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Sunday, December 28, 2014

Season of peace ...Happy Christmas ...

Happy Christmas 

I've always found it fascinating that the English and German soldiers had a ceasefire at Christmas in 1914, sang Silent Night and played a game of football. It struck me more this year on the centenary. Again, I ask, why so much fuss in the world over the 25th of December, so important a feast that it would cause the war to cease even for a short time.
When we have a birthday, isn't it true that we do something to celebrate. And sometimes we might make more of an effort  - when it's a "special"  one, 21st, 40th, 60th, for instance. We feel the need to mark the fact that we were born, that we live. So, with the 25th of Dec, we also mark a special birth, the most special birth in History, when God Himself was born into the world and became man.
And that is why people can't help themselves . We all feel the need to live this very special time.
We have rich food, give presents, get together for parties and generally make merry.
Our house this year was no exception. I told you in an earlier blog how we were preparing for the family to come and have Christmas with us.
Well, today,  the first moment of relative peace has descended as we said goodbye to my son, the last of the visitors . I cooked him a nice meaty dinner with the left over meats, warming it all in an onion gravy and serving with mashed potatoes, mashed swede and peas. We followed that with warmed up Christmas pud and custard ( I had cream, can't help myself). Husband and son enjoyed it enormously. I was a bit sad as we said our goodbyes, waving him off with the sky blue in the background,  knowing that it would probably be the last time Christmas happened in this house.
Although we had twenty one people for dinner, there was a calm atmosphere that I was most grateful for, due mainly to the preparation and planning done beforehand. We didn't have to vacate the lounge to accommodate the eating area,as we had in previous years. The table was set up days before - such a good idea.
How did the three meats work out you might ask. And no we don't have a catering oven or an aga. We cooked the meat and then kept it wrapped and sealed while we spent another couple of hours using the oven for the potatoes , parsnips and heating the yorkshire puddings. And, guess what, when we came to cut the meat it was as hot as if it had just come out of the oven.  So with all this, along with cabbage, carrots, broccoli and three different gravies the time came to dish up. We had decided, for practical reasons that we would plate up and serve as opposed to having multiple dishes on the table. And therein you have the "stressful" five minutes while five of us frantically plated twenty one dinners before they got cold. Phew !!!!
that was not easy. But it was delicious and everyone enjoyed it.
Wine, fruit juices, Christmas pudding, cheesecake, custard, cream etc etc..... Another Christmas dinner over for another year.
After dinner and after singing Away in a Manger round the crib, we have the opening of "secret santa" presents - always an interesting event. This time the children (who'd had their morning presents earlier) had their own, where they all spent (with parents help in some cases) £2 on a little gift for one of their cousins ( or brothers or sisters, depending on how the names fell) . It was a pleasure to see how keen they all were to see what everyone had and whether or not the recipient of their particular gift was happy with it.  It was a all very impressive.
The adults also had their secret santa with a £10 limit. Amazing what some got for their money...
Family games take us through to the evening ... A great day  xxx
Happy Christmas ...

Saturday, December 20, 2014

A Birthday Celebration

I have always found it odd that people celebrate Christmas even though they don't believe in Jesus.
I found this little piece and thought I'd share it with you:


Mary's Christmas Dream
I had a dream Joseph. I don't understand it, but I think it was about a Birthday celebration for OUR SON.
I think that was what it was all about. The people had been preparing for it for about six weeks . They had decorated the house and bought new clothes. They had gone shopping many times and bought elaborate gifts. It was peculiar though, because the presents were not for OUR SON. They wrapped them in beautiful paper and tied them with lovely bows and stacked them under a tree. Yes, a tree, Joseph, right in their house. They decorated the tree also. The branches were full of glowing balls and sparkling ornaments. There was a figure on top of the tree. It looked like an angel might look . Oh, it was so beautiful. Everyone was laughing and they were happy. They were excited about the gifts.
They gave the gifts to each other, Joseph, not to our son. I don't think they even knew Him. They never mentioned His Name. Doesn't it seem odd for people to go to all the trouble to celebrate someone's birthday if they don't know Him? I had the strangest feeling that if Our Son had gone to this celebration, he would have been intruding. Everything was so beautiful Joseph and everyone was so happy, but it made me want to cry. How sad for Jesus not to be wanted at His own birthday party. I'm glad it was only a dream. How terrible , Joseph , if it had been real!!!

And it finishes: "Let's put Christ back into Christmas"
For then there will be peace on earth for all  ...

I hope you all have a great Christmas. 

