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A Tax rose is but a rose by any other name - Page 17 - Carers UK Forum

A Tax rose is but a rose by any other name

Socialise and chat about other areas of your life
687 posts
She was your mum. And she was still being your mum when she let you sleep. She wasn't frightened, she was at peace. Hard to accept because you wanted to be there for her, but it seems pretty clear that she had her own ideas about it.
Mum most certainly did, and good for her! Later today is the scattering of her ashes, but I got a little bit distracted, as follows:

My pesky, long term, low grade snuffly cold, which finally turned into a proper cold, then transmogrified into an even more pesky raging chest infection. Antibiotics sorted that out, but then I got cystitis (OUCH!) Cymalon sorted that out. End result? Today was the first day in days that I haven’t felt as weak as kitten. I even woke up today feeling ravenous for the first time in nearly a week (always a good sign) and knocked myself up a full English breakfast which I devoured, hungry as the proverbial wolf.

SM has been away in Oxford since Friday. He’d taken his mum there to visit her best friend as a Mother’s Day pressie.
He came to visit me this morning earlier than expected. As such he caught me in the middle of doing a pedicure; my version of one, anyway.


Me: Come in, the door’s unlocked.

SM: Jesus! It smells like a municipal swimming pool from the 70’s in here. What on earth are you doing?

I was sitting down with my pajama bottoms rolled up to my knees, with each foot half stuck in two plastic chippy containers, each half filled with liquid.

Me: I’m bleaching my toes nails. What does it look like!

SM: Whatever for?

Me: I don’t like having discoloured toe nails.

SM: But you don’t have discoloured toe nails.

Me: That’s because I bleach them…. Durr! If I didn’t they end up looking nicotine stained, as though each of my toes nails chain smokes fags 24/7; especially the big toes.

SM: Is it safe?

Me: In comparison to all those chemicals and shit you insist on using day in and day out on your bod, I think a little bleach every now and then on my toe nails will do me no harm; don’t you?

SM: I suppose so. Now about….

Me: I know, let’s have a dekko at your nails. Come on, whip off those socks and shoes… chop, chop now.

SM: Yes, Sir, no Sir, three bags full Sir (followed by mock salute.)

Me: Bloody hell, mate. Your toenails are bigger chain smokers than mine. Let’s bleach them; you’ll be amazed at the difference.

SM: The combined wrath of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse couldn’t force me to bleach my toe nails.

Well, the four housemen of the Apocalypse can’t be all they’re cracked up to be because I succeeded where they would’ve failed. It took a trade or two mind you.

I finished off my pedicure, and set to on my quest to bleach SM’s toe nails. I should’ve chosen my words more carefully.

Me: I’ll tell you what if you agree to bleach your toe nails I’ll give you a full monty pedicure. How does that grab you?

SM: What man wouldn’t be grabbed by a woman giving him a pedicure buck naked? It’s definitely a deal.

Me: I didn’t mean that. I meant a full on pedicure. The soaking of the feet, the clipping of the toe nails, the pumice stone stuff THEN the bleaching of the toes nails, then the rinse, dry and moisturise stuff. You can pretend I’m Mary Magellan if you like. If I remember rightly, you’ve got a thing about her.

SM: Interesting…. I’ll agree to the full on pedicure if you agree to do it Full Monty style. Deal?

Me: I’m supposed to be pretending to be Mary Magdalene not Salome. But if I agree, how do I know you won’t chicken out at the bleaching bit?

SM: My word is my bond. Don’t you trust me?

Me: Hmm… You’re an ex city trader. What do you think? I’ll agree to the Full Monty bit, once those toes of yours are emerged in bleach. Deal?

SM: Ex stock broker actually; there’s a difference. But if I agree, how do I know I can trust you not to renege on your part of the deal?

Me: You can’t.

SM: Hmmm…. Do the first half topless, and once my toes are in bleach then the full Monty, then it’s a deal.

