Another also-ran!

In his profile picture he looked like an older version of Johnny Depp from Pirates of the Caribbean – slightly frayed at the edges, but otherwise the likeness was unmistakable. His hair was dark, straight and shoulder length, and he sported a very neat black beard. His eyes seemed deep and brooding.

He was, he said, a taxi driver although he didn’t own a car and would have to get the bus if he came through to see me. He lived in a town twenty miles north of where I live.
Something – feminine intuition? – made me suspicious and when he asked about a date I put him off and said I was busy that week. I’d given him my mobile number and he continued to send regular articulate and interesting texts. When he rang however, his contribution to the conversation was monosyllabic at best. Something wasn’t adding up!

He asked for a date again the following week. This time I told a lie and said I wasn’t at all well and felt it would be unfair to inflict my infections upon him. In response he said that he’d like to come through and nurse me better! He also told me that he’d kept and printed out every text and computer message we’d exchanged as he felt we had a wonderful future together and he wanted them as memories.

Vodafone were very accommodating when I asked them to change my phone number as I had a stalker!

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Henry strikes again!

Henry is curious. And he is a dog of very little brain. His entire raison d’être is to assuage his constant hunger. Life is a challenge to Henry Pupkin: to seek out and find every edible morsel in any given context. Of course this involved checking out everything to see if it contains any nutrients – plant pots, soil, dried dog poo, stones, socks, terracotta plant pot feet, underwear and wood being his favourites.

All this probably explains why when I foolishly left him unattended for three minutes he decided to examine the contents of my handbag for consumables.  He ate the Fruit Pastilles he found in there and spread the sweet wrapper and everything else across the living room floor – with the notable exception of my purse which was missing.

For the second time this year I experienced that gut-wrenching feeling when I realised my purse wasn’t there. It was made worse by the fact I had just promised to pay for a meal out with Chris and Adam. How was I going to explain this to them? Less than ten minutes after offering to stand a meal on my windfall tax rebate I have to renege because the dog’s stolen my purse!

Dusk was rapidly closing in as I stepped out into the garden. If he’d taken my purse out there, the chances of finding it were slim at best. Henry meantime was dancing excitedly round my feet and I could almost sense him saying “colder” or “warmer” with each tentative step. It was such a good game to him.

Then I saw it! My heart leapt – then sank again as I saw several pieces of paper surrounding it – not my cash? Luckily it was only some shop receipts and the reminder for my dentist appointment. Scooping everything up I reassembled my handbag, minus Fruit Pastilles, and reflected on how fortunate I’d been that he hadn’t eaten the money or chewed my bank card beyond recognition.

Time for cages now Henry Pupkin and pals and I’m away to enjoy a Chinese supper.

 

 

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Well that’s a first !

I’ve worked for over 30 years now with challenging kids and never before has one tried to kill me!

I cannot have caffeine: I have a heart condition with the unpronounceable name of Paroxysmal SupraVentricular Tachycardia (PSVT for short) which is triggered by caffeine. In short if triggered by heart locks into a ridiculous beat of 220+ beats per minute. The problem is that if that continues the heart muscle cannot cope; I have a heart attack and die. All the kids I work with know about my caffeine problem and normally show great concern for my welfare and well-being.

Not so one young man. Today he laced my decaff coffee with a hefty dose of caffeine rich energy drink. Fortunately it curdled the milk in the decaff and I didn’t drink it.

I’m left wondering why? I haven’t been able to reach this boy on any level and I am frustrated by this. Normally there is some common ground I can identify which allows me to “hook” the child and gently reel them in, but not with him.

His mother died when he was 18 months old and he’s been raised by his father who misses his wife to a point where it is almost unbearable. Does this make it difficult for the boy to build positive relationships with adults? I simply don’t know.

The reaction of the other pupils has been fantastic and their caring and concern has helped to lessen the sense of disappointment in my inability to connect with the boy. There are four months left until they leave statutory education … and I won’t give up trying until the door closes behind him on the last day here.

