E18 Back to reality

We were having the time of our lives in Spain and we didn’t want it to end.
We had a plan on how to get home as everyone flew into Spain or out of Spain on a Tuesday. This was the change over day.


Mum had also totally underestimated the exchange rate of the British pound when converted into Spanish Pesetas.

Old Spanish money this was worth about 54 pounds


She had one hundred pounds left in her purse and you have to remember this was 1987.
Even back home which was way more expensive than Spain one hundred pounds went a lot further than it does today.


In today’s money, it had the same spending power of two hundred and forty pounds but then we were in Spain so it went further still.
Spain lost the Peseta in 2002 when it changed over to Euros.


This for a time was great because the British pound was very strong and the euro was a new currency and not so stable.


I remember going to Zante with the lads in 2011 which I will write about in later blogs and the exchange rate was 1.5 so for example if you changed one thousand pounds you would get one thousand five hundred pounds back.


Exchange rates like this don’t last forever and with the pound getting weaker and the Euro getting strong I think currently the exchange rate is around 1.1.
So it’s a little bonus but certainly, nothing to write home about.


So we were spending our last couple of days by the pool with our new holiday friends really happy but a bit sad as we knew this would have to come to an end.
We packed our things on the last night and made our way to the airport.


I took one last look at the pool and the hotel and even as a kid thought to myself why wouldn’t everyone want to live here?
It was a big deal back then to leave the UK and come live in Spain or another country.


So many criminals of the time would make some money and disappear to Spain never to be seen again.
The world these days is a much smaller place and Spain is now not so far away.


Seventy-five of the eighty-six and Britain’s most wanted criminals who have fled to Spain have been caught and brought back to Britain.
People see movies like Sexy Beast with Ray Winstone and think that could be them but a lot has changed mainly due to technology.


Another film which captures the appeal of Spain to criminals in the 80s is called The Business see the trailers below and they are both fantastic films. The link below provides a very interesting insight on the changes in Spain over the years.

https://www.vice.com/en/article/dp5bby/jason-coghlan-jacoglaw-marbella-costa-del-sol-crime


Sexy beast a great film about a criminal who retires in Spain

Another great movie that shows what happened in 80s Spain

Many years ago people would move to Spain and they may call home once a week for five minutes. This call would cost about ten pounds and gradually people would lose touch with people from back home.


Now you can Skype, What’s App, Face time and it’s all for free.
That and apps such as Facebook and smartphones which can give our exact location unless you went totally off the grid its a lot harder to disappear now.


Even for people who are not criminals the rise of the internet you can book yourself a flight and leave the same night all in very little time and quite cheaply.
So a lot more ordinary people are taking more holidays and making memories but in 1987 this was not so common.


We get to the airport and wait in line normally as in there was nothing wrong and we come to check in our bags.
The agent tells us that we have missed our flights and that our flights were three days ago.


Then mum acting really surprised starts an argument nothing aggressive but saying surely you have made a mistake and I don’t understand this?
Then when this was going backward and forwards a little Carol went into the lie that we had prepared.


Oh my god I can’t believe it

Cat believe what


Look I am dyslexic and I’ve got the numbers mixed up


I don’t understand how that’s possible?

Look my son told me this morning as he has to read for me as I can’t understand a lot of this paperwork without him I would be lost


Then mum quickly adds which throws the agents off


Look I told the travel agent about this and they assured me that this wouldn’t be an issue. I can’t believe our first holiday away and this has happened.


Please don’t worry this is an unusual case but I’m sure we can figure something out.


Please I need to get home I don’t have the money for another ticket.


Ok go over there and let me speak to my boss we will figure this out don’t worry.


Thank you so much I’m so sorry.


Don’t worry we will fix this


Now we had to sit and wait and you better believe it we were here for hours and hours.

Leaving this behind was grim
not a good swap


Now Carol hadn’t realised but she had completely fucked herself over.
In the cover story to get us home, she was completely illiterate.
She could not read a book or a magazine and that hundred pounds she had left was running out rapidly.


The airport is a very bleak place without money and especially with an 8-year-old who is full of energy.


After a couple of hours, the agent came back with some good news.


We can get you home on a flight but you have to pay a small charge.

That’s no problem thank you so much


The best we can do is Bristol airport


Why can’t you put us on standby for another flight?

The agent showed us a group of 200 people and explained they were all on standby before us and some of them had been waiting for 2 days.
With mum having me there it was not possible especially with no money.


People should understand there were no ATM machines around either and even if there was they would not accept a card from Britain so it was in many ways like the dark ages.


You could get people to send money via Western Union but it wasn’t straightforward whatsoever.


So we chilled out for a couple of hours and later that night we boarded our plane home.
Well home as in the UK clearly Bristol is a long way from home.
The only reason we were able to pull off this lie was due to poor technology.


In modern-day everything can be checked with the touch of a button and you cant get away with anything.
Even when you have made a genuine mistake most of the time the airlines will just tell you to fuck off.


We were back in the olden days though and people would actually post letters and it would take so much more planning to make these holidays happen.
There was a lot of miscommunication and a lot of times the travel companies and the airlines didn’t communicate well so we used this to our advantage.


I remember being sat on the plane ready to go home and there not being any of the initial excitement like when we were arriving.
This was the only family holiday me and mum had so thankfully it was the best experience ever.


When I moved to Zante in 2014 with the view of buying a bar she came out for a week to see me and that was also really nice but it was a big gap between holidays and it just reinforces what I’ve said in other blogs about making the most of the time you have.


We landed in Bristol and needed to get to the bus station and got into a conversation with a young couple just coming home from their honeymoon.
We ended up sharing a taxi to the bus station with them and they disappeared into the crowd of people all wanting to get home.


Unfortunately, all of the coaches to Liverpool were full so we had to get a coach to Birmingham and try again when we got there as this was the main bus depot and there would likely be more buses heading north.

I slept most of the way to Birmingham as I had been on many bus journeys and there was nothing exciting about hours of travel.
We got to Birmingham and got a connecting bus to Liverpool.
Carol was panicking at this stage as her money was disappearing fast.


We had also got back to Britain where everything was so expensive again so we had to get home and then she could walk into the bank and get some money out and be solvent again.


I honestly don’t understand how people used to manage like this.
If you run out of money on a night out if your mate couldn’t loan you then your night was over.


The flip side to that was that more people used to drink locally so it would be a case of walking home and getting more money.
A lot of the local pubs of the day have closed for good but below in the link shows some great Liverpool pubs that are still here and going strong.

https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/whats-on/food-drink-news/14-old-school-liverpool-pubs-12293593


Still people today really don’t understand how lucky they are with all of these things that we myself included are just taken for granted.
Another thing that is completely taken for granted is shops always being open.


I remember telling my mate’s sister whos 19 that on a Wednesday afternoon or on a Sunday everything was shut.
She thought this was hilarious and wasn’t really having it saying things like you could just go down to Asda.
Fucks sake girl Asda didn’t exist.


So we pull into Liverpool finally and get off the bus with all of our luggage.
England really didn’t let us down it was pissing down and freezing. You can always count on the British weather to bring you back to reality with a short sharp shock.


Carol had twenty pence left so she had to hope whoever she rang to come to pick us up would be home as this was long before the days of mobile phones.
She rang John Coomes and he came to pick us up and within twenty minutes he turned up in his van to take us home.


John was an interesting character but he died about 15 years ago, unfortunately.
I don’t have any pictures of him but mum bought me a He-Man money box which is the absolute ringer for him, well without the muscles.

John Coomes moneybox


John had made his money in the 60s and 70s smuggling hash from places like Morocco and Turkey back into the UK.
He was involved in antiques and had his fingers in a few pies.


He was a cool guy but shockingly mean he could peel an orange in his pocket.
He had so many cool stories and it was sad but no surprise when he died. He hadn’t taken care of himself and I think one day his heart just stopped.

I would have to get clarification on how he died but it was a shame either way.
We pulled into Parkfield road and I realised Knightrider was starting in 5 minutes.
This was my favorite TV show was huge in the 80s. It starred David Hasselhoff as a criminal who is assassinated.


In reality, though he isn’t and they fake his death and give him a new identity.
He then is given a talking car called KITT and him and his team fight criminals who are above the law.


I don’t care what anyone says but for an 8-year-old that’s good TV.
A word of warning they remade the series and it was given the name Knightrider 2000 and it’s awful.


Even if you only watch the first episode that’s thirty minutes of your life you will never get back.
The original series although it’s incredibly dated is still a great show. The intro music was my ringtone for about 2 years.

The author with the original KITT at comic Conn
Kitt and the car from the movie smokey and the bandit another 80s classic



So we were home and had a great time and I was watching TV and going to be sleeping in my own bed that night.
All seemed a little bit too perfect and you better believe shit was going to be turned upside down very soon.

E17 Worlds Apart

We loaded all of our luggage into the taxi and asked the driver to take us to a hotel for the night. Like I said in the last blog mum hadn’t factored in it is the height of the busy season.


We were driving with the windows wide open and I couldn’t believe how hot it was.
It was night time so it wasn’t unbearable but it was a hell of a lot different from not so sunny Liverpool.


We got to the first hotel and the driver went in with mum and in thirty seconds we realised that there was no room in the inn.

Majorca at night


Luckily he was a nice guy and he must have known to expect this but he was willing to help and got back in the car with mum to drive to another hotel.


We keep hitting these hotels and keep hitting 22 and this now turns into a magical mystery tour.
In all fairness, it was a whole new world from what I was used to seeing back in Liverpool so I was enjoying the show.

Majorca old town


A couple of hotels later I started to get a little cramp in my stomach and couldn’t figure out why as I wasn’t hungry.
We keep trying new places and they keep saying no and the cramp starts to get worse now it’s apparent I need a shit.


Trying my best to ignore it and mask the farts I try really badly to look as innocent as possible and look out the window to try and distract myself.
Ten minutes later I’m weighing up the possibility of jumping out of a moving car and it’s like I’m having contractions.


The car suddenly starts to hit speed and I look up at the sky thinking my God has forsaken me and as nice as this guy is going to be really upset if I shit in his taxi.


For the record, I’ve shit myself in a taxi years later in Germany and the driver wasn’t nearly as understanding.
I could barely talk or function and trying to defend myself while being dragged out of the car was fruitless.


The taxi driver then went through my pockets and takes 50 marks off me.
The fare was about 30 but even in my state, I knew he fucking earnt every penny of that drive.
I then cleaned myself as best I could by using my underwear which was the equivalent of turning up after hurricane Katrina with a dustpan and brush.

Katrina aftermath


I took off my white t-shirt and finished off the job and left it at the side of the road with my underwear like a victim of the crime and walked the 5 miles back to camp in silence.


I got back to camp and Alan Harvey was SGT of the guard.
It was 4 am on a Thursday night and he looked at me disgusted and said I’m not even going to ask.
It’s ok I replied I’m not even going to tell you I said as I walked past the guardroom back to my block.

Oxford Barracks 1998


Back to Spain I’m now doing my utmost to hang on but can’t concentrate on other things and the car grinds to a halt.
Mum looks at me before she gets out and sees I’m struggling.

What’s wrong she asks really concerned.


Mum, I’m desperate for a poo and I have been for ages.


Ok ok, she says let me ask in this hotel if you can use the bathroom.


I calmed myself down and realised there was hope. She came up smiling saying great news they have a room we can stay in and the driver started to unload the car.
Carol pays him and he drives off into the night.



what floor are we on mum?

The third floor

Is there a lift?

Sorry there isn’t

Mum, I can’t hold it.


She gives me the key and I run as my life depended on it up the stairs.
I’m scaling the stairs two at a time determined to make it to the toilet but my body is telling me to give it up.


My momma never raised no quitter I power through and burst into the room like John Mcleese and run screaming into the bathroom.

John Mcleese a year before his death
John Mcleese SAS team during the Iranian embassy siege 1981

I find the small Spanish toilet and begin to decimate the bowl.
The panic is initially over and I find a towel to wipe my forehead as I’m pouring with sweat and catch my breath.


I walk over to the bed and pick up my Beano annual and go to return to this small Spanish toilet.
This carries on for a good few minutes and then I hear my mum reach the top of the stairs laden with bags.


Now I felt for Carol because she went from a serious victory to a serious low in a matter of seconds.
She looks at me with her eyes like saucers which I may add were watering as I had stunk out the room because of the intense heat and rancid smell.


Arlo What are you doing?

I look at her like she’s an idiot and says

I’m pooping what does it look like I’m doing?

She says to me trying to figure out what’s going on in my head

ok son why don’t you poop in the toilet like everyone else?

That’s what I’m doing mum I’m pooping in the Spanish toilet.

That’s when mum realised OK Arlo grew up in Toxteth and he has never left Liverpool it’s not very likely that he’s seen a bidet before.

Bidet


To be fair to her she kept her cool and explained what I had done wrong and she could see that even I was disgusted.
Also, she could see it was a genuine mistake so she was very chilled about it.


She disappeared to reception to get some bleach and other cleaning products. Luckily the guy spoke English and when she was back I had wiped and washed my hands.
I tried to flush the bidet but yes that’s when I figured out that’s not how it works.


