Ally Bain

From a young age I decided to be known as Ally, though some people think I’m a lady. If the picture doesn’t give it away, my official name is Alistair Lawrence Bain.

Born on the 4th May 1963 in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire (Bucks), England, and living in Buckingham until 1981, many people think I’m English. Not really.

MacKay TartanMacKay Badge My late Dad was born in Edinburgh and only moved south of the border due to WWII. When I was young, my parents and Chris (the brother I grew-up with) were in a car and on the radio we were listening to Scotland playing football against England. I can’t remember how it started, but I became aware of my Dad's nationality. From that day on, I classed myself as a Scot, which was based on my respect to my Dad. If any of you think I can’t call myself a Scot, I’m afraid you don’t know the legal side! (In relation to my three brothers, Mike, Pete and Chris, they class themselves as English). The Bain family is part of the MacKay clan and the clan’s location is a large area of the north of Scotland. The tartan is shown as well as the badge.

During my time at school, I had no idea about the nature of my career; all I was interested in was sport. My preferred sport was football; however the grammar school I went to, Royal Latin School, taught us rugby not the other (rugby is a good sport so no complaints from me). The other sports I enjoyed, were canoeing, cross country running, table tennis, etc. For no apparent reason I wasn’t good at gymnastics and so too sprinting, but during my 20s I was told I was a fast runner. Uhm, we all develop at different times of our lives so don’t think that if you weren’t then, you will not be now or in the future.

Outside school, I became involved with Judo and did represent Bucks. In a Home Counties Competition (Berkshire, Bucks, Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent, Middlesex, Surrey and Sussex), we performed well; however I lost in the semi-final, which meant we did not make it to the final. My only excuse was that I did land on my right shoulder and even though it didn’t dislocated itself, the muscles were swollen and for quite a few months I couldn’t play sport.

Going back to football, the team I support is Leeds United. Many people have odd reasons as to why they support certain teams and mine can be one of them. In the ’70-’71 season I watched, on a portable B&W TV (we were in our caravan), Leeds Utd Vs Manchester Utd. Man U won; however I supporting Leeds was twofold: I felt sorry for Leeds and more Scots were playing for Leeds them than Man U. Oh, my lucky number is 4 and that was the shirt number for the late Billy Bremner. Before moving on, I did see, on the news, the goals for ’70 World Cup Final, where Brazil beat Italy. As for a live match, on TV, it was the FA Cup Final, Liverpool v Arsenal (Arsenal won it in extra-time). Watching the 1972 FA Cup Final was great, as Leeds beat Arsenal 1-0; however 1973 FA Cup Final was a nightmare! Sunderland (then in Division 2 compared to the Whites in D1) 1 - Leeds 0. As for other teams, I keep a close eye on Heart of Midlothian scores.

Moving away from football and onto education, for a year (’79-’80) I went to Aylesbury College and one of the subjects was Computer Studies. Pete, being 18 years older than me, career was in computing and Chris, 5 years older, started working with the computer section of British Leyland. I saw they were happy with their careers and I decided to work in that environment. In Jan ’81, I left home and moved to Chelmsford, Essex, to work with Marconi Radar (MRSL), of which Pete was a Senior Consultant. I was there for 6 years and during that time I realised it wasn’t my career and in fairness to them, they became the same to me as I was made redundant in Feb ‘87. One good part though was that many of my colleagues became friends; however sadly as time has passed by I only know some of them and that’s due to Facebook. One thing to say is that Marconi had a number of sister firms, e.g. Marconi Communications, etc. Due to this and to keep employees happy they had Marconi Athletics & Social Club (MASC) and as I’m sure you’ve gathered I managed to play football, squash, cricket, etc. As to Diplomacy, a group of us at MRSL played it and that became good fun.

Graeme and I at Ed's, my nephews, wedding in 2002 Being made redundant, I looked into a sales career and became a Financial Advisor and within a few years I became an Independent Financial Advisor. The offices, of those I worked with, where in Kent. I got on well with my colleagues and one of them, Giles Day, suggested I went to a party in Ashford, Kent. At the party, I met Dee and in ‘89 we bought a flat, in Ashford, and got married. Our marriage didn’t last and we were divorced in 1993, but in June ‘90 she gave birth to our son, whose name you can guess, Graeme Sean Bain. Due to our divorce, in ‘94 Graeme moved, with his Mum, to Faversham, Kent. She re-married and they all moved to Whitstable, Kent; however the marriage didn’t last. A few years later Dee, being Northern Irish, met Andy, a compatriot, and wonderfully for them they happily live together.

Various new laws, based on finance, were introduced and together with a recession, I decided to move into something else. Fortunately a friend called Ian Smith, who I knew from Chelmsford, was involved with domestic security alarms and on discussions, I moved into that industry. The job was fine, but the money wasn’t brilliant. Knowing I was selling security products a good friend of mine, Paul Main, suggested I sold Closed Circuit Television (CCTV). I did and after a while I found out that CCTV was more interesting and lucrative. The other security products were stopped and I joined ClearView Communications, where Paul was and still is a Director. The clients were mainly the UK Police Forces together with some Borough Councils.

