My search for the perfect sperm donor

After spending most of the year in a fruitless quest for Mr Right on Guardian Soulmates, Elite Singles and the Inner Circle I give up on the quest for Mr Right and look to find a sperm donor instead. I go to Create Fertility in London headed by Professor Geeta Nargund and look at website SurrogateFinder.com

My six month long search for Mr Right has been a disaster. I found Mr Right, another volunteer on the Britain Stronger in Europe campaign, but as soon as he showed he was interested in me I went off him. Now of course as he is cold and distant from me I am crazy about him. The fact that he is twenty years younger than me and penniless has not dented my enthusiasm.

I decided earlier this year that, having recovered from all my longstanding mental health and addiction problems, I could now, for the first time in my life, contemplate having a baby. The search for Mr Right has run in parallel with the less ambitious aim of finding a sperm donor. Not that I am any less picky about finding a sperm donor than a boyfriend but at least the sperm donor does not need to understand my mental health problems. I was going to ask Mr Right but now uninterested to be my sperm donor as he is tall very good looking and highly intelligent. But as he is now ignoring my texts and phone calls that avenue is closed.

I have always viewed it as the great tragedy of my life that the men I was most interested in were not interested in me. I have now realised that this is because of me as I am only attracted to men who are dangerous or unavailable. The reason I pined after men like my friend Alex at Oxford who I was “in love with” for 15 years was because they didn’t like me. I know the reason for this – I am trying to “heal the wound” with my father who was dangerous and unavailable and rejected me as ugly as a child. But that doesn’t stop me repeating the pattern.

Similarly there was a man I know who was previously very promiscuous – a gambling addict who would steal his girlfriends’ cars and credit cards. When I thought I would relapse and it would ruin my life if I got involved with him I was completely obsessed with him. This was purely because of his danger factor as he is very odd looking like a scarecrow with an eating disorder and when I met him I didn’t fancy him at all. After years of avoiding him I needed some help with the idea I have had to help everyone who comes to a doctor in the UK with a mental health problem or addiction. I met him with trepidation thinking I might end up in bed with him but at least thinking he could be my sperm donor. However now he has reformed is monogamous and no longer dangerous I don’t fancy him at all. My therapist said I have to look at my own unavailability and unwillingness to get into a relationship.

Since I decided I wanted to keep my options open in terms of having a child I have viewed every man I vaguely fancy as a potential sperm donor. My therapist says this makes me a sperm burglar. I actually interviewed a potential sperm donor earlier this year (unbenknownst to him) but rejected him as he had a receding chin. Then when another unavailable and dangerous man (avoidant ex-drug dealer) wanted to move into my house I thought he could be my sperm donor. However I realised that coming up to someone at the end of a Shagger and Lurve Addicts Anonymous meeting and saying “will you be my sperm donor?” might not be viewed very well in the fellowship. I have now asked every man I actually know to be my sperm donor but they have said that any child of mine will end up in an asylum. I have asked my therapist if she has a discount rate for babies.

I have investigated all the options for getting a sperm donor from a UK sperm bank but all are completely unsuitable. Although you can get the educational background of the donor you cannot get a photograph. What happens if Quasimodo has slipped through the sperm bank’s net and the child comes out with a face that leads to a lifelong phobia of mirrors? After all I believed I was so ugly that I couldn’t go out in daylight as the sun would show everyone how ugly I was. I thought the Elephant man was Helen of Troy compared to me. No ships would be setting sail because of my face, they’d stay in port until they rusted away and got scrapped. I was informed by a fertility clinic that there is a sperm bank in California where they have film star lookalikes and you can simply go online and select your film star. Ben Affleck is the most popular. But I want a Hispanic looking donor and couldn’t think of a Hispanic film star I wanted to mate with. Anyway with the prevalence of plastic surgery in California god knows what they originally looked like. In any event you cannot get a photograph.

I interviewed an older mother who’d used a sperm donor for a feature I was doing on the record number of over 40 mothers in the UK. Although she was useless for the feature (as it turned out she’d had the child when she was 39) she did tell me that in Norway they had sperm banks where you could not only get a photo of the donor but an entire dating video. This is exactly like my scenario in my screen play the Fishtank Babies where the career woman goes to a sperm bank and surfs through all the videos.

I googled “Sperm bank Norway” but the only things that came up were sperm banks in Denmark that do not provide a photograph. I texted the lady who’d put me onto the Norweigan sperm banks but didn’t hear from her. I phoned the Norwegian Embassy in London with a desperate plea “I need to find out everything you know about Norwegian sperm banks.”  I could almost hear the giggles coming down the phone. “Erm I’m not able to help you with that,” an information lady said. “But if you send an email our sperm specialist will get back to you.” I sent them an email titled “NORWEGIAN SPERM NOW.”  I am still waiting to hear from them. In fact there has been a massive boom in the use of Scandinavian sperm in the UK which commentators have called “a second Viking invasion.”

I found a website SurrogateFinder.com where they did have a lot of pictures of the sperm donors.

website SurrogateFinder.com  has sperm donors from all over the world and does provide a photograph but I need to find out if they screen the sperm

A few were in the UK, most of them were in India. But when I was actually surfing the list of sperm donors, I realised I couldn’t do it. For a start I want a sperm donor who is highly intelligent which you cannot tell from a photograph. It is extremely expensive to contact the donors. The idea of having a child with a donor who I can’t even speak to is not possible. I may have to pay the hefty fee for contacting the donors.

But the advantage of proper sperm banks is that they vet the quality of the sperm so that only the healthiest, fittest and fastest get through. The Norwegian sperm banks guarantee that the sperm can swim at at least 50 miles per hour. If I just get the donor from what looks like an unregulated website the sperm may be slower than a donkey with arthritis. Or it may have a genetic disease. I have contacted surrogacy.Finder.com to find out if their screening procedures are more rigorous than simply asking “do you have a dick?”

Shopping for a man online hasn’t worked for me with the internet dating. I joined Elite Singles four months ago full of hope that I would meet Tarzan with a PhD and a penthouse in Mayfair. I got one message from a dwarf in a bedsit in arse end of the universe Slough. And despite receiving hundreds of messages I have yet to meet a man online who I actually fancy. This may simply be because they are actually available.

I have a final consultation with a fertility clinic next week to say whether it is too late for egg freezing. I’m hoping I can do that instead as my efforts to find a sperm donor in real life have been as unsuccessful as a polar bear trying to find an ice floe in the Sahara. However once the Norwegian embassy stops laughing at my request I am hoping to be put in touch with the nirvana of Norwegian sperm banks with their dating videos. I will introduce you to all my sperm suitors once I’ve whittled them down to 5.

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10 Tips for dating a normal drinker if you’re a recovering addict/alcoholic

TIPSDATINGDRINKER

  1. Do not have alcohol in your home. I was warned early in rehab not to have booze in my house in case I had a bad day and reached for it. I think this is very good advice.
  2. Keep going to meetings or in touch with your online recovery community. You need to keep reminding yourself you are an alcoholic so you don’t think “my partner is drinking I will too.”
  3. Explain your behaviour when drinking to your new partner and that it would be a disaster for you and them if you went back there. This may encourage them to abstain from drinking when they are around you.
  4. If attending gatherings where everyone is drinking apart from you always have some people in recovery you can call if you get triggered. Tell your partner if you feel like picking up a drink.
  5. Exit as quickly as possible from the situation if you actually think you are going to pick up.
  6. Work on keeping a separate identity to your partner by maintaining your own interests, activities, hobbies including contact with all your recovery friends.
  7. If you start to think “I’m cured maybe I can drink again” read your Step 1 about the horrors of your addiction or any written work you have done in treatment or groups.
  8. Get more support in terms of seeing an addictions counsellor if you can afford it.
  9. Include other recovery people in your social activities or holidays with your partner, when possible, so you are not the only person not drinking and have support for your recovery.
  10. If you have a spiritual practise, some form of meditation or prayer, use it to ground yourself and ward off cravings. If not, check in with how you are feeling every day. If you are very angry upset or tired maybe avoid social situations where you will be exposed to alcohol.                                                                 Sign up for updates on this blog                     Follow me on Twitter            Send me a friend request on Facebook

 

The 10 craziest things my denial has told me…

Throughout my cocaine alcohol shopping addiction and bulimia I managed to convince myself, despite being completely out of control, that I did not have a major problem as I had denial big enough to house the entire population of Beijing

  1. Despite drinking 21 hours a day that I could not be an alcoholic as I had never been filmed on reality TV attacking the police. Specifically, I had to be filmed in Newcastle, a hard drinking town in the north of England. My drinking was obviously fine as I had never been there.
  2. That waking up from a self-administered Rohypnol and alcohol induced blackout in the middle of having sex with someone I definitely did not want to f**k was just “one of those things that happens when you’re having fun.”
  3. That it was normal to be so tanked up on alcohol that you couldn’t actually remember whether you’d had sex with someone or not.
  4. That everyone in England collapsed on the floor of nightclub toilets, had to be carried out by the entire bar staff, went into convulsions and then almost caused a car crash by kicking the person in the head who was taking them home. This I said to my relatives in Jamaica was a “cultural difference” they didn’t understand.
  5. That the best response to thinking I was having a cocaine induced heart attack while driving in Jamaica was to take more cocaine and drive on.
  6. That my drug dealer in England (who I had heard had beaten up several of his girlfriends) was not only of impeccable moral character but also my “best friend” as he gave me free cocaine.
  7. After practically moving him into my house and doing cocaine with him 20 hours a day when he wanted to date me I said “I couldn’t possibly date a drug dealer as I might get addicted to drugs.”
  8. That being seduced by a female teenage stripper in Jamaica, who’d killed a girl the week before, and then stole my car was just one of those “funny things that happen when you’re doing drugs.”
  9. That although I had made a hole in my nose so huge by snorting cocaine that every time I breathed it whistled like a kettle when it was boiling I did not have a major drug problem.
  10. That after projectile vomiting having drunk car engine cleaning fluid while high on cocaine it was normal to attend several parties, rather than hospital, doing sign language as I couldn’t speak. I did not perceive myself as an addict but rather a party girl and socialite who’d been to too many parties.                                                                     Sign up for updates on this blog                                                                                                   Follow me on Twitter            Send me a friend request on Facebook

 

 

 

 

 

Brexit the future for the UK, my recovery and my hair.

I finish my job as Team leader for Britain Stronger in Europe in Brent as the UK votes to leave the European Union and Brexit goes ahead

Having been in charge of the campaign to keep the UK in the European Union in one of the largest boroughs of London I was devastated by the result. The polls, the bookies, the markets and we ourselves all thought Remain would win. The fact that the Leave camp went back on every major campaign pledge they made within 24 hours of the results just made this defeat more galling.

Almost all liberals, progressives and outward looking people had supported Remain. The fact that we lost the vote said something pretty depressing about my country. Imagine waking up to a Trump victory? There’s been a 57% rise in reported xenophobic and racist attacks since the results of the vote were announced.

