Tainted Love


jazz club


‘Go to sleep Toots,’  ‘I love you – but Mamma’s got to go to work now.’

‘Nita’s through in the lounge room and she’ll check on you.’

‘I love you baby’ – ‘You are Mamma’s world.’  ‘Sleep sweetly my angel.’

Gently she released the length of her satin dress from her daughter’s hot, sweaty grip and slowly stroked the warm wrinkles, that most definitely weren’t going anywhere.

The window was open wide and a warm musky draught swept into the room carrying the groans and the banter of the punters below.   The heavy footfall readily cramming into Frank’s Gaff was unmistakable.

Lola shoved the window down to the last inch and pulled the drapes across to dull the noise.

One last stroke of her daughter’s beautiful face as she pulled up the faded coverlet and kissed her brow.  This was no place for a child.

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A last glance in the walkway mirror and she saw the creases of motherhood, but they wouldn’t notice.  She pushed a tendril of her long locks hastily behind her ear and pursed her lips together to spread the rouge more evenly.  Dread sat in the depth of her stomach.  Damn Frank for changing her set. Too many memories, too much hurt and heartaches

She was so tired.  Tired from running, tired from waiting, tired from wishing , from hoping and from regrets.  The running had to stop.

At the bottom of the stairwell she pushed the heavy door ajar and the atmosphere hit her hard.   The smoky warmth of the air, the musky stench of masculinity and the closeness of the evening all flooded her senses.  Too much hard liquor was already greasing the bar.  Testosterone was high tonight and the floor was sticky.  She needed a little loosener herself.

‘I’ll take a double Jack please Lil’ she nodded to the harried blonde behind the counter, already rushed off her feet.

‘You’re on in 5.’  Frank bellowed from the corner of the bar where his peers leered in her general direction.  She smiled through gritted teeth.  It was a damn good job he was paying her.

She smoothed her hand once more down the creases on her thigh and adjusted the corsetry beneath her bust.   Another deep breath.  She hadn’t realised she’d been holding it in.

Lil slammed the drink down on the bar in front of her and she clutched at it gratefully, before necking it back in one fell slug. Barely tasting, barely breathing.

The picture at the back of the bar by the optics caught her eye hauntingly.  A burning sensation hit her stomach from the Jack as she felt herself tied up in those chains. Trapped, destiny unknown.

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Hell, she was pissed at Frank for changing the set list.  She wanted to break those chains, to hear those beads ping and rattle all over that floor, she needed release.  She loved the song but even years later that part of her life was still raw.

A deep breath and she was on the stool, ready for action, depressing the button on the mike and nodding at Jake on the piano for her cue.  Another deep breath.

Her head hung, her brunette locks shielding her face from the men and their smoky outcrop, the unwanted attention and the force of nature.

Microphone in hand

Slipping from the stool with the mike cord wrapped loosely around her wrist, her heels met with the floor and she raised her eyes from beneath her heavy lids and long lashes to meet her audience.

The words came without forethought – committed to memory and they seemed to cling to the fog in the air.  Momentarily everyone stopped.  All eyes on Lola.  Glasses down, bottles poised, as they  lapped up her husky delivery and hung on her every word.

The back door banged.  Men were still pouring in from outside, the heat getting closer, the floor getting stickier with damp.  The storm was here.

Her eyes fixed on a gentleman at the back of a room, shifty and sodden.  He’d squeezed in past the regulars, past the truckers and found a place at the bar.  He looked younger, handsomely out of place.  Water slid from his leather jacket, his dark hair dripping.

Unfaltering from her throaty vocal she watches as he beckons to Lil to bring him a Jack on the rocks and then she notices the cigarette, damp and crumpled – tucked behind his ear … just like he used to do.

Continuing her act Lola sashays across the floor – flirting and singing openly at the men at each table in turn as they eyed her intently, silently braying for her attention.  Her eyes furtive, constantly returning to the gentleman clad in leather, who is now seated at a table at the back of the room, his feet in a puddle – his damp cigarette now smouldering in his lips.



*20 minute piece  ….  from a Music prompt (& picture) at The Bowery, Write Night with Alison Taft  1st July 2016*

SUMMER DAYS! …. It’s JUNE I tell ya!

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Notice I said ‘days’ not weeks or longer!  Where are the long sunny days for pity’s sake, the weeks in the garden and the hosepipe bans??  So much for Summer Lovin’ – I’d love a bit of summer, but it would appear to be in short supply thus far!!

Now, I’m only going to hit you with the positive stuff, as is my way for an end of month post.  This month has been all about growing up, sucking it up and hamming it up wherever possible.  So here’s this month’s fix of things that have managed to raise a smile against the odds…

We had two birthday’s in June – those of my husband and my daughter, both which we celebrated to each of their likings.


For Pete we took a family stroll around Swinsty Reservoir, which is a beautiful and peaceful walk, a little testing at times (pushing Archie in his wheelchair) but a good 2/3 hour workout that we all enjoyed and the weather was relatively kind.  Just over halfway, we decided to stop and check out the Tea Room at Washburn Heritage Centre.  http://www.washburnvalley.org/tea-room-with-exhibition

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There was an incredibly steep path to get up there … pushing an Archie it was exceptionally difficult – and ‘hands up’ I wasn’t strong enough – Pete had to take over.  When we reached our destination it was worth the wait for the Millionaire’s shortbread alone!


It was a lovely setting and the staff were very friendly and attentive. We sat outside in the sunshine – the kids loved the stairs/stage where they perform outdoor theatre on occasion.  I treat us all to lunch (a small gesture for the birthday boy – from his wife on a paltry income) but salmon sandwiches, tea, scones, cakes and juices and we found the energy to roll down the hill and continue our walk back to the car.


