Saturday, 26 October 2013

Changing Mum and Dad's house into my house

Readers might like to remind themselves of my “back story” before reading this entry. My Mum and Dad were killed in a car accident in 2010. Their house became my house – although it took 2.5 years for this to happen. There was 6 months while the house was empty (although I used to visit to “hide” and cry when the stress got too bad). Then there was the year I lived there on my own while I was studying at school. Then for another year the house had tenants living it while I was in my first year at university before I finally moved back in and called the builders into action!

Early September 2012 was always going to be a rather busy time. During the summer term I had decided that I was going to live at home for the second year of my university course. Three close friends (one of whom was a very close friend if you get what I mean!) were going to live with me so most of what was happening was to do with getting things ready for them.

At the start of the month the estate agent who had been dealing with the tenants who have been living in my house backed down over some extra fee he claimed he was entitled to. The tenants were supposed to get their security deposit back but the agent said it was up to me to pay it - which of course was rubbish because all the tenant's rent and deposits was paid directly to the agent and not to me.

The tenants had to have left by Friday 31st August. They had looked after the house and garden very well and had always paid on time so they had been ideal tenants. I think they were a bit confused when I arrived at the house after lunch.  The lady though I was going to be renting the house so she was shocked when I said it was my home. I didn't bother to explain about Mum and Dad dying, it wasn't her business and it still made me feel sad to talk about it.

Only one thing rather annoyed me about the house move. My Mum and Dad's room wasn't being rented out because I was using it for storage. The tenants didn't need all 4 bedrooms anyway. The bedroom door was locked and it was agreed that nobody should go in the room - not the tenants, not the estate agent, nobody. Well somebody had been in. Things had been moved, folders of private documents had been opened and read and although I didn’t think anything was missing I was not happy.

It was strange waking around the empty house again and I found being alone there quite poignant. It didn’t take much to "make believe" that Mum and Dad were just away and would be coming back soon. Silly I know.

During the week that started on Monday September 10th I had various painters, plumbers and electricians coming and going all the time and as I didn't like to leave them in the house on their own I was pretty much been chained to the house myself. Food shopping was tricky so in the end I did an order over the Internet and had it delivered. That worked nicely and it became part of our weekly routine when all four of us were living there.

Getting the right mix of workmen in the house at the right time seemed hard for the boss to manage and there was some waiting around most days. But as I was paying for the jobs and not the time it didn't cost me anything extra.

Mum and Dad's old room ended up looking really nice. It was very different from before and felt like "my room" and I think it was the right decision to make a total change there. It would have been too full of memories to have it as my room but with their furniture.

The lounge and dining room walls were painted and a second sofa ordered so there are enough comfy seats in the lounge for the four of us. The kitchen and what had been Mum and Dad's study don't need anything doing but I found going into the study quite emotional because Mum and Dad spent such a lot of time there and it felt like they should still be there sitting at their respective desks <sad face>.

There was internet access in every bedroom plus downstairs (this is why I needed the electricians) and various taps, including the one in the garden, were replaced (this is why I needed the plumber). A few small bits of furniture were delivered but one had to be returned to the shop because it was damaged in the delivery van.

I felt quite proud of myself for sorting out all the work that had needed to be done all on my own.

Friday, 18 October 2013

My Mum and Dad's grave

In July 2012 – so two and half years after my Mum and Dad were killed – there was a horrible dispute between my Mum’s parents and the rest of the family about their gravestone.

I had returned from a holiday in Scotland with friends from university to find two letters waiting for me from Granddad. The first letter was a long moan about Mum and Dad's funeral complaining about how family and friends had spent more time supporting me than them and that how me standing out in front of the mourners talking about my Mum and Dad was "just showing off"!

The second letter said that they wanted to have the gravestone with Mum and Dad's details removed from the cemetery and swapped for one that didn't mention Dad at all.  Nan and Granddad wanted a new stone with no mention on the stone that Mum was married with children or that she had a sister. All it was going to say was "daughter of X and Y" with the date she was killed. It was like Dad and the rest of us don't exist, or matter. They said that as they owned the plot they could do what they like and that they were doing it because the family had been "so disrespectful towards them".

