a couple of hours of children’s TV midweek and on Saturday morning so we would be out in the street or in the woods on our bikes.
Don’t get me wrong I couldn’t live without the internet but I’m really thankful that I was born before it so I understand what life was like back then.


The world did move a lot slower but it still moved and we were much happier as kids than kids are today. There have been so many positive changes for children but also a lot of negativity as well.


I really don’t understand cyber bullying for example. I’m not saying it’s not a real thing but why doesn’t the child in question just block the people talking shit or simply come off the internet?


I know kids can be really cruel but if other people’s words hurt people so much then maybe the internet isn’t for them?
The week before Christmas and the week before I got my wildcat bike we had another big surprise.


My grandmother Helen had decided that she wanted to talk to mum again so had decided to forgive Carol for all of the negativity she had created.
If this confuses you then go back to past blogs and it will be explained in more detail.


Mum obviously wanted to patch things up with grandma and to top it off she could see that I had no relationship with her.
At the drop of a hat, Helen would turn on the crocodile tears or start being really hurtful to mum all to score points and make herself feel better.


It was all really damaging stuff that revolved around her own self-hatred but that didn’t make things easier for Carol who was the whipping boy for years for her sadistic mother.


So we had been invited to have Christmas dinner with them all at Helen’s house.
So there would be Helen, Alf (he married Helen after my granddad Tom died), auntie Dot, me and mum.


We were supposed to get there at 2 pm for dinner and I was really excited as I hadn’t seen Nan for over a year.


It should be made clear that mum never stopped me from seeing her but Nan honestly didn’t want to know me she was much happier sat feeling sorry for herself or giving Alf a hard time


She did love him in her own way but she had a really dark past which I’ve spoken about in earlier blogs and she was never given the treatment she so badly needed and as she got older she became more bitter and twisted.


Mum rang up to tell her that we were going to be 15 minutes late as we had to give a friend a ride home and to hold the dinner.
Helen happily said no problem and we thought all was well.


Unfortunately, Carol didn’t bank on how twisted her mum could be and we got their bang on two fifteen and everyone had finished eating ages ago.


They must have actually eaten at half-past one as the table was clean and everything was put away by the time we had got there. We were made to feel about as welcome as AIDS.
This was then twisted around back to mum with Helen feigning tears saying I thought you would be very late and I didn’t know what to do oh I’ve ruined Christmas.


Then right on cue the crocodile tears we had been in their house about ten minutes. Auntie Dot stepped in calling Carol all kinds of names.
This is the same Auntie Dot who rang mum kicking off after she had left dad telling her she should sell her furniture so Nan didn’t have to break into her savings for a week.


Mum bit the bullet for my sake and we ended up eating dinner alone on the table while everyone sat with their backs to us watching TV with Helen all pleased with herself.
Helen was then obviously twisted as she was expecting more of a kickoff and she was plotting what else she could do for a reaction.

What kind of mother would think of this and especially after not seeing their own daughter or grandson for over a year?
Then Helen got her to wish and it was for her the best Christmas ever.
My dad John had rung her house to speak to me on Christmas day like most fathers would do.


Unfortunately, these were the days before mobile phones so talking to Helen was unavoidable today.
Now as told in earlier blogs John was no angel but in this instance, I’m on his side.
He asks to speak to me and right away she starts shouting down the phone at him.


She’s calling him all sorts saying he’s a bad father and a horrible husband and telling him that I don’t want to talk to him.
John was a hothead at the best of times and he went ballistic as all he wanted to do was speak to his boy.


I’ve no idea what he said but Helen came off the phone in floods of tears as she first wanted to be the centre of attention and secondly cause more drama.
She got it in her head that John was coming down to smash the place up which caused more panic amongst the group.


He probably did say this but come on who would go to a house and beat up a house full of old people but she was grandstanding and it was having the desired effect.


Alf her husband grabbed a hammer and he was the first to turn on mum telling her she was bringing trouble to his door and it was all her fault.


The gloves were if and there was no way Christmas could be saved and she put him right in his place.
Oh is it your door Alf I could have sworn my dad paid for it while you were best mates at the post office.


How long was it after he died when you moved in on his wife then Alf 4 months or was it 5 months.
Checkmate Alf dropped the hammer and felt like he deflated right there and then.


Mum told me she felt bad for that but she had been biting her tongue with bullshit all day and she had passed the point of no return.
It should be noted Alf was a lovely guy he was just caught up in the moment that Helen had created.


He was a former regimental sergeant major in the Royal core of signals and had seen action in WW2.
Even though Tom my granddad had died before we had met he happily stepped in and took over his role and he was good to me.


Today was different and he may have been beaten but Auntie Dot had plenty to say and none of it positive.
After another 5 minutes of pure abuse, mum and I left and went home.
Give mum her due she put on a brave face and handled it a lot better than I would.


I think it was about 2 years before I saw Helen again and it was the Christmas miracle she was wishing for.


We were full from dinner at nans but we got a lot of snacks and went and watched TV in the living room and as it was Christmas there were plenty of cool movies and we made the best out of a horrible day.


It gives me no pleasure to talk about Helen in this way but these are the facts unfortunately and I really hope she’s at peace now.

E26 Second year of Juniors

The summer holidays were over and it was time to go back to school and start the second year of juniors.
All was well in my world but I never realised how bad this year is going to get for many reasons.


The many reasons were failings from the education system and even back then without the constant cutbacks, it was still a broken system with many children being failed.


Education has evolved a lot since then and other things are considered when teaching children and adults.


For example, some people are visual learners and they absorb information from watching a video on YouTube or taking pictures of things.
This is the category I fall into and throughout my degree, I took pictures of everything and taught myself so much through YouTube.

different styles of learning


I could write about three episodes of this blog on learning styles alone but the link below will explain in a lot more detail how people absorb and retain information.

https://www.inspireeducation.net.au/blog/the-seven-learning-styles/


However back when I went to school the teacher stood in front of the class and wrote on the board and if you didn’t understand or had a condition such as dyslexia you were made to feel stupid for not understanding.


Don’t get me wrong there are some amazing teachers who make a difference in people’s lives for example my English teacher in college Sian Hartley.

She showed me that my dyslexia was not an issue and that I was capable of great things.


As I had such negative experiences in school for many years I had wanted to go back and get qualifications for years but my fears and resentments of the old system had held me back.

Sian Hartley


I was right to have these resentments and I was wronged by the system but in hindsight, many of these teachers never gave me a second thought while condemning me in the classroom. Some of these even did it with a big smile on their face.


It’s safe to say as well a lot of these teachers who were out and out bullies and nasty cunts to kids were failed people.
They couldn’t make it in the real world and back then they were not monitored or assessed nearly as much in the educational system.


A lot has changed in this field but a lot has stayed the same. My pal Chris Ryan (not the author) told me there has been a lot of improvements but unfortunately, it still attracted the wrong people.


He told me a story of a woman who he works with who became a teacher purely because she supports Liverpool football club.


When he asked her how does that have any relevance to her job choice she told him well I want a job with lots of holidays that finishes early enough so I can go to the match.


Then when asked she admitted that she really doesn’t care about the kids it was all to suit her schedule.

Chris Ryan


As messed up as that sounds I don’t doubt it for a second. Since myself becoming a teacher and working in Vietnam some of the people I’ve seen who have had more degrees than a compass claiming to be teachers were questionable at best.


In a similar fashion though I’ve also come across some amazing teachers here however they are few and far between.
Sian Hartley retired a few years ago from the college where we met and is loving life spending time with her grandchildren.


When she left a few years ago she spoke to me about a lot of the problems she faced which should not be problems.


Every day her hands would be tied until she said enough is enough and walked away.
We still speak a little on Facebook and I’m glad she has not taken that bad energy back into the real world.


It’s unfortunate as the world needs more teachers like her. Most of the good ones go on to better things and you can’t blame them.
I would find out as would many students is everyone in Woolton CP school would have a bad year.

There were 4 years of juniors so one of those years would be bad for you.
For us, our bad year was the second year. This was because there was a shortage of teachers.


The school was juggling its many students and as a result of this as people were not being replaced then that’s why at some point everyone would have a horrible teaching year.


Nothing was ever done about this as we were much better off than many schools and in some of the poorer areas, the problem was ten times worse.
It turns out when you are in an area full of white middle-class people then you get a lot more resources than the more in need areas.


This is a lot to do with different councils and how they spend their money but more really should be done to fix this.


It was strange for me to come from Toxteth which had a lot of poverty, unemployment, and crime to Aigburth which still had more of the same but a lot more people who were blue-collar workers and many had their own businesses to Woolton were many of the parents were absolutely minted.


Not all the kids were rich but it was a far cry from what I was used to and when I went to people’s houses and saw how they lived I was blown away.
A lot of my friends lived around Hunts Cross Avenue and surrounding areas and even back then it was a nice place to live.


If you were to buy a house in that area now you won’t get much change from five hundred grand.
To them, it was all normal as they didn’t know any other way of life but to me was a different world.


It was also a real wake-up call as if I had stayed in Toxteth I wouldn’t know normal people lived like this and would have thought that my path and my environment was what everyone went through.


It was a huge struggle for my mum to compete with this but she somehow managed it.


My new friends would all be dressed from head to toe in the best clothing and Christmas must have been a nightmare for mum.
She wasn’t stupid nor was she blind and she went above and beyond to make sure I had what I needed.


Obviously, some years were better than others but I never went without anything.
I also feel I had much more than these other kids as for the most part they didn’t know how the real world worked.


They could go on and learn later on in life but their programming came from a secure middle-class platform that really does not show you the reality of poverty and inner-city life.


Now with the internet, it’s much easier to get this information but back then there was a lot more ignorance of real-world problems and a lot of them have not ventured far from where they have grown up.


I’m convinced that my moving when I was younger and going into the Army and travelling really broadened my horizons.
I’m still on good terms with everyone I went to school with but many of them never left that group of friends and to me that’s heartbreaking.


One of the lads had a birthday last year and put a picture up on Facebook of them all together in a Chinese restaurant in Woolton Village.
There were 11 people in the photo and I knew 10 of them. None of them had ventured out of their comfort zone.


Since leaving school I’ve got multiple groups of friends from all over the place.
Granted I don’t see them as much as I would like but I know I can call on them if needed and they would be there in a heartbeat.


Now, that’s a much stronger bond than drinking in Woolton together and buying cocaine at the weekend.


One of my closest mates Matt Edwell I met by accident in a bar in Thailand and he and I became very close. He’s back in London and I’m in Vietnam but we still speak to each other a lot.


If I hadn’t had the experiences I have had and stayed in the same bubble the chances are I would have never been in Thailand or if I was I would never have spoken to him.
I’m a firm believer of everything happens for a reason.

The author left Beeing centre Matt Edwell right

The author left and Matt Edwell right


One thing I did learn when you have friends who are all loaded is you learn to shop around. Many of my friends were being bought clothes from a department store called Wade Smith.


