Jane Basil Blog

Jane’s gift for poetry, writing and frank open honesty is so refreshing that I couldn’t help but be drawn to her.  Life has taken some very dark twists for her but writing is her catharsis and her readers cannot help but be drawn in.  She shares her life and tribulations candidly and it’s not for the faint hearted so it is that very poetic but blunt outlook that is so endearing.
Jane can you tell us something about your life, family and travels?
I was born in the bedroom of a run-down cottage in a tiny hamlet in the County of Devon, in the South West of England. Apart from a year in my teens and six months in my adult life I’ve always lived within ten miles of that cottage. I’ve resided in nineteen houses and apartments, a group of caravans, and a tent. I sofa surfed for a short while when I was homeless. I like to think I’ve now settled down.
At the time of my birth my father had just given up a successful business in London; he’d been the country’s leading back-stage theatrical photographer – to adopt a rural lifestyle 200 miles away. My mother’s ballet career was lost to marriage and children. She was a gentle stoic woman who bravely adapted to poverty and deprivation. She replaced her cultured and multicultural city friends with countrywomen who came to love and respect her. She surrounded herself with music, literature, poetry and world news. When she walked and when she worked it was like a dance. When she sang or recited poetry she went into a dream. I saw her weep twice; once when a beloved friend died and the day that Martin Luther King was murdered. If she wept on other occasions she did so in private. Her life was hard.
I have three older brothers and a younger sister. Except for my middle brother, who lives in Spain, they all live within three miles of me. Two of my daughters and my five grandsons all live within one mile of me. My son is nine miles away and my third daughter recently moved to Bristol, a hundred miles down the motorway. When my family moved to this area we were considered ‘foreigners’. Now it’s hard to tell the difference between one who was born and bred here and one who moved here six months ago. The influx of people from all over the country has diminished the strong Devon dialect and a lot of the regional words have been consigned to history.
We were known as “The Mad Basils” a term used endearingly by adults but jeeringly by our peers. I didn’t like school as I felt intimidated by the other kids, although they didn’t dare try to bully me after the time a boy three years older than me called me a name I didn’t like. I hit him a couple of times then grabbed his feet, lifted them and made him walk across the village square on his hands. That and a couple of other victories against older boys ensured my safety throughout school years.
And what about your education and work?
My three favourite subjects in school were English, Art and Math as they were the only subjects I could concentrate on. This disappointed the teachers of other subjects since they knew that I was intelligent. From a young age it was expected that I would have a dazzling career in writing but my hatred of school led me to leave at 15 with no qualifications. My mother was disappointed but couldn’t stop me. This was in the “Britain never had it so good” days of the 1970’s when it was easy to walk out of a job one day and into another the next. I spent a couple of years working in factories and when I got bored with that I enrolled at the Bideford School of Art where I spent one of the happiest years of my life. I’d found somewhere where I fitted in and was accepted. I made friends with the rebel teens of cultured families and developed a social life overnight although it soon became apparent that I was the only genuine freethinker among them. They automatically railed against the establishment and argued that drugs were a good thing. I picked my own side in every detail of life; while I was in favour of some aspects of the establishment I despised others. My friends accepted that seeing it as an amusing quirk.
The year ended and I backed out of going on to further education because I didn’t want to move away from the area.  I’m not proud and I’m not ashamed.
I’ve been an ecclesiastical embroiderer, a nurse, a gardener, a holiday park cleaner, a self-employed designer and dressmaker, a deputy manager in a charity shop, a warden on a holiday campsite where I lived in a tent and cooked over a fire. I’ve made curtains for merchant banks, consulates and famous personalities. I took in house work when my first two children were small and made decent money at it because I was so fast at cutting and sewing. I enjoyed a variety of factory jobs and had learnt a few useful tricks about the manufacture of clothes from one. For almost twenty years I co-owned the coolest shop in my town which I sold it to my ex partner when our clash of ethics became too glaring. He destroyed it after eighteen months.
This is Wild Boar Wood Campsite where I worked as Warden for a summer season [interesting site well worth checking out if only for the delightful photo of rural England]
I haven’t travelled much as I’ve been too busy trying to survive but I’ve been to Paris which I didn’t enjoy maybe as it was with my ex partner. The place I did enjoy was Amsterdam – until my third visit when I went with my ex. I’ve been to India and may like to go back but not to Goa the destination of my last trip there. Instead I’d like to explore further North.
Please share how you started blogging and what you’ve learned from it?
I began a blog in 2012 but life was chaotic so after about three posts I gave up on it and then forgot my password. I started this blog on December 29th 2014 and since then the WP guys have found that previous blog and deleted it at my request. On March 2nd last year I published a second blog called Mothering Addicts. I haven’t been very active on that blog but only yesterday I picked it up again.
