On June 11, 1967 my two children and I first set foot in New Zealand.
On this date in 2017, I asked the question “Where did the years go?” Click here to read that post.
And now it’s another five years and still I wonder where the time has gone. Much has changed of course since that far-off day when we arrived in this far-off land. The children have grown, moved away and now have their own families. And each has two sons – my strapping young, handsome grandsons. four young men of whom I am justifiably proud (no bias here you understand). Unfortunately 25 years ago, their father, my DYS died and life totally changed for all of us. But it doesn’t come with a choice so “Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again” so sang Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire in the 1936 movie “Swing Time”. So that’s what we did. Here’s a Youtube link showing them singing and dancing together.
So we will celebrate this day and in another five years will celebrate the 60th anniversary!
As a very new blogger in March 2011 I had plenty t say although I didn’t know whether the only one reading my blog was me. In that month wrote about the life I had lived up until that time. Oh and on reading the post again, I am pleased to note there were 19 comments.
Yesterday when I was young The taste of life was sweet like rain upon my tongue, I teased at life as if it were a foolish game The way an evening breeze would tease a candle flame, The thousand dreams I dreamed, the splendid things I planned
I have just been listening to the local radio and they have played Charles Aznavour singing “Yesterday when I was young”. Charles Aznavour has always been a favourite and I am happy to listen to him at any time, so I started thinking about when I was young.
The words of this song don’t really apply to me; in fact, I think when he wrote this song he must have been feeling his age and counting all the things he had missed. See what you think by listening here.
As I have said before, I don’t think I have missed out on anything in my long life, and I have plenty of happy, happy memories. So I prefer to listen to Dean Martin who sung Memories are made of this in 1945, and it just keeps keeping on.
But Aznavour plays a large part in my memories. I remember seeing him first at The Royal Albert Hall in London in 1967. This was a particular birthday treat for me. Then in the 70s, we saw him in Paris. Lovely memories of a fantastic singer.
So – Yesterday When I Was Young I married my handsome young Scotsman, and after a few years had my first child, a daughter
Two years later I had a son. So now two children to love.
Big sister and her brother
The taste of life was sweet like rain upon my tongue –I was a very contented young mother, loving watching them grow and learn.
The thousand dreams I dreamed, the splendid things I planned – we moved from Scotland to New Zealand and then to Montreal. My dreams came true. My children thrived wherever we dropped them (figuratively of course).
Yesterday the moon was blue and every crazy day brought something new to do. We decided to move back to New Zealand to live life on the beach but it didn’t last for long as we moved south to Wellington.
every crazy day brought something new to do – new city, new home, new friends. Everybody settled in and we loved our life here.
Then children moved on. They left home and made their own way in the world. They both married and subsequently had their own children.
Family dynamics changed. And so much pain my dazzled eyes refused to see. Mother died followed shortly thereafter by my dashing (now not-so) young Scotsman and life moved on.
And then some years later my darling, energetic, supportive 95-year-old father died. Didn’t see him often as we lived a world apart, but he was always there for his daughters.
Yesterday the moon was blue – and I have so many lovely memories of family and friends around the world. There are only a couple of changes I might make, but one cannot bring back those who have passed on. So The thousand dreams I dreamed, the splendid things I planned – are being replaced by new dreams and plans as I now move into a new phase of my life alone but never lonely.
I could find no published post for X and so I’m writing a new one.
“Don’t be pushed around by the fears in your mind. Be led by the dreams in your heart.” ― Roy T. Bennett, Author of Light in the Heart
Way back in 2016 after I had my misadventure, it seemed that I spent a lot of time at the regional hospital having x-rays MRIs, CTs, and other scans.
Of course, my daughter attended all these appointments with me. We were taken by ambulance from the rehabilitation centre at the beginning but after a couple of weeks, we went in my daughter‘s car.
On every occasion, and we saw different technicians each and every time, we were treated with the utmost respect and concern for my well-being.
Of course, initially, I was concerned because I had never had my brain x-rayed, or at least not while I was conscious. Obviously, they x-rayed it when I was first admitted to the hospital so that they could determine exactly what I had done, but at that time I wasn’t aware of what was going on. So I was a little nervous on the first visit, but my concerns were quickly allayed by the technicians and supporting staff.
Much has been said about our health system and its faults, but during the time that I was incapacitated, I have to say that I gained only the greatest respect for all the people involved in my recovery.
As I have said we have the ACC here – the Accident Compensation Corporation and all accidents wherever they happen are covered by this. So we don’t need insurance to cover accidents.
And everything involved in my recovery was covered.
