Life Struggle

When I was 10 my mother died, before that point in my life there was a lot of love and positive encouragement in my life, even though my father had left when I was around 3 years old. However, after my mother’s death a lot of things happened that were not good, eventually after around 3 – 4 years of abuse I ended up in a children’s home. When I reached the age of 16 /17 years of age, I was being told that with my background I would most likely be a young single mother, an alcoholic or a drug addict, that was really what my life would amount to.

I left school at the grand old age of 17 with a total of 4 x ‘O’ grades, from here I went straight into a job as a nanny, this I discovered, was not for me, the problem was not so much the children but the parents. I had applied for, and had been accepted into a few nursing schools, so I decided at this point to try nursing, both of these jobs had the added bonus of providing accommodation. I completed my training and worked as a qualified nurse for a few years before deciding that nursing was not what I wanted to do. Whilst nursing I met, what I thought, was the man I would marry (we were engaged), but after a few years, it became clear this was not going to be, especially when he became violent. I was hit and knocked over once, I left, leaving everything behind, and moved in with my sister, temporarily. I drifted through a few jobs trying to find something that I enjoyed doing, I worked in security for a local bingo hall, I worked in the bank of a casino and in the bar of an Indian restaurant. Meanwhile I had also moved into a bedsit for a year or two and then into a flat above the Indian restaurant that I worked in, unfortunately when I left this job, I also had to move out of the flat, which made me homeless for a while. I stayed with my brother for a few weeks and then moved into a homeless hostel for a few months before finally finding a flat. Over this period of time I had attended college and received two sets of training one in secretarial and accounts (mostly book-keeping) and the other in secretarial and business administration. Over the next few years I worked in various offices on a temporary basis until finally finding a full-time job with a computer company, working within the engineering department. Life, I felt was starting to settle down a bit again.

After about 7 years working with this company, I was starting to feel as though there had to be a bit more to life than what I was doing, so I decide to do some evening classes, as it happened, the classes I took turned out to be an access course for university and I was advised to apply to do a university degree, the subjects I was studying was Classical Civilization and Social Anthropology. So, I applied for university and was extremely surprised to discover that I was accepted.

When I had been studying for about a year and a half I became quite ill and was diagnosed with a thyroid problem, as it was quite bad my doctor had advised that I should stop my studies until the condition was under control. I gave it some thought and decided that if I stopped, the chances were that I probably wouldn’t go back, or would not have the opportunity to go back to university again. So, I continued, I asked the student disability department at the university for help, and received a great deal of support from both them and the lecturers. I am pleased to say that I got through my undergraduate joint course and graduated with a degree in Archaeology / Classics.

Of course, through the four-year full-time coursework I was also working, sometimes (particularly in the first year) more than one job. After a couple of years, I was able to return to university, again full-time to do a postgraduate course in Mediterranean Archaeology this was for one year, but whilst I was doing this I was also working full time, this time for the company that I have now been working with for 11 years. Although, I successfully got through the course and continued to work full-time I would most definitely not recommend doing this.

A couple of years ago my brother died at the young age of 49, part of his will included that I take my niece for a holiday abroad. As I had always wanted to visit Rome, and as she was happy with this choice we made our very first visit to Italy. We both loved the city, the country, and the people, so much so that I am now preparing to move to Rome to live and work, hopefully for the rest of my days.

During the last year, while I have been researching and planning, whoever said there is free movement between EU countries was talking nonsense, there is a lot of red tape / paperwork involved, I have had some encouragement from some, and from others not so much.

My point for writing this short account of my life is this. Don’t allow others to influence your life expectations / plans. Live your life as you would like, if you don’t try you will never know what could have been, or what can be. Don’t allow others to tell you, you will not amount to much, what they think is immaterial.  Keep the positive people in your life.  Whether you are a young person or an older person, it doesn’t matter, get out there and live your life, otherwise you will regret it.