The Brexit vote has left the future of the UK very uncertain. The pound hit a 31 year low earlier this week, UK bank stocks have fallen by up to 24% on fears that they will no longer be able to operate across Europe and the FTSE 250 which covers the domestic economy is down almost 10%. Several firms have said they are making plans to move staff out of the UK. The City of London, the world’s largest financial centre and a source of massive tax revenues for the UK government is under threat.

There are strong parallels between supporters of Donald Trump – white mainly non college educated men who feel their jobs are threatened and wages depressed by immigration and global trade – and those who supported Vote Leave here. Although during the campaign Vote Leave carefully paraded their ethnic minority supporters when the results came through in the counting halls you could see most of their supporters were white. Brexit, opposed by every major political party, is a massive f**k you from the white working class vote to the political establishment.

The only good thing that has emerged is that a cross party alliance of politicians, trades unionists and the general public, many of them young, was formed which supported us being in the EU, transcending the tribalism of British politics.

A coalition of conservatives, Labour supporters and Liberal Democrats all supporting Britain remaining in the European Union form the word IN at the Big In in Hyde Park days before the EU referendum on 23rd June 2016

And from my personal point of view, the Referendum campaign – which involved me organising up to 70 events a week and in charge of a team of 100 volunteers – has been incredibly good for my recovery. I was described as a brilliant organiser and great with people by my bosses at Britain Stronger in Europe and discovered I had management skills I never knew I had. Although unsuccessful nationally, my local area voted 60% Remain, as did London as a whole which my boss said I had played a part in.

I have been extremely disorganised for most of my life. The only management job I had while I was working at the BBC was failing to organise a tea round. While I was training to be a reporter I made an incredibly poignant documentary about the bombing of a Jewish Centre in Argentina in 1994. Unfortunately I left it in the back of a cab in Buenos Aires and never saw it again. I then went on a reporting trip to cover the war in Sudan leaving half my equipment on the plane that went back to Kenya. I didn’t notice this omission for two days. When I was doing showbiz reporting in the late 90s I would have a curling tong crisis and would often miss the start of an event. Then I would be so keen to get the right library pictures for a report that it would be ready a week after it was due on air. In Jamaica I scored a massive coup becoming the only foreign journalist allowed into the country’s one women’s prison. But I did no preparation for this expose and when I got into the prison my microphone was as dead as a goat’s testicle floating in a Jamaican stew. The last documentary I did for the BBC collapsed as my mind was turned into confetti by snorting cocaine 22 hours a day.

For the past eleven and a half years I have been in recovery I have supported myself from the income from my rental properties. I have done many building projects, some very large, but have spent most of the time writing about mental health and addiction. I have never worked for anyone.I have spent the eleven and a half years of my recovery attending various rehabs including the Priory and Hope House and St Luke's then the Waterview NHS Centre and building a house in Kensal Green and writing two novels about addiction and mental health as well as my blog bloginhotpants about addiction and mental health

But I have now decided that my organisational skills are wasted on just blogging, writing novels and going to meetings and therapy appointments. I was never involved in politics before the Referendum campaign. But I was passionately concerned about Britain’s relationship with Europe and had to try to stop Brexit. The Referendum campaign, with its constant interaction with voters, has shown me that I love politics and I have now been asked to stand for office by a major political party.

I have been asked by the Conservative Party to stand as a Conservative local councillor in conservative ward of Brent Brondesbury Park. In this photo I am addressing the Labour party activists in Brondesbury Park I am not joking when I say my ultimate aspiration is to become the UK’s Minister for Mental Health – the first government minister to openly admit they snorted cocaine 22 hours a day. I have written a bio and brushed up my CV. But given the political chaos the UK is now in, with leadership contests in both major political parties, I do not know if now is the time I can start working with the government. I will probably end up working for a mental health charity.

The Referendum campaign has also been good for my recovery in other ways. Despite oodles of treatment, meetings and therapy I have struggled to love myself in Recovery. But after the Referendum I was so pleased with my achievements I thought “I do actually love myself.” After existing in a bubble of non drinking 12 Step Fellowship people for most of my recovery, I have now had heavy exposure to people who drink. Every meeting and get together during the campaign took place in a pub or a bar. Everyone was drinking around me and I was not affected at all. When offered a drink I said to most people that I didn’t drink. There were only a few I told about my former alcoholism and cocaine addiction. But now I know I can happily socialise, work and even date people who drink without any problems at all. Politics is a heavy drinking culture but I am confident I can manage this fine. This opens up a wide range of jobs and opportunities to me. The new job whether in politics or a charity will be my “bridge to normal living” which AA talks about. My only stipulation is that I don’t want to have alcohol in my home.

On the romantic front things are a bit less rosy. Despite being 11 and a half years clean I still only seem to be attracted to addicts who have a background in drug dealing or drug smuggling. I have been searching, unsuccessfully, for Mr Right for the past four months. But when I did actually meet him, another volunteer in Britain Stronger in Europe, although I fancied him at first I went off him as he wasn’t dangerous or unavailable. I am going to do an intensive two week work shop with my best friend in recovery trying to work through and free from my attraction to these unavailable men which has plagued me all my life. I am also determined to pursue a friendship with Mr Right. As they say in AA I will fake it to make it, hoping I start fancying him again.

You may notice that my hair looks different in the initial photograph. After decades of covering my hair every time a speck of rain fell from the sky and amassing a collection of 10,000 hats I have now said goodbye to what Jamaicans call “Dry wedder ‘ead” and have let my hair go into its natural Afro state. For those of you unfamiliar with the politics of black hair this is not a small thing. Apart from when I had a nervous breakdown two years ago and couldn’t do my hair the last time I had my natural hair was when I was 16. Water and damp once the enemies of my hair are now my friends creating greater “definition” in my curls. I was very pleased when someone asked me if I was Jamaican the other day.

Despite my romantic problems, (and because of my new hair) the future looks brighter for me than it does for the UK. The options for the UK seem to be leaving the EU and its single market of 500 million people entirely in order to have complete control of immigration, an option favoured by the hardliners of the Leave campaign. It was controlling immigration that was the single issue that won Vote Leave the Referendum.

The other option for the UK, favoured by Remain campaigners, is the Norway option. Norway and Switzerland are not members of the EU but have full access to the single market and accept freedom of movement from other EU states. Freedom of movement is impossible for the UK to accept because of the results of the Referendum. The UK is therefore trying to negotiate a deal involving membership of the single market but controlling freedom of movement. This would be a first in Europe and might prompt other states like Switzerland to demand the same possibly causing the break up of the EU. It is therefore being resisted by other European states.

As the Prime Minister resigned when the results of the Referendum became clear, some of the potential Conservative Party leaders have even said they want a second referendum. And there have been protests throughout the country against the outcome of the vote. Well over 4 million Remain supporters have signed a petition calling for a second referendum on the basis that Vote Leave won the vote based on lies. The claim emblazoned on Vote Leave’s Battle bus that the alleged £350 million pounds a week we send to the European Union (actually £140 million a week) will be spent on the National Health Service was retracted immediately after the vote came in. As part of their election campaign vote leave said that the £350 million pounds they said we gave to the European Union every week which in fact was a lie as it is half of that would be given to the NHS if we left. As soon as they won the vote this promise was retracted as was their pledge to reduce numbers on immigration.Vote Leave now say they may allow anyone who has a job offer to enter the UK which would mean the hordes of cheap Eastern European workers who’ve flooded into the UK could still come in. British firms, claiming they cannot recruit British workers for low paid jobs now recruit directly from Eastern Europe. But this would enrage Leave supporters.

But the leading contender for the Conservative leadership Home Secretary Theresa May who will likely be the next Prime Minister has said there will be no second referendum and no deal to stay in the EU through the back door. I think a second referendum is highly unlikely.

The British Home Secretary Theresa May who has said she wants to be the next Prime Minister of the UK replacing David Cameron and who has become the front runner in the race to become leader of the Conservative Party

The big news of the Conservative leadership race is that Boris Johnson leading leave campaigner and former mayor of London has ruled himself out of the race. This was after he was stabbed in the back by fellow leave campaigner, Justice Secretary Michael Gove, who said he was not fit to lead. Theresa May is now the clear front runner which could mean a female leader in the United States, Germany and the UK, something I would welcome.

Whoever takes over will have to find a deal that allows control of freedom of movement while trying to retain access to the single market. Otherwise our economy is f*****d.

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We lose the Referendum as Britain votes to leave the European Union

 

Britain well actually England and Wales vote to leave the European Union after a referendum on the 23rd of June

Shock and horror as wake up on the day after the Referendum to decision by the UK electorate to leave the European Union after vigorously campaigning for us to stay. Before I even switched on the news, I received a text message from a volunteer in Britain Stronger in Europe to say we had lost. I was not expecting this, insulated by living in the Remain bubble of London which voted 60% to stay. My local borough, Brent, where I organised almost a hundred events in the four days of polling week, voted overwhelming Remain. Feel out of step with the rest of England and am dismayed by what this decision means about my country. The liberal progressive outward looking forces have lost this argument. The Bank of England had warned that leaving the EU could cause a recession, higher inflation and unemployment. Almost every major British company came out in favour of Britain staying in as did the IMF, the WTO, and the institute for Fiscal Studies an independent think tank. The fact that all these voices, and that of the Conservative government which campaigned strongly to remain, were rejected suggests the British people value controlling immigration above their own economic self-interest. The job losses have already started.

I can see that a flood of Eastern European immigration since the European Union expanded may have depressed wages and that this could have been the deciding factor for people on lower incomes. And that people feel there is too much pressure on public services caused by migration. But EU migrants contribute far more to the economy than they take out. This extra money could be used to alleviate the pressure on public services. I fear the belief that leaving the EU will allow us to escape EU regulation will be proved to be a fallacy. If we want to export to the European Union, which takes over 40% of our exports, we will have to comply with their regulations.

And what does this mean for me? I have devoted my entire life to the campaign for Britain to stay in the European Union in the past few months. At its height I was coordinating and organising almost a hundred events a week. Before I got involved we were doing zero events a week. The campaign has changed my life. Before the only thing I was in charge of was doing occasional maintenance on my rental property and re-stocking my fridge.  But during the campaign I have been responsible for organising and leading the campaign in one of the largest boroughs in London with a team of well over a hundred volunteers.  I have been so efficient in organising all these events and people that no one knew I had any mental health problems.  The only management job I had while I was working at the BBC was failing to organise a tea round.

I cannot go back to my old life of just blogging and going to recovery meetings and therapy appointments. Since I have discovered these organisational and management skills I have to get a job in mental health. You might have thought it was a joke when I said I want to be the Minister of Mental Health but it wasn’t at all. The referendum will make this much more difficult as now the Leave camp have won their will be a purge of pro-Europeans from government. All my extensive activities for Britain Stronger in Europe will be anathema to the Leave Camp. But maybe as the Leave camp was accused of being racist and Xenophobic by its critics they will try to employ ethnic minorities to counter this claim.

