As we were sat at the table during lunch yesterday, my defiant Mum was reminding us all about her appeal. I think she was worried we had forgotten! We haven’t. She then went on to tell us that she had left “a couple” of messages on the driving company’s answerphone over the weekend. Marvellous. I suspect “a couple” is far more than two. I can only imagine it was something like “Oh hello, it’s Mary again, I’m just making sure you got my last message. I NEED to be driving. It’s such a blasted inconvenience.” (My Mum’s all about the capitals, so I can only imagine the emphasis on particular words of importance). Whilst Brexit was sat there presenting her case for a retrial, I was looking at my Dad who looked completely exhausted. My hubby allowed her the time to present herself. Then he responded. I love the way in which Bugsy deals with my Mum, he’s firm but very fair with her. He told her that if they do a retest, then this subject must be laid to rest. He reminded her that at £55 a test, it was quite a costly thing to keep doing! My poor Dad then piped up “Mary, we will run out of money eventually if you carry on with this.” Carry on with this?!! How many more £55 tests does my Dad think she intends to have?! That poor company, she’ll be the talk of their office this morning, I’m sure. I did make my own call on Saturday to them, apologising for my Mum’s defiance and need for retest! But it might take a few hours trawling through my Mum’s rants to find it.

I am very much aware that as dementia takes hold, my Mum’s strong will and tenacity will only become exacerbated. Wonderful. It’s going to be quite a journey. Pre dementia, my Mum was always slightly rebellious anyway.  The threat of closure of our local hospital made my Mum leap into action. My Mum and Dad both got behind this. They had a protest one Saturday morning. They all had to wear red t-shirts. My Mum cannot stand the colour red! She’d been telling us all week that she was refusing to comply and wear the red! So, as the Saturday arrived, my Mum compromised with fuchsia!! I was proud of my parents for fighting this cause. They are certainly not known for their apathy. The protest was on the local news that evening. My parents were proudly stood there with their banners, Dad in red, Mum in fuchsia. My Mum had been interviewed by the reporter. As we watched the news item, the interviews unfolded. My Mum’s had been edited out, but, unfortunately, her name appeared under one of the interviewees! Talk about a fuchsia rag to a bull!! We heard about this for ages afterwards, she felt so misquoted! It was very hard keeping a straight face during her outbursts over this injustice.

I bought my Mum a lovely pair of shoes from Hotter last year. She doesn’t always wear the most supportive shoes and this has always worried me. Those legs move pretty fast, despite the arthritis, so I’d prefer to see her in substantial shoes. When I took her to Hotter to buy the shoes, she was telling me how “fussy” I was being. (You can shove the word ‘fussy’ with the ‘blasted’, I hate both words). We managed to find a pair she accepted. But she made sure that she was having them in the mint green and not the subtle navy I’d suggested. As we left the shop with the purchase, I felt a sense of achievement. My Mum had allowed me to spend £80 on a decent pair of shoes, as opposed to her normal, flimsy ones. Over the next couple of weeks, I didn’t really see these minty shoes much. Slightly annoying, as I’d paid good money for them (much to the annoyance of my husband). Eventually, I saw the shoes. They had been modified. With scissors, she’d cut the top of them. I wasn’t happy. When questioned, she said they were more comfortable and relaxed that way! Grrrrr bang goes any 28 day money back if unsatisfied!! I didn’t mention these shoes again after this. It was just too frustrating.

My Mum was a piano teacher and used to give lessons at home. I always wanted to learn the piano. My Mum always refused to teach me. She taught my sister. She taught three of my friends. But never me. She always stood by the fact that it wouldn’t end well! That I couldn’t sit that long and concentrate and it would cause friction between us. (Sadly, I do now accept this argument and would actually agree with her!). I remember cuddling my faithful sidekick, Sheba, (my beautiful border collie), in the dining room watching the lessons. My Mum was so patient with her pupils, I think it may have been tested to the max with me! When teachers used to tell my parents that I lacked patience, my Mum always defended with the same argument. She always explained that I was a forceps delivery, with the help of the “Southhampton flying squad.” She always maintained that was the reason I ran everywhere and found it difficult to sit still for long. The idea that I came out in a rush and that I hadn’t ever stopped. I do identify with this. I get asked a lot “Where’s the fire?!!” I’ll be running from place to place, but when I question myself as to why I’m running, I never know the answer.

Mum has always hated tattoos. My husband doesn’t like them either. So, at 36, I decided to get illustrated. I was doing a degree in Social Sciences at the time, in a bid to fulfil my dream of becoming a Counsellor. I was doing it through the Open University from home. I was feeling way too sensible and needed a rebellion. I went and got my first tattoo. It got the exact reaction I’d expected from the Bugsy, but my Mum was a different story. When I told her, she then went on to say how horrible it was to see women with tattoos. I showed her, she then said “Oh actually that’s very pretty, I do like that!” ………. Grrrrrrrr!!! She wasn’t meant to like it!!

When I was 13, I asked Mum if I could get my ears pierced for the second time. She was adamant that one earring in each ear was sufficient. So, after school one day, I went into ‘Virginia’s’, a local salon in town. My friend had dared me ….that’s always been my downfall! I told the lady I was 16, she seemed satisfied with this! (You’d never get away with that these days!!). I then got two more piercings in each ear. I was chuffed to bits as I left Virginia’s with my newly pierced ears. Mum didn’t notice that night, or the next night… After a week of scraping back my corkscrewed, permed hair (the 80’s remember) to display my ears, I was growing really frustrated that she hadn’t noticed, let alone lambasted me for it! Eventually, I got really fed up and told her what I’d done. It was so annoying at the time, when she said “I noticed on the day you had them done, I was just waiting for you to tell me.” Grrrrrr so annoying! Thinking of all the things I did as a child, I do actually think I’ve created a monster. My Mum’s current rebellion has had years of teaching and influence from her youngest daughter. Marvellous.




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