We have got lots of the family coming and will have twenty two round the table(s) for Christmas dinner.
Someone asked me yesterday what size turkey I would have to get to feed that lot. The answer is no turkey at all. Instead we are having three meats - beef, pork and lamb. 
They will start arriving early on Tuesday and the last will leave probably 3rd or 4th of Jan

We are really looking forward to it, especially as it will be the last time in this house. 
I wonder what future years will bring. 

What are you all doing for Christmas?????
Do share your stories ...





Sunday, December 14, 2014

I love Christmas

Well , we are going to celebrate Christmas 2015 in our new home. I have no "plan" as yet  and will probably not decide until the 1st of December, or even later. There are so many options to be considered. And exactly a month today it will be the eve of the big day and all our preparations will be over.  So, i wish you all a happy and fruitful month of looking forward to Christmas. I will, of course have a little more to say before it all happens.

I love Christmas.

In two weeks the mad Christmas festivities will be slowing down . It's not that I'm not looking forward to it all but I'm also looking forward to it all being over. We have got a houseful coming and will be very busy on Christmas day itself. They are all staying for various lengths of time, so although at the height of the madness we will have twenty four we will have some days when it's only eight,ten or twelve.
We had to get a real tree. The husband wasn't happy that as we were "doing" Christmas for the last time in this house that we get out the faithful plastic version that, with a bit of imagination and helpful decoration has been perfectly adequate for the last couple of years. Anyway, the five foot Norway Spruce looks quite majestical taking up the whole corner of the room and I am, after all, rather pleased that we splashed out.
As another part of the preparation we went to get the meat yesterday. No, not a huge turkey. We did used to have turkey, mainly because they were given to us , but as no one likes turkey we have gone for other favourites. We were going to have a choice of two meats but again couldn't come to an agreement on which two so have ended up with three - lamb, pork and beef - pleasing everyone. I only hope the poor oven will cope.
This mad buzz will calm down as I say and we will just be left with memories. And that's what I want to concentrate on, making good memories, the sort that are brought out in years to come and discussed between family members, probably when we have gone to our eternal rest.
When I was small, maybe eight or nine, we had a goose sent from my grandmother in Ireland. She couldn't be with us but in a sense she was, as we ate the goose - I'd never had before or since- and talked about her and wished her well. If ever I think of geese I find myself in the cottage in Ireland, with its beams, rickety stairs and range (aga like cooker), having tea and Marie biscuits with my dear Nan. Although nearly twenty five years have passed since she died and many more since the last time I saw her I can still conjure up her odour of smoke from the fire mixed with old age and be comforted by it.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Present ....







Love this poem by Mary Oliver. 

The Summer Day
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-- the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down--
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life? 



Well, what will you do with your one wild precious life??? Live in the now. It is after all the only time we have. The past is just that, past, nothing to be done about it, the future is unknown and uncertain - all we have is the present. Now is the time to.....

Thursday, December 11, 2014

My View ...

Today I am sitting at my computer, looking out at a beautiful view of the sea. The sun is shining on it creating many colours - I think If I listed them I've have to name every one.  There have been some ships passing and the windmills on the horizon must be producing lots of electricity as they are busily turning .
There are birds  - mainly seagulls, but some others I can't name - gliding and dancing on the wind.  In the middle of my canvas the old pier head sits, majestic no more, rather a sad memory of good times past, like an old, yellowed and frayed photograph of people that no one remembers anymore, but who once had a life and meaning.
I know it sounds odd , but I am trying to place this scene firmly in my mind, to take out and enjoy when, in a few weeks time I will no longer be able to see it for real. I have taken it for granted these last thirteen years. It's just there, in front of me. I can see it whenever I like. But with the prospect of not being able to see it, somehow it's attractiveness is highlighted and it beckons me to take note...
The movement of sea and sky means that the landscape is forever changing - like us really, a mirror of our moods and feelings.
I never noticed the arc before. I know as we all do that the earth is round but have never seen for myself until sitting looking out of this window, it becomes obvious. It was a surprise to me - I know , I'm a bit slow - but to see the arc of the horizon clearly visible as the horizontal edge of my window captured it was a delightful discovery.
Last year, whilst looking out, I saw what appeared to be bubbles on the surface of the water. It covered quite a significant area and was fascinating. I later found out it was mackerel coming near to feed .Just amazing, I thought.
As the clouds reflect their shapes on the ocean, I also reflect on the ocean of my life . The tides have come and gone regularly. Storms have past and stillness makes its occasional visit. But with all the variations I am still the same.