Diary of polling week

Saturday before Brexit: all is quiet on the campaign front as it has been suspended after the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox a prominent Remain campaigner.  Spend the day publishing and promoting my blog on Facebook and Twitter. When this is over switch my attention to refining my plans for polling week where we will put on an unprecedented number of events. My house is now so full of leaflets it now looks like a Britain Stronger In Europe distribution factory.

Sunday before Brexit: A bloginhotpants type disaster as I am due to attend a Stronger In event for a thousand people to form the words IN in Hyde Park.

A thousand supporters of Britain Stronger in Europe which was campaigning for Britain to stay in the European Union meet in Hyde Park in Central London to form a human chain spelling the words in the Big In

As the email invitation says that the nearest tube is Queensway in Bayswater I spend an hour trying to find the event which is actually at the other end of the park. Arrive at the end of the event as everyone is leaving. Decide will keep this quiet from contacts at Conservatives In as will tarnish my new found image of promptness and reliability.  Spend rest of day planning activities for polling week. Pre-polling day activists meeting goes on till 10pm and is very well attended.  Excitingly a posh attractive Asian looking volunteer is at the meeting and I wonder if he could be Mr Right. Then see that my unavailable man antenna are clearly in force again as he is wearing a wedding ring..

Monday before Brexit:  Refining plans for polling day and polling week. This is complicated by the fact that I have to drive about 50 miles across Brent to leaflet at a school and am due to spend 3 hours at a meeting of councillors in Harlesden to make a speech about the European Union. Am now so blasé about public speaking because of the campaign that I spend not a second preparing the speech. Speak to the Muslim Labour leader of Brent Council who though not particularly tall is very attractive. Also, despite the White Man Apocalypse in which I’ve stopped fancying white men, I also thought the Prime Minister David Cameron was hot when I met him a week ago. I wonder whether I am attracted to power? Stay up till midnight refining plans for polling day and do not eat till after midnight. This obsession with the campaign is almost as bad for my eating habits as my previous 10 hour a day OCD.

Tuesday before Brexit: Still juggling last minute changes to events this week and trying to cram in more schools leafleting as they will almost all be closed on polling day. As I am spending 6 hours a day at events this is holding up the publication of my polling day plans. Have secured a ticket to the Great Debate between prominent Leave campaigner Boris Johnson and the leader of the Scottish Conservatives and first muslim mayor of London Sadiq Khan who support Remain. David Cameron is not taking part – critics say he is scared of losing to Boris Johnson. Am already late when get a call from one of the bigwigs at Conservatives In whose ticket I have saying that I must leave immediately as the doors are about to close. As me providing his ticket is great opportunity for hobnobbing with Conservatives and anger could be provoked if I fail to turn up, I sprint to the station and hold my breath for most of the tube journey. Run to the arena faster than Usain Bolt on speed. Have been hoping that can use the debate to find ethnic Mr Right but rush there covered in sweat with hair looking like a hedgerow. The debate is partisan so we only cheer those speakers from our side and try to compete with the extremely noisy leave supporters. Boris Johnson head of the Leave campaign finishes the debate with a call for 23rd June, the date of the Referendum, to become our “Independence Day” in which we “take back control.”  The Media and pundits say leave have won the debate.

Leader of the Leave campaign Boris Johnson has a debate at Wembley Arena with the head of the Scottish conservatives Ruth Davidson and the first muslim mayor of any major European capital Sadiq Khan who support Remain

Wednesday before Brexit: Still juggling current week’s activities and attending several events and have not published my polling day plans. Have therapy session via skype in which we reflect on the new managerial and organisational skills that this campaign has shown I have. Also that putting my head above the parapet by writing the blog and exposing myself to criticism has started to prepare me for the rough and tumble of a career in politics. Rush off to a school and do not finish my polling day plans till midnight. But have already confirmed with those volunteers who will be active what they are supposed to do. Again eat at crazy hour of 12.30 am which is just as bad as during my nervous breakdown. Debate about what time to set the alarm the next morning but eventually opt for a lie in. Need to be at my local tube station at 7.30 am and set the alarm for 7.29. Do have slight fear that if I do this the entire morning’s activities will fall apart but decide I have mental health problems and need my sleep.

I get up at 4.30am on polling day to organise my team of 65 volunteers from Britain Stronger in Europe for all the activities of polling day including leafleting tube stations, schools Ark Academy in Wembley Kingsbury Green Primary School Sinai Jewish Primary school in Kenton St Mary’s Church of England Primary school Neasden St Joseph’s Catholic Junior school Wembley and Harlesden High Street, Wembley High Street, Willesden Green High Road and Kingsbury High Street

D-Day Polling day: Wake up at 4.30 am as I cannot sleep and decide that, if I am going to get myself together for polling day and then coordinate everyone else, I’d better get up straight away. Start hassling people at 6.30am by text to make sure they are going to turn up to the morning’s events – leafleting at all the major tube stations in Brent – and have all the campaign materials. Disaster looms over the morning as there is torrential rain. But after I send an encouraging text to the volunteers only one person out of dozens who have been deployed fails to turn up.  When I call several of the primary schools we are supposed to be leafleting later that day they appear to be closed. We have to do a quick reshuffle to visit those that are open. Vast numbers of people turn up to the campaign HQ to volunteer so we have loads of extra people for our activities. Although I had imagined that I would be campaigning all day, to use my persuasive campaigning skills, realise that cannot do anything apart from being on the end of the phone to coordinate people who cannot find each other. Disaster strikes at 4pm as my internet goes down just as I need to email everyone the canvassing sheets for the night to go around door knocking and “get out the vote.” Eventually sort this email problem out but not till after some heated rows with other volunteers. As everyone starts with the door knocking my day starts winding down and I start to think about dinner. All the feedback from the door knocking is very positive so I go to bed shattered but optimistic.

The next day after the result feel like I am hallucinating in the gym as my life has gone back to normal. There will be no more meetings for me with the Prime Minister and the Mayor of London now the campaign is over. Indeed the Prime Minister has resigned. Instead of being in charge of organising a hundred volunteers and almost a hundred events a week I am now solely in charge of confronting my fears of terrorists on the tube to get to my therapy appointments on time. Have various conversations with political bods about future career in politics and am asked if I will stand as a local councillor. But get no reply from my voicemail message to Nicolas at Conservatives In. I guess I’ll have to take a rain check on being the Minister for Mental Health.

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I drop the search for Mr Right as Mr Dangerous and Unavailable wants to move in with me

after over 3 months desperately looking for Mr Right on dating websites Guardian Soulmates, Elite Singles and the Inner Circle I actually meet Mr Right through my Britain Stronger In Europe activities but realise I am actually looking for Mr Dangerous or Mr Unavailable

Day 99. After completing all blogging activities go to Shagger and Lurve Addicts Anonymous meeting in Hampstead. Of course as the meeting is an hour and a half long, way beyond my concentration span, I arrive at the end of the meeting. Spend the tail end of the meeting scoping out the crowd to see if there is anyone I fancy. There is a Greek positively Arabic looking man but he has previously been very hostile. However at a group dinner after the meeting his attitude to me seems to have improved and he asks for my phone number. Not missing a trick I ask him round to my house the following day.

Day 100. Frantically blogging and promoting on Facebook my post about meeting the Prime Minister David Cameron. Then do an hour campaigning for Britain Stronger in Europe in only-safe-in-daylight Harlesden with Labour councillor. Mr Right, perfect parent to frozen embroyos comes to my house to pick up some leaflets but I realise I don’t fancy him any more. This is annoying as, although he is 20 years younger than me, I think he would make a very caring boyfriend. Gorgeous Greek/Arabic guy texts me to say he is coming round. Wildly excited I tidy up the house. He spends 3 hours at my house and says he wants to move in with me. Just as a lodger unfortunately. But because he is an addict and has previously been hostile and unavailable I decide he is the perfect boyfriend. As he is a Marxist and I am a Tory this may not work.  We discuss in depth my plans to become the Minister for Mental Health.

Day 102. Another big Britain Stronger in Europe event with the Prime Minster, the leader of the Liberal Democrats and a senior Labour Party figure. Have met Prime Minister so many times this week it is starting to get very boring. As the event will be shown live on Television I try to position myself in prime view of the cameras. But unfortunately judge this wrong and only my foot is broadcast.

Myself Caroline Turriff and the Green Party Leader Natalie Bennett at a rally for Britain Stronger in Europe involving the Prime Minister David Cameron the Leader of the Liberal Democrats Tim Farron and senior Labour figure Harriet Harman

Get picture with Natalie Bennett, leader of the Green Party, who is very nice. Then spend rest of day practising speech to give to crucial meeting of Labour Councillors in rough but improving Stonebridge.

Day 103. More campaigning for Britain Stronger in Europe as I visit a school in Harlesden to hand out leaflets about the referendum. I notice that many of the ethnic minority residents of my local area are not sure they are going to vote. This saddens me as it means they will be disenfranchised from this decision.   Just before women’s Vodka for Breakfast Anonymous meeting very excitingly get a text from Greek Arabic looking guy inquiring about the theatre trip I have suggested. Am so wild with excitement that I feel like I’ve done 4 grammes of coke and, although I try to stay off my phone during the meeting, have to send him a text. Share about my attraction to Mr Dangerous and Mr Unavailable and resolve will try to stay away from him.

Day 104. Frantic day preparing my speech on the benefits of the European Union to what is supposed to be a massive gathering of Labour councillors in Stonebridge, Harlesden. Sarah my close friend from Divorced from My Drug Dealer Anonymous coaches public speakers for a living and gives me various presentation tips.   When I turn up only 4 people are there revealing the apathy of the Labour Party about the Referendum.

I give a speech to the Stonebridge branch of the Labour Party including Councillor Bobby Thomas and Councillor Ernest Ezeajughi giving the facts about the EU referendum

The speech and Q and A session afterwards goes very well, Sarah says I am a natural presenter and should be on TV. We formulate a plan to try to make the Remain message more interesting to Labour voters. If Labour voters don’t turn out we could lose this Referendum, hence David Cameron’s cosying up to them.

Day 105.   I share with my therapist that I am feeling overwhelmed by the amount of work and responsibility I have taken on for Britain Stronger in Europe which has displaced the blog as my new obsession. We decide I will refrain from answering emails at midnight. Still, as I have not had a job apart from doing building projects for my entire 11 year recovery, we both agree that the campaign is fantastic training for me to get a job in politics. Throughout my 13 years at the BBC I have never managed anyone. As I was always up to an hour late I was only ever asked to manage a tea round. Now I am organising a team of a hundred voluteers covering 30 events a week with supreme efficiency and flair. This requires quite a lot of psychology which I’m good at having spent decades in therapy. There is absolutely no sign that I have any mental health problems. I also love interacting with voters on the door step and trying to persuade them with my arguments. I could actually be a Member of Parliament, the first MP who opens admits to having snorted cocaine 22 hours a day!