So mum came into the room like something from CSI and cleaned up the mountain of shit.
I can’t help but think looking back now that you never see pictures of that in the holiday brochures and if you did you would attract a very different form of clientele.


Now after all of the drama it was late so we got cleaned up and put the air conditioning on and fell asleep.
We both woke up with the sun rising as it was a lot more powerful and we woke up really hot even with the AC on.

We got up and got cleaned up and went downstairs to get breakfast outside by the pool.


I got my full English breakfast and took it outside and was blown away.
Granted Aigburth was a lot nicer than Toxteth but my memories as a child were litter everywhere, being freezing cold, and being surrounded by poverty as Liverpool had been left to rot by Margaret Thatcher’s government.


She had let the city go into a managed decline after the riots which is explained in the links below and it became more derelict by the day in places like Toxteth and other low-income areas.

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-16361170

https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/the-leaving-of-liverpool/

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-merseyside-16355281


I was sat next to a swimming pool surrounded by palm trees in this amazing heat with everyone smiling and so relaxed. I said to my mum I think we are in paradise.

The hotel pool

The author eating breakfast by the pool


I finished my breakfast and asked the man behind the breakfast bar if I was allowed in the pool he laughed and said I can’t think of any reason why not so I jumped in and started playing.


Carol was finally starting to decompress from all of the stress and she was happy seeing me in the pool having fun.
We had to find new accommodation though because the hotel only had a room available for a couple of nights.


There were also a lot of rowdy teenagers and 20-year-olds on holiday so she wanted a place that was more family orientated.


We had a nice day to unwind and then we got the reception to phone around as there was no internet we learned of a place quite close which had a room for 6 nights available.
We packed our stuff and headed to the new place.


It was a British guy in his 40s who owned the place and he was really cool.
He showed us to our new room which had a balcony and luckily there is no more human shit involved in this story.

The author on the balcony


I unpacked my case and went and sat on the balcony and could see a view of the beach and the new pool below. We had 6 more nights in this paradise and I couldn’t believe the difference between Liverpool and Majorca.


The next day I’m hanging out by the pool and the owner comes over to me and asks me if I wanted free cokes.
Obviously, I said yeah and then I started working for him.


I would hang out by the pool and when there were a lot of empty plastic cups I would take them back to the bar.
It was a nice arrangement and when I got fed up after an hour he wouldn’t press me and I must have drunk my own body weight in coke.


Then we discovered the beach which looked like something off the TV show Wish you were here and I was so excited to go play in the sea.

Beach in Majorca


On my first day at the beach a young Spanish lad who didn’t speak any English came over to me and we ended up spending hours building sandcastles together.
He was a little older than me and even though we could not understand each other we played for hours totally fascinated.

The author relaxing on the beach


In all fairness, he was from Majorca so it would probably a normal day for him but I was amazed at how different he looked and how friendly everyone was.
I’ve said it many times racism and hatred are learned behaviour.

Nobody is born hating anyone the picks up destructive toxic habits that are passed from generation to generation.


As fucked up as it is I can be more understanding of this many years ago as many people didn’t know any better and we naturally put up barriers of things we are scared of


However, in the modern information age its mind-blowing that this is still a very prevalent problem.


There are many studies that try to learn about the origins of this like in the link below. Unfortunately, we are a long way from getting rid of this forever.

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40617-020-00411-4


We came back from the beach and we had started to make friends with other people who were on holiday and it was like we had lived there for years.
We went back to the pool and relaxed for the rest of the evening

The author chilling by the pool with his mum
The author with his mum outside the hotel


Just when I thought the holiday couldn’t get any better I found a room with a TV and video.
The owner showed me he had an entire video shop full of new titles.


So as well as having a ball on holiday I could watch a movie every day.
That does not sound like a big deal but in 1987 when Video was still quite new it was a big deal.


So when the sun got a bit much I would go in and watch a movie. This is when I first starting to watch Clint Eastwood movies and they had so many to choose from.

Clyde and Clint in every which way you can


So we would wake up get breakfast, chill out by the pool, go to the beach, I would watch a movie then relax for the evening. It was the best holiday ever and like most holidays I didn’t want it to end.


Now how it worked back then with holidays flights came in on a Tuesday and left on a Tuesday.
We were having the most amazing time and Carol didn’t want it to end as she still had one hundred pounds left in her purse.


Like many people she had underestimated how cheap it was once, we had got her and one hundred pounds went a lot of further back then.
She spoke to the British guy who owned the hotel and he told her sorry the room will be booked as it’s the height of the season.


We had made friends with these two girls from the West Indies who were living in Leeds back in the UK.


They kindly let us stay with them for the night.
They were used to having no room they were 2 out of 11 kids. Their father told them he had wanted a cricket team.

The west indies girls


We spent the night with them after another amazing day and then we moved to another smaller hotel which was not far away which also had its own pool.
We unpacked again and relaxed. The family who owned the hotel was really nice and I used to hang out with their daughter by the pool and was still having a great time.

good people


The time was running out and so was the money so mum had to figure out a way for us to get home and a convincing story as to why we were coming to the airport three days late.


This was pre-internet days so it was easier to get away with stuff like this but still, it had to be a hell of a lie otherwise that would be some serious hitchhiking back to sunny Liverpool.

https://www.vox.com/2015/6/8/8737623/hitchhiking


Hitchhiking is a dying thing but there is an interesting article above which explains how this came about.

E16 We’re all going on a summer holiday

The aftermath of the burglary wasn’t too bad overall.
We claimed on the insurance and they paid out quickly without any question.
This in itself is worth its weight in gold because normally dealing with insurance companies is an absolute nightmare.


Having said that this was 1987 and they were not as clued up regarding scams and rip-offs as they are today.
Unfortunately in modern-day, it’s so extreme that many legit claims are rejected as many people have abused the system over the years.


There will usually be a loophole or some small print and then the company tells you to fuck off.
There are many timeless scams that crooks use to obtain money by deception listed in the link below.

https://www.burtoncopeland.com/news/5-most-common-examples-insurance-fraud/


So Carol for once had a lot of money and most of the stuff that was stolen had already been replaced by generous friends.
So she decided we would have a family holiday in Majorca.


This was a big deal in 1987 believe it or not. Plenty of people went on holiday still but not a patch on the numbers of modern-day people.
You would always hear about a friend going to Teneriffe but in general, the majority of people couldn’t afford this.


So this is all pre-internet days so booking a holiday was like a military operation. The holidays were a lot more expensive as well.
There was no way around this you had to go through a travel agent.


They always took a huge drink for themselves as well and there were travel agents everywhere.
I honestly think if I was twenty years older I would have probably opened up a travel agent it was money for old rope.


The only drawback is that everyone got wise to this quickly so many would open up in each area.


So mum and I looked on Teletext and searched for holidays and had a browse of the prices and figured out where we should go.
For anyone too old to remember this see the picture below.


Teletext was a series of information you could receive through your TV by pressing a button.
You could read the news or follow the weather pretty much anything was on there and there were codes for everything which you used your remote control for.

Teletext


The graphics were piss poor and you could not buy anything off there it was basically a really shit guide to everything.
This would update itself in real-time but I’m surprised it lasted as long as it did.


It was also a lot easier than using a Thompson’s directory or Yellow Pages.
I probably need to explain these as well for all you youngsters reading this.
Pre-internet days if you had a business of any kind you would pay to put it in either of these books.


Once a year every house got a new Yellow Pages and new Thompson’s directory.
So then for example, if you needed a builder to come to your house you would look in one of these books, get his phone number and then he would come and do work.

Yellow pages
Thompson Directory

These books served there purpose but they would usually only have small adds so prices would not be included so then Teletext became the next big thing which is explained more below

https://www.denofgeek.com/tv/the-life-and-death-of-teletext-and-what-happened-next/


We jumped in mum’s car and went to Thomas Cook in town and after about two hours of talking to the staff and looking through catalogues of holidays we were booked to go to Majorca a week from that day.


Now it had become real and it was all very exciting. Mum took me to town got me some shorts and t-shirts. I had no idea what to expect or how different it would be so I just ran with it.

Travel agents in 2010


Unfortunately, Thomas Cooke went into liquidation in 2019 which was a shame as everyone used to book with them and they had most of the market for many years.


A series of poor business decisions and not evolving with the times put the final nails in their coffin which is explained in the link below.

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/thomas-cook-plane-graveyard-aircraft-20636442


Carol as mentioned in earlier bogs had done an extensive bit of travelling from her dancing days.
She had been to many European counties including Russia so she was a lot more switched on than the average travel agent customer.


When I think back to these days it blows my mind. I’ve flown to the other side of the world multiple times and I’ve arranged it all myself via my laptop.
I could have done it on my phone I just find it a lot easier on a big screen with a keyboard but I think saying this I’m really showing my age now.


The day before me and mum pack our cases and mum had arranged for her friend John Coomes to take us to the airport.
Now we had a mountain of paperwork as well as our passports and other things you had to carry back in those days.


It is so much more efficient these days and as a result, a lot fewer mistakes happen by the holidaymakers.
So we wake up early and being our long drive to Birmingham airport.


We had plenty of time to get there and get organised.
This was also pre 9/11 so going to the airport wasn’t as much of a nightmare as it is on a modern-day.


Granted you could get stuck in a long line especially in the summer but it moved quickly and there was no taking off shoes and scanning of laptops and tablets.


I personally do not mind the new measures of today as I have seen the effects of terrorism up close and personal from my time in the military and from working in Iraq as a contractor afterwards.


Below is an informative timeline of the modern-day practices and why they were brought into action

https://www.tsa.gov/timeline


So we pull into Birmingham airport and Carol goes sick and starts to panic.
As so many things kept changing and there was so much paperwork she had got mixed up from where we were leaving from.


We were leaving from East Midlands Airport and now time was against us.
In her defence, this had changed multiple times and the travel agent was constantly on the phone to us trying to upsell extras and the fact he loved the sound of his own voice.


WE drive to the new airport in a blind panic and the quickest way to get there was through the country lanes and not the main roads.
We are making good speed and time is back on our side but then we end up stuck behind a tractor.


This guy had clearly never been in a hurry in his life and even if we could talk to him he had likely never left his farm nor would he ever so we spent a very stressful thirty minutes stuck behind this complete fuckwitt.


We could have overtaken him in hindsight but the odds were more in our favour of hitting another car head-on and dying instantly.


I think we all realised this especially with all of the fucked up stuff which had happened in the past few years.
So I think we all agreed in silence that we would leave it in the hands of the gods.

Not the actual farmer from the day


We pull into the airport which was brand new and tiny.
It was one of those Indiana Jones-type airports which had planes full of chicken and pigs. They had not long been in the commercial flight business.

https://www.flashpack.com/travel/8-things-that-were-great-about-a-holiday-in-the-80s/


There was still stuff being built around us with many guys in overalls drilling and hammering to try and make the terminal more presentable.
We plead with the baggage staff to let us board they say we are welcome to try but they don’t think we would have time.


We run to customs and clear customs quite quickly and we see our plane on the tarmac with everyone on board.
WE run across the runway tarmac which you could not do in modern times and the pilot looks out at us and smiles.


Carol gives him a prayer type sign with her hands which said please let us onboard.
He gives the thumbs up and we hear a voice from behind saying ill take that.
The copilot also walking down the tarmac sees us and takes one of Carol’s small bags. We get on the plane with seconds to spare and strap in ready for take-off.

I had never been on a plane before like many kids my age and to me, this was the equivalent of being on a space shuttle and I must have asked a million questions.
Carol so relieved that we made it was happy to answer as were the many stewardesses on board who went out there way to be nice to me.


We trundled along the tarmac and then we take off which I thought was the best feeling in the world.
None of my friends my age had been to Spain so I remember thinking to myself this is what life must be like for rich people.


I was told by mum that on longer flights there would be a movie and there was a special video player at the front of the plane. I remember thinking to myself only movie stars must get to watch movies on planes.


you have to understand that I had only just got my head around VHS and Betamax. I also can’t stress enough that it was 1987.
Then as we settle into the air and we can take off our seat belts I go to explore. I come back with the best news ever.


Mum you can poo on the plane if you want to and oddly enough she already knew that.
She then had to explain to me that you didn’t poo off the plane and the toilet was emptied when they landed the plane.


All of this was pure gold to a 7-year-old. Then they brought us some food which kept me quiet for a little while.
It comes over the Tannoy we are about to land and we strap in and pull into Spain safely.


We get off the plane and get our bags to which Carol had to explain the system of how the pane was loaded and unloaded and who was responsible.
We got a trolley and got our stuff together and went outside the airport.


It was night time and there were tour buses everywhere and holiday reps holding up signs and people being herded like sheep onto the right bus.
We were not going on the buses as we didn’t know how far our money would go.


Carol had the idea that we could get there and book a place a lot cheaper than through the travel agents.
A package holiday would have taken care of all of this but every time the travel agent exhaled it cost an extra 50 quid so I could understand her thinking here.


In theory, she wasn’t wrong but she hadn’t accounted that this was the height of the holiday season.


We get into a taxi and ask him to take us to a hotel for the night as it was getting late.
No problemo he smiled welcome to Spain. We drive off into the night not knowing what to expect and where we are going to end up.

