Tag Archives: sisters

Goodbye

My visit to London is rapidly coming to a close.  My original intention was to be here for some two weeks and then go to Florence with my sister.  She would stay for a couple of weeks and I would stay on alone for a couple of months.

London-Skyline 3Alas, the best laid plans etc .  Shortly before I arrived in London it was thought that my sister had suffered a heart attack.  So in the first few days we spent time at the local hospital having a barrage of tests.  Nothing moves fast in this big, over crowded city and so she is only today receiving the results of these tests from her GP.  Several more tests were called for which entailed waiting for the letters of appointment, as they were in two different hospitals, and to make life complete she was advised not to fly until the results were all in.

At this time she is still waiting for the final test to be carried out and this will happen next week.

So it was decided that I should go to Florence and she will join me when she is cleared to fly.

british-museum-27-09-13-005.jpgMeantime we have been enjoying my native city again.  Not as a tourist because I was born and brought up here, but as a returning visitor.

The most surprising thing of all is the changes wrought to the East End by last year’s Olympics.  Stratford that was once a really derelict and run down area has been transformed.  During World War II, the area suffered severe bombing damage. Industrial decline followed, accelerated by the closure of the docks from the 1960s onward. And the ethnically mixed area suffered from high unemployment, a labor force with low skills and crowded housing..  But all this changed once London was awarded the 2012 Olympics.

Where once were disused factories now stand tall apartment blocks,

University of Eat London

University of Eat London

the University of East London and student housing to accompany it, a large Westfield Shopping Mall and a new transport hub.  This has been good news for most of the people living in the area.

There has of course, been controversy.

_Orbit_at_nightThe Orbit sculpture and observation tower has been praised and denigrated by the public.  It was  designed by  artist Anish Kapoor and engineer Cecil Balmond  and stands 114.5 metre (376 feet).  It is apparently the largest public sculpture in Britain.   Orbit closed after the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, as the South Plaza area of the Park (in which Orbit is positioned) is under significant construction – and will re-open to visitors in April 2014.

London Olympic Stadium 2The Olympic Stadium is still being fought over by rival football clubs who want to use it as their base.  Currently the  has been awarded to West Ham but Leyton Orient are claiming that exclusive use rights should not have been given and that these two East End clubs should have equal access to the facility.

London_Aquatics_Centre,_16_April_2012

The London Aquatics Centre.  An indoor facility with two 50-metre (160-foot) swimming pools and a 25-metre (82-foot) diving pool.

Some of the residents of course, were moved on to make way for this huge redevelopment, and the redevelopment is still going on.  I saw a sign advertising a shopping and entertainment centre of 1.9 million square feet..  Wow!

the_Shard_London_Bridge_5205

The Shard Via Wikipedia

And the changes are not restricted to the East End.  The City is changing.  Where once were old office blocks now stand huge glass monoliths that do little to differentiate my home town from many other I have visited around the world.

British_Museum_from_NE_2

The British Museum – Still hasn’t lost its charm*

But the old favourites remain.  The Bank of England in Threadneedle Street, The British Museum in Great  Russell Street, The Tower of London, St Paul’s and of course, Parliament and Big Ben.  These are all a must see on any visit I make to London.

Portobello RoadAnd of course no visit to London would be complete without the street markets.  I have written of these in an earlier post.  The World famous Portobello Market in Notting Hill (you probably saw the film Notting Hill  staring Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant), the local markets at Roman Road and Ridley Road, Petticoat Lane and Brick Lane, the antique market at Islington and on and on,

So as my time here comes to an end and once again I say farewell to family and friends, I am a trifle sad and of course, nostalgic.  But I have my adventure in Florence to look forward to and of course, I shall be back here again after that before taking that long haul flight back to the other side of the world.

“My formula for living is quite simple.  I get up in the morning and I go to bed at night.  In between, I occupy myself as best I can”
Cary Grant,  1904 – 1986 ,
English stage and Hollywood film actor

Related Posts:

The Market 
Down Memory Lane

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The Oxford Adventure

“There behind me, far away, never more beautiful since, was the fabled cluster of spires and towers.”
From Surprised by Joy – C S Lewis.

With Sallyann2 On Saturday we spent the day in Oxford with my blogging friend, Sallyann from Photographic Memories.  Sallyann lives in Oxford so we were lucky in having our own private tour guide.

