Monthly Archives: October 2012

What will you leave behind?

“What you leave behind is not
what is engraved in stone monuments,
but what is woven into the lives of others.”
Pericles – Ancient Greek Politician, General and Statesman
495 BC-429 BC

I started blogging on March 1 2011 and for the next 365 days (with one or two exceptions) and well into 2012, I wrote a post daily.  My intention was to leave something for my grandsons after I have left this world.  They would hopefully then, get an insight into their grandmother’s thoughts and experiences through my writing.

I have written about growing up in London during the Second World War.  How could they be expected to understand this part of my life if I didn’t tell them about it?  And they needed to be told about the loving family in which I grew up.  Little money, no luxuries but so much love to spread around.  I cherish those memories and hope that I have passed them on to my children and their children.

I have told about the close relationship I have always enjoyed with my two sisters, even though one lives in London, England and the other in Los Angeles, California.  With my living in Wellington, New Zealand could we live further away from each other if we had planned it?  I told how we used to keep in contact through letters and the occasional (very expensive) phone call.  Now of course, since the internet, communication is mostly via email.

In another post I told about my wonderful Father and his influence on my life.  How he supported his three daughters telling them they could be and do anything they chose.  How this filled us with self confidence that has stood us in great stead over the years.  In fact, because of this grounding I have been able to do so many things over my life.

I have written about meeting my DYS (dashing young Scotsman) when I was 19 and marrying him a few months later.  I have told of following him around the world with two small children in tow as he furthered his career.  Of leaving one set of friends behind and making new ones wherever we went.  And although the boys may well have heard of these travels from their parents their view of this part of our lives would naturally be different to mine.  I have no way of knowing  how my children really felt about being uprooted yet again to move to a new place.  They both did seem to cope very well and have turned into two well rounded adults in spite of the disruptions in their lives.  And in later years when we have spoken of this they assured me that they felt they had benefited from the moving around.  And here I can insert one of my favourite words – They had what could be described as a peripatetic childhood.

I have written about Yesterday when I was Young and some of the happy memories I have of those times when the children were living at home and life was so busy.  And then of the times after they had moved onto the next phase of their lives, and there were only the two of us to move through the next phase of our lives.

I have told about deciding to move away from the city to an idyllic place beside the water far from the madding crowd, and how, when things didn’t turn out as expected, we moved back to civilisation once again.

In my blog posts I have written about my Mother’s death , of my Father’s death and the ghastly time following  the untimely death of my DYS (is any death really timely?)  But life goes on and I have chronicled some of things I have done since being on my own.

I spent several months on three separate occasions playing companion to an elderly English woman.  A great learning process and a fabulous area to live in and explore.  If I win the Lottery I shall buy a ‘cottage’ there and spend our winter months in Sussex.

So while I am not writing a post every day now, I hope that I have succeeded in part in what I set out to do.  The posts recording memories and activities will still continue as and when something comes up that I think somebody may be interested in hearing about.  Currently I am researching how to put the posts into a published book for the boys.   I imagine that will take some time.  And I have just remembered, my daughter always tells friends when I am leaving their houses not to “worry about what she takes but what she leaves behind”.  I hope I am leaving something special.

“To live in lives we leave behind
is not to die”
Judith Baxter, Blogger, friend, mother…
1938 –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

..If you are interested in reading some of the posts mentioned above, here are the links:

Aren’t Grandsons Wonderful?

Monday afternoon.  Ping – a text arrived from my No 3 Grandson – “Do you by any chance have a set of poker chips.” Excuse me.  This from a 15-year-old to his 74-year-old Grandmother.
I remember I did have something that might or might not be poker chips.  So after some consideration and much digging and hunting I found what I was looking for.
My response – “I don’t know if they are poker chips but I have some things that could be”
Grandson – “Are there many and could I possibly have them for the weekend”.
Me – “Yes darling.  I don’t know what they are.  There are red ones, blue and green and white.  There are 16 of each colour.  If they are any use you may keep them.  How shall I get them to you?”.
Gr – “Sweet I may ask mum to pop by on the way home”
Me -“Good.  See you soon”
Gr – “Sweet”
2 hours later. Me – “What sort of time will you be here?”
Gr – “I don’t know maybe not today”
Me – “OK  I’ll drop them into Mum’s office tomorrow or bring them when I meet her for coffee later this week.”
Gr – “Thanks”
3 days later.  Gr – “Is it today you said you would drop off the poker chips?”
Me – “Yes.  I’ll give them to Mum when I see her this afternoon”
Gr – “Thanks”
6 hours later Me – “Mum has the chips”
Gr – “Thank you so much.”

