Tag Archives: Family

Where Did The Years Go?

Sunday, June 11, 1967.  7.40am NZ1 landed at Auckland International Airport. Among the passengers were my 2 children and me.  We had a very nice flight from Los Angeles where we had visited with my sister before heading  further south to meet up with my DYS (Dashing Young Scotsman)

My DYS had been transferred to New Zealand for two years.  We knew little or nothing about this country.  We didn’t learn about the far-flung corner of the British Commonwealth although I now know that New Zealand children were taught about England at school.  I imagined that some of the 3million plus sheep would be wandering down the main street of Auckland to meet us, and in all, in spite of the literature given to us by New Zealand House in London, my impression was that we were going to a wild west type of life.

All those years ago not many people were travelling and certainly not with two small children in tow.  The staff on board and most of the passengers were great with the children.  One elderly couple (well they seemed elderly to me although in retrospect they probably were in their late 50s early 60s) offered to keep an eye on them while I slept. And the children had the run of the plane;  they could go anywhere and were even taken into the cockpit.  My 4-year-old son,  there and then, decided he wanted to be a pilot when he grew up.

It was winter and raining when we landed in this far off land.  The DYS had been here for a few weeks and had made a couple of friends or rather at that time they were acquaintances who later became friends.  But I knew nobody.

DYS had arranged our accommodation in one of the only reasonable hotels available at the time.  Oh, New Zealand was a very different place then.

On arriving here we found it was not as wild as we had imagined.  No sheep wandering down Queen Street (the main thoroughfare in Auckland), the natives were friendly and what’s more, they spoke our language

We did find some of the customs strange.  Late night shopping on Friday until 10 pm and then absolutely everything shut down until Monday morning.  Bread could be purchased at the local store but no clothes or shoe shops, hairdressers or other shops were open.  All very strange to this newcomer.

I do remember that gas was 33 cents a litre and cigarettes 33 cents for a pack of 20.

Another thing that was very odd was that the licensing laws had every pub closing at 6 pm.  Apparently, most men would leave their offices at 5 pm to dash to the nearest pub to get a drink or two or three, before closing time.  This changed shortly after we arrived but it was apparently well established.

The proximity of the beaches, easy, laid back way of living and all being together made up for any strange things we had to deal with and we all thrived in this new land.

And today June 11 is the 50th  anniversary of the day the children and I first arrived in New Zealand.  We have left it for a time, as a family and the children separately and me for a time after Robert died, but we have all returned and claim New Zealand as home.

NZ flag

“If I should die think only this of me:
that there’s some corner of a foreign field
that is forever England.
There shall be in that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped,
made aware; gave once her flowers to love, her ways to roam.
A body of England’s, breathing English air, washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home” Rupert Brooke.  1887-1915

PS     Rupert Brooks was known for his boyish good looks,
which were said to have prompted the Irish poet  W B Yeats
to describe him as “the handsomest young man in England”

I  wrote about arriving here in a post early in my blogging days –   Leaving on a Jet Plane.

Saturday Again

 

Six word Saturday button

You know what to do if you want to get involved.  Click on the above or on the link.  Now you’re all set to join in.

IT’S SATURDAY DID YOU FORGET ME?

Since my licence has been suspended for six months and I so cannot drive, my son has been picking me up on a Saturday morning to take me home for the weekend.  This is after he finishes work as Night Manager in a local hotel.  It entails my being up and ready to leave at 7.40 am. That’s really early for a retired woman.

Once I slept in and was in the shower when he arrived so kept him waiting for a time.  So now I set the alarm and jump climb out of bed at around 6.45 so that I can be ready for him.  Usually when we speak during the week one of us comments on the Saturday arrangement.  This week neither of us did and consequently my son didn’t arrive to pick me up.  So here I am dressed and ready but with nowhere to go.  I’ll use this unexpected time for ….what?

Never mind.  My son was very apologetic when I called him at 8am and he is going to pick me up tomorrow instead, but at a more reasonable time of 12 noon.  So back to reading and writing for me.

“I’ve been thinking Hobbes”
“On a weekend?”
“Well, it wasn’t on purpose” 
―  Bill Patterson 1958 –
American cartoonist, author of the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes

And because Ive just discovered Bill Watterson and Calvin & Hobbes I have included this.

Magical world

Have a great weekend.

What a Difference a Day Makes

Sunrise

Next time a sunrise steals your breath or a meadow of flowers leaves you speechless, remain that way.
Say nothing, and listen as heaven whispers,
“Do you like it? I did it just for you.”
Max Lucado, author and writer and preacher
at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas. 1955-

Well having got over the blues from yesterday I awoke to anther sunny day.  Hasn’t anyone remembered that August is the middle of winter here in Aotearoa/ New Zealand?

And doesn’t the sunshine make everything so much better?  The family all left early as is their wont – work, school and university beckoned and I was alone in the house.  I remember during the busy years thinking how great it would be to have a day to myself and to decide exactly how I would spend it.  Well now I have many such days.  And with nothing much to do this started me thinking about some of the posts I have published in the past.  One such sprang immediately to mind – My Lot is Cast.  I wrote this in February 2012 and now rereading it reminds me of how lucky I am.

