Sunday, 26 February 2012

Scents, Sights,Smells

Last night I was watching a drama set in Sicily, and when the actor stood on a vast yellow dusty patio and looked out to sea, I suddenly was in my mind there in the heat and the cicada sounding background, watching the leaves move slowly in the trees and remembering the scent of the dust and the heat of the sun and the dry musty smell of it all. I find that sometimes when I read a passage in a book, describing a scene so well, I am able to transport myself back to a time when the sights and sounds and scents and smells are
 almost exactly as those described.. When the rain is cold and dank and dreary making all the scenery around you feel cold and miserable I am there again in my head. It is amazing what scents can conjure up.. a little scene inside your head that is there forever, just waiting to be called on to re appear.

If my mother was going out for the evening with friends, she would come and say goodnight and lean over and kiss us, and her perfume would linger in the room, long after she had left. When she put perfume on, she would sit in front of her dressing table and dab the perfume in the crook of her elbows, at the base of her neck, behind both ears and behind her knees too. She loved Chanel, and when they visited Paris my father always bought her a large bottle to stand on her dressing table.

I was on a visit to Oxford in the early days of getting to know my current husband and we passed by a cricket pitch that was the other side of the river flowing through the town. We heard the smack of the ball as it landed against the bat, and then the cheer from the watchers as the cricketers ran between the posts.. now I can see that scene any time replayed when I hear a cricket ball hit a bat, and immediately I am back there in the sunshine, watching the river and hearing the sounds.. We couldn't see the cricketers, it was just the sound that was carrying across the river.

When I was very very tiny, I loved to sit in the tall grass in our back garden and watch all the insects going about their business. I must have been quite tiny as the grass was higher than me sitting down, it was all cool and green and earthy smelling and the little insects were so fascinating as they scurried around and about. I must have got hold of a pair of scissors as I remember my mother coming out and calling me and then finding me with these scissors which she attempted to take from me. Of course I didn't really want her to take it away , so turned, and the scissors struck her arm making a gash which was very close to her vein.. The blood frightened both of us, and my father came home to take us all to the hospital so she could be attended to. I knew of course that I had been very naughty and that dreadful feeling of almost despair at being so naughty I can still remember  if I ever burrow myself down under   long  grass and watch the stems and insects again.

There is nothing like the feeling when you wake up in any part of Europe or  France, where the air is still, the sun hot and dry and a slight wind rippling the leaves of the trees that line the boulevards. The feeling of openess and space and at one with the world is very special, To be able to walk into a cafe where they know your order and you just look and they bring it to you without a word being said, just a look and a smile. The heat of the sun playing on your face as you watch the passers- by and sip a cool drink or coffee.   Coming into Le Garde Du Nord in Paris, it used to be the smell of the gouloise cigarettes and coffee , -strong smells that told you you were certainly in another place than England.. The smell was thick, the people many, as you chugged in on the train to alight at the platform. Nowadays, perhaps those smells are not so strong, as maybe they have banned smoking in public places like they have done in England. , maybe Paris will not smell like that again as I am talking about  when  I was 18 and visiting Paris to attend my cousin's wedding on my own.., which is a very long time ago now.

 Of course new mown grass is wonderful as is the smell of newly washed linen off the line after being blown in the sunshine breezes. I am sure that is why all these household candles and scent holders are doing such a great trade for us to place around the house, cleverly lifting our mood to  feel safe and comfortable and happy.

 But the very best smell of all, is a new born baby, washed and powdered, fed and safe in your arms, with their peach skins and tiny form, a little miracle that will grow up to become your family's future.Those moments you will remember forever, and help you cope with the nightmare of teeneage years and the worry of them being out in the world getting into relationships and getting over relationships and all the other parafanalia that goes with being a parent..
Just remembering how this child felt at that time, when they and you were so young together and that deep love you felt which  makes us all believe that anything is possible in life if we truly try.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Its Friday already again!

Once again I cannot believe how fast this week has gone.. where does all the time go to? when I was little a week was such a long time, didn't ever seem to get to the end, and now it just wiz's by.

 Time is such a strange thing. I remember when I was walking in front of a famous store in Kingston, Surrey, working out how a year looked in my mind.... there would be the months all coming together and gathered around until it was December and then Christmas and then there was a gap in the road until January started. It was drawn in my mind like a long walk, then a gate to get over to start the New Year again..

 Getting used to how time worked was hard too, when the grown ups would say,'I'll just be five minutes' I remember thinking that five minutes certainly seemed a long time.. In reality they were probably out of sight for more like half an hour but they said five minutes so that was what it felt like to me, a very very long time sitting in the car waiting from my uncle to return to drive us home.

 Being only the second child born in the family, there was my darling cousin Johny first, then me then my brother Chris.. After a gap of a few years, other cousins started to join our  family. For me then, those born in the 1950's would always be the babies.. and much younger than we had been.. funny really because they were only a few years younger, but we three felt very grown up indeed next to them! 

My Grandmother had rheumatoid arthritis, and was not very mobile, so when we all visited, the children were put outside in the back garden to play and the door was locked.. you had to stay out until it was supper time.. There wasn't much to do except climb  little walls and jump off, or play tigg, or blind man's bluff.. but we passed many happy hours all getting along together, with me and Johny and Chris the ones that were organising everything. The garden wasn't big, but we all played happily until we could get back inside..

Meanwhile the Uncles all were in the front room playing snooker, whilst the Aunts and Nana sat around talking and knitting and generally having adult time away from the children. I am sure that my aunts and mother enjoyed not having us bother them for a few short hours.

Friday was always the day we went as a little family to the cinema... we would watch the evening performance and then catch the train home. There was  one lady who ran the coal office near the station, who would be on this train back to home. But she always also caused such a commotion, as she was reeling around drunkenly.. heavens only knows how she got home safe each week, as she surely was completely out of it! But she did and we got used to seeing her being silly and ignored her behaviour.. However when we went to the Coal office  to order more coal for our house, she would be the picture of respectability and very prim and proper!. Poor lady, I wonder now what her particular sadness was that caused her to be like that every Friday.

 When it comes around to Fridays, its a sigh of relief that the weekend beckons, but for me its still getting everything ship shape  for we often have visitors, and I love spending time entertaining or meeting others.. This weekend, we have John's grandsons around to stay overnight tomorrow. We shall do lots of things together and they will love the time with us as we do, sharing time with them. However, Sunday afternoon we shall be glad to hand them back I am sure!!  We have got so used to being just us, now that all the children live away. It was hard at the time to see them fledge and fly away, but they all keep in touch, just wish they were closer. Now it is Friday evening and I shall go downstairs to make our supper, which has turned into a bit of a tradition, so we have Egg and Chips every Friday and it doesn't affect my non- wheat diet, hurrah!!

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Acts of kindness

Today was the most wonderful warm sunny blue sky day. After going into town to the bank, I went on my way to visit my friend for lunch. I had not seen her since we shared a wonderful evening together with friends to celebrate New Year at a restaurant.  Since then she had been on her travels all over the world, and this was our first meeting again. I have known her for over 30 years, and in the meantime, our children have grown and become adults, and we still have the easy affectionate banter that we enjoyed at the beginning. I never get tired of seeing her and chatting, and even going away on two holidays together has not broken the spell. So there I was in my car driving up a little country lane on my way to her house, when I came over a rise and saw in front of me a whole field ploughed beautifully. The lines were so graceful and straight and a real work of art, how many hours had it taken the farmer to do? How many years of experience to be able to plough a furrow that deep and straight, it took my breath away in its subtle beauty. I got to think of how much pleasure seeing that field had given me. I know that he had done it to the very best of his ability, and in doing so, made me and perhaps anyone else who drove that way, very happy to see such great work. Simple earth, ready with the straightest furrows to put the seeds in.. what a grand feeling it will give him to work the land now he has got it ready.
Even if that farmer didn't know it, he had done something special  with that field, and made other people happy too.