Me: Make it the other way round, and you’ve got a deal.

SM: Deal.

Me: Right, get those trousers legs rolled up, and I’ll go get a bowl of hot water and some more smellies.

SM: Aren’t you forgetting something? (Pointing at my pyjama bottoms.)

Me: I bet Mary Magdalene never had this palaver giving JC a pedicure.

SM: And I bet JC never had to have his toes nails bleached either. Think of yourself as a two bit Salome instead.

Me: Charming!

SM: But true though. After all she had seven bits of clothing to remove, you only have two bits.

Me: Hmmmm….. You wriggled out of that one well, Sunshine.

Needless to say, I hammed it up something rotten pretending to be a cross between Mary M and Salome. I’d have been great in silent movies. His bleached toe nails looked terrific; SM was most amazed at the difference, as predicted. The rest I shall leave to your imagination.
Sometime later...................................

I got so distracted by my biblical interpretation of a pedicure and its aftermath that I completely forgot I was to pick up mum’s ashes today. It would’ve been her birthday today, and I thought it would be a good day to bring her home…. And I nearly forgot!!!!!

We picked the ashes up, and I don’t think mum would’ve minded about my distraction; I think she would’ve been pleased. She was always going on about me to go ‘courting.’ Well, I did a little bit more than courting today, and damn near forgot her ashes to boot; but all’s well that ends well. It is the 21st Century, after all.

I’m holding a little scattering of the ashes ceremony in her beloved garden tonight. I’ll write about that later.
Sajehar, you are a very naughty girl. Sounds like fun though.
Elaine, it was ;)

On a more serious note, it felt really weird holding mum’s casket of ashes. That a once flesh and blood, living breathing person, who’d given birth to me, could fit in a casket. It weighed a ton too. But it didn’t upset me nearly as much as I thought it would. If I’m honest it intrigued me more than anything.
I invited SM to attend the scattering of the ashes, but he declined. He thought such a ceremony was far more personal and private than a funeral, and should be for close family/friends only. He’d feel like he was intruding as her barely knew her. I told him not to be such a prissy wuss, but he was adamant, so I had to respect his wishes. Still think he was being an over-decorous wuss though.

But he offered to help with my preparations. These involved weeding the boarders, clearing dead leaves and stuff from mum’s favourite alum lily pots, and cutting back a circle of turf from mum’s favourite tree. It used to be in the back garden, so dad and me transplanted it into the middle of the front garden so mum could see it every day from her chair or her bedroom porch. The lawn had grown right up to the trunk in the meantime. Here’s a picture of mum’s tree taken shortly after being moved. I call it the Singing Ringing tree. It doesn’t actually sing or ring, but I like to think that in a parallel universe it does.
DSCF1558.JPG (379.04 KiB) Viewed 2589 times
Me: But you’ll mess up your dead expensive suit and coat with soil and stuff.

SM: So? That’s what dry cleaners are for. Let’s get stuck in.

I really, really liked him for that, particularly as it wasn’t even necessary. But he insisted, so I let him.
As it turned out there was more work to do than I’d originally thought. I really struggled to get the tree turf up, so SM took over while I cleared the lily pots. We then both weeded the borders and just generally tidied up the garden.
At the end of our gardening his cashmere coat wasn’t in too bad a state, but you should have seen the state of his trouser knees. His dry cleaner is going to have his work cut out for him.

My bro and SIL pitched up at 6.30pm as instructed; twilight seemed appropriate for a Scattering of the ashes, just as the sun was setting.
All four of us trouped out to the Singing Ringing tree and stood around in silence, with my bro clutching mum’s casket.

Bro: Shouldn’t somebody say a few words.