Mythica: A Quest for Heroes – A Review

mythica-a-quest-for-heroes-picked-up-by-contv-as-its-first-ever-original-feature-film-306026-600x586I first discovered this film a year or so ago when I was checking out some recent films featuring Kevin Sorbo.  I had discovered Survivor which features Kevin Sorbo, Melanie Stone and Rocky Myers, my first introduction to both Melanie and Rocky.  Melanie played a small but admirable part in this film and Rocky made me want to watch more of his work.  So the search began.  During the search I came across a Kickstarter project for Mythica:  The Darkspore and through that I discovered Mythica:  A Quest for Heroes.

This was the beginning of a great film adventure, as well as backing the Kickstarter project I invested in the first film, A Quest for Heroes; don’t like starting a story half way through.  A Quest for Heroes started straight forward enough with the story of a s slave girl, Marek (Melanie Stone), her life as a slave and her friendship with a wizard, Gojun Pye (Kevin Sorbo).  This, however quickly changes when she finds herself in trouble with the town guard for being out beyond curfew.  The speed of the film picks up pace from here and introduces the other three heroes, and major characters of the film, Thane a seasoned warrior (Adam Johnson), Teela, a priestess of Ana-Sett and healer (Nicola Posener), and last, but most definitely not least, Dagen a half-elven rogue (Jake Stormoen).  It is difficult to imagine anyone else playing these parts.  The talent and personality of the four main characters makes it very difficult not to get drawn in to the story unfolding before you.

Marek takes on a quest for a bounty from the priestess Teela, she puts together a team from some of the people she has met on her journey,  her team, when complete, consists of Marek, Thane, Dagen and Teela.  Their quest is to find, and free Teela’s sister Caeryn.  Their adventures lead to many troubles and some humour.  the story is very fluid and the actors carry this along well, each bringing to the film their own brand of drama, humour and tragedy.

If you are a fan of the Fantasy genre, and Dungeons and Dragons then this is most definitely a film for you.  It has all the characters, the action, humour, tragedy, good guys, and bad guys you could want.  If you are not a fan of Fantasy or Dungeon and Dragons, I would say to you, this is still a film well worth watching, it has the beginnings of a love story and much drama.  This film has something for everyone.



I Have a Dream: Scotland after the Referendum 2014

When I was young I had two dreams one was going with the nationalistic view of a free and independent Scotland, the other, was of a world living and working together for the greater good of all. How can this be, you might ask, one is a dream of separation the other is of unity? Well one is borne from years of West of Scotland protestant and nationalistic indoctrination (father side of the family) the other is from, in part, a mother who’s family (Roman Catholic) had just migrated from an Ireland that was split through sectarianism looking for a life where people worked, lived and tolerated one another’s differences.

I have found the time of the Scottish Referendum an extremely difficult time, torn between the two dreams, the nationalist and the union, but in the end a decision had to be made. One dream has been put on a back burner, so to speak, due to the majority making a democratic decision and staying with the United Kingdom. So, it is time to move on and see if there is a way of at least partially realising the other.

It is now time for the Scots to put aside their differences and look forward to what I hope could be a promising future. If we really want to move on and create a Scotland where everyone matters, then we have to stop looking backwards and start looking forwards. What do we have and how can we improve on that? Stop looking to the glories of past centuries and start thinking and making future glories, we started with having a democratic referendum (unfortunately some of that has lost it’s greatness because of the recent troubles, hopefully we can rise above this) and a choice was made, not to everyone’s liking but that is how it works in a democracy, deal with it and move on, the quicker we do this the better it will be for all concerned.

Do not let the momentum slow, we need to get in there and fight for proportional equality in all things.

At this point I am going to let the words of a great man who had an amazing dream, Martin Luther King Jr. do the talking, I have amended to be more relevant to Scotland and the UK, although this could be equally relevant to any of the 4 countries as individuals within this nation.

(Martin Luther King Jr. I Have a Dream speech, given 28th August 1963, at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C.) 1

“I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.”