This was a great shop in its day but it was way overpriced and you could get all of the exact same stuff in St Johns Market about 25 percent cheaper.
Not only that you could always do a deal with them the Pakistanis and Indians are used to this and it would make the trip all the more fun.


To this day ill try and get the best price for everything and my mum taught me this well.
Growing up with no money you do have to be very creative but I never got any shit for my clothes and always looked good.


Many other kids were not so fortunate and kids could be cruel bastards at the best of times.
Wade smith closed down a few years later and apparently in its last year was operating at a huge loss.


There was way too many staff who for the most part did fuck all and I think the owner probably came in one day a month as he just got complacent to counting his money.


I remember going in there on leave from the army in 1997 and I was stood at the checkout with 1000 pounds worth of clothes.


Believe me when I say 1000 pounds got you a lot more clothes than it does now even at Wade Smith.
The girl was about to ring it in and I was about to pay cash.


I asked her to put the hangers in a separate bag and she refused and told me that was impossible.
I end up having an argument with her not shouting but still an argument because I needed the hangers and was about to spend a fortune there.


She wouldn’t budge so on principle I told her thanks anyway and started to walk out.
It was the world’s slowest exit and I thought she would call me back.
She didn’t and was quite OK with me leaving empty-handed.


About a year later then went bankrupt. It’s because of idiots like this why people do most of their shopping online.


Many times I’ve gone to town with a pocket full of money and some dickhead is stood there shrugging his shoulders saying sorry lad I can’t help you come back next Wednesday.


I’ve never been a fan of waiting for stuff and usually would find something else in a different shop sometimes even on the same street.
So anyway back to school as we went a little off-topic and the plan from the school was that Miss Brookfield was going to be our teacher.


She was very strict but she wasn’t a bad person and did care about us kids which is half the battle.
Miss Brookfield must have weighed about 80 pounds she looked like she was starving.


She used to eat about ten KitKat bars a day and she would match this would huge mugs of coffee which made the classroom stink.


After a week she was assigned to another class as she was a regular teacher out of Woolton and we were then about to get the first of many supply teachers.
For those who don’t know about supply teachers, this is normally how the system works.


If your a brand new teacher who is new to the game you can likely do this for a little while until you get a contract with a school.
Depending on how good or bad you are this will tell you how long you will be a supply teacher but then some are just lucky and get a job quickly.


The others who make up this profession are usually ex-teachers who are on their way out so will be working as cover either part-time or full time but on a temporary basis.


The rest are usually terrible teachers who say they like the freedom but deep down know they couldn’t cope with a real schedule and regular pupils.


They still have to abide by the rules and do the job to an extent but it’s much harder to get caught out. being a pretender.
Especially back in the 80s when there were no real systems in place to monitor how good or bad a teacher was.


So Miss Jacob was huge and about 4 feet tall and looked a lot like the penguin from Batman well if he wore a green dress which she always seemed to have on no matter what.


She never smelt bad but she never changed her clothes and in hindsight, she probably had a wardrobe with 30 green dresses inside.

Danny Devito as the penguin or possibly Miss Jacob on laundry day
Miss Jacob and the Truchbull defiantly shopped in the same dress store


She made it clear on day 1 that she didn’t want to know any of us and shown us all just how lazy she really was.
She would give us work to copy out of a book to start with and after a week the lessons became more advanced.


We were following the curriculum but we were getting about 5 minutes of explanation and being told to get on with it.
This is when I first started having difficulties with my dyslexia and this added to this horrible teacher was a huge stress every day and she really didn’t hide her lack of interest in any of us.


You would put your hand up and she would flat out ignore you while she was sat at the front either writing in her diary or doing crossword puzzles.
After 10 minutes of having my hand up, I approached her desk, and right away without even looking up from her diary she told me to sit down.


At the end of each lesson, she would either push past us all at the bell so she could go and make toast in the classroom or shout at us because we were second years and we should know what we were doing and we shouldn’t have to ask any questions.


She would rarely even look at our books so she didn’t see that people were falling behind and if she did she would just give the work a big tick.
This went on and progressively got worse with just a handful of people doing their work and everyone else just writing anything down.


We would all be whispering to each other and with us being kids within about 5 minutes we would be quite loud and that’s when we really saw her passion.
She would stand at the front of the class and shout at everyone for daring to disturb her crossword puzzles and riveting diary entries.


To be fair to the girl she did change it up a bit and started to bring in magazines to read as she must have been so bored sat there pretending to teach.
I’m not sure what magazines they were but it would be along the lines of green dress weekly, what snooker table, green tent monthly, adventures for the elderly.


Also, it should be noted when I say classroom it wasn’t actually a classroom as the school was short of classes with too many students so for the second year we had to spend a few months being taught out of a Portakabin.

exactly like this but grey


These were freezing in the winter and having to wear short pants, as well as the rest of this nonsense school, had quickly lost its appeal.
I remember one day being totally baffled by the work and once again being told to sit down when I tried to approach the table


I booted an empty chair which went flying across the room giving Miss Jacob a fright.
I was sent to the headmaster’s office and I was terrified.


The headmaster was a welsh guy called Mr. Owen who turned out to be a horrible bully to many kids myself included.


Luckily I wasn’t at the stage where he hated me yet and I was summoned inside.
Normally he would start shouting but today it was different.
I think Mr. Owen knew our teacher was a waste of oxygen so after I said sorry I went back to class after a very mild telling-off.


Miss Jacob sat smiling at me all happy as she thought I had got into trouble.
I was fuming with her as she had gone out of her way to fuck me over and even as a kid I could see this.


I was sat there pissed off talking to Peter Rowe and he felt the same as she had screamed at him earlier as he asked to go to the toilet.
I said to him we need to find a way to get her back and he agreed so we came up with an amazing plan.


Well, to be honest, it wasn’t really amazing but for our age group, it felt pretty solid. We had the bright idea we would put a drawing pin on her chair and not tell anyone about it.


If nobody knew about it apart from us then we could not get caught so the bell went for playtime as expected Miss Jacob bomb bust out of the class as she couldn’t wait a minute longer for her 6 slices of toast.


Peter gave me the nod and I went over to her desk and stuck the pin on her chair.
We came back from break and sat down and then Miss Jacob took her seat and we waited…
Any second now she would scream the place down.


Nothing, not a thing, I nodded at peter and he raced up to the front with his exercise book by the way he was stuck but he was looking for the pin to see if it dropped on the floor.


Sit down she said and he came and sat next to me I looked at him and he whispered I cant see it.


I’m racking my brains thing where the fuck is it and then we had a gift from God as everyone started talking at the same time and Miss Jacob jumped up like clockwork she ran to the front of the class and started shouting at everyone but without realising her bum was at eye level with me and Peter and we both spotted it at the same time.


The green dress and the drawing pin were stuck in her bum cheek. She was so fat she hadn’t noticed it even a few minutes later.
Peter and I broke down laughing as we couldn’t believe that she had not felt this and it was still stuck in her arse.


All of her rages turned to us and she was the colour of beetroot and still not noticed the pin.
The more she shouted the more we couldn’t control the laughing and before her head exploded she sent us both to Mr. Owen.


This time he wasn’t in the best mood especially seeing me twice in 2 days and he went ballistic on us both.


As bollockings go it was definitely an 8/10 and we left his office in silence on the way back to class Peter looked at me and smiled and we were both laughing uncontrollably again on the way to class.
Peter put me in my place before going back into class though and to be fair he saved me a lot of trouble.


He pulled me back by my shirt and told me Arlo don’t forget to look really upset when you go back in and he was right so we went in and took our seats but Miss Jacob didn’t have any victorious smiles for us.


To be honest, by the feel of the atmosphere I think the rest of the class was being torn apart the whole time we were in Mr. Owen’s office.


WE left school that day in good spirits and our bollocking had been totally worth it and that huge fit of giggles had given us the morale boost we needed in the shit existence we had in that class.


The next day we came to school and we were presented with 2 gifts.
The first being we had actually been allocated a classroom and the second is Miss Jacob had left.


I think they wanted an excuse to push her out and whatever had happened they had used it and she never even said goodbye to us.
We were so happy and we were introduced to our next supply teacher Mr. Hughes.


Mr. Hughes was not a great teacher but he wasn’t a prick either and he at least cared about the kids.


It was a shame we couldn’t have kept him as school was going to get a hell of a lot worse that year and Miss Jacob was just the beginning.
I was busy living in the moment being thankful that the penguin had gone and more thankful that I was not sat in the Portakabin freezing to death.


Even Miss Brookfields schedule had improved and even though she only taught us for a week she always said hello to us in the yard and managed a smile. It’s nice to be nice and manners cost nothing.

E25 A new Family

In all honesty, now is the best time to talk about Sandy and her family as they do not feature much later on.
If I introduce them later on then there’s a chance it will wreck the continuity of the writing.


I know Sandy won’t like this post if she reads it but still, I don’t know why as they were all good to me I just didn’t see a lot of them later on.
I can’t stress enough how nice Sandy was to me but I can also understand her point of view.


John died over ten years ago and she is still deeply hurt by this.
I think she has told herself she will not meet anyone else and she is right he was one of a kind.


Granted he may come across quite poorly in other blogs but I’m confident that if drugs hadn’t played such a part in his life he probably wouldn’t have done a lot of things from his past.


I also like to think that if his judgement was not so clouded he wouldn’t have given so much time and energy to people who were just using him like Mo the police informer.


Still, that’s all in the past and we can’t change what happened we can only change what we do today so that it will affect our tomorrow positively.


Sandy had so many interesting people in her family and I have to start with her Dad John.
I really wish John was still alive as he was the nicest man you could ever meet and he also had one hell of a backstory.


He was in his 80s when he died so the internet was not a thing when he was growing up but it’s a shame that he did not write a book as I’m confident it would be a huge bestseller.


He grew up in a very religious house and every Sunday the family would go to church and he had decided he was going to become a Priest and do his part for god.
He was a religious man and that never changed but John was a larger-than-life character and after a year he was told he was not suitable for the priesthood.


Many times when he was due to be giving a sermon or in class he would have disappeared to meet a girl.
He also got caught sneaking out of the compound many times to go drinking with his mates.

Young John


He wasn’t a bad guy he just loved having fun and did what he wanted.
In his defence, after being caught down the town drinking a few times and also warned about dating local girls he also agreed that maybe this was the wrong path and he and the church parted on good terms.


If the church was not set in its old-fashioned ways and there were more priests like John then maybe they would not be surrounded by the scandal they are in now.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/nov/10/child-sexual-abuse-in-catholic-church-swept-under-the-carpet-inquiry-finds


You also have to wonder about the people applying to be priests as well. That is not directed at John but others as to why would you willingly sign up for a life of celibacy especially now when the spotlight is on our organisation for all the wrong reasons.