Day 106.  More campaigning for BSE as we go to a school in Wembley North London. Most of the parents are ethnic minorities and do not look like they are going to vote or know much about the referendum. I fear that many ethnic minorities are going to be disenfranchised from this referendum. Avoid going to Shagger and Lurve Addicts Anonymous meeting in Hampstead where Mr Dangerous/Unavailable is going to be. Go to women’s Divorced from my drug dealer anonymous meeting, genuinely seeking recovery. But, as receive a barrage of texts emails and phone calls from people at BSE, cannot focus on the meeting.

Day 107. Wild excitement as drag myself out of bed pretty shattered to go to a Conservatives In leafleting event in South London. Not only is a government minister, Mark Holdsworth there, the head of the Conservatives In campaign but also the unpopular but constantly on TV business secretary Sajid Javid.

Picture of Caroline Turriff with government ministers Mark Holdsworth and business secretary Sajid Javid

Is fantastic opportunity to show off highly effective street campaigning style to Tories in government as part of my mission to secure a job as the Minister of Mental Health. My first job, in charge of Mental Health, will be to tackle the massive disparity in waiting times across the country. Is such good opportunity for hobnobbing I ditch a Labour event in North London that I was due to go to. Minister Mark Holdsworth invites me to go on battle bus with Prime Minister David Cameron the following Monday. In such close proximity to Prime Minister I must be able to get a selfie and more rubbing shoulders with those in power will help my political ambitions. Spend afternoon leafleting in once dodgy as fuck but now improving Harlesden with Labour party councillors. But having had  a whiff of power from Tory party cabinet ministers in the morning this is a bit of an anti-climax.

Day 108. Meet Mr Right as part of campaigning activities in the morning which unfortunately are stopped by torrential rain. But he is looking rather white and as White Man Apocalypse in on me in full force categorically do not fancy him. Have a coffee with him and stare at his beautiful face and wonder why I don’t fancy him. Because he was showing signs of unavailability – not answering my texts the previous night as he was out on a date – I thought perhaps I would. Rush to get nails done in preparation for meeting with the Prime Minister. I thought he was very hot – and I’m sure the feeling will be mutual. Alas while out campaigning that night get message from Conservatives In that there is no space on the bus for me. Will have to show off my nails to 75 year old married man I am campaigning with.

Day 109. Campaigning from 7.30 in the morning till 9.30 at night and finish the day feeling exhausted. But, apart from my commitment to the cause and wishing to avoid predictions of a recession and a million job losses if we leave, my obtaining a job as Minister for Mental Health depends on our side winning the Referendum. My Britain Stronger in Europe activities will be music to the ears of  pro-European ministers. But if David Cameron has to resign and Leave campaigner Boris Johnson becomes Prime Minister there will be a purge of pro-Europeans from government and my Stronger In activities will be an anathema.

Day 110. Wake up so exhausted cannot go to my Step Aerobics class and realise I will have to tone down the campaigning. Have decided will only do a few hours today and will take night off and go to my women’s Vodka for Breakfast Anonymous meeting. See Mr Right again but he is looking very white. Fabulously my sponsor who has left London is at the meeting and we have a great catch up. Love this meeting and the women at it!

Day 111. More pressure from Stronger In as they say we have to deliver our polling day plans to them in two days time. As only about 5 people have confirmed they are going to be available on polling day we are not going to be able to do very much. Resolve that I will spend the whole evening phoning people to get them signed up for polling day. The opinion polls are looking bad – the people who want to leave Europe are ahead – and we have to put in every ounce of effort if we are to avoid being dragged out of the European Union. The wildly ambitious plans Stronger In had for polling day are simply not got to fly unless they supply us with more volunteers. As I have noticed that many of the ethnic minorities in Brent particularly muslim women look like they are not going to vote I hatch an idea to get the mayor of London, first Muslim mayor of any European capital, to my local area to address ethnic minority voters. This will generate TV coverage and maybe I will be interviewed. As I am trying to emphasise my minority credentials in order to get job in Tory party have decided I will change my hair extensions to semi afro and let my natural hair be in its natural semi Afro state.

Day 112.  Shocking news that young female Labour MP, Jo Cox, mother of two young children has been shot and stabbed to death in her constituency. Jo Cox was a prominent campaigner for us to remain in the European Union and the person who killed her reportedly shouted “Put Britain first” before he shot her. Britain Stronger in Europe suspend all our campaigning activities fearing for our safety. As members of the public have free access to MPs and councillors in the UK this raises serious questions about the safety of all public figures. After such a lot of interaction with voters during the Referendum campaign I now want to be an MP myself. It is a testament to my recovery from decades of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that this brutal killing does not put me off.

Day 113. Frantic planning for polling day in the referendum. While internal argument rages as to whether I do or don’t go to the Hampstead meeting of Shagger and Lurve Addicts Anonymous to see Mr Dangerous. Although I thought I’d weaned myself off men similar to the ex-armed robber Mr Dangerous, obviously, was a drug dealer. Of course the reason I do not fancy Mr Right is that he has no criminal convictions at all. After some reflection decide will probably go to the meeting. This is feeding the addiction but I do need a man I actually fancy in place to parent my frozen embroyos. The only drawback to this is that they may be born with little horns.

Feel incredibly wired as drive to the meeting, not missing the irony that I am going to a recovery meeting in order to fix my addiction. But God (who I now sort of believe in again) had other plans. Mr Dangerous was not at the meeting. Still, spotted an unfeasibly young but very attractive posh ethnic man who I managed to manoeuvre to sit next to at dinner afterwards. I always manage to sort these logistical issues out. But he was even more unavailable than Mr Dangerous. Go to the 50th Birthday party of a fellow campaigner in Britain Stronger in Europe where the man I immediately fancy is wearing a wedding ring. I guess I better get used to being on my own.

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Next week: Does Britain vote to leave or stay in the European Union?

I meet the Prime Minister David Cameron and ask him for a job as the Minister for Mental Health

As the head campaigner for Britain Stronger in Europe in Brent I go to a rally about the EU referendum with the Prime Minister David Cameron and the mayor of London Sadiq Khan

Day 87. Wild excitement as my turbo charged political activities to keep Britain a member of the European Union continue. Go to Britain Stronger in Europe event I have set up and the hottest volunteer of entire organisation is there. Of course this is not entirely coincidental as he was first person I called to come. Although he doesn’t look so good in daylight (he is white and without a tan) decide that he has lovely smile and invite him for tea after the event. There is another volunteer there but this is good cover as being in charge of my local area I cannot be too obvious in my romantic ambitions. Ask hottest volunteer if he wants to come on pub crawl to target young voters on Friday night. He says he wants to come and stays for tea much longer than expected. But as he is tall and very good looking and normal can he possibly be single?

Day 88. Efforts continue to achieve Lazarus like resurrection of journalism career. Read women’s magazines all day to try to pitch story about record numbers of women having 1st child over 40. After finish phone pitches and emails,  spend all evening working on blog which, very excitingly, a top publisher has agreed to read.

Day 89. Show my therapist my phone pitches for women’s magazines as she was the Art Director of Vogue and throws in all stylist related queries on accessories for free. Decide will include in pitch to Psychologies magazine that I was previously pretty crazy but avoid mentioning this in emails to other magazines.

Day 90. Sarah my friend from Divorced from my Drug Dealer Anonymous comes to stay as she is temporarily homeless as she can’t stay at her parents’ house as they’re not getting on. Feel incredibly disturbed to have someone in the house overnight for the first time in 3 years. Because of nervous breakdown and 10 hour a day OCD have not been able to have anyone to stay.  But her staying is sign of OCD recovery. Remember how she rescued me after breakup with ex-armed robber by offering me her floor to sleep on so very happy to see her.

Day 91. Go to Vodka for Breakfast Anonymous in Notting Hill in search of hot blue eyed secretary. But decide that, instead of arriving late and being on my phone the whole meeting like the week before, I will put my best foot forward ignore phone and share something inspiring. You do have to appear to be grateful and recovered member of the fellowship if you want to pull someone well. He does have a lovely voice and looks just like dark version of ex-armed robber. But do get feeling at the end of the meeting that he doesn’t want to speak to me and may actively dislike me. Maybe my shameless quizzing of his economic potential by asking what he did the week before has put him off? Hopes of finding real man in real life are dwindling and think will have to go for a sperm donor.

Day 91.  Wonderful interview with lawyer for over 40 first time mothers story. She tells me that if you go to a Norwegian sperm bank you can not only get a photo of the donor but an entire “dating video.”  This is totally like my idea in my screenplay the Fish Tank Babies and resolve will phone Norwegian sperm bank soon. Only problem is Norwegians are blond and blue eyed and was looking for ethnic sperm donor.

Day 92.  As hottest volunteer is coming on Britain Stronger in Europe pub crawl with me decide will pay emergency visit to the hairdressers. Have wildly successful pub crawl through local area spreading message of benefits of Britain remaining in the EU, and obviously trying to pull every hot guy I see with my new chat up line “Have you thought about the European Referendum.”  Decide that hot volunteer is fantastically intelligent as well as very attractive and that he would be perfect sperm donor. The only thing is he doesn’t know this yet. And I can’t try to persuade him until after the referendum as the question “Can you leaflet Asda Brent Park on Saturday and then will you be my sperm donor” may strike him as odd.

Day 93. Go to another Britain Stronger in Europe event with Sarah where the former Labour party leader Ed Milliband is speaking. Manage to slip in some rubber necking to see if anyone I fancy is there and do spot a very attractive half Japanese Tory who unfortunately is only 18.  Hot volunteer from my local area is at the speech and I obviously ask him for coffee afterwards. Unfortunately so focused on capturing him as a sperm donor that miss the opportunity to speak to the former Labour leader.  Inquire about hot volunteer’s housing status and find out he is renting a room, ie has even less money than the ex-armed robber.

Day 94. Leafleting session for Conservatives In in South London (Tory group campaigning to stay in the European Union) in which I meet a Cabinet minister and we get on rather well. She invites me to an event with the Prime Minister the next day and although I am completely shattered I say I will try to come.  Have organised very successful community meeting for Britain Stronger in Europe with one of its head honchos which many people turn up to, including hottest volunteer. Everyone at the meeting breaks into applause thanking me for all the work I have done for the campaign. Am so exhausted barely make it through the two and a half hour meeting but limp home afterwards.

Day 95. Wake up after early night feeling refreshed and dash off to South London to meet the Prime Minister. Of course other people will be there but am looking so hot I am sure he will only have eyes for me. Use build up to Prime Minister’s speech to scout around room looking for BSE volunteers I fancy. See tall rather fat man and shamelessly go up to him. He eyes me up and down and we start talking. He is not perfect as he was smoking which I hate and has a belly at least as big as the ex-armed robbers. But he is very posh and I wonder if he is single. Shove myself to the front of the crowd that is waiting for David Cameron. He is sharing a platform with the new Labour mayor of London, the first muslim mayor of any major European city, Sadiq Khan. Although the Prime Minister has previously said that Sadiq Khan was an extremist this seems to have been forgotten as they join forces to promote Britain’s membership of the EU. David Cameron is very attractive and decide I will ask him for a job.  As he shakes hands with the crowd after his speech I put forward my proposal that I will be the government’s new Minister for Mental Health. When he questions my qualifications I tell him to check out the blog.

