Di the Book

Part 1

Di the Book

Introduction

Well I have always been told I should write a book about my life, or more accurately, "Gosh, you should write a book!" in a sarcastic tone. This sarcastic tone often comes after I have spilled great amounts of personal shit all over the floor in front of them or bared my soul like some sort of over emotional flasher—a weird oxymoron to behold I am sure. I tend to have to explain the whole story, I feel I have to start from the beginning or give the full story because otherwise I come off as even more of a psycho than I already do. I am sure this pattern is portrayed in the below sufficiently.

But why so interesting you might think? I'm just a mother of two girls, civil servant, living in Swindon with my long term boyfriend Jake and Humphry, Rosie (the cats), Dave and Frank (the dogs). Plus I only drive a VW Touran, which is also as vanilla as it gets.

As the famous quote states "It's not about the destination, it's the journey that matters!"

In these chapters I intend to do exactly that—tell my story as I remember it, no holes barred, nothing not covered. If it turns into a whole book then so be it, I am 29, almost the dreaded 30, so I'm not Wayne Roonie-ing an autobiography at 18 for excessive funds; I have genuinely lived a little as you will hopefully see. A lot of it "a life less ordinary," I watch a lot of movies, so the references will come thick and fast. I don’t know maybe everyone has a bonkers life and are too reserved to tell me about it, but I feel as if my experiences cannot be "normal."

Early Years

I suppose I should start from the beginning as my part-time obsessive compulsion dictates. I was born on the 12th October, 1985 in Mount Pleasant Hospital, Swansea, Wales—from what I understand the hospital was demolished a few years later. This was on the same birth date as three of my fellow students when I got to comprehensive school, which is an odd coincidence as there were only 300 pupils in my year. Surely there is a day of the year for each pupil and a good few months left over. My partner Jake says it's some weird statistical anomaly that happens when you get more that 77 people together. I think there must have been something very sexy going on 9 months beforehand, although I've never worked out what... What exactly was going on around the 5th January, 1985, as I was delivered 2 weeks after my mums due date and pregnancies are around 266 days in length from conception to birth. 5th January was a Saturday, but for years my dad has worked on Saturday mornings and then gotten horrifically drunk all evening... Or maybe it was the fact it was quite early that year i.e. New Year's Eve... because I am pretty sure my parents didn’t enjoy the BBC's news coverage of "Israel ends major Ethiopian rescue mission" that much! Band Aids' "Do They Know It's Christmas" was still number one, not an erotic song at all. Anyway before I get a mental image of my silverback baldy-dome dad and my mad mum doing it...

My parents are Helen and Kelvin; my mother wanted to call me Petunia—thank god my dad was on hand to guide her in a more pleasing direction. Petunia is naturally shortened to "Pet" which is almost as bad as "all right love" and I was teased enough at school without Petunia. Although "Diane the man" had a certain ring to it around the playground. It was vaguely accurate too, as I was taller than a lot of the boys between primary school and the 2nd year of comprehensive, and I was amazingly flat chested and skinny. I really like being called Diane, as its quite original and I don’t meet too many other ones. One downside is I get called Diana and asked if I was named after the Princess of Wales—NO! NO! NO! and then a vigorous throttling should be my answer, but I normally just stick to a plain old No.

So there I was, Diane, in all my glory. My mother would argue I was a genius from day one as I could walk, talk and was potty trained by 9 months. I prescribe to the theory that my mums memory is not to be relied upon; especially after almost 30 years of fermenting in Hock and other box wines. My mother was a barmaid and my father is still to this day a lorry driver, mum being so thrifty/tight they had bought a house before I was born. When I was about one my parents moved to Cwmrhydyceirw—yes it is a really place, google it! This is the house I lived in for the majority of my life, and my mother and her current husband still live there, but I will write more on that later. I have to say the majority of my memories of the house are positive, although one of the worst parts of my life happened there too.

One of my first memories is me being in the baby walker and getting jammed in the corner between the radiator pipe and the wall. I know many would find this hard to believe, but it is an image that I've had for decades; I can't shake the feeling that it is a genuine one. This is despite the fact my mind is notorious for muddling, forgetting things or fabricating things out of thin air sometimes. Also I would have been quite young, and many studies would argue we don’t recall anything before 18 months old; being in a walker, I was probably 9 months old maximum!

