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Romany
Posted: Saturday, June 14, 2014 6:16:00 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/14/2009
Posts: 17,423
Neurons: 56,086
Location: Brighton, England, United Kingdom
So. As some of you will have noticed - I've been reappearing over the past couple of weeks in bits and bobs. But finally I have both an internet connection AND a laptop once more.So:-.........

Just before Xmas my place burned to the ground.(So to speak. I was on the third floor so not actually the ground - just down to the flat below).

Some of you knew about it and were so supportive it brought a lump to my throat. I'd like, once again, to thank those who were so understanding.

But mainly what I want to write about is how immeasurably good people are.

And the reason I want to make this statement is because so many people keep repeating the trope that nothing is like 'the good 'ole days"; that people just don't care any more; that people now are selfish and money-obsessed and, in fact, we're all on our way to hell in a handbasket.

The night of the fire I found myself, in a state of shock,trotting off up the road in my fluffy pink pjs and a pair of house slipper/boots. Those constituted the sum total of my worldly possessions from that moment on.

And everything changed from the moment that two patrons of the gay pub across the road found me, brought me back wearing their jackets, sat me in front of the fire, forced a brandy down me and got the whole pub involved in getting hold of my son with the only remembered information being that he lived in London! Took them less than 15 minutes.

It's taken a while, but now I am sitting in my own apartment (no more sharing!) where there are clothes in my wardrobe, food in my cupboards, furniture, ....well living life once again in a normal manner.Albeit that everything I now possess is second-hand.

I'm not going to go into a a long skein about all the things people did for me - from total strangers to shopkeepers to friends and colleagues. The people where I work were incredible. From the very next day they started emptying their cupboards, bringing me clothes, shoes, food, books to read, toiletries (life's hard when you don't even have a damn toothbrush or a pair of knickers!!)The city council the very next day moved me into a homeless shelter for women and finally found this brand new, under-the-eaves large studio flat with huge skylights and birdsong and trees surrounding me.

It's not all over yet, of course: all the red tape involved in replacing my (and my children's) birth certificates,my driving licence, etc. etc.

OK, I'll never be able to replace family photos, awards and certificates,family possessions passed down, the 4 years research for the book I was writing, ...all that stuff. But as far as material possessions go, I once again have a (semi) functionally-stocked home. And all through the generosity, patience, kindness and goodness of ordinary people and the State.

The first thing my older son said when someone let me use their laptop, was "Thank gawd you were living in England!" I know well that had the same thing happened in other places we've been/lived, by now I would probably be slumped in a shop-front begging small change from passers-by.

So I also learned what it's like to be alone and homeless and have, in fact, spent a lot of time discussing the subject with people who are still homeless. It's made me more determined to argue against the prevailing idea by many posters that homeless people brought it all upon themselves, spend all their money on drink or drugs, and are the dregs of humanity.

I guess I've always been a bit contentious: though others might see that as sticking up for one's convictions. I stick up for those with mental illness because I'm bi-polar. I stick up for women because I am one. I rabbit on about suicide figures because of personal experiences. I believe people of all colours and creeds are the same under the skin because I've lived and laughed and cried with people of all colours and creeds.All my 'contentiousness' is based on experience.

But now, be warned: I'm gonna stick up like hell for the welfare state, and for the average person who, as I have always maintained, is good, kind, concerned, and bears no relationship to the callous, selfish, I'm-alright-Jack monsters portrayed in media and often on these forums.

Life is good. I've been given a second chance and I'm going to make it count.

jacobusmaximus
Posted: Saturday, June 14, 2014 6:32:26 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 4/17/2009
Posts: 13,031
Neurons: 605,462
Location: Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom
It has done my heart good to read your story of survival and undiminished determination, Romany. I wish you every happiness in your new home and every success in putting your life back together.
Tovarish
Posted: Saturday, June 14, 2014 6:44:13 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/2/2009
Posts: 11,101
Neurons: 39,933
Location: Booligal, New South Wales, Australia
Oh Rom, my heart goes out to you and your family, I have no idea what it is like to loose it all in a fire, but I truely believe good people

come in all shapes sizes and colours and it seems you have met some of this rear breed..

