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» The nicest thing someone's ever done for me

Thanks to my father...
This may be an epic post from a long-time lurker and it is one I am, to some degree, loathe to post. I haven't, until recently, actually considered my life as unusual to date, assuming that everyone has their issues and mine have been no different. But, there have been those that have stressed, in incredulous voice, that I should write my tale down or even publish it, send it to some god-awful daytime show etc. etc.

I don't seek the limelight (usually), and I am not one given to bleeding-heart tales of weepiness, so I am reluctant to do so. So, in the interest of experimentation and at the urging of others, I am going to write down my tale, and I am going to do so here, amidst the fair-minded, non-judgemental stranges of B3ta!

So, obligatory wobbly lines effect and we're off into the past....

...I was born the eldest of two brothers to a young couple back in the late sixties, a time of tank-tops, bell-bottoms and free-love. I still recall black & white television and there being less than 4 channels to view. Decimal currency was a new-fangled idea when I was still small, and the East End of London was a rough, if noble place. So far, so good...

...When I was still very young my parents split up, seemingly due to my fathers lack of fidelity in nealy all departments. He stole from his mother, lied to his brothers, ran around with women all over the place, thieved from Bad People(tm) and his employers and was generally a nasty bit of work. He was, however, gifted with charisma and a very, very convincing manner which enabled him to get away with all the things he did.

For some reason, which to this day remains a mystery to me, he took me from the family home, bundled me into the back of a car with his latest girlfriend and absconded into the wilderness, seperating me and my brother. I was about three or four years old.

For the next couple of years I was hidden from my mother and my brother by my grandparents, in seeming collusion with my father. Indeed, there were apparently times when I would be locked in the bedroom at my grandparents flat and 'kept quiet' while my mother stood in the next room demanding to know where my father had hidden me. They denied all knowledge, protecting their son as he had persuaded them to do.

The years that follow are a blur. We moved from place to place at the behest of my father, all over the UK, never stopping in one home for more than a year, as though running and hiding from something (he no doubt had *many* people hunting him down). A step-sister came along, borne by the woman I had been forcibly taught to call 'mummy', and my schooling was a mis-mash of home tutoring and one primary after another.

I had a sense that 'something was wrong', and on those occasions when, as a small lad, I was truly upset I would often find myself crying for my 'mother' despite 'mummy' being right there in the house or room with me. Still, as the years passed these things faded away, along with memories of my earlier life.

By the time I was 9 years old we had actually settled into something of a normal family life as far as I was concerned. We were living in a tiny village in South Wales, my sister and I fought like cats and dogs, my father worked 'away' a lot (I later discovered that he did a stint at HM Pleasure for various frauds he'd carried out) and I settled into school at last.

Then, when I was 11, it all changed again. My father absconded with yet another new woman and vanished entirely. This left me in the care of his ex-girlfriend, who I thought (had been trained to think) was my mother.

Still, lots of children I knew were brought up by single parents so I didn't think it odd or unusual in any way and simply 'got on' with life.

Then, when I was 17, the storm broke.

I'd applied to join the armed forces and as part of the process the recruitment office performed a full background check. Of course, the information I gave them regarding my 'parents' didn't match the details they obtained from official sources and I can still remember the officer suggesting that I had 'some questions that need to be asked' of my mother. So, I went home and duly did so.

My 'mother' didn't flinch, to her credit, she stated the tale in a matter of fact manner and left me to digest it. In order to help me understand it, she placed a call to my uncle and he took me on the most surreal road-trip of my life - to meet my natural mother and two more sisters!

Now, my 'mother' (this may get confusing now) was effecient and hard-working as a parent, and I will never criticise her for that (though I will for the religious indoctrination she forced on me, but thats a tale for another day), but she never really showed me any affection (understandable really) and neither had my half-sister (her natural daughter), so the overwhelming flood of emotion from my natural mother, her new(ish) husband and my two additional sisters was utterly incomprehensible to me.

I did what was natural. I left home. I ran. Left everyone and everything. I never looked back.

Confused wasn't the word. The world I thought I knew was one of lies and illusions. Nothing was real, no one cared and the world was a Bad Place(tm) for the first time.

fifteen years go by (more wobbly lines are in order I think) as I fought and battled my way into a life of my own, redefining myself as I went, and mostly (save for two or three particular friends en route) alone.

