Thought for a Monday

I’m updating and prepping course content and materials for some training I’m booked to give at a few care homes this week in dementia care / challenging behaviour and negotiating / managing conflict.

Believe it or not despite generally having a short-fuse, temper and a foul-mouth I’m surprisingly good at handling people that are going up the pole, creating, kicking off and about ready to start taking hostages.

The key is using body language, facial expression and tone / volume of voice to find a balance between disarming and making them feel inclined to side with you but not patronising, embellishing and making it painfully obvious you’re trying to get them to think you’re super and great.

Too little you’ll be considered unhelpful and not taking them seriously.

Too much you’ll rile them even more like the negotiator in Robocop who made a schoolboy error.

Get it “Goldilocks” just right and BINGO.  Nobody needs to die or have Robocop burst through the wall.

Dug out various worksheets, resources and found one of my all time favourite quotes you can have for free to help start off your Monday morning 🙂

“10% of conflict is due to difference in opinion; 90% is due to the wrong tone of voice”


When you get home and the place is a tip…

Get home and the place is a bombsite.  No milk, sugar all over the worktop.  Lazy arsed kids have used every plate, mug and bowl and even broke into the plastic picnic forks cos they’re too lazy to throw a few things in the dishwasher.

No milk… nobody thought to even text and ask me to get some on the way home.

An orange sat in a cereal bowl – a single orange.   I ask you who leaves an orange like that??!  Well you know what I’m not touching anything.  gonna throw shit, tip over the utensils and pasta jars and they can stick that one orange up their arse too.

Music that sees you through

With today being Record Store Day and all sorts of great albums and vinyls being thrown up on social media I ended up back at the earliest, timeless and literally brilliant music that once had a specific meaning, memory or moment only for the meanings and moments to change over time but still retain their brilliance.

I remember hearing a song frequently played late night on the radio back in the early 90’s and didn’t discover the name of the track or artist for a while but I instantly fell in love with this beautiful female singer / pianist I later learned was “Tori Amos”

“Silent all these years” was one of four tracks released in 1992 from the absolutely brilliant album “Little Earthquakes” and that single helped me to kick-start and rediscover my love for the piano in my early teens.

“Under the Pink” was released a couple of years later with “Cornflake Girl” the most commonly and probably only single that did anything in the charts.

I loved this album too largely for its slightly grungier, more distorted and grittier feel along with backing vocals from Trent Reznor and its tendency to throw a sudden spanner in the works and catch you off guard.   The Wrong Band had the same feel as Being for the Benefit of Mr Kite, “God” “Waitress”  and “Space Dog” had lots of distorted guitar and the brilliant “Bells for Her” was recorded on an old knackered 100yr old piano they found and put together to give the haunting feel with clacking of hammers and slightly out of tune keys.

I had left school, started work and started seeing my ex–boyfriend when she released “Boys for Pele” in 1996 which initially I didn’t rate at all.  It seemed so at odds with what she’d previously recorded and whilst I loved the introduction of a harpsichord I didn’t like the shouting and yelling and what felt like a woman completely unhinged and scorned by her ex.

It took a while for me to make peace and grow to love the use of brass which until then I’d never been here nor there but Putting the Damage on was painfully and beautifully haunting.

It was shortly after the release of Pele in 96 I first saw Tori Amos play live and it was one of the many things that caused the jealous ex to have a bit of a sulk and strop.  He didn’t want me to accept the offer of free tickets my brother’s friend had because.. well because he was a dick and my brother’s friend was offering me the tickets which of course meant rampant sex or some dumb-ass logic in his mind.

I went anyway and got to see this mesmerising, absolutely breathtaking performance which was just Tori at the piano wearing a pair of jeans, vest top and hair up in a scraggly pony tail like this brilliant cover of Famous Blue Raincoat

She played Glastonbury in 98 and featured in various “Unplugged” acoustic sets which were amazing.

Then after I’d left the ex and whilst pregnant with Hannah she released “From the Choirgirl Hotel” which had some good tracks but more screeching and screaming and corned ex-material I could have done without.

That’s kind of where we parted for a while at least until she came back with a brilliant album more in tune with her earlier brilliant albums.

“Scarlet’s Walk” was a stunning album the B-sides and “Scarlet’s Hidden Treasures” as good if not an album in their own right.  That album takes me back to driving around almost endlessly during hazy summer in 2002/03 when the kids were only 4 and 2yrs respectively.

Mum would regularly have them over at hers for a weekend and Mark and I just pissed off and drove miles to the arse end of nowhere, found a pub or B&B and stayed over.

The last time I saw Tori perform live was in 2007 for the American Doll Posse tour which I decided would be the last gig too. She had by then lost her voice, had cosmetic surgery and ruined her naturally beautiful looks and whilst she played a full two hour set featuring the Bossendorfer, harpsichord and various keyboards / had her backing band she had lost her edge and it was genuinely sad to see the decline of this once hypnotising performer.