There is a long held belief that if everyone does something each day to make others happy, the world is happy too.I have long lived my life with this idea, sometimes it is harder than others, but you can do one thing each day to make a difference.. Even if it is smiling at a complete stranger and saying good morning. Sometimes I see a person with amazing hair colour or style and I will tell them so, they are abashed but pleased at the comment and makes them smile. I guess I might come over as a bit eccentric, but I believe in letting them know that they are looking good. I have had it happen to me and believe in passing it on..

Another part of my life philosophy  is that if you can do a good deed, someone in your life or family will benefit when it is necessary for them to have a helping hand. There was a film called Passing it forward I think, but this is what I have done my whole life. Any thanks for help I tell them to pass it on, so that anyone can do this.. it is like ripples in a pool and spreads out far and wide and I know it works as I  and my family and friends have felt the benefits.

 I guess I got the idea from my mother who would always stop to help. One day my parents were driving along and she told my dad to stop and help a man on the ground. My dad thought the man was drunk and didn't really want to get involved, but she insisted and went over, and then found out the young man had had his windpipe jammed by a passer bye and he couldn't breath, so they took him to the local hospital where they were able to save him.  Sometimes what you see and interpret can be wrong, so its always best to check and find out, not just pass by and ignore. An act of kindness takes very little  time and means so much  to those receiving it.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012


I am tired of all the hospital trips to consultants that treat me like a patient without issues excepting the ones that they deal with. They have no idea what to do with me. I cancelled another appointment to have a video done of my bladder.. didn't see what it would do to make it better since it is paralysed anyway with this condition I have. I went to a meeting this morning with fellow sufferers, and all of them had the condition because the pains in their backs and legs were not taken seriously by the doctors and so developed into this syndrome, whereas mine happened because the Doctors did operate in time, but it went disastrously wrong.. We sit from 11 am until almost 2.30, with a few biscuits to see off hunger, and talk about the Charity that is being formed to get the message out about this condition.. the fund raising schemes, the raffle tickets, the balls to be held and music nights, all to try and get funding up and running so the publicity machine can grind into action.. Meeting others who have been living with it for almost 15 years has not been inspiring, rather, full out depressing, and so I am not sure that I want to meet them all again, I am managing quite well on my own and don't see any more meetings to be any further use.  I know that I am tired, with everything today, and that it is part of my feeling a bit blue tonight... but I have to remove myself from situations where I don't feel positive as its the positiveness in me that manages to keep me going.

On a brighter note, I am starting the discipline of a diet tomorrow, and have to weigh myself first thing in the morning. I am going to do it with another friend and we are only going to weigh ourselves once a week and not each day as I do usually.. we are going to try a non wheat diet.. and see how that helps us lose... if we are good, by May I should be almost slim again ha ha..

Wheat free looks quite hard, but we are leaving the non dairy bit until later if we are losing too slowly** My friend has done it before but combined with the dairy part, so we shall see.. as it is, I don't mind going without bread for a while, but there is so much on shelves that has wheat in it too.. even instant coffee.. So tomorrow is all part of the plan to be disciplined as I promised at the start of the year.. Hope it doesn't end up making me even more tired !!!!!!!

Monday, 20 February 2012

Timing- on or off?

When I had done all m y tasks and taken the Millie out for her walk, made and served the lunch, caught up with business things upstairs, I found it was already 5pm. I collected all my library books, so anticipating getting all new books to read again, and drove the car to the library.. It stayed open until 7pm, or used to, because when I actually rolled up to the door, it said closed at 5pm Mon and Tuesday and the rest of the week 7pm except sat which would be 4pm.. I was so disappointed, the bag weighed heavily, and all my joy of choosing new books was taken away from me.. So I turned around and started to walk out the grounds.. meeting another lady and her daughter on the way in, and they asked me if it was open and they were disappointed too, so I think this timetable of hours is a new thing, and not just me forgetting!

[  I actually read very fast, but get lazy at taking them back so renew over the phone a lot, then take them in when I have eons of time before they are due.. stupid really, but it re assures me! These books are not due back for another two weeks, but I just thought I would like to go and get some more, and darn it,my timing was right off* ]

Talking about timing being off, when is the right do anything.?. I had all my children before I was 34, that age in my head, was going to be my cutoff time.. and so it was, with John Jo the last one getting in on May 14th whilst I got to be 34 on the 24th May.. I always thought that I would be better off mentally having them whilst I was still young and energetic and in fact I did find that I had less elastic when I had the last two in my thirties and saw a difference in energy from when I had the first three in my early twenties.. I know that its the fashion to leave things until later when your career is established and you've got a place ready to hold a family, and sometimes because financially you were not ready.. but finances were not on my mind I left that to my poor husband who at the age of 21 was a father for the first time.. I never realised the strain it put on an already highly sensitive person, and over the years he did try, for which I am grateful and have remained friends with him.. but we were both far too young., we had three children before we were 25 and that was hard going trying to feed our little family and clothe us all.. We never had holidays, or went out much, only did things that didn't cost, and luckily there wasn't so much pressure to be judged by what you wore or what presents you got for Christmas.. When the second lot came along, my two boys were growing up in the 80s and there was a lot more peer pressure to get clothes and shoes with fashion names.. so they probably managed to do better and get more things than their siblings in their turn. Because we were both working, my last two were the children we could afford... but we really did struggle with the first round of babies... But when would it have been the right time for me to start a family.?? if I had left it later, I wouldn't have such a wonderful family to call my own, I would probably have settled for two children and missed out having known the others.. .from a little girl,. I always said I would have 6 children, so if I had settled for 2 I know I would have felt cheated!!

The silly thing is now that they have all left home, have careers and marriages and children most of them that is, I still worry like mad about them and how they are all doing.. I know that they all keep in touch on Face book and discuss matters without my involvement, but I do still fret in small ways that they are all quite a distance from me, even those living in England.. I guess all mothers are the same.. how one can be brave sending their children off to war, despite them being trained to fight and do their duty ? Iwould be dying inside until they finished their tour of duty.. I salute all those parents who's children are away in Wars across the world, as Wars are never just, never won without pain and sorrow, and the cost to many is indeed very very high!! When a child dies, no matter how old, that little family is robbed of a future... future knowing the child, future of that child marrying and having children in return, it is not just one person going, but all the hopes and dreams that were encompassed in that person goes with them never to be gained again.. I think as a parent, your children are always your children, no matter if they are in their forties or fifties or older.. you will always be their mum**
So there is no right time or wrong time really to choose to do anything, just a feeling that when things happen you will know it is the right time. I guess the right time is spontaneously arrived at, and can happen at any time, even if the timing is off!!
It certainly was in my case but I wouldn't change anything at all*

Saturday, 18 February 2012

spring day

We're having totally glorious sunshine which won't last, but for the moment it is so enjoyable.. out in the garden there are shoots coming through and the trees are all budding which is a wonderful indicator that we are well on our way to Springtime.. However the pundits do also say that we have more Arctic weather coming our way next week, and on a day like today that is so hard to imagine.. Our Winters are not like others.. we don't start the snow and continue it until warmer weather, we have flurries sometimes quite lasting and then gone to mush and slush.. but it is also unpredictable and so you never know what to wear at any time.  I have just finished my ironing for today, which I have for the last two weeks been doing religiously.. I have managed to get the cupboard filled properly with all the ironed items.. all in a row and tidy.. very satisfying indeed... however, I did notice all the different colours that I wear and I am not sure that they all suit me or fit me that well... so I am having another clear out.. When some famous ladies decide that they are only going to wear one or two colours and arrange their wardrobe accordingly, it must be easier to be organised and ready for action quickly I am sure, so I am thinking that apart from the eternal black garments of which I do have many, what other colour should I choose. I do love white, but that would be too much besides this country isn't hot enough to do just that colour all summer.. so there will be some white, but the main colour I should choose is hard.  Jean Muir a very famous fashion designer only wore navy and white for the last thirty years of her life.. and so smart she looked too...  My wardrobe is much like myself at the moment, not got a structure or fashionable lean to it.. must give this some thought... I am going to sort out exactly how many colours I actually have now that I have ironed them and see which suit the best then decide... isn't it amazing how many other things you can get to think about apart from doing housework and cleaning ha ha.. Keeps me occupied anyway! 