E15 A breath of fresh air

Things had started to improve drastically for me and mum.
John Bailey at present wasn’t making any problems for us.
He had also dug his own grave in a roundabout way.


Graham Simpson had planned everything like a military operation and as a result, there was no way John could exploit the system again as he had done in the past.
John Bailey was all about abusing the system but to be fair in the environment he had grown up in you could hardly blame him.


It was extremely unlikely at best that he was going to start knuckling down to be a good citizen.
Having said that he knew the difference between right and wrong so a lot of his actions are inexcusable.


It’s one thing to empty the safe at insured jewellers but to hurt your own family just to score points against your ex is just fucked up no matter what way you look at it.


So Carol and Graham were dating and it seemed to be working well at first.
Graham was always working and loved being a solicitor. This was great for him but it didn’t leave a lot of time for anything else.


This is probably the main reason Carol and Graham split up after a year.
It was all amicable and there was no bad blood it had just run its course.


The time they were together Graham was always really nice to me and I was included in everything.
He didn’t try to step in and be a new dad he was just good to me.


I have dated a lot of girls who have had a child and I always did the same thing.
A lot of the time the dad didn’t want to know but still, I just tried my best to be nice.


One thing which breaks my heart and I’ve seen it many times even with girls I am not dating but a girl I know has kids. You give the kid the smallest amount of attention and they are suddenly your best friend.


The reason it’s heartbreaking is that you can see a lot of the time there is absolutely no positive male role model in the kid’s life.
So next thing you come along and you are your normal no bullshit lets have fun self and the kids are all over it.


One thing with kids is that they don’t miss anything and they can see straight through people good and bad.
Kids don’t miss anything and you can’t bullshit them whatsoever.


I feel modern children are losing this second sight now as they are now glued to screens of phones and I pads.
As a result, they end up locked in their cyber world and the world just carries on around them.


There are many studies that are currently in their infancy regarding the effects of too much screen time with children and how it can affect their development in a negative way.


I have enclosed so information in the links below but I feel that twenty years from now we will see many more issues all linked to this.

https://www.news-medical.net/health/Does-Screen-Time-Affect-Childrene28099s-Development.aspx

https://www.healthline.com/health-news/how-does-screen-time-affect-kids-brains


Luckily I grew up before the internet so I could figure a lot of these things out for myself and could see Graham was a nice guy.
We would spend a lot of time in his house and like myself, he was a big fan of 80s TV.


I know I was a kid but you don’t get better TV than back in the 80s. Granted it wasn’t very politically correct nor was it sensitive to anyone but these were the days before 7th place ribbons became a thing.


I remember he had every episode of Miami Vice on video as well and I started it from the very beginning.
So if I was in his house I was good as gold either watching children’s TV or Miami Vice what more could I want?


The show Miami Vice was set during the 80s and followed 2 undercover detectives Sonny Crocket and Ricardo Tubbs as they dismantled the underworld by themselves while driving a sports car on a cop’s salary.


They remade this into a movie in 2006 but was set in modern times and was more dark and gritty than the upbeat TV show.
The film was surprisingly very good and I’m surprised that no sequels came from it.

Miami Vice Tubs Left Sonny Crockett right
Miami Vice Movie 2006
Incredibly dated now but was amazing back in the day


It was around this time Carol had got a new job as well which she could fit in around my school times and looking after me.
Graham had a friend who was also a solicitor who had been banned from driving as he was caught driving over the legal alcohol limit.


His name was Richard he had been convicted of this in the past so the courts threw the book at him.
He was banned for two years so Graham introduced them to each other and soon Carol was his driver.


From what I can remember he was a nice guy but like Graham was never happy unless he was working.
I think it must be a solicitor thing.


My friend and solicitor Richard Darby from Potter Derby solicitors is exactly the same.
He works every hour god sends but by choice. It’s just as well that he isn’t scared of work as he is very popular.


If you in a spot of trouble there is nobody better to have in your corner. He helped me out of a very difficult situation in 2013.

I will talk about this in detail in later blogs but he was amazing.
He has offices in Liverpool, St Helen’s, and London I’ve added the web page below in case anyone needs it.


You will probably laugh at this and think well it won’t happen to me but when it does happen there is no worse feeling so don’t rule it out.

https://www.potter-derby.co.uk/

The best law firm in Liverpool


So Mum would pick me up from school then take me home and feed me. She would then go on to pick up Richard (not Darby) and usually, we would sit in the car and wait for him for about thirty minutes.


It’s sod’s law that he would be walking out the door and the phone would ring. This was in the prehistoric days before mobile phones so he would have to take it.

Phones from the 80s


In true lawyer fashion as well he would be thinking to himself I’m only doing a 70 hour week ill easily fit in another case.
There were mobile phones at the time but they cost thousands. The picture below shows Gordon Gecko from the movie wall street.


This phone took 24 hours to charge and it had a battery life of two hours.
My pal tried to buy one a few years ago and the cheapest price he could find was a thousand pounds so he gave it a miss.

Wall street an excellent movie from the 80s


So we would take Richard home if I remember rightly was in Runcorn then we would either go home or go to see one of mum’s friends like Jill or Nicky Jones and Terry Canning who were both still together at the time.


At the weekends we would do some nice stuff together.
Me Graham and Carol would go on these long nature walks in places like York and Morcombe.


We would walk for hours and find a nice pub to have lunch in then drive back exhausted.


I wish I was at home writing this as I have some pictures of this and this was the healthy energy I needed in my life and I had started to forget the chaos that John had left behind.


I could usually persuade Graham and mum to stop at the video shop on the way home as they knew that would be me quiet for the next few hours glued to the screen.


Another reason I loved going to Grahams is he had a VHS video player. Most of you who are old enough to remember videotapes will know VHS but will have no recollection of Betamax.


Betamax was another form of video and it was in direct competition with VHS. You could not play the tapes on the wrong machine so when you went to the video shop there were two sections VHS and Betamax.


Obviously, VHS won the war and the Betamax but this went on for years. The Betamax section in the video shop got smaller and smaller and eventually, it became obsolete.
The same thing happened years later with VHS and DVD.


It’s surprising that VHS won as the quality of their tapes wasn’t nearly as good as Betamax but they had a better marketing team and as a result, they stayed around for a long time after the Betamax demise.


The tech war between these two could have really gone either way as they were both huge companies competing for the entire market.


I remember being a kid and John Bailey had just come back from doing a job and he was walking upstairs with something that to me looked like had just come off the space shuttle.

Betamax machine we had a fancy model with a wire attached remote control


Dad, what’s that?


It’s a Betamax son


What’s a Betamax dad?


It so we can watch movies and collect movies


So we don’t have to wait for movies to come on the TV anymore?


No there’s a shop where they will rent us movies.


Are you telling fibs dad that sounds silly who would have hundreds of films on standby for people to borrow?


I’m not joking son ill take you tomorrow


Hmmm ok, ill believe it when I see it.

Dad, I was speaking to Billy Riley yesterday and he has something called a VHS is this the same?


My dad starts laughing.


No son this is way better than VHS and I’ve got a mate who let us in the back of the factory where they make these and he told me himself that Betamax is well better and they will be the ones left.


I then was really excited to meet the man who had hundreds of films for me to choose from.

To be fair to John Bailey he took me to this new magical shop the next day and in the evening we all watched escape from Alcatraz together. A great timeless movie and a true story.

The real escapees the movie is based on


I’ve enclosed a fantastic article which speaks about this war in detail below check it out its a very interesting read especially if you are a dinosaur like me.

https://medium.com/swlh/vhs-vs-beta-the-story-of-the-original-format-war-a5fd84668748


Unfortunately, nothing lasts forever and Graham and Carol eventually split up. There was no bad blood and it had just run its course.
They remained friends but it was a lot harder to keep in touch back in those days before the invention of mobiles and social media.


However, when they did see each other it was never awkward and there was no problem for Carol to continue working for Graham’s friend Richard.
Life went on as normal and for a while, things were a little too quiet.


John Bailey had not shown his face for over a year and then decided out the blue to turn up at my school.
The last memories I had of him were all of the fucked up things I spoke about in the last blog.


Now considering all of the vile stuff he was trying to poison me with against Carol had not happened in the year he had been gone I must have figured out subconsciously that this was all his actions.


Obviously, I could not make such a conclusion as a kid but I knew in my own head he was the instigator.
He shouted me over to the gate when it was lunchtime and I saw him and panicked.


He seemed really eager for me to go over there but I didn’t know how to react.
He never laid a hand on me my whole life but at this time I didn’t know that and I had seen the damage he had caused and all for his own gain.


I panicked and ran away from him I ran over to tell the teacher and he saw this got back in his car then sped off into the distance like Sterling Moss.
I told Mum about this who informed the police so it was all recorded and then John in his own mind started to twist things.


Instead again of looking at his role in all this he would claim that Carol had tried to poison me.
In his own jaded mind, he was the loving father and Carol was the big bad wolf so now He had an excuse to score drugs, and also he had to get revenge.


He did just that we came home from Jill Jones house one day and the flat had been burgled.
He had trashed the place and took a lot of jewellery and a few other items.


For John, this was the gift that kept on giving he could sell the stuff and get high and he could also intimidate his ex and win another pointless victory.


He even trashed my room to try and divert suspicion away from himself. he never broke any of my stuff but the room was completely trashed.

Also, he was looking to see if Carol had stashed any money in there…… Wow, what money?
He also left a very threatening note which had the desired effect.


Now John wasn’t totally stupid he didn’t sign it and the police yet again not wanting to do any police work said they didn’t have enough evidence to question him, after all, why would he trash his son’s room?


The only good thing to come from all this was Carol had become financially solvent from working full time for Richard and she had house insurance.


She was due a big payout from all the stuff that was missing and a lot of the stuff like the TV and a few other bits were replaced by friends who had spares.
The insurance money came through fast and now it was a case of what to do with the money?

E14 Kidnapped

Things we getting pretty chaotic with John and Carol. He had the money from the sale of the house and the shop so he was solvent again for the time being.
At present, there was no desperate struggle to get money or to do a job to get money.

So instead of actually doing something constructive, he went out of his way to make Carol’s life a misery.
He would be driving past Parkfield road and see her car was there and pull in and shout all kinds of abuse for about twenty minutes each time.


Now clearly my mother is a tough girl to forget but how fucking deluded must he have been?
Granted he was an addict and his mind was completely fucked from that poison but how can you blame someone for everything wrong in your life?


I understand she took me away but she never lied to him and never hid from him.
In her letters to him in prison she was upfront and honest she wasn’t calling him every arsehole under the sun.


He was like many addicts he just couldn’t accept responsibility for anything. Also with his broken programming from his fucked up childhood it just would not register that he had played any part in this whatsoever.


So at least 4 times a week this would happen.
She would ignore him best she could but how draining must that be and how scary someone shouting that stuff up at you constantly.


I don’t know how John did it he had got a new girlfriend and managed to convince her to move in with him and convince her how evil Carol was in all this time.

Then would disappear each day to come and shout up at the window it was like a fucked up version of Romeo and Juliet.

Romeo and Juliet


Having said that he could be extremely charming and there was part of the real John Bailey left in there but we very seldom saw this.
For many years me and him didn’t speak for various reasons which I regret now but emotions ran high at the time.


I was also right to fall put with him but time does not work like that and we learn the hard way that tomorrow is promised to nobody.
When people have heard these tales and various others they couldn’t believe it as he was such a charming motherfucker especially when he needed something.


He was known for years as the hero of Skem and he raised a load of money to take this kid who was dying to watch a Liverpool match.


Now that’s really commendable and I can’t take that away from him but not once did we ever go to the match.
It would not even occur to him to take me.


Don’t get me wrong we did things over the years but they were few and far between its like he forgot who I was and once in a while he would appear then disappear like a ninja again.


Back to the story once in a while the police would come out and move him on from the apartment but on the whole, they were not interested.


He had not committed any crime and even with his vast criminal record and a single mother telling them about threats to kill they would quickly say oh well it’s your word against his so we can’t do anything.


Sometimes the police wouldn’t even come out and would make it quite clear over the phone.
The operator would say in a condescending voice don’t worry when we have dealt with all of the other crimes in the city we will send the police out again.


There are a lot more safeguards in place now and they would make the front page in the modern day but how many people had to die before this was taken seriously?


The worrying thing is that more than half of the women who are killed in the UK are killed by a current or former partner.

This has risen every year since the 80s and it does not seem to be getting better.
Even with the safeguards in place, social services are understaffed and underfunded.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/feb/20/over-half-of-uk-women-killed-by-men-die-hands-current-ex-partner


The messed-up thing is that being a social worker is an extremely stressful job even when they are fully staffed so with people leaving all the time and people off sick they are a lot of burnout in this profession see the below link.

https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/news/pr-opinion/opinion-how-stress-impacts-social-workers-nil-and-how-theyre-trying-to-cope


When people are burnt out they make mistakes and then they stop being so effective. This leaks into all areas and that’s when mistakes are made which can be fatal. A prime example of this is the baby p case which is explained below in the link.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2009/aug/16/baby-p-family

Baby P


So even in modern times, a social worker’s hands can be tied but back then many of the new laws didn’t exist so unfortunately all of this was possible.


