Tag Archives: Family

Sunday in the Summer Sun

Another glorious day on the Kapiti Coast in New Zealand comes to an end.

I spent this day with my son and his wife lying at the side of their pool and idly gossiping passing the time of day. How very pleasant it was. Hot sun and cool drinks, perfect.  But it was a tall glass of lime and soda for me – our drink drive laws are very strict and so as I was driving home tonight, I had no alcohol. But who needs alcohol to enjoy oneself?

I did briefly think of Sandy and her dilemma but decided that could wait to be sorted out on another day.

Raumati jpg

Sunset at Raumati Beach.

 And the sunset at the beach reminded me of one of my favourite Max Lucado quotes 

“Next time a sunrise steals your breath or a meadow of flowers leave you speechless,
remain that way. Say nothing, and listen as heaven whispers,
“Do you like it? I did it just for you.”

Greg

Greg was a large, kindly, gentle man with grey hair and  bright brown owl like eyes magnified by the spectacles he wore.  Most often the spectacles were perched half way down his nose but without the spectacles he could hardly see a foot in front of him.  He was the sort of man people immediately warmed to and trusted. 

Having seen Sandy to her car he turned to begin the walk home.  It was a beautiful autumn afternoon and the streets of Islington were at their best.  Trees lined both sides of many streets and of course, the home owners in this borough took great pride in their gardens.  Well, most did.  There was the odd garden that was sorely in need of attention, but in the main they were well tended. 

But on his walk home today he took little notice of his surroundings. He had much to think about and knew that as soon as he arrived home Julia would want to know what all the fuss was about. 

Obviously, he would have to tell her about the child that had suddenly reappeared into Sandy’s life.  This was one secret he had kept from Julia as it really wasn’t his secret to tell.  But now she had to know. 

He worried about the effect this reappearance was having on Sandy.  Clearly she wanted to believe that this Barbara was her long lost daughter.  And certainly the girl had some information on where and when she had been born, but was she really Sandy’s child?

What could he/they do to confirm her claim was legitimate? He had a friend who had been involved in some private detection company but Greg didn’t know if he was still involved. He’d give him a call when he arrived home.  Although they had little to go  on, not even knowing where the girl lived.  But hopefully, they would have that piece of information once Sandy heard back from the girl. He’d feel better if he thought he was doing something to help Sandy.

When he arrived home Julia was waiting eager to hear just what had happened. He told her about the email, the meeting and the girl. She in turn, told him about the call from his son and the promise she had made that Greg would call him as soon as he arrived home. He knew  2.30 pm in London was 6.30 am in Vancouver but he also knew that his son would have hardy slept waiting for his father to call him. 

So he made the call.  Of course, Ian wanted to know how long Greg had known about this child given for adoption.  When had he and his mother discussed this and when and why had they decided to keep it secret from him.  Surely he had a right to know that he had a half sister somewhere in the world and maybe he might have wanted to find her.

 Obviously, Ian was very upset and Greg did his best to placate him.  He told his son that he was going to do all he could to confirm whether or not this Barbara was his mother’s daughter.  She had some evidence but here were also several unanswered questions and Greg promised his son that he would do all he could to get them answered. 

After brief chats with Val and the boys they said their goodbyes with Greg promising to be in touch again as soon as there was anything to tell.

 Next it was a cup of tea with Julia attempting to answer more of her questions,  and then the call to the friend who had been at one time, involved with a detective agency. 

As expected the friend was out on Sunday afternoon but he left a message for him to call.  Several hours later the phone call came.  He told Greg that he was still involved with the detective agency and would see what further information he could gain about the young woman. Thanking him, Greg rang off.

 Now Greg had to make a decision whether to tell Sandy that he had involved his friend.  He knew she wanted answers to the questions and felt sure that she would agree with what he had done. He phoned her and she did readily agree.

 Before they rang off they agreed to meet once Sandy had a response from Barbara to the email she had just sent. After that they could determine their next step.

“Cherish your human connections –
your relationships with friends and family.”
Barbara Bush – wife of the 41st President of the United States, 

George H. W. Bush,

This is episode 8 in the Sandy Saga.

 

 

Ian

Ian put down the phone after saying goodbye to his mother.  He told her he loved her, but in a mechanical voice with none of the love he felt for his mother, in it..  He had heard the phrase “reeling from shock”  but now he knew just what that meant.