For anyone who loves a walk I’d definitely recommend this one.  It’s one of our favourites.  The kids love to explore the shores of the reservoir, the paths and the trees, and my husband always skims a few stones!


The 6 books (goodness knows how) I read in June went from the helpful to the bizarre and most places in between.


From an ‘out of my comfort zone’ point of view, I enjoyed reading Goodbye Heiko Goodbye Berlin.  I wouldn’t have chosen it and it was a bit eclectic for my taste.  It also tested my German language skills which were more than a little rusty after a 15 year hiatus!  I was surprised how much I learned reading about the East/West divide, the Berlin wall (and the falling of the same), the politics, the extremism of being young, and alternative, growing up in a time when the country was in a constant state of flux.  Oh and surprisingly no mention of The Hoff!?*  If I’d have written the book I’d have had to have mentioned the Baywatch lothario- and to be fair it would have segued into the text perfectly!


My favourite of the books I read this month was undoubtedly Cecelia Ahern’s latest offering The Marble Collector.  It was an easy read, an emotional read  http://bit.ly/28WpHMP .  I don’t want to give the story away – but it struck a chord with me in my present situation with my Dad.  It was cleverly and sympathetically written and it had real warmth to it.  You can read this and reviews of other books I’ve read on www.goodreads.com.

The second birthday this month was Scarlett’s 8th!  We’re still not entirely sure how that happened.  My gorgeous girl had already had a birthday party in the park with friends with a dance session by the fab Rawgina & Beanz, a bouncy castle, a rainbow cake and generally an overdose of excitement and sugar!


We were in Center Parcs when her actual birthday fell, as we’d pre-booked a break with the LS29 Group, a support group for families with children with special needs.  We always have fun on these excursions and it was good to celebrate with family and friends … and the birthday frog even came to visit!


 We had more cake (chocolate fudge) and the most bizarre flower opening candle thingumy (sent from Granny Jill)  and we’d taken lots of pressies and cards for her to open too.

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The birthday girl chose the activities on her birthday and decided on swimming and caving!  You can’t go wrong with the swimming pool – a firm favourite with all of us


As for caving . er well we hadn’t been caving at Center Parcs before, and the least said about the later probably the better … as Pete pretty much got stuck!  Probably a trip he won’t forget in a hurry.  Fortunately for him no emergency services were required to extricate him … but seeing the width of the shoulders and the size of the hole, the instructor showed Pete a secret door with an escape route! Shhhhh.   The boys loved it though and whilst Scarlett had a couple of hairy moments she stuck it out to the end.


On the evening, we had been booked into the entertainment Party in the Parc (a music and dance extravaganza) as part of the LS29 Group and subsidized in part by the Suzie Baxter Fund.  It’s thanks to charities and sponsorship that the LS29 Group is generally funded to enable families with children on specialist benefits and requiring specialist provisions to access activities that wouldn’t necessarily be possible.  Thank you to all those people who help to make these activities happen.  It means a great deal to families like ours.


Jem’s taken a recent shine to Bean Boozled!  I’d love to say we all share his taste – but I’d be lying.  This said we spent a hilarious hour waiting for the entertainment to start whilst playing ‘Jelly Bean Roulette!’  Now I’m a huge fan of Jelly Belly beans as a rule … but vomit, grass and baby wipe flavours left me pretty cold!



Jem liked to think he had the upper hand … but he got caught out himself on more than one occasion! Ha!


It rained a fair bit during our stay – The Lakes in summer is on a par with Yorkshire – as lovely as it is – wet seemed to be the default setting.  So we spent a lot of time in the arcades after hours!  I’m a bit of a fan of slots (despite their money guzzling tendencies) and the motion games, dance machine and air hockey were all heaps of fun too.


My kids  both seem to go through shoes like fun!  There was a time when a certain person got 4 pairs of school shoes in one term!!  Anyways – a big shout out to Ralph Lauren.  Scarlett’s last pair of school shoes were navy blue leather pumps with rubber toes and I think they’ve lasted her almost 6 months- which is practically unheard of!  Moreover she says they’re incredibly comfy and I think she’d wear them every day if I let her.  I played a blinder when I saw a pair of summer canvas pumps in the same style in TK Maxx the other day – so I snapped them up for the summer months … on the proviso that the rain stops and she can get some wear out of them!!


School Sports Day is always a blast and we were gutted that it was rained off last year.  Despite the inclement weather we managed a sunny afternoon and had some success with the skipping and long distance events!


At the end of the month my friend Soph and I did out own sporty challenge in the form of the 10 mile Midnight Walk for St Gemma’s Hospice, in support of their 10 year anniversary and in memory of both our lovely Mums.

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It was a physically and emotionally tiring evening …. but, bar sore feet at the end of the night from pounding the pavement,  it was a huge success and I managed to raise over £100 for a very worthwhile cause too.  My Mum spent just her very last day at St Gemma’s and the nursing staff were exceptional and I was so relieved that she passed in such comfortable surroundings and with such care.


Scarlett ended the month on a fundraising high too, baking chocolate drizzled shortbread biscuits for the Brownies Quiz Night all by herself (turns out she’s a master baker and I think she might just get a badge too).  With her efforts, and those of her brownie pals, they managed to raise a very respectable sum for Martin House Hospice. I’m so proud of her already understanding how important it is to support good causes.

Speaking of good causes it’s Training Day from school tomorrow and if I want to survive it I most definitely need some sleep!

Zzzzzzzzzz      x