ClearView were and still are based in Chelmsford therefore I made a decision to move back, though more importantly I thought of Graeme. His age was 5 and I felt the journey for him was fine. If you don’t now, the distance between Chelmsford and Faversham is roughly 70 miles and between them there is the Dartford Crossing.

Being back in Chelmsford was great, as I knew more friends there than in Kent and booze-ups happened more frequently. At a nightclub I met Jane and after a while we got engaged and lived together. We were planning to be married; however mainly to do with her family we decided to call it quits.

In January ‘99 Dave Scott, a good friend, took me to a Modern Jive lesson. I enjoyed going and met many people. The job was going well, I was meeting people through dancing and to top it all there was Graeme, albeit I wish I was seeing him more than every other weekend.

Perhaps the main parts of my life bar Graeme and later Sally, happened in July '99!

In the early hours, I woke up and thought I was in hospital, sleeping on seats and wearing my clothes. Whilst trying to think about it, I recalled images that appeared to be Xmas Eve and Xmas Day. I checked for my car keys and mobile phone, but couldn’t find them. It didn’t take long before I fell asleep again, but a few hours later, I woke up and found I was in hospital and in a bed wearing hospital pyjamas. Needless to say, I wasn’t happy!

I was moved from one ward to another and during that time I was wondering ’why am I here?’ Later on, I saw my Mum walking towards me and even though she was smiling, the thought I had was, ’what the hell is she going to be say?’ No odd questions or comments were said to me by neither her nor my Dad. On the same day Mike and Carol (his wife) popped in and when looking at them I assumed they had been to an exhibition in London and decided to see me afterwards. To outline my thoughts, during the day I found out I was in Oldchurch Hospital, Romford, Essex (it closed in ’06) and Mike and Carol live in Runcorn, Cheshire, which is about 200 miles north-west from Romford. The phrase I once heard about was that to assume is to 'make an ASS out of yoU and ME'. How right that is! That evening I saw Pete, Alwyn & Rachel, respectively his wife & their daughter. Late at night, I was watching the TV and it seemed to be Newsnight, a BBC programme. The clothes of the presenters were casual and they were talking about space. I again figured it must be between Xmas Day and New Year. Further down the page, these thoughts will be mentioned in more depth.

A couple of days later, I was told I would be going back to Chelmsford. I thought it meant that I was going home, but it wasn’t until we arrived in Chelmsford that I realised I was being taken to Broomfield Hospital, which is just outside Chelmsford.

It took about a month to find out what had happened. On the 3rd July, a friend, Dave Betts, and I went to various pubs and onto a nightclub. When we left, we’re talking to a couple of ladies and a bloke came over and asked for a light for his ciggies. Apparently he was swearing and one of the ladies asked him to stop. His abusive swearing continued, which upset the lady and due to this, the bloke and I had an argument. I told him to stop swearing, but he continuing to do it. Soon he hit me in the face and I fell back onto the pavement and passed out.

I was taken to Broomfield Hospital, but on Sunday, two days after the assault, they found out I had a haemorrhage and I was taken to Oldchurch Hospital, as that hospital is involved with brain operations. That night I had an operation to remove a haematoma (collection of blood); however during it the surgeon found that in my front left lobe, certain brain cells had died. My parents, who were taken to the hospital by Mike and Carol, were asked for their permission of which they agreed to the partial lobotomy. After the two operations, there was a good chance of me dying, but…well, I’m typing!

I was in a coma for roughly eight days and post-traumatic amnesia for another eight days. An hour or two prior to the assault I had retrograde amnesia.

To give you an impression as to how the assault affected me, I was unable to do the following:

Two months after the assault I tried to read a book that I’d bought for Graeme when he was 4 years old. The first word was fox and it took me about a week to be able to read and say it. Memory comes under two sections, short and long-term memory. The only one that affected me was short term. Short term last for a small handful of seconds and to give you an example, I was unable to remember people names once told. My trick to get out of it was to give them nicknames. My humour isn’t always the same as others, so the nicknames, which they’re told to them, were very sarcastic. Perhaps the only reason I’m married to Sally is that I can’t forget that. All joking aside, one other aspect happened. For a while I was unable to call my son his name. Even though I thought I called him Graeme, I called him Chris and I only found out when Dee told me.

One thing went in my favour and outlining that, at 11 years old I had to wear glasses. Perhaps due to the occipital lobe, at the back of the brain, I didn’t have to wear them until about ‘12. Another wonderful thing was, when still in hospital, my brother Chris, who lives in New Jersey, USA, came to see me. Mike and he picked me up and we went to my parents. The next day to the Greenwich Museum, London, and that was a new area to see.

