Read about Sonia and her mum’s hilarious antics, where she tells personal stories and highlights the issues of growing up with a mentally ill parent.
Flower arranging - such a lovely sounding activity. Peaceful, colourful, relaxing unless you grew up with my flame-haired volcano of a mother. Spring is here and the daffodils are nodding, the snowdrops are peeping, blossoms are warming up for their big entrance. ...read more
“The Hurling” is my and Mum’s code for a situation where you get so frustrated, angry and irrational, the only thing to do is hurl things. “I had a hurling last week, Sonia darling” Mum told me once with a mischievous giggle in her voice. She’d hurled two cups of coffee over the care home fence as it had got too cold – no doubt losing essential temperature while she was throwing biscuits into the laps of her fellow residents. She referred to another hurling recently, but couldn’t quite remember why she’d done it; something to do with clothes. Knowing not to directly question or contradict her I told her that I felt like having one myself last Friday. She went quiet for a while, breathing hard into the telephone, took a sharp breath and asked “But you didn’t though, did you? Promise me you didn’t”.read more
Whenever Mum has travelled, she’s done it in style; her style. No itineraries, formal arrangements or the usual panic about getting everything sorted before leaving the house, oh no. Mum just ups and offs. Or used to. When I sorted her house out I found extraordinary accounts of her adventures, some of which I knew about and many I didn’t. She annotated everything and even made up her own travel albums about MY adventures too, replacing actual photographs with clippings from magazines and pictures of women who looked a bit like me.read more
As Mother's Day in the UK draws to a close, I can honestly say that there's never been a day like it. Having spoken on Jeremy Vine's show on BBC Radio 2 a couple of days ago about this blog, my precious mum, her lifelong mental illness struggles and our...read more
I once told Les Dawson a Mum anecdote and he said, “I’ll probably use that in my act.” He was amused by the growing number of landlords and landladies in the UK and told this wonderful story on-air when I was working for BBC Radio 2. When he complained about the...read more
There’s nothing quite like a funeral for raising the blood pressure. I’ve taken Mum to a few and each one has been a disaster on the day, a hilarious story the day after. When Mum’s best friend at the care home died a few years ago, Mum banged on the coffin with her...read more
I drove my first RML bus yesterday – the classic red London bus from the 50s – and thought about my lovely mum. She knows I’m somehow connected with buses but can’t recall the whole picture. I’m still elated from the drive and a bit sad at the same time as I can’t...read more
“I’m Gracie Fields and my favourite person is Toni Blair.” Mum noted these things down when we were writing and drawing together recently. Her picture of a chicken would have had Picasso scratching his head, but it all made sense to her. Toni with an “i”, not Tony...read more
Tell your story!
My precious mum, Margaret Beldom, passed away peacefully on 12th November. She loved hearing all the stories that people shared about their own lives with people with mental health issues. A new conversation is starting, and it’s extraordinary. Please read “Surprise, surprise” and share some stories of your own.