Tag Archives: memories

Remembering

 

”When one person is missing
the whole world seems empty.”
Pat Schweibert, American Author

Twenty-one years ago today, the light went out of my world. My DYS (Dashing Young Scotsman) had died. There are no words to tell how I felt for the next few months. Nothing and nobody could fill the void.

I was lucky that there were three young grandsons around to cheer me up. The eldest, three-year-old James, said “Granma, when it stops raining, will you stop crying?’ and ‘Look Granma, the sky is crying because Grampa is dead”.

Of course, he was far too young, as were the others, to understand the devastation that had crept /crashed into my life.

At that time I didn’t know how I was going to go on with the rest of my life;  but it doesn’t come with a choice. One just has to go on living.

I had no friends or family who had suffered such a loss, and while they were all very supportive, I really was on my own on this journey.

But through this, I found a reason for being. I became a Life Coach and directed my energy towards others who were grieving and attempting to survive. My volunteering was (and still is) in a hospice where people were struggling with their loved ones imminent end of life. How quickly I realised I wasn’t the only one on this survival journey.

I wrote a small book Suddenly Single and gave it to my clients and then friends who found themselves in this situation.

And I found I could go on with my life. Even without the person with whom I had grown up, and who was most supportive of everything I did, and eventually, I realised that life could be good again.

Later, I started blogging and through this medium, I met others who had survived and who became friends.

And now, twenty-one years on, I have made a happy life for myself. There were a couple of major hiccups along the way – the death of the Architect in 2015 followed by my disastrous misadventure in 2016 – but in all life has been good to me.

I know that some of you are just starting on this journey, or are new to it. Please believe me when I say there is a way out of this storm of grief and everybody’s journey is different. If you are suffering, please contact me. I should like to send you a copy of the newest version of my book. This edition is called Stepping Stones.

I propose to publish it and put it on Amazon but until then, I’m happy to give you a copy.

End of misery post. Tomorrow I shall be back to normal. As my children always say – Pollyanna is alive and well and living in Wellington, New Zealand.

And for now, as Shirley MacLaine says:

“I think of life itself now as a wonderful play
that I’ve written for myself and so my purpose is

to have the utmost fun playing my part.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Under the Tuscan Sun

On turning the calendar card I was confronted with this –

 

The wording on the card reads –

“The Italian enthusiasm for cycling come to the fore every spring during the Giro d’Italia, a three-week-long road race across some of the peninsula’s most challenging terrain. Thrills, hills, and spills aside, two-wheeled vehicles are an integral part of Italian culture and an uplifting fixture of daily life”

I was immediately transported back to my brief sojourn in Florence in 2013. Can it really be six years ago?

On October 23, 2013, I recorded Day 16 in Florence and noted that the World Road Cycling Championship had just been raced in and around Florence. Cycling memorabilia was on display and for sale everywhere one looked. I succumbed and purchased two little battery operated bicycles with pedalling cyclists whizzing around the footpaths. If you are interested, click here for that post.

Oh, how I enjoyed my short time alone in that wonderful city. I did go back the following year with the Architect, my late love, but somehow just wandering wherever fancy took me, and on my own was really very special. Those few weeks will remain n my memory until my memory fades. I am so glad that I took the chance, made the decision and had the adventure.

Note – I thought after the gloom and despondency of the last two blogs, it was time to lighten things up. I hope I have done so.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Floral Dance

When I read this post from Heaven Happens today, I was immediately transported back to the time I spent playing companion to that elderly lady in Sussex.

We lived in a very small village, some 6 miles from Chichester. There was no shop but there was a pub and a splendid 12th-century church, complete with Norman tower and a very interesting churchyard. To get to the church one had to traverse Church Lane, a small road with thatched roof cottages along either side. Really a chocolate box scene.

Foolishly, when I changed computers I omitted to save all the photos.

Surrounding our village was a number of other small and equally attractive villages. One was called Apuldram.  This village was still a little removed and revels in its ancient history. Many of the houses date back to the 18th and 19th centuries and some even further back.

Dell Quay, Apuldram

The sea still plays a part in the lives of the inhabitants of the village.  Once boats and the sea were means of livelihood for the people of Apuldram; now there are sailing boats and runabouts anchored in the basin at Dell Quay.

Here too, the church is the centre of this village and it is put to many uses other than holding services. Because of the number of those uses to which the church was now being put, an extension was needed and so the village people started to fundraise. One of the ways to do so was to hold a weekend Festival of Music and Flowers. I wrote at length about this in my early blogging days. If you would like to read that post -here’s a link.