G

When I was two my brother came along, and you'd think I would have been pleased, but up until this point I had my mothers undivided love and attention. So naturally in protest, I stopped talking for six months. I don't really know how I could have been so selfish as my brother was born yellow—literally the colour yellow as he had jaundice. I really could have taken some pity on him and been nice to the poor mite. The jaundice problem resolved itself within a few days, but I still try to convince him he is an alien or was adopted despite him being now being 27 years old. G being so gullible and trusting—I think he believes my stories to an extent; especially as he is still going through "the rest of the world doesn’t understand me" teenage stage which has been going on since 2001. He will probably suffer with this debilitating condition for the rest of his life, and it is all just reconfirmed through his relationship with my mother. I don’t think my throwing a fistful of sand in his eyes one day at the beach when we were toddlers really helped relations much. It took my parents a week to name my brother, so for a while he was "Boy." With blonde hair and giant, gaping, humungous blue eyes, it's no wonder he has been the little angel of the family. Also G and I having the same boys' middle name, which was slightly embarrassing in my teen years, so I gave myself "Leigh" as a middle name instead of Lee.

I soon got my revenge on G, one day out in the garden, when we were splashing about in the paddling pool naked. My mother was repainting the fences that surrounded the back lawn and I decided he should be the same colour so when her back was turned, I proceeded to paint him from head to toe in Creosote. It took quite a lot of white spirit to get him back to a very raw pink. As young children, G and I got on quite well; I took the punishments for him a few times because I, like everyone, couldn’t see the little angel cry. Mum wasn’t a terribly hard bottom smacker in any case, and I think the disappointment shame weighed on me more than the actual smacking ever did.

G and I were very aware of mum's work because she had odd hours and several jobs, we had to have babysitters a lot that we tormented vigorously. There was the "Where do babies come from" chat with one of the babysitters boyfriends; he manoeuvred the conversation quite superbly but by the end of the evening we were braiding his long black hair and finishing it all off with sparkly pink beads. Then there were the two blondes who we convinced very easily that we could have as many biscuits as we liked, and when our mother asked about it, we simply blamed it on the blondes. Then they made the famous mistake of bringing one of their male friends to our house who had a can of beer in his hand—that got the blondes sacked. I have to say I still tease my brother, calling him "Lil G" and telling him he smells of wee despite him being 6 feet and being in full control of his bladder as far as I am aware (assuming the steroids haven't totally ravaged his body by now). G has always been self-conscious about his body type: slender and leggy like my mother's father, "grampi," so as a teen G started on the whey protein shakes which led him into a bit of steroid and gym abuse. This is natural (I guess) when you have no male role model to look up to. He is also a natural follower and now has a career where being buff is expected—a reserve fireman. My brother has always desperately tried to fit in; every time one of his friends had something new he had to have one too so he could join in. His dopy nature led him to buy a broken skateboard, tools he didn’t need or use, a Subaru Impreza that spent more time in the garage than on the road and many other stupid purchases/hobbies. He particularly latched on to my boyfriends, as they were older, wiser, cool guys who had something weird/interesting about them (interesting description of my love interests)—so much so that he spent 2 years training to be a mechanic only to quit before his last year started (following in Adam's footsteps). Then there was the Army Preparation course that oddly coincided with my dating and then marrying a guy in the Army (Brian—but we'll get on to that later).

He now is still a reserve fireman who lives with his girlfriend Z who has his best interests at heart, although she can be a little controlling and overbearing about it. He also lives in his little two up two down with an enormous husky called Tia, who does not have the bladder control, so maybe G does smell like wee these days? I wouldn’t know, I haven't seen him in forever; neither of us make the effort to visit each other. At least the two kids, full time job etc. is an excuse for me; G just waits by the phone all day waiting for the fire service to call—doing nothing. Thankfully, Z's family have managed to get G into a training course to become a paramedic on the heart attack side, so this should at least stop him living off Zoe and spiraling any further into debt.

immediate family
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Diane Campbell

I tend to write about my personal experiences, I have had a pretty varied life. I have lived in a foreign country, done a bit of everything - worked for the government in a management positive right to wiping peoples bums for a living.

See all posts by Diane Campbell