Big hugs, oxox.
Epiphileon
Posted: Saturday, June 14, 2014 7:18:47 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/22/2009
Posts: 4,282
Neurons: 166,396
Romany! I had no idea, what an ordeal! I am sorry you had to endure it, but I am very glad you had the people and agencies available to you, that helped you through it. Although I think a vast number of people in this country have been duped into supporting a callous and inhumane mentality, I do not think they are truly of that nature. Propaganda is a mighty thing. I am glad to hear you will continue in the good fight.
By the way, I must say that your endurance and current attitude, do not surprise me at all.
Maryam Dad
Posted: Saturday, June 14, 2014 7:49:46 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/13/2013
Posts: 679
Neurons: 3,441
I hope you are in good health and happy.
Ray41
Posted: Saturday, June 14, 2014 8:00:06 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/9/2010
Posts: 1,937
Neurons: 45,980
Location: Orange, New South Wales, Australia


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Welcome back,great news Romany, even though, literally, 'out of the ashes'.

It is good to see that you are back on deck so to speak.
I have never been in your situation so I can only imagine what it would be like to lose all your personal possessions.

There are a lot of good people in this world, the unsung hero's that will never get a mention in the papers, but, that is how they prefer it.

Losing 4 years research would be a real pain, I go ape if I lose the draft of an email.Anxious

Looking forward to your continuing presence on the forum.

Cheers,
Make every day a good one.

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NancyUK
Posted: Saturday, June 14, 2014 8:27:50 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/15/2011
Posts: 776
Neurons: 102,586
Hi Romany

Your absence from this forum has certainly been noticed, and I'm so sorry to hear about the ordeal that accounts for it. I am glad that you are now back. I hope you will start again with your book, and maybe it will all come back to you once you start to write it again. I'm glad (but not surprised) to hear that you have been helped by good people along the way.
Romany
Posted: Saturday, June 14, 2014 8:56:46 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/14/2009
Posts: 17,423
Neurons: 56,086
Location: Brighton, England, United Kingdom
Thanks so much guys.So good of you to comment as you have done.

Am starting to feel like the "Unsinkable Molly Brown" - as this isn't the first time I've had to start off from scratch:- but this time it was such a BIG scratch!! So once again my entire life has changed....still, at least it stops one getting bored or complacent, I guess.

Cheers Nancy,Ray,Maryam, Epi, Tov,Jacob.
anniepol
Posted: Saturday, June 14, 2014 9:50:48 AM

Rank: Member

Joined: 1/1/2014
Posts: 77
Neurons: 109,111
Hello Romany, welcome back!
Your absence here was so significat. Now we have the explanation although the reason was really horrific.
But once more in your life you proved that you are a brave person who never lose the spirit . I hope that the rest of your life will be nothing but a tread on roses' petals. Somewhere is the limit of misfortune.
My not so good command of English does not allow me to write more but I am with you. All the best!
jcbarros
Posted: Saturday, June 14, 2014 9:52:02 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 5/14/2010
Posts: 2,361
Neurons: 9,122
Let me encourage you, R. While there´s life there´s hope. I wish you all the best!
nkelsey
Posted: Saturday, June 14, 2014 2:09:34 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 2/9/2014
Posts: 491
Neurons: 192,145
Location: Apóstoles, Misiones, Argentina
Applause
papo_308
Posted: Saturday, June 14, 2014 2:54:59 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/29/2012
Posts: 1,127
Neurons: 25,947
Location: Velké Meziříčí, Vysocina, Czech Republic
Hi Romany,
I couldn't say better what the others have already said, but I mean it.
Welcome back and keep enriching us with your comments.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Saturday, June 14, 2014 4:23:13 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/12/2011
Posts: 34,221
Neurons: 225,144
Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
Hiya!

It will be good to have you back!

It is good to hear that you're back to (relatively) normal again.
Tovarish
Posted: Saturday, June 14, 2014 8:28:34 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/2/2009
Posts: 11,101
Neurons: 39,933
Location: Booligal, New South Wales, Australia
Rom, do you remember those dolls with sand at the bottom?, they were about a yard high and when you punched them they sprung back up?

I think there is one some where with Roms face on it, and just possibly one with Tovarish's.
FounDit
Posted: Saturday, June 14, 2014 8:43:59 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/19/2011
Posts: 14,076
Neurons: 67,035
I wondered why we hadn't heard much from you over the last few months. Now I know why. Sorry to hear of your troubles, but am so glad you suffered no physical harm from the fire. It's painful to lose precious possessions, but most of those can be replaced - not so with people we care about. All the best to you and yours in the coming months.
ellana
Posted: Sunday, June 15, 2014 3:40:01 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 12/19/2010
Posts: 673
Neurons: 127,363
Location: Roquefort, Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur, France
I check in regularly and noticed that you were gone. Amazing how we don't know TFD members but develop a special affinity for some over others. Welcome back with better days ahead.
LMcL
Posted: Sunday, June 15, 2014 12:57:04 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 11/21/2013
Posts: 852
Neurons: 112,727
Hey, Rom.

