Posts Tagged 'memories'

Life’s sweet spots…

Yesterday the rain held off long enough for George and I to join Mum and Dad at the track for a ‘boys and their toys’ session and train rides.

A special day unfolded as we rode together under the canopy of the trees between the fields and around the old fishing lakes. Dad was running his diesel engine, because it’s easier for him to handle nowadays, and there was a wonderful mix of steam engines and other diesels. The air was filled with concentrated conversations and sharings on engines and cries of ‘I need more water’ as pauses were made at the station platform. Smiles as we were asked to ‘Hop on and try this out’ and ‘Do you fancy a trip?’

In quiet pauses birdsong could be heard and we all felt the joy of travelling beside the last of the bluebells and rhodedendrons in bloom. Mum brought a yummy lunch which we shared in the clubhouse, as Bobby made tea among the sharing of stories and laughter.

My heart will hold the sight of George’s face relaxing as his grin broadened on each trip round the track. The moment my Dad lent towards George and shared a man’s perspective and the two men were in perfect accord. All the hugs as we parted and wended our ways home.

George discovered that the track was in Daresbury the birthplace of Lewis Carroll, thanks to my Mum. ‘Do you fancy seeing the church and commemorative window?’ he asked me, so we turned right instead of left out of the farm gate.

Lewis Carroll’s Dad was the local vicar and we were lucky enough to have a kind lady show us round the church. The stained glass window depicting Lewis Carroll’s life is beautiful and we stood there hand in hand gazing up at it.

Our exploring afterwards took us through tiny little villages tucked away between country lanes, quintisential pastoral scenes unfolding one after the other, a big set-up selling secondhand pieces, hand made furniture and all sorts of goodies for the home and from there we moved onto a country pub garden. A giggling game of random questions could have had us moved on for inappropriate behaviour, but we got away with it, only disturbing a duck on the little stream running through the garden. They are holding duck races there next weekend and there is already an impressive display of rubber ducks appearing at the back of the bar.

We wended our way back home through the country lanes with memories made of spun gold and love. ❤

Girls together….

dav

Our lovely ‘Knit and Natter’ group came round to christen my new ‘happy bubble’ today and oh, what a joy that was. They came through the door carrying plates of home made food, yummy goodies and planted pots, with lots of ‘Oohh’s and Ahh’s’ for where I now live.

We have a safe space between us all and I love how we share, support and make plans for fun things to do together. Also, the times we crease up with laughter, as they are the best.

Each time we get together we discover new things about each other. We had no idea that one of our happy band worked in a bakery for 48 years and her pudding disappeared like greased lightening today.

With all the new seeds I have planted during the last year, it was vital that I stayed close by, so I could still go to group on a Thursday morning. These lovely ladies are an important part of my life and I treasure our connections.

My day started with the sun peeping through the fog and cloud for just a few minutes and we went on to create our own sunshine at lunchtime. I watched them climbing the steep hill home afterwards, as their loving ‘Goodbyes’ and ‘See you on Thursday’ floated back down to where I stood on the doorstep. ❤

Two remarkable women……

Sunset

Two remarkable women have passed away this week and they are linked. They never knew each other here on earth, but just as we are all linked, so are they. Each of them had hearts broken and their hearts expanded through the cracks and shone a bright light for those that were blessed to know them.

Suzanne and I met when we worked together a good few years ago now. The loving links that were forged during those days still hum with love for all of us linked from that time. I will never forget her kindness and understanding when I walked away from my husband and marriage. It was a few days afterwards, I was barely functioning and Suzanne and I were sent to man a stand at the National Schools Exhibition. We showed up and did our stuff and halfway through the day she bobbed away for a few minutes and returned with a gift. It was a notebook beautifully bound in velvet of all purple shades and sparkly beads. ‘Write down why you made this decision’ she smiled at me ‘because in six months time you will need to remind yourself of the reasons’. How wise she was and I filled that notebook. There were many other moments of kindness and shared understanding through the years. When she was diagnosed with cancer, we all held the hope that her courage alone would knock the ball right out of the park. Suzanne tackled this part of her journey with humour, huge love, bravery and an expanding heart. It encompassed her children, her best buddy and husband James, his daughters and their wider family and friends. She was smiling right up to the end of her time here on earth.

Our Aunty Tessa, my Dad’s eldest sister, slipped away to her loved ones who have gone before yesterday and she has left so many memories. Tessa faced a challenge when she was left alone with five children to bring up and how she flowed with that one is inspiring. She became a foster mum for newborn babies and from birth to six weeks they would come into her care, before they went on to their new families. Tessa’s way with babies was a joy to watch and many, many little ones passed through her loving and capable hands. One special little soul was poorly as he had fluid on the brain. He was operated on and a pump was placed into his head and I can see Aunty Tessa now holding him on the kitchen table and hand pumping the device to keep him alive and to drain the fluid away several times a day. Sebastian and Tessa bonded and there was no way she could part with him, so she adopted him and ‘Freddie’, as we all lovingly call him, became one with us all. I have a clear memory hours after Emily was born when my Mum and Tessa came to visit us girls in hospital. Aunty Tessa held Emily and checked her over. She just knew what to look for. She looked at me across Emily’s little head and said ‘She’s perfect Jane’ and she still is. Tessa and Mum sat on the end of my bed and talked about when their first babies were born and I can still see Aunty Tessa’s face, because it transformed and she looked young and carefree again as she was transported back in time with her happy baby memories. So many memories as my lovely Aunty loves animals and nature as I do. There was egg collecting, goat keeping, ducks, chickens and so many lovely gardens, because boy did Tessa love to move house! So many babies and little ones in the family were tucked up in blankets and taken for a spin around the garden in her wheelbarrow. With a minimum of fuss she met and married Uncle Tony and I remember all their visits as they used to pop in to see me and my family, wherever we were. Gifted homemade jam, eggs and baking…it’s a family tradition. I bet they are having one grand tea party in spirit now.