Day 96. Preparing for key speech I am going to give to Labour Party activists in my local area to try to get them to campaign to stay in the European Union. As my local constituency has a 29,000 Labour majority they pretty much have the whole area sewn up. As I grew scales and a tail before the last General Election and was diagnosed as an incurable Tory I have limited understanding of the concerns of Labour voters. Speak to highly intelligent Labour Party activist from Stronger In  about what to say in the speech. After I’ve spoken to him discover he’s still at school. The great thing with Stronger In is that everyone is highly intelligent and interested in politics. Is very similar to being at the BBC. Speak to hottest volunteer about content of my speech which he says is very good. .

Day 97. Spend whole day preparing for speech and reflecting on the fact that I have actually met someone very attractive who fancies me ie the hottest volunteer. But now I realise he is definitely interested in me my interest in him is waning. He comes to support me at the Labour Party event (my first ever political speech) and I realise that I don’t fancy him anymore.  As he is tall, dark, handsome, brilliantly intelligent and very nice this suggests that my sex drive is only activated by people who are dangerous or unavailable. Is this the real reason why I am still single at 46?  That I don’t actually want to find Mr Right? Maybe I have “intimacy issues” and actually like being on my own…

I address a meeting of Labour Party activists in Queens Park in Brent about the benefits of the UK staying in the European Union according to the Bank of England the Confederation of British Industry the Institute for Fiscal Studies and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and DevelopmentSpeech at Labour party event goes very well but I leave disturbed. Something is clearly very wrong with me.

Day 98. Spend whole day concealing I am a Tory while speaking to Labour councillors in my local area about campaigning in Stonebridge which was previously one of most notorious areas in Britain. I ask the councillor if my car will be stolen if I park there but he tells me I will be fine as long as I leave before dark. Have put on fake tan so look more ethnic for Stonebridge but am not sure how my expensive boarding school accent will go down. Hottest volunteer is coming (he wants to do all my campaigning with me!) and am going to have to face fact that here is a a gorgeous man, 20 years younger than me, brilliantly intelligent and really quite into me that I have somehow gone off. Am I afraid of a functional relationship?

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Next week: Absolutely no idea….now I’ve met the Prime Minister maybe I’ll meet Barack Obama as well!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where the f**k is Mr Right?

 

I join dating websites Guardian Soulmates, Elite Singles and the Inner Circle as part of my quest to find Mr Right or the parent of my frozen embryos. Despite receiving many likes, smiles and messages on the websites I do not meet anyone I fancy

Day 65. Wild excitement as speak to hot guy from Elite Singles who phones me saying he is desperate to speak to me. Turns out he is an Oxford graduate, running a hedge fund and lives in Prime Central London Belgravia. Not only perfect boyfriend material but perfect sperm donor. Also he says he was a computer hacker and hacked into banks as a teenager. This thrills me as I still have a soft spot for criminals due to relationship with ex-armed robber. He becomes a bit nervous when I say he can’t read the blog (no way is any prospective suitor going to be let loose on this collected mass of insanity before they have even met me). But still says he wants to meet me the next day. Have to keep expectations down though as fact is have not fancied a single man I’ve met off the internet.

Day 66. Worst day ever with the online dating. Spent four hours getting ready for hot date  (to artfully contrive “just got out of bed look”)  with Oxford graduate. Alas when I popped into venue saying I was struggling to park he looked very different from his photo and did not fancy him at all. Must have given him a “who the fuck are you?” look as when got back after parking he had disappeared and was studiously avoiding my texts and phone calls. May have to retire from online dating as was so wild with excitement before meeting but now feel catatonic.

Day 67. Have made radical decision to decouple search for Mr Right from search for sperm donor. Will find sperm donor first and though controversial will go to Crete to have sex selection and create female frozen embroyos. Look up California sperm bank where have look alikes of film stars and resolve to call them asap. Also have secret interview with prospective sperm donor (secret because he has no idea) who friend from Divorced from my Drug Dealer Anonymous has introduced me to. He is very intelligent but does have a receding chin..

Day 68. Go to Vodka for Breakfast Anonymous in Notting Hill obviously in search of man.  Had eye on hot secretary last time I was there although he has blue eyes. But when he turns up his tan has faded and he looks too white for me. Another very dark man does catch my eye but he seems to be dating perfect blonde Barbie who is nuzzling his ear. Still spot other prospective men and resolve I will be back. For no reason kiss man as am trying to speak to hot dark guy next to him which leaves him rather confused.

Day 69. Reluctantly vote for Zac Goldsmith, Conservative Candidate for London mayor, because the Labour contender Sadiq Khan is apparently threatening rent control on private landlords ie me. This anti-landlord bias is why I can’t stand Labour. But feel very squeamish as Zac has run pretty divisive campaign saying Sadiq is an Islamic extremist and trying to set Hindus and Sikhs against Muslims. After voting, go to  Divorced from my Drug Dealer Anonymous in Notting Hill, obviously looking for man. Do spot one very hot guy in crowd but cannot quite stay off phone organising dates with people from Inner Circle and Elite Singles. Amazingly put recovery first and talk to a newcomer female who has eating disorder and OCD after meeting. No luck in the men department.

Day 70. I am now full on political activist and main organiser for Britain Stronger In Europe (campaigning for Britain to stay in EU) for my enormous local borough, Brent.

I become the main coordinator in Brent for Britain Stronger In Europe which is campaigning for Britain to stay in the European Union in the referendum on June 23rd. David Cameron the Prime Minister is the head of the Remain camp while former London Mayor Boris Johnson is the head of the leave camp.

Go to Stronger In phone bank in Moorgate in the City of London to rustle up volunteers for events in my local area. Obviously also looking for politically switched on Mr Right.  Alas, white man Apocalypse descends again and I don’t fancy anyone. Will seriously have to consider emigrating to Southern Italy or Greece to find ethnic looking Mr Right as 90% of men in England are not my cup of tea. There are serious problems with our proposed speaker tour of my local area as we had planned to have local resident and former London Mayor Ken Livingstone as our star speaker. Unfortunately after he said, and refused to retract, the fact that Hitler was a Zionist he is now too toxic for us to touch.

Day 71. I have had disastrous dates before but not actually ones where I feared for my personal safety. Met someone whose identity I will have to disguise in case they stick a knife in my back. He was very attractive but it became evident, as the date progressed, that this was in an American Psycho Patrick Bateman kind of way. He was involved with so many conflicts with politicians and the police and had such elaborate conspiracy theories about people being planted in his flat by secretive enemies that I almost offered him a dose of my anti-psychotics.  I said after an hour that I would have to leave as his life was “too complicated” for me. He said 100% correctly that he had scared me and that I was running away. Spent whole journey back home looking over my shoulder in case he was following me.

Day 72. A joyous OCD day! Spent whole day locked up in my house not seeing anyone or even opening the front door. When the OCD was on me and I had to do crazy rituals 10 hours a day this was the only type of day I enjoyed.

Day 73. As part of efforts to re-start freelance journalism career went down to library in Kensington to read several weeks  worth of newspapers. Noticed a lot of incredibly good looking dark men on Kensington High Street (probably Arabs who are living there) which was incredibly annoying as I didn’t have any makeup on. Resolved must spend more time in Kensington as part of quest for Mr Right. If only parking wasn’t so difficult!

Day 74. Back down to Kensington Library again to read more newspapers. Man hunt was unsuccessful as was pouring with rain and I had my gym stuff and no makeup on. Pointlessly put on loads of makeup as went to Ladbroke Grove Sainsburys. Although there was a very good looking Arabic guy he was extremely young and rather short.

Day 75. Date with man who lives near Sloane Square in Chelsea who’d been on £10,000 holiday. Was pretty sure would not fancy him as his face in the photos had a slightly froggy look. But actually had a fabulous conversation about politics (must get politically interested man) and decided he had a nice face. But of course, in common with all online dating, did not fancy him.

Day 76. I discover from my research that there are record numbers of women having their first child over 40 and decide I will use this as a news peg for a feature to relaunch my journalism career. I was previously a correspondent for the BBC, the Sunday Times and the Guardian before crashing out of my career in Jamaica due to my cocaine addiction and mental health problems. My career has been dead for 11 years which will take some world beating efforts at resuscitation. But now I have had almost 23,000 hits on the blog and am 11 years clean and in recovery from all my mental health problems, I have the confidence to try. Tea with cousin Miranda (one of only two members of my family I am actually speaking to) in which I discuss the over 40 story. Then rush to Divorced from my Drug Dealer Anonymous in Notting Hill, obviously looking for man. Only spot one Arabic looking guy but he is very young and wearing white trainers so might be in the ex-armed robber faction of the fellowship.

Day 78. Start doing interviews with leading fertility experts as part of the over 40 1st time mothers story. Another angle I want to work in to the story, which will allow me to do a comic diary similar to the blog, is why virtual babies, which cry repeatedly at 3am in the morning and need to be “fed” “changed” and “soothed” are not available to older first time mothers. This comes after a Titanic struggle to get hold of a virtual baby in the UK which ultimately fails. As someone who has 9 hours sleep and rolls out of bed at 9.30am I genuinely want the virtual baby to see if I can cope with a child. Spend the whole evening frantically phoning all Brent volunteers for Britain Stronger in Europe events at the weekend. Alas having organised whole political meeting around which volunteers I fancy could come, call hottest volunteer, perfect boyfriend and sperm donor and find out he is abroad.

Day 79. Meet a close friend who I have had a falling out with and been avoiding because of her crazy behaviour around men. She tells me her wildly unsuitable boyfriend has hit her again and tried to strangle her.  Am so terrified that something terrible is going to happen to her that I feel sick and I have to call psychiatric crisis line for the first time in 2 years.

Day 80.  Feel calmer but tell friend I will not be in contact with her this week as I try to relaunch journalism career. Have multiple conversations with friend from Divorced from my Drug Dealer Anonymous about how to talk to newspaper people. He says I should delete the blog as newspaper people will think I am crazy if they read it. I refuse to take down the blog. After numerous desperate requests on Facebook I have finally got hold of a Virtual Baby from eBay in the United States. I get card from Hermes (crap courier company) saying she has been left behind the bin. I rescue her from the bin. Obviously I had to have a female virtual baby due to obsession with having little girl.

Day 81. D day with the virtual baby and the virtual babies story. I unpack the virtual baby study the instructions and set the baby to demo which is supposed to be easy to care for. Baby starts shrieking every 5 minutes necessitating constant attention.

I obtain a virtual baby or Think It Over Doll from ebay in the United States. This is after the main distributor for the Virtual babies in the UK Lifechoice has point blank refused to hire me a virtual baby.