As the saying goes the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Priests in training modern day


John left the priesthood and started boxing and it was seen that he was a natural athlete and progressed into fighting.


I’m not sure how many fights he had but it was over 50 and I’ve seen many medals from back in the day. He was also won a couple of amateur belts as well.

John aged around 60


Once again if this was the modern-day he probably could have made a lot more but for John, it was more about the challenge and the working out. Also back then boxers were paid a pittance compared to modern-day standards.

Laura left John Centre and Rheanna
Rheanna left John right aged 80


It’s probably best that he didn’t go further as he was such a nice man and no doubt some vile promoter would have taken the piss out of him which seems to be the done thing in the world of professional boxing. A good example of this would be Mike Tyson and Don King.

Iron Mike left with Don King right

https://www.sportscasting.com/the-day-a-cocaine-fueled-mike-tyson-kicked-promoter-don-king-in-the-skull/


Boxing is so corrupt and you are always hearing of fighters going broke. It’s very seldom you hear of a broke boxing promoter or the same with a broke bookie.


Boxing has been this way for years and Don King seems to have had the boxing world sewn up for years. There is a famous quote by former champion Larry homes which is as follows.


I made more money getting robbed by Don King than I could make legitimately with any other boxing promoter.

Larry Holmes now


John ended up working the doors in town for many years. He worked on the Jacaranda and many other famous venues.

This was a much harder profession to enter back then and you had to be well known in some way to even be considered.


Luckily his boxing got him a foot in the door and he did this plus various other things for many years.
He was a very humble man and he would always tell funny stories and has probably met every famous person from the 50s 60s and 70s who came from Liverpool.


He was always in fantastic shape as well even into his elderly years.
In his last 2 years he ended up with a massive belly but it literally just crept upon him.
He still got up every day without fail into his 80s and exercised for an hour.


This is what probably kept him alive for so long and kept him so sharp and looking so good.
His mind started to go in his last couple of years but he could still function he just needed a little help which Sandy was happy to do and later went on to be his carer.


He’s missed a lot especially by me and he was always smiling and had time for everyone.
Even though he was in his 80s when he died it was a huge shock as he was such a larger than life character.


John married Hilda and they were together for over thirty years. I don’t know a lot about her I don’t have many memories of her.
I remember going to their house a couple of times when I was a kid but if I remember she died about five years before John who sadly passed in 2015.


John and Hilda had a son (Sandy’s brother) also called John who played a huge part in my life years later.
He like his dad also worked the clubs and pubs for many years.


John was also a businessman of sorts he would always have his fingers in a few pies and would always be looking for ways to make money.
He was always smiling and could have you crying laughing at times a very smart and perceptive man.


He always had a lot of time for me even when dad and I fell out and didn’t speak for years he was still loyal and still had my back no matter what.


John got me the start on the doors when I left the army in 2002. This back then was a hard profession to break into.
At the time I was the youngest doorman in town at 22.


This would change drastically in the next couple of years when the councils started to scrutinise who was working in the clubs as many of the security personnel had extensive criminal records and in some cases had their own drug dealers inside the venues making them even more money.


I will talk about this more in later blogs and I will go into much more detail but believe me clubland was a lot different compared to the modern-day.
John had worked all over Liverpool and in many of the top nightspots.


He looked very unassuming and ordinary but he could fight like fuck when needed.
A lot of the time this throws people off guard as they were not expecting anything and realised they had fucked up when things got really bad and very quickly.


It was a blessing and a curse to be his nephew as everyone was watching me. That and my age as well so if there were any issues whenever I was working I had to just shit my pants and dive right into the middle.


This served me well in the future and I never had any issues getting door work later on.
Well except when I started working for Dennis Bailey (no relation) but I will talk extensively about that later.


John also loved a drink which I think came with the territory of that job back in the day.


This was also back in the day where nobody was bothered about drinking and driving.
Now if you do that there is a huge stigma behind it but back then everyone did it and kept doing it until they got caught.


It was inevitable one night he got caught out and got banned from driving but a week later drove home drunk.
He knew even back then if he was caught a second time he would be in deep shit but knew he would keep doing it.


He hatched a foolproof plan which worked and stopped him driving home. He would drive to work put a lock on the steering wheel but leave the key at home.
He even joked many times he would forget and climb in the car but this was just a sign of the times and I myself have driven home in some terrible states back then.


Unfortunately, John like many others suffered really badly from depression and for years behind the scenes was tormented. He for years threatened suicide and unfortunately, one day did it.


The sad thing is we all knew he would do it at some point as he could not seem to shake his demons.
He finally figured it out and planned it to the last detail and it worked…


I was absolutely devastated as was everyone else and it shook everyone to the core. He was not my blood relative but he did way more for me than many of my real family which spoke volumes about his good character.


When he died Sandy had his body in her house for a week before the funeral so people could pay their respects and I went every day as I wanted to spend every last minute with him possible as I knew this was the end of the road.


I still miss him to this day and he pops up in my thoughts a lot and I’m sad that he felt that this was his only option.
I have lost many friends to suicide and it never gets easier even as time goes on.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/sep/01/male-suicide-rate-england-wales-covid-19


It’s usually men who do this as well and me being from a very male-dominated background I seem to keep seeing this awful familiar picture.
I, unfortunately, don’t have any pictures of John except for the one I will keep in my head of him always smiling and joking.


John had two kids who I’ve met but don’t know a lot about. His daughter I have not seen since his funeral and his son Ellis is a solicitor in Liverpool. He’s been practising law for a few years now and from what I’ve heard is doing well.


Sandy has two sisters one of them whose name escapes me. I don’t know much about her as I’ve met her about three times when I was a kid.
There was a falling out when old John Mckenna died which made them estranged from each other.


I don’t know enough about the details of this to give a fair comment so it’s best if I don’t.


The texts I saw sent to Sandy were disgusting though, to say the least.
Old John would be so upset if he knew the divide it had caused but as the saying goes you can’t choose your family.


Sandy has a sister called Tracy who inspired me a lot during my degree and although we didn’t see each other a great deal we spoke on the phone a lot.


Tracy was not content with being a mum and working round the clock to make ends met so she decided to go back to school with the view of becoming a nurse. She like myself had to go back to college and then get a place in University.

Tracy before she got sick


She did this and then passed her nursing degree with flying colours.
She worked in the accident and emergency department of The Royal Hospital for a little while before fate decided things were going too well for her.


She got cancer and had to give up working her dream job. She was devastated and at the time of writing two years later is still receiving treatment.


I haven’t spoken to her for a while and it’s not a subject you can bring up easily but I hope she gets to go back one day as I believe that nursing isn’t a job it’s a calling.
Tracy has two daughters Rheanna and Laura. Rheanna is the oldest and has worked for Boots for years.


She is one below a pharmacist and is doing really well. At the time of writing this blog, she is pregnant with her first child and is excited about the future.
Laura has been with her fella for a few years now and they seem happy together.

I am not sure what he does for work but he has a job and they have three kids together.


All the time they are posting family stuff on Facebook and it’s nice to see them both happy.
Going back to Sandy she had a daughter called Natasha who I remember was around a little bit when I was growing up.


She is ten years older than me but was always really nice to me as well.
She moved down south and was with a guy called Nigel for many years.


He moved to Liverpool with his job but unfortunately, they divorced a few years later. I got on well with Nigel but he has gone back down south and he’s not a fan of social media so I hope he is ok whatever he’s up to.


I’ve no idea why they broke up and it’s not my business but it was a shame as they were happy for years.


Natasha, unfortunately, developed Fibromyalgia and as a result, she can no longer work.
This condition affects more people and doctors are still mystified about what causes this.


I have not heard about it until I saw first hand that I would be in a conversation and then suddenly it was like Tasha had just run a marathon she would suddenly be exhausted and have to go to bed.


There is more information in the link below which gives more of a specialist opinion than mine.

https://www.fibromyalgiapatienteducation.info/fibromyalgia-faq-s?gclid=CjwKCAiAudD_BRBXEiwAudakX7TfyB1-pWm-D_B95EfvpOvrxD_tcVKzQBRh5MOHOHZSKNJ7RD8DkBoCXWIQAvD_BwE



I have not spoken to Tasha for years but the last I heard she met a guy who has the same condition as her and they are happy together and she managing her symptoms as best she can.


Natasha has a daughter called Abby who is my niece by marriage. I will talk about her in later blogs. She Married my friend Neil from the Army but I haven’t spoken to her in years.


I’ve tried to get back in touch many times but she doesn’t want to know me.
All of the hostility is coming from her and I feel for her carrying around such hatred as she is only damaging herself in the long term.


She is convinced at the inquest to my dad’s death I was making jokes about him.
I’ll tell the same story as I’ve told everyone for years and that’s basically that I didn’t say this.


It’s likely that during this dark time I may have tried to make the best out of a shit situation but cracking jokes about my dead father at an inquest over his death is absolutely ridiculous to even comprehend.


She is convinced otherwise and there is no telling her anything she always knows best.


It’s at the stage now where she would have to admit she was wrong and when ego comes into play that would be catastrophic.

I’m saying that from personal experience and it’s never good to have to admit that you’re wrong.


I’m not especially looking for that I’ve made my peace with losing her friendship years ago as I’ve done everything in my power to try and fix things.
I also know if my name would be mentioned to her she would start ranting all with serious venom and would likely be fuming for days about it.


All of this hatred not just for me but for many people who she believes have wronged her will just make her sick in the long term.
I hope she never reads this as she will be straight onto Facebook to scream at me then her husband Neil would be sleeping in his car that night.


I feel that in order to tell an accurate story of the game in life you have to know all the players.
In my life, there are some very interesting players and some who fade out very quickly that’s why they have to be introduced at certain parts.


Sandy and the three Johns will feature more but unfortunately, the rest would fall by the wayside.
As like my family in Skem, I am on good terms with all of Sandy’s family and we talk on Facebook but we don’t have really have a relationship.


This is due to many factors and I’m glad that I am on good terms with 99 percent of them.
Life is too short for bad blood and I wish I learned that years ago as I’ve wasted too much time hating people.


When John Bailey died it was very sudden and nobody expected this and that’s why there was an inquest into his death. Nothing suspicious was found but they still felt the need to investigate.


This is why it’s so important to make the most of the time we have. Time is a currency that can only be spent once.

E24 Self destructive behaviour

Before I start to tell this week’s story I need to thank all of you reading this.
This blog has been running weekly now for six months.

As mentioned in previous episodes I plan to release twice-weekly shortly but to everyone thank you for staying the course and for recommending this to others.


Every week there seems to be another stranger from the internet who starts reading as well.
This to me is crazy to think that all over the world people have access to this and are interested in my story.


You have to understand that I was born and remember life before the internet so it’s mind-blowing to me that people in India and Japan would read about a guy in the UK unless he murdered ten people or starred in a Hollywood blockbuster.


There is still time on that front as Jack Nicholson didn’t get his first serious acting job until he was forty and stranger things have happened.