Love flowing from both these women, whose hearts simply kept expanding no matter what they faced. I love them both and my heart goes out to those who are grieving. ❤

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’.

Love on the walls…

Butterfly love

There are so many higgeldy-piggeldy apartments here that we have a rustic mail box set-up under the trees in the courtyard where we park. It works and I have learnt to be quick off the mark in collecting my post when it rains. I go up there first thing each morning and a few days ago there was a little package waiting for me. When I opened it there were all these butterflies nestling in pink tissue paper and a little note on top from Emily, my daughter, saying ‘These are to match your paintings Mum’.

I look around my home and Emily is everywhere and each creative piece evokes memories. From the paintings she created especially for here, to the ceramic tea-light church and bowl she made as a child. Some of her marbles are in a vase here and their buddies are in a hand decorated Kilner jar that she uses as a door stop at Uni. Loving links and memories are everywhere.

One of my paintings

When Em was three I had a little business where I painted terracotta pots for garden centres. She’d stand by the understairs cupboard asking me what I needed ‘size wise’ and she learned to count with those pots. If I close my eyes I can see her doing it now. Often she would sit beside me painting her own. I used to leave them to dry on the kitchen windowsill and we had lovely neighbours Dave and Flo, aross the way. Dave would come up the garden path and kneel down to chat to Em. ‘What have you been making our Em?’ he used to say and she’d show him her pots. He would commission her to paint him some and she’d put the earnings into her moneybox. Dave always displayed her pots in his garden where she could see them when we walked past. We all adored him.

Both ‘us girls’ comfort, balance and work things out in life by creating. Emily has been creating lately and her paintings are on a whole new level.

Buttefly Heart

Vision

I sit here looking at her butterflies and remember the loving moment that breathed life into her latest creations. At her Dad’s there are some gorgeous new ‘grandchild’ members of her extended family. The little brothers were visiting recently and the toddler was bored, so Em got her paints out and started making pictures with him. They made a ‘handprint’ picture which he loved, so Em involved his baby brother and his Mum. There is a special video of Em holding the baby’s hands as she placed them on the canvas where he is chuckling and chatting away to her, with his little legs kicking out, and not once do his eyes leave her face. Those moments captured on film are very precious. The main canvas with all their handprints is a work of love and Em joined some of the hands as butterflies. I know their Mum will treasure those paintings and from this Em started to make butterflies and 3D paintings with hearts and butterflies.

Family Love Paintings

They are a work of love and I now have love flying on my walls. May you always create Em and flow with love Darling girl, for you will always have my love.

Butterflies

Threads of pure love….

Foothills of The Pennines

Mum and I bowled along in the car yesterday, bathed in sunshine, driving towards the foothills of The Pennies. What a beautiful county Cheshire is. We were going to a service to say ‘goodbye’ to John, a man and his family who have been linked to Mum and Dad, and our family, for over thirty years. A character, an abundant life, family life, love and a marriage of sixty-one years was celebrated yesterday.

The chapel was full of love, with stories shared, memories evoked and love flowing. The sunshine matched John’s character, and when his brother Peter stood up to talk about their early childhood, John’s character shone out through the stories.

Mum and I both woke up early this morning and tucked downstairs, wrapped in shawls, to natter and drink tea. We also managed to watch the latest recording of a programme we both love, but I digress! We chatted in the early morning peace and shared stories of John and his family throughout the years. John’s sons, Stevie and Peter, are around my age and we have shared life’s ups and downs over the years. There have been many ‘helping hands’ to and fro across the road from where Mum and Dad live and John and his sons have their business. Many parties too, the best kind according to Mum.

We all reached out yesterday, hands were held, cheeks rested against cheeks and arms were wrapped around shoulders. Love.

A marvelous life and legacy John, thank you.

X

Vespers by A.A. Milne and memories…..

Little Boy kneels at the foot of the bed,
Droops on the little hands little gold head.
Hush! Hush! Whisper who dares!
Christopher Robin is saying his prayers.

God bless Mummy. I know that’s right.
Wasn’t it fun in the bath to-night?
The cold’s so cold, and the hot’s so hot.
Oh! God bless Daddy – I quite forgot.

If I open my fingers a little bit more,
I can see Nanny’s dressing-gown on the door.
It’s a beautiful blue, but it hasn’t a hood.
Oh! God bless Nanny and make her good.

Mine has a hood, and I lie in bed,
And pull the hood right over my head,
And I shut my eyes, and I curl up small,
And nobody knows that I’m there at all.

Oh! Thank you, God, for a lovely day.
And what was the other I had to say?
I said “Bless Daddy,” so what can it be?
Oh! Now I remember it. God bless Me.

Little Boy kneels at the foot of the bed,
Droops on the little hands little gold head.
Hush! Hush! Whisper who dares!
Christopher Robin is saying his prayers.

A.A. Milne

Em (my daughter) texted a few nights ago to say that she had been re-reading some of her books from childhood and she felt soothed by Winnie the Pooh. We bobbed backwards and forwards with texts for a while and then I shared a memory, as I used to sing ‘Vespers’ to her when she was a little girl.

She texted back ‘I remember Mum’, and her mother at this end had a moment.


Jane Sturgeon

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