Now suddenly one week all of the abuse stopped and John rang up Carol very apologetic about his behavior.
Now in hindsight, Carol should have seen this as a huge red flag but she didn’t.


He came and picked me up this one day and when I was due to go home it was back to the usual he’s staying here he doesn’t want to go home.
Yet again Carol was forced to call the police.


The police came but unknown to Carol my dad had been to the family court in the passing weeks and got a lot of official documentation.
So when the police arrived John was ready for this and the upshot of it all was he was within his right to do this.


If then John refused Carol access she would have to fight this in the family court. The fucked up thing was John wasn’t interested in doing the right thing.
I’m being kind in my assessment here but as a part-time dad, he was above average at best.


So this continued for another week and anytime she called John and tried to reason with him she would be told to go fuck herself or words to that effect with usually a load of screaming down the phone.


The whole time I was being poisoned against Carol and being told what a cunt she was and how she didn’t love me and how she ruined everything. As a kid if your hearing this from a parent you believe it without question because why would you dad lie to you?


After a week Carol went to get some legal advice to see what steps she could take to bring me home. She went to a solicitor called Graham Simpson who went above and beyond the call for her.


He explained her rights and the process she had to go through and how they could make everything right.
He also told her to start logging everything such as phone calls, times, threats, what was being said, and anything else of importance.


He also said which was the hardest for Carol to take if John offers to give Arlo back you must initially say no.
Carol couldn’t understand why not and Graham explained.


If he gives Arlo back before we have everything in play there is nothing legally stopping John from doing this again in the future.
Carol was forced to play the long game and life went on for her.


The flat was like a ghost town without me there and more so now because this was the summer holidays.
The time I spent at my dad’s was strange. I was left with his new girlfriend most of the time while he went out wheeling and dealing or whatever he was doing to bring in money.


I would spend most of the day with her and at night we would all watch TV together while John fell asleep in front of the TV fucked up as always on gear.
Then school started and John had not taken me back as he thought school was for losers in his mind.


In his mind, he probably had visions of me going out robbing with him or us selling drugs together.
What a positive future he had planned for me I feel I missed the boat on this wow.


Mum got all kinds of reports that I had been seen outside numerous pubs on Lark Lane with John late most nights.
He had been shitfaced drunk either with his mates who were all in the same game or with his girlfriend.


Not one of those friends or his girlfriend thought to mention hey why isn’t your son in school?
It didn’t get any airtime nor did anyone give this a second thought.


Carol reported this to Graham who insisted that she should hang on a little longer to make sure we had what we needed.
Writing this brings back a lot of memories and that’s ok because I have made peace with this part of my life and luckily I had the tools to rebuild myself.


Many people don’t and you see these children every day. You will see them playing in the street at 11 pm or swearing at old people and intimidating others in gangs outside shops.


This is not the kid’s fault they have had no guidance and a lot of the time nobody cares so they are left to their own devices and the cycle continues. Bad parenting can have such a negative impact and in the link below I’ve had issues with half of the points listed in the link below.

https://projectgrace.com/bad-parenting-affect-child/


What’s heartbreaking more than ever to me is so many of these kids never had a chance.


Then one night John took things to the next level he was drunk on the lane and for some reason, none of his friends were there. He was getting more drunk and twisted and decided he was going to visit Carol.


So with me in tow, he walked from the lane to Parkfield road.
He managed to open the man door into the building and got himself upstairs to the flat.

He starts hammering on the door with me watching screaming and shouting. As you can imagine Carol is inside terrified so as well as doing all this in front of me John keeps making a point of telling me that she doesn’t want to know you that’s why she won’t come out.


After about twenty minutes of this, he started booting the door and someone shouted through the letterbox I’ve called the police so you better leave.
Right then John comes to his senses and we leave quickly.


I don’t know what must have been going on in my head but any kid knows this isn’t normal and in my mind, I knew someone was lying to me.
It took years of self-discovery and repeated behavior before I realized how damaging all this was but luckily I came through it.


It baffles me how people can justify this behavior because it happened to them.
I have had my issues with addiction but I could not imagine if I’m ever lucky enough to have kids to do coke with them.


So what the fuck was going on in his mind wanting to introduce me to that world?
In his solitary moments, he knew he had fucked everything up but to do this to your kid all to fuck with you ex is just evil.


Having said that Peter Sutcliffe justified killing 13 women to himself. So who knows what goes on in people’s minds?

https://www.shropshirestar.com/news/features/2020/05/22/judgement-day-for-the-yorkshire-ripper/


Carol got straight on the phone to Graham Simpson who was delighted because now he had everything he needed to get me back and John couldn’t stop it.


Now Graham could go to the court with the fact my life was in danger, I have been exposed to potential violence, logged phone calls, threats to kill, the police logs from when he had done this before and the golden nugget that I had not been back to school when the term had started 2 weeks previously.


It didn’t help John that he had an extensive criminal record and was a registered Heroin addict.
It must have been really hard for Carol but Graham knew what he was doing.


Graham got the court order and went and rang John Baileys doorbell


Who is it?


My name is Graham Simpson I am an officer of the court.


What the fuck do you want?


I want you to open the door and talk to me otherwise ill come back with the police.


John came downstairs on the bounce and was ready for a fight.
It was no secret that John could scrap and today he was ready for it.
Graham stood his ground and did not back down an inch


Do your worst Mr. Bailey its one thing bullying a young woman but that’s not the case now is it?


John was pacing winding himself up getting ready to beat the fuck out of Graham and Graham didn’t budge.


That’s, not the fight I came for Mr. Bailey but I’m certainly not scared of you.
However, I would think long and hard before you act here because if you put hands on an officer of the court who has come here with a court order from a judge then you will be going on a very long holiday.


John was suddenly deflated what could he do he knew this was a fight he could not win.
he suddenly deflated and shrunk about 2 feet.
Then John tried another tactic to get under Graham’s skin he started insulting him and making accusations.


Well, you must be fucking her then yeah?


Like I said Mr. Bailey be very careful because if I feel your slandering my name you will be before the courts.
You should also know the police are on the way just in case you decide not to comply.
I’ll be back in an hour and you want to be ready then otherwise you’re in big trouble.


John stormed off upstairs to come to get me as he knew he couldn’t do a thing to Graham and he was raging about it.
He was also raging that he had no leverage and that Carol had stood up to him so he went upstairs and packed my clothes.


An hour later Graham came back and it was just starting to go dark with a police car following him just in case.


I came out and John had regained his strength and spent the next few minutes screaming at me that everything my mum said was a lie and that she caused all this.


I didn’t speak for about 24 hours. We got back to Parkfield road and I went to my bedroom and started playing with my He-man figures trying to make sense out of what had happened.


In a strange turn of events, my mum and Graham began dating.
They were together for about a year but it just ran its course. He was always really nice to me as a kid and I remember he was a real workaholic. He loved the law and loved to be involved.


He’s still practicing law in Wigan but has taken a big step back from it all and is not full time anymore.
In a stranger turn of events, he by accident found me on a mutual friend Facebook and made contact with me about 8 weeks ago. We had a good chat and it was great to catch up with him.


He also told me that he had been reading my blog and was enjoying it which made my day and just shows how it’s a small world.
I asked him why he hadn’t retired and he told me he still loves it and he would be bored stiff if he did.


He told me quite proudly that he had had his own firm in the past but that was too much stress and he’s managed to get himself a laid-back gig that suits him and allows him to keep his hand in.

Graham Simpson now


I have a lot of time and respect for Graham he’s one of life’s good guys and I was so pleased that he made contact. Social media is such a powerful tool even though it has a lot of negative aspects to it but to hear that someone such as Graham who had hadn’t seen for thirty-plus years was reading my work blew me away.

E13 Out of The Frying Pan Into the Fire

Things were going well in Aigburth a little too well, to be honest so fate decided to intervene.


I had settled in well at Saint Michael’s school and had made some great friends.
John Bailey had been released from prison and in his letters to Carol, he had been understandably pissed off that she had left but he had been very amicable about everything.


I think in hindsight Carol should have seen it as a huge red flag because whatever she was saying he was just agreeing with without argument.
I know all of you are thinking about what’s the problem with that but if you knew John he always had to be right and he always had to have it his way.


His ego and his refusal to listen to others is what made so many people stop working with him when it came out Mo was a police informer.


Like an idiot, he defended Mo for so long and wouldn’t even consider this to be true. Some would say his loyalty was impressive but he was loyal to all the wrong people at the worst possible times.


So he began to come to see me and pick me up and we would go and sit in our old house in Isac street.

It was nice to be back in touch and I feel in his own way he liked it as well but it was all fueled by hatred and his ego was fucking with him big time.
He couldn’t let anything go like most addicts and the more drugs he took the more twisted he became.


It should be noted now he had an empty house he did not have to hide his Heroin addiction or act like he wasn’t fucked up so he spent many a night chasing that dragon.

https://www.themanorclinic.com/addiction-treatment/heroin-rehab/heroin-addiction-symptoms

An addict smoking Heroin
Most Heroin addicts graduate to the needle and its apparently a much better high see below link for more information

https://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=11078


So John has been out of jail ten minutes he’s back using drugs and back to his old tricks to get money.
while he was away had made a lot of new contacts so he started to get involved with some nasty people.


John was lucky to get locked up because back in the early 80s drugs was not as rampant in the prison system.
You could still get anything you wanted but a lot of people just used to smoke weed and relax.


There are many ways how drugs get into the prison which I will talk about in later blogs.
However in 1996 disaster unwittingly hit the prison system.
Some genius in parliament decided to introduce mandatory drug testing into the penal system.


Now, in theory, this is a good idea but in reality, it made everything so much worse. The reason it was worse is most people started testing positive for Cannabis which can be detected in your urine up to 28 days after smoking it.


Heroin is out of your system in a day and cocaine roughly three days depending on your metabolism. So many prisoners started taking Heroin when these new measures were introduced and this sent many people into a cycle of addiction and crime.

See the below links for further information regarding the system in place and many of the issues faced.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/1353113195900012

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323378#reliability


It all came to a head a couple of weeks later when I was at my dad’s. He had got himself a new girlfriend and she was looking after me so I heard about this incident some years later.


John was walking down Mill street and walking opposite to him be chance is Carol.
God only knows what triggered him that day or what had happened earlier but he saw her and flipped out.


He starts screaming at her chasing her up the road she runs into one of the shops terrified and runs behind the counter.
He’s screaming that he’s going to kill her and she’s fucking dead and all other lovely stuff in the middle of a crowded shop.


The shop owner managed to keep John from coming behind the counter but still, he won’t calm down. The police arrive to try to defuse the situation and make it ten times worse.


It should be noted what happened next really would never happen in today’s world but this is the mid-eighties it was a world apart from the modern-day.


The police calm John down and he starts pointing the finger at Carol and blaming her for all his shortcomings.
He argued that Carol had left him with bare floorboards and absolutely no furniture.

Police in England during the 80s


He had come home to nothing, not even a note.
Now we know this is all bullshit but the police are believing everything he says without question.
So he tells the police straight Carol can fuck off she’s not getting her son back he’s staying with me.


Now the police wherein a mixture of three emotions firstly didn’t want to be in Toxteth as even years after the riots they were not welcomed by the community.


Secondly, they couldn’t be arsed with all of this nor the paperwork they would have to do, and third and most important they wanted to get back to the station quickly so they could have a cup of tea.

If this had happened now social services would have been involved a lot quicker but back then the system was a lot more broken than it is today.
The officers were telling Carol that there was nothing they could do as apparently the law was on his side.


John not content with this and not wanting the responsibility of his son only wanted to inflict his poison and spread his hatred because if everyone would just listen to him things would be ok.


So the police are trying to find a middle ground and then they came up with an amazing plan. They would escort John Bailey back to Parkfield Road and he would come into our home and take whatever furniture he wanted because after all, it was only fair.


Carol was devastated as she had hardly taken anything from Isac street and she was already struggling big time and bringing me up without any financial support but he was adamant he had nothing and she had everything.


Considering that John lived one hundred meters away you would think that these clowns in uniform would have the common sense to go and check his house to see if what he was saying was true.


That’s impossible without a warrant one of the police answered.
So the police take John inside and he starts picking up chairs, tables, and other bits of furniture.


Then he starts asking the police to help him carry stuff downstairs. They won’t help him with it and he flips out because he thinks he’s the wronged party.


He honestly could care less that I lived there it was all about at this moment and to prove a point. So he’s walking out of the house pointing at things saying I’m coming back for that and that and that and that make sure it’s ready for me or there will be fucking murder.


Both of the police conveniently didn’t hear any of the threats even though they were stood opposite him so he left pleased with himself and returned an hour later smug as fuck as he dropped him off at my mum’s.


I remember coming home and Carol had a story about how it was the landlord’s furniture and we were getting new better stuff sent to us.
I was a kid and didn’t know any better and just believed it without question.


Life went on and Carol did a good job of hiding it from me and she somehow slowly but surely started to get little bits of people.


Gorden helped with a couple of things and so did a few of her friends its times like this you find out who your friends are. Quite quickly most of the stuff was replaced.
A few days later there was a call from John Bailey all pleased with himself talking about the electricity meter.


