Joy in moments..

Our house is full of family and friends from Scotland visiting my landlady and when she was growing up her home was always full of music, as her Dad played the guitar and sang and her brothers have followed suit. Singing is the one thing that brings my landlady’s Mum back from her dementia to the present moment. Each morning someone has been playing the guitar and it was a different style from any that have flowed before and I’ve found my feet tapping as I worked. Yesterday evening I was wrapping up parcels in my workshop as they had a family gathering below. The old Scottish ballads floated on a pure voice and I paused to listen, as my eyes filled with tears.

He gifts joy with his voice and this morning I bumped into him downstairs and was able to tell him so. ❤

Afternoon dancing in the park………

New Brighton Tower

Every day I work looking at the old grounds where the New Brighton Tower & Ballroom once stood. The tower was demolished in 1919 and a fire gutted the ballroom in 1969, which was then removed. Today it has a playground on the top for the little ones and rolling lawns and trees. It is a view I love.

I spotted a poster recently saying there was afternoon dancing in the park on Wednesday and I split my shift today so I could go along and join in. It will come as no surprise to you all that I had fun. The kind couple who run it set their sound equipment up on the bandstand and use the speakers that the bands use at weekends. There we all were making introductions in the sunshine and then teaching each other on the grass, dancing among the daisies. There was a wonderful couple over from Queensland, Australia, here visiting family, and as we danced and chatted they shared that they had met in 1963 in the New Brighton Ballroom. At one point there was a waltz this afternoon and the couples took to the grass to do their thing. I will never forget how they looked at each other, this couple who are still dancing together after all these years, as he held his hand out to her and said ‘Do you fancy a waltz?’

We all danced and tried different steps out, while people drifted in and sat down, with some coming to join us. We had very young toddlers dancing with us, right up to a lady celebrating her 96th birthday today, sitting in her wheelchair in the sunshine, with a sparkly Birthday banner tied to her sun hat. Everyone smiling. I was blessed to be shown what to do by a ‘Tiller Girl’ from back in the sixties. My confidence is not great and even when the lovely Australian lady lent me her husband, I felt like a lumbering tree trunk with two left feet. Although, our laughter floated far and wide as we spun down the bank doing a funky rock and roll number….. Anyway, back to the very kind lady who still does charity events with the Tiller Girls. She has a kindness and a gentle way about her and as she held my hands and explained what she was doing, I found myself relaxing and remembering what to do with my feet. So much so that I was able to lift my head up and trust. She caught that moment and said ‘There you go’ and smiled at me.

After a few hours we all parted and set off for home, with promises to do it again. I walked back along the promenade and there were two of the ‘Mums’ from the park with their little ones. Henry and I had a wonderful chat about his toy elephant and his Mum and I held his hands and played ‘One, two, three, wheeeeee’, as he sailed between us in his favourite hat. It’s multi coloured and woolly with a furry bobble and he will not take it off. He is two and bless his free spirit and his Mum for letting him be. Jamie Lee is also two and watched and waited her turn patiently. She wanted to walk and took my hand, as she just kept looking up at me and smiling. The broadest smile. I chatted to her about the boats and her sparkly little shoes. Her Mum commented that she’s not usually quiet. I had a feeling she was building up to something special and sure enough it came. ‘Ohhhh’ she said ‘Ice cream….’ as she spotted the van and we all burst out laughing. Parting company at the pirate ship, I just know they will have a wonderful time, as have I. ❤

Nature, knitting and magic….

De Vere Park

There have been many magic moments in the past week or so and each time my heart has tucked them in a special place.

For the first time in it’s history, the Disney cruise ship docked at Liverpool harbour for a few days and I, and many others, sat on the beach in the evening sun watching her set off for the port of Dover. There was Beatles music playing, Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck on the deck waving ‘Goodbye’ and the captain playing ‘When you wish upon a star’ on the ship’s horns. She did a 360 degree turn on The River Mersey before she set out for the Irish Sea and it was magic. The little ones and adults alike were all smiling and waving everyone on their way. The moment wove into my heart, because a kind lady handed me her newborn son and I held him as she and I chatted, his little brothers playing in the sand, as ‘Disney’ sailed out.

My friend from the promenade took me to hear some young musicians play at the Williamson Art Gallery and Museum in Birkenhead. What a wonderful place that is and full of interesting pieces. Mo and I had a lovely time and it was a pleasure to sit in that beautiful setting and hear live music. Bless her for her thoughtfulness.

Quiz night was eventful and there was much laughter. Bless Steve and his fellow ‘quizzers’ for welcoming me into their fold. Blessings and a brickbat for the ‘He Who Shall Remain Nameless’ who set the questions, because he was poorly at the time and they were tough, I mean really tough. All our brains ached, but we managed to have lots of laughs though. I would just like to say that football related questions (like naming all the team shirts for the Euro Cup…!!!!) are not kind. Bless the chap who was on the team behind me, because he said they were leaving early and would we like some help…big smiles for him. We came second by the way and won ‘Eight pints of beer’, which we promptly put behind the bar for next week.