So I am going to enjoy this lovely afternoon, take the dog out, have a little walk in the sun, then come home and put my feet up and watch TV this evening with my darling husband.. we watch a series that are foreign films with sub titles... he adores these kind of films, so we share them together and its great fun.. As we both work from home he has his office and I have mine and after work we have too many other things to do before the evening is over, so we don't watch TV much, just on Saturday nights together with a choc or two! Bliss..

Friday, 17 February 2012

Is this right?

I found this saying on a blog and I cannot remember her name[ I think it was on something savvy... I hope she doesnt mind me having it just now,] and it really did make me laugh, but there's also a grain of truth in it I am sure.
. I  do love when things are all neat and put away tidily  but after a day or so, when other fingers have been looking and other people have not put  items back-, the jumble returns. At work, my husband is the tidyest person I know, everything that comes in the post is organised and filed.. all the boxes and files of his clients are all neatly stacked away ready to reach out for when required. He has the added bonus of using two rooms in our house, one the main office is kept quite stark, and the other just off our first landing, is overflowing with all sorts of items that he will need at short notice but unseen most of the time..
 In my office, it is just bedlam... I never can find anything quickly and it is due to the fact that I also keep my ebay items that I wish to sell in the room too.. and they get in the way of the files and paperwork. Also I have noticed since my having all these ops, which started around 5 years ago, I simply do not have the will to do a clean sweep and get rid of so many things..

 I know that I said Discipline was going to be my big word for this year, but so far I am not proving very good at it!! I have been doing the ironing, but that seems to get bigger by the day, and I seem to be losing the battle to have it all put away on the shelves.. however where I fail the most is in my eating plans.. I start off each day willing to be good and follow the diet, and then I see some biscuits or a piece of chocolate and I am so lost again! If I was organised, I probably would set all the things I planned to eat, on a tray and eat from no where else.. but that is too robotic for me to really get to grips with..

If I was truly disciplined /organised, I would have money in the bank for savings,  know where all the invoices are ready for me at hand to do my VAT Returns every three months -would be able to put my hands on anything I needed to find instead of sitting and thinking trying to trace back where I last saw the item I am looking for!-  
 Its really odd that you only find out things about the people you live with after a long time. As I said, my  husband is very organised, he can put his hand on anything he wishes as soon as he thinks of it, he knows where it is..
I buy books all the time, new  or  from charity shops- I have so many that they spill all over the place, so  the other day my darling husband decided to help me organise the books, and away he went, placing the books neatly in the bookcases that we have.. Well, of course when I started to look for a book, could I find it?  My filing would be by sizes probably, not by subject as he had done... He got very upset with me, when I found my book and then put it back in the wrong place according to him**

I have a friend who is very very organised, and to the point that she repaints her house interior every 6 months, washes the carpets every fortnight, manages the house so it looks as new all the time, never a paper out to make a mess, is always glamorous when she takes her dog out, and never ever without makeup on.. Of course she is 20 years younger, does only have one daughter , and a husband who expects everything to look as new even if it is over 10 years in house... I am not sure that this way of life is because she chooses, or whether her husband expects it.. hard to say.. but if I was under that pressure I would be carted off to the asylum very quickly!!!.. I have enough things to think about without having all that stress of being perfect all the time!

Re reading all that I have siad above, I think this is a small form of rebellion- amazing thought this-.. When I had the children, my life was governed by the clock,.. everything had to be organised and put in its place day after day after day, the ironing had to be done and washing too, daily, the meals had to be planned and I had a huge calender that told me everything that the children needed to do or get for school times.. I was governed by that clock- meals were always at the same time, we left the house at the same time, we came home and did homework and cleared up at the same time.. Now I can lie in bed until late morning, I go out when I choose, I go to bed early or late depending how I feel.. so maybe my feelings towards organisational heaven has changed, and I'm somehow subconciously rebelling  ha ha thats a great thought and I'm sticking to it!

Thursday, 16 February 2012


Tonight I was talking to a dear friend who had spent all last night not able to sleep because her mother who lives a long distance away, is failing fast. She has just turned 90 and lives in her own apartment in a complex  of like apartments with a main reception area where they can all gather at lunch time..She had always been independent and when her husband died several years ago, moved to this place which could help watch over her and still allow her independence. However she has recently been loth to get out of bed and the people come in the morning and they will leave her in bed and not even draw the curtains or make her take breakfast. So my friend is going to arrange another care programme where a person will come in and sit with her in the morning and afternoons. But of course at 90 with all her friends long gone, this old lady has run out of hope.. Hope that tomorrow will be different.. Hope that her health will improve, Hope that she will have the energy to leave her apartment and go visit or shopping.. But all the things that might have helped hope stay around are gone now, as she is so frail and starting to get confused.

I think that as you get towards your 9th decade, your body starts to know its almost time and starts to prepare in a way to get ready for the last stop en route. When on our last holiday together with my parents in the South of France, my mother said goodbye to the Mountains that were such a part of the scenery, she knew that it would be the last time she would see them, she visited older friends and said goodbye to them too... but it didn't stop her carrying out all her other things she would do each day at home , like catching the bus with my father to go to Mass each midday, to do her hospital visiting in the afternoons on her own.. to walk into town to have lunch out with my father, or just window shopping at the big stores. But in her heart she knew she was getting to the point where she would not be so fit to manage holidays and visiting much longer.. When hope is lost the mind and body turn in on themselves and it is very hard to persuade it to change.. if you ever can.. My friend's mother has lost hope and so she tries to sleep the time away to get to her destination faster,. because she is no longer fit and able to do the slightest things without help.. and that is not going to change now..
 It will come to us all and actually I do wonder how I am going to cope.. Even with 5 children, I wouldn't want any of them to feel obliged to take me in to care for me in my dotage.. the best scenario would be to carry on until I just went to sleep and didn't wake up one morning... But this modern generation do not think twice about putting ma or pa into a 'nice'home... well what home is really nice??, its full of other old people abandoned for various reasons and rarely visited, so I am sure I would be trying to run away all the time! I just hope that I can live long enough to cope on my own and when I cannot- then fall asleep like another  friend's uncle did.. He had been visiting his niece and was waiting for his wife to come down stairs to get into the car to drive home, so he sat and opened a newspaper and then died- a peaceful way to go although shocking for them to discover.. but kind to him..

Hope is the most valuable thing you have in your box of tricks to keep facing the world...I know that it has helped me deal with the situation I am left with.. they tell me that I must not give up hope- that things will change eventually... well, even if they don't and they are wrong, I do cling on to that last little bit of hope and it gets me through all my trials and tribulations.. Besides, I am too selfish and nosey  to get really down and out for long, I want to know what's going on in the world, therefore  I could never really just hide away..

So for me, as they say, Hope springs Eternal- Well, in the heart of this  optimist, that must be right!