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Just to put the record straight …

 … Internet dating has provided me with much laughter, some tears and a great deal of inspiration for this blog. I’ve met some very strange characters and shall write about some more of them later. However amidst the flotsam and jetsam of Tinternet Dating there is the occasional real gem and I’ve been lucky enough to find a ruby in the mountain of rocks.

Chris and I started talking on Valentine’s Day and haven’t really stopped since, although there is the odd pause for work and other daily tasks to be completed. He is an amazing man: a gentle-man who is articulate, caring and intellectual and who has already survived trips out with my Grandchildren and my dogs. He stimulates my mind – and that is the quintessential factor for a successful relationship from my perspective.

To find a man, who enjoys walking in the countryside, loves animals and kids, listens to Radio 4, enjoys similar tastes in music and intelligent conversation is a real bonus. To discover he lives in the same town is another plus. To then realise that he enjoys spending time with me, the kids or the dogs is just fantastic.

So although I can write about some of the frogs I’ve kissed, it’s always worth remembering that it was through Internet Dating (Plenty of Fish: pof.com) that I found my Prince 

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And again ….

Picture the scene: he is standing at the front door, arms full of flowers, a pot plant and a bag containing Ferraro Rocher chocolates. He looks a little older, a lot shorter and considerably wider than his profile pictures had suggested but his welcoming smile more than compensates.

“Hello” I say “Come in”

“Sorry?” he replies

“Come in” I bellow in response, catching sight of the hearing aids behind each ear

“Did you find the place Ok?” I ask

“Sorry?”

“DID YOU FIND THE PLACE OK?” I yelled wondering just how long my vocal chords would last in a conversation at this volume

“Yes I’ve got a Sat Nav in my new car” he announces proudly

I show him into my office where my daughter is ensconced behind my desk filling in a job application form. She shoots me the sort of glance which I can only interpret as “Mother, have you completely lost your mind?” and returns to the task in hand. He sits happily like a Buddha on a rock and proceeds to tell us both how by claiming Disability Living Allowance for which he is not really eligible he manages to have a brand spanking new car every three years. I watch Sarah closely. She is one of the most principled young women I know and I expected her to explode at this confession and tear him a new arsehole. Interestingly she just raised an eyebrow, rolled her eyes and continued with her form. A silent Sarah is often more deadly that an obviously irate one.

During the ensuing conversation we discover that he’s been on disability since falling from a batten at work several years ago, is as deaf as a post with hearing aids that were neither use nor ornament, lives alone with two cats and owns two boats. Anything he said was uttered in normal tones whereas if either of us spoke we had to elevate the decibel level to just short of the level of a jet aeroplane taking off.

As I ushered him out of the door an hour later he turned optimistically and asked “Did I pass then?” Clearly subtle hints and body language didn’t work and I again had the unenviable task of disappointing an enthusiastic suitor. I tried to be kind, said I’d love to remain friends but his face fell and his eyes lost their sparkle. I felt terrible. It’s hard hurting people but then if you tell lies on your profile you cannot be surprised when the outcome is different for what you hoped!

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The Farmer wants a wife :)

The lounge bar of the Dennison Arms was bathed in subdued amber light. Succulent aromas of steak and chips wafted tantalisingly from the kitchen and mixed with the heady scent of rosé wine in my long-stemmed glass. Dreamy music played seductively in the background, almost subliminally soothing my brain after a hard day at work.

My companion was dressed casually in faded blue jeans and a blue and white striped shirt, open at the neck to reveal a silver St Christopher necklace. He wore leather training-style shoes and a leather jacket. He held a pint of bitter in his hand and talked animatedly about his work, his home, his ex wife and his children.

He was a farmer and had a small dairy herd on a farm the other side of Pickering. Within an hour I knew that his ex had run off with the local Policeman, he lived in a huge four bed roomed farm house with his two kids and worked every hour God sends to make a livelihood. His daughter was a hairs-breadth away from sainthood whilst his cannabis-smoking son was a complete waste of oxygen and it was just a matter of time before the two had a set-to which would result in one of them leaving home. He described his cattle and their progeny in great detail including their daily movement around the fields and barns, and his concerns for the welfare of this season’s calves who appeared to be failing to thrive.

