Wednesday, 28 October 2015

LOUSY DRIVER October 28th

when I started to get around in this, other drivers gave me a sympathetic smile and a very wide birth.  They fell over themselves to help me, and seemed glad to have me among them. 
However, this didn't stop me from being a lousy driver and being frequently stopped by whining motorbikes driven by a bemused policeman.  One such stopped me in the middle of Sevenoaks, strolled over to me nonchalantly, looking like an oversized Michelin man in his leather gear.
He tapped on the window.  I opened it and said cheerily, "Hello, Officer, what have I done wrong?"   He removed his helmet and said very slowly,
"Well, Madam, I'm afraid I've head some complaints about your driving."
"That doesn't surprise me, I'm not a very good driver."
The poor man looked as if he'd been pricked by a pin; in fact I could almost hear and see the air coming out of his leathers.  Open mouthed, he appeared to shrink

    To give himself a bit of breathing space and gather up his shredded dignity and status, he put his hands behind his back and walked slowly round my vehicle.  Ending up beside me at the window once more, he said, "To be honest, Madam, you haven't got much to be a good driver in, have you."  I thought this was rather rude, having seen men twice his size pale at the thought of going anywhere near one. 

These are off the road now and not many years later the seat belt law came in just as I became pregnant, and the seat belt I had wouldn't stretch so I moved on to a 50 cc motorbike, but that's another story.


Tuesday, 27 October 2015



  I taught for three years in a huge flat roofed secondary school in Hampshire.  This was in the days when I could walk.  I have Cerebral Palsy, so my walk was very far short of "gainly" or confident.  Let's face it, it was odd. 

             One afternoon, this happened:


(True Story)


Samuel O’Flynn was a pain in the butt,
                                    When he came into class he would swagger and strut.
                                      He had laughing eyes and a right wicked grin,
                                         He was small for his age, was Samuel O’Flynn.

 Now, I am disabled, yet I could still walk,
                                                It looked pretty odd, and it made people talk.
                                                When he walked into class, I was staggered to see
                                               That Samuel was trying to walk just like me.

       I said, “Samuel, come here, look, you've got it all wrong,
The limp is too weak and it’s got to be strong.”
                                              The classroom fell silent, I dropped to the floor.
                                             “Now you push that knee in, and you twist that foot more.”

A bit of a pause, and then Samuel said, ”ow!”
                                            “That’s more like it,” I said, “go on, walk for me now”,
                                               He took a few steps, his legs twisted, and then
                                                 He suddenly stopped, ….. never did it again.



Monday, 26 October 2015


 Nothing about me has ever been straight:  Can't walk straight, see straight, cut straight, write straight or think straight.  There are days, like today when a little voice warns you to "stay where you are.  Just don't bother!" and then says, smugly, "well I did warn you," when you don't.

  I shower, I dress and end up feeling as if I've done a day's work, had my face rearranged by a first year student  cosmetic surgeon and done 10 rounds with the neighbour's Rottweiler.
                                                   Then I look around and see someone
                                                    worse off than myself.

Friday, 23 October 2015


This is a picture of part ot the grounds of THE FRIARS, a Carmelite priory in Aylesford Kent.  Ther Carmelites first settled here in 1242, but were dispersed in 1538 at the time of the reformation.  They returned to Aylesford in 1949 and have lived there ever since. In 1974 Bishop Cyril Cowderoy called it “The Jewel My Diocese.”

 Here is the gist of a letter I have written to some people telling them of the way The Friars turned my life around.

 “My name is Rosamund Browne and I have cerebral palsy.  I was born in 1946, a 24 week baby weighing 2lbs and not expected to live. I didn’t walk until I was 8 years old.  As a baby I was in hospital for 2 ½ years learning to crawl, sit up and feed myself.  I then had to go away from home again to boarding school, aged 6 where I finally learned to walk.  My childhood was full of home sickness

 For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be an actress.  My justifiably horrified parents refused to let me even try.  It was suggested that I go to teacher training college.  Getting a place was virtually impossible.  Having to admit (until relatively recently) to being a “Spastic Paraplegic,” my  application forms were dismissed out of hand, until my very feisty mother blew her top and a college gave me an interview.

