The here and now and a bit of way back then

I relived my journey to 40 and found there's so much more to say

Let me tell you about……..Nana Moon

on October 17, 2013

Have you found yourself feeling a bit curious about some of the people I’ve mentioned so far? I thought as much and so from time to time I’d like to talk a bit more about them.

Let’s begin with Nana Moon as it’s her Birthday and because she’s currently in Berlin and won’t read this for ages without free wifi around. She’s one of the few people I’ve known consistently for over twenty years now which is rather exciting for me. Perhaps less exciting for her as she’s already got friends she’s known for over thirty years.

Where to begin though. How about some photos.


I think if anyone could start a Consultancy on How to Be a Student, then it would have to be Nana Moon (albeit a Student circa the early to mid nineties). She was very good at the whole Student thing and I think I enjoyed that time all the more because someone else seemed to know what to do. Maybe’s it was because she had older siblings who had already tread the same path before her. She quickly had her room sorted out just so (a newspaper cutout of Ciaran Bracken by her bed and a poster of Damon Albarn on her ceiling), joined the University badminton club for alleged badminton tournaments (a mere front for the frequent badminton club pub crawls), she was confident, self assured, a little bit fearsome and very likeable. We lived on the same landing in our first year at the University of Salford and we shared the same house on Tootal Road in our second year but we haven’t lived together since then, although you can never rule out the same older person’s community housing in the future. Like students of the modern age, we too wore strappy dresses with hemlines just below the butt cheek. Except we rocked the look with an added layer of t-shirt (black or white), thick black opaque tights (which made the hem line below butt cheek acceptable) and a pair of trainers. Sounds fetching in type. She’s the only person I know, outside of Our Jenn in the early 1980s, who taped songs from the Top 40 charts on a Sunday evening. I can still see her now poised over the Pause button and getting extremely annoyed if she missed the crucial Pause moment.


We are who we are mostly because of our own choices but also because of the people we surround ourselves with. I said in my last post Them their Students, that I can be with certain people and be thrown back to that time. That’s not to say that she or I have failed to move on or that we have nothing in common anymore but that time of our lives. It’s just the familiarity born out of knowing someone for so long I guess. Although we Skyped the other day (for the second time in five years because her old desktop wasn’t able to support Skype and she definitely wasn’t going to upgrade it until the Museum of Science and Technology claimed it as a historical artefact), we usually catch up in the old fashioned way. Besides Mr Li, she is one of only two people I still have long, lengthy telephone conversations with. Actually Mr Li doesn’t even count because after 15 minutes he tells me I’m neglecting #1, 2 and 3 and to get off the telephone. I chat to her in the same way I have always done and it’s very easy, sometimes I even fail to breathe and Husband will often tell me I was meaning to end the call a while ago but then he’ll hear another ‘Oooh and one more thing I must tell you…’.

With Nana Moon, I can indulge the things I like (probably influenced by her with some kind of Jedi mind trick) that as a grown up we mostly put aside. The television programmes (Charmed, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Supernatural, Alias), the films (Harry Potter, the digitally remastered Stars Wars Trilogy and new episodes), the bands (Blur – I would fight her for Damon, Pulp, Take That, The Wonder Stuff, The Bee Gees), the books (The Enchanted Wood, The Magic Faraway Tree, Star Wars again, Clive Cussler), the board games (Frustration, Monopoly, Connect 4). She doesn’t make me feel like I can’t still have these in my life as well as the grown up stuff. Nana Moon makes me regress a little which is interesting when we’ve gone to stay at hers in the UK with #1 and 2 in tow (she’s yet to meet #3) and I’m asserting parental authority. But then how could I not when she gets out the Sega and asks if we want to play Micromachines? It wasn’t that long ago either when I would nominate her to take on food eating challenges at parties. There have been several house parties where someone has decided it’s a good idea to cram as many mini muffins, chocolate eclairs or satsumas in their mouths and I’ve always put forward Nana Moon but she’s a bit coy about her abilities. She drew the line when I suggested custard creams as a counter challenge.