As every phone call I make to newspapers about the virtual baby story is interrupted by the howling of the virtual baby herself I realise a crucial fact: it is not possible to work while you are looking after a baby. After 2 hours of interruption I cheat and remove the electronics box and batteries from the virtual baby.  The baby will be kept on silent until I get a commission to do the story.  Am amazed at my confidence as I cold call the newspapers and get some positive interest in the story.

Day 82.  I am on a tight rope wire as it seems there is a lot of interest in the story. I send through various facts and figures but have to be patient and wait. My interest in the online dating has totally expired and I haven’t logged in to any sites for ages.

Day 83. Go to Vodka for Breakfast Anonymous in Notting Hill obviously looking for man.  Fortune favours the bold so I shamelessly approach two men I might fancy after the meeting. One is the blue eyed secretary who I thought was too white but actually realise is very hot. Not sure his economics would add up to large expense of child but will am definitely interested in exploring further….

Day 84. Day of heart attack inducing stress as I try to juggle spending whole day doing Britain Stronger in Europe work with blogging and continued search for Mr Right. Decide to go into Stronger In phone bank (although really don’t have time) in quest for politically switched on man. The coordinator of Stronger In is very dark and rather attractive but alas too short. Start wondering how I can find out if secretary for Vodka for Breakfast Anonymous is single and whether, by any chance, he want to parent my frozen embryos. Also think Palestinian Doctor with hair issues similar to mine who I never met as he cancelled date could be perfect sperm donor. Not sure how to approach him though as text along the lines of “although we’ve never met you sounded great and I want your sperm” could meet a mixed response…

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Next week: I can’t predict as I don’t know what’s happened yet!

 

 

 

Kicking the serial killers out of my house – my recovery from 30 years of OCD

I recover from my chronic 10 hour a day OCD where I thought there were serial killers in my wardrobe, chest of drawers and laundry basket. This started when I was 8 when I saw a very frightening scene from horror movie Friday the 13th

At the worst point of my OCD, April 2014, I was spending more than 10 hours a day on crazy OCD checking rituals that involved more kung fu poses than a 3 hour Jackie Chan film and more texting than  a teenager with textitis. I would also have to take about 1000 photographs a day, which meant my Iphone would run out of storage space after an hour. This had happened because I had had a nervous breakdown due to the stress of having no income as my rental property needed major work and I couldn’t rent it out. Also because the “love of my life,” an ex-armed robber pimp and drug dealer who’d forgotten how long he’d spent in jail, was having a baby with someone else.  When the building project on my rental property started in December 2013, the OCD was taking only 45 minutes a day. But by the end of the year, after I’d found out about the ex-armed robber’s baby, the OCD had escalated to 5 hours a day. By March 2014 it had gone up to 9 hours a day.

However tired I was I had to do this endless checking – in fact the more exhausted I was the more fearful I was of making mistakes so the checking would take much longer. So many days during the nervous breakdown I just wanted to fall to the floor of my rental property and start screaming and thrashing on the ground. And so many days I thought there is no way I will make it to the end of this day without relapsing and ending up drunk. I was being treated by the local psychiatric crisis team and I would ring my social worker repeatedly saying “I want to cut my throat.”  I knew what I was doing was totally irrational but I just couldn’t stop.

I’d been prescribed Sertraline,  an anti-anxiety medication, by my doctor.  But after going psycho on a similar drug Paroxetine, I didn’t want to take medication. Eventually, as I was threatened with losing my home or my rental property as I couldn’t complete the building project because the OCD was so bad, I went on the lowest dose of fluoxetine, another anti-anxiety medication.  The sertraline had terrified me as it said it could provoke seizures in people who’d had epilepsy which I’d had as a child. I’d taken fluoxetine before with no ill effects and it had a much lower seizure rate than Sertraline.

The OCD had started when I was a child of about 12. I would repeatedly check under the bed, in the wardrobes, the shower room, bathroom and even the deep freeze for serial killers who I was convinced were going to kill me. They were resilient and flexible creatures these serial killers I thought that could shrink to the size of a packet of Birds Eye peas. Checking wasn’t enough I also had to find hiding places from the serial killers and practise my escape routes which involved sprinting along the roof. My mother had become very threatening towards me, saying quite calmly that she was going to put a contract out on my father, that I was just like him and wasn’t even her daughter. It was only recently that I realised there were no serial killers at my boarding school they only existed in my mother’s house.  I’d had a phobia of serial killers since I was 8 when I’d seen ultra violent horror films such as Friday the 13th and Halloween on American cable TV in Jamaica. I think the reason I was so frightened by these films was that I had almost died twice by the age of 2 – firstly as I was born and then because of a massive epileptic fit when I was 2. I was later diagnosed with Post Traumatic stress disorder.

The OCD disappeared when I started drinking as a teenager. But as soon as I got clean in 2005 it flared up again.  I was behaving in such a crazy way in 2006, jumping out of bed at 3am to iron the leaves of thousands of artificial plants, that I had to go on respiridone an anti-psychotic. After my recovery from drug and alcohol addiction at the beginning of 2005 my OCD flared up again and I started jumping out of bed at 3am in the morning to do crazy OCD rituals This stopped the manic surge I had always had at night which the doctors said could be cyclothymia, a milder form of bipolar.

I also developed a phobia of dogshit and became unable to walk down the street at night (in case the dark patches concealed a poo) but instead would hop, like a frog on speed, from one lighted patch to another. When it snowed I was completely housebound as it could conceal a poo.

The OCD improved after this but then spiralled out of control when I had the nervous breakdown at the end of 2013.

At its height the checking consisted of the following.  Every action had to be precisely described (with the number of repetitions) in texts that were pages and pages long.

At my rental property  (where the central heating had been disconnected and it was minus 5 degrees)

Forensic and repeated examination of the roof terrace to make sure the builders had not left anything behind which could fall on the heads of my expensive neighbours in Notting Hill leading inevitably to a lawsuit in which I would lose everything.

Checking all the windows and doors were locked hundreds of times

Checking and photographing that the boiler and all the central heating controls were off multiple times. I feared the builders had damaged the boiler and if it was on the house would burn down.

Unplugging everything in the house then shouting “checked off” with multiple karate chop motions in the direction of every socket in the house. Repeating this 5 times.

Shouting “dark dark dark” (if the room is dark) or “off off off” (if the room is light) at every individual light in the house. Repeating this 50 times.

Taking multiple photographs of the unplugged convector heater, kettle and microwave, photographs which had to show the plug clearly lying in the middle of the floor. (fear of fire) Repeated checking that all the machines in the kitchen were switched off and that the knobs on the gas stove were at the maximum off position. Photographing the stove to prove the knobs were off.

kettlegasstovecollagefinished

Cleaning the stove for half an hour (in the filthy building site) as I thought if one speck of dust was on the stove the house would burn down.

Checking all the floors forensically (while shouting “nothing left behind”) to be sure that I had left nothing there. I feared if I left an empty wrapper of chewing gum on the floor the builders would clone my identity.

As the builders had drilled through some electricity cables (although they had been repaired) I had to switch most of the breakers on the fuseboard off each night then photograph the two fuseboards 20 times. If the photographs weren’t clear enough I had to start again.

Set the alarm  (which had to be set again if there were any problems with the text message or the beeps weren’t loud enough)

Lock the door and check it 400 times.

Stand in front of the darkened house saying “dark dark dark” and making multiple karate chop movements in the direction of all the lights.

Forensically check the ground outside the house to make sure I had left nothing behind. If I’d dropped a key the house could be broken into or a credit card my identity would be cloned.

Fielding the extremely bemused looks and questions of neighbours as to what the f**k I was doing.

Driving off in my car, then leaving the engine running, leaping out of the car into a kung fu pose, staring fixedly at the space just vacated by the car while shouting “nothing left behind.”  This is as above to prevent my identity being cloned, my rental property being broken into or my home being invaded by miniature serial killers.

I would get home at midnight, freezing and starving then slump in front of the TV with my dinner (no news because of my paranoia) before starting the rest of the checking.

The car

I would go out in my dressing gown at 1am to check the car, which would take an hour, ignoring the curious questions of my neighbours.  The main thing about the car was to check (as if my life depended on it 5 times with a torch) that I had left nothing inside it (which could obviously provoke a break in). And check that all the windows and doors and boot were locked 1000 times.

At home:

Repetitive checking of windows and doors at least 400 times. Banging on the garden doors to check they were locked 900 times. As this happened after 1 am I was reported to the council for noise nuisance more often than a ghetto blasting crack house. If I didn’t do this I thought I would be exposed to immediate rape and murder by miniature serial killers.

Photographing of the boiler to confirm it was off. I forget my precise anxiety about the boiler, something like a screw fixing it to the wall was the wrong size, but I feared if left on overnight the house would burn down.

Checking all the machines in the kitchen are off and the kettle is unplugged multiple times

Cleaning the stove for half an hour as obviously if a speck of dust was on the stove the house would burn down.

Doing karate chop motions in front of the burglar alarm panel then rushing upstairs and leaping into a kung fu pose before the two beeps go off confirming the alarm is set. If there is not enough gap between assuming the pose and the beeps going off the alarm has to be set again.

Doing 50 karate chop motions in front of every light.

Checking the laundry basket, wardrobes and chest of drawers in my bedroom for miniature serial killers.

Checking the alarms are set a hundred times and that my phone and the alarms are switched off 300 times. (fear of not waking up and of being woken up)

After this I would slump into bed exhausted at 5am not knowing how I was going to go on. You will not be surprised that the only difference between someone with OCD and psychosis is that the OCD person realises they are irrational.

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It was the day my anti-anxiety medication fluoxetine went up to the maximum dose of 60mg a day that my recovery from OCD started. I immediately felt a reduction in the desire to check. I was doing cognitive behavioural therapy for the OCD. Every week we would have “goals” in reduction of the OCD. I would write these goals down in documents that were 20 pages long and update them with my progress every couple of days. I have always been an achiever and although these goals were modest, such as reducing the car checking from 1000 to 980 a day, they gave me a sense of achievement. I would discuss my OCD goals with my best friend Susanna and neighbour Diane a therapist in hour long chats every day as well as other friends from recovery. It was vital that whenever  I tried to achieve a breakthrough I had enough support. Gradual reduction of the OCD was essential to my recovery. If I tried to do anything too dramatic I wouldn’t sleep that night and, if I was tired, the OCD would take double the length of time the following day.

As the OCD improved I was able to resume the building project on my rental property and get it ready to be rented out. But I was still checking 7 hours a day.  As the new tenant didn’t want to move in for another month I decided to harness my desire to move into my rental property – which was looking fabulous after the building project – to break through a major barrier in the OCD. I hadn’t left my home overnight for over 5 years because I feared if I did the house would be burgled or burn down. I decided I would go to stay at my rental property.

This involved scanning thousands of documents in my home (in case of a fire) and taking a suitcase of paperwork with me.Because of my chronic OCD when I leave my home overnight for the first time in 5 years I have to scan thousands of documents and put dozens of smoke detectors into the house and do extensive checks on all the electrics

I had to have 20 new smoke detectors installed in my home, all linked the fire station. I checked the electrics and every electrical item in the house umpteen times.  And installed a hundred new locks on the bedroom door and shutters of my rental property. Before I left my home I had to unplug everything and switch all the sockets off, check the doors and windows hundreds of times and do the karate chop thing with all the lights. This took over 4 hours. I had my neighbour Diane on speed dial 24/7 to calm my anxieties about the house.