We  remind Westminster and the Scottish Government of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off, or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism.
Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy.
Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of justice.
Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksand to the solid rock of brotherhood.
Now is the time to make justice a reality for all.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. September 2014 is not an end for Scotland or the UK but a beginning. And those who hope that the Scottish needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. And there will be neither rest nor tranquillity in the UK until the governments of the United Kingdom settle their differences and work towards a brighter future for all. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to all, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for equality by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

The marvellous new militancy which has engulfed the Scottish community must not lead us to a distrust of all politicians, for many have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny.

We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.
We cannot turn back.

We cannot be satisfied as long as any given country within the UK is as a smaller town to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their self-hood and robbed of their dignity by poorer conditions than in other areas.

I am not unmindful that some of you read this out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from food banks, and some of you have come from areas where your quest — quest for a life rather than mere survival has left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by cruel reforms. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to your homes in the poorer and not so poor areas of our cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today.

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the fact that we all want a good life, a life where our children and their children can live without suffering.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of what the United Kingdom should stand for, equality and safety for all.

I have a dream that one day in Scotland, our sons and daughters will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day our United Kingdom will be transformed into an oasis of justice.

I have a dream that our children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

That we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood, we will be able to work together, to struggle together, and to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will succeed one day.”


Mama-Kii Tea donates to Kevin Sorbo’s OEKSFC Birthday Project 2013

Sounds like a great product and Mamaki of Hawaii, Inc. will be donating to a great cause.

Sorbo Writer's Blog

Mama-Kii logo 1Mamaki of Hawaii, Inc., has generously agreed to help the Official European Kevin Sorbo Fan Club (OEKSFC) raise funds for the Birthday Project 2013 by making a contribution and offering some great deals on its amazing product, Mama-Kii Tea.

The OEKSFC Birthday Project 2013 honors Actor/Producer/Author Kevin Sorbo’s upcoming birthday on September 24, by acceptinKevin Sorbo Mama-Kii Tea 1g donations to benefit Sorbo’s Los Angeles-based nonprofit, A World Fit For Kids! (WFIT). Please note that the new contribution deadline is Saturday, October 5, 2013.

From now until October 5, 2013, Mamaki of Hawaii, Inc., will give a 10% discount on all orders placed using the codeword “Sorbo” when checking out. Free shipping will apply for U.S. orders over $75.00 and International orders over $125.00. Mamaki of Hawaii, Inc., will then donate 20% of the cost of each Mama-Kii Tea tin purchased using the codeword “Sorbo” to the OEKSFC Birthday Project 2013…

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FEAR, RELIGION & EXORCISM: Demonic Possession and the Battle of Good vs. Evil in Horror

Alyson Dunlop's Blog

EXORIST, I.V.(Contains Spoilers!)

I read two things this week that made me decide to write about the role of religion in horror.  Firstly, my idol Gabriel Byrne said that he thought the Catholic Church was evil.  Secondly, parks have a calming effect on the mind, apparently!  What have these got to do with one another?

Well, although I’m pagan I have to both agree and disagree with Gabriel.  Religion, like every entity, has a good and a bad side.  Both positive and negative psychology exists in most religions.  Many people have horrific or depressing experiences within the confines of a place of worship or due to the beliefs held, but just as many have hugely fulfilling life-long relationships with their God(s); despite my lack of Christian belief, I never fail to feel spiritually at peace in beautiful big Italian churches.  They are designed that way deliberately, to give you a sense…

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True Strength

Excellent book, well worth the read. The story of a man who at the age of 38 has 3 x strokes and survives and after much hard work now lives an exhausting but successful life.

Sorbo Writer's Blog

Kevin’s excellent, inspirational book, True Strength: My Journey from Hercules to Mere Mortal—and How Nearly Dying Saved My Life, is available in paperback Tuesday, October 16.

Our good friends at DaCapo Press, Kevin’s publisher, kindly provided this insightful interview with Kevin that outlines his tragic, yet uplifting story.

A Talk with Kevin Sorbo

Author of True Strength

You sufferedKevin Sorbo True Strength three strokes at the age of 38. Were there any warning signs that something was wrong? If so, what did you think they could mean?