He had trouble picturing his staid and sensible mother as a ‘flower child’ of the “Swinging Sixties”.  And yes, he was having trouble forgiving her for keeping him in the dark about this unknown ‘sister’ for so long.  But of course, he didn’t know the conversations she and his father had about whether or not to tell him about the child.

He had to speak to his father but when he got through to the house in Islington he was told by Julia that Greg was out meeting Sandy.  She said she was a little worried at the anxious tone in Sandy’s voice when she had asked Greg to call her, the phone call from Greg  to say that he would be delayed until after lunch and now this call from Vancouver.  Her mind was running in all directions.  Had there been an accident? Had somebody been hurt?  Was somebody seriously ill?  All these questions and more had been plaguing her since the voicemail message of the day before.  And Greg had been next to useless saying”I don’t know any more than you” and “We’ll find out when I meet Sandy.”  Well at least with this call from Ian she knew that all was well in Vancouver.

Ian didn’t want to discuss this matter with Julia preferring to leave it to his father to decide how much, or how little to tell her. So after a very brief chat on how the boys were getting on and whether she and Greg would visit that summer he hung up after asking her to have his father call him as soon as he arrived home.

He was a very sensible young man and had always  been known for his calm manner and the way he had of seeing his way through problems.  People trusted him and went to him for help.  But this was totally outside his ken.  His eyes, so like his mother’s, showed how worried he was.

Then after putting down the phone he saw Val looking at him waiting for some answers.  After telling her his father would call him later, they sat down to discuss this turn of events in their lives.  For the first time, Tony doubted the wisdom of packing up and moving the family to Canada.  He even thought that if Sandy had come with them this Barbara person would have found it almost impossible to track her down.  Canada was so big and such a long way away from London. They had asked Sandy to move with them but were secretly pleased when she had decided to stay in London.

“Will you have to go to London to meet this Barbara?” asked Val.  “Your mother might need some family support”.  “Probably not immediately” replied Ian “Father is there and will always be ready to support her in any way.  Aren’t we lucky that it was such an amicable divorce?  Imagine how awful this would be if they weren’t speaking to each other and mother was on her own.”

For the next couple of hours they kept coming back to the subject, trying to imagine how Sandy was feeling now that this event from her past had come to light after so many years..  No doubt she had blocked that time from her memory – but how?  How had she lived with this secret for so long?  Only Sandy could answer that.

So Ian waited for his father to call. He looked around this bright spacious home and compared it to the garden flat his mother lived in.  There was nothing wrong with her flat but it certainly lacked the space he enjoyed and the lack of sunshine was a big drawback.  But she seemed to be happy with her life.

Meanwhile, back in Hackney Sandy was working out the words for the next email to Barbara.

In time of test, family is best. ~Burmese Proverb

 

 

Bah Humbug

I spent much of this lovely summer afternoon indoors researching for a post I was going to use today.  I sat down one hour ago to write it and had all my facts together; I just had to put them all together in a cohesive form that hopefully would intrigue you.  Having spent that hour typing somehow I lost it all.  Tomorrow is another day and so I shall make another attempt to get it written.

Doesn’t it bug you when this happens!

So what to write about now that there is only 35 minutes left in this day.  Could I tell you about an idle morning spent with my daughter?

We started at the Salvation Army Family Store where we dropped off more things from my downsizing.  They are always happy to see me there as I have been dropping things off often in the past couple of months.

Then we went off to the garden centre for some plants to put on my small deck.  Did I tell you I painted it yesterday?

Then a stop for coffee to round off a very pleasant idle summer morning.

So not quite the well researched post I planned, but as we rarely spend any extended time together I thought I would share this with you.  However, I must say here we now have dinner together each evening but it’s never just the two of us.

“One of the advantages of being disorganized is that one
is always having surprising discoveries.”

said Pooh― A.A. Milne

Down to the wire – 11.55pm

 

Trusting Family

Recently I discovered Five Sentence Fiction  and decided to try my hand at writing a story in only five sentences.
This week’s word is FAMILY.

The soldiers burst into the school, yelling, shouting orders and firing rifles.  The children, scared, huddled together under their desks trying to hide from the angry men.  But they were soon discovered and brought out of hiding with the girls being separated from the boys who were locked into the school hall with the staff.

Then the terrified girls were herded onto buses and quickly driven away from the school.

Only then, when the firing had ceased and the yelling had stopped and it was possible to think, did the petrified child think of her family and knew they would find her and take her home again.