Catch me tomorrow for some more ramblings...
Bye for now...
:)

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Moving On


Eleven Syllables to Eat - Oh, And A Christmas Pudding




Being constrained when writing sometimes helps creativity. In this exercise we had to write a poem with exactly eleven syllables on each line, which I found really difficult. I did one with nine syllables too. Both are reminiscing a little about Christmas traditions




Eleven Syllables to Eat – Oh , And A Christmas Pudding.

From grandparents, grandparents this tradition,
Has come down to us in the family today.
We take it very seriously, this task
Everything executed in the right way.
Stir up Sunday is the day it all happens
Christmas puddings to make using many hands.
Mums, dads, aunts, uncles, children, babies gather
At grandma’s house, bringing bowls, fruit, suet and
Stout – it has to be stout- not Guinness or beer.
The tin bath, now kept only for the puddings,
Makes its appearance as it does every year.
Once it was used every week on a Friday,
After halliborange and cod liver oil.
All take turns, having a stir, making a wish,
It takes some time but is the important bit.
A silver coin is secreted, when done,
Deep within, good luck for the one who finds it,
At our Christmas dinner – it will be such fun.



Nine Syllables


With the number nine I’ll start again
And tell you another tradition
If you all get bored or fall asleep
I’ll have failed in my little mission.

Out we step on a cold, windy night
Clad in gloves, scarves and strong walking shoes.
On our way round the houses singing
Christmas Carols and bringing good news.

We’ve done the same thing year after year
We know who will give us a welcome.
We also know those who slam the door
In our faces before we are done.

Sometimes they give us some sweets to share
And they still put money in the tin.
Others offer soup to warm us through,
Then they end up inviting us in.

Once a family came out and joined us,
Full of the Christmas spirit they were.
And boy could they sing and make some noise-
Our melody taken much further.

The money we raise usually goes
To children who might not celebrate
No money for food , pressies or toys
If we help them a little that’s great.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Warm Stew

I look for jobs to do around the house. Yes, the hoovering, that will warm me, stop me shivering. I have to remind myself It's the beginning of December, not summer anymore. That carpet, plain , awkward , time consuming is a treasure today. We work as hard as each other, my good friend Henry and me, going thoroughly through all the rooms,moving beds and chairs, paying attention to nooks and crannies. After an hour of this manual labour, I reward myself with a cup of hot chocolate, sit with paper and pen and plan my ?next battle against the elements. The temperatures registers below zero. Can that be right? Well, it certainly feels like it. This could be it now for the next twelve or even sixteen weeks. Not a pleasant thought. No wonder so many people move abroad to sunnier climes - who can blame them? I shut myself in the kitchen - the warmer part of the house - and decide that a chicken stew would go down well for dinner.It will heat us from the inside out. After washing up the breakfast things, in water that's much too hot, I put some chicken breasts in a pot, cover them with water and leave to boil, while I slice, then add onions, carrotts, swede and parsnips. Oxo cubes - vegetable and meat, complete the mix for now. When it's cooked I will thicken it with Gravy mix. As my stew simmers away, I retreat to my blanket and catch up on my emails - still sitting in the kitchen, of course. It's funny how just the smell of the cooking creates a toasty flush that seeps through to my bones. I see my own mother making dumplings and popping them on the top of her own stew - usually lamb. I never did follow her in that ritual. She was always, and still is at eighty one, the great feeder. When it's cooked I take it off the heat - to reheat later. As I'm still felling the chill I go for a walk to get the blood moving more quickly round this old frame. Although I wrap up well the wind gets through and after thirty minutes or so I'm glad to be back, the door shut behind me and in my blanket. Oh, and with another cup of chocolate. Later, they come home. What's that lovely smell they say, what's for dinner, looking in the pot with gloved hands, scarves wound round their necks. Mmmmmmm, we all enjoy the hearty stew. It's one of those meals that wrap us round each other as we're all happy to share time at the table together. A loaf of bread mops up the tasty gravy - almost like soup. There are some compensations in this ghastly weather.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Urge