An example of this would be a dyslexic guy who cant even spell who came from the wrong side of the tracks who goes onto get himself a degree and now works as a teacher.


As well as fighting serious battles within himself with PTSD and drug addiction. So believe me if you want something bad enough you will make it happen if you don’t then you will just make an excuse.


So as last week’s episode was called sidetracked we went a little off-topic to the main story.


It was essential as I believe the reader should know the world I lived in. A 20-year-old lad would never look for a Commodore 64 and does not know life before the internet.


So with the right videos, he can see what we had growing up.
I have to admit by today’s standards what we had was pretty shit but at the time that was the best out there and you can’t miss what you never had.


It would probably be the equivalent of in 1000 years, someone, saying how did we live before inter planet teleportation but then I digress.
So back on point, a postcard came through the door and mum gave it to me to read.


It was from Dad and he had found us and knew where we lived.
No malice nothing was threatening and he was calling time out.


Although there are two sides to every story and he feels he had done nothing wrong I think he could see the consequences of his actions.


That as well as getting himself in a world of shit with the police he realised he had to draw a line in the sand otherwise this would go on forever and he wouldn’t get to see me and to top all that if we moved again he would have to track us down once more.


We had lived in Woolton for just over a year and things were going well.
Mum asked me what I wanted to do and of course, I said I wanted to see him.

I’ve learned in the past few years that there are three sides to a story and they are what he said what she said and what happened.


So John and I began talking on the phone and soon enough had arranged to start seeing each other.
He was being as civil as he could as fighting had got both him and mum nowhere.


It doesn’t matter who is right and who is wrong if the other party feels like they have been wronged then it goes in circles and nothing good comes from it.
I have learned that lesson the hard way on more than one occasion.


Only recently I reached out to my old school friend Chris to put an old issue to bed.
Chris and I were close for over 30 years and we ended up falling out over money of all things.


Now I don’t want to go into detail on this as we both believe we are right. The only upshot of it all was we never spoke for 7 years.
He had blocked me on Facebook so I sent a message to him through a mutual friend.


Luckily he felt the same way as me and we had a good chat and now it’s been put to bed.
Whatever happened between us both was a matter of opinion and two strong-headed people who wouldn’t back down.


Granted we probably would have fallen out anyway but it should not have got to the level it did and it definitely shouldn’t have gone on for so so long.


When people fall out it draws a huge line in the sand, for example, there were a few mates who I met through Chris and obviously, we were civil when we saw each other but their loyalties quite rightly lay with Chris.


There were three occasions when I was gutted about this and once again this was a result of ego and it brought me no good so it was an important lesson to learn.


The first time I saw our mutual friends Graham and Paul on a night out and asked them how Chris was doing he told me he hadn’t seen him for ages and didn’t have a clue.


The next day Graham had uploaded the pictures from the night before and in 20 pictures Chris was in 10 of them. He had left before he had come into the last club that I met Graham which was Heebie Jeebies.


I wasn’t arsed that they were together but was more arsed that he felt that he had to lie about them being together.
Even at the worst part of the hostility between us, violence was never threatened it was just a case of fuck off I don’t want to talk to you.


Just to make things even more confusing when we had first fallen out I saw Graham in the gym and told him we had both fell out.
I quickly added look he thinks he’s right and I think I’m right so I don’t want to go into any more detail on this.


He was relieved to hear this as he was mates with both of us.
A few months later I was in the city centre and I saw Chris’s Dad Dimitrias and there is no way he could not have seen me and he walked straight past me.


Obviously, he was going to be loyal to his son but it was heartbreaking that we grew up in each other’s houses and it had come to this through an argument and ego.
I saw his Mum Beryl about a year later I was walking past a Turkish restaurant in Woolton and she was sat in the window with her mate and we made eye contact.


The look she gave me could have turned me to stone and I was gutted. My whole demeanour changed, my shoulders dropped, my face changed and all I could think of doing was nodding in her direction as I walked into the chip shop next door.


Like with his dad I couldn’t blame her for siding with Chris as it’s her son so absolutely nothing good was coming from this.

The author left with Chris 2012
Chris Birthday 2012


Ego can be such a destructive trait in many people especially men.

You will see this a lot in Asian culture as a lot of there belief is about how they appear to others.
If you lose face in Asian cultures it has a lot more ramifications than it does in western culture.


Although I’m not shitting on another cultural belief system in my opinion is all ego-based.


What makes this even more fucked up is the fact I’ve seen my dad operate like this for so much of his life and in turn, always ended up fucking himself over but still didn’t learn my lesson.


I then like many young men go on to make some horrible decisions and then get caught up in the horrors of addiction.
Ask any addict and they will tell you that most addiction is to due self-hatred and resentment.

It starts off as having a good time but then depending on the individual quickly can spiral out of control.
I had been lucky enough to get clean and work the program with a sponsor who essentially saved my life and I worked my step 9 which is as follows


“Make direct amends to such people wherever possible except when to do so would injure them or others”

https://americanaddictioncenters.org/rehab-guide/12-step


With this knowledge and trying to lead a good honest life, after I got clean should have made me spot this destructive behaviour a lot sooner.
Obviously, the addict in me which will always be there got together with my ego and sent me back down that destructive path.


Like I said earlier luckily Chris didn’t want the bad blood either so it was quashed.
There has been amends I have made in the past and the other person will not admit their part in it.


That’s where most addicts struggle once again due to ego but it’s not about them it’s about you.
You are admitting your part and letting it go if they want to hang onto this then it’s up to them at least you offered your hand in friendship.


So dad and I made an arrangement and he was going to pick me up on Saturday at 1 pm.
He showed up in a silver Ford Grenada and it was great to see him and catch up on everything.

Ford Granada 80s


To be fair there was no mud-slinging, no blame or horrendous stories about mum he just wanted to see me and it was nice.
I didn’t learn everything that he had been up to until later on but he told me mostly positive stuff about the past year.


As expected the money he had made which is explained in other blogs he had burnt through it and he also got arrested on other charges.
He ended up doing three months in prison and came out and met Sandy.


Sandy isn’t her real name but she said she doesn’t want anything written about her and her family as she has read some of my blogs.


She thinks John is portrayed poorly in these blogs and I suggested to her that if she reads all of them instead of random posts not in any order it will paint a much clearer picture.


I also assured her I had nothing but nice stuff to write about her but she was adamant that she didn’t want to be mentioned.
I told her the truth that I will write about her but I will change her identity.

She didn’t like that but knew I would do it either way so it was an OK compromise.


In later blogs, I will talk more in detail about her but for now ill concentrate on the task at hand.
So John got out of jail and was struggling for cash and ended up working through a friend on the building sites.


He quickly picked this up as I mentioned in earlier blogs John was a very intelligent man.
If he had been given the right guidance from an early age he could have easily become a millionaire. However, life had other ideas.


It was the same with my uncle Eddie a genius who was years ahead of his time but completely mad due to his mind always working at one hundred miles an hour and his tragedy with the death of his son Jason.


To be honest all of the Baileys had to be very creative as there was no money around and they had to adapt to survive in the harsh environment they grew up in.
My uncle Chris is almost 63 and he still has his fingers in a few pies and is always putting people together as they say old habits die hard.


John had then like many builders at the time had jumped on the German gravy train.
In the 80s the Germans were putting billions into their country’s infrastructure.
They were modernising everything and there was a huge property boom in Germany at the time.


Also, this was the year before the Berlin wall was to be torn down and many political analysts had predicted this.

https://www.chathamhouse.org/2019/11/why-we-build-walls-30-years-after-fall-berlin-wall?gclid=CjwKCAiAxKv_BRBdEiwAyd40NxksJkiM4fyTzou_Ke9guzwFnxvLxKD7JHW35dpsJtRs8Jewu0wPQBoCem0QAvD_BwE


This would open up more free trade with Russia and allow more people into Germany who before could not leave the Soviet Union without severe restrictions due to the Communist regime which was at that time in power.


So as a result of this the Germans needed a lot of builders and quickly and the best way to get them here was to pay over-inflated wages and as expected tradesmen came from the UK in droves.

The Berlin wall explained in more detail
The fall of the Berlin wall


This was so well known for the time that they even made a TV show about it called Auf Wiedersehen, Pet.
This show ran from 1983 to 2004 it was not running the whole time and there were huge breaks between seasons.


It followed a group of tradesmen from all over the UK who had gone to Germany to work. Although this is an old show it has aged incredibly well.
It’s hilarious in parts and other parts are extremely educational.


I asked my dad how accurate it was and he said it wasn’t exactly right but yeah they got the point across in the right way.

Season 1 Auf Wiedersehen Pet
Auf Wiedersehen Pet funny moments
Jimmy nail falling out with the locals
Funny clip from the show


How you can tell this show is a masterpiece is that it’s still funny. So many TV shows from the past have aged horribly. If you watch old episodes of Are you being served in about five minutes you are saying to yourself what the fuck is this?


It’s the same with the show Red Dwarf, I tried to watch this again a few years ago and I got to episode 2 it was horrible.


Back in its day though Red Dwarf was hilarious and great TV which was very popular all over the country.
Some of the later episodes are OK but the early stuff amazes me how it’s aged so badly.

Early season of Red Dwarf


So John was back and working on the building sites in the UK and by all accounts was doing well.
He was still involved a little with connections to his old life but as I said old habits die hard.


As he now had a day job with a stable income he wasn’t making stupid mistakes with stupid people on jobs that were guaranteed to get him locked up all for pennies.
He had moved into a flat with Sandy and later on they got a house in Anfield together. This is the place they would live for many years.


Sandy was working behind the bar in a couple of different pubs.
Up until she retired a couple of years ago she always had a couple of different jobs on the go.


I’ll give Sandy her due, she wasn’t scared of work and the rest of her family was the same.
They all to this day have a strong work ethic and it’s good that that has been drummed into them.


So many people these days want something for nothing and that’s not how the world works, unfortunately.


So I met Sandy and she was nice to me and that always stayed the same. We, unfortunately, didn’t see much of each other after John died but once in a while ill call her, or we will talk on what’s app.


I know it’s a horrible excuse but I got caught up in studying for 5 years then I spent a lot of time away from home which didn’t help.
When I was in college she was working in a pub in the City Centre and I would call in at times and she was more often than not there which was nice.


When she retired I stopped seeing her so much which is on me but life gets in the way sometimes.
So some fences had been mended John was clean and was working and had met someone who seemed to understand him and now was back on the scene.


This was a huge win for me and I was happy. I didn’t realise how fucked up school was about to become but then my school story is far from unique so I don’t try to own that.


I’m just lucky that I managed to make something of myself when so many of these failed children were left by the wayside and ended up in some bad situations with very few prospects.


I also need to add that if anyone reading this is struggling with addiction please send me a private message and ill do my best to advise you or at least give you a game plan to try to fix things.

