AN INQUIRING MIND

Psychology Forensic The Justice System

I’ve discovered a new passion, proving that you’re never too ‘old’ or middle-aged in my case, to find new loves (not of the romantic variety either, at least, not in my case). Since being in college, I’ve developed a real interest in learning about new subjects. Nothing unusual about that,  but I was denied this opportunity when I was back in High School having been told by my teachers that I ‘wasn’t clever enough’. My current term with my present college ends late this summer, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it.

I recently applied to do a new course, at the same college, in Psychology, Forensics and The Justice System, and I found out today that I’ve been accepted. I am so thrilled! It’s only part-time and at an elementary level, but it will give me the experience to decide whether I want to follow this up with a more advanced qualification. The course doesn’t start until next January, and I’m itching to get started already. I wonder whether I’ll finally develop a liking for Judge Judy or Judge Rinder, of television fame.

Not content with that, I want to fill the Autumn Term gap with learning about another interest of mine, a short evening course (now the evenings are lighter), in hearing loss and British Sign Language. Although I don’t have any hearing loss, my Mum, when she was alive, struggled with this. British Sign Language has always fascinated me, ever since I was young when I learned the deaf alphabet on my fingers. It would be good to develop that a bit more. I think I’ll enjoy that.

I do realise that I am very fortunate in having the spare time to follow some of my ‘dreams’. Dreams may seem like a big word when describing something as ordinary as education. However, I’ve never really hanckered after travelling the world, marrying a rich man or becoming Prime Minister. My dream, simply, is to fulfil my potential which was denied to me when I was growing up … so, here I am at very lively age of sixty finally achieving those dreams.

 

 

BOSOM PALS AND ACQUAINTANCES

girl alone black and white

Suddenly, the stark realisation that I don’t have a best friend in the world hit me like a bolt of lightning from the sky. Not only do I not have a best friend but sadder still, I don’t think I have truly ever had a real, best buddy.

I have many social relationships and acquaintances – college friends, church friends, Facebook friends, blogging friends, neighbours, work colleagues, family members, and no doubt many people who I have not mentioned here, but none of these would I class as my bosom pal.

This realisation hits hard as I can’t help but wonder why this is. Is there something about me that no-one is telling me? Perhaps, I do have green ears and a purple tail (as one of my blogs was entitled a couple of years ago). Is there is something about me that I can’t see but others can?

As far as I know, I am a nice person (whatever ‘nice’ is). I don’t deliberately lie, nor cheat or steal. I am trustworthy. I like to go out of my way to be kind to people and to try not to hurt anyone purposely – not simply because it’s the right thing to do (in my eyes), but because that is how I genuinely feel. ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’, I always say. I’m also a great believer in ‘Praise where praise is due’and ‘Kindness costs nothing’.

I was the same at both primary and grammar school. I never had friends, even then. I used to spend break-times sitting on a wall, wistfully watching while the other children playing, or when I was a bit older, I’d stand like a wallflower on the perimeter of the playground, too shy to go up to anyone in the vain hope that someone might spot me and even consider me as a friend. Maybe, it was because I was very small (and quiet) for my age so I got bullied quite a lot. I just didn’t to seem to gel with my peers.

As I grew up and when my children were little in Nursery or the early years of school, I plucked up the courage to exchange a few words to a few of the mums also waiting outside to pick their children up. However, I think I was thought of as a bit of a leper once my ex-husband left, leaving me with the children who were still young then. It just wasn’t the done thing back in the 80’s (showing my age!). I think I was, at that time, the only single-parent family in the whole of the Infants.

When my children were at secondary school, I had to work my socks off, caring and cleaning for elderly people – anything to make ends meet. Fortunately, I’ve always enjoyed the company of older people and I did like my work. Some of the clients I’d go to would let me bring the children during the holidays. Tom and Clare treated it like an outing as we’d go armed with colouring books, jigsaws and Snap or Ludo which they all enjoyed playing together and which, invariably, my clients would let the children win.

So, I think with me, and ‘friends’ or even acquaintances, it’s a case of you win some you lose some and even the ‘some’ are often like ships that pass in the night. But, am I lonely? No, actually, I’m not. I like my independence (all be it that I need Carers twice a day) and I do generally enjoy my own company and having time to read, study and write etc. I get to choose what I want to eat and what I don’t want, I get to decide whether to watch TV or listen to music. The majority of the time I get to choose when to venture into town or further afield with George (my wheelchair) and best of all, I get to hog the duvet without any arguments 🙂

 

 

 

 

THE CROSSING

road crossing before

(Before)

Harvey was killed in July of 2008. He would have been almost 18 years old now. This young boy was the son of my daughter’s work colleague. He died, crossing a busy road where the traffic moved far too fast and there was no safe place to cross. Hundreds of flowers and messages were left at the foot a tree nearby the spot he was killed. That tree is now called ‘Harvey’s tree’ by the locals. 

The young lad wasn’t the first person to die on that stretch of the road. A van hit an elderly man who was with his dog, some years before that, and there had been several accidents causing various non-fatal injuries. Numerous minor incidents and near misses had also occurred over the years. 

Following Harvey’s tragic death, a group of us got together to form a campaign to fight for traffic safety measures to be put in place. We organised a petition of all the local homes, shops, businesses and doctor’s surgery to present to the local council, asking for a zebra-crossing to be put in place. Nearly everyone supported us. A few of those that didn’t were very plainly more concerned with getting to work or home in a hurry regardless of the consequences.

The council considered our application, not carefully enough, I thought and after eighteen months, they turned it down due to financial constraints. The number of people from the original group gradually started to dwindle until eventually, there were only four of us left. We continued to fight, this time with the help of the local press who came and took photos of the fast-moving traffic there, with us four plus a small crowd of schoolchildren and parents standing nearby. The article was on page two of the paper and at least got people talking about the situation again. We appealed to the council again but were turned away once again.

After that, we enlisted the help of our local radio’s presenters who broadcast the plea to the county. We were beginning to look like we had a chance. We petitioned the officials at County Hall again. This time, they said they would consider new safety measures and then proceeded to dig part of the road up to install chicanes on either side. When done, this did slow the cars and vans but long queues built up on either side. Not a great success so back to the drawing-board.

We pleaded for our zebra-crossing. It was vital to the safety of adults and children alike, all of whom took their life in their hands every time made their way to school, to work, to the shops, etc. If it hadn’t had been illegal, we would have been sorely tempted to creep out to the danger-spot and paint the stripes on the road ourselves. Meanwhile, another school summer holiday came. Gradually, we saw that roadwork signs were being erected along the pavement.

Digging commenced. After, three weeks, the appearance of the beginning of speed-humps was noted. We queried this, to be informed that this indeed was the new safety measure and that there was no intention of installing a pedestrian crossing! At this point, we thought we were going to have to admit defeat in a minor way, but we had to agree that the road was safer, also thanks to the addition of the double-yellow line down the middle of the road. Now, six months down the line, and there hasn’t been a single accident and barely a near miss. Finally, we have safe passage for all pedestrians and cyclists across that road and far fewer collisions between cars and other vehicles too.

It is so tragic that it took the loss of the lives of a young boy and previously, an elderly man before anyone would to listen to local people and take action on this obviously dangerous stretch of road. Harvey B. RIP.

speed humps and sign

(After)