Flips and flops….

Salthouse Docks

Yesterday was a ‘day’ of the unexpected which saw me unintentionally taking the scenic route on the ferry, walking a lot in Liverpool where I got lost several times (rescued by a map from the bus station bless them), drenched with rain often in the afternoon, handling some unfortunate personal comments from a soul who would have been better served staying silent, experiencing a ‘tumbleweed’ moment when my writing ‘bombed’ at writing group, discovering that the little craft shop I walked a long way to locate had closed and well, you get the drift….

Nestled in this little lot were three absolute gems and you know what, they are the moments that my heart carries forward.

I met a gentleman at the bus stop on the way to the ferry port. Edward was standing there ramrod straight, looking so smart in a suit and we smiled at each other. In seconds we established that his hearing aids were being mended so he was totally deaf and we both lived in the same street. Through a mixture of hand signals, smiles, gestures and lip reading we nattered while waiting for the bus and then on the bus journey. We shared his trials and tribulations on how he was handling the so called ‘care’ company who ran his sheltered housing, his war years and childhood and our bus driver, who was obviously having a bad day. He threatened to drive away and leave us standing there if we didn’t hurry up and board his bus, the daft duck. Now the last thing that Edward can do is move with speed, so we were both charming, stayed calm and remembered to gracefully thank him when we got off. Edward was a delight. We both got the giggles when the driver got ratty with another passenger and she threatened to belt him with her shopping trolley.

Unexpectedly, I got a message from my friend Sandra the night before to say that mutual friends of ours were visiting Liverpool and were berthed on their narrowboat in Salthouse Docks and wondered if I was free to visit. I found Sue and Ken late in the afternoon and we had a wonderful catch-up. We all met originally at a creative writers group held in Bedford Library over six years ago now. It was a lovely group and we had such fun every Saturday morning for six weeks. We carried on meeting up when the course ended and used to take it in turns to hold our gatherings in each others homes. There was a theme and funnily enough it wasn’t writing. Food and drink became a source of much pleasure and yes, we would talk about writing, but the sharing of each other’s daily happenings, histories, different foods and travels bonded us all together. I have memories of much laughter, helpless at times, and two special ones will always be tucked in my heart. The classic evening of blind tasting of homemade sloe drinks, which included vodka, white rum and gin. Lots of sips were required till we were able to decide which one we liked best and votes were cast. Slight memory loss at that stage of the game and bless Undala for being our driver that night. Then on a sunny, summery Saturday, Ken and Sue took us all out on their narrowboat and we travelled from Bedford marina through to Great Barford where we stopped for a picnic on the riverbank and then we came back again. I loved it, every single minute of it. I went to the back of the boat with Ken and he taught me how to steer and navigate the locks and told his wonderful stories about his RAF and sea rescue helicopter pilot days. He’s a natural teacher and raconteur and we laughingly caught the ribald comments coming from the front of the boat as our happy passengers charted our progress. Sparkly memories. Sue writes about their journeys on a delightful blog called ‘Boatwif’ and more loving memories were made yesterday.

Rather weary I arrived home last night as Lynn laughingly greeted me with ‘And what time do you call this?’. She shared the news that we have two actors coming to stay next week and we nattered about how we would flow with this. My response was ‘Ohhh do you think they will gift us some spare tickets, not that I would dream of asking, but it’s a thought isn’t it? Joseph and His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat….happy days. I pottered up the stairs and made her giggle with my parting shot….’Lynn, that means we will have two men in the house and possible singing’.

21 Responses to “Flips and flops….”

  1. 1 ianscyberspace May 22, 2016 at 2:08 am

    One of the ancestors I have who migrated to Australia was a lock keeper so I’ve always been fascinated with some of the documentaries you get from time to time where they take you through some of those waterways.


    • 2 Jane Sturgeon May 22, 2016 at 4:52 pm

      Oh yes Ian, I love the learning about the history of the waterways and the pivotal role they played in history. It’s wonderful to see so many of them restored now, especially the Kennet and Avon canal. Hugs Xx

      Liked by 1 person

  2. 3 LutheranLadies May 21, 2016 at 4:13 am

    What a satisfying scene. Don’t you love it when someone drops into your world with light and delight? Your post reminds me to try to be more of that kind of soul to others. As for the “bomb” in critique group…I once brought in a story and the other writers picked it apart. Dejected, I put it away. Two years later I brought it back, announcing that I’d changed the whole piece. I hadn’t. I’d made a few minor tweaks on the criticisms that I’d agreed with, but it only added up to a paragraph of sentences.