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

I can smile again

Wow feeling like another person now that I have my smile back again... the dentures were ready for collection and I am happy with the results.. now I can smile again.. smiling is such a part of who I am, I usually smile all the time, but the last weeks I couldn't because the dog had eaten my dentures and how awful that was. I went into complete meltdown that night, and my poor husband didn't know what to do in order to help.. A cuddle would have helped, but he doesn't do cuddles often, so he kept walking in an out and saying don't worry we will get another set and you know I love you however you look!!this did not help much and all the feelings of inadequacy that I have felt since my ops came all over me, and I cried for a very very long time... however, the next morning just got up and carried on as normal, after all meltdowns cannot last too long in my world, they would depress me!!

I so love to read and I am annoyed now that I have to wear glasses to do it.. Until this year I never did, and then suddenly I had to get my eyes checked and then I had to get new glasses in order to use all the time and not take them off to read.
 I am into books in a really big way... feel withdrawals symptoms if I haven't got a book to read each night.. Since my childhood I have loved books- although my dad was a teacher, we only had a few books in the house.. going to the library was such a treat, but my reading need was so avid,that when I was about 9 years old my friend took me home to meet her parents, and I noticed her dad had the whole collection of Dickens on his shelves. I asked if I could borrow a book to read, and by the end of that summer I had got through the whole set of Dickens. What they thought of my visiting to collect another book they never said, and it was very very kind of them to allow me, after all they were hard back books and in excellent condition to give to a child to read away from the house meant they trusted me a lot.. The only book I didn't really get on with was the Mystery of Edwin Drood... but that's no loss...

 At school I always read the books ahead of the class, couldn't wait to find out the story before class lessons.. and I loved to read out loud, what a show off, but the pleasure that reading has given me over the years is immeasurable.  One of my favourite authors in my 20's  was Collette, and her books about her mother Sido and her cats, and the gardens and parks you could smell the dust and the heat and the lazy hazy days so clearly in her writings.,. then her novels too that were so sharp and distinct , she is the only writer that I have read again and again.. usually I do not return for another dip into the same book.  If I was to be cast away for a long time without company of people, I would want her books to be there, also ones by Jodi Picault who is a modern writer but spot on with her subjects.. different style of writing, but still absorbing. I find that some books my husband likes I cannot get into as its the rhythm of the writing that has to make a hold on me before I can enjoy and sometimes that pace is not there so I miss it completely.

To discover a writer new to me, and one that has written more than one book, is a treasure that I value highly, when I discovered Patricia Cornwall I fell in love with the books and have followed her until the latest which I am afraid left me cold.. but after all, she has written so many she is bound to run out of steam perhaps.. Michael Connelly is another author that I can get along with quite easily, as is Lee Child and John Grisham , but now I have read enough of their stories and am seeking new writers to enthrall me all over again..
I cannot understand why one of my grandchildren does not ever like to read.. I know that he can, because he is up to all the latest computer games and how to do them, but getting a book and sitting quietly in a corner just would never occur to him.. When I had five minutes as a child, I would be found sitting reading anything I could get my hands on.. I loved all the Enid Blyton books, the Treasure Island books, many many books that were written for boys which I got from my cousin Johny, Coral Island, but didn't go overboard for the girly annuals or books written for girls apart from Mallory Towers and the Whitehead Saga stories. then I discovered Agatha Christie through an aunt who read them and passed them to me and later,Catherine Cookson, a tough gritty slew  of stories of the North East of England.. I ran through that collection quite fast. Had a dabble with Danielle Steele but not for long..  Read Jack Kerouac of course, and Catcher in the Rye.. found their rhythms harder to cope with but persevered as they were the stories everyone was talking about and reading in the 60's.. Also tried John Le Carre, but didn't get on with him either.. [of course in the 60,s you were thought not intellectual if you couldn't get on with John Le Carre, hmm -well not sure about that, but haven't managed since,] neither could I with those Harry Potter books, thought they were awfully badly written.. but who am I to judge, she is a millionaire many times over and I am not!!!

 So, as you can see I am quite zig zaggy in my choices, and these were the fiction ones, I also delved very deeply into Autobiographies of famous and not so famous people, just interested in seeing what made them tick and how they managed their lives..Also self help books.. in the 60's and 70's there were a few around, but not as many as now.. if you look carefully a lot of modern self help are the re runs of those sold in the 50-60's with a slightly different twist to them.  The most influential for me was one called  Bring out the Magic in Your Mind... boy that did blow me away, and it worked so well!! we were living in rented, I read the book and it said visualise and write down what you want.. well being a new mother and wife I wanted a house we owned, so wrote it down,  visualised it, and within 6 months we had that house... every house I have ever wanted to buy I have applied that same idea, and bought a gift for the house to be, and each and every time it worked, even if another person had been accepted!! So that was a big influence on my life as was Jonathan Livingstone Seagull... 

I have read so many many books and I never get tired of this wonderful activity, so even if I do have to wear these glasses all the time, and they do seem to make a little ridge at the top of my nose, and I hate to wear them, I will,  in order to see  those words dance along with the promise of the new worlds and people and experiences  which reside  in  that special secret world of the reader... and I can smile all I like with happiness too in my heart and in my soul.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day

For the past few years we have hand made our cards to each other, but this year I actually went out and bought one specially for him... Tonight I decided to get it out ready for the you think I could find it? Oh no, having put it in a safe place, I had lost the damn thing!! Finally after many deep breathes to keep calm I located it and it is already to give him in the morning... Valentine's day is special to everyone who loves their husband or wife girlfriend or boyfriend, but we don't spend huge amounts on flowers or items or going out. We used to try and get out for a meal, but this year we have not arranged anything.. Apart from the card that is, but we shall spend time together and do things around the house together and in the evening I will make a special meal for him and then we might sit and watch a DVD. perfectly in bliss and no pressure**

Thinking as one does about romance and all the things that go with it, how the mad passion takes on a different hue when you have children, when you return home dog tired after working and commuting back home after a long slog at work, romance is hard to arrange and that is why people throw the towel in and admit defeat.. they decide they are not in love any more, that there are better things to do and people to see, so they divorce and then the whole situation happens again if they get into another relationship. Keeping romance alive is very very hard, but so worth the effort.. it doesn't mean buying expensive items or going out all the time,but showing the other person that you cherish them, showing them in a million little ways that they are important to you... something as simple as cooking their favourite meal or cakes, washing the car down instead of expecting the man to always do it..
When I am out and about, if I see anything that I know John might like and it doesn't cost too much then I will bring it back as a ordinary day gift, not because its his birthday, but just because I thought of him when I saw the object and knew he would like it..

So to everyone out there, may your Valentine's Day be happy and good and bring you love and peace together..

Sunday, 12 February 2012

What I was going to be.