Lillie McFerrin Writes

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Tea Drinkers Unite

It had been a tiring day. Visit to the hospital, discussions with the doctor, the therapist and of course, her mother. It was very distressing that her mother barely recognised her; she often thought her a nurse.

The one bright moment in the harrowing afternoon was when an orderly brought the tea tray. At that moment her mother reverted to how she used to be, graciously pouring tea into the bone china cups and offering cake and biscuits.

This ritual of offering and accepting the cup of tea brought her mother back to her, if only for a short time.

The 100 Word Challenge is to tell a story in only 100 words.
This week’s theme is “Cup”

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Writing 101: Size Matters

Well today is Wednesday here in New Zealand and I should be completing the Day 13 Challenge, but I haven’t completed 11 and 12 yet.  So being very late with this, I shall try to catch up once again.

Day 11 and the challenge is:

“Tell us about the home where you lived when you were twelve.  Which town, city or country?  Was it a home or an apartment?  A boarding school or foster home?  An airstream or an RV?  Who lived there with you? and

Today’s twist: pay attention to your sentence lengths and use short, medium and long sentences as you compose your response about the home you lived in when you were twelve.”

London 1950.  We had recently moved from an apartment to a brand new house.  My parents’ house had been taken for road widening or something before I was born and in addition to a paltry sum of money ( (their words) they were given a Council owned apartment to rent.  This was in a low rise block in a good neighbourhood but as it had only two bedrooms it was rather cramped for a family of five.

So we moved.  Again the house was Council owned but in a different part of the borough and totally new to us.  Mother was delighted.  It was in a group of ten houses five on one side and five facing them.  Each set of five houses were  attached and we were fortunate to have an end one.  This meant we had neighbours on only one side of us.

The house had three bedrooms, a living room complete with fireplace, a dining room also with a fireplace.  The kitchen was at the front of the house and had a fire that heated the water.  A bathroom and separate lavatory completed this  house – I think it was probably 800 sq feet in all.  At this time I shared a bedroom with my elder sister and later with my younger sister.  At no time did anybody think that I, as the middle daughter, should have a bedroom of her own.

Mother was delighted with the move and the house.  She kept this house clean, polished and shining to within an inch of its life, and even polished the copper waste pipes from the kitchen, so proud was she.

But what I remember most about that house was the love and the the laughter which out played any tears and cross words.  Of course, with three daughters, two of which were coming up to the teenage years, there was the occasional slamming of a door and a “no speak” phase but these didn’t last long.  Mother was the disciplinarian and father the peace maker.  I often wonder how he kept his sanity in a house full of women.

He used to take himself off to work early in the morning but was always home by 6pm at which time, dinner would be ready and whatever plans we three girls had for the evening we had to be there for dinner.  Oh there were some lively discussions over the dinner table.  Father usually had a funny story to tell us about something that happened at work.  And of course, we all had to tell what we had been up to that day.  Our successes were lauded and our (occasional) failures commiserated upon.

I clearly remember father singing.  Beautiful love songs to his wife particularly if he thought we couldn’t hear him.  For us he sang Music Hall songs (Vaudeville for our US friends).  I remember Lily of Laguna and Sorrento in particular. These have stayed with me and my children and grandchildren have all been entertained with songs of that far off time.

As I have written before, this was shortly after the war ended so there were few, if any, luxuries.  But the love, the laughter and the friendship that existed within that little house have followed me through my long life and I hope that what I learned during those years has been passed onto my own family.

Rainbow

My rainbow

Writing 101 – Sunday for Tea

Day 10 and the challenge is :

Tell us about your favorite childhood meal the one that was always a treat, that meant  celebration, or that comforted you and has deep roots in your memory.

Free free to focus on any aspect of the meal, from the food you ate to the people who were there to the event it marked.

Today’s twist: Tell the story in your own distinct voice.

For this challenge I decided to reblog a post I wrote a couple of years ago at the beginning of this journey into the world of blogs.

I choose how I will spend the rest of my life

Sunday for tea
I’ll see you Sunday for tea
And though it’s not far away
Each hour’s a day to me

Lettuce and ham
Or maybe crumpets and jam
Oh baby it’ll be fun
Havin’ a Sunday tea

So sang Peter and Gordon in the 1960s.

For our family Sunday afternoon tea was a ritual.  The whole family that is Grandma and Poppy, their two sons and daughter, their spouses and the 9 grandchildren regularly met on Sunday at Grandma and Poppy’s apartment.