Really good to hear how things have improved since the conflagration. Now you can get back to the business of setting fire to the forums. By the way, seems like the fluffy pink jammies and indomitable house slippers deserve combat pay and a good retirement pension.

Now, I've got to run. I'm catching a ride South in a limited edition handbasket ...
early_apex
Posted: Monday, June 16, 2014 4:14:32 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 4/20/2009
Posts: 2,281
Neurons: 12,855
Location: Spindletop, Texas, United States
Romany, so sorry to hear of your loss, but so glad to know you (and your son) survived it intact. Life can hand us some pretty rude surprises. So glad to hear of how others blessed you at your time of greatest need.

How easy it is for us to lose sight of the amazing goodness of other people.

I saw a homeless person just the other day at a street corner holding a sign that said, "I'm homeless but it doesn't rub off". There are numerous street corners near my work where people stand at intersections hoping for a handout. Standard procedure for drivers is to avoid eye contact. I noticed that by doing this it failed to make the beggars disappear, and once you do make eye contact, you discover a fellow human being there.

I now try to always have something to give them. It is not my responsibility what they do with the gift, but I am responsible to not look away. If I ever go broke doing this, then maybe I can stop, but that does not seem to be happening.
Romany
Posted: Monday, June 16, 2014 8:27:50 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/14/2009
Posts: 17,423
Neurons: 56,086
Location: Brighton, England, United Kingdom
I am touched - and pleased, if I'm honest - to find that so many people noticed I wasn't here. Some of you have been there all along in the background just letting me know from time to time that you're there if needed and I appreciate that so much, too.

My return to England had really been a disaster from start to...well, until recently. I'm ashamed to say I'd totally lost the plot even before the fire happened.

Yet Ray's mention of the phoenix made me realise that, even though its taken six months this time,(well, I'm getting on, y'know; reactions slow down) I have at last started to look to the future once more instead of the past and all that's gone.

So thanks, Early A, McCool,Ellana, Foundit, Drago,Papo,nkelsey,JC,and anniepol.....if I'm to be a phoenix, then I feel a decided urge to shake my tail-feathers.
early_apex
Posted: Tuesday, June 17, 2014 11:08:50 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 4/20/2009
Posts: 2,281
Neurons: 12,855
Location: Spindletop, Texas, United States
I cannot imagine what it could be like to lose all of your material possessions in an instant.

I have learned though, that most of the time we spend looking backwards is wasted time. Hang onto happy memories and let the rest go is my attitude, as I attempt to rid myself of regrets and other emotional baggage.

Good fortune on your next flight!
IMcRout
Posted: Tuesday, June 17, 2014 12:25:55 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 5/27/2011
Posts: 35,380
Neurons: 563,379
Location: Lübeck, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany
Oh Romany, dear! What an ordeal! And I had thought you were too busy in your new job and had less time for posting. You did post in 'bits and bobs', as you put it, didn't you?

It's good to know you can look on the bright side of life again and that you had support in your time of need. Time for that stiff upper lip again.

Btw. I re-read some of your recent posts and saw that your son used to manage the Bull and Bush in Golders Green / Hampstead. That was one of my favourite haunts back in the early Seventies, when I lived in Golders Green for a year. I seem to remember it was called "Ye Olde Bull and Bush" at the time and it was described to me as "the biggest picking-up place in northern London". Suited me. Whistle

Kerry.P
Posted: Tuesday, June 17, 2014 11:07:20 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 5/7/2012
Posts: 2,657
Neurons: 13,143
Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Hi Romany. Just wanted to add my two pence to say how shocked I was to read your news.

My very best wishes to you rebuilding your life. It is a tough road and I'm glad to hear that you've had so much encouragement.

KerryP
excaelis
Posted: Wednesday, June 18, 2014 2:57:49 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/30/2010
Posts: 10,965
Neurons: 32,652
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
I'd no idea your son managed the Bull And Bush. He probably hoofed me out a couple of times for being 15. I remember the crawl - Hare and Hounds, Bull and Bush, skip The Jack Straw's Castle ( not too many girls...), left to The Spaniards Inn then back up to Whitestone Pond and down the hill into Hampstead.

So glad to hear you're back here, and back there.
Romany
Posted: Sunday, June 22, 2014 5:59:34 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/14/2009
Posts: 17,423
Neurons: 56,086
Location: Brighton, England, United Kingdom
Exy -

Hey, steady on, mate. I might be galloping inexorably towards my twilight years; but I ain't there quite yet. Don't think my son would have been there when you were being kicked out for being 15!!