I was absolutely frantic at this news. I spoke to my Dad’s parents in Florida who were equally shocked. I then spoke to the Head of the Cemetery department. Adding names to a grave is easy and isn't a problem but taking a name off a stone when they are ** known to be buried there** made them very uneasy indeed. They told me that If Granddad went ahead I could, as Mum and Dad's next of kin, apply to have their bodies exhumed (a word I had not heard until then) and to have them buried together again in another plot with a stone of my choosing. I would be under "no legal or moral obligation" to tell Nan or Granddad where the new grave was either.

In August my Dad's parents, my Dad's brother, my Mum's sister and I hired a solicitor to represent all of us against Granddad. The rest of them wouldn't accept any money from me from this which was very kind of them. Our joint case was helped by me finding a letter that Granddad had sent me in 2011 in which he said that although he paid for the grave plot he would let me choose the wording on the stone. Our solicitor was confident that this means that Granddad didn’t have the legal right to remove my stone and put another one there with his own choice of words.

Our solicitor phoned Granddad who agreed that my Mum would certainly have wanted Dad's name on the grave and he wasn't able to explain to our solicitor what removing Dad's name would do except upset lots of people. Granddad then offered to sell me the plot where Mum and Dad were buried at a 400% profit but a few weeks later he sold it to me for exactly what he paid in the first place plus a small transfer fee to the Council.

So then I owned the stone and the plot and all talk about removing Dad's name from the stone ended.  All the sensible members of the family were pleased that the nastiness was over, me most of all because it had been worrying and upsetting me so much.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Sally the Life Model - part 2

I'm just starting to understand when they talk about a pose being "on the limit". It is quite hard to predict when a pose will suddenly goes from being really exciting to do to being really stressful - or the other way round. Every model has their own limit and all sorts of things are supposed to make a difference. It is a bit scary for me finding out where my limits are!

What follows is a typical week during the summer break from studying at university.

The Monday course was at a Girls' High School. I was made to feel welcome and appreciated and there was female member of staff available to help and support me all day. That is really important because the modelling is emotionally quite draining and physically quite hard work. The model, well a new model like me anyway, needs somebody to do all sorts of little jobs like keeping an eye on the time allocated for each pose and to be there, robe at the ready, when the pose is over. At the High School the Head of Department (female) did the teaching and supervision of the year 12 students and her #2 looked after me. There were only 6 pupils (all girls) but as you might expect they were well behaved, well-motivated, well-mannered but perhaps not quite as talented/experienced as the adults from the last course I did.

I've put together a list of different poses around the theme of the female athlete and I've tried to put them into some kind of logical order. Each one has a suggested time listed beside the description so that when I met with the course organiser it is easy for the two of us to agree what I was going to do. I will have to change a few of the timings now I've done the course because odd bits were a bit rushed for the artists and others too long for me to manage.

One of the most interesting parts of the course was at the end when there was a short Q/A session. It is so sad that many of the girls had never really seen parts of their own bodies. I thought, but didn't say, that it isn't good when your boy-friend knows more about your body than you do. I'm really proud of my mum and dad and grateful for what they did for me on having a positive body image. 

I enjoyed the course a lot and would certainly go back there if invited. The staff gave me the highest possible feedback grades which was kind of them and which will go down well at the university.  


The Tuesday course was at a posh boarding school.  There were 7 pupils (all boys) and they were also well behaved, well-motivated and well-mannered. So it was a shame that the staff were not very nice. They treated me more like hired help rather than an invited guest and they made rather a drama of finding me a female chaperone. It clearly hadn't crossed the Head of Department's mind that a bare Sally posing for 7 male pupils and a male Head of Department would need a chaperone. Funny bloke! It took 20 minutes to find one so the course started late and the time lost was taken out of my lunch break. Not that they offered me so much a drop of fluid or bite of food the entire time I was there. Luckily I had brought my own supplies of both.

It was the Head Teacher's PA who was assigned to "help" me - she looked very fierce but she was excellent. There are only 4 ladies on the staff, excluding "domestics" as she called them, and she promised to keep a very close eye on what was going on. This is exactly what the model needs to happen.