I’m not ripping or linking to anything about her looks and voice because it’s unfair to judge her and continually bring up the deterioration which has almost become the first and main topic of conversation when her name is mentioned.

Instead I’m linking to the first song I heard and a couple of others that still sound as good now as they did back in 1992.

“Little Earthquakes” is little short of a masterpiece and one album I related to as a young teenager and still relate only in a different way.

At the time the music scene was dominated by the new genre of grunge and albums from bands such as Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nine Inch Nails, Guns n Roses and Metallica.

Then smack bang in the middle of all that popped up this tiny lady with flaming red hair and a voice like nectar 😀


When you’ve declared “Challenged Accepted” — Auntysocial

Then when you realise there was no need to declare “Challenge Accepted” nor gear up with a Rocky Montage after all.

Arrives at field.  Opens and rattles large bag of Doritos at the field gate.

Mission Accomplished.




Horse that’s a few years out of work and has something of a reputation and you’re warned off because he’s considered a handful which merely prompts you to declare “Challenge Accepted” with Eye of The Tiger providing the soundtrack. Horse be like “Clubber” (Mr T) giving it the Johnny Big Bollocks and I’m like an […]

via When you’ve declared “Challenged Accepted” — Auntysocial

When you’ve declared “Challenged Accepted”

Horse that’s a few years out of work and has something of a reputation and you’re warned off because he’s considered a handful which merely prompts you to declare “Challenge Accepted” with Eye of The Tiger providing the soundtrack.

Horse be like “Clubber” (Mr T) giving it the Johnny Big Bollocks and I’m like an outta shape and outta practise Balboa determined not to be beaten by no punk-ass pony.

Yeah that’s right you wait til I’ve got enough for a montage and then see where we’re at..


When the dogs ruin your whole life in one cruel, cold and soulless moment…

A sobering experience to find your dogs are way ahead of the game and have not only learned to tack up but ride and drive horses with considerable skill.

Pud on shire backpud ridingThey even found time to be on set for the recording of “Bangarang” and didn’t bother to mention it.Puff and BoiInterestingly I ended up back at this track by Skrillex via someone who had given a detailed analysis of the video and noted each shot and what it represents.

“Three different boys all out on the streets with lots of dogs suggests they do not belong to a family or a home as they are lost”

Funny how different people see such different things.

This is honestly how we were as kids i.e. wandering the streets with our Collie “Bess” and another Collie / GSD “Ticky”  who were practically siblings.  Bess came everywhere and grew up with us getting involved in our shenanigans, keeping guard and watching the main gates of a local fletcher plant we broke into, hot-wired the JCB’s and whatnot then drove round until either Bess barked or a nearby resident shouted that they had called the police and we all scarpered

Bess was great at helping us steal sweets too especially one shop with pick n mix trays the whole length of the shop.  When we’d eaten all the stolen sweets and caused enough trouble for the evening, she and I waited at the bus stop n the bus to take a four mile journey to where I used to live and my friends were and at 10pm she jumped back on the last bus home again and made sure I got home safely.

Looking back I can’t believe we took her all over the place often along a track and canal route that was five miles each way.  No phones, leads – means of keeping her safe and under control or getting help if we had any accident we just pissed off for miles on end.

My eldest brother had taken her with him on an early morning paper round and taught her to wait at the end of every pavement and not cross until he gave her the nod.  For the rest of her life she never stepped one foot off unless and until you told her it was OK and that’s one of the very few good things I learned from him because training dogs to wait and not cross or step off pavements is a thing I have and tend to make one of the first and foremost part of training.

She’s the same dog that would babysit and mind me when Mum was working late shifts at one of her three jobs she had to feed and clothe us all.  Slept upstairs in my bed jumping up and growling / showing her teeth at whatever she heard.

Then one night when two young lads were looking to break in she deliberately sat and made herself look harmless only to wait until they were in the kitchen and then block the back door and their only way out.

Kept them cornered almost a full hour and meanwhile I’m upstairs fast asleep dreaming of ponies and had absolutely no idea there were two burglars in the kitchen being held hostage by our dog and my minder.

me john bess

So yeah we were poor, trouble-making scallywags and thieves and maybe now it would sound or seem as though we were unhappy, unloved and roaming the streets with dogs because we had nowhere to go but honestly it was a great childhood made even better by  having so much freedom and dogs that came everywhere.

I do regret many of the meanie things I did as  kid just like the boys in this video and have since tried to make amends and put right what I did wrong where possible but we never electrocuted and ended up with the ice-cream man losing his arm.

Not yet won or stolen a shit-wad of money either but if it happens to find its way to me I’ll put as much to good use so it goes to show even the worst of the toerags have a heart after all 😀