I bobbed up to the gift shop recently with a bag full of my handmade things, to find their shop shuttered-up. The chap in the shop next door explained that they had moved away, which confirmed my feelings that all was not well as messages had not been returned for some time. ‘Oh well’ I thought, ‘I’m up here now, so I may as well look for a teapot for my latest teapot cosy pattern’. There are lots of interesting shops up on top of the hill and I had a lovely time pottering about. I popped into one shop and couldn’t find anyone to ask for help, so I stuck my head out again to see if anyone was about. It’s like a small community up there and they all pull together, so the lady in the shop next door yelled for help. A lady (covered in paint) came flying out of the antiques shop on the end of the parade and smiling at each other, we got chatting. The upshot is that Mandy runs the shabby chic and interesting pieces shop and her husband runs the antiques shop. We bonded and she asked what I had in my large bag. I showed her and we ended up making a deal. A wonderful, kind and trusting deal. She loves my things and I love making them and she will sell them for me.

Thanks to Mandy’s kindness I am now knitting like the clappers and busy doing my ‘Miss Marple’ bit out in public. Yes, Chris Moran, your idea has stuck! ❤ I can be found sitting outside on various benches, knitting. I sat in the park recently, surrounded by all the wonderful trees and flowers, where a brass band was playing all afternoon. I sit on the sea front, knitting, and get to chat to all sorts of people. Bless Steve the photographer for sharing his knowledge of the many vessels that pass our way. The old fashioned clipper 'Bessie Ellen' was a joy to behold early the other morning.

This morning my friend Dave from one of the writing groups and I met to talk about writing and how best to flow support to each other and others who are crafting books. We initially met in the Central Library where they had an exhibition of 'Contemporary Book Art'. Some clever souls have made life sized sculptures of figures from brown paper. I stopped to photograph these and some passing 'wag' commented 'Careful now, don't wake him up' as I snapped Julius Caesar with a knife in his back.
Julius Caesar
William Shakespeare
Romeo & Juliet
We took our coffees outside into St.John’s gardens and sat in the park surrounded by all the trees and flowers. The morning flew by and between us we have a ‘writing’ plan going forwards.

This evening the lovely Hannah, from our old house, is coming to live with Lynn and I for a few weeks. It will be such a treat to share a home again and have some time together. I sense that the magic that has found me here, will also touch Hannah.

Magic moments from atop my favourite hill in Gloucestershire….


Dilly and Amy on a walk in the forest.

It is these dog’s special bond that brought me to Dilly’s five bar gate at the top of the hill back at Easter time. Love flowed and a friendship developed with Dilly’s Mum and Dad, Eddie and Elaine, and they have flowed care ever since. I have been tucked up in their magic home for the last few days.

Magic moments….

Dilly feels she has two main roles in her happy life; one is playing with tennis balls and the other is ‘herding’ the chickens. She can be found resting under trees throughout the day keeping watch over her flock. Every now and then her ministrations get a little too enthusiastic and the hens bat her back with their wings…then peace descends once more. I will hear a ball dropping at my feet as one of the abiding memories of being here. Each evening we all feel the effects of multiple ball throwing and one by one the balls get tucked away and Dilly settles down for an evening cuddle. You cannot say the word ‘balls’ within her hearing after this has happened and Eddie made us all laugh when he came in the other evening enquiring ‘Have the sphericals gone to bed yet?’. Dilly was fast asleep last night when I was heard to comment that I had spent the week sitting on balls.

Hepsibar is a poorly hen right now and giving her some tonic and vitamins is important. I usually find her in the silver birch tree memorial garden and we have a chat whilst she takes her ‘get well soon’ treats. This morning she pottered into the kitchen to say thank you.

I collected some things from my car the morning after I had arrived and felt him, before I saw him. It was Rocky, the lovely big boy of a horse, that I cared for at Easter. He was lunching in a neighbour’s field with Lizzie his buddy. I looked up to see him quietly watching me over the gate. I walked over and put my nose to his and wrapped my arms around his neck. We stood for ages breathing together.

Eddie is so talented as a musician and we are blessed to have him play the piano to ‘us girls’ as we go about our evening tasks. I was delighted to hear the Star Trek and Thunderbirds theme tunes. Another abiding memory will be Eddie bounding into the front room doorway late one night saying ‘I have just composed a new piece, do you want to come and listen?’ ‘You do don’t you? Yes, you do?’ He was bouncing from one foot to the other and Elaine, Dilly and I went down to his studio and were privileged to hear his latest piece for the flute. Beautiful.

Showering and looking out of the window onto the little lane and forest the other morning, I was surprised to see the postman in his van drive slowly past . Though not as surprised as he was….he’s young, he’ll recover!

I knelt down yesterday at the edge of the forest and chatted to a two year old toddler about all the leaves he had picked up and the shapes they made. His Mum took him home to help him make a picture with them all.

Friends I made at Easter have been hugged, new friends have been made as we have walked the dogs in the forest, special animals have been cuddled, fresh eggs have been collected and the house has been warmed with the smell of baking, the full moon has been watched, blue skies have been celebrated, sunshine has been welcomed and fresh air has been breathed. Magic moments have been tucked away in a heart that overflows.

Life’s little lifts and how important they are in our daily round……..

Em and I have been under strain for a while now and given the circumstances there has been nothing we can do but smile and plough on through.

What has helped us girls is the small things that have lifted and raised a smile. A few nights ago we watched a film called ‘The boat that rocked’ about pirate radio off the UK coast back in the 60’s and this certainly made us smile and laugh out loud in parts. It had a cracking soundtrack running through it so we have put together a playlist and that has been belted out through our home for a few days now and this has also lifted spirits.

Small things can raise a smile; a mug, a favourite meal, watching Blossom (one of our hens) take on crows in the garden when they come anywhere near her food (Blossom wins everytime), sparkly nail polish, candles, twinkly lights, hot chocolate (let’s be honest chocolate of any kind works), fresh sheets on the bed, proper coffee….

Small but important.