Books, Life, Self-publishing

Round-up of the week 2nd June 2019

This week my world news is close to home, this is a friend of mine who has set up a Go Fund me. If you can help, even the smallest amount will help.


The unexpected passing of Pam last November was the final blow at the end of challenging journey. She was in the process of subdividing their family land so that her MS afflicted son, and husband with a debilitating heart condition, both being unable to work, would be taken care of.

She was unable to complete that process when her own unexpected health issues took her from us.

We’ve been trying to complete the process for her, but we’re out of time. Selling raw land is not a task that moves quickly.

With inadequate financial means for housing and care, insufficient insurance, and mortgage debt, my family is at risk of losing their home.

This fundraising campaign will serve to buy the family the time they need to complete the subdivision and sale.


In 1998, my family, Pam, John, Joy, and Lee set out on a new adventure to establish a horsemanship facility that would go on to focus on beginners and connecting kids with horses. “Making Dreams Come True” has been the tagline of the Ranch, which it has lived up to repeatedly.

It became a full-time project for Lee that he sank his heart and soul into.

Joy, our grandmother, was retired with health issues and contributed to the journey by helping to take care of her great-grandchildren every chance she got, up until she passed away in 2008.

Our parents, Pam and John, put in many hours of hard work on the ranch to help bring this family dream to life, while continuing to work full-time off the ranch in order to support it financially.

It was never intended to be, and never became, a high-end facility. It was full of love, passion and a sense of community, with the successful intention of enriching lives. With Pam and John supplementing the cost of running the facility, prices were kept low to ensure a maximum reach of lives that could be touched.

Throughout the prime years of this endeavour, my family assisted many others in more need than them, by providing subsidized opportunities (often at 100%) for the boarding care of their horses and the experience of connecting their kids with horses through lessons and/or camps.

In 2015 my brother, Lee, was diagnosed with Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis. He was 44 at the time.

Over the last four years we have done our best to help him to adjust from the physically active life of a hands-on cowboy, to one confined to a wheelchair 24/7.

Soon after Lee was diagnosed with MS, his son, Justin, took over what he could of Lee’s duties in the areas of horse management, lessons, and summer camps, while continuing to work full-time off-site.

With Lee no longer able to run the ranch activities on a full-time basis, the revenue was reduced which created an increased financial strain on Pam and John to make ends meet. But they pushed through without a second thought.

In September 2017, John went through a by-pass surgery for his heart. He has not been able to work since and he still struggles with the challenge of declining heart functionality. It was at this time that Pam began the long process of getting subdivision approval on their land.

In November 2018, Pam passed away unexpectedly.

Myself and Justin are doing everything we can to help keep Lee and John in their homes, but it still isn’t enough.

Over the course of four years, my family has lost the earning ability of 3 family members. Not to mention coping with the emotional devastation of losing Pam, while still dealing with the major health issues of Lee and John.

There was no life insurance on the mortgage, leaving my family, with now very limited financial resources, with a heavy financial burden and the risk of losing their home.

Selling the entire property would be a last resort, as the equity from the sale would not provide for replacement accommodation for Lee and John. It might prevent a foreclosure, clear the debt, and provide for a couple of years of living expenses at best – if a property of this magnitude could even be sold in time. The higher likelihood is that the property would go into foreclosure before that could be achieved, leaving them without a home and no means of earning sufficient income to support a rental property.

Subdividing part of the land (which we have approval for), is the best option and we do have 79 acres of very good raw land available for sale for $699,000CAD. But raw land is not typically something that moves quickly, so time is needed, potentially a few years. There currently isn’t sufficient funds to cover the expenses and shortfall for more than a couple of months.

While in this state of limbo – worrying about what the months to come will hold for them – the health of both Lee and John are suffering even more with the added burden of stress and uncertainty.

It’s a horrible feeling to watch your family suffer and feel helpless to make things right for them.

After much encouragement from others, I decided to launch this fundraising campaign in an effort to do just that – make things right.

For a family who has spent their entire lives giving – reaching out for help doesn’t come easily or lightly.