So happy memories of time spent in England, visiting places old and new.

Special thanks to Heaven Happens for reminding me of this wonderful weekend, spent in the English countryside on an autumn weekend.

Making and Saving Memories

Family together

Week before David’s wedding – March 1990

Our memories may be happy or sad, joyful or tearful or just plain funny.  Sometimes they are of earth-shattering moment – I clearly remember when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon.  On July 20th, 1969 I was sitting in the Holiday Inn at Dorval in Montreal and I watched spellbound as a man walked onto the moon.

Memories may be of such momentous events, or a special event in our lives; a wedding, birth of first child or grandchild, or even the unimaginable death of a loved one, but mostly our memories are of our everyday life and this is what we need to record and preserve.  What happened to us and how our lives have been changed by what has happened.

My father told me I could be and do anything I wanted.  That has had a profound effect on my life and how I have lived it.  Many memories are of Father and his influence.

And getting back to everyday activities.  A visit to a friend, spending time with a friend’s dog, a walk in the park, meeting new people and making new friends, moving to a new country. or a different part of the country.  All of these are worthy of recording.

I am currently in Tauranga on the East Coast of the North Island dogsitting for a friend while she skis in Canada. You may remember this little dog. Back in 2013 following the death of Miss Lotte, I was given a poodle by an acquaintance, but then I decided to go to Florence so Bella was left with a friend and here she has remained. So we dog- share and whenever I feel the need of some dog time, I come to visit her. So more memories being made of time spent with friends in this lovely part of our country and particularly with this little dog.

bella

And now I should like to share a memory of some 20 years ago.  I wrote this in February 2012 and I still laugh about it.  Funny now but not at the time.  I’m not the only one.

And for my friends in the Northern Hemisphere from a beautiful hot, sunny Tauranga

hands in snow

Christmas Boxes

“Do not be angry with the rain;
it simply does not know how to fall upwards.”
Vladimir Nabokov, Russian-American Novelist

1899-1977

Today, Boxing Day, it rained and while I know that farmers and gardeners have been hoping for rain, those on their annual holidays will have been disappointed.

Here in New Zealand, we have Boxing Day as a National Holiday.  Boxing Day is the day following Christmas Day when traditionally, servants and tradesmen would receive gifts from their employers.  This was known as a “Christmas box”.

Wikipedia tells us   “The Oxford English Dictionary gives the earliest attestations from Britain in the 1830s, defining it as “the first week-day after Christmas-day, observed as a holiday on which post-men, errand-boys, and servants of various kinds expect to receive a Christmas-box”.

Growing up in Britain in the 1940s and 50s I remember tradesmen such as the milkman, postman, and coalman knocking on the door to collect Christmas boxes, usually money, in the week before Christmas. or the following week.  These were people we rarely saw but who obviously performed a service for us.

And again courtesy of Wikipedia we learn – “This is mentioned in Samuel Pepys’ diary entry for 19 December 1663. This custom is linked to an older British tradition: since they would have to wait on their masters on Christmas Day, the servants of the wealthy were allowed the next day to visit their families. The employers would give each servant a box to take home containing gifts, bonuses, and sometimes leftover food.”

Jump in puddles

 

But those of you who know me know that I am a Pluviophile – definition A lover of rain: someone who finds joy and peace f mind on rainy days.

Again, growing up in Britain, I was used to the rain and today’s rain was not heavy, just a gentle fall which would have been very good for the garden which has received no water since Friday.

And now some people return to work for the next three days before being off again for January 1 and 2.  Most offices are closed until January 8 but obviously, those in service industries, hospitals, hotels etc don’t close.  Somebody has to work through the holidays.

So another post full of absolutely useless information.  Except if you happen to play Trivial Pursuit over the holiday period, you might just find a use for some of this.

Christmas Is Coming

 

holly

“Christmas is coming and the geese are getting fat
Please put a penny in the old man’s hat;
If you haven’t got a penny a ha’penny will do,
If you haven’t got a ha’penny then God bless you!”
Nursery rhyme and Christmas carol (frequently sung as a round)

When I was growing up in London following the end of WW2 we always had goose for Christmas dinner.  Not for us a turkey.  In fact, I don’t ever remember having turkey at home until long after I was married.  Quite late on Christma Eve father would go to the market and buy a goose.  They, of course, were reduced at this time so that’s when he went.