E23 Sidetracked

The problem with writing when there is so much going on is that it’s easy to get sidetracked.
When I write I do not want there to be any misconceptions so that’s why I try to go into as much detail as possible while at the same time keeping the reader engaged.


It’s not as easy as it sounds and when I proofread it I sometimes have to add more into the story as I have to realise that a lot of the knowledge I have is not common knowledge to those reading this who have never met me.


It’s both a blessing and a curse and ill explain why. It’s a blessing as I have so much more to write about and this opens more doors in my mind which leads to a deeper understanding and also brings up new memories and new subjects that are connected.


It’s a curse because it is very time-consuming and I would like to be releasing a blog twice weekly.
Almost 6 months into this it still seems to be once a week. I’m working on changing that and while you all keep reading I’m happy to keep writing.


So in this blog, I will touch over a few things which I missed out on telling as I was focused on other stories.
Disaster struck 2 months into the school year and I woke up with chickenpox.


This is quite common for children my age but there is nothing more demoralising. There is a link below-explaining chickenpox for anyone who doesn’t know what it is.

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/chickenpox/


I was off school for almost a month and for a child this is a hell of a long time for a kid. This was back in the olden days when there were just 4 channels on TV.
Now children have multiple channels even with the basic package TV deals. There are cartoon network Nickelodeon and many others.


They also have game consoles and the internet to keep them occupied.
Back in these dark ages, this was not the case.
Children’s TV was on BBC1 and ITV and it started at 4 pm. On a Saturday morning, there were more children’s TV programs but apart from that, it was very bleak times for children.

Children’s BBC 1986
Kids TV back in the day


Daytime TV even in the modern day is not known for its good quality but back then it was even worse.
There was a lot of great television but there was so much garbage as well and I saw this first hand when I was sick and had nothing else to do.


I’ll never forget there was a TV show called one man and his dog.
It was the same show every week and it ran for years.
I can understand them making a six-part part series but this ran from 1976 to 2012.


Every week it would show a sheepdog and a farmer and every week the dog would get the sheep into a pen I can’t fathom why people would keep watching this day in and day out.

one man and his dog 1976

One man and his dog


It’s also surprising with so few channels that it didn’t get axed sooner as back then there was a lot more pressure from TV executives to keep people watching TV as there was no other form of entertainment except the pub.


A modern-day equivalent of this would be a show called ice road truckers
Which I discovered under similar circumstances. This was around 2009 though and it was being sick which made me notice the similarities which ill explain below.

Ice Road Truckers
Ice road truckers trailer season 4


I went out on the piss with the lads one day and ended up out drinking all day and night.


The next day I was a broken man with a hangover from hell and an empty wallet. I had a mountain of junk food and later on, I was going to order pizza so that stopped me from throwing myself in the river.


I had my duvet on me and I spent the day either watching movies or shit TV.
So I was watching a channel called E4 and ice road truckers came on.
I had no plans to move and ended up watching 4 episodes back to back.
Then I realised all 4 episodes were the same.


The premise was a load of truckers who work in places like Alaska driving 18 wheel lorries and every week they would almost slip and have a crash.


They would also have to cross a frozen lake in which the ice could break at any time and every episode it was rammed down the viewer’s throat that this could be the last time they would be driving the lorry as it was such a dangerous job.


Granted it was a little more exciting that one man and his dog and it ran for 8 seasons.
It’s not a bad show but you all need to trust me on this. watch three episodes at the very most and save yourself some time.


I promise you even if you’re a moron you will get the gist after three episodes.
So, my poor mum, Carol had to look after me as well as run the house and find time to go to work.
It was safe to say she was spinning a lot of plates.


Luckily a video shop had opened up in Woolton Village so every day she would get me something to watch.
A couple of her friends had those fancy new video machines that you could record off the TV so she was able to borrow some movies as well.


We had a video player but we couldn’t record on our one as we had a cheap one.
This kept me entertained and at the same time stopped me from going insane.
When you are in your 20s, 30, and even 40s a month is nothing.


When your almost 8 and you haven’t been around for long this seems like an eternity.
It should be noted as video players were brand new to buy movies was very expensive. It was roughly a tenner to buy a movie and sometimes more.


Ten pounds had a lot more spending power back then hence everyone frequented the video shops.
You may get a movie you loved for Christmas but unless you were minted people generally didn’t buy movies.


Later on in life when I started making money the first thing I bought was videos and I had a chest full of them. It was the same when they released DVDs the picture was so much better as was the sound and I had shelves full of movies which I was so proud of.


Recently mum did a clear-out of the attic and got rid of boxes and boxes of movies.
There are films I will never get rid of but most of them are now in the charity shop or being sold in car boot sales.

car boot sale


This was when I first discovered my favourite movie as a child which was the karate kid. My mum joked that it would have been cheaper to just buy this as we had it out of the video shop at least ten times. I knew all the words and it’s how I first got interested in martial arts and fighting.


Obviously, as a kid, you watch these films and you believe it without question.
Years later you figure out nobody will ever do a flying spinning back kick in a street fight but they still gave me hours of entertainment.


There were 4 Karate kid movies over the years but the 4th movie which replaced the main character Daniel with actress Hilary Swank was awful and killed the franchise.

Karate Kid 1984
Karate kid Tournament


There was an unsuccessful reboot with Jackie Chan years later as well. I enjoyed the reboot but that was probably because I was such a big fan of the original movies.

Karate kid reboot


They then made a TV series set thirty years later called Cobra Kai which focuses on Johnny the villain of the first movie.
This is a fantastic must-see series that tells the story from a completely different perspective.


I knew I would like it but I didn’t realise how much I would enjoy it and many people my age have said the same thing.
I found an interesting video online which paints Daniel as the bully which I’ve posted below as well as the trailer for Cobra Kai.


I would advise watching the first three movies before jumping in as it would give you a much better understanding of the plot and the characters.

Interesting theory about the karate kid franchise
Thirty years later the series continues with Cobra Kai on Netflix


I remember one day being into my third movie feeling pretty miserable and mum came in smiling with a huge envelope.
The kids in my class had made me a get well card. It was me covered in spots and pictures of everyone in the class saying get well soon.


It was the morale boost I needed to get me out of this negative mindset and I vowed to get better, get back to school, and find a karate teacher as soon as I got better.
It’s amazing how your mindset can completely change when you know people care and they miss you and I was determined that I would beat the chickenpox.


A couple of weeks later I was back in school and feeling on top of the world. Many kids myself included are not a fan of school but when you have nothing to do you quickly realise how much better it is than sitting in the house.


A couple of months later it was my 8th birthday and once again my mum had gone all out and she had got me a TV for my room.
This was the best present ever and back then it was a big deal to have a TV in your room.


This also neutralised many arguments with mum she could simply say go and watch your program in your room and I did happily.
It was made clear to me that this was both my birthday and Christmas present as it had cost mum a lot.


I didn’t care and felt like I had invented fire and couldn’t believe our house had two TVs.


The next couple of months before Christmas I was as quiet as a mouse.
Due to the fact I was really quiet and out of sight and out of mind I could frequently stay up watching TV before Carol realised and made me turn it off and go to sleep.


I didn’t think life could get any better and then it was Christmas.
I was under no illusions of getting anything big due to my amazing birthday present and as expected there was a load of little but very thoughtful presents.


It was a happy time and I knew the deal so it was just nice to spend time with mum and have a nice time together. Then out of nowhere mum says to me wait.


Arlo, there’s one more present but it’s in the kitchen so I walk into the kitchen expecting a Lynx Africa set or something along those lines and when I got there it was like I was staring at a UFO.


On the table was a commodore 64 brand new in the box. I couldn’t have played this without a TV and I was blown away to have my very own games console.

Commodore 64


Mum had let me open my presents at midnight for good reason Lucy knight who I mentioned in the last blog her brother Tim was coming over in the morning to show me how to use it.


Even looking at it in the box nearly had me at breaking point and I vowed to stay awake all night.
I went to bed and made a pact to stay awake all night.

https://www.bbc.com/news/av/technology-19055707


I made a promise to myself that I would stay up all night ready for Tim to come over the next day. Within twenty minutes of my head hitting the pillow, I was dead to the world.
The next day exactly on schedule Tim came and showed me how to use it.


By today’s gaming standards it’s garbage but for the day it was the birth of home gaming.
Everyone was blown away that we didn’t have to get the bus into town to play the arcade games and we could play our games at home.


It sounded crazy just like a science fiction movie.
I would invite my friends round to play and we would sit there so excited waiting sometimes thirty minutes for a game to load.
Even in the loading phase, you would be sat talking to your mate smiling saying any minute now.


Below you can see what it looks like when loading as well as in the other video of some of the games of the day.
For years and years, I was into my gaming and had many consoles which I will speak about in detail but right now I had conquered the world.

C64 Loading screen
100 C64 games in ten minutes


So life, in general, was pretty sweet I was ready to move into the second year of juniors and I was talking to dad on the phone and about to start seeing him again.
The second year of school was going to be a complete circus and would shape my hatred for authority and education for years to come.


So many people give sympathy when I tell them some of these stories but there is no need.
It was this misuse of power and ignorance which set me on the path of who I am today. I won’t let anyone bully me or try to make me feel small.


This type of behaviour even goes on in the workplace with modern people today.
Most of these worms who try and instigate it or see what buttons they can press usually melt like ice cream in July when you front them and I’ve fronted many of them.


As fucked up a lesson as it was it needed to be learned and it served me well many years later down the road.


The system is still broken and far from perfect but at least the powers that be are acknowledging that it’s broken when before they tried everything in their power to blame the pupils in question.
I didn’t let it stop me from making my mark and doing my own thing though.

E22 Friends You Will Never Forget

In the last blog, I spoke of the children of Winwood and my relationships with them.
Out of them all, I was closest to a pair of brothers called Ezra and Teddy.
Their mum and dad were called Trish and Clem.


I don’t know exactly the history here but if I remember rightly mum knew Tricia from years ago.
She didn’t know Tricia was living in Winwood so it was a nice surprise reunion.


It also made mums life a lot easier as moving to a new area with a child is challenging at the best of times especially when doing it by yourself.
The more places there were for us to go and the more people to see meant more stability and also meant other kids for me to play with.


So many nights after school I would be in Ezra and Teddy’s flat or they would be at my house.
We always had a great laugh and we had different toys so when going to their house it was a completely different experience.


On the surface, especially to me, everything looks normal but then as a kid, you believe everything is good until you see first hand that many people wear a mask.
The Japanese have a brilliant saying that everybody has three faces.


The first face you show to the world, the second face you show to your close friends and family and the third you never show anyone.
It’s the truest reflection of who you are.


This could not have been more true with Clem as to me and Carol he was always really nice and to be fair so was Tricia.
It would become apparent that Clem was a heavy drinker and when he drank he at times got twisted and angry.