When Carol had moved out she didn’t have the money to pay it so she just left. Now bear in mind this was the eighties and this happened all the time.


All John had to say is it was my ex and she has left I’ve no idea where she has gone and they would have wiped it clean.

Obviously, in modern times it’s a lot harder to do this but back then it happened all the time.
To do this to anyone is probably the lowest you can go but for him to do this is ten times worse.


He’s spent his life breaking the law and nobody knows better than him that a grass is the worst scumbag of all.
None of what had happened with Mo even registered it was all about winning the fight.

Carol pointed out to him well you have not just hurt me you’ve hurt Arlo.


No, I haven’t I done this to fuck you over you fucking rat.


How can you not see the bigger picture here John?


I have done this to hurt you nothing to do with our son.


But John you have not given us a penny towards food or his clothes and now I have to find this money as well as buy new furniture to which John thought this was hilarious and put the phone down.


Carol at this stage must have been at breaking point and she realized it was not going to get better anytime soon.
The John she knew and once loved had died years ago he had been consumed by the that almighty heroin dragon and it seems he was lost forever.


He couldn’t be reasoned with he could not see more than ten seconds into the future and it was all about the next high or the next lot of money or the next job.

Due to growing up in such a destructive environment, he didn’t realize just how out of control his life had become.
He was on a runaway train with no brakes heading down shit street at 100 miles per hour.


He lost interest for a while as he had no more dirt on Carol he still hated her with a passion but he had no other cards up his sleeve yet.

I found out that he went and told the same lies to the local council about having no furniture and he was given a 400-pound grant which he didn’t have to pay back so he could buy more furniture as he claimed he was on bare floorboards.


He got the money band went on a bender then did a few other jobs and decided he wanted to be back in my life again.
He got some paperwork sent through the family court which said that Carol had to let him see me.


The court did take Carol’s side but if she didn’t allow him access she would be in serious trouble. So he started picking me up again.
I had started to dread going to see him because he would always cause a huge argument in front of the house and it was horrible to see that as a kid.


I was too young to know it was all drug-fueled but I know that man was not my dad anymore it’s like he had been possessed.


I didn’t realize until years later how obvious this was and ill explain it to you now.
I would come home and always be bored because we would never go anywhere as John would just fall asleep in front of the TV.


He would always say he was broke and didn’t have a penny to his name then we would usually go to a huge derelict block of flats where he would give a guy a load of money and then back to his so he could get fucked up.


There were blocks of flats like this all over Liverpool as the rampant drug use will not go away by itself and with funding being very scarce the problem continued to fester.

Run down derelict crack flats


See the two links below which show both the landscape of Liverpool during the early 80s and the damage done by Heroin to the city in more detail

https://earthlymission.com/liverpool-in-the-80s/?cn-reloaded=1

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/smack-back-liverpool-least-approach-treating-drug-addiction-has-evolved-8665586.html


It may sound obvious to the reader that he was buying drugs but it’s not so obvious when it’s your dad and it’s right in front of you.
There is no excuse for his behavior but he must had have so much pain to behave in this way.


I started seeing him and soon enough the fun and games started again he would right Carol and tell her to fuck off that Arlo is staying with me and she would have to call the police.


There were many times when I was at my dad’s at the street would fill with blue lights and police.
He would say to me come on son your mum is making you go home.


I would go into the street with all the neighbors watching and then I would disappear into the night in a police car.


Carol would then have to make food for me as he would never have anything in. A lot of heroin addicts have no appetite and he didn’t think about anyone except himself.

He knew he was losing the game and he had to figure out a way to get back in the game and spread some hurt. So he disappeared off the scene for a little while.


He sold Isac street and the shop and then he was solvent again and started to rent a flat off Ullet road which was even closer to me.
The fun had only just begun and it got worse before it got better.

E12 Mums History

I have spoken about the rest of the family so it’s only fair I mention my mum Carol Power and her history.
She took back her maiden name after she and John had divorced or maybe that’s all a lie and I’m secretly adopted haha.


We know all about her parents Helen and Tom from previous blogs but mum was born and grew up around Gateacre village and Lee park which is practically next to the village.


Now it became apparent from a young age that Carol was a very talented dancer.
So much so my grandma Helen put carol into dance classes.
She studied many different forms from ballet to street dance.


There would always be something she was training for and she was constantly pushing herself to the limit.


Now, this was good because she kept pushing herself and she was well known in the stage community. Obviously, that is a very big community but for the performers, it can be a very small world as well.


She did competitions abroad and went on cruises as a result of this and had even danced on the BBC numerous times.
To be on television in the early sixties was a very big deal. Don’t forget there were only a couple of channels back then so air time was extremely limited.


People didn’t have anywhere near the amount of entertainment of today’s standards so every night most of the country would be sat in front of the TV waiting for the next show.


This also made things incredibly hard at home because Helen my grandma was extremely jealous and resentful towards her.
Any chance she had there would be little put-downs or comments about mum’s weight or skill set.


This at the time would be destroying Carol’s confidence and she was always questioning her self-worth as she would put all she had into every performance.
Everyone could see this and she was on the cusp of becoming famous especially my Grandmother.


Now for Helen, this was the gift that kept on giving not only could she constantly get into Carol’s head and score little victories for herself she could also play the emotional blackmail card to the max.


Anytime Helen wanted her own way she would into a huge monologue of how much the family had to sacrifice so she could go to dancing lessons.
According to Helen, they were all close to eating gruel for every meal but we do everything for you.


Helen always got her way and also had found more ways to control Carol and that to her was like winning the lottery.


Its mentioned in earlier blogs about my grandma Helen being a total fantasist and telling lies about her origins.
A lot of this was due to her being ashamed of her past.


Now with a daughter whos about to hit the big time she was in her element and I think my mum’s fame was more important to Helen than it was to my Carol
There were numerous things Helen did to my mum which today would be classed as child abuse.


Taking away her food, wrapping her stomach with bandaged to make it look flatter and in her mind trying to change her natural shape.
The list went on and on but Helen justified it all to herself.


It’s not like my grandma had a background in professional dance it was all made up as she went along.
Because starving a teenage girl is really the way to do things right?


This went on for years and then when Mum was 17 disaster struck. She was thrown from a horse that injured her badly.
She broke her coccyx which in normal language is her bum bone and she was never the same again.

Her professional dancing career was over and for years she suffered horribly with her back.

https://www.spine-health.com/conditions/spine-anatomy/anatomy-coccyx-tailbone

Diagram of the spine and see the Coccyx at the bottom


For many years she has been unable to work and it’s heartbreaking that everything she had worked so hard for was gone and that had to be one hell of a rude awakening.


The only positive outcome from all this is she didn’t end up like the actor Christopher Reeve.

Christopher Reeve as Superman


Christopher Reeve who played Superman in the 1980s movie series was a keen showjumper. He was thrown from his horse and was paralyzed from the neck down.

He was making a lot of progress and was determined to walk again but sadly died in 2004 from heart failure.

https://www.aruma.com.au/about-us/blog/christopher-reeve-the-life-of-the-man-of-steel/

(Christopher Reeve after his accident)


The recovery must have been worse than the accident as Helen had no empathy nor could she ever show any sympathy unless the same thing was happening to her.


I can also imagine as well as the constant pain that Helen would be giving mum a dog’s life. All of Helen’s big ideas were gone and she was back to being normal.
Marion her sister knew the Helen dance all to well and had already left home many years ago.


Marion didn’t have it nearly as bad as Carol as there was no pressure for Marion to become famous, make millions, and change everyone’s lives.
Granted Helen my grandma was extremely damaged and suffered seriously with her mental health but she isn’t a patch on some Hollywood parents.


A prime example of this is Gary Coleman from the popular 80s TV show different strokes. He sued his parents and won and after his 18th birthday had nothing to do with them.


They were stealing from him for years there was physical and mental abuse and his parents played a key part in him losing his entire fortune.

Gary coleman young
Gary Coleman a year before his death


He led a very interesting life before his sudden death and an entire generation myself included will miss him. I’ve enclosed an interesting article about him and his parents legal battle below.

https://news.amomama.com/189796-late-diffrent-strokes-star-gary-coleman.html



Many say the TV was cursed and they are probably not wrong. If you remember the show from back in the day check out the link below as a lot of bad stuff happened to all of the actors.


https://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/the-curse-of-diffrent-strokes-gary-coleman-dead-aged-42-20100529-wlvi.html

Incredibly dated but years ahead of its time. Episode 2 of different strokes

Many would say that my mum had a lucky escape not making it big in showbusiness. This was the era of Jimmy Saville, Rolf Harris, Gary Glitter, Jonathan King.


Not only that let’s just say she was lucky enough to dodge all of that I cannot being to imagine how Helen would turn with money, power, and status.


Its no surprise at the earliest opportunity mum moved out of Helens and got a job in an office.
This is where she first met, Nicky Jones. I mentioned Nicky in my last blog who was absolutely stunning but battered the booze.

When Nicky was downing the shots of vodka in the Parkfield she was ranting about everyone including mum. I spoke to my mum about this the next day and Carol was truly upset.


It was all something and nothing and she was sad that her former best friend had all this inner pain.
Nicky went over to the jukebox and put on Zombie by The Cranberries. See the video below.

Zombie by The Cranberries sung really badly by Nicky Jones


She was screaming at the top of her voice singing along to it alone with about 6 old fellas watching her shaking there heads.


I sent a video to mum of her singing as I wanted her to see what state she was in. I love Nicky she was always really good to me and I’m gutted that she is in such a bad place with the booze.


Having Nicky as a best friend meant that she and Carol were always going out a lot. When you’re young you can get away with this and luckily mum knows when to say no and have a night in.


My mum met Gary her first husband and was with him a couple of years before she met my dad.
Mum, Gary had some good times but they married too young.


A lot of her marrying at such a young age was to get away from Helen and all of the negative fucked up shit which she laid on daily.


They ended up good friends years later and Gary for years had his own successful printing business which then went on to make the tide time tables and supplied most of the country with this.


Gary inherited the printing business from his dad which he continued to maintain for many years which made him a very good living.


As the technology evolved and the computer age was born people were using printing companies less and less. Gary kept downsizing for many years until he became a one-man-band.

He still made a very comfortable living working out of his garage. This suited him well he was his own boss and he had done this for years and he could do it with his eyes closed.


Many of his clients he had done business with for years so he very seldomly had any issues with them it was money for old rope.
As easy as it was he had less work to every year due to the internet taking away a lot of his business.


Gary was a really good friend to me for many years. Not just as a kid but as an adult as well. He was there for me through some serious highs and lows.

He was big into the party and alternative scene and even when I had my multiple rock bottoms and stopped drinking as well as taking cocaine we still had the same relationship.


To be fair he was more like my dad than my real dad and if he and Carol would have stayed together then it could have been possible.

Gary G at festival

When my mum and Gary split up a few years later he married a woman called Pam.
Pam was always nice to me through the years but me and Gary were much closer.
They split up after many years but still shared the same house.


This is what brought Gary more into the fetish scene. He always had his hand in this and always was the life and soul of the party. The difference between me and him is he knew when to stop and when to say no.


Gary had a son with Pam called Charles who is the closet thing I have to a brother. We don’t speak as much as id like but at the same time, we both have very busy lives and are doing our own thing.


Charlie practiced martial arts for many years and got his black belt in ninjutsu. He had a falling out with his Sensi and this led to the school closing.


He still trains hard but now is into his powerlifting. He became a firefighter last year and he continues to run his dad’s old business.
I have a lot of time for Charlie even though we hardly don’t talk to each other a lot.

Charlie left
Charlie far left last year when he qualified as a fire fighter
Charlie right training hard


Gary contracted Hepatitis C in the 1980s and he suffered from this his entire life. He had some bad days but was usually smiling.

https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/hepatitis-c

Having said that I was never married to him so I’ve not spent 24 hours a day in his company.


He managed to beat the disease with a new alternative treatment and then a few months later he was diagnosed with Cancer.
He was doing well with his Chemotherapy and was making a huge recovery and suddenly he took a dive. He was not responding to treatment and he was moved into hospice.


I went in to see him and sat there trying to look like I wasn’t arsed but inside I was heartbroken. He was skin and bones and he could hardly talk.
He could sit up and we could communicate but it hurt him a lot. I stayed for about 40 minutes which seemed like three hours when we could not speak.


I walked out of the hospice and smiled at him and said ill see you tomorrow mate and he said goodbye. I hated this because he wasn’t stupid we both knew that was the last time we would ever see each other.


I cant explain how but I just knew I left and I knew he was watching me so I had to act as normal as possible and got back to my car and sat with my head in my hands for about ten minutes.


I’ve suffered a lot more loss and seen way more death than most people due to my background which ill speak about in later blogs but Gary’s death really hit me hard.
Like most men, I put on a brave face but even know writing this has upset me.


The flip side to the coin is I got to be his close friend and confidant for many years and I will never forget him. He left a huge impact on the world from his music and his work with record labels in the 80s.

Gary at Jazz and Jokes in the Metro around 2003

Old School Gary
If you know Gary you would understand this picture


One of my fondest memories is going to his flat to watch his music video in the early 80s. Please remember this was the early 80s so to have a music video was a big deal.