The Urge ( a writing exercise) The urge to interrupt him before he was finished was overwhelming. I wanted to stand up and clap and cheer. It was all so exhilarating and I couldn't believe that I was here, at last. It had been my dream for over twenty two years, since my eldest child was born. That’s when I put myself on hold, putting the needs of family first. I wouldn’t say it was a sacrifice but all that I did was for them – my husband and seven children. We didn't plan to have that many – well not in the way that other people understand planning. We just decided we’d have the family that nature brought us. So, you could say that family was my career. And now with little Kate just gone up to grammar school, life was changing for me. They still needed me, yes, but I had more time on my hands. And with Neil having a good position in the NHS and still climbing the ladder, money was not an issue. When I left Boots they threw a party for me. Elaine and Sue had started with me eight years before. We only did part time while the children were at school. We had become good friends helping each other out with covering shifts and child care. Even the area manager came to the party. He said if ever I wanted to come back there would always be a job for me. He had wittered on about it being hard to find reliable staff. But I felt no allegiance to the company, only to the people I worked with. There was no way I was going back, I thought. The UCAS procedure was no mystery any more. Apart from helping my two eldest with their applications I had also encouraged many of their friends with theirs. But when I was doing my own, the personal statement, that all important factor in the process became a huge hurdle for me to leap. Ironically my children were able to give me objective advice that proved invaluable in the end. Unbelievably, I was accepted at Oxford to do Maths and Philosophy. As we lived just outside Oxford it seemed the perfect choice. But actually getting in - well – I never quite expected it. The Maths lecturer, a handsome man, about forty, scruffily clad, had me enthralled and as I listened my doubts dissolved, a whole new world opened up to me and I knew I had made the right decision.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Novel




Yesterday I started a novel, my first. It may or may not get finished. It may or may not be any good. But I am having a go.

What got me going was  nanowrimo - National Novel Writing Month - which happens every November. The aim is to write 2000 words a day for the whole of the month and by the end have 50/60 thousand words written. This then could be the rough base of a novel.

So, I thought, what the heck, give it a go.

At the end of the second day I have 4003 words written. It's very rough but I'm on my way. I just hope I have the stamina and perseverance to keep going to the end of the month.


Monday, October 27, 2014

Following on from thoughts of food that I wrote about a little while ago.


Morning tea.                                                          

 I take the tray from the cupboard under the sink, the one mother in law passed on to us. Being precious to her, crafted in marquetry with a beautiful leaf design by her great uncle Horace around 1900, she proudly brought it out only for special guests.  
                We’ve used it habitually every morning since my husband retired, for our tea.   One tea bag is enough but it has to be PG tips, into a pot that I bought in a charity shop some years ago. I was attracted firstly by the size,  bigger than the norm, and then by the Red Rose pattern that reminded me of when we were courting. 
We like not to be disturbed, but today as I stare sleepily out of the window while waiting for the kettle to boil, the phone rings and my daughter, Kate, wants advice from mum while she walks to work. It’s her favourite time to ring.
Ten minutes later it’s back to the tea.   I cover the pot in a tea cosy that was specially made  by my daughter Emma, for our fortieth anniversary and which has pictures of our wedding day cleverly woven into it. Two cups and saucers with a similar design to the pot, but with “Ruby Wedding” written on them, sit next to a small, plain white jug.  I have lots of jugs. I get it from my Dad. He collects small jugs. He’s very fussy and they have to be bone china, as do the cups and saucers. I was teary eyed  when I visited then last week and saw that at eighty two,  he  still takes a tray of tea up to mum in the mornings. Something he’s also done since he’s been retired .
          We settle our morning bones into the welcome sofa to drink our first cuppa, with me reading the daily meditation. Half hour of peace, breathing deeply to find the place where the I becomes the we of a newfound joy for today.  There’s another interruption as my son stands tall and lanky in the doorway and asks for money for the bus.  And can Suzy come and stay. As I try to work out whether or not it would be convenient Peter has said yes and Dom is out the door like a bullet, knowing that there’s always a possibility I will override his father. Today though I breathe a sigh of relief and calmly sip my tea.


Sunday, September 14, 2014

I Love Living by the Sea

18th Sept 2107

Something I wrote three years ago. Since then we have walked many times for many miles along the coast.  I can't believe I felt my body wasn't up to it, but that was then . It's not so easy now to go for that cuppa on the beach as it's fifteen minutes walk away . Then it was less than a minute - just a few steps between us and the shore . I do miss that .

14th Sept 2014
A post that should of gone out in July:

A nice memory, especially as the summer is ending.

There are so many good things about living where we do.
So we were up early this morning and out for a walk at 7.00am.
there is the possibility of going for miles along the coast
with the view constantly changing , giving new delights.
The balmy sea breeze brings seeps its magic into a willing  mind
With each breath a memory captured , held for future
fantasies.