I have been to Oxford several times before but have never seen many of the places Sallyann showed us.  Sallyann is the intrepid photographer but for this day, I took the shots.Oxford TubeWe went on a bus from London – 3.5 hours ride from London to Oxford.  Sallyann met us at the bus terminal and we decided to start our afternoon with lunch.  Had we ever been to the pie shop?  No so let’s all go there.  The Pieminster is one of a chain of pie shops and this one is set in the Covered Market in Oxford.

Covered Market

Covered market, Oxford

Sallyann hadn’t been there either; her daughters had suggested that she take us there. Sallyann and my sister each had Kate and Sydney (steak and kidney) and I had Chicken of Arragon pie (chicken, smoked bacon and tarragon) all served with mashed potatoes and gravy.  We all declared them very good and ate up every last bit.  This was different to the pie shops that abounded when I grew up in the east end of London.  These pies there were beef, served with mashed  potatoes and liquor – a gravy made primarily of parsley and a taste unlike any other I have ever had.  But back to Saturday and our pies and the rest of the afternoon.London September 2013 007We started in the castle precinct.  Oxford Castle is a large, partly ruined Norman medieval castle.  We didn’t go inside but we went to the prison (part of the castle precinct) that has now been turned into a high class hotel. – Malmaison, Oxford Castle.  We are told that the rooms are made from joining two cells. Unfortunately we were too late in the day to see the rooms opened as they were being cleaned.London September 2013 016We wandered around with our own personal tour guide, down alleys  and little streets that one would hardly think could have traffic going in both directions – many looked too narrow for cars to pass each other.

Narnia doorHidden-away squares adorned with Victorian style lampposts made us feel as though we’d  stumbled out of the wardrobe and into Narnia.  We saw the Brasenose College Door said to be the inspiration for C S Lewis’ “The Lion, the witch and the wardrobe”  with the close by,  Radcliffe Camera.  C.S. Lewis, creator of the Narnia stories, created them right here in Oxford when he was a professor at Magdalen College.

London September 2013 078We were taken to a 13th century  pub – no we didn’t go in.  It was full of students and visitors on a busy Saturday afternoon.  But without our guide we would never have stumbled upon this gem.

We all agreed it was a great afternoon.  It ended with coffee, laughter and promises to keep in touch.

I Gotta Horse

Saturday was our day for visiting the market with mother to get supplies for the week.  Our local market was in Ridley Road and I have written about street markets before – if you are interested in my meanderings here is the link – Down Memory Lane.

But Sundays we were taken to another market by father and  here we discovered Prince Monolulu and his catch cry “I gotta horse”.   Prince Monolulu (real name was Peter Mackay) was a huge, larger than life West Indian gent togged out in his finery and offering tips on the horses to anyone who would listen.  He made his money selling tips, handed over in sealed envelopes.  As there were few immigrants in London at the time, and this flamboyant person in both speech and dress was a figure of great interest to the three little girls and I suppose, most of the other people who came into contact with him.  He was a well recognised character at most of the racetracks from the 1930s to the 1950s but of course we never were taken to the racetrack.

Petticoat Lane was where we first came across him and where he was to be found most Sundays.  He was easily recognisable in his outrageous clothes and usually sporting a hat of high feathers.  All the colours of the rainbow could be seen in his clothing.  While Petticoat Lane has become a tourist destination for those visiting the capital, for us it was place to be taken by father while mother prepared the Sunday lunch.  The stalls here were full of clothes, shoes etc a delight to three young girls who could look enviously but not buy.

But more exciting for us was the nearby Brick Lane market – often confused with Petticoat Lane.  Here were the costermoners selling their wares.  Everything from beautiful fresh fruit and vegetables to clothes, china, kitchenware, jewellery etc etc.  And there did seem to be a lot of stalls selling bath towels and sheets and pillow cases.  Of course the fruit and vegetables were fresh as they only sold what was in season.  No transporting of produce around the world then or at least not for those of us who lived in the East End.

There were always puppies and older dogs for sale and in fact when we moved from the flat to the house this is where father bought our first dog – Tex the Alsatian.  I am not sure that this was such a good choice at first.  Three little girls who were unused to having pets and suddenly we had an Alsatian.  But we quickly grew to love him and to realise that he wouldn’t hurt us but woe betide anyone who came too near when we were out with him.  He was a very large, gentle animal and while I don’t remember how long we had him it seemed that he was our constant companion while we were growing up.