He could sometimes lose control and Tricia would end up getting a slap or a punch or something equally lovely such as being dragged around by her hair.
Like typical bullies the next day he was always really sorry and he would make a big effort for a while until it was forgotten about again.


He was always really nice to the boys which made it a lot harder for Tricia to leave him.
So life went on and to us kids, everything seemed normal enough but then parents are good at hiding that kind of stuff to an extent.


Unfortunately, when kids get older they see everything and realise it’s not normal but due to not knowing any difference many go on to repeat the same patterns as they do not know any different.


Below is the link is an interesting site made by the Royal College of Psychiatrists about the effects this can have on children as they grow up.

https://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/mental-health/parents-and-young-people/information-for-parents-and-carers/domestic-violence-and-abuse-effects-on-children


Then one evening the game completely changed and the stakes were raised considerably.
I was in bed fast asleep as it was around 1 am and Carol heard knocking on the front door.


In the modern-day, this would create a little panic but you have to remember this was before the days of mobile phones.
So even though it wasn’t normal to have a visitor at this time it happened more frequently than it does today.


Carol goes to the door nervously and opens it with the chain on very wary because of the late hour.
She sees that it’s Tricia and initially thinks she’s drunk as she’s swaying. When she opened the door she could see it was much worse.


It was clear that she had had the beating of her life. Her face was all swollen and her nose was bleeding and the swaying with likely the cause of a concussion.


Trisha had waited for Clem to go asleep and on autopilot put some clothes in a bag.
She did the same for the kids woke them up, and made her way round to our house under the cover of darkness.


Carol was in an impossible position so she let her in. Even if they were not friends of such long-standing I don’t know how she could live with herself if she had turned her back on her friend in this hour of need.


I woke up in the morning oblivious to all this but was happy as Ezra and Teddy were in the house.
I asked mum why she hadn’t woke me up when they came round last night and she lied and said I tried to but you were dead to the world.


Then the next couple of days was a big game of let’s pretend everything’s ok and Trish is just staying here for a couple of days.
Clem knew he had fucked up big time and knew if this was reported he could be looking at some heavy jail.
So he had to fix this and quickly.


It took him a day of ringing around to figure out that Trish was in ours and he tried everything to make her go back.
He turned on the tears the lot but unfortunately, nothing was working. He had crossed the line this time and he knew it.


When you cross that line, for the most part, there is no going back and as a result of his drinking, he was about to lose everything including his family.
Like most alcoholics and addicts nothing was ever his fault so instead of getting the help he needed became more and more twisted as time went on.


He started ringing and being nasty and downplaying it all and trying to get into her mind which he had done many times before.
She wasn’t budging and one night things got very bad very quickly and it’s a night I will never forget.


There is a joke which I will put below which is very appropriate to what was about to happen.
How come when the Hulk gets angry and smashes everything up in a vicious rage he’s incredible?
When I do this I’m an alcoholic.

Lou Ferrigno as the hulk back in the 70s


I don’t know for sure if Clem was drinking this night but with the rage, he was in I would be more surprised if he wasn’t drinking.


Me, mum, Trish, Ezra, and Teddy were all sat watching TV in the living room, and someone was banging really hard on the window.
Mum looked outside to see Clem out there screaming and shouting in the middle of the street.

Clem Calm down the kids are here

Get Tricia out here now

Clem, you’re scaring the kids please she will come to see you tomorrow

Get her out here now fucking now

Clem didn’t wait for an answer he goes towards the front door and starts booting it.
Now the door was shut but the bottom lock was on so with a couple of heavy kicks Clem burst through the door and then everything went into slow motion.

He starts running towards the living room armed with a hammer screaming for blood.
Carol jumps back into the Living room instinctively pulling the door shut from inside the living room.

Open the fucking door open the fucking door.

All of the women were screaming as were the kids I can’t explain what was going on with me it was like I was frozen in time.
I knew it was nothing good and I knew I needed to be away from the door but I was fully focused on it as well.

The best way to describe it would be like in the movie It when the kids look into his deadlights and they can’t turn away even though they know it’s really bad.

It 1990 (the deadlights)

Clem was ragging the door with all his strength for less than a minute all while screaming for blood.
For all of us in that living room, it felt like a lot longer and it was pure survival and we knew it.

Then Clem picked up the hammer as if he couldn’t open the door he was going through it. The whole time his rage just intensified and soon there was a big hole in the top of the door.

Carol stepped back the hammer narrowly missing her and Clem still screaming like a banshee entered the room like Jack Nicholson in the shining.

Here are some stills from the movie and I’ve enclosed a YouTube clip of the scene if anyone wants to watch it below.
If you swap the axe with a hammer and a studio with my living room you have an idea of how fucked up this night had become.

Shelly Duvall in the movie the shining
Famous heres Johnny scene from the movie

Clem was losing all control and Trish naturally went to her children to protect them. He threw her across the room like a rag doll and picked Ezra up and ran for the door.

Trisha was screaming and crying and I could her saying give me him back. He was screaming at her and telling Teddy to come with him and as you can imagine Teddy wanted no part in this.

The angrier he got the more scared Ezra was getting and suddenly he came to his senses.
He put Ezra down and scanned the room like a wolf assessing the damage that he had done.

He was looking for any more potential threats and in his mind, as the adrenaline left his body it’s like he had had a moment of clarity.
For a split second, there was regret in his eyes followed quickly by fear he bolted for the door and ran up the road like the T1000 from Terminator.

T1000 in Terminator 2

Carol somehow got all of the kids to calm down very quickly and assess the damage and to see if anyone was hurt.
She told Tricia she had to go home and she would call the police so they would be there when she got back.

It wasn’t that she didn’t want to help her friend but it was the danger that had come to her door.
She helped to pack Tricias things in silence and in all honesty nobody had a lot to say that night.

There isn’t much that can top that especially when you’re a kid.
Now I don’t know the exact details of what happened next but unfortunately, Trisha went back to Clem.

I’m not sure if she went to a refuge or what the deal was but I know the law was different back then in regards to domestic violence.
Back in the 80s, all that had to happen was the woman would drop the charges and the police were powerless to do anything.

I’m friends with several long-standing police and they told me they had seen cases like this and it was heartbreaking to see as the police were powerless to stop it.

Now the law has changed and the police themselves can press charges if they feel it appropriate. This has helped many women but it’s not a perfect fix.

In 2020 the law was changed which I’ve enclosed in a link below and as shocking as it is that it’s taken this long to implement I’m a firm believer in better late than never.

https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/domestic-abuse-bill-uk-passed-need-to-know/

Another good implementation of the law concerning domestic violence is Claire’s law which was brought into action in 2014.


Claire Wood was murdered by a partner who was known to be dangerous.
Clare’s Law has two main elements: a ‘right to ask’, which allows members of the public, including a domestic partner, to request information from the police about a potential abuser; and a ‘right to know’, which, in certain circumstances, permits police to disclose such information to the public on their own initiative.

Claire’s law has been very successful since its launch in 2014 with more information listed in the link below about when it has potentially saved lives

https://www.cosmopolitan.com/uk/reports/news/a32956/statistics-prove-clares-law-huge-difference-women/

Now if only time travel had been invented then it would have been a lot easier to make Clem face what he had done but fate had other ideas.

He never saw any charges for what he had done and within a couple of weeks, he was back in the big bed with his feet under the table like nothing had happened.

Now what was the most tragic from all of this is Carol had tried to help her friend in her darkest hour and now she had become the villain.

She didn’t shout it from the rooftops but when people come to the house and see a huge hole in the door at the head height it proves to be a talking point.

Tricia would claim it didn’t happen and Carol just denied all knowledge even at one point saying she wasn’t even there.


She was being coached by Clem as well as trying to make her marriage work for the sake of her kids.

As shitty as she was to mum she was in a horrible position and I would not wish that on my worst enemy.

Trisha finally left Clem a few years later but it was too late between her and Carol. Trish had committed so much with the lies in a bid to discredit Carol for many years.

Not only that she had become very nasty as well telling anyone who would listen how much of a liar and a cunt Carol was.
There is no going back from something like that and Tricia knew it.

Carol said to me a few times that it would never be the same between them but she never once apologised for all the shit she said about me which wasn’t true so how can I build anything with her.

Trisha for years worked in Asda close to our home and I used to see her from time to time she always said hello and spoke to me.
I was as polite as I could be but after that night there wasn’t a lot to talk about.

She took Ezra and Teddy and they moved to Warrington and like many people before the age of mobile phones fell off the radar completely.
Carol ran into the three of them at a funeral a few years ago. Trisha recognised her and tried to smile at Carol.

Carol nodded and smiled back and they didn’t speak a word to each other.
I know Teddy was in university in Warrington and he dropped out in his third year due to his drinking and partying and now works as a decorator.

Ezra, I can’t remember what he does and I believe Trisha is now retired but I haven’t seen or spoken to them in years. I wish them well whatever they are up to and there is no bad blood from me.

Now what happened to Clem is a fine example of you reap what you sow and alcoholic or not that man had a lot of bad karma. I would never wish him harm but he hurt a lot of people over the years and it came back to haunt him.

He came back to our house a week later at midnight when I was in bed and banged on the window. As you can imagine Carol was terrified.

Fuck off Clem I’ve phoned the police

No Carol I’m not here for that

I’m not interested to go away

I thought you would have a house full of people that’s why I came


What do you want?

I just want to tell you no more mind games

Then he disappeared into the night. He never knocked again but I would see him regularly in the village pissed as fuck.
Each time he looked a little worse for wear.

Nobody was looking after him or cooking him good meals and not seeing his kids was taking its toll.

He tried to be pals with me a few times in the village when I bumped into him and I was polite as I knew he could change but like with Trish I didn’t have a lot to talk about.
He followed me into the off-license one day

Alright Arlo

Hello Clem

He picks up a can of larger

Do you want a drink

It’s ok I’ve got one I say holding up a bottle of coke

I meant a proper drink

No thanks

Why not?

Because I’m ten mate

it’s ok I won’t tell

no thanks mate

With that, I left the shop and went home quickly. The stuff he was drinking was only drank by teenagers in the park or homeless people.
Not long after he ended up in an argument with a friend of my mums called Martin.

Now Martin isn’t a hard guy but he knows a lot of bad people and to top that he’s no idiot.
Martin ended up beating the fuck out of Clem in the middle of Lark lane and nobody broke it up.

Clem got booted up and down the road as he kept spoiling for a fight with Martin.
Now Martin was trying to avoid this and knew what had happened and just unloaded on him.

It should be noted that Martin tried to walk away at first but Clem saw this as a weakness which was a huge mistake on his part.
Martin jumped in a taxi and left Clem in a pool of his blood missing a few teeth.

There was a couple of threatening phone calls and talk of repercussion but Martin wasn’t worried and said if you want to do it again just tell me when and where and ill give you a shot at the title.

