Thursday 7 May 2020

Lockdown musings, nostalgia and grey hair

It suddenly struck me today that I haven't yet written much on my blog about these strange lockdown times, and I also haven't mentioned the fact that my hair is going grey. Those two topics weren't related initially but now seem to be! In a way, there's so much to say about what's going on, and yet nothing much at all... being home all the time is no major change for us, as I wrote in my post 'The isolation of children with special needs'. This week though, I've been enjoying a nostalgia trip.

There has been some activity in a Facebook group for my old school. Old photos from the 1980s have been shared, and they brought back many happy memories for me. I have amassed a vast photo collection over the years; sadly not so many from the 80s but plenty from the following years. They've put a huge smile on my face this week as I've browsed through them - although it has meant I've now realised that I have a fair bit of sorting and putting back into albums to do. Good job we're stuck home for the foreseeable, huh?!

Anyhow I thought I would share a couple of old memories on here - more for me and the girls to be honest, so don't feel guilty if you lose interest quickly.
Athena postcards from 80s including man with baby
One photo I shared on my Instagram page this week was this one above, my collection of old postcards from Athena. These used to adorn my bedroom walls as I was growing up. I'm not really a hoarder but I can't bring myself to get rid of these. These pictures seemed to hit a memory chord with quite a few people, especially the man and baby shot! Cheesy, but iconic.
metallic green mini with steph sitting half in it
This photo is of my first ever car - a metallic green mini. I've gone on to own some much 'better' cars but this one will always have a soft spot in my heart. I have many fond memories of it, and some not so fond. Such as the time it broke down at rush hour on the Aston expressway flyover in Birmingham - two lanes, no hard shoulder. Lots of angry people all around me. Two young lads got out of their car a few cars back from me and ran up to check I was OK, and brought with them a bottle of water to fill the water tank back up. How they knew it had overheated, I still don't know, but I'll be forever grateful! 

There were many times when I had to enlist help at the Uni halls to push start it in the mornings - one particularly memorable occasion when the snow was thick on the ground. And there was the time the windscreen wipers stopped working as they were mid-wipe, so I had to try to see round them whilst trying to reach out the window and push them to go again. I was on the M6. I soon realised I would have to pull off the motorway into the hard shoulder which was coned off, and I asked my friend to jump out of the car to push the wipers to get them going again. The driver of a coach coming up fast in the slow lane scared her somewhat by leaning on his horn...

Oh, what fun. Actually, although it was a total rust bucket, I do have lots of great memories of driving down Blackpool prom in this, with my mates, having a laugh. Those were the days. 
Rough Collie lying on carpet
This was my dog as I was growing up. Note the wallpaper and carpet. No judging, it was the 80's after all. We named our dog Smokey; not really sure why but it might have had something to do with a grey streak in his tale. My Dad wanted an Alsatian, my mum didn’t. So this big Lassie dog was what we ended up with 😍
Steph as a child with mum and brothers and lassie dog
I love these old eighties photos, definitely a 'style' of sorts. I took Smokey to dog training sessions as part of my Duke of Edinburgh award... if you want a dog which will train easily, my advice is not to go for a Rough Collie. I’m so grateful to our parents for bringing this dog into our family back then though. Dogs are a lot of work but so worth it in terms of the love and loyalty that they bring. We have cats now; a lot less work but also a lot less love on the whole!
large oil tanker at sea Burmah Peridot
My Dad was a Chief Engineer in the Merchant Navy as I grew up. He spent either three or six months at a time away at sea (and then the equivalent amount of time back at home) and I can still remember the excitement when we knew he was about to return home. Many of our holidays were spent visiting him on the large oil tankers he worked on - including one very memorable longer spell on one when I was nine years old. 
siblings sitting on deck of an oil tanker
We actually lived on an oil tanker moored just off Grand Bahama Isle for six months. This is me sitting on the deck of that tanker, with my brothers. My mum was a teacher and so we still had to keep up with our lessons. The image below is taken from a project workbook which she directed us to produce, and I think it's a good illustration showing the scale of the oil tanker compared to an old building in Glasgow. I wonder if the building is still there - fairly sure the tanker has been broken down and scrapped now. It was the 11th biggest tanker in the world at the time, at 378m long. Pipped only for 10th position by a twin sister ship which was merely centimetres longer!
image of large building in a city with oil tanker mapped over it
Finally, my musings about grey hair. I learnt a fascinating fact from my hairdresser; apparently there is no such thing as grey hair. Hair is either coloured, or white, and it's an increasing number of white hairs which makes it look grey. I caught sight of mine in the mirror yesterday and it got me thinking. Why are we, as a society, conditioned into thinking that grey hair is a bad thing? In the past few months Sasha has cried at me a few times 'but you're too young to have grey hair' and I've wondered... am I? Why is there supposedly an age when it's acceptable to have grey hair, and what is that age?! Why is there more pressure for women to cover up the grey and colour their hair, but not for men?
grey blonde multicoloured hair
When I was in a shop recently, an old lady with long dark brown hair and long roots showing (thanks to the current situation I assume) commented on my hair and said she thought the grey was going to really suit me. She went on to tell me that she was 69 and her grandchildren called her 'Glam Gran' - but that seeing my hair had made her think that maybe she could still be glam with grey hair too!