I wonder why my 15-year-old grandson would think that his grandmother has poker chips?  He didn’t discuss this with his mother just decided that I was the best bet (ooh an unintentional pun).  He is going away for the weekend with the rowing team and so I imagine that poker will be one way they will amuse themselves during their waiting time.  I wonder where and when he learned to play.

I don’t send many text messages.  I would much rather pick up the phone and speak to somebody, but we know that all the young of our species are glued to their smart phones sending and receiving many,many texts daily.  I was pleased to see that Grandson No 3 was not using ‘text speech’ obviously either realised that I wouldn’t be impressed or else he thought that I wouldn’t understand what he was trying to tell me.  Over the past few years texts seem to be the only way that my grandsons communicate with me when we are apart,  So I am learning the art of “texting” although I am firmly convinced that text is not a verb, but in today’s changing world, I shall probably be proven wrong in this.

I just thought I would like to share this with you and see your reactions.

Priscilla

One of my all time favourite movies is The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert.  An Australian movie made in 1994 starring Terence Stamp, Hugo Weaving and Guy Pearce.  The plot follows the journey of two drag queens  and a transsexual across the Australian Outback from Sydney to Alice Springs in a tour bus that they have named “Priscilla”.

Poster via Wikipedia

The purpose of the journey is to perform at Lasseter’s Hotel Casino Resort in Alice Springs managed by a female friend of Anthony “Tick” Belrose (Hugo Weaving) named Marion.  Alice springs is a remote town in central Australia some 2770 km, or 1721 miles from Sydney.  Remember Neville Shute‘s A Town Like Alice? But maybe that is a little (or a lot) before your time.

The journey takes them through remote areas bordering the Simpson Desert where they encounter different reactions to their lifestyle.  When the bus breaks down in the desert they meet Bob  a middle-aged mechanic from a small outback town who joins them on their journey and a  group of friendly Australian Aborigines for whom and with whom they perform I Will Survive.

They also encounter the less accepting attitudes of rural Australia and are subjected to homophobic abuse and even violence, and in Alice Springs having their tour bus vandalised with the words “AIDS fuckers go home”

The opening song of the entertainment at the Casino Resort is I’ve Never Been To Me and this seems to sum up the lives of the three unlikely stars of the movie.

“Please lady please lady
don’t just walk away
Cause I have this need to tell you
why I’m alone today
I can see so much of me
still living in your eyes
won’t you share a part
of a weary heart that has lived a million lives..”

The film is part comedy, plenty of one liners and some pathos but well worth seeing I think if you get the chance all these years later.  The twister is that Marion and Tick are married and have an 8-year-old son whom Tick hasn’t seen for many years.  Bob the mechanic and Bernadette the transsexual form an unlikely relationship/ friendship and they decide to stay in Alice Springs at the end of the four-week engagement.

And the film’s title?  It’s pun on the fact that in English speaking cultures, “queen” is a slang term for a male homosexual.

 

Ten Questions for A Clown on Fire

I am constantly amazed at the synchronicity flowing around our blogging world. I hadn’t heard of this chap or his blog before and yesterday I wrote about clowns. This is worth reading.

Where Did The Days Go?

I have just realized it is 14 days since I last wrote a blog post.  So where have all those days gone?

In the various courses that I run I always cover Habits and Attitudes.  We know that it takes 6 weeks for a habit to become almost automatic.  But we also know that it takes only a few days to break a habit.  So what happened to my blog-writing habit?  It was well ensconced for over a year.  If I didn’t make time for it during the day then I would certainly do something before I retired for the night.  But as with so many things, I said one day “Oh it wont matter if I don’t do it today.  I can miss one day.  I can do it tomorrow”.  Well tomorrow came and went, and all the succeeding tomorrows came and went too.  No excuse, no reason.

So apologies and here I am again.

Clown

With thanks to Nancy at Spirit Lights the Way for permission to use her photo.

Today I read a post from Nancy at Spirit Lights the Way.  The picture that accompanied the post made me laugh out loud.   I love clowns and always have since I was a little girl.  But I know that not everybody shares this love.  I do know that there is a phobia called Coulrophobia, a fear of clowns.  This is a very real fear and while there has been little scientific research into it a quick Internet search revealed 620 results. There are even websites dedicated to the subject, such as Ihateclowns.com, where coulrophobes gather to share their thoughts.

But moving back to Nancy’s clown with his laughing face, ridiculous clothes and cheery voice,  it came to me that the clown and his antics pretty much describe how life is for many of us.

When we are feeling down or dejected we put on our clown’s face.  We laugh and joke for our friends putting on what I describe as ‘our face for the public’.  Underneath we may not be smiling but we don’t want to impose our concerns and fears onto others.  Perhaps our nearest and dearest see through this act but the rest of the world buys it.  I remember in the awful weeks following my husband’s death, I wore my smiling clown’s face whenever I went out.  Many comments were received by my daughter on how well I was coping.  Oh really..