We must all have been living at home when Tex died because I recall my elder sister going to the Lane and buying Micky a Heinz 57 Variety dog whom we all immediately fell in love with.  However Mickey turned out to be Michelle and subsequently had a litter of beautiful pups.  There was great consternation when it was discovered “he” was pregnant and many hours spent wondering when this happened as “he” rarely went out without us.  So we had to find homes for all these puppies – I think there were 4 or 5.  They were so cute that we had no trouble re-homing them but mother declared there would be no more pups and had the dog neutered.  But my how mother loved that little dog who was her constant companion when the girls and father were all out all day at work or at the weekends, at play.  There was a series of dogs that followed in the footsteps of Tex and Micky after we left home but I don’t think any were as loved as were those two.

I do remember that father had a Dalmatian who was deaf and so was kept on a short lead when father walked him just in case..  And mother had a particularly bad-tempered Corgi who would nip at the children’s’ ankles whenever it had the chance.

So many memories of an East End childhood that I want to share as things are so very different now and if we don’t record our memories they will be lost as are the memories of my parents and grandparents.

“Circumstances or people can take away your material 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 everyday.”
Judith Baxter Mother, sister, blogger and friend
1938 –

 

A Sad Card

A funny thing happened on the way to Mary Potter Hospice today.  I went to the mail box and there , among the usual bills and junk mail, was  a pretty card with an illustration of irises on the front  The back cover advised  that it was part of the Hope Greeting Collection, made from rycled paper and gave the website www.habitat.org.

Iris in flower

Inside was this sad plea, and because it was so sad, I will reproduce it exactly word for word as it was written :

“Judith my dear –
I heard of this poor soul who hasn’t
heard from her sisters for almost three
weeks.
It breaks your heart.
Love you
God Bless
Christine”

Now what would you do in the face of such a plea.  Send an email; make a phone call or send a response through snail mail?
I hate to think of this poor soul on the other side of the world (well as Christine lives in California I have to assume that she lives on the other side of the world too) waiting, hoping for a response.

So I immediately sent the following back to Christine via email :

“Oh Christine
Thank you for your card.
Your generous heart knows no bounds.
How lucky is that woman to have met you.
Can she now count you as a friend?
Please tell her that your sisters are both alive and
well, albeit in far flung places, and offer us to her as
surrogate sisters who will keep in touch with her regularly.
Love Judith”

Mother and her daughters c1945

Of course, we have been in touch since she posted this card several days ago.

What will you leave behind?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy Birthday and You are How Old?

Yesterday my baby boy celebrated his 50th birthday.  How can that be?  Where have all those years gone?

It seems only yesterday that I brought him home from the hospital to the delight of his big sister.  She was enthralled/entranced with this little person and was convinced that I brought him home especially for her.  She doted on this tiny being; was concerned if he ever cried; made sure he had his favourite toys at all times and rarely left his side when he was awake.  She was always the first to go to him when he awoke.

Through the years they had the usual sibling rivalry and yes, some quarrels but each always knew they could rely on the other when the need arose.  When my daughter decided to leave New Zealand on her own for some overseas experience (although of course, she had been away many times with us as a family) people asked my son how he would cope without his sister.

Things changed; time moved on; they moved on.  They met and married their partners and produced children of their own.  I see the same kind of loyalty in each of their families.  They each have two sons and those sons are displaying the same kind of attachment that my children had with each other.

We used to think that ours were particularly close because we had dragged them around the world with us, dropping them into schools and situations that they had not experienced before.  We thought that because they relied on each other at these times, the bond between them was made stronger.

But watching the grandchildren I am now convinced that the family bond is there right from the beginning.  I do know that I have this strong bond with my two sisters.

So Happy 50th my darling.  I hope you have many more birthdays to share with us.

 

Cargoes

Did you read yesterday’s blog.  Each of my sisters responded saying that among their favourites that we all learned at school, was Cargoes by John Masefield.  So may I share it with you here:

Quinquireme of Nineveh from distant Ophir,
Rowing home to haven in sunny Palestine,
With a cargo of ivory,
And apes and peacocks,
Sandalwood, cedarwood, and sweet white wine.

Stately Spanish galleon coming from the Isthmus,
Dipping through the Tropics by the palm-green shores,
With a cargo of diamonds,
Emeralds, amythysts,
Topazes, and cinnamon, and gold moidores.

Dirty British coaster with a salt-caked smoke stack,
Butting through the Channel in the mad March days,
With a cargo of Tyne coal,
Road-rails, pig-lead,
Firewood, iron-ware, and cheap tin trays.

John Masefield was an English poet and writer (1878-1967).  He was Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom from 1930 until his death he wrote stirring poetry meant to make the reader/listener proud of being British and of their heritage.