The pupils were already in the room when I stepped up onto a raised platform with just a gown on ready to start. Pose 1 is a standing, full frontal pose lasting 10 minutes. It was so funny!!  I handed the robe to my helper and 7 pairs of male eyes, after a brief look at my breasts, went down to my lady bits and pretty much stopped there. One lad didn't seem to start drawing for at least 2 minutes. It is surprisingly ego-boosting to be the centre of attention like this but it doesn't reflect terribly well on the staff or pupils that had hadn't been reminded not to stare quite so openly.

You are going to sigh now.

I decided that it would be sensible to get all their embarrassment out of the way so I changed the order of my poses and I did the 3 minute groin stretch pose straight away. The rest of the session went really well after that so it was the right decision. My heart was thumping away while I was doing it through - keep looking enigmatic Sally!! 

The last bit of the course was rather strange. The last pose on the agreed list was a 10 minute reclining position (on my side facing the artists). It finished, the pupils thanked me very nicely and left the room followed by the Head of Department who I never saw again! He didn't thank me, didn't wait for me to get changed and then show me to the front door - he just vanished?

The PA filled in the appraisal form and gave me all top grades plus a very surprising big hug and "I think you are so brave". 

I enjoyed this course than Monday's. Posing to just ladies feels a little boring after posing to men. I must be very brazen!


I had a chance to look at some of the pictures created on the two days. There is a standing 3/4 back view of me that I really love. It shows my long legs off and the artist was generous with how much breast she gave me as well. It is a bit sad that I will never be able to buy it. It is the sort of picture I could show anybody without being (too) shy about having posed for it. Stewart would have liked a picture of me reclining on a couch. It is a bit more revealing than I remember it being but the artist has captured my face and body shape really well. The sketch of me in the groin stretch pose isn't one for general viewing although it is very accurate if you know what I mean!.  

Monday, 7 October 2013

Starting at university

The few days I had to stay with Nan and Granddad before I went off to the local university were rather tense! Nan and I did our best to get along – Granddad didn’t and he pretty much ignored me throughout. I was due to arrive at the university after lunch so I had my car packed by mid-morning. Just as I was finishing Nan announced she and Granddad were off out to do their usual social activities so I ended up cooking my own lunch before starting the next phase of my life without anybody even to wave me off. This little piece of nastiness rather caught me by surprise.

I managed to park my car close to my allocated room in the hall of residence. All around me were hoards of new students with their parents in tow. But I was determined not to get upset so I unloaded the car by myself: making a total of about 6 journeys backwards and forwards before everything was safely in my room. I kept wondering if people noticed I was doing everything on my own but of course they didn't.

Gradually the parents started to disappear and my feelings of being different from everybody else started to fade. I was “Sally the new student” rather than “Sally the orphan” and I was pleased to have moved on. Doing the social and academic activities without any back story was an important step for me but it still felt strange when the other students talked about phoning home or getting money from their parents. I just looked interested but keep my dark secret to myself. I knew that eventually somebody was bound to ask a difficult question and that I would just have to improvise an answer. I think the girl living opposite me was in a similar situation. She never mentioned any family and seemed a bit more weary/sad/cautious than the rest but she only lasted a few days before she left, never to be seen again, so I will never know if my suspicions were correct.

It wasn’t long before I realised I was making a problem for myself. I found it difficult to know what, when and how to tell my new friends about my situation. I didn’t want them to feel uncomfortable about talking about their parents, which some of them seemed to do rather a lot, but I felt a bit of a fraud saying nothing when the others talked about their families or going home for the weekend. I seemed to have been told quite a lot about them and they must have wondered why I never talked about my own Mum and Dad.

In the end I told my next door neighbour and the person three doors down who was on my course. I didn't make a great emotional scene out of it. I just told them in the canteen that my Mum and Dad died when I was in the sixth form and I that I don't find it easy to talk about them. I told them that I don't want them to treat me any differently and of course that they shouldn’t feel awkward about talking about their own parents in front of me.

The second weekend was a bit of a crisis point for me. Most of my new university friends seemed to have gone home for the weekend which was nice for them but which made me feel rather left out. Curiously my sadness at Mum and Dad’s death seemed to fade a bit each day but the feeling of being different seemed unchanging. At 9PM I got so bored sitting on my own that I went outside to look to see how many lights were on in the student rooms. Not many but I went back in and knocked on the doors that matched the lights and I managed to get 3 other people to go with me to a local pub for a drink and a chat. It did me good and I hope it did them good as well!