 I taught for 3 years, during which time I was over worked and bullied by staff and pupils at school and eventually had a nervous breakdown.

 It was then that a Carmelite community at Aylesford Priory in Maidstone, Kent came to my rescue.

I’d heard about Carmelites, (or White friars) a strict order, who weren’t allowed to speak, Joke, laugh or drink, and prayed night and day, (I found out later this was only nuns) and I didn’t want to go there at all.  I was booked to stay for 2 weeks, and thought I would be back home the next day.

I arrived on a beautiful April evening in 1974; there was blossom everywhere, a duck pond with a weeping willow tree, (and ducks) and the first person I met was a beautifully robed friar, sitting at a desk.  In front of him was an ash tray full of cigarette ends.  He greeted me warmly with a broad smile.

 I breathed a sigh of relief and fell in love with the place.

I ended up staying there for 18 months, working my butt off in the pilgrims’ tea room.  I did a lot of laughing.  I was mercilessly and very lovingly teased, especially when I fell over, (which I often did) once into a bucket of freshly made orange squash, and once into an ice cream deep freeze , trying to reach for the only ice cream left.

I’d forgotten what love and kindness were like.  I was doing basic menial hard work, but I was so happy.

18 months later, the prior asked me what I really wanted to do.  When I said I wanted to go to Drama School, he suggested I find a post graduate course.  I went to The Guildhall School Of Music and Drama in London, and in time became an Equity member and have worked in television, radio and on stage.

 I went back to Aylesford Priory as often as I could, and when I met my husband, Allan, the prior, Father Hugh who I so dearly loved, and who had saved my sanity conducted our wedding.

We had 2 girls and they came to love Aylesford Priory as much as I did.  When my husband was ill the Carmelites stepped in again to help.

 Now I can no longer walk, my husband and Father Hugh have been dead some years; without that priory and its community I would never have achieved what I have.  (Oh, by the way, 3 months ago I became a grandmother for the first time.)

 he priory has helped hundreds like me to a greater or lesser degree.  Each one has their story to tell.  It would be awful if it were no longer there for others.

Aylesford Priory is now in financial trouble, and, I’ve heard, could have to close.  Some of the buildings are very old old and the grounds are extensive  The place needs constant care.  I cannot get there easily myself now, but the idea of England without Aylesford priory makes my heart ache.  It gave me so much.   I give what money I can and so do many others, but it isn’t enough.  I don’t know exact details but the trouble is pretty deep.”

 Can you hele?  If you come across this post, then please consider donating whatever you can afford to,uk.


The present Prior is Father Damian Cassidy O.Carm   Email:    THE FRIARS, AYLESFORD, MAIDSTONE, KENT ME20 7BX  UNITED KINGDOM

 TEL: 01622 717272     Aylesford Priory


Aylesford Priory with my Daughters Holly and Hannah  Easter 2002

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Hi,  I'm finally back after an awful lot of hassle, (which, let's face it, we can all do without) and several bald spots from tearing my hair our.  Blogger will want to know my inside leg measurement on their "GREAT NEW LOOK WEBSITE" soon, I shouldn't wonder.  It wouldn't surprise me in the least.  They seem to want everything else. 

 They're not terribly helpful when you get stuck.  The best they seem to be able to come up with is "click on HELP" which gives you volumes of small print on about WHAT A BLOG IS, or WHY YOU NEED TO BLOG, but NOT how to unstick yourself if you get stuck.
     If you happen to come accross a telephone number, don't get too excited.  A high pitched "girly" voice will refer you to the website.  Perish the thought their should be anyone you can actually talk to.  That would be far too simple.

     I going now, because if I go on with this, I will find it can't be posted because I'm wearing the wrong bra, or something. 

     Anyway toodleoo for a bit.  I'm off to Rome tomorrow.


Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Magpie 107

 He painted my portrait, did Paul,
And boy, did my pride take a fall!
I’ve either changed sex,
Or I need some new specs
‘Coz it doesn’t look like me at all.

Monday, 5 March 2012


Magpie 107

 He painted my portrait, did Paul,
And boy, did my pride take a fall!
I’ve either changed sex,
Or I need some new specs
‘Coz it doesn’t look like me at all.

(Sorry, I couldn't save the picture.)