Probably Masefield’s most popular poem was Sea Fever.  You will no doubt know the opening stanza –

“I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face and a grey dawn breaking.”

When we were at school we were lucky to have such a talented English teacher who instilled the love of poetry and literature in groups of young girls.  This, coupled with encouragement from our father, taught my sisters and me the beauty to be found in words.

So another rambling post to share with you my love of words, poetry whether stirring like those of Masefield, Brooke,Kipling, Frost et al or of the more modern poets like Jenny Joseph, Ted Hughes and of course another favourite Jayne Relaford Brown whose poem Finding her here  has been quoted several times in earlier blogs.

Sisters

At the outset of my blogging career I wrote a couple of posts one on famous sisters – And The Best Friends of All Are Sisters and one on My Favourite Women Heroes.

Well staying on the subject of famous sisters, today I read  about Katherine and Marjorie Stinson.  Have you heard of these aviator pioneers?

Katherine Stinson

Katherine Stinson, the nineteen year old girl aviator preparing for her flight from Buffalo to Washington, D.C., in connection with the American Red Cross week

Katherine, the eldest was born in 1891, and had plans to study music in Europe and when she heard about stunt flying she determined that this was the way she could fund this ambition.  Barnstorming was a very dangerous occupation early in the 20th Century, but the best barnstormers could earn a thousand dollars in a good day provided they didn’t kill themselves.

By 1912 she’d located flying pioneer, Max Lillie and asked him to teach her to fly.  His response was – no way.  But she persuaded him to take her for a ride and finally convinced him to teach her.

Katherine at 21 became the only the fourth American woman to hold a pilot’s licence.  Next she took up exhibition flying billing herself as The Flying Schoolgirl.  Even though she was in reality 21 she looked to be about 16. Katherine was the first woman to become an airmail pilot and the first to fly a loop.  She flew in exhibitions not only in the US but was the first woman to fly inn China and Japan.  She was the first woman to fly the mail.

By this time she had given up dreams of being a concert pianist and instead considered herself a pilot.  In this is closely linked to Jean Batten the NZ woman aviator who too gave up her desire to be a concert pianist to become a flyer.

Marjorie Stinson

Marjorie Stinson, "only woman to whom a pilot's license has been granted by Army & Navy Committee of Aeronautics", in WWI"

Katherine‘s younger sister Marjorie, born in 1895 followed her example and also learned to fly.  She was the ninth American woman to hold a pilot’s licence.

Katherine and her mother formed the Stinson Aviation Company and after both her sister Marjorie and her brother gained their licenses the family moved to San Antonio and set up a flying school.   The school had to be closed when the US joined WWI the military banned civilian flying and the school had to be closed.

In 1915,   Marjorie  became the only woman in the U.S. Aviation Reserve Corps.  Then in 1916 she began training cadets from the Royal Canadian Flying Corps for service in WWI.  Her teaching methods earned her the nickname, “The Flying Schoolmarm.”

Katherine  tried to enlist as a pilot in the air force but without success and she eventually went to France as an ambulance driver.

After the war, Katherine went back to flying airmail for a short time,  but she contracted tuberculosis and had to give it up. She married a former WWI pilot  and they both did a little more flying but, in 1930, they both decided to quit.

She became a draftsman for the Army and studied architecture. She won prizes for her designs and she lived to the age of 86.

And Marjorie took to barnstorming around the country performing at county fairs and airports. She retired from flying in 1928 she became a draftsman for the  U.S. Navy’s Aeronautical Division. She retired from her job in 1945 and devoted the rest of her life to researching the history of aviation. She died in 1975 at the age of 80.

So two sisters who were very active in flying in the early days and of whom we have heard very little.  The Stinson Award was created in 1997 by the National Aviation Club (now part of NAA) to honor the accomplishments of these two pioneering women.

Read more about these and other notable women aviators at Women in Aviation

Note – photos via Wikipedia.

When sisters stand shoulder to shoulder,
who stands a chance against us?
Pam Brown

The Market – A Lesson Learned

Well once again WordPress is playing with my mind.  I published the post but now I have only half of it.  Where did the rest go?

So here it is again –

Six word Saturday button

It’s Saturday again so here we go. If you would like to participate please either click on the picture above or click this link.

Today I went to the Market.

It was still raining this morning what a surprise!  I had arranged to meet a friend for coffee and afterwards I decided to check out the Saturday market in the area. I have seen the notices for the market many times, as it is held in the grounds of the school in the same street as Mary Potter Hospice.