Me: I’m going to, but I’ll keep it short and sweet….. Mum we’ve bought you home, and on your birthday too. I’ve got a couple of quotes from St Matthew’s passion by either Bach or Brahms, a fave of mine, and which I think are really appropriate….. OH Bugger! I’ve forgotten them, my mind’s gone blank… no, no, wait… I’ve remembered them.
“Come, you daughters, and grieve with me”, and the next one is not entirely accurate, but the sentiment is there.
“People are like the blades of grass, they grow, they flourish, they wither, they fade away and die.” Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, and now you shall be returned to the ground. RIP mum, and happy birthday. Bro pass me the casket.

I knelt down, pushed up the sleeve of my anorak, plunged my arm into the casket, grabbed a handful of ashes and scattered then carefully around the base of the tree. My family looked a bit horrified. I was expecting mum's ashes to feel soft and fluffy even. They felt very gritty instead.

Me: Don’t be so squeamish. Besides, this is the last chance I’ll ever have to touch and hold mum. So why not?

I them started to gently mix her ashes into the soil with the small gardening fork I’d left by tree; telling her that she could now feed the tree and become part of it, so she’s still going to be looking after her garden even in death.
We trouped around the garden doing the same to the alum lilies, exchanging stories about mum, laughing and even joking. Dad looked heaven wards and told mum not to get too drunk while celebrating her birthday with St Peter.

Before we went into the back garden, I took out a white Yankee candle from one pocket, and a glass tumbler from the other one. When I tried to light it, I burnt my thumb.

SIL: Here give it to me, you have to tip it.

I then placed the candle in the soil circle round the tree; it looked really pretty.

We did much the same in the back garden. After I’d scattered her ashes around her favourite alum lily, I asked my bro if he’d like to scatter some too. He did, and had lost any squeamish about scattering mum’s ashes by hand. Likewise with dad who went next. He nearly stumbled in his eagerness to scatter them at the top of a rockery.

Me: Take it easy dad. I don’t want to be planning another funeral so soon after mum’s one.

My SIL was hanging back a bit. So I asked her if she like to scatter some too.

SIL: Is it alright if I do? It’s just that I’m not a blood relative.

Me: You dozy wombat! You’re only the mother of the only two grandchildren she has. You have as much right to scatter mum’s ashes as anyone here. Oh, that reminds me mum, your niece rang up earlier. She wants me to tell you that she loves you lots, misses you like crazy, and would love to be here today to wish you happy birthday in person but she’s stuck up in Scotland.
SIL chose the cascading plants (covered with little blue flowers when in bloom) covering one of the rockeries to scatter mum’s ashes over.
We then went back into the front garden as there was a border I’d forgotten about, and I scattered the last of mum’s ashes on it. We nattered a bit about mum, and then went our separate ways.
It wasn’t at all morbid, and I felt so much lighter in myself knowing that mum’s back home in the garden she so loved and devoted so much too.

I’ve just rang SM, and he wanted to know all about it. But I told him I was too knackered to relate it all, and to read about it on my Roses thread instead.

SM: Will do. Is the candle still alight?

Me: Hang on a mo; I’ll just go and check……………………………………………………………

Yes, it is! Give it ten minutes, then read away, and I’m then off to bed; I’m pooped.

SM: I’m not surprised. What do you want to do for your birthday on Friday?

Me: Go nightclubbing in Liverpool, and we can stay the night at my flat. You've never been there; about time you did.

SM: God help me!

ME: Is that regarding the nightclubbing, or staying at my flat?

SM: Both. But seeing as it’s your birthday… I imagine your flat to be like a student's digs.

Me: Cheeky git! Well, you'll just have to wait and see won't you? Now let me get off the blower; sleep tight and don't let the bed bugs bite. See you tomorrow :kiss:
Sajehar, That was absolutely perfect.
Thanks Elaine. I think it did dad a lot of good. He was looking at plant catalogues this morning; a minor miracle.

Me and SM had a bit of barny this morning, but by god he proved himself a star tonight.... Praise be for utube.

SM: And you call me a wuss! I’ve seen more courage and fortitude in 8 year olds than you right now. If you don’t get a move on you’re going to miss your appointment.