Unsurprisingly Clem didn’t want to know he was only tough when he was bullying people.
He didn’t exclusively hit women but with men, he picked his mark and had been locked up a couple of times over the years.

A couple of years later Clem drank himself to death I’m not sure the cause of death but it was to do with his liver.
I’m sorry he never sorted himself out and he died in such a bad place but he wasn’t willing to take the first step.

It should also be noted nobody gets like that overnight there is a series of wrong turns and trauma that get someone to that state of mind.
I know nothing about his background but ill bet my last pound there alcohol and violence played a huge part in his upbringing.

The dusk had finally started to settle and the door in the living room had been replaced.
Next thing a postcard came through the door. My mum collected the postcard handed it to me as said Arlo this is for you.

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.

https://www.readandspell.com/different-types-of-dyslexia


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.

https://childmind.org/article/brian-grazer-on-growing-up-with-dyslexia/


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?

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-50095218


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.

https://jjhq.co.uk/team-jj/


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.

https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/five-years-jail-crash-driver-3480876


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.

E20 A new home

We pulled into our new street in Woolton village and began to unload Johns van.
Mums friends Abdullah and his brother Ibraham had also come to lend a hand.


I probably should have introduced these earlier in the story but with so much that has happened so far, I will occasionally miss things and have to introduce them later on.


When we lived in Parkfield road my mum was friends with a woman called Christine Burke.
Christine was always really nice to me when I was a kid and had a daughter who was two years older than me called Maryam.


When mum was working I would likely be in Christine’s house and Maryam was glad of the company as she had no siblings to play with.
Anyway, Maryam’s dad was a guy called Majid, and Abdullah and Ibrham were his mates so we were all in the same circle together.


It should be noted Majid had gone back to Iran and I never met him and neither did Carol.


Abdullah was a really lovely guy who always took an interest in me. He used to buy me a nice present on my birthday and he was always smiling and grateful for everything.


He was in Liverpool and a student in Riversdale college which is now part of LJMU university.
He was an officer in the UAE navy and at the time many students were in Liverpool getting their nautical qualifications from an outside governing body.


I’m not entirely sure why Liverpool was the chosen place but it’s probably regarding the docks and the huge part they used to play in Liverpool for many years.

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-merseyside-34859007


Many of the amazing buildings of Liverpool were made from the revenue that the docks brought into the city over hundreds of years.
Liverpool did business all over the world and unfortunately, a lot of that came from the slave trade.


Although Liverpool was late to enter this trade by 1740 they had surpassed both Bristol and London in revenue and business being done and became the slave-trading capital of Britain.

https://www.historytoday.com/history-matters/liverpool%E2%80%99s-slave-trade-legacy


In the 1980s when the Thatcher government used European structural funds to close shipyards, and docks rather than funding investment that would have allowed Britain to compete in the global marketplace for shipbuilding orders against other countries.

https://www.politicshome.com/members/article/thatcher-blamed-for-shipyard-decline


Liverpool relied heavily on its docks and the conditions and pay were getting much worse which caused the dockers to strike.
It was after Margaret Thatcher had ended the strike when we started laying people off and outsourcing so many local jobs which sent the city into further decline.


Before this was set in motion there were many people exactly like Abdullah and Ibraham here to work because of the rich history of the city and the money due to the sprawling docks.


We remained close with Abdullah and his brother for years and I think the last time I saw him I was 13

Ibriham left the author centre and Abdullah right


Abdullah got married and had a daughter called Hannah who I met once when she was very little.
He disappeared back into the UAE and god only knows what happened to Ibraham.


I asked mum why she hadn’t looked him up and she told me she had tried but looking for someone called Abdullah on Facebook is on par when you tried to find your school friend Carl Johnson.


OK, mum point taken it’s a needle in a haystack. Wherever they both are now I hope they are well as they are good people.
Christine retired a few years ago and still lives in Liverpool. She is on my Facebook and is doing well.


She and Carol lost touch there was no falling out but it sometimes happens like that with friends.


My buddy described it perfectly to me he said it’s like waiters in a restaurant are always coming and going. Some will be with you forever some a few years and others are just passing through.


Maryam became a hairdresser and has a very successful shop on Aigburth road called Icon.

Icon on Aigburth road


She has had it for years and is doing ok. We speak occasionally on Facebook she has two kids and is happy.
We don’t talk as much as id like but it’s understandable as life gets in the way sometimes.

I have been away for years and she is busy being a mum and a businesswoman so it’s not the end of the world.

Maryam two years ago


So we moved in in August and the landlord was not joking the kitchen was two cupboards and a sink.


There was 1970s style lino everywhere and it was freezing. Luckily for me, I was an expert at being cold from my time living in Toxteth so it didn’t take long for me to adapt and become an Eskimo again.


It was about a year before we got any stair carpet and if I remember rightly about 4 years before we got central heating.
We got by like many did with a tiny gas fire in the Living room which is still there to this day but very seldom gets used.

old style gas fire similar to what we have


We also like many people of the 80s had a Calor gas heater.
Even as a kid I realised how dangerous these things were.
Health and safety regulations were non-existent in 1987 and it was always on the news about someone burning their house down with one of these death traps.

death trap fires of the 70s and 80s


They are still in business to this day but now there are multiple safeguards in place which make it a lot harder to set yourself on fire.
Back then it was a very wait and see approach.
We like many other families had two choices of either freezing to death or take your chances with Calor gas. We took our chances and luckily came out fine.


Now, mum had got herself a job in a local pub which she had for a few months before deciding to quit but the pub was in Gateacre village which was close to where Nan lived.
We had been in Woolton a few months and things had started to calm down a lot.


I had gone into the final year of infants and I had made new friends quickly.
I had enrolled in Woolton Country Primary school and here I would stay until I went to secondary school.


The school, system has changed now so ill explain how it used to work.
You would start in infants when you were 5 and spend three years there.
You then went onto Juniors which was for 4 years and then you went onto secondary school or as the Americans call it high school.


You stay here until you are 16 and then you could leave or you could stay on and do A levels which would be the obvious choice if you were going to university. That path was not an option for me for many years which I will explain further in later blogs.


Carol had bumped into Helen in the village unexpectedly one day and they hadn’t spoken for over a year.
I need to make it clear that none of this hostility was coming from Carol it was Helen and Helen was only interested in herself.


A normal grandmother would think wow I have not seen my grandson for over a year but in Helen’s mind, it was all Carol’s fault and that was keeping her away from her darling grandson.


They arranged to meet the next day for a coffee and a chat and at the very least reach some common ground.
Helen loved this as she could still play the victim card and make out she was being the benevolent mother by granting carol an audience.


They chatted and had coffee and Helen was listening but no accepting any responsibility.
Carol asked her how she could turn her back on us when we needed her most.


Helen didn’t really have an answer as she knew no matter what answer she gave it would destroy the illusion of perfection she had created in her own mind of herself.
Carol realised she was asking the wrong questions and decided to simplify things a little


Look I understand you were angry with me mum but you couldn’t even put a tenner through the door?


Oh, I didn’t bother as I didn’t think it would be enough.


Even typing this all these years later I’m blown away by the attitude Helen had.
Many times in these early days it was a real struggle to have food on the table. There was literally no money and at times I don’t know how Carol held it together.


This was soul-destroying for Carol as it brought back many bad memories between her and her mother.


It should be noted before we move on whenever Carol has ever borrowed money from anyone it didn’t matter if they were family or not she has always paid it back without any issue which is what makes stuff like this hurt even more.


Only a few years ago when we were getting ready to leave Isaac street things were a lot worse in fact things were desperate.
Carol was leaving my dad John and doing it while he was still in prison and every penny counted.


We had electricity which was about to get cut off the next day and there was no food in the fridge.
She rang up Helen one day and told her the situation and right away Helen used this to her advantage.


She went into the whole I can’t believe you’re leaving your husband and what kind of person are you routine when deep down all of this hatred past to Carol was about herself and what happened which is spoken about in earlier blogs.


It should be noted as well when Tom Helen’s husband had died he made sure through his will and various insurance policies that Helen was very well taken care of financially.


She was mortgage-free in a lovely home full of new furniture and the only thing she really had to buy was food.


So Carol calls her and asks her for a short term loan of one hundred pounds. Helen answers


Ok, then I suppose I can struggle by this week and tighten my belt.


What do you mean struggle by Helen I don’t understand?


Oh, it’s ok dear ill go to the post office for you and get my little bit of money and ill give it to you. Don’t worry ill be fine.


If you cant do it just say so instead of all this


No, it’s OK I cant see my daughter go without I’ve spent my whole life sacrificing everything for you so why stop now.


She then hung up the phone and refused to answer when Carol tried to call back.
It was a lot easier to do this back then as it was all landline phones so you could easily go into the other room and ignore it or better yet unplug the phone.
Thirty minutes later carol got another call


Hello


Don’t hello me what the hell do you think your playing at?


OK, who is this?


This is auntie Dot (Helen’s sister) you have got some nerve young lady?


I don’t understand dot and besides whats, it got to do with you?


How dare you speak to me like that and how dare you harass your mum for money what the hell is wrong with you?


Are you serious right now I’m asking to loan some money or me and Arlo will have no food or electricity?


How is that Helen’s problem can’t you just sell something


Sell something? OK Dot what should I sell?


Well last time I came to see you


18 months ago Carol interrupted


The last time I came to see you there was a lovely nest of tables in your living room you could sell them first.


Carol was blown away that her own family was treated so badly especially in her greatest hour of need.


Ok, Dot, you want me to sell a nest of tables and whatever else I can manage in the next 24 hours just so Helen does not have to dip into her savings for 2 weeks is that right yeah?


Don’t talk back to me young lady and lose your attitude this is your problem not your mother’s so work it out and don’t let me hear of you harassing my sister for money again.


Dot slammed the phone all pleased with herself and Carol and Helen had no contact with each other for almost two years.
Like always though Carol somehow managed to get the money together and we didn’t go without food or electricity.


So Carol was trying her utmost to mend fences with her mum and seemed to be failing miserably.


Carol invited her to my eighth birthday which was the next day and she reluctantly agreed which is understandable as she probably had a full day of feeling sorry for herself all planned out.


So the fence was mended for the moment and Carol could concentrate on getting my party-ready.
She asked me what type of cake I wanted and without thinking, I said Thomas the tank engine and she said OK no problem.


She managed to get me a Thomas the Tank engine cake made.
In the days of the internet that would be pretty simple but back in 1987 that took some doing and I was so happy with this.

The author with his Thomas cake
Thomas the tank engine

Thomas the tank engine introduction back in the 80s


Anyway, the day of my birthday comes and Carol goes to collect me from school to find out I’ve already gone.
In today’s modern age there are safeguards against this happening but back then they were nonexistent.


So as you can imagine Carol was panicking.
The school let her come in and use the phone and whoever was home and answered the phone had not seen me.


Remember this is the days before mobile phones so things like this could prove a serious problem.
Everyone was looking for me around Woolton Village and she was terrified that I had been Kidnapped again.