The market was full of stalls selling fresh produce, mostly vegetables and fruit but one had freshly baked bread and bakery items, another was selling gourmet salamis – but the choice of vegetables was outstanding.

Vegetables

I was told that all vegetables were grown organically and had been picked either in the early hours of this morning or else late yesterday.  They certainly looked fresher and were somewhat cheaper than those sold in the local supermarket.

I bought far too many vegetables but as winter is almost upon us, what I don’t use this week can be made into soup and frozen.  I like making soup so this isn’t a drag for me.

And then of course, I started thinking about markets when I was growing up in London.  I have written about street markets before.  If you are interested in the ramblings of this ancient mind, click here.

As young girls we accompanied our Mother to the market every Saturday afternoon.  It didn’t come with a choice, and until such time as she determined that we were old enough to act responsibly on our own, we had to go with her.

Road sign

The market was about a 30-minutes walk from where we lived and this time was used to talk about all those things that a mother and her three daughters talked about.  We each carried a shopping bag mostly containing fruit and vegetables as this was all we ever seemed to buy at the market.

It was our special time together.  I clearly remember when I was about 15 and beginning to go out with boys, my Mother ribbing me about my beau.  She was ably assisted in this by my elder sister.

I wonder if the memories of those time are sweetened as we grow older.  Could our lives have been so special then.  As Barbra Streisand sings:

“Can it be that it was all so simple then or has time rewritten every line?
If we had the chance to do it all again tell me would we? Could we?
Memories, may be beautiful and yet what’s too painful to remember we simply choose to forget
So it’s the laughter we will remember whenever we remember the way we were.”

Mother has now been dead for some 16 years and so I can’t discuss those far off days with her.  But I do have two sisters who were there at the time.  I wonder if their memories of those times are as vivid as mine.

Mother and girls

Mother with her three daughters

So what is the lesson learned?  To write my blogs in Word before copying it into WordPress.  That way I won’t have to rewrite it.  And no doubt if you read the original version of The Market (and I know that some of you did as you have already commented on it) you may see the changes.  Obviously, this mind cannot retain what was written just a few hours ago.  Oh dear.
As a dear departed friend once told me “Growing old aint for the fainthearted”.
And now I have restored the original so you will be able to read the same post twice. 🙂 🙂 – sorry about that.
Related posts

The Market

It was still raining this morning what a surprise!  I had arranged to meet a friend for coffee and afterwards I decided to check out the Saturday market in the area. I have seen the notices for the market many times, as it is held in the school grounds in the same street as the Mary Potter Hospice.

The market was full of stalls selling fresh produce, mostly vegetables and some fruit, but one had freshly baked bread and bakery items, another was selling gourmet salamis – but the choice of vegetables was outstanding.

I was told that the vegetables had mostly been picked yesterday and many were organically grown.  What really surprised me was how much fresher they looked and how much cheaper they were than those vegetables currently on offer at the supermarket.

The market was busy in spite of the puddles and the continuing rain; it obviously has a host of loyal followers.  The comments among the customers and stall holders suggested that they were on friendly terms which could only be because of their familiarity with each other.

Of course, I bought far more than I should have, but as it’s coming up to soup weather the vegetables will be put to good use.

And then this reminded me of street markets in England when I was growing up.  I wrote a blog on this in July last year – if you are interested in my meanderings down memory lane please click here.

Road sign

I know that as I get older these memories return and I often wonder are these places, sights and people improved with the passing of time?

I do know that we had no choice on Saturday about whether to accompany Mother to the market.  And only as we became older and in her considered opinion, more able to be responsible for ourselves, were we able to make a decision as to whether or not to accompany her.  But this was a time of sharing for Mother and her three daughters.  It took about 30 minutes for us to walk from the market to our house. Walking along, each carrying at least one shopping bag, we discussed all things that mothers and young daughters discussed.

I particularly remember as I reached the ripe old age of 15 and had a boyfriend, Mother and my sisters ribbing me about him.  Innocent family fun.  Saturday afternoons and Ridley Road market are imprinted in my memory so many, many years later.

Mother and girls

Mother has now been dead for some 16 years and I cannot discuss these days with her anymore.  But I can discuss them with my sisters and I wonder if their memories of these days are as clear as mine.

“Can it be that it was all so simple then
Or has time rewritten every line?
If we had the chance to do it all again
Tell me would we? Could we?
Memories, may be beautiful and yet
What’s too painful to remember
We simply choose to forget
So it’s the laughter we will remember
Whenever we remember
The way we were.”

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