I stayed at my rental property for almost 2 weeks, still checking 3 hours a day, and got into trouble when I was checking the car for an hour with a torch as everyone thought I was stealing it.

When my tenant moved in, and I had an income for the first time in a year, I decided I would continue looking for an EMDR therapist, convinced that the OCD was a symptom of PTSD. I had had EMDR but the therapist had been very critical and reminded me of my wicked stepmother so it had had almost no positive impact at all.

I decided I wanted a therapist with foreign roots who looked ethnic like myself and my main therapist Mei Fung Chung. I found a clinical psychologist called Raquel Correia on the EMDR UK website. When I met her she was perfect, almost Jamaican looking, with long dark hair and dark skin. Of course I fancied the pants off her. But once we’d got over that hurdle the EMDR was amazing and had a dramatic impact on the OCD.

It was now time for a bigger challenge to my OCD and I decided I would leave London overnight. This required scanning another mountain of paperwork and also finding a hotel where the bedrooms were like Fort Knox and neither the staff nor aliens could get in at night. But unlike the trip to my rental property I didn’t unplug anything and only took 10 minutes to check the house before I left. I was so unconcerned about the house I didn’t even call my neighbour Diane once.  I went with my 12 Step sponsor, Ellie who said she would accompany me on all my OCD busting trips.

After the success of this trip I decided I would go abroad which I had not done for six years. My sponsor wanted to go on a writing retreat in Greece but at the last minute pulled out saying the timing was wrong. When I  questioned her she dumped me as a sponsee.  This, as well as the fact that my sponsor in Divorced from my Drug Dealer Anonymous made me ill by encouraging me to come off psychiatric medication,  has left a bad taste in my mouth about 12 Step sponsorship.

But all my friends said I had to still go to Greece even if it was on my own. A friend of mine in recovery told me there were English speaking Vodka for Breakfast Anonymous and Divorced from my Drug Dealer Anonymous meetings in Athens. He gave me the number of several recovery people there who were very friendly when I spoke to them. I decided I would go away on my own for the first time in my 10 year recovery.

Of course this required scanning a mountain of paperwork and finding a hotel where the bedrooms were like a bank vault. I demanded a room with no balcony or view in case agile Athenian serial killers could put a ladder up and enter on the 4th floor.

My close friend in recovery, Sarah, took me to the airport which helped to calm me down. I was terrified on the plane not only because I was leaving the UK for the first time in years but because I thought the plane would crash. But I had a magic weapon in my hand lugguage – a Bible, my falling apart toy Bunny and 100 portable locks I’d bought off Amazon. I had bought them in case the security arrangements on the hotel door were not up to scratch. I tried to lock myself in on the plane but was not successful at all.

Because of my chronic OCD I had not left the UK for over 6 years or got on a plane so was terrified of flying

The trip was a roaring success – I was not only welcomed with open arms by the Divorced from my Drug Dealer Anonymous people in Greece but did my first piece of journalism for my entire 10 year recovery. I covered the Greek elections and the refugee crisis, interviewing dozens of refugees camped out rough in Athens. On the OCD front, I also managed to move to a room with a balcony where the bathroom window didn’t even close. I got round this by buying enough wire to cut off the border of an entire European country and wrapping it round the window. Even when disaster struck and I got a call from my burglar alarm company saying my house had been broken into I was able to get a friend to call the police and stayed relatively calm. Luckily it was a false alarm or I would never have gone abroad again.

I had another breakthrough at Christmas when I went down to Somerset to spend the holiday with a group of recovering addicts in various 12 Step fellowships. For a start I didn’t scan anything before I went as I was confident the house was not going to burn down. Also, although I had to leave the room at night to go to the loo as there was no ensuite bathroom, I did not do my usual trick of checking the wardrobes for miniature serial killers when I came back. This required turning on the lights and ensured I never got back to sleep. Also, amazingly, I was able to share cutlery and plates with all the people on the trip without the presence of a Proton Particle Purifier (aka dishwasher) to sterilise all the utensils.

I recover from my chronic OCD which meant I could not share cutlery cups and plates with anyone without them being sterilised in a dishwasher and manage to share all these implements with people I don't even know

On top of this I drove on a motorway, on my own, for the first time in my life, challenging my OCD fear of death on a high speed road.

I still have OCD but it has been reduced to a few minutes a day and no longer controls my life. My scanner is now printing out plaintive automated messages saying “YOU DON’T NEED ME” at 4am in the morning.  I have ejected the serial killers from all the of the following locations in my house: the laundry basket, chest of drawers, wardrobe and the deep freeze. After I gave the serial killers their P45s they all retrained as psychiatrists instead.   I have been unable to have a relationship for years because the OCD was so bad.  But now I am actively dating. I am practically cured!

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Next week: Where the f**k is Mr Right?

More than 20,000 hits on my blog in a year after trying to make it as a writer since 1999..

I score more than 20,000 hits on my blog on WordPress US addiction site Addiction Unscripted and LinkedIn in less than a year

With some notable exceptions, my comedy writing career hasn’t been much of a success till now.  I started in 1999 with a sitcom based on the psychedelic antics of the acid dropping Buddhist monks, hippies and resident Clown of The Happy Hippie commune I’d stayed in when I was nineteen in California. The action was translated into inner city Peckham in South London, which in 1999 was far from gentrified. The main character, Helga who was brought up on a snail farm in Germany, had been dumped by her husband and reluctantly decamped from Prime Central London Belgravia to Peckham. When she’d got into her rented flat, she’d discovered Buttercup, an ageing hippy and tech nerd drop out from MIT,  meditating in a cupboard.  He’d been living in parks for seven years before that. They set up a Hippie magazine Ecology and soon word goes round London that anyone who can provide a service to the commune or magazine can get free accommodation. Various oddballs such as Kirk the “body guard” a former US marine who’d survived a nuclear explosion in the Pacific but said sayonara to his sanity afterwards and Dick a gay stripper turn up. Those of you who’ve read my post “Dropping acid with a bunch of Buddhist monks in California” will recognise the scenario. But the sitcom was much more political lampooning various left wing and politically correct activist groups.

The magazine is focused on various good causes  such as Amazonian Indians, Native Americans and trees. But is actually a load of rubbish based on a misunderstanding of Buddhist, Hindu and Native American philosophy. They engage in missions with various groups such as the Animal Liberation Front where they attempt and catastrophically fail to liberate 20,000 gerbils who are having bad perms on their eyebrows. Fuck ups are fundamental to the group. After printing a solid gold issue commemorating the death of the Dalai Lama (who’s unfortunately still alive) the magazine is stormed by hordes of angry Buddhists and they have to flee for their lives. The story charts the dot.com boom and bust as they set up a website in hiding, masterminded by Buttercup, who transforms from a downtrodden hippy to an Internet Entrepreneur.

The characters set up a hippie website that deals with various good causes including Amazonian Indians, Native Americans and Tree Conservation. They still spend their days dropping acid in the commune

The website with chanting, hallucinogenic effects and various new age philosophies becomes a massive cult hit with clubbers who are so stoned they think it’s really deep.  After the website is valued at £100 million pounds Buttercup launches a coup trying to sell it to Google. This is thwarted by the dot com bust but a talent war breaks out with companies trying to poach Buttercup who ends up earning a million pounds a year.

I sent the script to Curtis Brown, the premier TV writing agency in Britain and got a personal letter back from Ben Hall the man who’s now their CEO saying he had greatly enjoyed the script and that he was “very impressed with the craft” with which I wrote.

Ben Hall CEO of top London literary agency Curtis Brown writes me very positive letter about my comedy script

I also sent it to a friend, a senior TV comedy producer who’d worked with many big names, such as Lenny Henry, who said I “definitely could write” but that the sitcom would not be commissioned as it was too similar to existing sitcom Hippies.

But reading through the synopsis I wrote in 1999, now in 2016, I realise that the story was very funny, quite political and very topical.  If only I had had the persistence that I’ve developed in recovery plodding on with my writing career despite multiple setbacks I had enough material for a comic novel.  I bitterly regret all the energy and good ideas I wasted that came to absolutely nothing because I didn’t plough on with the idea.

My next project in 2001 was completely different – a short film that was a gothic horror story about a young couple who, while having sex for the first time in a romantic woodland setting, realise they are next to a corpse. The corpse looks exactly like the girl. She falls apart after the discovery unable to touch her boyfriend or share a bedroom with him. The girl is later haunted – or imagines – the voice of the dead girl echoing around her bedroom begging her to come back to the wood where she committed suicide. There are hints that the ghost may be that of the living girl’s sister. The girl goes back to the wood, after her boyfriend fails to stop her.  When she is in the wood the ghost suddenly says that she does not want to leave the girl. She invades the girls head saying she will never be alone again for a second, and the girl starts screaming realising she is going mad. The film ends with a flashback of the living girl gloating as she pushed her little sister out of a top floor window as a child.

People who read this short story said it was “gripping” and “a real page turner.” When I sent this short film into the National Film and Television School in 2002 they immediately rang me in Jamaica to ask me in for an interview.  Unfortunately as my mother was devastatingly ill in Jamaica I could not come back to England for the course.  Again, although I had had such good feedback on the film, I did nothing to get it produced.

The height of my comic writing career came when I had a series of 10 short factual comedy dramas about Jamaica broadcast on BBC Radio 4 to an audience of millions. These dramas which featured up to 15 characters, each performed in different accents by myself, were broadcast between 2001-2004 while I was living in Jamaica. But when I crashed out of my journalism career because of my cocaine addiction this avenue was permanently closed. In any event although I could arrange and perform the truth artistically in these dramas (which were broadcast on the “From Our Own Correspondent” programme) they had to stick closely to the facts.

My next fictional project was more ambitious: a feature film script called “The Fish Tank Babies.” This was based on a short comic story I’d written detailing my reluctance to get pregnant as “you waddle around like a walrus whose eaten too much dairy milk and can’t even pee or have sex properly afterwards.” Modern women I said were “badly designed” as “Thousands of generations of harpy-like fashion editors have liposucked our hips from the requisite 76” to 36″ inches. The solution I said was either to “return to a deeply unfashionable Stone Age sillouette or “Start growing babies in fish tanks”

The film is a satire on a glamorous driven career woman in New York, who is incredibly obnoxious but has a “perfect” life who wants children but is horrified by birth. Until very recently because of my lifelong eating disorder I could not contemplate getting pregnant and wanted to have a surrogate birth. The film also takes the piss out of the American pharmaceutical industry, as the main character is the Creative Director of an ad agency that produces glossy ads for products like “Nolaze” that treats a condition called “Morning Attention Deficit Disorder” or MADD and “Perfect” that deals with the symptoms of an epidemic disease called Limited Imperceptible Friction Energy or L.I.F.E.