This fun game went on for about half an hour when she started to walk home to contact the police and try to trace my last steps.
Carol is in tears because with everything that has happened it would be hard for her not to assume the worst.
She walks up the road and I’m sat on the doorstep with Helen next to me


Hello Darling


What the fuck are you doing?


What do you mean what’s wrong?


I’ve been out of my mind with worry why the fuck didn’t you tell me you were going to pick Arlo up from school?


Oh I didn’t want to bother you


You didn’t want to bother me are you fucking serious how can you not see the issue here are you stupid?


Stupid for trying to help you?


Stupid because you have never picked him up from school before and now do with without telling me. What am I supposed to think?


Then just like that Helen stormed off up the road in a flood of crocodile tears
Carol ran after her and tried to calm her down


I’m so sorry mum I just got a horrible fright


Oh, my goodness that’s no way to speak to your mother. I’ve never ever been spoken to like that.


Mum, you know everything that has happened in the past few years surely you can see why I reacted like this.


I don’t care I’m so upset I can do this anymore


Just like that, she disappeared up the road with both of us having no idea when we would see her again.
Give Carol her due she composed herself quickly and made me forget all about Helen very quickly and got me all excited for my party.


Helen would be spinning in her grave reading this as she was counting and making it all about her and me and mum having our day ruined.
I had invited about forty kids to my party and they turned up with cards and presents and there was a mountain of food and drink.


We had the best party ever and soon this turned into a water fight then a food fight and then we ate more candy and ran around like 8 years old do when loaded with sugar.


It was then I told everyone about my pet snake and nobody believed me.
So we marched upstairs so I could show them my king cobra.

King Cobra


I went upstairs with Danny Meers, Andy, Edgar, and Trevor Steel.
I told everyone they had to be quiet and we crept upstairs like a team of ninjas.
It was getting dark and there were no bulbs upstairs. So it was pretty dark but we could just about see what we were doing.


We got to the top floor and told the boys to be quiet as the snake sometimes gets out of his tank and I have forgotten to feed him that day.
All the lads are looking at me shitting themselves thinking what the fuck am I doing here and why did I agree to this?


We get into the upstairs living room which was a junk room at the time and my heart sank the old fish tank was empty.


Everyone keep still and don’t make a sound I whispered harshly.
All you could hear was the serious heavy breathing out of the lads on the suicide mission.


All of them trying to slowly back out of the junk room before it was too late
Then I noticed some movement out the corner of my eye.


THERE IS IT I shouted and dived on the coach and started wrestling.
STAY STILL STAY STILL DONT MOVE OH SHIT


Then a threw an old leather jacket at Danny Meers he caught it instinctively and screamed all of the lads ran downstairs screaming.
About halfway down they realised I have fucked them over and they were furious but a little relieved that I had not thrown a live snake at them.


With that mum appeared


What’s going on with you boys?


The poor lads looked like they had been raped


Nothing nothing at all


Ok well stay downstairs


Ok no problem we don’t want to go upstairs anymore


They all went downstairs without a second word and I spent the next ten minutes in hysterics.

The author left Andy Ronan right and Ben Lawton front
Steven left Mum middle and the author right


They came around about half an hour later and laughed and Danny Meers still tells that story with fear in his eyes to this day.


Finally, it was time to go and all of the kids left it had been the best birthday party ever and Helen was not given a second thought.
It just goes to show how important it is to make the best of things whenever you can and not to let anyone else steal your sunshine.

E19 On the road again

We had been back from the holiday for a couple of months and life overall was really good.
We had a nice stable home and mum was managing to support us both.


I had made new friends in ST Michael’s school and the area we lived in was a huge improvement from where we had come from.


Life was about to throw us a huge curve ball but then what else is new?
As messed up as it sounds there are plenty of people who have much worse problems but still it isn’t nice when it happens to you or your family.
I think bad stuff intensifies when there is a lack of support.


I’ve mentioned my grandmother Helen in earlier blogs and she honestly didn’t give a shit about Carol.
That has to have had a huge impact on mum. Granted as hard as life was for me growing up at least I was always loved and I always had a support system.


Granted things were incredibly strained with me and my dad John for years but I knew in his own way he did love me he just had no idea how to show it due to his broken programming.


I found a very interesting article which I’ve put the link below and the crazy thing is Helen was 5 out of 6 of the given examples.


The study of psychology is still in its infancy in my opinion but it would be a treasure of information if she was given the option to get better. Unfortunately, now we will never know and to be fair she would not have taken the help as the problem was not her it was always the rest of the world.

https://toxicties.com/parents-dont-love-their-children/


The above article was very fitting about Mum’s relationship with Helen and I’ve found a more appropriate link for my relationship with my grandmother which I’ve put below.
I take no pleasure in writing this and I hope in death she got some of the peace she was never able to obtain in life.

https://brightside.me/inspiration-family-and-kids/7-signs-your-kids-have-toxic-grandparents-and-what-you-can-do-about-it-795350/


Now, unfortunately, Carol had got a little too comfortable in Aigburth and she had got into relaxed habits.
She used to park the car outside the flat downstairs but had to change that because of what had happened in the past.


If John saw the car this was before the legal issues he would then come to the window and start screaming abuse to her.


This would sometimes go on for hours and the police at the time didn’t see this as an issue. So on a good day, they would send out a unit who would move him on, and then he would return without consequence.


The legal battle had long finished and John hadn’t been around for a while.
So Carol assumed that all of the fun and games between them was over. Well, you know what they say about assumption being the mother of all fuck ups?


We were on our way to school one day and we get in the car and nothing no power.
Mum can’t figure this out as the car had been working fine for months. We had nicknamed the car the frog it was luminous green and had the same shape.


It felt like it was made out of tinfoil and driving on the motorway was scary at the best of times especially when a HGV drove past.
No matter how many times she turned the car over it was dead so she figured we must have a flat battery.


We walked to school and I was late but it wasn’t the end of the world and it hardly ever happened so the teachers didn’t mind.


Carol got her friend to look at the car that night and he couldn’t find anything obviously wrong with the car but still, there was no power.
Then he figured out the problem and it was no easy fix.


The petrol was not able to burn so the engine could not start. This was because someone had put an entire bag of sugar and then a lot of sand into the petrol tank.
The car would cost hundreds to fix and that was worth more than the car.


We never had any confirmation like the other incidents who this was but who else would it be?
We had no other issues with anyone else in that area and now it looked like this was about to start all over again.


Carol’s world fell apart, this wasn’t just the car it was the fact she could not seem to break away completely from her ex.
No matter what she did he would hit back and harder and just wouldn’t move on as then he would have to admit he played his part in all of this.


The police didn’t give a shit, money was so tight and her mother wouldn’t help at all.
She had to come up with a plan and fast because this would have gone on forever.
My dad got with another girl not long after all this and they stayed together until he died in 2010.


She is still alive and has retired now. She contacted me recently to say happy birthday and to tell me I was seeing things through rose-coloured glasses.
She also went on to tell me that she does not want to be mentioned in any of the blogs because I don’t know the full extent of what happened.


I told her that I and John were OK at the time of his death and I had forgiven him. She is adamant I don’t know the full facts.
There are always two sides to a story granted but there was nothing rose-coloured about what I saw.


I am writing this blog from what I saw first hand and what I remember.
A correction I made was when I got the ages of my dad’s brothers wrong but this information is what I was given by John himself not something I just made up on the spot.


I also pointed out I was left to figure out a lot of stuff by myself and everyone was OK with that.
I also pointed out she had only read some of the blogs if she read all of them she would have a much clearer picture.


While I can understand her point of view I have had no reason to question the information I’ve been given so far.
I did say if I return to the UK I would happily meet with her and hear her side and that’s only fair.


I asked her why she was so adamant about not being in the story as she was always good to me and I didn’t have anything bad to write about her.
I cant write her out of the story completely but I will keep her identity secret so we will call her Sandy.


She does not come into the story until a little later and there is a lot of people not just from my family whose identity I will change for security reasons or it would bring trouble to their door if their past actions came out.


Carol walked into the landlord’s office and asked if there were any two-bedroom flats available close to where we were living.
He laughed as he didn’t realise all of the stress Carol was under and it would be harder to get a better flat than where we lived.


Carol ended up breaking down in his office as everything was so hopeless and she was at her wit’s end.
The landlord Clement Evans has properties all over Liverpool and he had realised that he had been incredibly insensitive.


He calmed her down and told her it would be OK and he said to her I have a big house in Woolton Village.
It is split in half and the other half is a block of flats. We plan to renovate this into flats in the next year or so would you be interested in this?


Carol jumped at the chance she needed a plan and quickly and now suddenly there was a glimmer of hope.


He told her the place is like a building sire right now but we will start work if you’re interested as it will need a new kitchen.
I wouldn’t offer this out but I see you need to move.


One thing though don’t get too comfortable here I will want it back in the next couple of years.
Carol willingly agreed but things did not work out that way and Carol still lives in this house over thirty years later.


She has spent a considerable amount of her own money on this place and made it into a beautiful home.
I don’t see her staying there forever as when she finishes one room then the other needs attention but that’s the price you pay when you live in old houses.


So it was time to move again and we seemed to do it in super quick time. I remember having to come back and get the rest of my toys as there was a lot I’ve accumulated over the years.


I also think that mum didn’t tell me to get rid of any of them as she probably realised how unhealthy this had become so she let me bring whatever I wanted.
This time though she didn’t tell John where she was going.


To be fair I can understand how this would push John over the edge but what choice did she have?
Two sides of a story or not what kind of man would go above and beyond the call to hurt someone financially and not see that it would affect his son as well.


It’s one thing to not contribute to your kid but to then write off the car and burgle the house as well as use threats and intimidation then we on a whole other level.
I know Sandy is probably pissed off reading this but this is the stuff that I remember first hand it was not spoon-fed to me.


John was never bad mouthed to me when it was quite the opposite when I was in his house especially during the legal battle when he spent all the time in his flat trying to poison me against Carol.


What also should be factored into Sandy’s opinion is she saw a whole other side to him. When they met she had her place with her name on the rent book.
He couldn’t exactly turn up when she was so established and start throwing his weight around.


He did have a lovely side and was very charming and they seemed to click together.
He got himself a job and was a builder for many years.
He still did the odd little thing here and there but he went to work everyday which makes a huge difference to your mental health.


Also when you have a steady wage coming in you don’t make stupid mistakes out of desperation just to buy essentials.


Anyway back to the story, we packed up everything and I took a last look at Parkfield Road.
I had no idea what to expect living in Woolton. It’s a nice area but it was still starting again so it was going to be very interesting.


We pulled into our new street in Woolton which was very close to Woolton woods and began to unload the van with John Coomes.


I didn’t know at the time but we would not move again from this place and we were able to start laying down some proper roots.

woolton village
woolton village