But the many seasons  have aged  the bones of this
once agile body, giving it cause to go steady
 legs, once eager to stride out in adventure now complain,
seeking respite.
So we curtail the long walk,  ignoring  its promises and turn
for home,
decide to sit on the beach with cup of tea and enjoy
 the rest of the hour we've allotted ourselves .
waves, in timely motion,  bring in the tide and plenty of seaweed
the vast expanse of ocean claims our spirits,
 energises, refreshes.
Then he goes for a swim, while I look on and think
I should have worn my costume
and joined him.
Back for breakfast.





Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Two poems

Went to a great afternoon at the Gulbenkian - a Masterclass with the amazing Joelle Taylor, poet extraordinaire!!!

She describes herself as :
 poet, spoken word artist, playwright, novelist and cultural terrorist(not sure what that means).
You can find her online.

So, here are my two poems from that day. I did some collaborative pieces too but will only post my own for now.

JUMP
 Smoke seeps into the skin of waiting saviours,
creeping into their nostrils,
They call to her,
"Come on, you can do it, we'll catch you.."
"I can't, my baby," She screeches,
ghostly, with the voice of her ancestors,
"Take her first!"
She throws the startled creature through the air,
Limbs like sticks, wide eyed.- he travels in slow motion,
Plop, into the arms of a burley bear of manhood.
Again they call, cheer her on,
Now she jumps, relief that she has already gone before.
A flatfish, splayed, limbs free, she falls,
into the outstretched arms of the guilty,
While the building burns on.


Scaffolding

This old building needs restoring,
After long grey years,
Scarred with use and abuse.
It's concrete slabs crumbling,
It's broken windows of shattered dreams ,
Vacant eyes staring.
Shape a scaffold with crane and forklift...
And mascara  ...
Cover the cracks, the tracks
Made by tears that smacks
of fears -
who hears anyway.
Fill in the holes of memory loss,
Though no one  gives a toss,
That it's going that way.
Repaint the facade of this body .
Scrub white the green slime ,
The pain of disappointment,
And stand tall again,
Proud to be noticed.

Hope you liked these.

I want to write another poem about war.
I have an idea. Just need to do some research.


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Food

At last, I am able to access my blog. Such a faff having to remember passwords, different email addresses  etc . There must be an easier way. And every time I write things down and "save" them, because I am so forgetful, I forget where I have put the written reminder. ARRRGGHHH !!!!.

Well, anyway, I'm here now.

I wanted to tell you about the exercise we had for last week in our Creative Writing group.
It was the topic of FOOD.
Well, all those who know me know that that was right up my street.
And there were so many places you could go with it.
Historic, national, nutritional, nurturing, psychological, emotional etc etc.

It got me thinking about so many things, from growing your own veg and how delectable they taste - sweet and fresh carrots and tomatoes, beautiful earthy beetroot, young tingly peas.
Then having to go on a diet with less saturated fat because of cholesterol. Worry about family members eating too much or too little.

Such a lot of our life revolves around food.

Well, I did write something as I found that for me the main thing was what food means to my memories of relationships. So here it is:


Food                                                                                    
Thinking of food brings to mind a gustatory feast of memories. From the strong sense of nostalgia with bacon, cabbage and flowery potatoes dripping with lip smacking Irish butter and accompanied by brown sauce,  reminding me of my grandmother, to Sunday roast at my parents where the delectable aroma of beef wafted from the kitchen and we felt comfortably bloated after eating too much. It was my mother’s custom to entice us with a hearty meal, especially since she’d gone hungry as a child herself. This happy family time around the table was her way of loving. I also like to nourish the family well and enjoy nothing better than seeing as many as possible gathered round our table.
An all inclusive holiday in Turkey with husband and three teenage boys with hollow legs was definitely all about the food. Such choice and variety in itself was a treat but best of all, it was relaxing for me and whilst they ate as much as they liked they  never once asked “what is there to eat?” .
Camping Toast.
Crouching, huddled together, still as stone, we watch the deer. Our breathing, quiet and shallow is the only sound.  It is the first week of June and we are on our annual camping holiday in the New Forrest. We were up with the sun, wellies on, trudging through the dew, the silence only broken by the crackling of twigs underfoot. Gently we creep through the clearing.  There’s never anybody about at this time of the morning and we love to get that fresh, healthy start to the day.  
After an hour or so wandering in the woods, spotting wildlife and walking by small brooks we return to the tent. It’s early and people are still asleep. We all get busy – one fetches water, one finds the bread, another, the butter and knives. The kettle boiling, Dad starts toasting. The trivet is old and rusty now but does the job well. It takes three pieces at a time placed precariously against it. Sometimes a piece falls off. Often Dad has to move the slices around so that they are more evenly toasted. Our mouths water as we inhale the charcoal, smokey smell and we eagerly wait to eat.  Butter melts quickly into our delicious, hot breakfast. As we bite into each slice, some parts dark and crispy, others white and soft, the velvety delight drips down the side of our mouths whilst we try to save it with fingers that now taste rich and creamy.
There is nothing like it. Children who don’t eat toast normally, ask for more until we run out and promise to buy twice as much tomorrow, especially as Dad got only one.  Just saying the words “camping toast” in the family setting , stirs up, years later, longings for that close, warm time we had  together.