Unfortunately I can’t find any stuff from the band online but it lives on in my memory.


When Gary and my mum Carol got together My mum soon quit her job and started to use her entrepreneurial skills. She had set up a business selling cruelty-free beauty products.


She was doing these years before any of the department stores.
She made nice money from the store for a long time. This was a new concept and it really could have gone either way back in those days.


Typically Carol got no support from her mother Helen and was constantly ridiculed for her stupid idea and concept.
Helen was not so secretly jealous and couldn’t fathom why Carol would not want to spend time with her.


It was mind-blowing because Helen knew what she was doing was cruel, was doing it to score points and make herself feel better, had already lost one daughter but continued down this path.

Then would be on the phone in tears with more emotional blackmail because Carol would hardly see her.
Let’s not forget it all fell on Carol as Marion’s husband Reg wouldn’t allow her to visit Helen.


A few years later when Mum and Gary split up things got ugly between them.
There is a very fine line between love and hate. As a result of the fallout, my mum ended up giving up the store.


She missed the boat on this as a year later many of the department stores started selling these specialist products.
She tells me to this day she’s so pissed off about that but I guess it wasn’t meant to be.


A few years later my mum met my dad John Bailey.
At the time he was very charming and was making money and like Gary the life and soul of the party.


Its very fitting that she ended up in such a toxic relationship with him which has been spoken about in my previous blogs already.
You the reader is now up to date where Carol fits into the story and she will feature a lot more later in the story.

The author right with Carol left

The author left at his pass out parade with Carol in 1997. Gary took this picture


I’ve been blogging now for three months if you’re still with me from day one then thank you it means a lot.
I will keep writing if you all keep reading goodnight everyone.

E11 Back on the path

We can now get back to my story. We came a little off-topic with the rest of the family but like mentioned in previous blogs once you start writing this you have no idea where it’s going to take you.


Me and my mum had left my dad when he had been locked up again.
I was very young so I didn’t fully grasp what was going on and to be fair to mum she played it down well so well, in fact, I just thought it was all normal.


I think what helped and didn’t raise any red flags was that I was so used to my dad John not being around. he was locked up a lot or he would be going out of the city to do some sort of job or to make some money and not by working for it either.


There would always be a guy down south who needed a load of weed or something stronger and he and one of his mates would go down there. Then he would disappear for a couple of days on a bender as he had just been paid.


This as well as the prolonged absence when locked up and the constant drug-taking then it was time for us to go.
We ended up in this nice flat on Parkfield Road which is in the Aigburth area of Liverpool.


The flat was really warm and I remember that so well because the house in Isaac street was always freezing.
The house in Isaac street reminded me of the movie The money pit.


This is a comedy from the 80s starring Tom Hanks who moves into an old house and everything that can go wrong does go wrong.


Now if the hit comedy had drugs, domestic violence, drugs, addiction, incarceration we probably could have got a few quid from Hollywood for the rights of the story.


We were on the third floor of this block of flats and had central heating. Being high up hot air rises so it was a welcome change to not walk around the flat with my coat on.


It was also a welcome change being able to take a dump indoors.
People take that for granted but the plumbing was so bad in Isaac street that more often than not the house stunk of shit.


I can’t stress enough my mum kept the place spotless but she isn’t a plumber so frequently even in winter we would shit in the outside toilet.
It’s amazing what you get used to and by today’s standards that sounds like something from the Victorian age.


So we are unpacking all our stuff in our new home and I was pretty pleased with my new bedroom.
It had a lot of natural light and it was a lot bigger than back in Toxteth.


It also felt strange to sleep under a single duvet instead of a mountain of bedclothes.
It would also take a bit of getting used to not being able to see my breath in the morning as well.


I’m a firm believer that starting my life in that house as well as being in some of the coldest most miserable places is probably why I hardly feel the cold to this day.


If its raining ill obviously wear a coat but back in Liverpool especially when I got older I spent a lot of time in my car. So a lot of the time I would just have a t-shirt on or on an exceptionally cold day I would be wearing a hoodie.


I would be getting proper strange looks off what looked like mummy Eskimo with her Eskimo kids. What the fuck is wrong with that guy? Then they would shuffle past with there multiple layers of clothing.

Eskimo family or possibly a Liverpool family in November


So I’m unpacking all my toys and my favorites were He-man and the transformers. and everything seems so normal.


Next thing my mum went sick and is paralyzed with fear. She hears this voice what she can only describe as that sounded like the devil.


The voice is growling saying you will die, your dead than more growling.
She is terrified thinking there is a demon in the house and literally frozen to the same spot in her bedroom.


This demonic voice continues for another three minutes ha hahaha. You’re a dead man. I will get you haha hahaha. Then she hears something totally out of place He-man your no match for me and then she gets the courage to look in my room.


I’m sat playing with snake mountain totally oblivious to mums fear and having the time of my life and then she breaks down laughing which I think was more out of relief.


Ok for those who don’t know the He-man story he is the good guy and he lives in a place called Castle Grayskull. His enemy Skeletor lives in a place called snake mountain.


Just before we moved she bought me the Snake Mountain toy and unknown to both her and me it came with a microphone which slightly distorts your voice and now it all made sense.

Snake Mountain (microphone is the grey head top right


It was me playing He-man and not the devil so she kicked off.
What the hell are you doing?
I honestly had no idea and when she explained it to me I thought it was the funniest thing in the world.

Skeletor left He man right


I really shouldn’t have laughed as hard as I did but you could see the sheer genuine terror in her face when she was explaining to me.


I’m laughing more now retelling the story because I can’t imagine of scared I would be. You’re going to die, I will kill you slowly, haha hahaha. I will kill you when you are sleeping all sounding like Linda Blair from the exorcist.

Linda Blair from the movie The Exorcist


So slowly but surely we started to settle in at first Mum had to cook everything on two stoves but she always managed to make really nice meals. We then after a couple of weeks had a cooker delivered so normality was returning to our lives.


I had settled right in and now I had a routine. One thing kids need from an early age is a routine and order.
If their timings for everything are all over the place you find that they have a hard time in later life being organized.


We can always reprogram ourselves with the right tools and thinking but like mentioned in previous blogs not everyone knows how to use these tools. Luckily I managed to teach myself but many are not so fortunate.


Money was tight as we had just moved and my mum had some terrible jobs just to pay the bills.
The worst job she had was delivering dry cleaning for a pound an hour Granted this was the 80s but that still didn’t go far.


She was not scared of work though and she was determined to give me and her a new beginning away from the toxic wasteland that we had just escaped.


Then one day we had a huge win. I was sat watching TV and there was a big ring on the doorbell.
We were not expecting anyone so my mum opened the door to see a delivery man stood there.


Hiya Love so where do you want it?
Want what my mum asked?
Your new cooker it’s here. I ran over to the front door and mum put her hand over my mouth.

I was about to be really helpful and tell the nice man that we had a cooker delivered 3 days ago.
Luckily my mum knew and shut me right up. She managed to convince him to put the cooker in the garage as a family friend would take care of it later that night.


The delivery men were so happy as they didn’t have to carry a cooker up three flights of stairs so they dropped off the cooker and left.

This really was a gift from God as mum was broke and she ended up getting two hundred quid for it. Two hundred quid went a lot further back then and it could not have come at a better time.


We lived very close to Lark Lane which at the time was a really nice place. Don’t get me wrong it’s still nice and the prices for rent of both businesses and accommodation are very high.


Unfortunately, now it is full of bars and as a result full of cocaine.
In most major cities especially Liverpool with its access to the docks bars and cocaine go together like peas and carrots.


Cocaine was always in the city center but as the problem got worse it slowly crept into the residential areas leaving scores of casualties in its path.


There were so many independent little shops on the lane and had a lovely atmosphere as well. It was very multicultural which was not so common back then and it seemed to be a more relaxed group of people than in Toxteth.

Lark lane 1980
Lark Lane modern day


People seemed to take pride in the area as well and used to do crazy stuff like put litter in the bin. They also used to plant flowers and have hanging baskets.


When you have come from a place with so much poverty and many people really struggling to survive it absolutely blew my mind to see how different things were less than a mile away.


As much as any kid hates to move away I think this helped me a lot in later life.
Even if you don’t factor in all the horrible stuff if I had stayed in Toxteth I would have grown up to think all this was normal.


Toxteth now is a very vibrant community. A lot of money was put into its regeneration when Liverpool won the capital of culture.
A lot of people bought houses here as a result of this and because this was a poor area in the past its helped so many working-class people get on the property ladder.


It’s amazing how quickly an area can change when fresh blood comes in. Also when people have jobs and enough money to enjoy themselves they soon quickly get out of the criminal mindset.


Like many areas, Toxteth still has its rough element but luckily there are far more opportunities and people will still go down a bad path but at least now there are more choices.


I met some really great people in the Aigburth area and at the weekend we would usually go to Keith’s wine bar for food.
Keiths is still going strong to this day and I’m convinced he still has the same furniture in there from when I was a kid.

Keith is a really nice guy and he should be a millionaire ten times over but he could not stay out of the bookies. I saw him a few years ago and had a drink with him and he’s still exactly the same. He’s really cool and we all have our vices so I don’t judge.


I met a friend of my mums called Derrick. He had a fireplace shop and when I saw him for the first time I felt compelled to tell him my story.


Derrick, you’re black
Yes that’s right Arlo
Then I told him about the black kid in my old school and I said to him don’t worry I know there is more than one black person in the world as I saw it in the library.

Derrick thought this was hilarious and we always used to call into the shop to say hello.

I’m not sure what he’s doing these days but I’ve heard he’s still about and he’s doing ok.
Then there was Gordon who used to be married to my mum’s best mate Jill. He had an antique shop and was always wheeling and dealing.


He was always lovely to me as a kid and he still has the same shop 35 years later.
Before I left for Vietnam if I was around that area I would call in and say hello to him. He is a really nice guy who genuinely would do anything for you.


One day Carol my mum was in the bath and she came out and saw me playing with this Star Wars walker toy.
Where did you get that asked Carol?
Gordon gave it to me mum.
But Arlo Gordon hasn’t been here?


I explained while she was in the bath he knocked on the door and when I answered he told me I know you like star wars so I found this in an antique fair and handed me this huge walker.


I was so happy with this cool new toy and asked him if he wanted to come in.
Typical Gordon said I have to get back to the shop and just left like that. It was a really nice touch and I played with that walker for years and years.

Star wars walker


This is when I also met my mum’s friends Terry Canning and Nicky Jones. They were together for years and they always drank and socialized on the lane.
Terry and Nicky both always had really good well-paid jobs and they lived very well for years.


They both loved to drink but then it was a case of well I work hard so I play hard.
Both of them were always nice to me as a kid and I never forgot that.

Every year they would have grand national parties and there would always be plenty of food and a barbeque laid on.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_National


These parties were always amazing and there was always a load of kids there so it was never boring.
Terry and Nicky finally split up due to Nicky’s drinking and Terry being unhappy with a lot of things.


Nicky is a lovely person but she couldn’t just have one drink and she was constantly getting herself into serious trouble and booze was always the common denominator.


I still see Terry from time to time and he retired from his advertising executive job a few years ago.


He’s doing well and by chance my mum Carol ran into him recently.
I was made up to find out that he had been reading my blog through a third party.


It’s happening more and more now I’m writing a lot of people just drop it on me oh yeah I love your writing.
Obviously, everyone loves to hear this but it’s coming from very unexpected places.
As long as people keep reading it then I’m happy to keep writing.


Nicky unfortunately was not as lucky as Terry.
For years she has not looked after her health and is currently living in an assisted living facility.


I saw her when I worked behind the bar in the Parkfield pub on lark lane and she was telling me that she won’t make it until 70 while downing shots of vodka.


It’s such a shame because Nicky was always so strikingly attractive and used to have men falling at her feet.


To see her keep hitting rock bottom and to lose her looks and her money and see her hanging out with winos and losers just hits home how powerful addiction really is.


People should not be so quick to judge as it can really happen to any of us. I’m so lucky that when I went to rehab I was at a point where I was willing to try anything.


The problem with recovery is that people overcomplicate it and let their ego get in the way.
If they can listen and do the work they will be successful.


I don’t want to talk in detail about this now as I will explain it properly in later blogs and it will fit in better with my own story.
I had also changed schools since moving to Parkfield road I now started to attend St Michaels school.


I really enjoyed it here and my dyslexia had not begun to hold me back so I used to love going to school.

St Michaels had some really weird food policy though. I remember opening my packed lunch and this teacher/sniper was right on my oh no you’re not allowed drinks.

Ok why not I asked and she couldn’t give me a straight answer so no more drinks.
A couple of days later the same sniper came over oh no your not allowed yogurt.


Oh come on this is just silly I said. The sniper was furious and I was sent to the headmaster for my drink and yogurt infractions as well as questioning the Fuhrer.


From that day on I was banned from packed lunch as I couldn’t be trusted to eat the right foods. The school felt like a safer place almost instantly.

When my mum was called and informed I don’t think it had the desired shock effect as she couldn’t see the issue either.