While the adults talked and discussed whatever adults discussed, the 8 granddaughters and the sole grandson amused themselves as children did then. We played cards, dominoes, monopoly  and other childish games that our grandchildren would not think of playing today.

DominoesPlaying cards

Dice

The adults would of course, have cups of tea while catching up on the gossip.  They all lived near each other, in fact my grandparents lived in…

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New Zealand Calling

After months of not writing a blog, I got up last Friday (04/04) fully intending that this would be the first day of many blogs.

I have had a lovely few months.  We had a holiday at the beginning of the year away from the stresses of an architect building a home for himself; then we spent 5 weeks travelling around the country with my sister from England and sharing with her some of my favourite places in this beautiful land;then more friends from overseas.  We had a few days in Australia visiting 4 artists in their studios and then a trip to Hobart in Tasmania to visit MONA – Museum of Old and New Art.  What an exciting time that was and what an amazing building.  Here’s the link. Please take a look you will hardly believe what has been achieved here.

In February we moved house although the new house isn’t ready to move into and following a series of minor (or maybe major) disasters it wont be ready for another two or three months so we are going to Europe for three months.  We are busy planning our trip with friends in Italy with whom we shall stay and then go to Spain with them.  How exciting!

Fire at storage unit

But the best laid plans – on Friday (04/04) we heard that there had been a major fire in a storage facility in Wellington and yes, all my worldly goods were stored in that facility.  Panic ensued and nothing else was thought of for the rest of the day.  However, the next day we went to the site and discussed the situation with the General Manager and the Fire Chief.  We were told there would be water and smoke damage but both thought it would be minimal.

So there followed a week of waiting to be told that we could go onto site; meeting with removal men to determine where the soggy goods would be stored; going to the new facility and sorting out what had to be removed immediately – boxes that disintegrated as they were lifted.  These mainly held linen and scarves – easily washed so no real problem – and shoes.  This was a different matter as they all had to be stuffed with newspaper and dried at the fire.

Of real concern though was the artwork, prints etc.  Fortunately my daughter has just bought a house with a self-contained apartment attached.  So we moved the pictures into that and set the dehumidifier.  It looks as if we have been really lucky.

Books, photos and papers were in plastic storage bins so again we have been very lucky.  The photos and letters were what I was most concerned about.  Everything else is just stuff.

And now we are told that the fire was arson.  The mind boggles at how anybody could do something like this.  All week we have heard terrible stories of people having lost everything.  CCTV coverage shows a man entering the facility with what looks like a drum of petrol.  Let’s hope they get this man quickly.

“Piglet noticed that even though he had a very small heart, it could hold a rather large amount of gratitude.”
A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

Home Again

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”
Mary Oliver, 1935 –

Well now a change in lifestyle for me.

I arrived home safely from my European adventure.  And what an adventure that was.  After almost 11 weeks I was happy to be back home and ready to begin the next phase in this life.

I have lived alone for 15 years since my Dashing Young Scotsman died and thought I would spend the rest of my life so.  I was happy with my family, friends and little dog and then into this settled life came another Dashing but older man, to take me to pastures new.  He has a passion for music, for travel and as an architect, for beautiful buildings.   Of course, we plan to go back to Florence together in the New Year.

So lots of pluses to this new life.  But there are some major changes to get used to when living daily with another.  For so many years I made decisions, appointments and plans with no thought for another.  Now there are two of us to consider.  I think when living alone one does become rather selfish and so it’s very good to have to stop and think before I say “Yes” to an invitation.  The other person must be considered too.  I am learning here.

We are very involved in selling this current house (see the garden view into the beech forest as the header to the blog) and building another house.  Daily I am involved in decisions on the new house and it’s very exciting.

And I am so excited.  My sister in London has agreed to come for a visit in the New Year.  None of my family has ever been here so I shall enjoy showing her this beautiful country and introducing her to my friends and my special friend when she gets here.

So much to look forward to and so much to be grateful for.  Each day I note all the things for which I am grateful my health, my lifestyle, my friends, my family.

I have been absent from the blogosphere for a few weeks while I become adjusted to this new way of life, but now I am back.  I hope/expect to have more adventures in the future (and at present) that I should like to share with you.

I have been re-reading Mary Oliver recently and so I have another favourite quote to share with you

“….there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do —
determined to save
the only life you could save.”

Rainbow

My rainbow