BTW - Jack Straws Castle is now not as popular as it was and the rumours are that the Spaniard's Inn is where people go to score drugs. (Although I have no idea if that was always its attraction?)

The Bull and Bush is still quite the hang-out for celebs, whether locally grown or just visiting.
Listening . . .
Posted: Sunday, June 22, 2014 8:38:35 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/30/2011
Posts: 964
Neurons: 3,950
Romany,

My heart sank as I read your story and learned why you hadn't been posting for so many months. Kudos to you for picking yourself up, brushing yourself off, and getting back on your feet. I realize you had help along the way (thank goodness!) but, don't sell yourself short, you were the driving force behind the success. Applause
I am very glad you're ok and you're back on the forum.
Romany
Posted: Sunday, June 22, 2014 9:48:45 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/14/2009
Posts: 17,423
Neurons: 56,086
Location: Brighton, England, United Kingdom
Aw, Listening, thanks.

As to getting back on my feet again - well not quite there yet, but at least up off my knees! (Uh - didn't mean praying: I meant not begging!!)
excaelis
Posted: Tuesday, June 24, 2014 2:55:26 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/30/2010
Posts: 10,965
Neurons: 32,652
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Oh, right. Now I think about it 15 was a while ago ! Just doesn't feel like it. As to the Spaniard's, it was a great place to look at ( frequently but not always ) unattainable women.

Good luck with the feet. Way better than looking like Toulouse Lautrec...
Romany
Posted: Tuesday, June 24, 2014 1:55:23 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/14/2009
Posts: 17,423
Neurons: 56,086
Location: Brighton, England, United Kingdom
Ex -

re the feet - wonder if there's any chance that, when I get them back again, they'll respond to my teenage dream and be two sizes smaller?
Maryam Dad
Posted: Tuesday, June 24, 2014 8:22:14 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/13/2013
Posts: 679
Neurons: 3,441
I like the word 'bobbing'. Didn't know it before.
Alice M Toaster
Posted: Wednesday, June 25, 2014 11:30:13 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/4/2013
Posts: 33,124
Neurons: 1,396,883
Location: Palm Springs, California, United States
Romany,

I did notice earlier this year that you weren't showing up on the forum very much. You and RuthP are two of the reasons that I decided to change from a Guest to a Member last year, and I am happy to see you back now.

I've lost all of my possessions several times in my life, along with suddenly having to pull up stakes and begin again in a new environment, so I can identify.

I commend you on your stance regarding the homeless. I've spent a lot of time around both homeless and welfare people, and I know that for the most part it's not a lifestyle of their choosing. I'm looking forward to your insightful conversations on the subjects.

Thank you for sharing your story with us.
Khalid Sami
Posted: Sunday, July 6, 2014 11:15:11 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 5/29/2012
Posts: 1,918
Neurons: 10,602
Very glad of your return Romany. Happy that you and your son are safe and sound.
Have a whole of your life full of happiness and success.
Romany
Posted: Sunday, July 6, 2014 11:54:00 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/14/2009
Posts: 17,423
Neurons: 56,086
Location: Brighton, England, United Kingdom
Alice - thank you so much for your kind words.

Yes, I miss Ruth - and Hope - very much too. Ruth was such a storehouse of knowledge: empirical knowledge at that.

One result of all that's happened is that I am becoming more involved with civic responsibilities. Before the fire I was still trying to understand this new place and its ideologies, as well as getting my head around the different ways of thinking. Now I feel like I've just done a 6 months intensive course! And I can see much more clearly which battles are worth fighting. Having uncovered a giant scam involving the Council, contractors, and a certain Charity organisation, I've scrambled back up onto my white horse again. Might still find myself tilting at windmills again, of course, but am gradually getting used to the feel of the saddle.
Romany
Posted: Sunday, July 6, 2014 11:55:52 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/14/2009
Posts: 17,423
Neurons: 56,086
Location: Brighton, England, United Kingdom
Khalid - thank you also.

Not to worry: - people who don't ask questions never learn. (Woops! I see you've just cut part of your post out!)
Khalid Sami
Posted: Sunday, July 6, 2014 12:20:36 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 5/29/2012
Posts: 1,918
Neurons: 10,602
Sorry to cut a part of my post out. I did it only to avoid any misunderstanding, like being intrusive. That's all.

Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Sunday, July 6, 2014 10:10:22 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/12/2011
Posts: 34,221
Neurons: 225,144
Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom

Don't take any notice of the detractors - "up and at 'em!"



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