Ninja Nanna – A Week In The Life Of….


Ninja Nanna in offending hat!

My grandson is in his first term at uni and today I took some food and a few things over to him, travelling by train. Being mindful of him not wanting to spend much of his free time with his grandmother, the plan was to empty my small suitcase of goodies and place them in his rucksack, then head back home straight after buying him lunch.

It wasn’t a very auspicious start, as the train was already full of drunks at 10am. After 90 minutes of torture I arrived at my destination to find the station swamped in police, clad in hi viz vests. Eventually finding my grandson in the sea of yellow, we decided to have lunch at Wetherspoons, which is on the station concourse. The establishment was heaving, but it was bucketing down outside and not wanting to walk far and get soaked, we decided to brave the revellers. At the door we were unceremoniously stopped by two security guards, ‘I’m sorry madam, but you will have to remove your hat!’ I laughed, ‘You are kidding?’ ‘No Madam, we can’t let anyone in today who is wearing a hat.’ Why?’ ‘Because there might be trouble, there is an English Defence League March and also a football match in town today.’ Much bemused, I dutifully removed my hat and wondered what I could hide under there that I couldn’t conceal inside a suitcase or rucksack, for neither was searched.

In spite of the hordes, Wetherspoons didn’t disappoint. I’ve only been there on four occasions, but the guys and gals who work there are always swift and courteous and seem to have the knack of spotting me peering over the bar (I’m very small), whereas in other pubs I might wait for ages as other customers reach over me to be served until I yell, ‘am I invisible?’ (Ladies of a certain age will know exactly what I mean!).

It’s been quite a week; last Friday night I went to lock up and in the semi-darkness I noticed something shoved through my letterbox and when I couldn’t pull it through I switched on the light and was quite disturbed as all was revealed.

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I have been given blood on a few occasions, but didn’t recognise it as being the average catheter, so wondered if it could be just an elaborate Halloween prop. Anyway, I decided to take it to the police station the next morning.

Having waited 10 minutes to be attended to, I waved my arms around to attract the attention of Ms Plod behind the counter and handed over the offending item. Giving it a cursory glance and without removing it from the plastic bag, Ms Plod declared, ‘it doesn’t look like real blood to me – and it was Halloween last night – nothing to worry about, I’ll stick it in the bin for you!’

Returning home I searched the Internet for Halloween paraphernalia and thus far haven’t found anything remotely similar. I would imagine quite a pricey piece of equipment to be stuffing randomly through people’s doors, so I wondered if something more sinister might be afoot. I am a volunteer at our local HIV support group and as there is still a great deal of stigma around people carrying the virus, I wondered if I might be a target too?

Yesterday I saw this in a Disabled Parking Bay just around the corner from the same police station:DSC00887

A disabled police force – that explains a lot!

When I returned from visiting my grandson today I was greeted by two large dog turds dumped under my front window. Bad enough, but just to the side of them is a lamppost on which there is a sign warning of the offence of dog fouling and the prosecution that ‘may’ follow! And just over the road from me is a field that runs the length of the street, where people walk their dogs all the time.

What happened to our green and pleasant land, when people dumping litter were fined; where little old ladies could wear hats; when police respected the rights of disabled people and when you wouldn’t expect to find what might have been a used cardiovascular catheter stuffed through your letterbox?


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Born in Liverpool at the end of WW2, but raised in Skelmersdale. I first studied art in Southport from 1960-63 and worked in graphic design till I married. In December 1969 I moved to Zambia with my husband and two young children. There I taught art in the local girls school, illustrated for the National Correspondence College and did all sorts of other artwork, paid and unpaid. In 1978 I divorced and remarried in the summer of 1980. In 1985 I became ill and the following year cancer was diagnosed. There was no treatment available in Zambia and so I had to go to the UK. After recovering from a radium needle implant I went back to Zambia, but 18 months later the cancer recurred and it was off to the UK again for radical surgery. This time I realised I must stay in the UK where treatment was available, so I never returned to Zambia nor my husband. A few months later I applied for a degree course, but two years later the disease metastasised and I spent most of my final year in and out of hospital. It’s been a long hard road, but I’m still plodding on and it is now 24 years since my last cancer treatment. Because of my experience of cancer and surviving against the odds, I try and help others cope with their devastating diagnosis and prognosis.

5 thoughts on “Ninja Nanna – A Week In The Life Of….”

      1. Andrew, I should have added that the drunks were football supporters (no excuse for being drunk at 10am) and therefore (I suppose unknowingly) semi responsible for me having to remove my hat!


  1. Oh Willa, let’s elope together to that peaceful, friendly Britain of the past … where even young ladies wore hats (especially on Sundays). Or am I also guilty of selective recall?


    1. I’m trying to imagine my mum’s response if she had ever been asked to remove her hat – or even my grandma, but she was a Victorian in every sense of the word and wouldn’t have been entering a licensed premises!


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