Later, after moving to New Zealand with my DYS (Dashing Young Scotsman), I remember a particular Christmas at home with my family.   By this time, the late 60s, goose had been superseded by turkey and father in company of his son-in-law, took off as usual to purchase the bird.  Well, these two men purchased the bird and then in a festive mood did a round of various pubs on the way home.

When they did eventually arrive home, much later than expected by mother for dinner, they were without the bird.  It had been left in one of the hostelries they had visited.  Mother was less than pleased, she didn’t drink and didn’t think it was at all funny.  I had to decide whose side I was on and while secretly siding with father and DYS I nodded assent and support to mother.

Some time later, and rather more merrier I might say, they arrived home complete with bird.  Mother was placated, a late dinner was served and much laughter followed  And the story of the bird was told on many Christmases that followed.

What happy memories.

And now, did you know?

  • Clement Moore’s 1823 poem “Twas the Night Before Christmas” was the catalyst for the reinvention of St Nicholas into the jolly, fat image of Santa we now know?
  • Also invented by Moore, Santa’s travels are invariably connected to reindeer.  In the poem, they are pictured charging through a winter sky complete with strong, elaborate horns.  But in winter reindeer lose their horns so are Santa’s reindeer all female or are they castrated males?
  • Moore omitted to tell us that St Nicholas was Turkish.  He was real and was born in Patara, Turkey.  He was an early Christian and in the 4th Century, he became bishop of the district of Demre where some of his bones can still be visited.  Little fact is known of him, only oral legends relating to his goodness and kindness to children.
  • Another poem, this one by Frank Baum (who wrote The Wizard of Oz) told that Santa lived in a valley called Ho Ho Ho.  American marketers quickly picked up on the poem and Ho Ho Ho became Santa brand’s catch cry.
  • The song Jingle Bells never mentions Christmas and has no connection to Christmas.  It was originally composed for America’s Thanksgiving festival in 1857.
  • Nobody knows when Jesus was born or died. For many centuries people in the northern hemisphere celebrated the winter solstice, the shortest day and the turning point in the long, often hard, cold winter.  Some 300 years after Jesus’ (guessed at) death date, Pope Julius I announced that 25th December would be the date to celebrate the birth of Jesus.  As Christianity spread around the world, this date took over the existing festivities and became “Christmas”.  The word Christmas didn’t come into being until 1032 AD.
  • The bible doesn’t say that three kings visited the baby Jesus but refers to “Wise men from the east”.  They may well have been astronomers (they did follow a star) or Zoroastrian priests and the fact that the three gifts, Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh are mentioned is the possible basis for assuming there were three visitors.
  • And the gifts they brought.  Gold and Frankincense would be acceptable but in ancient times Myrrh was very expensive and used in embalming dead bodies and was burned at funerals to disguise the smell of bodies that hadn’t been embalmed.  Why would it be brought to a newborn child?
  • And everybody’s favourite – Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol”.  There have been 14 versions of this story.
  • Four Calling Birds in the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas”.  Originally it was four colly birds, colly being the ancient word for black (as in collier and coal) so colly birds were blackbirds.  As time went by colly fell out of use and didn’t make sense so people started saying four calling birds.  This doesn’t make sense either.
  • Decorated evergreen trees have been part of December celebrations in Europe for many centuries reminding everyone that spring is just around the corner.  The decorated Christmas tree became accepted in the UK when Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and the children were depicted in the “Illustrated London News” standing around a lavishly decorated Christmas tree.
  • The use of X as in Xmas is not at all invalid or disrespectful.  The word Christ was never part of Jesus’ name, it is a title assigned by later worshippers in Greek meaning ‘the anointed one’.  In ancient Greece, the letter chi was written with a symbol very like an X and the title assigned to Jesus was Xristos and was frequently abbreviated to just X.  So writing Christmas as Xmas has been considered acceptable for some 1000 years.  Note early publications were charged by the number of letters so using X in Xmas was encouraged.
  • The wassail ritual was an ancient pre-Christian custom of drinking a toast to the sun after the northern mid-winter approximately 25 December and hopes for a bountiful harvest in the coming warmer months. Hence the song ‘Here we come a-wassailing’ was a gathering of friends drinking a toast.  “Waes Hael” in ancient English means “Be healthy” and the usual drink was a mixture of spices, apple juice and eggs.  (Give me a G&T any time).
  • Christmas was cancelled in England in the 1640s when Puritan law forbade churches to open on Christmas Day and banned home decorations, celebrations, carol singing and the creating of Nativity scenes.  December 25 was declared a day of everyday work and fasting.  The outraged populace made Christmas observances in secret until the Monarchy was restored in 1660 and King Charles II restored Christmas.
  • And finally, a horse named Santa Claus won the Epsom Derby in 1964.