The therapists at the rehabilitation centre were great. The physio and occupational therapists seemed to be there during a normal working week. The physiotherapist was a delightful young woman who worked on me and while I was there, I saw her almost daily and when eventually I was able to walk to the gym unaided, she and the rest of the staff celebrated my achievement with me.
I saw the occupational therapist several times during my stay. These were interesting appointments during which she had me remember a list of words, look around the room and remember what I could see, tell her what I had seen on a recent walk round the grounds, and just generally make my mind work as it did before the accident. There was a speech therapist, but I didn’t see him until the day I was leaving. A young Malaysian who spoke with an American accent said he hadn’t seen me because I had been able to speak without any help.
The two therapists continued to visit for a few weeks after I was allowed home. The result of all this attention was great, but really, I wouldn’t advise anyone else to check it out for themselves.
Way back in 2016 following my near-fatal accident, I noted and celebrated each small step towards recovery. Earlier this month I wrote about going for a walk and now I should like to share this with you. As Zig Ziglar, a favourite motivational speaker said – “You can eat an elephant a bite at a time.”
I went into town today to meet a friend for coffee. Unfortunately for me but fortunately for her, she had promised to take her grandson to the movies, so it was a very short meeting. After she left, I had another coffee and thought about what I would do until my driver picked me up one hour later.
So here I was out on my own for the first time in 12 weeks. It seemed like some retail therapy was called for. I made it to only one department store almost opposite where we had coffee, but I felt pleased with myself for trying this.
I bought some tights, some makeup and a new perfume. So al in all a good use of an unexpected free hour. And to finish off, while I waited for the driver, I bought some handmade chocolates from the chocolate shop.
Then home again with my caring and careful driver. I’m so lucky that I have access to these women in Driving Miss Daisy. They are all in their 50s and 60s and really look after me.
A quick lunch and then onto the bed for a nanny nap.
If you didn’t already know it, I love alliteration (even if I have to make up words). Into every life, there come one or two major hiccups. This was the first in mine. Looking back I wonder how I managed so well during this awful time.
“The bathtub was invented in 1850 and the telephone in 1875. In other words, if you had been living in 1850, you could have sat in the bathtub for 25 years without having to answer the phone.” ~Bill DeWitt.
I read today’s post from the Good Greatsby and it reminded me of my most favorite Bob Newhardt skit – we always refer to it as Nutty Walt. Click here to view the video.
Then, as often happens, after reading this post about phones my thoughts went to a time when a phone would have been very useful for me.
My late husband had retired early at 56 and wanted a less hurried lifestyle. We looked around and we decided upon the Marlborough Sounds in the South Island of New Zealand. We had been to the Sounds many times with our boat and it seemed like an idyllic spot in which to retire. I was rather young to be considering this retirement thing at 48.
However, we found a lovely house in a small bay with only four other houses. The house sat up above the beach with a path leading down to it. A perfect place to retire and to write my book. The book didn’t happen but that is for another post.
At the time all telephone services in New Zealand were run by a Government Department. To get a new connection in the city took about 7 days if you were lucky. To get a new connection in a rural area took forever and ever.
So, we moved to Paradise. And applied for a phone to be told there was a long waiting list and we had to be patient. Bear in mind that we lived some 60 kms from any town and the last 5 kms of the road was unpaved. I had never lived anywhere there weren’t shops and buses and people. It was quite a revelation to me.
Anyway, back to the telephone. We managed with difficulty. Remember this is 1986 – few cellphones and very few people had access to the internet. No phone, no internet, no communication with the outside world. Very peaceful but frustrating.
One of our neighbours offered the use of their phone if we needed it.
So on a lovely Sunday while Robert was away further south playing bowls I was applying paint over the awful wallpaper in the master bedroom. And that’s also another story. I was surprised when Robert walked in as I wasn’t expecting him until the next day. He looked grey and obviously was quite unwell.
The next morning he was worse. I ran to my neighbour’s and used their phone to call a doctor. He told me to bring husband in immediately and had to give me instructions as I didn’t know the town in which he was located.
After driving the 60 kms with husband groaning at each bump and turn in the road, we arrived at the doctor’s house. He took my husband inside and left me sitting in the car. When Robert came out he said the doctor thought it was not serious and gave him a couple of pessaries.
So we went home but in a very short time, he was writhing in agony. So another call from the neighbour’s house and I was told to bring him into the surgery. More instructions needed. Well to cut this long story short, the doctor took one look and declared “This man should be in hospital”.
So with more instructions, to the hospital, we went. They admitted him immediately but as the only ward open to admittance on this Sunday was the Children’s’ Ward that’s where he went. The surgeon was called and he later told me he was grateful to be called out as his wife had been entertaining a rather boring group of people.