Hope you like it. 
Don't forget to share my blog and make a comment at the same time. What is your relationship with food???



Friday, June 27, 2014

Housework

Hello everyone.

At the day for Creative Writing I went to in Broadstairs a couple of weeks ago the theme of memoir and thinking about the past brought to mind some memories that I have since been working on.
It's funny how you can look back and observe details that are just snippets of life going on.
Anyway, one of the things that I remembered was the whole thing of working in the home and how different it was for women before the advance of appliances that made the work easier.
Every day had a specific job allotted .  Monday - washing, Tuesday - ironing,  Wednesday - mending, Thursday - cleaning, Friday - shopping, Saturday - cooking and Sunday a rest as it's the Lord's day.
This routine, very sensible and practical is what I learned when I went to live with my mother in law.
It was all very new to me. My own mother had stepped into the 20th century and we had a machine , a twin tub I think, for the washing and she certainly didn't have the same routine for work in the home that mother in law had.
Thinking of theses things and having to write something for the Writers Workshop last week I produced two small pieces.
We had set ourselves the task of writing a complete piece in exactly 100 words. These are mine:



                                                  Early Risers                     


5.0am start - Six buckets of water,
Fill copper - light.
Add soap shavings - Sunlight Carbolic,
A bit of soda to prevent scum.
It’s Monday- washing, the entire day.
New to me - we had a modern machine.
But, it’s mother in law’s routine.
Whites in first – boil,
Windows open to get rid of steam.
Next coloureds, lastly work clothes.
Wooden tub for hand washing
Washboard for more soiled items.
All laundry rinsed and fed through rollers of mangle.
Tired satisfaction...
No time for anything else.
Even dinner is cold meat from yesterday
With bubble and squeak from leftovers.

100  Words



Ironing

Keeping everything normal, Sheila starts ironing.  It is Tuesday, after all. She’d kept up the regimental routine her mother in law had instilled in her all those years ago. Each day had its particular job - Monday, washing day, Tuesday, Ironing, - a useful distraction on this significant day.
Robot like, she picks up his shirt, the one she bought him last Christmas.  She knew then that she would be here today.  The iron sweeps backwards and forwards. Smiling, she plans how she will go to the greenhouse later and dispose of his body and his mug containing the evidence. 
                                                                
                                                                    100 Words

That's all for now folks. 




Monday, June 23, 2014

Sun, sun and more sun ... wonderful .

Another great, but extremely busy, weekend. Jo and Paul down to visit. The sun was shining the whole time and my favourite image is of seeing Jo, Paul, Peter,Mike and Mary swimming in the sea at seven in the morning. I went in, well, up to my waist. Although the air was  warm the sea was icy cold. More courage needed , I think. The colours of the sea so vivid, we could have been in any Mediteranean country, but , no we were just a minutes walk from the house. This is one of the main things that make it hard for me to envisage moving.It's just as if it is our private beach, especially as you see no one at that time of day. Feel so blessed to have this so near.
They all, then went off to Jos Bay with Liz, Ben and children. We were going to join them later at the house as we'd been invited to a friend's daughter's First Holy Communion. What a great few hours spent with friends reminiscing and enjoying each others company.These times make me think that, yes, I have become part of the community and I am putting down roots, albeit slow at first.


It was El's birthday on Sunday too and we had the most gorgeous impromptu BBQ with leftovers from Lizzie's do the evening before with some added extras that made a delicious accompaniment.

Sun, sun and more sun.... wonderful.

Thinking about the Race For Life now. I know I have to get on and get fit but it's not going well.
I hurt my back a couple of weeks ago and I'm finding it difficult to walk, let alone run. Oh, well, there's time yet. Any advice would be welcome.

Catch up soon folks....