Blogging has turned my life around. When I began I assumed that it was a simple matter of writing and others would read. I had no idea that communities are built around this medium and that I would make such amazing friends or that they would come to mean so much to me. We meet on a level plane sharing our truths, our humour, our music, our histories, fiction or poetry; whatever it is that we want to write about. We radiate our particular shade of light and those who are attracted to the colour reach out to us just as we reach out to them. The connection can be deep or shallow it’s our choice to make.
It has given me a new perspective and although I read of the horrors that occur in this world I’ve come to believe that the majority of people are essentially well intentioned – unless WP only houses the best folk. It’s also made me more tolerant of some of the political views that I’m opposed to. I used to automatically dismiss any Tory I met as a bad person. One of the most generous, kind-hearted men I have ever met is Anton a lifelong true-blue Tory. When he started commenting on my posts I was little short of rude. I did all but ignore him but he knew my pain and persevered. His utter faith in me and in my addicted daughter gave me hope and strength. He started her on the road to recovery. It was rocky but he never once let go. Other wonderful folk from the blogosphere joined in with their voices and I conveyed their messages to her. The love and faith of my blogging friends made her feel nurtured. Now she is in recovery, she’s well and happy.
I love everything about blogging: writing my posts, finding unexpected treasures on other blogs, having the opportunity to encourage new writers with talent but most of all I enjoy getting to know people from all walks of life who share my passion for words, and who don’t tell me I’m crazy, instead respecting my point of view and my poetry. I’ve never had that before and it’s given me the confidence to do impromptu poetry recitals for my friends and as a result they look at me in a new light.
Please share your favourite post?
I write poetry of many styles and genres; most of them relate to my life but a few are pulled from my imagination. My favourite post falls into the second category.
And your most popular post?
My most popular post to date but I’m a little embarrassed about it, as my idea has so far come to nothing, due to dramatic events which followed soon after I wrote it… which brings me naturally to my next most popular post, which ends by describing the result of those dramatic events.
Please share something funky about yourself or something nobody knows?
I have no secrets; I’ve lived with other people’s secrets and lies all of my adult life, and I haven’t enjoyed it. I’ve been trying to think of something funky about me.
The funkiest thing about me is my friendship with Serenity, who stands in the corner of my living room. I found her some years ago languishing on eBay waiting for the highest bidder to give her a home. For a while she lived in the window of my shop displaying her flair for tying scarves around her torso so that they looked like skirts, tops and dresses. Thanks to her unique sense of style I sold a lot of scarves for those purposes each time showing the customer how to wear them. After my ex partner had run that business into the ground Serenity came home to live with me. When I moved away for six months to work at Wild Boar Wood in Sussex she took up residence in our local Oxfam shop where I volunteered. After I returned she stayed there for a while until she had a fall out with another volunteer and the manager thought it would be best for me to bring her home. I was pleased to do so.
serenity interview
In this picture she’s wearing my wedding dress that I designed and made. It’s made of heavy cheesecloth and features hand embroidery down the bodice. It fits Serenity as well as it fitted me in 1977 on the day of my marriage in the local registry office. She agreed to don it for the sake of my Grandson who wanted the photo as part of a school project about fashion as he chose to feature my modest history in fashion.
That’s all, folks…
Jane xxx 

9 thoughts on “Jane Basil Blog

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  1. Reblogged this on Making it write and commented:
    Aargh… I meant to reblog this a few days ago. My mind must have been melted by the heat and washed away by the rain that followed. It’s an interview by Kate, at Meet the Bloggers. Kate is an amazing woman with an enquiring mind and an interesting blog, who’s encouraging us to get to know each other by publishing interviews with bloggers. In fact, she has two blogs. You may also want to check out the other one, in which Kate asks a thought-provoking question at the end of each post. https://arousedblog.wordpress.com/
    Over to you, Kate, for the first question in the interview…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you Jane for this lovely glimpse into your life. I treasure to get to know my fellow bloggers. We started blogging about the same time. It’s really been an exciting travel for me too to “meet” new blogging friends from many places in the world

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I can picture it. You told it well. You’ve had some caring people in your life. What every happened to your mum and pa? I empathize with them and you as well and how life takes turns and before long it’s almost gone and all that you wanted to do never got done.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s funny how we drift around in these little circles on WP. It’s good to see Maria is still blogging. I don’t know if you’re reading this Maria, but I’ll check out your blog and we can catch up.

    Liked by 1 person

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