I was in Broomfield Hospital for just under six months, but then I went on a course at Olivier Zangwill Rehabilitation Centre at Princess of Wales Hospital in Ely, Cambridgeshire. The course lasted twenty weeks and during that time, they were able to re-teach me.

My general view is that you can do anything as long as you try. One of the ladies, Suzanne, who was teaching me reading, writing and speaking, told me that I’ll never get back to where I was before. Even though I thought she would be wrong, I’m afraid to say she is right. Even if you’re surprised, Sally and others I know are proof reading this for me. Obviously I thank those doing it.

After six months of being ill, ClearView terminated my contract; however when I was back into the swing of working, they asked me to re-join. I was offered again commission only, but I knew that another employer was unlikely to employ me, therefore I did go back. I stayed with them for a year, though due to the nature of those that we’re selling to; the orders didn’t come through quickly, albeit that was half-expected. With the year I was with them, my languages skills increased therefore I thank them for helping me.

Another aspect of me trying to increase my language skills was buying a PC. Word with its dictionary has helped, but more importantly I found, on the Internet, Diplomacy sites. By regularly writing to players, it helped not only my spelling; however introducing words that prior to the incident I would have known.

In the Noughties, my career wasn’t something to write about. In ‘02 I was employed by Essex Police and was the Crime Reduction Officer at the Basildon District; however the job didn’t work out. I was looking for other jobs and some interviews went well, but sadly the firms weren’t prepared to take the risk. From ’03-‘10 I became a multi-drop driver and even though it wasn’t a great job, it paid an income.

Many of you think it was a nightmare; however to me it was Graeme and his feelings that were of my concern. Six weeks prior to me being assaulted, his Grandpa (Dee’s Dad) died. About two months after my assault, his Mum had to go for an operation. How he came through that, I’ve no idea!

Regarding the bloke who assaulted me he said, in court, he was guilty and was sentenced to 21 months in prison.

As said before, Graeme was the most important person to me, but for those who have helped me, including him, my family, National Health Service (NHS), friends, etc, I thank you all, without you, things would be very difficult!

Some of you might be thinking that I used a past tense not present when I wrote, Graeme was the most important person to me not Graeme is.... He still is; however others have been added to that list. Sally and a couple of her friends decided to go jiving in 2000. We got on very well and in the next year Sally and I started going out with each other. In March ‘05 I proposed and…well…in June that year I moved from Great Baddow, Essex, to her home, which is near Sudbury, Suffolk. On the 8th Aug ‘07 we got married. The photograph shows us outside our house and in the distance is Sudbury, albeit somewhat hidden.

Outside our home Sally, Graeme & me, 8th Aug 2007

Graeme met Niki in 2008 and on 28th Dec ‘09, Chloe Maria Bain was born and on 28th April ‘11, Lexie Hannah Bain. What was enjoyable was 9th Dec ‘14, Chloe and Lexie were in the same nativity play and it was their first one. Not only did Graeme and Niki go to see it, however Ken (Niki's Dad) and I also went along. Career wise, things are going well for Graeme. He graduated in ‘13, BSc (Hons) in Biomedical Science and was employed full-time by William Harvey Hospital, Ashford. To briefly sum-up what happens in his department, once blood is taken by a phlebotomist and transferred to them, they analysis it and report back to the specific person the result. In Jan ’20 he was promoted to manage those at Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mothers Hospital in Margate, Kent, so you can imagine how he, Sally and I felt.

In 2010 I was able to work as I wanted and I decided to make photography my career. My first photographs would have possibly been me, about 7 years old, taking shots of London, with me standing at the observers part of the Monument to the Great Fire of London. Knowing I wanted to be more educated in photography, I decided to go to the University Campus Suffolk (UCS), Ipswich, Suffolk. In my final year my lecturer, Mark Edwards, suggested to me that I consider using my knowledge of brain injuries and use that in photography. That, together with other aspects of the course, meant I ended up with me getting a Bachelor of Arts, with Honours, in Photography, or put simply, BA (Hons) in Photography and a Joint Student of the Year Award. It was the first time UCS had given out a joint award and the other fellow is a good friend of mine, Keith Locke. The degree has led me to become an Associateship of the Royal Photographic Society (ARPS).

Since leaving university, I have continued to produce fragmented photographs that show memory loss and have exhibited in a number of locations. Adding to that, I have bought the equipment to make photographic frames and did undergo a training course. The link above will take you to ALB-Images site.

The biggest upset I have ever had was on the 14th July 2010 my Dad (born 4th March, 1916) passed-on and on 12th May 2011 my Mum (born 6th June, 1919) died. Easter Sunday, 2014, Sally's Nan (born 28th May 1921) departed us. It might seem odd to be nearly ending this biog by commenting on my parents' and Cis' (Sally's Nan) departure, however consider it the other way. I am very grateful to have them as my respective parents and, from Sally's point of view, my Nan, and they will never be forgotten by Sally, Graeme and me.

Graeme, Mum and Dad

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