Oh, look what I managed to do. 


Ok, more of this later.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Poems

      
A few poems I wrote recently:

Secret Dreams:  
                                               

Through the corridor - dark -  long,
Doors on either side,
Each one asking to be opened
Hand on handle, gently press,
Push open - only a little.
Is there treasure to be found inside?
No, darkness has only shadows,
A chill recalling
Cobwebs falling,
Can’t stay here, bleak memories,
Try more doors
Every room the same, until, a seed of promise,
Light creeps from under one door
Slowly, hope edges forward, enters,
Looking for joy that once it knew.
Brightness reveals
 Secret dreams, unmasked,
Long hidden - radiant still.


Have you Cancelled Tomorrow?

You walk with your buggy,
The same every day,
Past the clock tower to the supermarket
Neighbours wonder  - How do you manage
On your own with your precious gift,
Fair, like you, 
You,  still a babe yourself - 15 maybe?
 With your bag of shopping tied to your buggy,
You return, linger in the park
Sit on the swing with baby on knee, singing.
Have you no other waiting for you?
Have you cancelled your own tomorrow,
Given up your secret dreams,
Or postponed them, for now?


Homeless?
Outside the bank,
Head bent, unshaven, saggy, shabby, you slump
Skin a jaundice colour, hair matted,-grey- greasy.
How long do you wait
What do you think
Where do you call home?
People throw money into the cup at your feet,
As they look the other way.
Do you ever lift your head into the air,
Breathe the joy of the new day?
What misfortune placed you here today.
Maybe once, you had a wife, a profession,
Children maybe, who no longer know you,
And dreams of a future,
What is your secret?




I'm trying to work out how to post pictures on my blog. Anybody??

Hope you liked the poems.








Monday, June 9, 2014

Wonderful weekend

What a great weekend. Sat morning spent time with some of the grandchildren at their school jumble sale - they love rummaging.
 Even found myself a couple of bargains - a fancy cake stand ( have to have friends for tea) and a little white cardy to go with my summer dresses. I was extremely pleased with myself. Unfortunately the fashionable purple trousers didn't suit me at all - just as well I tried them on.

Sat evening was amazing too. I got to read three poems at a great event held at Beach Creative. It brought together a number of arts disciplines - there were poetry,music , photos and drama - all focusing on war . It was terribly up market. And I had a fabulous response to my own poem, "Telegram". Oh, and of course, there was some wine. Always welcome !

Sunday proved to be just as enjoyable as, after Mass in the morning where it was my turn to read, Peter and I met the grandchildren and mum and dad on the beach in Tankerton. Such a pleasure to paddle whilst holding the hand of little Lily-Mae, soft and trusting. Only problem was, she wanted  to go further and further out into the great blueness. Needless to say I got a wee bit wet. We left them drinking in the sun and went home to get dinner before our next adventure.

Canterbury- the Jolly Sailor: 
What a delicious evening we had with lots of poets.
And , again, I got to read my war poem. It's so topical at the moment so I am making the most of it.

If any of you read and think you like to comment, please feel free.
It would be great to get into discussion .

OK, enough waffling, back to writing.





Friday, June 6, 2014

Didn't go to poetry workshop today. There just didn't seem to be enough time. But then I was greatly cheered when  a magazine asked if they can print my comment and will I send them my address so they can send me money, if I don't mind. Well, I don't mind at all. So, this time I was told the issue number too, which is good as I don't normally get to see them, not buying the magazines.
I would probably have to spend £15 a week if I was to buy all that I post to.
Anyway, it is a little bit of a lift when they take them.
Off now to practice reciting my poetry for tomorrow night.



Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Reading to children

This was the question posed by People's Friend this morning:
A new survey has named "Snow White" as the nation's favourite fairytale, and the Evil Queen as the scariest fairytale character. Just as scary, in our opinion, is the finding that two thirds of parents don't read to their children every night! Do you think it's important to read stories to children? And what's your favourite fairytale?



And of course I answered. I mean, I feel really strongly about the reading to children thing.
And I can't believe that so many parents don't read to their children. 
 My answer:
The importance of reading to children can't be emphasised enough for me. It is so much more than reading children stories. The time spent in a comfortable embrace with a parent, the tone of voice, the language repeated and then learned, the issues discussed afterwards. Reading to children is an invaluable part of their development. My own children, adults and parents now themselves still love me reading to them, especially poetry. We have some family favourites, one of which is the May Queen, by Tennyson. Yes, I would say to mums, one of the best things you can do is to read stories to your children. My boys still love all Michael Morpurgo's books, especially Kensuki's Kingdom.