Me: That’s all very well, but it’s not you that getting a root drilled WITHOUT anaesthetic.

SM: The root’s dead, you won’t feel a thing… that’s why you don’t need anaesthetic.

Me: But what if it’s not 100% dead, what if a bit of it’s still alive, what if…..

SM: You are the only person I know who can whip themselves up into a frenzy and, at the same time look like a rabbit frozen by headlights. You’d think I was driving you to be treated by The Marathon Man, and not a really nice, really good woman dentist. Now get a grip.

Me: How do you know she’s really nice?

SM: Because you told me so yourself. Look, I’ll wait in the waiting room for you. If I hear horrific screaming I’ll come barging in to rescue you. Does that make you feel any better?

Me: Not really, no. I suppose I’d better get it over and done with. Oh God! I am so not looking forward to this.

SM: You’ll live.

I wasn’t frog marched up the drive of the dentist’s surgery into the reception area, exactly.
But the fact that he was holding my hand (he’s not a natural born hand holder) until I was stood in front of the receptionist, leads me to suspect he thought I was going to do a runner.
Actually, I was thinking of doing precisely that for a few seconds. But the thought of being struck off their register put a damper on that idea.

After all that, I didn’t feel a thing, despite prep work for a bridge being a gruesome
procedure. An old root canal tooth had sheared in half a few weeks ago. It didn’t hurt but I thought I’d better get it sorted.
When she was grinding down the remaining bits of tooth to the gum line, I could actually taste burning, but that didn’t hurt. It was just plain weird. Who’d thought teeth could burn.
The bit I’d been dreading was a doddle. I now have a temporary tooth over the peg until the permanent one comes back from the lab.

A somewhat sheepish me re-entered the waiting room. I was expecting lots of sarky ‘I told you so’ looks and remarks. But all he wanted to know was if I fancied a coffee and bite to eat.


Just received a text from SM to check my email. Just done so, and the little (well not so little) darling has only gone and tracked down the music for the ‘withering grass’ that I kind of quoted from last night for the scattering of mum’s ashes.

I was telling him over coffee how much I loved that music, and I would love to hear it again as I hadn’t listened to it for over twenty years.
I was convinced it was from the St Matthew’s passion by either Bach or Brahms. I spent ages on utube but couldn’t locate it anywhere for the life of me.
No wonder I couldn’t track it down. I got the composer right, but the title wrong. It’s from Brahms’s German Requiem. 15+ years of ceasing to listen to classical music had muddled my memory.
He even provided a utube link, and an English translation of the relevant bit of the requiem.

For all flesh is as grass, and the glory of man like flowers. The grass withers, and the flower falls.

The above is taken from some more extensive bible quote which mine is more like, apparently. More muddling. But I don’t think mum will mind my muddling.

Here’s the link. I love it all, but the bit that sends shivers down my spine and practically gives me an orgasm kicks in at 2.19 seconds. What a birthday present! And it isn’t even midnight yet.
I’m actually in Liverpool doing tons of laundry (well the washing machine is) plus there’s other stuff to do here tomorrow; otherwise I’d be round SM’s like a shot. But I refuse to let us sleep in bedding that hasn’t been washed for a year.


This has so blown me away, stuff writing. I’m going to listen to loads of other stuff I used to listen to instead.: Hall of the Mountain King, Gymponodies, Night on Bare Mountain, The Planet Suite….. it’s all coming flooding back.

I may be gone some time…….
Over coffee.

SM: Why on earth do you need to wash 3 duvets? Are you running a doss house or brothel from your flat?

Me: No… you’ll have to wait and see.

I was trying to explain to SM why I couldn’t spend the night at his on Thursday. I had an awful lot of laundry to do, plus de mustify the place by actually putting the heating on overnight. Plus I had to go into town on Friday so wouldn’t have time to duvet wash & dry them as my washing machine would only take one duvet at a time. I was adamant. I had planned my ‘Operation Flat’ like a military campaign, and not even SM was upsetting my logistics and timing.