I think that Sasha's worry stems from the thought that grey equals older and she doesn't like to think of me getting older, which I understand. I guess it's something I accepted quite easily when I was younger - my own mum went grey when I was a similar age to my girls now, but I just didn't think or worry about the future that much back then. 

I decided back in November last year that it was finally time for me to 'ditch the dye'. I'd had dark brown hair for most of my life but had got to the stage where I needed to dye the roots every two weeks or else I looked like a badger. I did the dye myself at home to save money but it was so messy and so time consuming, and I'd had enough. It was painfully difficult to watch the roots growing through though, so on advice from a new hairdresser, I decided to go blonder first. That was the right choice personally as it has definitely helped me feel less awkward about it all. I mean, I wish I could have dyed it grey in one go and had less of the 'multi-colour' look, but overall I'm thinking it could have been worse.
side shot of grey hair
Turns out that I've timed the going grey just right. With nowhere to go and no-one to see apart from the odd Zoom call, my grey is fairly well hidden. Other than from everyone reading here of course... The only problem I have now is that when lockdown eases enough for everyone to rush back to the hairdressers, people will probably think it's strange that I haven't. In the words of Catherine Tates' Lauren though, I'm 'not bovvered'.
Steph and her two girls
The photo of me with my two girls which I use for this blog and all over my social media accounts was taken several years ago, when the girls were around 8 and 6 years old. I've considered changing it a few times over the years, because it feels a bit like showing an online dating pic where the reality is very different! However, now the girls are teens and have banned all photos, I wouldn't be able to use a recent photo with them in and as much as I'll be happy with the grey when it's finally all over (another year maybe?!), I don't think anyone needs to see this multicoloured look all over their timelines. So I'm sticking with the old photo and the happy memories. Maybe this post will prompt someone else to reminisce with a smile on their face?!

To find out more about our experiences, please check out our 'About Us' page. If you are looking for more information on Pathological Demand Avoidance, the posts below may help.

What is PDA (Pathological Demand Avoidance)?

Ten things you need to know about Pathological Demand Avoidance

Does my child have Pathological Demand Avoidance?

The difference between PDA and ODD

Strategies for PDA (Pathological Demand Avoidance)

Pathological Demand Avoidance: Strategies for Schools

Challenging Behaviour and PDA

Is Pathological Demand Avoidance real?

Autism with demand avoidance or Pathological Demand Avoidance?

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  1. STeph:

    Those were some very special pics.

    Especially the Athena shots and your dog training for the DoE Award and the Bahamas moment.

    And your words about white hair.

    I didn't want my mum to dye her hair. Especially when she was turning 60.


  2. Thanks for sharing your old photos. Over the past few years, I've been going back over old pictures that my parents took and trying to digitize them... it's a lot of work but fun to reminisce.

    It's a good time to go gray, and I think you're looking quite distinguished!

  3. Well thank you! It is a huge job, for sure!


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