So there you have my list – as my son always says I have a fund of useless information.  Enjoy it anyway.

 

 

On This Day

I have just been going down memory lane.  I found a box full of letters to and from my Dashing Young Scotsman before and shortly after we were married.  At that time my DYS was a chauffeur for a car rental company and he was away from home for weeks at a time.  In case you don’t remember or are too young to know, in 1957 many Americans came to the UK and then from there, they toured Europe.  Self-drive cars were around but many preferred to be driven.

I was delighted to find these letters from 60 years ago – yes I am that old, particularly as I don’t keep letters, cards etc for any length of time.

So having read one dated 18 September 1957 I decided to look at my earlier blog posts to see what I was thinking and/or doing at that time.

This blogging journey started on March 1, 2011, so the first stop was 18 September 2011.

On that day I talked about My September Years and reminisced about the great life I had lived up until that day.

18 September 2012 I continued the story with Yet More on the Bonnets.  If you were following my blog then you might remember that Sallyann at Photographic Memories found some bonnets sitting in the back of a disused taxi and suggested that I might write a story on this.  Well, I did.  I hope you enjoy it.

18 September 2013 found me in Oxford with my sister visiting with my blogging pal, Sallyann of Photographic Memories fame.  We had a great day and as Sallyann lived in Oxford then, we saw many things not usually seen by tourists.  A great day was had by all and it was particularly memorable because I met a blogging pal In Real Life.

18 September 2014 I was working through Writing 101 and on this day the challenge was to write about loss.  I chose to talk about Miss Lotte my small Tibetan Spaniel and my faithful companion.  Unfortunately, Miss Lotte’s life was short but sweet and I still miss her.

18 September 2015.  This was a particularly hard time for me as my late love, The Architect had died a month before.  So there was only one post in September that year – Missing You.  Oh, how raw were the feelings at that time and how unfair I thought it was that our lovely partnership was cut short.

18 September 2016.  There were few posts in September that year.  I was recovering from my latest adventure aka accident and the closest post to this date is Words and More Words.  The theme is obvious from the title, and I talked about Elizabeth George a favourite author, an appointment card to visit an Otolaryngologist and other meanderings in this ancient mind.

So now to today, 18 September 2017.  What thoughts are going around in my mind?  I have had a pleasant but short interaction with my No 3 grandson.  Oh, how I love to talk with these young men.  He is very solicitous of his Granma and always happy to help in any way. Today he moved plant pots around for me.  Yes, I could have done this myself, but he brought them down the outside stairs and placed them along the front of the hedge.  Now all I have to do is buy plants for them. So a visit later today to my favourite store aka the garden centre.

IMG_1991

Today the sun is shining brightly and all the doors and windows are open.  This follows torrential rain and wind yesterday and we learn that rain, thunderstorms, high winds, and snow are on the cards for many over the next 24 hours in the South Island.  I hope Grandson No 4 is safe and warm in Christchurch.

Rain and snow

We also hear that air travel is disrupted in Auckland as the Airport will be affected after a fuel pipeline from a refinery in Northland was temporarily shut-down.  Auckland is our busiest airport and Airport chief executive Adrian Littlewood said some 27 domestic and international flights were cancelled over the weekend.  So I suggest there are many disgruntled/unhappy travellers.

We read that former Napier City Councillor Peter Beckett has been found guilty of the first-degree murder of his Canadian wife following a jury trial in Canada.  Guilty of drowning his wife, Laura Letts-Beckett, on Upper Arrow Lake in August 2010 and was handed an automatic life sentence with a minimum non-parole period of 25 years.

And the good news?  A Catholic priest held hostage for almost four months in the besieged southern city of Marawi has been rescued hours after a deadly battle between Philippine soldiers and Islamic State-allied militants.   Father Teresito “Chito” Soganub was found abandoned with another hostage near a mosque early Sunday, one of three militant strongholds that have fallen to government forces over the past several days.Father Soganub had been held captive since militants attacked his Saint Mary’s Parish during the siege of Marawi on May 23.

So enough meandering on this Monday.  I hope you all have had a pleasant weekend and are looking forward to this new week.

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Found on Pinterest

 

 

 

 

The Glorious 12th

Here in New Zealand, it is already August 12th  the official start of Britain’s 121-day-long grouse shooting season and always known as The Glorious 12th.