    This time, everyone loved it. Heaps of praise. I’m not sure if their perspective had changed or if a few members dropping out and others replacing them made the difference, but I learned that sometimes it’s not the writing…sometimes it’s the whims of the audience. Good luck.


    • 4 Jane Sturgeon May 21, 2016 at 12:12 pm

      What lovely and supportive thoughts, thank you for taking the time to share them. Yes, it’s perspective and who’s there at the time and how people are feeling. There was an odd atmosphere there this week and I was uncomfortable from the start. I am pondering on starting my own writing group…it’s one of the ideas I’m running with. I’m going to go out today and have a word with a local bookshop owner.

      It’s lovely to hear from you. Xx


  3. 5 clarepooley33 May 20, 2016 at 10:32 pm

    Such a miserable bus driver – I am glad you reported him to the bus company. I often find it difficult to focus on the high points of the day and I dwell on the failures and the upsets. What a good example you set me! Do you find that writing about days like this helps you deal with the lows and puts them into context? Edward sounds so nice! I expect he was really grateful for your companionship. Love and hugs ❤ xxxx


    • 6 Jane Sturgeon May 21, 2016 at 12:08 pm

      Hello lovely Clare, I used to have the lows rattling around inside me for ages after events, but I shifted it. I also used to write about the highlights, but feel the need to keep it ‘real’ now. All our days are filled with ups and downs aren’t they? Writing helps so very much, it pulls the important things out of the debris of the constant thought process that rolls through. I sense nature and writing help you too? I hope you are having a lovely weekend? Hugs and much ❤ xXx

      Liked by 1 person

      • 7 clarepooley33 May 21, 2016 at 11:41 pm

        Hello my dear Jane, I do find writing about nature and the walks I take a great comfort. The good things tend to get swamped by the not so good and then they get forgotten unless I record them in my diary or I blog about them. I’ve had much less time for writing posts recently though I do try to read other peoples’ posts and comment regularly. Reading other bloggers views and what they’ve been up to helps me too. The weekend has been fine so far thank-you; hope yours has been good too. Much love XxX ❤


  4. 11 grandfathersky May 20, 2016 at 8:58 pm

    One can only imagine chatting with a person waiting for their hearing aids to be fixed. Although I see you managing rather well, and or course the bus driver being a grouch – probably had a sore ass! I sense the water brings you life, and soothes your spirit, and you are in a good place. Perhaps you visiting actors will bring a bit a Sherlock Holmes mystery into your life. Although music and voice would do well! Enjoy the weekend!


  5. 15 Marylin Warner May 20, 2016 at 3:49 pm

    Lost and walking in Liverpool–which is a good story in itself, Jane–but then comes the wonderful scene with the man who doesn’t have his hearing aides. Your communications are priceless, especially because they end with you sharing giggles. This is fantastic, Jane! 😉


  6. 17 journeyintopoetry May 20, 2016 at 3:32 pm

    What a day Jane! And wonderfully recorded as ever, along with great reflections. This gorgeous piece of writing created a soothing sigh which confirms once again how special your writing is and how, as well as being thoroughly entertaining, it is capable of lifting the heaviest spirit. ❤️ Xxx


  7. 20 Al May 20, 2016 at 11:20 am

    Wow, what a day! As I would expect, you took the happy parts to heart and left the rest to roil on its own.

    As one who is also hearing impaired, I can tell you how nice it is when people are patient and understanding when communicating with me. I’m not in the state that gentleman is, but what a wonderful thing for him to have your devout attention for a while. I know you made his day!


    • 21 Jane Sturgeon May 20, 2016 at 11:25 am

      Hello my Bro, Edward also had trouble because his bus pass would not scan without being taken out of his wallet. The miserable sod of a bus driver went into verbal overdrive then. I think Edward and I were brought together to flow our way through it. I also took the time to put in an official complaint to the bus company this morning. Whatever that chap has happening in his life he has no excuse to take it out on vulnerable souls. It made me wonder how many people he upsets during his working day….a lot I suspect. Edward was a delight and such a gent. ❤ Xx


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