Some of those years were bad indeed. I nearly found myself homeless more than once, and had to scrape a living as best I could, often living hand to mouth for long periods of time. But, it *made* me. You get strong or you perish, it's a simple choice.

In 1996 I met someone who changed my life forever, the first great love of my life, and the one who was to be MrsEffinDoubt in years to come. (Heh, she'd moved into my crappy bedsit within 2 weeks of us meeting and we've barely been a day apart since!).

Her family is relatively 'normal' (they'd laugh at that, but by comparison to my soap opera they are!) and they took me to their hearts straight away, even though it took a good few years for me to understand them and accept their affection. And they might just qualify for 'the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me' just by accepting me for who I was and allowing me to be part of their family.. ..but I shall move along.... (with a smile and a kiss for each of them)..

..as there was one more shocker in store, and that happened about 3 or 4 years ago now.

Out of the blue, my brother (the one I was seperated from at age 4) called me. "Hallo bruv", he said... I almost broke at that point, as I'd heard of him but we'd never met in any meaningful way.

We talked, albeit briefly, as he had news. My father had died in Australia and there was a will that needed sorting out.

The next few months saw me reconnected with my whole, original family, my natural mother, my sisters, my brother and the 'old man' (my mothers second husband) whom I now call 'dad' (bless him for allowing me that privilege!!)

The pathetic will was disbursed, the past was settled, and I had my family back.

This year, I became a father at the age of forty (Late I know, but I had pretty negative views of fathers and families you know!) and the LittleDoubt is.... the meaning of my life.

I'm not alone anymore.

So, thank you, Father, for dying and leaving that will. The world is better off without you, and now I will repair the damage you did to all these people.

but, without you I wouldn't be the person I am today. Perhaps not the nicest thing that anyone has ever done for me, but certainly the most important.

My Thanks for all of you that have read this far.

EDIT: A short list of people that helped me along the way - Richie, Mikey, Keith, Molly & Family, Mum, Dad & my Siblings - I love you all. You may never know just how much.
(Mon 6th Oct 2008, 10:53, More)

» The most childish thing you've done as an adult

Ok, here's whats had me giggling like a loon all day...


Step 1.Choose your favourite love song, or any song about lurve for that matter.

Step 2. Look up the lyrics on t'interweb. Copy and paste into Word.

Step 3. Run a find&replace on the word 'love' and replace with the word 'knob'.

Step 4. Die laughing like a 9-yr old.

Optional step 5. Post the results here so we can all appreciate your artistry!

Try it. You will like it.

My fave so far is 'Is this love' by Whitesnake.....

I should have known better
Than to let you go alone
It's times like these
I can't make it on my own
Wasted days, and sleepless nights
An' I can't wait to see you again

I find I spend my rime
Waiting on your call
How can I tell you, babe
My back's against the wall
I need you by my side
To tell me it's alright
Cos I don't think I can take anymore

Is this knob that I'm feeling
Is this the knob that I've been searching for
Is this knob or am I dreaming
This must be knob
Cos it's really go a hold on me
A hold on me

I can't stop the feeling
I've been this way before
But, with you I've found the key
To open any door
I can feel my knob for you
Growing stronger day by day
An' I can't wait too see you again
So I can hold you in my arms


Is this knob that I'm feeling
Is this the knob that I've been searching for
Is this knob or am I dreaming
This must be knob
Cos it's really got a hold on me
A hold on me

Is this knob that I'm feeling
Is this the knob that I've been searching for

Is this knob or am I dreaming
(Wed 23rd Sep 2009, 14:26, More)

» Neighbours

Nobby, my Neighbour
Many years ago (Cue obligatory wobbly line like substance) when first I was drawn to the heaving metropolis that is Cardiff I lived in a shared house on Fitzhamon Embankment (For those of you that know the geography of the Riverside district).

Let me tell you, gentle readers, living there was an utter experience. Beyond the discovery of murder victims in the neighboring back-garden, the drug factory next door and the stream of other crimes committed within 100ft of my 'home' it also attracted a stream of the strangest and most surreal people I've ever had the experience of meeting.

First and foremost amongst these was a chap I knew as "Nobby". I think everyone knows a Nobby, you know.