I do have some happy memories of enjoying books together when all my children were growing up. I used to look forward to it immensely. I never just kept it for night time. I could be persuaded to read to them at any time of day. Some days when there was no school and we were into a story we would spend the whole day, with limited refreshment breaks, living in another world together.  
Answering this question has made me realise how much I miss that time. It was such fun and so therapeutic. 
I do have the grandchildren to read to now, but it's not quite the same. 
It is a parent and child bonding thing I think. 

Right, saying goodbye . Going to try and write a poem. Let you know how that goes next time.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Is

14th July 2016

Looking back again at the beginning posts and it's day two.
I've played a little with the "sort of " poem I wrote for that day. I remember well the feeling of wanting to make the most of every single day and all the minutes it contains .

Is

We shouldn't dally
In the was of before, 
 The past is gone and
We can't change it
Nor dance 
In the will be of the future
 It may never come
For us
But rather - swim 
In the is of now 
Where we can enjoy
The gift of
This present moment.

But just sometimes memories come and play
 with your today.
Such a handsome couple my ma and pa.





And this from 26th May 2015:

Sunday:  Well, it's day two and I've managed to get back to my blog to be able to post again, which is amazing.
Some trivia:
I was trying to get to my writing ( some poetry) but was distracting myself with social media and getting cold into the bargain. My lovely husband then suggested we go for a walk in "the sunshine". Now whilst I could see that the sun was shining it seemed clear to me that the temperature was not reflecting the fact.
I decided to go anyway and if I was still chilly when we came home I could take a hot bath.
The wind didn't encourage me , but I thought, half an hour wouldn't necessarily turn me into a block of ice.
Then everything changed when we found a sheltered spot in the gardens on Herne Bay seafront. Without any breeze at all it didn't take me long to warm up . We spent a good while, "enjoying the sunshine" and  watching the world go by and I was reluctant to leave, even when hubby suggested a "nice cup of tea" back home.
And now I think my creative writing is going to have to wait till Tuesday at the earliest as it's Bank Holiday tomorrow and we plan to be playing at another seaside with some of the grandchildren. We are looking forward to sand in our sandwiches . Let's hope it's as "sunny and warm" as it was today. I will be taking a blanket. It is England, after all, and still only the month of May.
I am now going back to the quiet. Just the two of us this evening. We did have three others here earlier and probably a few will be back tonight, but for now we just enjoy the moment.

Monday:
Well, we've been with the grandchildren. Weather not brilliant but in the woods it was just right. A long walk and a delicious picnic with lots of little events on the way. It just made me think that :
Poem at top


Catch up with you all again soon.




Saturday, May 24, 2014

My First Ever Blogpost


It's amazing looking back at my first ever blogpost. As you will see at the end of this it was a short piece written just over two years ago (24th May 2014)  that just explained what I was hoping the blog would be.
Joanna had got married in the February that year and things had sort of settled so I was trying this new idea out to see if I could get the hang of it.


Well I certainly did . I've been blogging off and on since then , sometimes not as  much  as other times, but always coming back to it. A lot has happened in those two years . Five new grandchildren, and a first great grandchild. A move to a new house - downsizing. The deaths of an uncle , my mum and dad and a few good friends , one in particular will be missed  - dear Sonia. And much more. Life doesn't stand still and we can't either.  

The summer is racing by and whilst we had great plans for the garden and the decorating of the house we  put the family and all their needs first. But it will all get done in the end. 




So here it is. The day I started this madness:

24th May 2014

Ok, so here goes. Let's see how I get on with a blog. No idea what I'm doing but I trust that  it will work.
And I hope, if anybody ( yes you) does come to read it, that they will enjoy it and enter into conversation with me. And maybe we can do some "putting the world to rights" or something.
Just heard on the news that they found the upturned boat that the four British sailors were on with the life raft still attached, which means that they are dead. Very sad news indeed. My heart goes out to the families whose hope has now been dashed.
But stars only shine in the darkness and I believe that even from this painful situation good will emerge.
I did shiver when I thought of them drowning, though. That would be my least favourite way to die, I have to say.
So, what will I write on this  blog?
I think I shall answer all sorts of dilemmas. The sort that they have in the women's magazines. And if you have a different opinion then by all means let me know. It could make for an interesting chat. It would be like you were in my kitchen joining in the debate. For today I just want to see if I can get started.
So God Bless.
Talk again soon.