I was going to be an artist. From the earliest times, I filled my copy books and any scraps of paper with drawings and designs and clothes... how I loved to design clothes.. My parents had friends who were in the art world and they were going to help me go to Slade which is one of the most famous art schools in England.. I loved to spend time drawing and designing, the hours would speed by and I was in another world. I did go to Art School finally after taking my O levels, and I did love it... but found all the learning about perspective and form hard to chew, so when my dad accepted a place to teach back in his home town of Aix en Provence, I wasn't too worried about leaving. The trouble with me all my life is that I do not like to be told what to do- this has got me into hot water at times, and made decisions hard, but I am best left to my own devices and not reading the instructions.. which is why that sewing machine has stayed so long untouched.. I have to know it first before I can attempt to try and work it. My husband is a genius at interpreting books of instructions and following them through so he gets results quite quickly, but I hate reading the things as my brain doesn't seem to assimilate in the same way and I get offshoots of ideas that generally throw out the way to do and I get lost and frustrated.. so going to Art school and being told what to see and how to interpret it to get it down onto paper didn't fit well with me. Even at the beginning at school where the Art Mistress said to get proper proportions when drawing a figure, you had to measure the head, and then 8 times it to fill out the body area, I refused to do this, as my eyes seemed to be able to measure that anyway - so I am a failure at following instructions.. When I was first pregnant and went to an ante natal class, when I saw that the midwife taking the classes was not married, had had no children, I didn't go back as she had no idea really it was all theory and out of a book, so that wasn't going to work for me... hmmmmm.. Well, I was taken in one day overdue as my tummy was feeling so tight, and they thought I might have started labour.. so I was lying on a bed as you do, and ruminating as I do, and suddenly heard a woman screaming, and I remember thinking... oh this might hurt!! Then heard the baby cry and knew that she had safely delivered and I went off drifting into sleep... not for long however as that tight tummy started to give me the most enormously strange pains, and I was off on my first maternal journey, that ended 12 hours later with a beautiful baby boy.. who because he was delivered by forceps I didn't see again for four days, as in those days they cot nursed them to get over the trauma.. You see reading diagrams, and instructions for some reason do not turn into retain able facts for me, and although I had read the various baby books, the pain factor was barely mentioned and so I ignored it until I had to get on and deal with it.. which I did, and there you are... Having all these babies over a 12 year period and working outside at a career, I never really got the time to sit and draw again, and I missed out doing my children except for the last one who I did draw when he was three months old and I have kept framed.. So now I have more time, I am going to see if my skills are still there and although I am really hard on myself as I know what I want it to look like and feel it looks different to what I actually achieve, I am going to set aside a time along with time to blog .. what ambitions to hold, when there is so much more to do every day, but I think it will feed my soul which is feeling very in need to  be soul fed indeed! Somewhere along the lines, I lost myself in the day to day working routines, so perhaps before its too late I can once again be ambitious and see if I can be an artist

mucking around

I've been mucking around today trying to get a better picture to headline my blog, but I have ended up with this, so it will have to do.. when my daughter in law comes over again I shall get her to try and find me a prettier outlook.

 I tried spray painting last night and what  a mess I ended up with.. my fingers were covered in paint and it was dark green.. took me all day to clean off! I certainly will have to practice this spraying lark!!

 Then a friend read my posts and said I was putting my whole life online which did rather put me off... I am sitting here just thinking online and don't think I am writing anything that I wouldn't want my family to read.. it did rather stop me in my tracks, her comments.. So I am stuck in a bit of muck wondering if she was right and if so what on earth shall I blog about.. I don't have craft or art things to display online.. will return to this musing  after I have had a while to think..........Well, I have had time to think[bout three minutes] and I believe that I don't need to be upset and annoyed by her comments and mustn't let her words stop me
so for all of you out there that care to come and drop by to read my words,.I shall overcome negativity  and carry on!!

Now back to ruminating in my time..

who invented what

Do you ever ask yourself who invented this or that? For instance I was sitting eating a piece of cheese and  suddenly thought, this  piece of cheese comes from milk, but how did the ancients discover the way to make cheese? If you leave milk, it becomes all cloudy and whiffy and almost yogurt, but how to actually make it into butter or cheese... we know now all the processes that we do on an industrial scale to provide us with these products, but in ancient times they only had wood or animal bones and their own hard work to create a similar item.. What kind of reception did that first person get when the others were shown what they had produced.?.. did it meet with derision as a lot of things are when first discovered, or were they all excited at the idea of another kind of food to eat.? All questions of course that no one can answer...

My dogs are squabbling over a bone that Millie has discovered.. it is an ancient bone, one that she had hidden and forgotten, but Reiver wants it too and keeps barking at her to share* She prances around him with the bone half out of her mouth tempting him to take it from her, but he gets exasperated as she is too quick with swerving away and he doesn't get hold of it.. to see their interplay is fascinating and amusing, and I could watch for hours, but must get on with other chores to do around the house...

 Non ending this round of things to do.. read a diary of mine from 1978 the other evening and my goodness I was on the go morning til night and often not in bed until after midnight, then being woken up by one or other of the babies.. my last ones, thank goodness**
The energy that one uses in order to keep everything going is something that I am finding hard to sustain these days... probably because I didn't rest enough after my ops, just really tried to be as normal as possible and resting didn't come into it.. Resting is boring don't you think? My mind finds it hard to rest, as you can see by the kind of questions I am always asking myself.. But I do find that if I am quiet enough in my head, I can read for hours, or knit or sew- but rare when I scratch the time out to to such things... I feel guilty if I am able to just sit and do nothing,.as there is always something that could be done...
 How inventors manage to sit and invent and really get to grips with creating their thoughts out into fact is beyond me... as is turning milk into butter or cheese..

Friday, 10 February 2012

White backgrounds and no couches or chairs

When we bought our first house, I had a dream to decorate each room just white, with painted floorboards and no carpets, just rugs, with big cushions to sit upon. Of course I was only 23 or 24 and had no idea what older bones or more arthritic bones might have to say if they visited and found no chairs!!. I was  carried away with this idea of white, with each room having a changed ambiance by the infusion of one colour to accent it.  Now I see and fall in love with all these white rooms I see in decorating places, blogs and magazines.. they lift my heart, as they look exactly as I dreamed about all those years ago.. I did have a try several times using just one colour. In one house it  was a coffee cream and most of the  house was painted in coffee cream colour with white painted doors and sills and skirting boards. My upstairs bedroom  however I painted pale blue and the floor was painted white with blue clouds fluffily drifting by on them.. I loved it, it felt magical and romantic..AT that time I had three children all under 6, and loads of energy..!!  we sold the house and made other moves.. I loved changing houses, and moved my family around a bit.. my poor husband just agreed and I had the time of my life finding new places to live, to decorate and then move on from.. of course it was easier then the markets were very buoyant and it was easy to do.

 One day I will have my all white space, with one colour to accent each room... It will probably be a flat and, if I was really lucky it would be in Paris not far from Notre Dame and at last I would be in Heaven on earth.. however, that's just a dream, but white backgrounds are still achievable to  make part of that dream come true... Today in one of the blogs I also saw the bed linen to die for... it was white again, but the bed cover was made of layers of large ruffles which looked superbly special and just right for the boudoir! The cleverness of all these people on the blog just blows me away, and they are so inspiring too and makes one want to get out and do something to change or make a change in the spaces I inhabit.  For instance, I could make the most wonderful cushion covers with the lovely materials I have bought and put aside. One whole year ago, I bought a new electric sewing machine.. It sits outside my office unpacked and unused.. I have not ever used a sewing machine since I was 15 and it was the wheel winding one too from school!! I know that could I just overcome my fear of breaking it, I would be off and running... up to now everything I make has been by hand which is a long process and puts one off trying other things than those that need to be done for a reason... but I know I could fly with that machine, so I am having a friend come over who is an expert at dressmaking and having a whole day's tuition just to wipe my rustiness away and set me off...

I am like this with all gadgets, they have to sit in my kitchen for a long while whilst I get used to seeing them, then one day I will say OK, lets do it, attempt to make them work, then wonder aloud why it took me so long as they are such a boon to a person to use!! Silly me eh?

When we moved into this house almost 15 years ago, I wanted the front room painted pale grey and the paintwork picked out in white and the accessories to be the palest tangerine colour... well guess what, this colour is now - of the moment- and I do believe the other colour is very fashionable too..  I suppose it is a bit obvious that if you live long enough fashions start to come around again, although I never expected it in my lifetime, it does seem to be happening now.. I am thrilled that my ideas from the 60's are just so very now!!

What is it about green eyes?