I lost contact with most people from this school but I spoke to Joel Devine for a while.
We haven’t spoken in years but I know he works on the oil rigs and is doing well.


A girl i’ve kept in constant contact with due to mutual friends is called Angie Spear.
I used to see and speak to her regularly before I moved away.
Angie has had a very interesting life she was cabin crew for years and also lived in Dubai.


She had a kid a couple of years ago and is currently just finishing college so she can go to university and do a degree.
It’s great to see her doing so well and I’ve always had a lot of time for Angie.


One night by chance again in the Parkfield pub Angie came in with her mum and then her mum’s fella came in.
It turns out Her mum’s fella is my mate David French’s dad also called David French.


Now, what makes this even more of a small world was a few years before this meeting I was training in Next Generation MMA where I met David junior and we started to hang out.


One day he introduced me to his dad who I knew from when I worked on the door on The Magnet way before I had met David junior.


Things were going a little too great so things can’t stay the same forever. My mum had been in regular contact with John Bailey since he had been locked up.

This was primarily because she wanted me to have a relationship with him. Also, it would have backfired on her years later if she hadn’t given me the choice of seeing him.


He was getting out of prison soon and things were about to become really interesting.

E10 Revelations, Reflection, and corrections

There is an old saying amongst police officers follow the money.
This is regarding the war against drugs. They say if you want to get to the heart of the problem with any scope of trying to fix it you have to follow the money.


This is exactly what I’m doing and it’s taken me to some strange places. The more I dig the more I find out and to be brutally honest a lot of it isn’t positive.

From the famous tv show The Wire


I’m not exactly the Dali Lama and I’m far from perfect but the stuff I’ve found out about both sides of the family makes my skin crawl.
I’m not a religious man but I’m a big believer in Karma and I believe we have to pay for everything we do.


To me it’s as simple as ordering food in a restaurant, yeah you can have 6 courses but you have to pay for it.
I don’t believe for a second what the bible says but I do believe there is a god of some description and I believe there is a good place and a bad place.


Now all of us have enough dirt to go to that bad place but as long as you even the scales or at least try to be a better person then you will be ok.

What I can abide by is passing the book, no action or effort or blindly following the crowd.


During the Nuremberg trials, most of the nazis on trial kept saying in their defense but I was just following orders. Really and you thought that was ok I’m sorry that is just as bad as actually pulling the trigger.

https://www.history.com/topics/world-war-ii/nuremberg-trials


Obviously, for my circumstances, I’m not talking about anything as horrific as genocide but bear with me on this, and ill explain. It’s one thing to have horrendous childhood filled with abuse, neglect, and trauma and nothing can change the past.


Unfortunately and quite rightly it’s so hard to let go of that due to us being given broken programming however everyday we make a choice. Every day we make several choices.


So yeah ok horrible shit happened to you as a kid and you maybe don’t have the tools to change your broken thinking but you can still see the effect you have on the rest of the world.


If every time your daughter is coming to see you and is leaving in tears then I’m sorry but you are a piece of shit.


We all do things we are not proud of and we can all end up in a shouting match.
To find the things that are the most upsetting and use them in your arsenal is the worst kind of behavior.

Especially when you’re just doing this to score some minor victory over something that does not matter.
It’s true what they say you can’t choose your family but every passing moment is a chance to turn it all around.


Its never too late to start again and even though some rifts cant be healed most can with time and if your willing to admit the nature of your wrongs.


Even when you feel that you are the wronged party a lot of the time you have played a part in the breakdown of a friendship. Many people can’t see that and ego stops things from being resolved.


Since digging and trying to find the origin of everything I’ve encountered many surprises. Now when I say surprises its not the type of surprise where our buddy takes you out for ice cream nothing like that just so we’re clear. If this was ice cream it would be shit flavor.


My mum told me that I honestly don’t know the half of it and I believe her. She has never given me any grounds not to trust her and all of her information over the years and especially recently has been on point.


I also now have enough background info and don’t want to know anymore.
I’ve forgiven these people who are allegedly my blood but if I go even further down the rabbit hole then I fear I won’t be able to find my way back.


I don’t have it in me to carry around all that hatred as I know how damaging it is.
It’s a wonder that many of the family are still alive and they seem to thrive on this negative energy.


One of the revelations which is very surprising is that Betty my dad’s mum didn’t like my mum one bit.


She thought my dad John could do no wrong and also saw it as a badge of honor that he had spent so much time in jail.
That unfortunately hasn’t changed and it seems to be very fashionable even in modern-day.


To be fair to Betty she had a really hard life and she probably saw John Bailey as a Robin Hood type character.


She did not see his addiction at its worst she only saw her son traveling all over Europe, robbing jewelry stores, breaking into safes, taking cash boxes. He would then come home with great presents and make a big fuss of her.

John like all the brothers was always seeking their approval and now he was able to provide for himself and splash the cash. In a house where money was so scarce and every day was a struggle, this was better than John being a doctor.


Jack and Betty were not bad people they were just not educated and their minds were poisoned from alcoholism.
When things got really bad with my Carol and John my mum was suicidal and at her wits end.


Betty was not having any of this nonsense and decided to put my mum in her place.
She came into her bedroom guns blazing telling her she should be grateful for her life and to have a fella like John Bailey in her life.


She then told her that she wasn’t getting black eyes every week and that she had a washing machine and a tumble dryer so what’s your fucking problem.
I’ve been at my wit’s end tormented with depression in the past and I can’t begin to imagine how you would even process that especially at such a low point.


It ain’t no secret my mum Carol is a warrior. She may not be strong physically but mentally she can run rings around most people. This most likely did not help her when being introduced to my dad’s side of the family.

Especially my dad he felt very threatened by her otherwise why to go to such extremes with cruelty over the years?
A correction ill make here but not in the past blogs is the age of my dad’s brothers. Eddie was the oldest, then john, George, Keith, and Chris is the youngest.


This is the fucked up part I’ve asked my dad this a couple of times over the years and he gave me the order I originally printed. How the fuck would you forget that?
Or to rephrase how fucked up on drugs must you be to get that wrong? That’s why I won’t correct it in the original post.


A correction I do need to make is regarding my grandma Helen. I said she had electric shock treatment when she was a child. This happened when she was an adult.

Electric shock treatments in the 1950s


She had lived on a farm her whole life in the countryside. When she got together with Tom my grandad moved up to Liverpool together.


Like many women of her generation, she was stuck in the house cleaning all day. He was working hard and had a manager’s job in the post office where he worked with his best mate Alf who became my grandad when Tom died.


At home in a tiny flat in Speke all alone with no friends really took its toll on her.
She became more and more withdrawn and one day could not take it anymore. She burst into the doctor’s office in floods of tears and he sedated her.


He decided the best course of action was ECT and in those days nobody would dream to question a doctor or his course of treatment.
This was all many years before I was born and I’m not a doctor but the ECT really could not have helped her at all.

https://www.neuroscientificallychallenged.com/blog/first-use-electroconvulsive-therapy


This and to then go back to exactly what triggered her was probably very damaging. I do feel so sorry for her but still, a lot of her behavior was disgusting later on.
She was an awful mother and she wasn’t much better at being a grandmother.


Trauma messes with people in many ways and she had had years of abuse at home and what made her so unhappy is she would not address any of nor would she let anything go.


She died when she was 88 and she spent the last twenty years of her life wishing she was dead. What an absolute waste of time and energy its heartbreaking in fact.


Another revelation was my grandmother’s history before she met my grandad Tom. She was married to a man named Charlie Polhill.
Like everyone else, he was sent to fight the Germans, WW2 lasted for 4 years so many relationships felt a huge strain.


The only comfort in this was everyone was suffering in the same way. She met my granddad Tom who was stationed near Yorkshire helping to train the first military dogs to go overseas.


They started having an affair and when things got serious between them both she of course ended it with Charlie.


Charlie was away at war fighting the Germans and had no idea when he would be coming home or when the war would end. This at the time was considered despicable behavior and she was shamed by her whole village.


Nobody wanted to know her anymore and she was quite often shouted at in the street and people she grew up with wanted nothing to do with her. Then things got ten times worse she got pregnant to Tom.


In those days it took years to get a divorce but it didn’t matter in the eyes of the village she was the devil.


So now she was still married, living with another man, and she had a baby out of wedlock. All of these factors played a huge part in her coming to Liverpool.


The little boy Tom and Helen had together, unfortunately, died as a baby. I don’t have any information about that as Helen would never talk about it. Let’s face it though you never get over something like that.

You would, however, think after her awful treatment she would develop some empathy and compassion but not in Helen’s case.


Years later I thought Marion my mum’s sister had run away from home at 18 but that was a lie. Marion had got pregnant to Reg and Helen kicked her out of the house for being a dirty slut.


Before moving to Wigan Marion and Reg lived in Speke and Helen had disowned Marion telling all of her neighbors she only had one daughter. Helen also refused to go to Marion and Regs wedding as she felt so disgusted with her daughter.


My mum Carol was forbidden to go either in case she got pregnant at the wedding or something equally as stupid.
Tom my grandad went and it caused murder he probably had to sleep on the couch for about a month after that but then it was all drama that Helen could use.


Helen really couldn’t put herself in Marion’s shoes nor empathize with her one bit the hypocrisy was awful.
Just to make matter worse Marion had no idea about Helen’s past and her having a baby out of wedlock.


When Marion found out she hit the roof and it caused more heartbreak and arguments.
Helen gave Marion a very watered-down version of the truth and quite rightly Marion was having none of it.


She had suffered for years at the hands of my nan and this just pushed her even further away from her mother. Helen then had more things to feel sorry for herself and still managed to justify her behavior and play the victim through this.


I really don’t understand what was going on in Helen’s mind its like she just deleted the files and it never happened.
On top of that, she created new memories of things that never happened she was a complete fantasist.


The fantasist comment is a little judgemental I know and once again I should point out that I’m not a doctor.
Trauma affects us all in different ways. I really hope she got some inner peace in death as she really did not get it in life.


This caused a huge rift and my grandad Tom was given a dog’s life by Helen. A lot of the time he could avoid her and he was always busy or he would be working and she would stew on stuff and ambush him as soon as he got home.


They had a lot of happy times but also a lot of unhappy ones as well.
Later on my mum, Carol would become the new whipping boy as Marion was well and truly never coming back.

At no point did Helen ever reflect on her behavior or own choices it was all just a game to prove she was right. She was a poor tortured soul and wanted everyone to know her pain no matter the cost.


If this meant tearing apart her family then so be it. My auntie Dot who also lives in Yorkshire was very similar. She will feature even less in this blog as she really wasn’t interested in getting to know me.

I can count on two hands the number of times I’ve seen her. She would always have a lot of judgemental shit for my mum though and not ever offer to help her just to make her feel that little bit more worthless.


Carol would inevitably follow in Marion’s footsteps and leave home at an early age and get married way too young.


She married Gary and this fell apart a few years later. She was separated from Gary and living with my dad John. Helen started again calling Carol a whore for living with another man while still married.

Carol said to her quick as a flash well it takes one to know one. Also, I must have learned from the best then yeah?


How dare she answer Helen back and how dare she not follow her do as I say not as I do mantra and this began one of the numerous falling outs between the family.
Now all the background information is in place I am absolutely gobsmacked. I thought when writing this my dad’s side of the family would make me angrier.


Like I mentioned though once you start opening these doors you don’t know what will come out. Betty at the very least put on a good show and was always nice to the grandkids. She may of hated Carol but she would always make us kids feel welcome.


There would always be plenty of food as well. So many times with my mum’s side of the family I felt like I didn’t belong. They for the most part did not have the time of day for me.


I’ve known this for years but I want the reader to know the extent of it all as well as all of the factors in play.

I really can’t understand how Marion would justify her behavior towards my mum after all of the pain and suffering she endured from Helen.
However, she did get her thirty pieces of silver in the form of a house.


All I can say about that is I hope that its worth it. Granted I’m fucking angry writing this but thirty minutes after I finish writing I will let it go.I’m a firm believer when people carry all of this stuff around with them for years it’s what makes them sick. Its this type of stuff that gives you cancer.


I’m surprised more studies have not been done on this but they say cancer will affect 1 in 3 of us. I don’t think its a coincidence that so many people have a very similar toxic mindset.


I’m also more surprised how my mum Carol ended up such a really nice person. She has been through some seriously dark days and a lot of it I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

She has also got me through some seriously dark days and every day I try my best to be a better person. In the midst of this chaos, she managed to teach me values and compassion.


Granted I have seriously come off the path multiple times but that’s fuck all to do with her its all to do with my own poor choices. Unlike the rest of the family, I don’t dwell on stuff and all I can do is change what I’m going to do tomorrow.

So many people need to realise this

E9 Mums side of the family

Thank you everyone who is still here reading the story so far.
I had originally planned to post twice a week. If I posted this much religiously up to this moment in my life right now I could easily have two years’ worth of blog material.


Two things which I hadn’t factored in the time it takes to write and make it sound entertaining for the reader. Secondly is all of the old doors that it’s opening.


Its probably going to save me a fortune on therapy but it is proving very tiring especially now that this is all out in the open. I know when I get past this difficult stage of my story then it will become more free-flowing and more material will be released.