I had tingling and loss of feeling in my fingers and hand, my fingers turned cold and eventually blue, and I had pain shooting down my arm. It came and went, gradually getting worse as time went by. But I was doing a heavy promotional tour for Kull, the Conqueror at the time they started getting really annoying, so I consulted with doctors at the…

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Is there still a difference between NI and tax within the UK?

Below is a transcript from my facebook this morning 02/09/2012

I think it is time people in the UK stood up for what is right and held the polititians accountable for what they are doing to our National Insurance.  Any other insurance company would be held accountable for, at the very least, mismanagement.

Who out there thinks National Insurance is just another word for tax???
If you do, you’re wrong.
National Insurance, according to the 1946 Act, provided for compulsory contributions for unemployment, sickness, maternity and widows’ benefits and old age pensions from employers and employees, with the government funding the balance.
There is a National Insurance Act 1965 which consolodates with the 1946 Act – note the operative words INSURED PERSONS!!!!!!
I have contacted my MP and 10 Downing St to find out where our National Insurance contributions are going, my MP’s response was we don’t know Westiminster just give us a lump sum – well MP FIND OUT!!!!!!. By the way this is a SNP MP. No. 10 have yet to respond after more than 6months. It was an article I read a while ago, unfortunately I’ve lost it but will keep looking, that peaked my interest. In this article it stated that in 2010 over £53 billion was collected in National Insurance, my question is where did that £53billion go?????
If the government was a private insurance company they would have to tell us where our money was going and how it was being invested, this government seems to think that this doesn’t apply to them. If this was a private insurance company and the funds being paid into the insurance pot were not going where they should and were being diverted elsewhere then there would be an investigation/trial with charges of fraud/embezzlement.
I think this government, and previous governments rely on the majority of the people thinking that NI is just another tax which can be lumped with everything else – WRONG!!!!! No wonder our health and benefit system is in the state it is in.
It’s time for the people to stand up and say NO this is our retirement and our health insurance you are playing with and we want it back!!!!!!!
Ok, rant over 🙂

If I can remember my Social Policy correctly, the NI scheme, when it was originally set up was to run for a while before money was taken out. However, pensions and other benefits and the health service were taking funds out from day one. So our contributions are not being saved, but are being spent! Unemployment benefits were never intended to be paid out indefinitely either, they were supposed to be emergency payments used over a short term till people found work; and as we know government are in the main to blame for lack of employment, but also some folk are too lazy to work. Also, there were several generations where, and I hate to say it, but women sat at home bringing up children, their husbands paid a few shillings in NI on their behalf – but that doesnt really cover their use of NHS to have those babies or the NHS services they have used over the years, or their pensions. Also we allow foreign nationals access to funds, and the NHS without expecting them to have contributed. Hospitals near large airports used to see a lot of women coming here in their last month of pregnancy come here to have their babies for free. It sounds mean to say it but if we were to go abroad we have to pay for any emergency treatment. And we would not have access to public funds….Moan over….However, your right to pursue our MPs as they seem to think our money is theirs.
It would seem that it has been mis-used since day one. Time to sort it out properly I think, for instance you don’t get to use it unless you pay NI. Where would the private insurance companies be if they allowed anyone to claim regardless of whether they paid insurance contributions or not?

Long term unemployed do pay a minimal amount of NI, I know this because I have had to have two long term sickness periods due to arthritis/thyroid condition and I paid NI direct from my benefit. I only discovered this by accident as they don’t tell you this.
Also, I think people forget or don’t realise that an E111 gives them the right to basic health care within the EU, another use for our NI.
Very good points! I said something similar a few months back. We are basically medically insured. The government should have to answer where our NI payments are going – and your MSP’s answer is simply not good enough. You should complain or speak with someone else. I think you’d make an excellent politician, by the way! 😀 You could whip them all into shape!
Oh, I forgot to point out that the benefits mentioned do not include child benefit only maternity benefit – not the same thing. I’m assuming then that child benefit is included in the many things we are taxed for. Is it quicker these days to list the things we don’t get taxed for???