Your donation support, of any amount, will go towards relieving the financial burden on a family who has given so much to others over the years. While also ensuring that Lee and John are able to stay in place, which will avoid the excessively stressful and costly situation of trying to relocate them, while coping with major health issues, and no guarantee that suitable accommodation could be found.

How will the family use the funds that are donated?


$12,000 will cover outstanding debt to prevent more immediate legal action against their home.

$30,000 will buy the family an extra six months to complete the subdivision and sale of their land.

$25,000 will cover renovation expenses on Lee’s home to accommodate his continually changing needs that comes with advance stages of multiple sclerosis.

Each additional $30,000 that can be raised will add another six months of security and time for the family.


$700,000  (hopefully through the sale of the land) will cover the above expenses and clear the mortgage (which will eliminate the monthly shortfall) and ensure that Lee and John are able to permanently stay in place without risk of further financial stress on top of their health issues.

This story will come as a surprise to many. It’s amazing what a bit of faith and a smile can hide.


Laurie McAllister
A blogger has told how giving up alcohol for good has helped her to buy her own three-bedroom house.
Laurie McAllister, 28, said one month she spent £1,000 just on going out, and that her lifestyle in London left her “struggling with anxiety”.
In 2016, while in bed with a hangover, she decided she was “done” and started saving to buy a new home in Norfolk.
“There is no way if I hadn’t stopped drinking that I would have this house,” she said.
While living in London, Ms McAllister said she would splurge on going out to meet friends and getting taxis home. She would also spend lots on food as she was too tired to take lunch into work the following day.
‘I’m done here’
“I wasn’t very happy – I was drinking a lot, going out a lot and not having the best time,” said Ms McAllister.
“I hated how I felt the next day.
“I hated the times I drank a lot and couldn’t remember anything.
“Nights that started well, all dressed up and surrounded by my best friends would end in an argument, regrettable texts or a blackout not remembering how I got home.”

Laurie McAllister celebrated her birthday in her new home in Wymondham which she moved in to in March
She said although friends would have said she did not have a problem, her alcohol intake was “bad enough for me to change”.
“I was struggling with anxiety and drinking was exacerbating that,” she said.
“The final time I drank wasn’t a big night out, but I woke up feeling like rubbish and thought, ‘I’m done here’.”

ImLaurie McAllister five days after going teetotal in December 2016
That day, she launched her blog Girl and Tonic, and wrote about the challenge of remembering she did not need to drink to have fun.
Stopping drinking gave her “clarity”, and she soon also noticed a financial benefit.
It’s hard being young and sober
Binge Drinking: Face the Consequences
Does Dry January lead to binge-drinking February?
“I saw quite quickly that I was saving money,” she said.
“I opened an ISA and put in what I had left over every month, then when I realised I was near [being able to get a deposit] I put in a bit extra.”
She said she could have stayed sober in London, but liked the slower pace of life and the countryside where she grew up in Norfolk.

Ms McAllister said her blog keeps her “accountable and sober”
After initially moving back, she lived with her parents for six months before renting a house with her brother.
She continued working full-time for a digital marketing agency, but also started teaching yoga.
Her family had been really understanding, she said.
“They support my decision to be the happiest person I can be. It’s been lovely to have their support and live closer to them.”
‘Quieter life’
Ms McAllister later moved back to her home county of Norfolk, and saved £10,000 in the first 18 months.
She bought her home in Wymondham, near Norwich, two months ago.
Ms McAllister said although she did not have particularly strong willpower, she helped maintain her resolve by taking up new habits such as reading and getting a dog.
“I do have a quieter life, but I’ve got a job I like, I love teaching yoga and I walk my dogs every day.
“I’m in a good financial situation and no longer paying rent.”

Ms McAllister shares her new home with a lodger and two miniature dachshunds including Margot (pictured)
She said it had also been crucial to tell friends ahead of social events that she would not drink.
“The narrative for me was, ‘You’re a weirdo if you don’t drink’ – it wasn’t friends saying that but more of a culture.
“I don’t really regret anything, but I do look back and think how many nights would have been exactly as fun if I hadn’t been drinking.
“I think if people choose to stop, they will also save money.
“I spent it on a house, but I have sober friends who have spent it on travelling.
“For me it’s all about choice – you can still be a happy normal person without the booze.”