SM: So what time do you want me to turn up?

Me: 6ish…. No, make that 7ish. Oh, before I forget; my intercom doesn’t work properly. I’ll hear you ring it, but I can’t open the front entrance with it. So wait a few mo’s and I’ll come down and let you into the block.

SM: Fine. As it’s on my way, I’ll drop you off at your creative writing class.

Because of all the tooth stuff I’d completely forgotten about that. It was a very intense class. I managed to spark off a really bizarre, but very cathartic for all concerned, discussion about death. But I’ll write about that later.

Anyway, as planned, I managed to successfully demustify my flat; courtesy of central heating and Lenor fabric conditioner.


Clatter clatter clatter clatter, clatter clatter clatter clatter, etc (that was me going down the stairs to let SM in.)

SM: So this is how the other half lives. It’s once removed from a tenement.

Me: Stop whinging. I’ll have you know that it was toshed up with European 1 money, or something.

SM: And when was that?

Me: Late 1990’s.

SM: It shows.

Me: Well, you should’ve seen it before then. It looked like it belonged in Eastern Europe. We’ve now got double glazing and….

SM: It still looks like it belongs in Eastern Europe.

Me: Bollocks…. At least it’s a roof over people’s heads, and a damn good one at that. Better than that tory crap you bastards have planned….

I told him to piss off. He did. F...k him!

I was determined my birthday wasn’t going to be ruined by that wanker, so I set off for town anyway.

He was waiting outside.

Me: What are you doing here? Or do you like hanging around East European slums?

SM: No, but I do like hanging around you. Now, are you going to show me you’re flat or not?

Me: Oh, alright then.

Confession 1: It is a bit student-like… but not too much.

SM: Where’s the bed?

Me: That couch is a futon; it pulls out onto the floor.

SM: You expect me to sleep on the floor?

Me: It’s dead comfortable. If it’s good enough for the Japanese, it’s good enough for me.

SM: Fine. Can I have your broadband code? I need to check my emails.

Me: I don’t have a land line… you can borrow my dongle if you like.

We tried to use my dongle on his laptop… no joy.

We decided to just go out and enjoy ourselves…. And we did.

The reason I had three duvet covers was for the futon, another to make it more comfortable, and another on top.
About 10 minutes before we left my flat, SM grabbed my keys to bring up something he’d left in his car.

SM: Happy birthday (as he handed me a beautifully wrapped large present.)

Me: But I thought my pressie was the music you utubed me last night and going clubbing?

SM: You are very easily pleased. If I thought for one minute you’d accept, I’d ask you to marry me.

Me: If I want to end up in an institution, I’d rather get myself sectioned under the mental health act, thank you very much!

SM: That’s my girl! Now are you going to open it or not?

SM: There are two types of people in this world; those who rip and tear wrapping paper off, and those who carefully unwrap. You are definitely the former. Now what are doing?

I was shaking, poking, prodding and smelling the box.

Me: I’m trying to guess what’s in it, that’s half the fun of pressies…. I reckon it’s some item of clothing.

SM: Try not to look too disappointed you ungrateful wretch, and just open it.

Me: One minute I’m easily pleased, the next I’m an ungrateful wretch. Make your mind up…. OH WOW! It’s perfect.

It was a brand new motor cycle jacket, black with green stripes down the sleeves and my beloved Kevlar shoulder and elbow pads.

SM: Well you did say I could buy you one for your birthday if we were still together.

Me: I’d forgotten all about that. Can I wear it tonight?

SM: If you wish.

Bugger… he wasn’t biting. I stuck to my raincoat instead.

SM: So what’s our first port of call?

Me: I thought we could get a bite to eat first at this dead good bistro opposite Clitoris College.

SM: Clitoris what!

Me: It’s what the local’s nick-name the Women’s Technology Centre; they do really nice salads and ice cream.

SM: The collage or the bistro?