Conned by the perfect commercials she creates, she decides she wants children and discovers that scientists in Japan have grown goats in artificial wombs. This last fact is actually true!  In my film the Japanese government are engaged in a top secret project to rescue their national economy by raising the IQ of the population by ten points.  By removing the element of pregnancy and birth they are trying to persuade the most intelligent and successful people who have the fewest children to have the most. The fishtank babies can also be mentally stimulated twenty four hours a day with Einstein’s theory of relativity piped directly into the tank, alternated with bursts of Mozart and soliloquies from Shakespeare. She emails the project and is amazed when three scientists from the Tokyo Ministry of Technology turn up at her door the following day. One of these is actually an undercover white supremacist, Smith, who has infiltrated the project trying to spread a blond haired blue eyed gene throughout the world. She goes to an Elite sperm bank to hand select the sperm donors who all produce glossy “dating videos” to attract the women. Of course everyone she chooses is over 6 foot, has been to Ivy League Universities and successful in their chosen field.

This has peculiar resonance with my own life at the moment as I want a sperm donor (preferably over 5 foot 10) who has been to a good university to create genius frozen embryos. This is to preserve my ability to have my own biological child as I am 46 and my eggs will soon be past their sell by date. The fertility clinic said a sperm bank in California has donors that look like film stars but I was horrified that you can’t get any photos of them. The honest truth is I would love a dating video of my sperm donor!

As the fish tank baby technique in the movie is experimental they have to create eight embryos in fish tanks to be sure some survive. Unfortunately all the babies survive and Sandra cannot bear to terminate any of them.  This causes her life to fall apart and for her to be sacked from her job after she asks for maternity leave without being pregnant. The children are incredibly advanced, crawling within a few days, speaking after a month and also have special powers like crawling vertically up walls.  She takes her employer to court for unfair dismissal and the babies at three months old give evidence in court to prove that she is their mother. The appearance of the children in court produces a media storm.

The main character softens during the film becoming more and more attached to the babies and swops her TV Executive boyfriend, who can’t get it up, for the caretaker of her building who is an impoverished writer but intelligent and actually cares about her.

After the white supremacists get wind of a plan to move the project to Tokyo they launch a plan to abduct all the babies and kill Sandra. But the babies with their special powers and the scientists outwit the commandos who are arrested by the police. The family including the caretaker end up in hiding but happy in a South American country.

My friend who is a comedy producer said that the central character was not attractive enough for the audience to care about her and that there were elements of the story that were unrealistic. She said the central character needed to be humanised and the slapstick toned down. She also suggested I could write it as a novel, which I did nothing about.

Reading this script in 2016 I see it has many good elements. Again with the slightest whiff of discouragement I abandoned the project and didn’t try to do anything with it.

Despite the chaos and trauma of my life between 1999 and 2005 when I got clean, I have lovingly preserved every one of these scripts that I have written as well as the short stories.

Although I almost killed myself with my cocaine addiction and bulimia and was forced into treatment at the beginning of 2005 by my family I still preserved every one of the comedy scripts and short stories I had written back to 1999

Considering that I didn’t keep a single receipt from the £300,000 building project I did to build my house in Notting Hill this is pretty amazing.

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Once I got into recovery I was so caught up with trying to stay clean and dealing with my mental health problems that I had little time for writing. But the dramatic events that had happened in rehab, including my getting it together with an ex-armed robber pimp and drug dealer who’d forgotten how long he’d spent in jail, stimulated my imagination. When I moved into a dry house on the edge of Notting Hill, the crazy shenanigans of the residents which my boyfriend referred to as “Lunatic Lane” inspired me to start writing again. But I only made a few notes before I became obsessed with a major building project to completely re-build a house.

After the building project was finished, I started full time on my first novel whose drug dealing hero/anti-hero was inspired by my boyfriend and where the central character was a journalist who had dropped out of her career because of her cocaine addiction.

The story starts with a talented young actress, Aurelia, on the brink of Hollywood fame, ODing in a crack house.  She comes to buried underground and, after a desperate struggle to escape, suffocates.

The other characters embark on a darkly humorous odyssey of addiction to avoid their feelings of guilt around her death.  Her mother, Lady Olivia, realising she has not been perfect as a parent, decides to organise a perfect funeral instead. A cosmetic surgery addict, she has a series of mishaps at the hands of various cowboys on Harley Street.   Aurelia’s father, Charles, a sex addict, who’s sexually abused Aurelia, becomes hooked on violent porn and sex with prostitutes. He persists in believing he’s a decent person, who’s basically misunderstood.

Aurelia’s sister, Charlie, an Oxford graduate, is the only member of the family whose life is not controlled by addiction. She is struggling to make ends meet as a journalist in New York, where she’s a rising star on a gossip column, poking fun at self-important celebrities.

Resolutely anti-drugs, she nonetheless gets drawn into the seedy world her sister inhabited as she investigates her death.  But she leads the police to Colin – the man responsible for Aurelia’s death.

Wracked with guilt over her sister, who she adored but also envied, Charlie becomes addicted to alcohol and starts dabbling in cocaine. After several Absolut disasters, she crashes out of her career in journalism and relapses on cocaine. She starts doing peculiar sexual favours for older men – including a man disguised as a cocker spaniel, nicknamed “Mr Woof.”  But, after a brutal experience with two clients, she gives up cocaine again and goes to stay at the house of her best friend, a loving normal family, to try to sort out her life.

Colin, whose life has been blighted by sexual abuse and his mother’s alcoholism has been caught and goes to prison, where he’s using heavily.  Eventually, the heroin stops working and, overwhelmed by guilt, he attempts suicide. He is introduced to a “listener,” an older prisoner who becomes like a father to him. He starts attending meetings of Narcotics Anonymous and gets clean. He also learns to wash.

Unable to stay off drugs, Charlie starts a relationship with a Jamaican drug dealer in Notting Hill. After a while, he says his life is under threat and needs her to bring a parcel of cocaine from Jamaica.  After being forced to return with the drugs, she realises she is pregnant. She leaves the dealer and gives up drugs.  But she continues to drink and, after the baby is born prematurely with a heart defect, it is taken into care.  On the point of killing herself, she decides she will give up alcohol instead.

Just as he’s about to flee the country, her father is arrested and charged with attempted murder after he’s attacked and almost killed two prostitutes.

Charlie cannot stop drinking and tries to get into rehab. Her father will not pay. She gets funding from her local council at a rehab bristling with ex-cons.  After a procedural cock-up, Colin arrives. They clash repeatedly in group.  But Charlie realises Colin has changed and that both their lives have almost been destroyed by guilt.  After they leave, they become much closer and, eventually, kiss.  Charlie’s father is convicted of attempted murder and stays in jail. The baby recovers after an operation on her heart. And, as Charlie is now off the booze and drugs, the social workers say that, if she stays clean, she can be re-united with the baby.

The exciting news with this novel was that the Editorial Director of a major publishing house was interested in the novel and had agreed to read it when it was finished. I set about writing the novel with absolutely no clue how to do. And when I had finished the gargantuan 250,000 word first draft and enrolled on a course in novel writing, realised it would have to be completely rewritten. After doing this I sent it to the publisher where it was read by everyone including the Editorial Director who said:

“It is a multi-layered novel which deals with the desperate consequences of addiction through a complex family drama, successfully weaving the two together. There are convincing darkly comic moments and characters. Despite the appalling situations all the characters find themselves in, there is a sense of hope threaded throughout the novel, which offers an uplifting message to a very serious topic. Overall, I thought it provided a real insight into addiction and exposes the sad truths behind it but it would be too commercial for our list.”

I then set about trying to obtain an agent for the novel. While I was waiting to hear from agents about the novel I started writing the sequel “Hippy Ever After” about the relationship and adventures of Charlie and Colin as they try to build a house and life together in Notting Hill. The blurb for this novel was as follows:

Celebrity neighbours, punch-ups with a minor royal and a basement full of exotic sharks…..

When unlikely couple Charlie and Colin choose to build a nest in one of London’s most fashionable zones they get a lot more eggs than they’d bargained for.

Will their love survive the chasm in their backgrounds and bank balances?

As well as the dark forces that are trying to drive them apart..

And will Colin, whose only home was a crack house, avoid cracking up?

When I showed the synopsis to my ex-boyfriend it was so close to my life with him he said “are you seriously telling me this is fiction.” Those of you who have read my blog posts “When celebrities destroy your house and cut through your bedroom door with a carving knife saying “we miss you” and “Armageddon with the ex-armed robber” will have an idea of the story. Though of course the big difference between my life and this novel is that I did not build my house in Notting Hill, with its constant interruption by celebrity neighbours, film stars and soap star lodgers with my ex-armed robber boyfriend. It was my house in Kensal Green, which had no celebrity involvement, that I built with him. I wrote this novel in a blaze of creativity at the end of 2013, writing 75,000 words in less than 5 weeks, as I knew a major building project was coming up on my rental property and I would not be able to write for a while.

As I prepare for a major building project on my house in Notting Hill I complete my second novel writing 75,000 words in less than 5 weeks

In fact I had a nervous breakdown because of the building project and as my boyfriend, who I was still involved with, was having a baby with someone else. So I was not able to write anything for almost a year.

As I wrote Hippy Ever After so quickly I have only just read it now. Although it is a very hurried first draft and needs a lot of work it is funny and has potential. After I recovered from the nervous breakdown I got back into the first novel.

A friend of mine had said that if I wanted to be a writer I should be promoting my work on Twitter. I thought “I’ve got nothing to promote so I’ll start to write a blog.”  I was really only doing it to kill time while I was waiting to hear from agents about my novel. I started posting bloginhotpants on WordPress almost exactly a year ago.

From the beginning the reaction of readers was different to my previous work. I had many hits on the blog from my first post on Facebook and comments such as  “hilarious,” “sad, funny and shocking,” “Lord Byron’s got nothing on you,” and “this is very good you should turn it into a book it would be a best-seller.” Later readers commented that I was “changing their lives by revealing these intimate details.”

I had had absolutely no engagement with social media prior to writing the blog. I was not even on Twitter and never posted on Facebook. When I started I didn’t even know how to send a Tweet but did a social media course.  I gradually learned how to use social media to promote the blog coming up with funny posts on Facebook and Twitter. I acquired almost 4,000 followers on Twitter. I read everything I could get my hands on on how to increase traffic to your blog.

This year I started posting on a US addiction website and Linkedin so most of my 20,000 hits have come in the last few months. The big difference between the blog and my previous writing, apart from the comedy dramas for the BBC, was my level of dedication and persistence. I treat the blog like a job doing a little on it every day. And now I have been writing it for a year I have basically completed a memoir. I still want to get the blog published but feel a tremendous sense of fulfilment from my 20,000 hits and the wonderful comments I’ve got from readers.

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Next week: Clearing the infestation of serial killers from my laundry basket, chest of drawers, wardrobe and even the deep freeze – my recovery from a lifetime of OCD.