AD –  Lol, politians are too intersted in power and lining their own pockets, I wouldn’t last a day 🙂
Not all of them. Some of them are there to stand up for justice, and the rights of the ordinary people. More people like you in Parliament wouldn’t be a bad thing
What we need is more people to actually take an interest and differentiate between tax and NI, and make the government & polititians accountable for the mismanagement of our insurance.
You should write an article on that
I’d need a lot more information and someone who understood lawyer speak to break down the gobbledegook. I think that is part of the problem, make things sound as complicated as possible and people will just go along as it is too difficult to investigate.


This is something I posted on Facebook in March 2012 and then forgot about.  I hope you enjoy 🙂 

I’ve taken this list from one of those posts that says if you agree re-post type things, which I usually don’t because I don’t like conditions put on things, I either re-post/share because I agree/like or I don’t, I don’t need to have the condition tagged on at the end of a post.

Anyway, I have taken the following ten points from the post and below that are my comments re things I have learned about each of those points over the years 🙂

I was raised to –

  1.  Speak when I enter a room
  2. Say please and thank you
  3. To have respect for my elders
  4. To get up off my lazy butt and let the elder in the room have my chair
  5. Say yes sir and no sir
  6. Lend a helping hand to those in need
  7. Hold the door for the person behind me, not let it slam in their face.
  8. Say excuse me when it’s needed
  9. To love people for who they are, not for what I can get from them
  10. To treat people the way I want to be treated

 Things I have learned over the years –

  1. It is not always necessary to speak when I enter a room
  2. I still always say please and thank you, you get such a better response from people even if you are complaining about something.
  3. Elders should earn respect as much as their younger counterparts, respect is not a god given right
  4. I will still get up off my lazy butt to give some-one who is not as well and able as I a seat whether it is in a room or elsewhere (public transport)
  5. I’ve never said yes sir or no sir (except to my teachers at school, which was required) but I usually say yes please or no thank you.
  6. As far as possible I will lend a helping hand however, that helping hand might not always be welcome so I always ask if help is required first.
  7. I always check behind me when going through a door to ensure it is not going to slam in some-one’s face.  Lesson I have learned is to try not to shout after the bad mannered idiot in front of me, who has slammed the door in my face, ‘thanks very much, always wanted a flat nose’ to prevent me getting a fist in the face 🙂 (brother’s advice lol)
  8. I always say excuse me (I’ve even managed it in Greek and French :-))
  9. I always try to love people for who they are.  There’s nothing worse than some-one saying I love you but, could you just change this or that or do you by any chance have (time to) with no reciprocation.
  10. I always try to treat people the way I would like to be treated, but I am only human and this sometimes does not happen 😦

 So after all that, I think the message should be, be yourself but try to consider others when doing so, so that you don’t come across as a selfish, self centred, bad mannered sod.

Various ventures

I love to learn new things and I am always looking for more input.  I have various sites which you will be able to see what I am learning, hopefully you will find some of it interesting.

You can follow my progress on twitter @jdarch1

For musical you will find me on youtube -jdarch1 or soundcloud I also have a website

For Archaeology/Classics see site

Please no spamming/adverts, thanks.

This is a great idea. Hopefully other countries will form their own version of this eventually so that all kids around the world have the chance to be who they could be.

Sorbo Writer's Blog

It’s that time of year again – time for Kevin’s Annual Celebrity Golf Tournament benefiting the Los Angeles-based nonprofit children and youth organization, A World Fit For Kids! (WFIT).

And for the second consecutive year the Kevin Sorbo Golf Tournament Fan Sponsorship proudly teams with his awesome Official European Kevin Sorbo Fan Club (OEKSFC) Birthday Project to raise funds for his tournament and WFIT. Cool!