Being an animal lover and a country girl at heart I listened attentively for the first fifteen minutes, with less attention for the next quarter of an hour and spent the final half hour wondering if I should send the pre-planned text message to the kids to get me out of there.

In the end we decided to try a second date. He was personable enough and I had to allow him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he was just nervous about meeting me and boring for Britain wasn’t his usual behaviour.

We met a week later in Filey and went for a meal at The Three Tuns. Hardly had the plates hit the table than his catalogue of woes poured forth. His son had failed to pay any rent again that week or contribute to the housework in lieu. Saint Daughter on the other hand had managed to work full time, cleaned the entire house from top to bottom, washed, dried and ironed every item of clothing the three of them owned, cleaned the cars, prepared delicious meals for the week and stocked the freezer, helped out on the farm and solved the world debt crisis. He was absorbed with a problem with his calves and went into graphic detail about the output from their bowels just as I tucked into my Scampi and chips.

We parted with the usual promise to text and chat online, although I must now confess to that being one of the biggest lies I have ever told. However I was still rather miffed when I heard not a word from him for over a week. It was simply a case of wounded pride, if there was any dumping to be done after the way he’d behaved it would be me doing it and not him!

Almost two weeks later I received a text message:

“Hi – sorry I’ve not been in touch. You know them calves I told you about I had to have the vet out to them and they’ve been really poorly. It’s shown me I can’t afford to take my eye off the ball at the moment. Good luck with your dating.”

Dumped in favour of calves – now that’s a first!!

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Fit and active 59 year old !

On his profile he described himself thus: “Young-at-heart, fit and active 59 years old” He made a point of saying that he’d given up smoking some eighteen months previously and how being a non-smoker had really improved his life. His photographs certainly supported his claims of looking much younger than his chronological age.

We arranged to meet at the Visitors Centre at Dalby Forest.  That’s part of the test. I love Dalby with a passion and it was important that he shared that same enthusiasm. We were to meet, go for a nice walk and return for a coffee or lunch at the Visitors Centre.

What approached me that day was not quite as described in his profile. He was stooped, had a pronounced limp and a lit cigarette dangling from his lips. “Is it a problem that I smoke?” were his first words to me, and I am ashamed to admit that at that precise moment I lost all sense of calm and every social grace I had been taught from infancy vanished into the ether, and didn’t return until long after we’d gone out separate ways.” Yes” I snarled, “I do mind, I made it quite clear that I would not date a smoker”. “Oh dear” he said, dropping what was left of a “rollie” and grinding it out with his foot. “And what part” I continued, bit between my teeth now, “of fit and active, are you?” “I’ll be right when I get going” he announced, unconvincingly “Shall we go for a walk ?” “Can you walk ?” I asked cruelly, glancing down at his remarkably skinny and bandy legs encased in denim jeans which looked several sizes too big for him. “A little way” he conceded “Can I hold your hand?” “No!”

We walked side by side, in silence for about five minutes. “D’you mind if I smoke?” he asked. It was a step too far and to my utter shame I lost it completely. “I couldn’t care right now if you burst into flames” I responded bitterly but my sarcasm was lost on him as he grinned and spent the next few minutes rotating furiously trying to locate a direction out of the wind to enable him to light the offending cigarette

Within ten minutes and two ciggies later we were back at the Visitors Centre.”Listen” I said, as gently as I was able “I’m happy to go for a coffee with you, but you need to know that we will only ever be friends, nothing more”. His face fell. “But I really like you” he muttered. It was just too much – I’d been gentle and tried to be nice, but the she-devil which nestles in my heart broke free at that precise moment as I exploded with “I’m not surprised you like me, I’m upright and haven’t told any lies on my profile, whatever possessed you to believe you could get away with it, and whilst we’re on that topic, just how old are those photos on yours?” “They were taken in 1991” he admitted.

 We went for the coffee and a toastie, which I bought having discovered between the car park and the counter that he was struggling to live on his disability living allowance, and ten minutes later my front tooth shattered in half! Karma can be a bastard.

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