When I was young and growing up and I went out on a date, I used to be so nervous and sicky inside just afeared to say the wrong thing or be seen to be silly. I went out on a few dates, but nothing at all happened until I was 19 in the summer of 64. At the time I was living in Aix en Provence in the South of France with my parents, brother and dog Patou. We lived in a large three bedroom apartment in a tall block of flats. This was my father's home town where he grew up and we were feeling at home immediately. My father being a teacher decided to bring some french kids over to England and we went with him. I visited a friend to stay a few days and as she was going out with the brother of another school friend, she got him to invite his friend to accompany me for a night out. We were waiting in Hounslow by the bus station when they approached us. I saw this tall rather gangly person with a shock of black hair, fine featured face and green green eyes. He was dressed in an old corderoy jacket with jeans.. and he sloped along,.most coolly! We were introduced and then went to find my friend's boyfriend's car. we drove then to Soho- me and S sitting in the back of this little Morris Minor.. We had a great time walking around Soho and sitting in coffee bars chatting and chatting away the night.. When we drove back to my friend's house, she went inside and S and I sat outside on a bench talking and before we knew it the dawn had come up.. Normally I didn't know how to keep a conversation going, but really all I was doing was listening to him talking away about poets, writers he had read, all the amazing things that there were out there to read, plays, films, and I was utterly blown away... He was going to be a Poet, and he was off to University soon, and he was magical!!! That first meeting led to a long marriage of over 22 years, and five children. That boy remained, but life and times caught up and changed him, but under the skin he will always be that boy who romanced me through words and those fabulous green eyes. 

When I was a baby I was the first Granddaughter in the family and my father's dad used to make a lot of fuss of me. He chose my name and dandled me on his knees and played with me for hours.. He died when I was nine months old, but..... He had wonderful green eyes... and I am convinced that this colour of eyes would be a factor in my choosing my husbands.. because of course, this latest husband who I've lived with for almost 22 years has also got those green eyes.!!!!..[ My cousin who is very close to me and who I was in love with all my childhood, has green eyes too! ]

 So I think that for me, green eyes come top of the list,to find a husband, then intellect and finally good looks.. The intellect is most important, because I have a questing mind and need people around me that I can learn from and expand on their ideas and theories to help me formulate my own version of the world... then good looks, as I wanted to have children that would find no difficulty in getting ahead if they looked good and had great brain power too... then when I met S, I knew immediately that the children I would have with him would be wonderful and I was so right!!

I chose my first husband because I fell deeply in love and couldn't wait to have his children.. I don't think he had planned on having 5 at all, but I loved finding out who was joining our family and could have had a lot more children -time and money permitting! I think that he did find it stressful though ,and over the years found supporting us and finding the money hard, although he succeeded in business, he still really should have been a poet as he wanted, but that would never have paid the bills would it? Finally we went our separate ways, but we are still in touch

The next husband I chose because he was solid and dependable, always knew where he was, what time he would be home, and who would treat me from an adult perspective.. He was solid and dependable, but the kind of man who having given his promise would stay true to that- which meant that his divorce not being of his choosing, it was almost 15 years before he decided that maybe he was in love with me... this made the road a little lumpy and bumpy during the earlier years, but we have ironed it all out and now he is totally committed to me finally... It was hard knowing that he still was in love with his first wife, but it did eventually work out... He was honest at the beginning and told me , but I said I would wait until he did fall in love with me... ha ha  that was not supposed to take so long, big head that I was, I thought it inevitable that he would fall in love with me straight away and not 15 years!!  Well, here we are almost 22 years, almost the same as the last marriage.. and I am able to say that I find our relationship not stressful anymore, that we fit together well and get along nicely. It doesn't have the fire that being young brings with it, but it does bring peace and that is a comfort..

For me choosing a husband obviously green eyes played a part.. another friend said it was because he danced so divinely she fell in love, others would give a whole host of reasons, but I guess mine are just as valid... when I was young I wanted fire and adventure and mad passion,  a long time later and many tears,. I realised we were hurting each other too much, so the next time I went for the complete opposite and in these years maybe that choice was not the worst I could have made, I am lucky to have had the best of both worlds and two good men to have been my loves.

Thursday, 9 February 2012


I have chucked out all the folded unironed clothes in the bathroom cupboard and placed this huge pile of clean items in the second largest bedroom, and set up my ironing board and steam iron and made a start of getting it all sorted and de cluttered and ironed. I don't mind ironing as I have good equipment, its how do I fit it in with all the other things I can do during the day... like baking the bread, making the meals, taking the dogs out, visiting the charity shops and generally being occupied not to say anything about the time I need to put in on my own business... Where do the other people get their time from? It has been a long time since I  did a whole lot of ironing, as with the children no longer at home, its just me and the husband... but I swear I have more washing and ironing to do then when all the five kids lived at home!! The washing machine grinds its way daily, the pulley up on the ceiling comes down and the clothes go up to air and dry, and then they are taken down and stuffed upstairs in the bathroom. With my latest word discipline ringing in my subconscious ears, I know I have to make a start on this pile and that I will be so happy when its all back on the shelves neatly piled up and ready to use.

Sometimes its just the sheer hugeness of the task that puts me off.. but I have decided that it can all be tackled by doing it each day for one hour.. I turn on the radio and start to iron and its quite therapeutic listening to the radio, either discussions or plays, or indeed sometimes its classical music... that hour soon goes, and the pile gets higher and the awful mess gets smaller.. I have been on this plan just since Monday and I think I should have all the items back in the cupboard by Sunday which will be marvellous..  I am certainly not the worlds best housekeeper.  More big picture me, but I do like a tidy house and see the things all put away... trouble is by the end of the week, the counters are all full again and need tidying away.. but that's just a routine that needs to be re established.. putting everything away immediately it is used..

As I live in an old Georgian Rectory, the rooms are large, and there are lots of places to store things... so  this means I put away things that I know are useful, and then don't think about them again until I need them, then I find I have forgotten where I actually did put them.. I read somewhere that Mrs Rose Kennedy, used to make to do lists, and would pin them on her front so she could read them and do them that day... seems a bit obvious but she kept on top of things like that.. not sure I would get on with wearing lists, but if it worked for her OK. 

I do make lists, then forget to take them out with me**
For instance I make lists to do for the shopping.. having written them and read them, I leave them invariably on my desk... however as I have read them, I do get mainly all the items I wanted, so perhaps that's not a bad thing.

Ironing has been a bone of contention for me for some time, since my ops I have not been able to sit or stand for any length of time and so the cupboards became jangled up with things that needed ironing and I was only doing the clothes that needed ironing specifically for using.. how dreadful is that!! Now with my new regime, I shall be in charge again, and as we all know, being in charge  and on top of things , is the best feeling in the world!!