Unfortunately, Kevin’s 4th year tournament (2012) is postponed until the spring of next year, 2013, due to unforeseen circumstances. Bummer…

The good news is that the amazing OEKSFC will accept donations for the Sponsorship/Birthday Project until September 15, 2012, in order to hopefully present Kevin with his birthday gift at Madrid’s Interstar Convention in October. The annual free online Birthday Book, designed by talented OEKSFC web mistress, Anne, at which you can post your well wishes to Kevin, remains open until September 15, too!…

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From Tom-Boy to Woman

Inspired by What is a True Feminist by Sam Sorbo –

Written by Jacqui-D 05 August 2012Image

Please read the Sam Sorbo article first, link at the top of the page, thanks.

As a child I remember girls had to be pretty and seen but not heard.  I was forced to wear pretty dresses and hats (particularly at Easter) when all I wanted was jeans and t-shirts.  It did not help that the two villages we lived in, as a family, were predominantly male orientated, including the children, so most of my friends were boys.

To be seen and not heard was extremely frustrating for me as I had an opinion about everything, I still do.  There was no encouragement when it came to intelligence, of any sort.  It was my duty to learn how to cook, sew, knit, clean, keep house and family and learn music, play piano to be exact.  The playing of the piano I did not mind, in fact I enjoyed it, and the cooking was okay, but the rest I found was not to my liking at all, I preferred climbing trees and riding bicycles.  I felt as though I was meant for something else.

It was during my second to last year in primary school (primary 6); I would have just turned 10 years of age, that I had the opportunity to fight with teachers to do something other than knitting.  I fought for the chance to try woodwork, it was not anything major but it was a change.  By the end of the classes I had modelled a couple of things out of blocks of wood including a car, which I was very proud of.  At this point in my life I had also started to learn violin and was singing, music was something I could do which was not primarily male or female orientated and something that I really enjoyed.  I also took part in my first school play as Smee, Captain Hook’s little fat pirate companion in Peter Pan (this was amusing as I was still the smallest person in school and had not a pick on me), I got to sword fight and wear trousers, score for me.  This was lots of fun but also required some hard work, something I have never had a problem with.  For younger readers please bear in mind this was in 1972 when there were still very clearly defined lines about what women/ladies/girls should and should not be doing, not to mention a strict Roman Catholic school.

I had always been a great reader, one of the things I was encouraged to do, by the age of eight I had read books such as A Tale of Two Cities, Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, note the type of book I was encouraged to read, Charles Dickens and the Bronte sisters mostly.  So by the time I got to primary seven aged 11 it was no great surprise that my spelling was somewhat ahead of the rest of the class (winning class spelling competitions with words like antidisestablishmentarianism) and my maths/arithmetic was not too shabby either.  Again, I took part in the school show, this time it was a concert and I did a little song and dance routine, it was supposed to be with a friend but she developed stage fright, so I was on my own.

When I reached my first year at high school, aged 12, I was a lot quieter than before.  A lot had been happening at home since my mother died (aged 10) and I had a lot of the more out going fight knocked out of me, literally.  I might have been a lot quieter and subdued but there was still fire there.  I always seemed to be the smallest at school and invariably the occasional bully would try what they did best.  In primary they were a lot easier to deal with as the primary school serviced only a couple of surrounding villages and my reputation got around, I really dislike bullies.  In high school however the school was much bigger and it was impossible to know everyone, so there were a few times where I had to deal with bullies, one good thing I was taught, never ever back down from a bully, they might beat the crap out of you once but they lose all credibility and rarely have another physical go at you, and the tom-boy thing came in handy too.

In high school I continued with my violin lessons until about half way through my first year some young yobs beat the teacher up and he never came back.  So now there was no more piano and no more violin, still I got music lessons once a week as part of the curriculum, that was something.  I was never a great sports person, having been diagnosed with arthritis at an early age, always found sports painful, I liked gymnastics as I was very flexible and enjoyed the various bits and pieces we got to do in those classes, also enjoyed basketball to a certain extent, I was always left at the basket, I might have been small and much slower than the rest but I was very good at scoring points.