Nobby was strongly anti-drugs and anti-drink. He was also a skinhead who wore nothing but camo's and was utterly hooked on snorting cans of butane lighter fuel. See, thats neither drugs or drink as far as Nobby was concerned, so he was a pillar of society and utterly doing nothing stupid, oh no.

Still, he was *generally* a nice chap. Apart from the time he nearly stabbed me with a kitchen knife when his girlfriend decided to drag me into the middle of one HELL of a domestic. But that's a tale for another day...

For now, I wish only to recount the strange events of a particular day in the summer of 1991. (wavey lines inside wavey lines now, you'd best hang on to something solid...)

It was truly scorching and the city lay in a sultry, abused heap dumped on slowly melting tarmac. The traffic moved sluggishly past and even the seagull and pigeons couldn't be cunted to squawk, shag or fight. Everything, animal or vegetable, was either lying gasping in the heat of the midday or jumping into the Taff in an effort to escape. (Tantamount to suicide...the Taff could be *walked* across on colder days!) The city stank of sweat and hops, and in the distance a saxophonist played slightly off-key blues.

Nobby and I sat in the window of the garret room at the top of the house; he snorting from a fresh can and me taking the occasional pull from a bottle of JD and a reefer alternately.

Now, below us, on the ground floor lived a frech fella whose name eludes me for the moment... ...let's call him Mr. Frog... who was a very strange fella indeed. He rarely emerged during the day and when he did he almost never spoke to anyone. He worked, we heard, as a chef, but given the strange stench of mouldering food that hung around him we were not keen to try his cuisine. That day, and for the weekend preceeding, neither Nobby or I had seen Mr. Frog at all, but that didn't strike us as unusual....

Our attention, slightly lagged, was drawn to a police car cruising sloooooowly down the embankment. We could imagine it wheezing and sweating in the heat, and the two police-person occupants looked uncomfortable indeed. Uncomfortable and bored.

Whilst their comfort was unlikely to improve as a result of what happened next, they were certainly no longer to be bored, for into this scene of parched laziness exploded a howling banshee. Below us, out of our own shared front door burst Mr. Frog. Naked, save for stained and ill-fitting Y-fronts. Screaming, bestial and primtive. Foaming at the lips, he flung himself straight at the police car.

Now, that in and of itself would've been enough of a suprise for the dutiful officers, but their dismay could only have been multiplied by the rather large breeze block that Mr. Frog had thoughtfully chosen to bring with him. Only to bring it crashing down through the windscreen before collapsing over the bonnet himself.

All was still. The heat of the day continued to build. Nothing moved, nothing stirred.

Then there was pandemonium as the police exited the vehicle and attempted to apprehend the strangely slippery and suprisingly fast Mr. Frog as he legged it down the street.

Nobby turned to me, took another pull on his can and said "Y'know, Effin, I think I do too much of this shit."
(Tue 6th Oct 2009, 13:55, More)

» The most childish thing you've done as an adult

Four steps to utter public childishness...

Follow these instructions:

1) Obtain oyster card and remove chip carefully.
2) Obtain 'harry potter wand' toy and dismantle carefully.
3) place oyster chip in wand and re-assemble (You may need an adult to help with the gluing).
4) use wand in place of oyster card at every opportunity.

Extra credit awarded for use of magic words, loudly, in public.
(Tue 22nd Sep 2009, 10:33, More)

» The most childish thing you've done as an adult

I'm not sure if this counts....
...but it was a 'moment'.

I was there for the birth of my daughter, which was a long and painful battle as far as my wife was concerned and a very, very stressful day (and night) for me.

We'd had all the ups and downs, all the worries and scares, all the tears and screaming and crushed fingers (mine) and in the end the little one had to be delivered by forceps and even that proved unusually tricky (so the doc. said).

But, came that moment when the wife was lying exhausted and barely conscious, whacked out on morphine and it was I who was handed the little lass herself for the very first time.

I lent down to show our "lovely" (they are pretty ewww at first!) daughter to my wife for the first time, and spoke these words, never forgotten by those who heard them, and shattering the tension in the room for all and sundry....

"Look honey, it's a HUMAN! Winner!"
(Tue 22nd Sep 2009, 11:43, More)
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