My sister in Los Angeles, a prolific reader had introduced me to Josephine Tey and the book To Love and Be Wise and quoted a poem from that book :

“My lot is cast in inland places,
Far from sounding beach
and crying gull,
And I
who knew the sea’s voice from my babyhood
Must listen to a river purling
Through green fields
And small birds gossiping
Among the leaves”.

At the time,  I was playing, trying my hand at writing poetry and came up with my own poem about my Lot.

My lot is cast
In different places
Not beside the river or the ocean
But in the city with its life and vitality.
Not in the distant years of my youth
Nor the busy years of family life
But the peaceful years of time for me
To enjoy friends and family.
Time to investigate new things
New activities and new friends
Time to be me.

And this is still my Lot.  Even after the awful things that have happened in 12 months, I’m happy with my Lot and have plenty for which to be grateful.

And then after reading and a little writing and lunch I spent several hours with a friend.  A short walk, cup of coffee at a new (for me) coffee shop and back to her house for a few rounds of UpWord.

All in all a day well spent.  So another day comes to an end.

“Sunsets are the prelude to another beautiful day. And whatever happens the sun will rise tomorrow.”
Judith Baxter, blogger, friend, mother, grandmother 1938 –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ah That’s Better

I think WordPress is playing tricks again.  I posted this earlier today and several people commented on it but it has disappeared into the ether.  All that’s left is the beginning of the post on Facebook.  Don’t you hate it when that happens? And I just can’t remember all I had written.

Anyway I’ll try again.

After writing my earlier post I looked back and thought about my day:

  • I woke up to a warm,sun filled house
  • I woke up knowing that my friends and family are all on my side
  • I had a walk in the bush with my lovely Physiotherapist
  • We ended up at a local coffee shop where we encountered a friend
  • I have so much for which to be grateful not the least for being alive as i know where my accident could have left me.
  • And I know The Architect would not want me to be miserable today or any day.

Waterfall

And as the water continues in its downhill rush over rocks
and the thoughts continue to tumble around in my brain
with no defined pattern or path,
they eventually find and settle into a safe place
and the void is suddenly filled
and my mind is active once again.

Judith Baxter, Blogger, Mother, Grandmother and friend

 

And from Mary Oliver

“It is a serious thing
just to be alive on this fresh morning
in this broken world.”

 

 

I Went For a Walk

I went for a walk today – doesn’t that sound so very basic and normal.  But for me it isn’t normal yet.

I’ve been getting around, being taken places by family friends and a great organisation here called Driving Miss Daisy.  This organisation is quite different to cabs – they come to the house, walk with me to the car, take me wherever I want to go for coffee, lunch,to visit friends or to attend appointments.

But having said how great all these people are there’s nothing quite like being out on your own two legs, walking outside after so long being confined to walking only around the garden.  Yesterday my youngest grandson walked with me to the end of the drive.  It’s uphill and so a bit of a challenge.

Then today, my lovely Physiotherapist took me for a short drive to the next suburb. We parked the car and then walked a short distance to a cafe for coffee.  Suddenly, I felt as if I had some control.  It’s amazing what a difference something as small as a walk away from the house can make.

And looking back a year.  I was totally involved in being with and supporting The Architect as he fought and lost his battle against the imposing tumour.  How different life was then and how it brought home to me once again, that life is short and can be taken in the blink of an eye.

Then I looked further back and remembered this day five years ago –With a Little Help From My Friends.  What a lovely day that was and that is the grandson who walked with me yesterday.  How he has grown in five short years.

And on this day four years ago I was thinking about the names we give our children, and the effects they can have on them  in later life. – Samarra.

This time three years ago I was getting excited about the next stage in my long and lovely life. 

On July 13 2014 the Architect and I were in Edinburgh.  We wet to a restaurant for brunch and I ordered a Bloody Mary but as it was 11.15 am we had to wait until 11.30 am for the bar to be opened.  Strange Scottish alcohol laws. But we spent much of the rest of the day in and around the castle.  Of course, I had lived in Scotland for 8 years at one time but my partner had never been there, and of course as an architect he was fascinated with the old and new buildings.

L1150130

High Street, Edinburgh

Scottish parliament building in Holyrood Edinburgh

Scottish Parliament Building

So lots of happy memories on this day interspersed with a few not so happy.

But I say I choose how I’ll spend the rest of my life and I choose to look forward.–

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remembering

On this day three years ago I wrote about helping my daughter move house –A Tiring Day.  I note that I said “Never want to move again”.  Well the best laid plans and all that.

Since that day three years ago I have moved twice and am saying once again “Never want to move again”.

And the help I gave my daughter at that time has been returned in so many ways, particularly helping me after the death of The Architect.  I count my daughter amongst my most treasured blessings.

thanks

The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.
Oscar Wilde

 

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

 

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