Red_Grouse_(May_2008)

According to The Telegraph “The sport, which always begins on August 12th each year, has been an integral part of the countryside calendar for decades, although having once been an aristocratic hobby, it’s increasingly at the centre of rows over animal cruelty and class.”

If you are interested you can read more about this bird here.

Many years ago as a new bride, I was called by my DYS (Dashing Young Scotsman) to go to Euston Station in London to pick up a brace of grouse that he had shot the day before.  So with father, we took off to do just that.

But I asked, what to do with the birds and was told by my DYS that they should be kept in a dark cupboard and hung up by their feet until the feet fell off, at which time they would be ready for plucking etc.

And would he be home by that time, I asked.  Oh yes, don’t worry about that was his reply.

So following instructions, we hung the birds in the cupboard under the stairs until DYS came home and dealt with them.  I can’t say that I enjoyed the resultant meal.  The bird was far too gamey for me, but this is yet another memory to put into my memory chest.

Steamer Trunk

“Circumstances or people
can take away yourmaterial possessions,
they can take away your money and
they can take away your health.
But no one can ever take away your
precious memories.
So, don’t forget to make time and take the
opportunities to make memories every day.”
Judith Baxter  1938 –
Blogger, Mother, Grandmother, Sister and friend.

Note –  Photo of Red Grouse courtesy of Wikipedia

 

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An Exciting Find

“Make it a rule of life never to regret
and never to look back.
Regret is an appalling waste of energy;
you can’t build on it;
it’s only good for wallowing in.” 
― Katherine Mansfield, NZ short story writer
1888-1923.

Excitement in the Wellington City Libraries – Katherine Mansfield’s first published story discovered at our library.  Previously undiscovered letters and a story written by a young Katherine Mansfield were recently unearthed in the archives by a local author researching the famous writer.

The short story, His Little Friend by the 11-year-old Kathleen M Beauchamp (her given name) was published on the children’s graphic page of the New Zealand Graphic on 13 October 1900.  Up until now, it was believed that her first formally published work wasn’t printed until 1907, so this has got both local and international experts excited.

On a personal note, Katherine Mansfield is close to my heart.  My late love, the Architect, was on the Board of the Wellington Sculpture Trust.  One of the sculptures they commissioned was Woman of Words by Virginia King.   It was during an interview with the Board members that I reconnected with my late love.

Woman-of-Words_11-big

The sculpture stands in Midland Park along the main commercial thoroughfare in Wellington City.

We are told by the Trust “Women of Words celebrates the life and work of Katherine Mansfield. The stainless steel figurative work is entirely laser cut with quotations from Mansfield’s journals and short stories.  During the day the sculpture reflects the colour, movement and ambience of the surrounding area.
At night, illuminated from within, the work becomes a lantern of silhouetted words.”

The hair on the sculpture is made up of Mansfield’s shopping list.  Each of the Board members received a “hair”.  I have Tomatoes that was the Architect’s “hair”.

 

fullsizeoutput_2de

And with those memories now brought up again I think how lucky I am to have them.

 

Note:  I have changed the date of the publishing of His Little Friend.
Originally I had mistakenly put 1990 – it should be 1900.
Mansfield. died in 1923

It’s My Birthday and…

Well, how did I get to be this old?  I think somebody has deleted several decades of my life.  However…

The first email I opened this morning was from LondonWlogger who took me back a lifetime, to a time growing up in London when this area was the playground of three young girls.

map1

Clapton Pond

We passed this on our way to and from school each day.  Did we really understand or appreciate how magical it was to have such a beauty in the middle of a built up, town area?  I think not.

Lea Valley

The Lea Valley, once a transport river busy with horse-drawn barges and later motorised barges.  It was an industrial area and supplied water for London, sand and gravel.  Now its a lazy, gentle river offering leisure boating.

 

Springfield

Springfield Park where three little girls were taken by their mother most afternoons after school.  We lived in an apartment building with no green space to play on.  Many happy memories here.  I wonder if my sisters remember the cave where we played for many hours in the sunshine.

Thank you, Stu, at Wlogger for this post.

So now moving on some 60 plus years, I am sitting in Wellington New Zealand in the sunshine and losing myself in so many happy memories of a childhood spent surrounded by love and these beautiful bits of nature in a busy, busy, noisy city.

Off now, to get ready.  My son and daughter-in-law are coming to take me to lunch and then later, I shall have dinner with my daughter, her eldest son and his girlfriend.  How lucky am I?

NOTE:   All photos taken by London Wlogger. © Copyright 2017.