I was offered a bed in the nurses’ home but had to return to Willow Bay as my spaniel had been left there. On the way home I found a telephone box (yes they were still available then) and called my son in Wellington who agreed to get the first plane in the morning to be with me. He also agreed to call his sister who was in London and tell her.
The next morning bright and early I was back at the hospital. The surgeon had examined Robert again and said the only way to find out what was wrong was to operate.
I called the phone company to check on progress – none!
The cause of Robert’s problem was a ruptured duodenal ulcer (that nobody knew was there) so that was the good news. Other thoughts were unthinkable. But Robert was sick for a long time and kept in a coma for several days.
I called the phone company again – no progress although I was on first name terms with the operator at this stage.
I used to spend all day sitting with Robert. I learned patience which was positive. I used to call one friend in Wellington using the hospital phone. Still no result from the telephone company. This friend, in turn, called other friends in Wellington to pass on the news.
One day I arrived at the hospital and Robert greeted me with the news that our son was in hospital in Wellington having had an appendectomy the night before.
This was the final straw. At this time I had a husband in hospital in Blenheim, a son in hospital in Wellington, a Mother in hospital in London and a Father-in-Law in hospital in Glasgow and still no telephone
Another call to the phone company – I told the operator my tale of woe and he said ‘You really need to speak to my supervisor’ Well, I had tried to on several occasions previously. As soon as the supervisor heard my problem he arranged for a phone connection the next day – but it was a party line, shared with a couple of other customers. And yes, that’s another story – but at least we had a phone.
A pretty scary episode in my life made more so because of my lack of ability to communicate with the outside world. It was 25 years ago but I still remember the feeling of being cut off.
Needless to say, we didn’t stay there long. After about 9 months we decided to come back to Wellington. Another adventure in this wandering life of mine.
“Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.” Buddha
Well, nine days into the challenge I set myself. And we come to “I”. There were several posts I could have used but I decided to go back to that time in 2016 when following my misadventure, I wasn’t allowed to drive. So let’s look back –
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. On this day, 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.
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.
High Street, 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.–
“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” Victor Frankl, 1905-1997 Austrian Neurologist and Psychiatrist
I am constantly amazed at the fortitude of my fellow bloggers. When I read of the hardships and abuse many have suffered and overcome, I wonder at my luck of having been born into a loving and caring family, and then having the good fortune to meet and marry my ‘Dashing-Young-Scotsman’ at an early age.
I tell people that I have lived a blessed life. If you have read any of my earlier posts, you will see that I had a long and mostly happy life with my DYS; I have two children whom I love and whose support I can rely on and appreciate.
My family is rounded out by my daughter-in-law from heaven, a charming and caring son-in-law, and four strapping young grandsons all of whom seem pleased to see their Granma and offers of help are often forthcoming.
Of course, no life is perfect. I left my family in the UK to follow my husband in his move up the corporate ladder which entailed us moving around the world. My children therefore, missed out on the companionship of cousins that I had when growing up. And they saw their grandparents on rare (bi annual) visits home. So they were very much part of a nuclear family – the four of us in a world far removed from home.
I am also very lucky to have two sisters, one in London and one in Los Angeles. Could we have landed any further apart even had we planned it? While they are not within easy visiting distance we still are in regular contact by phone and now of course, the internet. Aren’t we lucky to live in this technological age.
There have of course been bad times in this long life of mine. We lived in Montreal for a couple of years and I absolutely loathed it. The French Separatists were very active and almost daily we heard of their actions against the English speaking population. My children’s school was bombed and that coupled with the police going on strike, made the decision for us to leave and return to our adopted home, New Zealand.
This time we knew that it would be a permanent move and that family and friends in the Northern Hemisphere would see us only a rare trips home; but we made the decision in the knowledge that this was where we wanted to raise our children – on the beach in Takapuna, Auckland. After a year my husband was transferred to Wellington, the capital city, but that’s another story.
I wrote about a time when I was in danger of losing my leg and a black day when I wanted to Stop the World, but my blackest day was 14 years ago when my Not So DYS died and the colour went out of my world for some time. But living and moving on doesn’t come with a choice and so I am in the next phase of my life and most of the colour has returned.
So daily I give thanks for my life and know that I wouldn’t swap it for anyone else’s. Oh yes of course, there are parts I would gladly change. Those that are shared in this post and others, but mostly I say thanks to god, the Universe or whatever power is above us for giving me this life.