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

A cranky day

 Today has been Biscuit Wednesday when we go and collect the boys from school and sit with them at their house until their parents return at 7pm. Its a long time for little boys who are tired from being at school and the last thing they want to do is read from their books and learn some more.. Grandpa takes them in the garden for a bit of football practice, but that leads to tears as he seems to always win and Josh thinks its terribly unfair... Somehow my husband keeps his cool and doesn't get upset, but says its all how life is and Josh must learn that winning doesn't come easy or every time.. Don't think that Josh is that glad about this philosophy.. Meanwhile Sammy who also is doing his reading practice decides that he is fed up with learning and wants to watch TV and then bursts into tears when he is told to finish his reading first.. So all in all a cranky type of afternoon.. It did get better when they had their tea and ate and stopped feeling hungry.. amazing what a little food can do, and then they did watch the television and calm down and then did play games on the screen which they loved to do until their parents returned. Its a long day for these two little ones, as their parents leave them with a childminder at 7am to go to work.. so they are up at 6, which is an early start and then not to bed until around 8 so no wonder they are tired.. But this is normal in so many families all over the modern world.. My daughters all work and they have had to devise similar routines for the children.. wanting the best of things a nice home and holidays means in many cases mums cannot stay at home as the finances are so stretched and another income is needed.. Of course everyone has higher expectations too, and so it goes on getting drawn tighter and tighter into the wheel of work, not having time with their children, and buying all the things that they think is necessary to be happy in this world. They are all money rich but time starved and I cannot see this cycle ending soon.. Of course it is not happy medium either when there are no jobs and you have to scrape by, but I wonder what level of income is truly needed to be happy.. When my kids were young, we only ever managed to get away for a holiday with all the kids once- and that was a week in a caravan in Cornwall. WE never thought that holidays were a right, we didn't have the money, so we found other things to do in the summer holidays .. they went to stay with my parents for a couple of weeks, they played with other children in the street.. the idea of a family holiday just didn't come into it.. The children had toys when it was their birthdays, or Christmas, but never very big ones, or expensive and they were so happy with them . Nowadays if I look at what the grandchildren have as far as toys are concerned, they could all, without exception open a toy shop each, they have so many!! Is this what their parents are working so hard for??.. And clothes, the choices of clothes to wear each day is amazing and of course only the very best and most expensive... do they really need so many things to be happy ?.. When I was small, we seemed to live a much more simple life.. Yes we did go on holiday each year as my dad being a french teacher organised french trips with my mother, so we went along, but never on our own, always being part of a troup- we had maybe a couple of pairs of shoes, best one, ones to wear daily plimsolls for sport at school and maybe a pair of wellingtons if the weather was wet.. never any designer named shoes either.. We had a piano, which we sang around when guest or family came around.. My father played the violin, my mother sang  and my brother and I were encouraged to sing too. WE had a radio which we listened to, and later we managed to have television, but it wasn't until I was in my mid teen years.. so we found other ways to amuse ourselves... reading the most obvious choice. We would go to the library each Saturday and stand waiting to be allowed to go and choose books... I still feel that near sick feeling of excitement whenever I am in a library waiting to choose my next set of books.. I could not get enough of reading, and spent many many hours lost in my own little world... Reading wasn't just for school, reading was for all the space of time you could manage to capture and have the time to sit and travel in your mind all over the place, into adventures and situations... reading was more real sometimes than real life!  Money isn't really what keeps people happy its the sharing of experiences, the time spent together- bonding doing things. You don't need a whole shelf of shoes or wardrobes of clothes or so many toys you forget what you've got, its learning together sharing values and understanding how to be amongst other people and to try and get along with everyone.. One day my daughter came and told me a little girl kept pushing her over in the playground and hurting her., I said  'tell me about this little girl, is she unhappy with you, why do you think makes her act like that?' My daughter looked at me and said,' well, she wears glasses, and has sticky out ears and no one likes her much.'. So I told my girl the next day' ask her why she is unhappy and say you will be her friend.'. so she did and they did become friends and she stopped being hurt in the playground.. I do think that sometimes trying to understand the other persons point of view or to think about why that person is doing bad things to you, gives a different perspective that might change everything..  I always try to put myself into the other person's shoes, and it helps a lot to get answers when you think that there are none.. Just like today when those little boys were being cranky, they needed to be fed, loved and cared for, and then they were happy again..

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

To be remembered for

Sometimes when I sit and start to ponder about my life and all the different paths I might have chosen, I do have moments when I ask what exactly have I achieved with my life? My husband will say of course to this heavy question, you have five wonderful children and they are giving you grandchildren.. but if I am really in a pokey mood I will jump back and say well, half the world can do that, what have I actually to show for all my time on earth apart from kids? If you speak to my friends and ask them to describe me, I think you will find that they will say I am positive, smile and laugh a lot and keep in touch many times over the years. That talking is easy and the range of subjects we can cover in a conversation is many and very varied. My children would say that I am mad, not like other mothers, rushed around doing things, changing houses at the drop of a hat, didn't keep all their drawings that they made at school, in fact times were that they found them in the bin after being hung up for a while... that I didn't teach them to read, and rarely managed to turn up for their school activities as I was always working and didn't get the time off! However they will also say that they were told that there was nothing they couldn't achieve if they set their heart on it,that girls were every bit as able as boys and could do as much and more sometimes, than boys, that there was nothing to slow them down except themselves.. That the house was full of books and laughter and adventures, but that one had to be independent and do things for yourself in order to get them done properly! [They knew that I wasn't into the small details, but more a big picture person!!].. When my life with their dad became more difficult and got strained, they were all helpful as much as they could be and understood why I made the choices to end the marriage when I did.. I did not ask them to take sides, I did not bad mouth my husband, and we all remained in contact and now after many years share all the family moments together without friction. It took a while, but this husband and my first one get along like a house on fire.. so that does help the kids cope with the situation. All those rearing years I was flying by the seat of my pants, there were few books on parenting and not much use the ones that had been published, so it was very much a learning curve for all of us.. Out of this journey I have got five wonderful charming easy to talk to, very ambitious and successful children.. I have been so blessed I cannot tell you how many prayers that took, but it all worked out in the end.. So how would I like or want to be remembered, is as a fun person, with lots of love and laughter and happiness, that positive thinking can achieve so much and to never let anyone be in the position of making you unhappy... sort it out, or walk away and start again.. I think I have passed on this fortitude to my family and hope it helps them deal with all the problems they encounter on the way... its not only success that makes the man or woman, but how successful you have been in human contact and loving and caring that creates the character that people will remember..and I think that is maybe what I have achieved with all the years I've had so far*.Well, I hope so anyway!.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Aix en Provence

If you look at the blogs that I am a follower of, you will note that quite a few of them are french based or biased.. this is because at heart I am always at home in France. At the fall of France at the beginning of the 1940's my father's family lived in Aix en Provence, and when the Germans were approaching the town, my grandfather decided to leave France and go to live in England. As he had originally come from India with his family in the twenties, and owned English passports he decided the safest place for his family was England, especially as they were of mixed race., him having married an Anglo Indian.. So they managed to get on the last train leaving Marseilles, before the troops arrived to stop the exodus.. they made their way to the port of St Jean de Luz and managed to get on board and arrive safe and sound in England. My grandparents had raised 12 children, some of them already in England working, but the rest accompanied them on this ship voyage which was very dangerous as ships of course were still being sunk by the Germans.. On arrival they were given a place to stay by friends, and eventually ended up in Hampton Court where they ended their days.. So my father regaled us with stories of living in Aix during his childhood and youth and we visited Northern France every year and Paris from time to time.. Then when I was 18 he accepted a post teaching in a school near where he had been educated, and finally he made his way back to his lovely home town.. For the first month, we met people, some of whom approached him in the street to kiss him and say welcome back, where did you go?? We dined out for a whole month every night catching up on all the news of friends of the family and his school friends, so getting to live there was most unusual, as we had a ready made pile of people willing to be friends to us and their children to show us around,. I loved living in Aix, because of all the stories it felt like home immediately. My father was so happy too, and my mother was in her element. The whole ambiance suited us all. Then I came home for a visit to a friend and had a blind date where I met my husband to be, then next thing I was living in England, and never lived again in Aix.. I miss France so much, but my life never gave me the chance to live there again, so I love to read all these blogs and fill my soul and senses with the sights and visions of France.. Magical indeed....Fascinating to think that next year will be the 50th anniversary of my starting to live there, will I manage to get back to start living there again!?