My World:
This week I finally finished decorating my spare room, next week the carpet is being fitted and I’ll post a picture. Can’t wait to get everything back in and out of my room.
Not much other than work this week.

My Word:
Finished the final edit on book three in The Children from the Streets series. Just need to do a read through and then make it go live. Yay!

Have a good week.


Liam Jordan The nicest man I know… and the fattest

Liam looking pensive or maybe slightly worried I might chuck up all over him!

This week I’ve decided not to do a round-up of the week, instead I’m dedicating this blog post as a tribute to a man who I loved, as a friend, who lost his battle with depression on Wednesday 27th March taking his own life.

I met Liam about eighteen years ago when he started working for Westbrook respite unit in Heston, west London as a carer for young people with disabilities/special needs. My son Mark has special needs and received respite care at Westbrook. With a sense of humour like Mark’s he was bound to hit it off with Liam straight away, and yes you can say he got that humour from me, his mum, so stands to reason that Liam and I would also click.

The first time I met Liam he said to me “I heard you had diarrhoea.” Information gained from my delightful son, he knew the intimate details of my bowel movements, there was no secrets too big to hide now.

Liam as it turned out was a fantastic carer and Mark bonded with him straight away, but Mark wasn’t easy. Mark is a charming young man with Epilepsy, brain damage, ADHD, ODD and behaviours on the Autistic spectrum but to put it into a neater package with a bow we’ll summarise it as he has huge anxieties and obsessions. In those days it wasn’t understood what was causing his anxieties and how to deal with it so it led to a lot of confusion and inevitably violent behaviour as Mark struggled to make himself understood.

At that time Mark required 2:1 support and Liam became his key worker and Lee Allen joined Liam as his co-key worker which made up a part of his core team. They named themselves the “Mark Squad.” My son certainly gave them shit, but he also graced them with his sense of humour.

Top Photo: Mark on the sofa & Lee Allen with the game controller
Bottom Photo: Liam Jordan & Mark

Liam never gave up on my son but not only did he support him, but he supported me too, in my darkest hours he would pull me back from the brink using empathy and humour. And boy did he have a sense of humour. He even started flirting with one of the social workers in an attempt to get her on board and try to get her to cut me some slack. Without making this all about our trials, social services and I disagreed about the right path for my son. Being the stubborn bitch I was I didn’t give up and I was right. Liam helped me, sometimes with a subtle hint as to what I should be looking at in my battle – I can say that now.

We used to joke that Liam could be Mark’s dad (I’m a single mum) if we’d actually had sex, because they were both large, slobbishly dressed (at times), with beer bellies and builder’s bums. I would have been honoured if my son had had a man with Liam’s kindness and integrity as his father.

Mark had a whole load of sayings and would often twist the lyrics (innocently I might add) in order to add the name of someone he liked into it. These were labelled as “Markisms”, Liam and Lee ended up writing down the list of Markisms after they stopped working with him which Liam sent to me years later.

I’d like to share some of the funny things and experiences we had with this amazing man who will forever have a place in my heart:

Some of the Markisms:

Example: “Where you from, you sexy Liam.” taken from Hot Chocolate’s “You sexy thing.”

But the best one, in my opinion, was as Liam told me with a mortified look, when they were walking through a busy Hounslow high street and Mark starts singing out, at the top of his voice “I’m forever blowing Liam’s.” At which point Liam informs me he denied all knowledge of being Liam.

I think Liam’s favourite, though, was when Mark said to him “Liam you’re the nicest man I know… and the fattest.” Liam had been quite choked up by the first part of the statement but my son’s rapier sharp wit amused him no end.