And above all I thank my fellow bloggers for being so open about their lives, in all the ups and downs and for sharing with us how they have overcome. In reading about their problems I have come to realise just how lucky I am. This is their gift to me. Thank you thank you!
As each day comes to us refreshed and anew, so does my gratitude renew itself daily. The breaking of the sun over the horizon is my grateful heart dawning upon a blessed world. Terri Guillemets, U.S. quotation anthologist, 1973 –
One of the bloggers that I follow is Hallysan at Photographic Memories. In a recent blog acknowledging an award, she had to give us seven things about herself. One was that she was good with her hands and that caused me to comment that I was not and flat packs send me into a spin.
I remember one particular time when a flat pack was in order. I had arrived in London in time for Christmas and was staying with my sister. A few days before Christmas Day a flat-pack arrived by courier. My sister had ordered a toy kitchen for one of her grand-daughters.
We opened the package and saw how many pieces needed to be put together, so in the hope that her son would turn up in the next few days, we closed the box and put it aside.
The days passed and Christmas Eve arrived but her son didn’t, so we were faced with putting this toy together. The first warning read “Not to be assembled by anyone under 10 years” (or words to that effect). Then there were the usual warnings about small items and small children but hey – we were two adult, grown-up Grandmothers. We could do this!
My sister is much better with her hands than am I – in fact both sisters are and it would be hard to find anyone who wasn’t. So she would put the pieces together ie build the kitchen and I would read the instructions and pass the requisite screws, screwdriver, stickers, parts etc. We were doing very well until I turned over two pages in the instruction book. Yes, there was a book and it had been translated into English from Chinese, we think by Goofy and his pals. It made hilarious reading. I wish I had known the Good Greatsby then and his command of Chinglish it would have been very useful.
Imagine this. Two adult women surrounded by pieces of a toy kitchen, screws, stickers etc and having no idea how to put it all together. Hours passed in discussion on how to do this, interspersed with shrieks of laughter when first one thing and then another either didn’t fit or hallelujah it did fit!
Then telephone calls to nieces and nephews in London, to family and friends in New Zealand and to elder sister in Los Angeles. They all shared in the hilarity and passed comment and advice while we tried to put this danged thing together.
My mobile phone bill reached an all-time high and we did too (without any alcoholic drinks help). Eventually, a rather wobbly kitchen was put together but my nephew commented the next day that one of the panels was in upside down or round the wrong way, but the four-year-old for whom it was intended loved it anyway.
So no more flat packs for me. I enjoyed the exercise of putting it together but oh dear me, at the end of it we were left with about thirty extra screws. I wonder where they were meant to go? And I never enquired as to how long the kitchen stayed upright. I left shortly after Christmas and it never came up in conversation again.
As I have said before sisters are the best friends and they are also the best people with whom to share such an experience.
“A hug is a great gift – one size fits all, and it’s easy to exchange.” Author Unknown
Looking back over the years of blogging, I see how many posts were set using a prompt, number of words or sentences.
Thinking about what to write for D, I remembered during lockdown in 2020 Tara at Thin Spiral Notebook set us a new challenge. Write a story in five sentences. Here is my attempt with Diversion.
As you know, I enjoy joining Tara at The Thin Spiral Notebook and her 100 words challenge. Would you like a new challenge?
This is the second week in this series. If you wish to play along with me, the aim is to take the word I give you each week and write a five-sentence fiction story.
The Challenge is to write a story in only five sentences. Are you up for the challenge? it’s fun and something else to do in this lockdown time.
Last week’s word was DIVERSION and here’s my take on that: a story in only five sentences
She had 20 minutes to get there and the traffic was awful.
Everyone seemed to be going her way, moving at a snail’s pace, and here to top it all was a broken down vehicle with groups of people standing around gawking, though nobody seemed to be doing anything constructive to get it moving again.
She had promised herself that she would be on time, just this once and now she was going to be late unless she could find a useful diversion – a way to get around the traffic.
She had to get there for how else would she ever forgive herself for not being there when he died even though she had promised him again and again that she would be, and now she was going to be late for the funeral.
Suddenly, she remembered a short cut he had often used between her house and his and as it came up on her left she was able to turn and speed away; perhaps she might just make it in time.
Now for this week’s word – PROMISES. See what you can do with it. Remember only five sentences and it’s fiction.
I hope you play along. And please link back to this site so others may see what you write. Good luck. Have fun!
“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life.” Anne Lamott, American novelist 1954 –
I have followed with interest and amazement Cindy Rickers and her alphabet during April. So much so, that I am going to try for May. But I thought I would do this with a twist. Using the alphabet, I will repost earlier blogs. So to start –