It was in my first year of high school that I discovered science, boy was that ever confusing.  Up until that point I had attended a Roman Catholic primary school and had been taught that we came from Adam and Eve, no science taught at all.  Imagine my confusion when science was telling me about evolution.  This explained a lot, once I got used to the idea, for various reasons I will not go in to in this paper.  It was also at this point that I discovered that I had an aptitude for English and French I also discovered what support and encouragement felt like as I had excellent teachers in both subjects.  Unfortunately, this was not to continue and by my third and fourth years at high school I had mediocre teachers with little interest and my interest dwindled as well.

By the time I had completed my second year at high school I had been in two foster homes, by third year I was in a children’s home, not from anything I had done I might add.  Things were not going well.  I had become extremely quiet, except when I felt strongly about something, I would still not be bullied into doing anything I did not want to.  I had lost interest in school and most other things although I spent a lot of time reading and found a new outlet in TV and film.  With the exception of my first year in high school, taking part in the end of year concert and singing along to songs on the radio, I had also given up on the musical/theatrical side of things until my fourth year; I was about 16 by this point.  I decided to take part in the schools adaptation of West Side Story, the music was brilliant, I so enjoyed this, I took part in the play the following year also, this was my last year at school, not through choice.

At seventeen I left school with a minimum of qualifications, Mathematics, Arithmetic, English and Biology.  What to do now?  I had to find a job and somewhere to live. At this point I should also mention that children who had spent time in the care system are constantly told that the majority end up in trouble with the law, single parents, alcoholics, drug addicts, you get the picture.  I’ve never been one to conform to what is expected of me.  By the time I had left school I had applied to various hospitals for training as a nurse, I think having watched my mother die had something to do with this choice.  I had also applied for a job in a village near Edinburgh as a nanny.  It was interviews galore time.  I had an interview for the nanny position and got the job and of course it meant I had somewhere to stay, I also had various interviews for nursing training.  I lasted 3 weeks as a nanny; I discovered very early that I cannot abide spoiled children or their parents.  Parents, you do not do your children or yourselves any favours by spoiling them.  By this point I had been accepted to three nursing training hospitals one of which was Yorkhill children’s hospital in Glasgow, I had had enough of children by this point so I had to choose between Stobhill and Vale of Leven, I chose Stobhill, the nursing home was in the grounds and I had a room there.  Great, training, a job, and somewhere to live all within 6 weeks of leaving school, and all done by myself, my self- esteem rose slightly.

You might be thinking at this point that I am going way off the subject, what has any of this got to do with the article Sam Sorbo has written, please bear with me, all will become clear.

I completed my nursing training and worked in Stobhill for a couple of years in the oncology unit, I did enjoy it at the time, however I became ill and had to stop work for a couple of years.  When I was well enough to go back to work I did so as an agency nurse, going to whichever hospital/department was short staffed, it was at this point I realised this was not what I wanted to do.  I went to college and took a course in secretarial and accounts, got bored and moved on to a distance learning course in computer programming again I got bored, although I was doing well in both courses they just did not do anything to peak my interest.  I moved on to an Open University course in earth sciences, this was more interesting but still not interesting enough for me to continue.  I then did a course in secretarial and business administration.  Meantime over the years I had been working at various different jobs, searching for something to do that was not only interesting but something that I enjoyed.

During this time of unrest and illness I had joined an amateur dramatic group known as EROS (East Renfrewshire Operatic Society) and performed in a number of shows over a five or six year period, this was what helped to settle me down a bit.  I had moved from job to job and from home to home always restless and always searching.  As a young, quiet and very small female I found that male bosses had a tendency to try to bully me in to doing extra hours etc.  They soon found out that I might be quiet, on the whole, and I might be small, but I am far from stupid, nor am I a door mat.