If I were a superstar celebrity then she’d be the kind of friend I’d be talking about in interviews and describing as the one who keeps me grounded. She’s rather straight to the point and very honest with her opinions and after she’s voiced them then the decision to do what you will is your own but you’ve heard what she thinks. So you always know where you stand. She thinks I can’t disguise how I’m feeling by the look on my face but she can’t disguise how she’s feeling by the tone of her voice. The indignation and utter disbelief when she found out I had never seen any of the Back to the Future trilogy or Indiana Jones films was immeasurable. When she reads this now that I still haven’t watched them all properly, her voice will rise two octaves higher: glass will shatter and dogs will cower. She’s the one who pointed out with Husband the correct response to ‘It was nice to meet you’. My ears bled afterwards.

She thinks I’m rude for asking what kind of Sunday roast it will be before accepting the invitation but I think it would be more rude to sit down at table and not eat if it were to be roast lamb which I don’t like. I think she’s incredibly stubborn which is really funny to see when it’s directed at someone else. So you best not let her know any habits she has that annoy you because she’s not going to drop them and will do them all the more.


She has led a life quite well traveled so far and some of it I wish I had done myself like taking time out to go travelling in our early twenties. During our long Skype chat the other day, she showed me her latest thing which was a map of the world where you colour in the countries you’ve been to and whilst she’s been to many countries, she really needs to go to Russia, Canada and Brazil to make the map look really impressive. She’s quite a dark horse too but very discreet about it. I don’t think even Carnage UK could catch her unawares but if you look closely, you can see she’s been up to some sort of shenanigans like the time we found the dining table chairs were misaligned. One time she stayed over after a party when we were flat sharing with Uncle Monkey who gallantly told us she could have his room as he wasn’t coming home. Lo and behold who should return in the middle of the night and proclaim to be ‘Just getting in’. She’s not stupid you know!

Most important of all, I trust her. I always have done and it’s cemented by the fact that she is Godmother to #1, 2 and 3. Besides the responsibility of upholding the teachings of Christianity, I rather want #1, 2 and 3 to have the influence of someone who has very similar interests to me but isn’t like me. They can learn a lot from her independence and I’m sure she’ll be thrilled that there’s someone who is finally interested in the meaning of all the road markings designed to promote road traffic safety. She’s a Civil Engineer and I’m very proud that she’s thriving in a male dominated profession but I just don’t get the excitement of a new chevron on the road. All those years ago when I first met her and emerging from a rather strict upbringing and a fairly unconventional family background, she was one of the first people I talked to about it which was a big deal at the time. She’s brave but not reckless and she gives me the courage to do things out of my comfort zone. She’s always been the sporty type and seems to get a lot of enjoyment out of jumping off tall things attached to elastic. If Mr Li knew about this he definitely wouldn’t approve. Actually I’m so glad I didn’t go travelling with her because whilst it would be nice to add that to my CV, I actually want to vomit in my mouth at the thought of bungee jumping or sky diving. But I know she would be able to talk me through it. I’m not very brave at all and I need a push sometimes (quite literally) and so a few years ago when Nana Moon came to visit with Ms Beefy we found ourselves down on Sentosa at the Megazip Adventure Park doing the tree tops assault course. I mean there were children a third of our age doing it too but you can’t help what you’re fearful of. So I’m stuck on this plank and even though I’m tied to a safety harness I freeze and I think I might cry and really want someone to come and rescue me until Nana Moon sensing the genuine distress puts on her lower octave voice and gets me through it. She knows when she’s needed and takes that responsibility very seriously.

She’s been my guide to the south of England, around many pubs and bars in many towns, given an education in the A-Z listing of her huge CD collection, she taught me the Beaver Patrol, she tells me I’m ‘Never too old to spoon’ – make of that what you will, she makes me arrange a bag of Skittles in a jar in order of flavour preference, she toe waves at me with her socks half falling off, she rests her elbow on my head when she’s tired, she’s hardly missed a special occasion and she is the best companion to get you through the big events in life like my 30th Birthday (mint Polos at the ready so you don’t chunder in the taxi on the way home), planning my surprise Hen Do and driving us to my wedding in her car that smells of wet dog.

No, unfortunately I can’t really tell you about the special people in my life in just one blog post. A good thing really because it means we’ve been through a lot and there’s a lot to say. Nana Moon is coming to stay in December for 10 days on her way to visit family in New Zealand. #1 has started to play Frustration but plays by his own rules. I’m not sure Nana Moon will make any concessions for a four year old either. She once challenged an eight year old Strawberry Mousse (my Nearly Niece who is 21 in a couple of days) to Connect Four, lost that one game and never played Connect Four with her again. I best get out the Connect Four then and I’m sure Nana Moon will be doing the same too.



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