On one occasion Liam and Lee were having to restrain Mark to stop him from smashing everything in sight, windows were his main target and his best ever total was twenty-five smashed in one day.
Anyway this particular day, they were having to restrain him, (take a look at them in the picture) they were on the floor holding onto his arms, I was bent over holding his legs down. Somehow Mark managed to rip loose of both men (look again at the size of them) launched himself forward, grabbed a handful of what Liam had called my ‘Laurence Llewelyn Bowen’ shirt and ripped it open, buttons disappearing in all directions. I was on all fours, facing them all, shirt open with only a bra underneath. I had to make a snap decision, cover my modesty but let Liam and Lee take the brunt of Mark’s flailing legs or wait till someone else took over…I waited with a command for them to look away.
It might not have been fun at the time but it certainly was something we laughed about afterwards.
I have loads of these little stories, Mark provided us with ample opportunity to make memories!

Mark lost his place at Westbrook after smashing twenty-five windows in one rage filled episode, neither Liam nor Lee were with him at the time. Renu, a colleague at Westbrook who also worked closely with Mark through the years told me on Friday night, that the first time she’d ever seen Liam cry was when this incident happened and they were having a drink down the pub discussing it. It wasn’t just a job to Liam, he truly cared.

Liam stayed in contact with Mark and I, even when as an adult, Mark moved to Lincolnshire, he still met up with us on one of Mark’s visits and they would play scrabble, back in the day on Facebook, as would Liam and I. We chatted regularly on Facebook, I took a trip down memory lane earlier and decided to share a few snippets.

Liam to me.
Liam challenging me to a game of Scrabble and my much nicer reply.
Liam’s alternative humour.
Birthday wishes from Liam to me. Liam was three weeks older than me and for many years I would taunt him with the fact that on the 30th October he turned a year older than me, three weeks later he would laugh that I had joined him.

I started redecorating my room but struggled as a lump I had under my arm, the size of a third boob had grown and I needed an operation to remove it. Liam offered to help. He came over and painted the skirting boards and together we put up two sheets of wallpaper. I finished the rest myself.
I did go over, but he never did cook for me as we ended up popping over to the boat pub on the river for one, which turned into 8 glasses of brandy and 16 shots for me as well as the G&T before leaving. He drank the same quantity of whatever it was that he was drinking. The barmen kept putting free shots down in front of us (16).
I was slaughtered, on an empty stomach. Spent most of the night hugging the great white elephant.
Liam came into the bathroom in the night to wake me up as I’d fallen asleep in there. In the morning I found water and painkillers on the bedside table.
It was a bloody good night. The photo at the top was the next morning on the cable car and I still managed the panto the next day.

Liam was a lovely, caring man with a quirky sense of humour, he was by no means perfect… none of us are, and despite helping so many people he was battling his own demons and lived in a dark world that ended up enveloping him so that he saw no way out. I wish it had been different, I wish he could have found peace.

Liam and I had very different tastes in music and it was often something we bantered about. So I would like to dedicate a song to you Liam, it’s not Bon Jovi but neither is it Beth Orton.

U2 – Song For Someone

You got a face not spoiled by beauty
I have some scars from where I’ve been
You’ve got eyes that can see right through me
You’re not afraid of anything they’ve seen
I was told that I would feel nothing the first time
I don’t know how these cuts heal
But in you I found a rhyme

If there is a light you can’t always see
And there is a world we can’t always be
If there is a dark that we shouldn’t doubt
And there is a light, don’t let it go out
And this is a song, song for someone
This is a song, song for someone

You let me in to a conversation
A conversation only we could make
You break and enter my imagination
Whatever’s in there it’s yours to take
I was told I’d feel nothing the first time
You were slow to heal but this could be the night

If there is a light you can’t always see
And there is a world we can’t always be
If there is a dark within and without
And there is a light, don’t let it go out
And this is a song, song for someone
This is a song, a song for someone

And I’m a long long way from your Hill of Calvary
And I’m a long way from where I was and where I need to be
If there is a light you can’t always see
And there is a world we can’t always be
If there is a kiss I stole from your mouth
And there is a light, don’t let it go out

Liam, your light hasn’t gone out as it shines on in this world through the lives of the people you’ve touched.

Rest in Peace, my friend.

Liam Jordan
30.10.1973 – 27.03.2019