Me: The bistro, stupid… come on let’s go.

We had a really tasty snacky meal there; even SM was impressed. I don’t know why I said that as this is a man who’ll think nothing of spending a king’s ransom on a coat, but who buys long life milk… YUK and double YUK.

Confession number 2: SM got it into his head that I’m some kind of maniacal night clubber, and I did nothing to dissuade him from this notion.
Actually, I don’t like night clubs; they’re overpriced, overcrowded meat markets.

Liverpool has an invisible Maginot Line when it comes to night life. It emanates from the bombed out church at the top of Bold Street; a seriously weird building. It’s exterior is intact, but it’s roof and interior were obliterated, and now has grass and trees growing in it. How cool is that for a church?
I digress. Below the bombed out church, the night clubs ‘proper’ start; the ones I don’t like. Above it are the ones I do like. Basically glorified pubs with a dance floor. Much more laid back, and cheaper too.

When I explained this to SM, I could see him visibly relax.

SM: So you’ve never been night clubbing in Liverpool?

Me: Of course I have; that’s how I know I don’t like them. There are exceptions. But I got fed up of having to run the gauntlet of clubbers coked off their heads looking for a fight if you so much as happened to glance in their direction, pissing and shitting in doorways…. And that’s just the women! Each to their own; but I prefer the pub clubs. So, shall we Avanti?

As luck would have it, the first pub club we went into I bumped into a bunch of old mates. A good time was had by all, and I danced my socks off. We pub club crawled a bit en-mass (me, SM, French Algerian ex-paratrooper, SB poet and ST, also ex-army and ex-junky) until the wee hours of the morning.

I have no memory of this, but according to SM as soon as we got back to my flat I collapsed on to my futon and promptly fell asleep fully clothed. He took my shoes off, and then fell asleep himself.

I was woken up at some god forsaken hour in the morning (9am ish) by some maniac going on about waky, waky, rise and shine, and waving a cup of tea in my face.

SM: It’s Earl Grey; I found some in your cupboard.

Me: It’s black; where’s the effing milk.

SM: You’re supposed to drink it black.

Me: Stuff that! I want milk in it, and not that long life shit I bought for you, I want my proper pasteurised milk in it.

My temper improved after the restorative powers of a cuppa. SM then got it into his head that he wanted to visit the cathedrals; he’d no idea I lived equidistant between them.

Me: I have to be back by 12. My bro’s pressie was to look after dad for 2 and a half days.

SM: Ring him, and see if you can get that extended.

I got it extended till 10pm.

We were in Paddy’s Wigwam (the catholic one) when I somehow managed to collar a guide. He took us down into the crypt. It was amazing, and enormous, and had a rolling stone over some opening closing it off (a bit like something from Indiana Jones.)
I tried to persuade SM to put our shoulders to it to see what happened; he was having none of it. I tried it myself; the bloody thing didn’t even shift.

We then went to the protestant one. I told SM to just look interested, but a trifle confused, and a guide would latch on to us.

Me: Trust me… I know how this works.

Sure enough, we got a personal guide.

Me: Any chance of a view from the top of the tower?

We got it. It was a stunning view; like an A to Z of Liverpool.

SM was impressed.

“How the hell did you manage that?”

“Easy. 90% of the time they’re bored… we come along, and they can’t wait to show off their knowledge. I thought that stuff about the sculptor using a mouse as his signature was fascinating… there really was a mouse on that mausoleum.

SM: So are you going to join me on the bikers Easter Egg Run tomorrow?

Me: I’d love to.

But it was not to be. Dad had one of his bad days today. But I made sure dad and me were sitting on the bus stop bench waving then on. I positively jumped up and down, clapping and cheering when SM went past (I can’t whistle.)

My arm is still killing me from all my arm waving.

There’s always next year.
It seems a lifetime ago since I last went clubbing in Liverpool (20yrs ago !!) The Cabin was my regular haunt !
687 posts