Bitch on the Blog

June 29, 2013


“What did you want to be when you grew up?”

I don’t like that question. Before jamming the questioner’s comment box with elaborate musings I retreated – like the good dog I wish I were – to my own corner.

If I listed every single thing that took my fancy between the age of three and twenty I’d exceed my usual word count. Here is a taster: I never wanted to be a hairdresser. Mainly because I am not male. But, living with my grandparents and their younger sons drifting in and out, I’d pleat one of my uncles’ hair on his return home from what must have been a  job to knacker anyone into submission. Yes, little red ribbons. Even my grandfather didn’t bat an eyelid at his youngest son’s beauty.

Then I became a teacher. This was a few years on – after I was BLESSED with siblings. I loved teaching them all sorts of things, long before they were ready. Like reading, writing and arithmetic. My mother thought me a natural. In hindsight I think I saved her a fortune in after school tuition.

Never waste time on siblings. Stay an only. Only joking. And in very bad taste.

Then there was  a gap when I enjoyed life unencumbered by thought of the future. Until one day I came home with tears in my eyes. My father, uncharacteristically moved by my plight, asked me what was the matter. Some guys had whistled at me as I was passing. I was thirteen. Thirteen. My father laughed. And told me I’d better get used to it. You can’t beat my parents when it comes to compassion. My mother at the same time telling me (she was only concerned about my spine): “Chest out, back straight.” Thus I vowed to become a nun.

At eighteen I was spoilt for choice. Rather than being a ravishing nun tending to the cloister’s kitchen garden in silence I changed sides. Like Churchill crossing the corridor. Priest. Vicar. Whatever. Study theology. Be paid to talk and be listened to, even gawped at. Handicap being that whilst I adore Jesus, the man, I am not the corporate type. Next logical step: Politician. Is there more beauty to be found than in the starry, wide and dark brown eyed youngster who thinks she can change the world for the better and evade being corrupted? There isn’t.

And then … I had to earn money. Quickly. And I did. Lots of it. Indiscriminately.

And never shall you make more impact on the ground below than falling from a great height.




  1. Holy Cow! I tip my topi to you Ursula. You have got the LBC running for cover. And no doubt about that, the higher you climb the faster the fall. Ask the guy who has fallen most.

    Comment by Rummuser — June 29, 2013 @ 10:36 | Reply

    • I do not wish to steal the LBC’s thunder, Ramana.. However, some of the subjects thrown up by your group do exercise me more than I can leave in your respective comment boxes. And that’s good. I like it when I am being made to dip below the obvious.

      Who is “the guy who has fallen most”?. I’ll ask him. And might learn something.


      Comment by bitchontheblog — June 29, 2013 @ 22:37 | Reply

  2. My only serious career aspiration when I was a kid was train driver because there was a railway line at the bottom of our garden and I loved watching the trains go by. Eventually I settled for journalist because of my aptitude for the English language, but I only lasted six years before I became terminally disillusioned with journalistic ethics – or the lack of them. I think I was so wrapped up in my childhood obsessions I didn’t give much thought to what I would be doing once childhood was over.

    Comment by Nick — June 29, 2013 @ 15:10 | Reply

    • Train driver is good. If lonely. Railway line at the bottom of your garden? Remember that film, with Jean Seymour?

      To become a journalist I do not believe first requirement to be having a grasp on language. Thick skin more like it. Incredible observational skills. Knowing when to interject, when to keep shtumm. Fascinating profession.


      Comment by bitchontheblog — June 29, 2013 @ 22:32 | Reply

  3. A vet. That was after i discovered the bank probably wouldn’t lend me enough money to buy an oil well. Then James herriot with his hand up a cow’s bottom put me off that. An engineer until my careers teacher told me I wasn’t engineer material.
    I’m reading a book about nuns at the moment and am very tempted but fear Husband would not approve.

    Comment by liz — June 29, 2013 @ 16:18 | Reply

    • Liz, you do know, don’t you, and I am not surprised, that vets rank high among suicides. Journalists coming a close second.

      One thing that can be said for taking up engineering that it keeps you on the straight and narrow. An engineer’s mind set unrivaled keeping darkness out and letting light in.

      Husbands, like yours, do come in useful to keep one out of the nunnery. Even if they do not supply you with a walled kitchen garden.


      Comment by bitchontheblog — June 29, 2013 @ 22:25 | Reply

  4. I wish my mother had said “chest out, back straight”. But i do it now. Like my grandson said when little “It’s never too late.” That applies to anything.

    Comment by bikehikebabe66 — June 29, 2013 @ 17:28 | Reply

    • I think it’s too late for me, Bike Hike Babe. My mother who, by dint of necessity, is a little older than me still swears by all she ever told me – like: “Don’t read after dark with a torch under your duvet.” I never retorted that she could have just left the main light on. Neither is she delighted at my diminishing eyesight or would stoop so low as to say: “Told you so.”

      Yes, posture. Needs to be maintained no more than now. The Angel who watches me like a hawk, following into footstep of his maternal grandmother, keeps me on my toes. Crack a rip, trip up over some boxes in the hallway – you name it: I am still supposed to come out perfectly aligned. Which is why I sometimes just collapse as soon as he leaves our abode.


      Comment by bitchontheblog — June 29, 2013 @ 22:16 | Reply

  5. At ten years old I wanted to be a green grocer
    Go figure

    Comment by finlaygrayJohn — June 29, 2013 @ 21:46 | Reply

    • Dear John, at least you have come close. You are green and grow things. I on the other hand – as you know – would have made a perfect farmer’s wife and see where that’s got me: South of Wales, no garden in sight. Only basil in a pot. And rosemary happy to languish in the fridge forever.


      Comment by bitchontheblog — June 29, 2013 @ 22:05 | Reply

  6. I wanted to be: an engineer – but that was squashed as any kind of education, apart from what was quaintly called domestic science, was “wasted on a girl.”. Then I got a scholarship to an art school in London but that was squashed too as a good cacklick Irish girl would be prey for marauding English teddy boys because, you know, gullible.
    I settled on accounting to keep my brain busy whilst writing furiously in endless journals and waiting for da man to rescue me from spinsterhood and take me away from the largest open-air lunatic asylum in the world. And he did. And I am finally alone by the sea. And (mostly) endlessly happy.

    Comment by wisewebwoman — June 30, 2013 @ 15:55 | Reply

  7. In order of age: nun, nurse, stunningly dramatic actress, rock star, Solid Gold Dancer, brilliant but misunderstood poet. Then anything that would make me some money. Well, not anything… 😉

    Comment by Lorna's Voice — July 1, 2013 @ 21:13 | Reply

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