On a positive note, the messages and support I have had since I’ve started writing are overwhelming. Also, many people who have had similar difficulties have shown their support.


I’ve also heard from people I have not spoken to in over 30 years who somehow have started reading it. It can only grow and this makes me very happy.


It’s only fair that now after the last post I mention mum’s side of the family. Very similar to Dad’s side they play a very little part of the story later so its only fair to introduce them now or their story will be lost forever.


Helen my grandmother I touched on in an earlier blog. She was given electric shock treatment as a child and by today’s standards what she endured at the hands of her mother would be considered child abuse.


I have no bad feelings towards my grandma and there were some happy memories but they were few and far between.


I think in hindsight she did not have any idea how to show or express love and that’s what fucked my mother up so much. The horrible treatment by my grandmother set off a chain reaction in the family home.


Firstly Marion my múms older sister left home when she was 18 and got as far away as possible. She ran away with her boyfriend Reg and they later married and had four kids.


They got all the way up to Wigan and Helen wouldn’t talk to her for years as she dared to defy her.
Then my mum in a desperate attempt to leave home married way too young to a guy called Gary.


Gary was cool but they were both ways too young then afterward my mum Carol met John Bailey. As charming, as he could be I don’t think she would have stayed with him.


Unfortunately for Carol a lot of the toxic behavior she had grown up with she began to see this as normal which led her down her path.

I think the only difference between her and my dad is my dad was exposed to extreme violence from such an early age.


The abuse Carol suffered was all mental abuse which in my opinion is ten times worse. I personally have suffered physical abuse from older kids and from teachers but you can deal with that.


You can use and channel the hatred inside you and you can physically hit back. This really isn’t good for your mental health but what is the alternative to stand there and cry while someone tries to make a name for themselves?


Some people never break away from that and they spend their whole lives being victims. This then follows them into the world of work and they never ever release their true potential.


I remember being in school and I was always a target because I was one of the bigger kids so I was always having to fight with older kids and at first I was terrified.
I hated going to school and you could not tell the teacher or you would then have to fight every day.


I quickly discovered boxing and learned how to fight and then anyone who wanted to fight they got hit so bad they never bothered me again.
This provided an outlet for my shitty situation and short term it helped but I was always looking for an excuse to fight.


Out of all the fights I had probably half of them could have been avoided.
I felt a lot of fear firstly that if I didn’t fight that I would become a bully victim and secondly because I had no positive male role model so I knew I pretty much had to teach myself a lot of stuff.


My mum is great but she hasn’t got the first idea of being a young lad. She is not stupid she knew telling the teacher would not help and she knew I would never tell her the full story but what could she do?


On top of that, she was busy enough spinning multiple plates to put food on the table and to pay the bills.


Back to Helen my Grandma she was also a complete fantasist. She would make up memories that didn’t happen which I will touch on in later blogs. She grew up on a farm but told everyone she used to be a teacher.


She did work as a teaching assistant very briefly in a nursery but if anyone asked that was her career.


Considering she came from a very humble beginning she was also a terrible snob. Ok, the men she married had had good jobs but it’s not like she married Bill gates or anything like that.


I think she hated were she came from so much and the abuse she endured that it was easier to claim it didn’t happen. This was also the time when people didn’t talk openly about there feelings. so she and many other women didn’t have a voice.


What was tragic to see and even I noticed this when I was very young is her attitude. If someone knocked on the door wearing a suit or she met someone who sounded important her whole demeanor would change.


Suddenly her voice would be more well-spoken and the stories would come thick and fast about things which had never happened. All to make herself sound a lot better.
She could be very charming and she married to a man named Tom who was my grandad.


Everyone who knew Tom told me he was an amazing man and such a lovely guy. I unfortunately never got to meet him.


He fought in world war 2 and was part of the veterinary core. He worked with dogs and this at the time was quite a new concept as horses were used a lot more on the battlefield before WW2.


This new system of using dogs was brought into service in 1942 with incredible results.
Please check the link below for a brief history of his regiment and what he did in the war.

https://museumofmilitarymedicine.org.uk/about/corps-history/history-of-the-royal-army-veterinary-corps/



Like many soldiers coming back from that period of history, he would never talk about what he did. I personally through my own struggles know that does more harm than good.

I think the only saving grace for these men is that everyone was going through the same thing so there was some comfort amongst old soldiers.

Veterinary core during WW2 when they first started their work with dogs
Modern day explosive seeking dog in Afghanistan


Funnily enough, there had been a big family feud and Helen my grandma had refused to speak to my mum for well over a year.
As a result of this Tom, my grandad was forbidden to talk to Carol as well nor was Carol allowed in the family home.


A lot of this usually came from Helen’s mental health problems. She had serious delusions of grandeur.


If anyone dared to question her or correct her then she would fly off the handle. I feel so sorry for her in hindsight as for her to behave this way tells me she must have had some serious pain.


She was not interested in letting that pain go as it was a huge part of her and I honestly don’t think she knew how to be happy.
Helen had decided she was going to forgive my mother for whatever she had done and now it was time for my grandad Tom to meet me.


On the way down the motorway to meet me, Tom was suddenly feeling sick and pulled over onto the hard shoulder. He was feeling sick because he was having a heart attack.

He died almost instantly and with no access to a phone for miles, there was nothing that could be done. He was 75 years old at his time of passing.


Now that’s actually what happened but the story Helen told everyone was that he died at the wheel at high speed and she had to figure out how to stop the car and pull it over to the side of the road. Well as they say there is no such thing as bad publicity.


A few years later Helen married a man called Alf. Alf was a lovely man. Even though I called him Alf he was my grandad. He worked in the post office with Tom and they had been best mates for many years. He had also seen action in world war 2.


He was a regimental sergeant major in the royal core of signals. This was a very interesting time to be a part of the unit as they evolved from working with carrier pigeons to developing phone lines in the heat of battle.


Modern-day signalers don’t have to spend a lot of time on the front line but during the WW2, things were very different. There were also units set up whose sole mission was to break the German coded messages.

https://www.royalsignalsmuseum.co.uk/ww1-ww2-communications/


Alf lived until he was about 85. He later developed Alzheimer’s disease.
It started off with him forgetting simple stuff and then it progressed very rapidly.

https://healthprep.com/alzheimers-disease/the-7-stages-of-alzheimers-disease/5/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=search&utm_campaign=1696103964&utm_content=65605636989&utm_term=alzheimer%27s+disease


He was a very fit man and every day we would walk a mile to the pub, have a pint of bitter then walk back. He would also later walk a mile to the shop and back. Now for a man in his eighties, that’s pretty good.


He started to forget his way home and would go out leaving the front door open.
It got to the stage where he could not remember to go to the toilet nor did he know who anyone was.


Two years before his death I had to stop going to see him in the home. It broke my heart to see such a fine man in such pain.


If his brain was ok I would have forced myself to keep seeing him but I justified it because he honestly had no idea who I was anymore.To this day I feel I made the right decision and I have some great memories of us both together. A very funny and charismatic man who is still fondly remembered and missed.


Marion went to Wigan and had 4 children who are Jeff, Debbie, Janice, and Tony. Reg who she married was a huge control freak. He used to have the kids in bed for 6 pm.
Anything Marion left the room for more than a minute he would shout her or follow her into the next room.


He was always sick in my memories of him and always had to take many tablets.
He did absolutely nothing to look after his heath and his diet was awful.


A memory I have of him was when he went into hospital to have twelve inches of bowel removed. On the way back from the hospital they stopped to buy cream cakes and pork pies.


He was sat there talking with his mouthful of cake telling me that he was a medical mystery. People were a lot more ignorant when it came to health back then but even Stevie Wonder could see he was heading for a heart attack.


He died in 1999 of guess what? yeah, a heart attack. Marion never remarried and still holds a torch for him.
Jeff is married to a girl called Lorraine who I have on Facebook. They have three kids together who I’ve never met but they look like they are happy enough.


Jeff is a good guy and all of my memories with him are good. He was always nice to me when we went to their house at Christmas. I’m not sure what he’s doing now but he’s always had factory jobs and I don’t see that changing.

Jeff and Lorraine


Debbie and Janice left home really early and got married. Is anyone seeing the pattern here?
Debbie owns a coach company with her husband. She recently looked at my profile on linked in so I messaged her to reach out but she ignored it.

I’m not too sure what Janice is up to. She was always very happy and positive. I had her on Facebook for a while and suddenly she deleted me. I asked her why she didn’t answer.


As sad as it is they are not interested in talking to me I’ve got to this age without needing them so I think I’m going to be ok.


Tony who is Marion’s youngest son is about 45 now. He has learning difficulties which have held him back his entire life. They made a huge mistake instead of sending him to school they took him to work with them.


They had the cleaning contract for at the time the biggest nightclub in Wigan called Maxims. They took him to work every day and then all went home.

Maximes back in the day
Maximes now

As a result, he did not learn how to interact with other kids or socialize with others.


To be fair to Marion and Reg it must have been a tough decision as there were no special schools in wigan so potentially he could be walking into a world of shit. So they had to choose between the devil and the deep blue sea.


I remember Tony would always have a new friend he had made but it would come out that the friend would be using him and borrowing money which he would never payback.
It would be that or coming over to play computer games than not bothering with him until he wanted to play again.

The more this happened the more withdrawn Tony become. He still lives in Wigan at home with Marion and very seldomly leaves the house.
I hear from Lorraine on Facebook on my birthday but that’s about it. like my dad’s side of the family, I literally have no relationship with any of them.


Jeff had a daughter called Lisa who I met during Regs funeral. She said she would write to me in the army but never did.


To be fair to Lisa nobody really wrote letters back then and if you moved to a foreign country then you were never heard of again. She reached out to me on Facebook while I’ve been in Vietnam and it’s nice to be in touch.


I also learned that Jeff and Tony have not spoken for years over god knows what but I don’t pry as I’ve got my own problems.I have no time for feuds or bad blood.
That to this day seems to run rampant on both sides of my family and as a result its all so very toxic.


I could probably reconnect with them all but the only way this is possible is if I made all the effort, arranged it all, and went to Wigan when it was convenient for everyone else.
I’m sorry but it’s a two-way thing so I’m not grinding an axe but I’m not in any hurry for any tearful reunion selfies from Wigan


To be fair I would make the effort with Lisa as she has taken the time out for me so it goes both ways.

Lisa last year


The reason why the family is so estranged is because of Reg and Marion. When I was younger my mum Carol was always trying to get me to stay with them. Marion always had an excuse no its impossible or Reg won’t allow it. It’s understandable as it’s not like I’m part of the family is it?


I could count on one hand how many times I’ve stayed there. Marion seemed ok with this and had an answer for every time mum asked so I basically got fucked off at every opportunity.

Later on, she and my mum fell out and they haven’t spoken in twenty years. It should be made clear the bad blood is coming from Marion.
She has a very jaded view on things and she can’t be told anything nor can she see reason.


I will talk about this later on but to summarise for twenty years Carol my mum had to take care of my grandma.Now included in that package was the emotional blackmail, resentment, making mum worthless at every opportunity.


As awful as it sounds it’s like she took pleasure in this because nobody could possibly understand how hard it was for Helen.


Quite frequently mum would come home in tears and it affected her deeply. How can someone who supposedly loves you show you such cruelty and hatred all to make herself feel better?


Marion could never help out with the care as Reg wouldn’t allow it so Helen could fuck right off. After twenty years my mum was broken by it and walked out she could not take anymore.


Reg had since died so then it fell on Marion to take care of Helen. It should be noted when Reg died him and Marion were mortgage-free. Reg had also worked in insurance his whole life so his wife was well looked after when he expired.


As well as all this she continued to clean full time. So Marion swoops in for the last five years and Helen leaves the house to Marion. This is ten times worse and my mum Carol has got fuck all.

She has struggled her whole life and this was a final fuck you from her mum and she wanted the rift as she loved the drama.


The week before she died my grandma rang up my mum and gave her the terms and conditions telling her she loved her the most and if she would start taking care of her again she could have the house.


Helen got another win as she managed to have Carol in tears one last time before she died so everyone wins right? So Marion sold the house and put the money with the rest. She showed how benevolent she was a year later when she sent mum a cheque for 5 grand.


At the time I was doing ok for money for a few years later when I had to move home it would have been quite handy if there was a house I could have used but never mind its much more fitting to have this shit storm in play.


I’ve seen Marion a couple of times since then and its always the same speech your always welcome in Wigan but your mum isn’t and then exactly how much of a cunt she is.


Obviously, I would be loyal to my mum but shes really wrong here and it’s not like Marion was flying the Arlo flag when I was younger.

Unfortunately, this taught me to detach at a very young age. This has both positives and negatives mainly its negative and a kid should not have to do this at such a young age.


If your blood clearly doesn’t give a shit about you then why show any emotion in return its a waste of energy. They can sit there with their feuds, resentment, and hatred while I’m busy making something of myself.


It feels great to get all this out in the open and you never know maybe there will be some tearful Wigan reunion selfies down the road.

I doubt it the last time I saw everyone was 2006 and even then I’m surprised the whole family didn’t gang up on Carol.
Well, credit is given where credits due at least they have respect for the dead.