My personal relationships seem to have gone the same way, unfortunately.  My first adult relationship was with a hospital porter, we got engaged, that was the thing to do, big mistake from that moment on, especially when I became ill, I became an ornament.  As I was not working I had no money coming in, could not go out to visit, I could not even go to the shop.  I could not do housework, not that that was my favourite past time, as everything I did was wrong.  It got to the point where he was out a lot; I was at home alone a lot, bored.  Things came to a head when in the heat of the moment he knocked me over and left me breathless, he panicked more than I did.  A few days later I packed a suitcase and left with no money and no where to live leaving all my other possessions behind.  I moved in with my youngest sister for a few months then found a job with a room.  Unfortunately when I left that job for another I also lost the accommodation and became homeless for four months until I got placed in a flat (apartment) which was not exactly in the best area of Glasgow (it’s what they do when you are young, single and homeless).  By this point I am in my mid to late twenties.  My other relationships have been unsuccessful also, one of which thought it was clever to live with me while giving all his earnings to his mother who had three other working adult children living with her, he would come home put on the computer and play games, oh joy.  He was not happy when I decided it was time for him to leave.  There have been a couple more like that; I think I must have mug or door-mat tattooed on my forehead.

Things looked up a little in my thirties and by the time I reached forty I decided that it was time I did something with my life, by this point I had been in an administration job for about six years and extremely bored.  To relieve the boredom I decided to do a course at Glasgow University evening school.  What subjects to choose, this was a problem.  Eventually a couple of things influenced my decision, I remembered that I had enjoyed Classical Studies in high school and would have continued with that line of study if it had not only been available in my first year, also I had been watching a programme, Hercules featuring Kevin Sorbo which I was enjoying.  First subject chosen, Classical Civilisation, now what to do with this, two subjects were required?  After much thought and consideration I decided on Social Anthropology.  I did so well in both subjects that I was urged to use this as an access course in to university.  I applied and was accepted.  Wow, wait a minute, does that mean I am intelligent after-all?  In 2002 I started my undergraduate degree and worked two part time jobs.  In 2006 at the age of forty-four I graduated with a joint degree in Archaeology and Classics.  Unfortunately, in my second year of this degree I was diagnosed with a few medical problems which really caused me a lot of hassle, particularly when it came to concentration.  I was advised to give up on studying but I do not give up easily and continued.  As a result I could not continue with a post graduate degree and had to take some time out, again taking a couple of years off sick, although I did continue to work part-time, at the time it was called allowed work.  In December 2009 at the age of forty seven I graduated with a post graduate degree in Mediterranean Archaeology, that was a lot of hard work and I would not recommend working full time and studying full time to anyone, I was on beta-blockers for six months after that, but achievement.

Since then I have had a full time job working in administration again, not exactly what I had in mind but in this current economic climate where jobs are scarce I am lucky to have a job at all.  I do get extremely bored though and I am always looking for new things to learn.

Through all this I have learned that there is nothing wrong with being a tom-boy, there is also nothing wrong with being a woman.

Unlike Sam I have not had the joy or luck of finding the person with whom I would be willing to share my life or give up my career (what there is of it) for.  So it has taken me quite a while longer to realise that there is more to equality than being able to do the same things as men.  I agree, men are different, they think differently and they do things differently.  They are able to do some things better than women, regardless of how much we protest, just as women are better at doing some things than men.  We will never be the same, unless there is some extremely freak change in evolution.  We should rejoice in that and work together as a team not opposing each other, we might actually move forward a lot quicker.

I still wear jeans and t-shirts a lot, and have the occassional urge to climb a tree, I do not think I will ever totally get rid of the tom-boy thing, it is a part of who I am, but I also, on occasion, like to put on a dress and try to look pretty.  I have incorporated into my daily life things like having nails manicured and visiting the hair stylist more often, and I even occasionally pull out all stops and wear make-up.  I like when a man opens a door and stands back for me to go through first, I like when a chair is placed for me when sitting down at a table.   After all the rebellion as a younger person, I have come to realise what my mother was trying to teach me before she died.  The relationship between men and women is about balance.  There is much more to being a successful woman than equalling men in all avenues.  We do equal men in that we are the balance they require in what they do and think and vice versa.  Being a woman is also about doing what you think is right and not being afraid to do what is best for you, whether it conforms to the majority or not.

If you would like more information on the topic of my childhood, what it was like taking care of myself and siblings from the age of ten and dealing with abuse, check back here periodically.

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