And it seems to be universally agreed that the clown is sad.  Reference the many songs about clowns, most of which tell a sad story.

  • Send in the Clowns
  • The Clown Song
  • Rodeo Clowns
  • The Tears of a Clown

And my favourite of these is of course, Send in the Clowns.  Many artists have performed it but I like this version.  Click here to hear Angela Lansbury aka Jessica Fletcher (another favourite) singing it.

But often, when life is back on an even keel and all is well with our world we are like the clown.  We laugh and sing and cavort, maybe even dress up in outlandish clothes to show the world how well we are doing.

Ronald McDonald

And probably the most famous clown of modern times is the ubiquitous Ronald McDonald.  As the face of the fast food giant we see him everywhere.  I bet he isn’t sad thinking about all the money his employer is making and hopefully sharing some with him.

Another rambling post but I do hope you got the gist of it.  The clown as a metaphor for life.

 

The Swarthy Gentleman in the Panama Hat

 

We left Maisie, Juliet and Imogen wondering about the swarthy gentleman who had called upon Maisie without prior notice.  Our three adventurous ladies were concerned about him and his intentions and so they called upon Juliet’s brother to make some enquiries among those of his acquaintance who might have knowledge of the gentleman.  This he agreed to do and promised to report back to them at the earliest opportunity.

Sir Charles Walton (Juliet Drummond’s brother) was as good as his word.  The next day he called on Maisie – having first made an appointment to do so – to tell her of his enquiries.  Among his close friends was Sir Hector Ryder the head of the Metropolitan Police and so this is where he started the enquiries.  And with some success.

It appeared that the swarthy gentleman was recently arrived in London from India   There he had made a considerable fortune from planting and harvesting tea.  Apparently, he was the son of a British Major about whom very little was known.  The swarthiness noted by all, was put down to the fact that the Major had married a local woman of high standing and had set up home with her.  At the time there had been quite a commotion caused by this but as the years passed, the situation became more acceptable.  The children of such marriages, however, were not really accepted as quite on a par with those born to a British couple.  However, because of his parentage, the swarthy gentleman was British.

He was known to his contemporaries as Billy although he had been christened in the Church of England in Lucknow (where his father had been stationed), Thomas Anthony Winston Fotheringham.

On arriving in London he had met some acquaintances of his father’s and had then been sponsored into all the right clubs.  He was becoming quite well-known among that certain set in London.  He was also known to frequent a particular hotel where he met a variety of young women for afternoon tea, but really nothing much was known of the man.

It was established that he wasn’t married although there had been some sort of scandal shortly before he left India.  In fact it was rumoured that the decision to leave hadn’t been entirely his.

So where did this get Maisie.  She thanked Sir Charles for his help and after finishing his coffee he left.

It was almost lunch time and so Maisie decided to think about all that she had learned while she ate and then she would call Juliet and Imogen to see what they thought of this information.

Just as Maisie sat down for lunch a loud knocking on the front door  was heard followed by the heavy tread of Higgins the chauffeur.  He appeared at the morning room door with an envelope containing a heavily embossed card with the name T A W Fotheringham, Esq on it,  with various club affiliations noted and also a hand written note requesting her approval for him to call upon her the following morning around 11.30 am to discuss a matter of interest to both of them.  Well, what could that be?

Obviously as soon as the card was received a telephone call was made to both Juliet and Imogen.  Having been summoned once again, the two friends duly arrived and settled down to hear about “Billy” Fotheringham.  They were all perplexed as to how he found Maisie and where she lived and also what connection could there possibly be.

Many ideas and thoughts were voiced as the three ladies sat in the drawing room drinking the tea that had been brought by Jackson.  Was there a relative of Maisie’s who went out to India either with the army or else with the East India Company and maybe stayed on after his contract was finished.  Could Major Fotheringham (Billy’s father) be a distant or long lost relative?  Or could his business with Maisie be totally different, maybe even bordering on the evil?

The ladies shuddered to think this.

After much discussion it was agreed that he should be invited to attend on the next day but not at his suggested time of 11.30 am (far too early for an unknown gentleman to call upon a lady) but rather in the afternoon at which time the other two friends would be present.

With the decision made, Jackson was summoned to bring pen and paper and Maisie wrote to Fotheringham proffering the invitation.  Higgins the chauffeur was despatched to the address given to deliver the note.

This having been done, Juliet and Imogen took themselves off each promising to be there well in advance of the 4pm appointment time.

Maisie then settled herself for the rest of the day not knowing whether she should be looking forward to the morrow or dreading it.

Until tomorrow…