I think I was going to be called Christopher, but for some reason was called David, you'll have to post my mum's page to find out if this is true. My Dad tells me I was a 'thrawn' child. This is a Scots word meaning wilful. Allegedly I would not allow others to feed me, preferring to do it myself.
My earliest memory is of a brightly coloured mural on a Ferry, I think its Pinocchio. It’s a 'flashbulb' memory, in complete isolation from any other self narrative and I'm not sure if it’s a real memory or if I've seen it in a photograph. There is no photograph of it that I know in any of our albums. Dad thinks it was on a ferry on the way to Spain and that I was about 18 months old.
Although I was born in Belfast, we moved from there to the Birmingham area when I was about 6 months old, and then when about 2 or 3 moved to Broughty Ferry, near Dundee. I remember the house we lived in in Balgilow Road. It had yellow sunflower tiles in the bathroom, and I remember having baths in there with my Dad. I also remember sharing bunk beds with Charles, I remember the wee back garden, the next door neighbours, Adam Smith, and I remember Dad had a purple moped that he would give us backers on around the garden.
We moved to Queen Street, in Broughty Ferry, I don't know how old I was. I remember the first night, sleeping in what later became the dining room. I remember the sense of newness and strangeness, though it was OK. I remember the washed out fluorescent strip light of the cooker in the same room, and dusty bare floor boards and that same bunk bed. Mum and Dad left the cooker light on all night for us.
I remember sharing the bath with Charles. I remember fighting a lot with Charles as we got older. I remember playing on the beach (the stony beach, not the sandy one), sitting in the car by the beach when it was raining. Mum and Dad would bring us a bottle of coke and packet of salt 'n shake crisps. It was a time of long bike rides, building dens and being out of the house. I don't think parents would feel safe letting their children do that now. I think we've lost some of our freedoms.
I remember trips back to Limavady and seeing Nana, her baking. Charles and me and Susan and Gillian made up plays a couple of times and did a performance for Nana and our folks. It was a detective story; I think Susan was the sleuth.
We moved to Hexham in Northumberland when I was about 10. Though not deliberate, I stopped speaking with a Scottish accent within about 6 weeks. I now have an accent that is near impossible to place, with a bit of Irish, Scottish and North East English.
At school I enjoyed science, and also creative writing. I chose two art subjects so I wouldn't have to do history. I didn't like history and now I think "What was not to like?!" I wasn't that good at art really in hindsight, though liked it.
I was heavily into Youth Theatre at school and loved acting, also meeting a good group of folks there, some of whom are still in touch. I was also in the schools first non-heavy metal band: "Lounge". I played guitar, we did gigs in the school hall. The biggest was to a packed hall of over 200 people. We did another gig in the Cornerhouse pub in Jesmond.
When I went to University, I went to London. I studied psychology and got my degree in 1994. I had no clue what psychology was about. I had no clue what university was about. I found I enjoyed it. As it was coming to the end of university I went to see a career counsellor and she got me thinking about clinical work. I began applying for assistants jobs and eventually got one after a year (during which I had a part time job in care work for people with learning disabilities and then was on the dole for a bit and pretty much being a slacker). I got my first assistant post in South Cumbria, Kendal and Barrow in Furness, working 4 days a week in Learning Disability Community Services and 1 day a week in Pain Management.
In 1996 I moved to Glasgow and worked with Older People for a year, before getting on to the Glasgow University Clinical Training course. In 2000 I graduated with my Doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology and got a job in Ayrshire NHS, 4 days a week in a Community Mental Health Team in South Ayr and 1 day week in the District General Hospital at Kilmarnock. I also married Becky Jameson, who had been with me since just after high school. Getting divorced has been the most painful thing in my life, so far.
In 2004 I got a job as a lecturer at Edinburgh University and moved to the East (which means I can never go back and live in the west, they would stone me to death). I'm still at the University three days a week and in the NHS Pain Service 2 days a week.
I met Sarah in 2003 when she was a trainee in NHS Ayrshire. We were both married /engaged to other people then and we sensed there was something there but didn't do anything about it. We met again in 2004 and faced up to the fact that we loved each other. It meant breaking up other relationships that had been valued and it meant stepping into pain and hurt. It’s been difficult, especially at first. We have been together for 5 years now and were married in 2007, in December. (Who the hell has a wedding on December 27th??!!**%$) Well, we wanted to snowboard on our honeymoon, so we thank all those who came and sorry of the inconvenience. I'm betting your memories are not of the inconvenience.
And now we have Georgia. She is perfect and she is teaching me to be unselfish, which for a selfish person is a great blessing. She and Sarah are the most important things in my life, and when I get in touch with that it makes me want to cry for love.
I remember at Nana's 80th (? the first party, not the second party) birthday party seeing her in a photograph with all of the grandchildren around her. I was about 18 or 19. I remember thinking that all of these people come from her, that without her having been in the world we would not be there.
We are all imperfectly formed human beings, feeling our way carefully along an unlit path. And we are all connected. This family gathering and this family tree is a thing of good. Thank you Charles.
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