Sunday, 5 February 2012

wasting time

I just hate to waste time, and like a lot of other people, mainly women I think, I do several tasks at once.. this is why I have many times left the bath on and its overflowed with disasterous results in the kitchen below and all the electrics! However today I was clearing up the kitchen and wiping things down and decided to think about my mother, whom I still miss dreadfully although she died almost 10 years ago this March. When she died, it was sudden and unexpected and for years as she was the healthier of the two parents, we thought it would be my dad that would go first as he had a history of heart problems and yet, she went first, causing shock as she was such a positive personality and although she was not five foot high and tiny figure , she filled a room when she entered ! So, there I was in the middle of doing things and thinking about other matters when my mother popped into my mind. She was exactly 20 years older than I am now, so that means in order to reach her age, I have another twenty years, and what am I going to do with it.. A while ago, it wouldn't have entered my mind, but with my latest health issues, its things like this I find I am thinking about more and more.. First tranch of my  life was at home and learning and growing into a person, the second was being a mother and wife and career person with running and home and caring for five children and husband and now I am still working, still a wife, albeit to another husband, and what is next? I love to travel, but finances are tighter now that we are older... whoever said it would be a breeze getting older and we would have all that money saved or in the value of the house.. ha ha they were not right... anyway, travel apart, I am going to take stock and start to  do my things things just for me , and one of these is blogging of course, communicating with the world... then I have joined a circle of french speakers to improve my daily french...coming from a French family with a name like Chopin, I should already be fluent, but I am not, so this is one thing I have to do this year.. first meeting is next sunday in Nottingham.. looking forward to that... next thing is writing my book, which I have been slow burning for many years,.. then art, that has to come back in my life in a big way.. hasn't really been as big a part as it should have been after I left Art School in the 60's.. then home makeing and crafting and more antique browsing and finding treasures, and photography,... there is so much I want to do and will do, just have to get and do them... I am hopeless at planning, just better if I action as soon as I think of it... I can't bear to waste time and so today I have done many things and things are b ubbling in kitchen whilst I grab a few moments to reflect... so roll on twenty years, lets see what you're going to do to me!!![ mind you the photo above, taken twenty years ago is not much like me now, so what will I  look like in another twenty years!! ]

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Walking was cold this morning..

This morning, I took Millie out for a little walk around a place called Orchid Wood... whether there are any real orchids there I have no idea.. The ground was hard with frost and it was very bitterly cold... of course I had forgotten to bring a heavy scarf, and was only wearing one pair of socks, so I froze really fast.. Millie however was in her element even though I kept her on lead.. She has this dreadful habit of jumping up and kissing the person to death, she gets quite stupid... so I am keeping her on a lead at the moment.. its a shame as she loves to run, but John takes her out running every other day so I am not going to feel guilty.. we passed a lot of dogs that were running around, and as I passed a couple of people, I let them know why she was onlead.. the lady said 'I wouldnt mind her jumping up ,and then bent over to stroke her at which signal, madame jumped and jumped all over the poor woman who laughed as she got away, but she then undesrtood that Millie wasnt just a jumper but a kisser and licker too!
We had a lovely walk, but it took me ten minutes at least to thaw out my feet!

 John has just taken Reiver out for his run- its his turn today... he will collapse by the fireside for the rest of the afternoon when he returns.... Reiver that is, and probably John unless I get him lots of things to do around the house ha h.
.I am so happy back blogging, what did I do before I discovered it!!I just love looking at all the other blogs and seeing how people have got on that day.. the lovely things they have created and inspire me hopefully to get and get on with tasks I have to do, not nearly as artistic as them tho**Every Winter it gets cold, but for some reason the reaction is of surprise, even though its expected because it is winter time..I'm not sure I could live happily forever in a place without real seasons, like my friend does in Florida, it always seems to be summerlike there the whole year round.. that would freak me out I think. My son who is in Australia is coping with temps in the high forties, which would be unheard of here...( we would probably have hourly newscasts on the people dying from heat stroke,) but they all seem to take it in their stride over there... no wonder they feel cold in winter time when the temps go down to the twenties ha ha!!When Dan and Alex got married over here a couple of years ago, her family all wore cardigans as they felt the cold and it was in June and blazing heat (for us!!


This year I am determined to make an effort to de clutter... easy to say, but how to be ruthless.. When we moved into this house almost 15 years ago, we came from a large four bed house, but the furniture was not enough to fill all our rooms here, so I visited Antique shops and charity shops and gradually over the years managed to fill it out nicely... however I wasn't able to stop visiting and now on almost every surface there is something that is pretty or elegent, but totally useless... so I have to be hard to decide exactly what I want to retain... I could use a car boot sale, but its such a bore getting there and sitting all around waiting for a few pennies.. so I am going to bite the bullet and recycle the things back to the charity shops for them to sell on again... next week I am going to work on one room at a time, and take a before and after picture, that might make better impact on me doing it** They say its Spring Clean time, so I am going to make that time work for me, so that by my birthday in May it will all be done and de cluttered.. I know I cannot rush it and do it all in a week, but in manageable bit sizes I should get it done.. of course in a ideal world I would have also decorated, but decluttering is enough for me to get going on at the moment... Yesterday I made three loaves and various cake buns, so don't have to bake today, will go out later to the shops and get some packets that I ordered, then return here before the snow we have been told to expect starts to arrive... Hope everyone is having a happy Saturday too!

Friday, 3 February 2012

off line

I have been offline for almost one week and its been quite a torure not to be able to catch up with everything happening in Blog land.. However all is well and I am back again.  Its been a difficult week even without the computer as the phones also went.. Our telephone pole was knocked down by a silly van last Saturday and all the lines trailed over the roads and gardens.. They had to be cut back and then re attached this morning.. but its been a long week of silence.. don't know what I would have done without my mobile to keep me in touch with my business and closest friends. My husband had to use my mobile to contact and work with his office, and I used an older version.. but it was good to get back to basics.. We are quite spoiled by choice.. I have also gone the route of having my hair chopped off and seeing if I like it... its been bobbed, I wanted it much shorter my hairdresser said it would be too much of a shock, so to do in stages.. if I didnt like the bob I could have it shortened next time... we shall see..

 I saw a rainbow the other night and it was so beautiful hanging there in the misty sky.. I remembered when the children were young, we saw one over London and decided to see if we could reach the Rainbow's end,  We drove this way and that way and over several fun timed hours, we travelled all over trying to get to the end of it, but each time we thought we got close and got all excited, it moved again in a nother direction.. It was fun to do, and the kids learned a lesson I think, that all in life is not as straighforward as it looks, but  how we did  laugh a lot that day!!!

There is a note on another site saying my niece will turn 39 tomorrow! I can still remember the phone call her dad made to us all those years ago, announcing that he had a baby daughter, their first child, and he was so excited and nervous and thrilled... and we all were so delighted too to welcome another addition to the family.. Now she is a fully fledged grown up!!..Of course I should not really be surprised as my own older children are now in their forties, but inside me, I am still only around 20 ish and still waiting to know when I am going to feel grown up!!! Sometimes I think this is all a dream and I am going to wake up and find myself back at home with all my life yet to live and my parents still looking after me and I am just getting out and about with a job and new friends,and this life has all been a a mirage.. but then I know its real and I have my wonderful kids and family and all the living I have had to do, all has had a purpose, even if at times I didnt and still don't really know what the wretched purpose was !!! However, one thing that I do find unsettling is how young and immature I still feel inside.. I surprise myself with my knowledge too and then on reflection perhaps it is nt so unusual, but because I am still only silly inside my head I find interesting that others seem to think I have something to impart..My mother always said she would never get old, and she really didnt.. she was out visiting sick people in hospital until her late eighties, she found things to go out and do away from the house, that gave her pleasure and made her still active and useful...She had a beautiful soprano voice that she used singing at weddings, and still took singing lessons to keep her voice in tune.. so I guess inside of her she still felt young and resisted falling into the trap of letting yourself be old purely by age .. of course she did enjoy good health and mental facilties, so she was fortunate too in that way.. I always  wanted to live until I was over 100 perhaps 106 might be good, but with all this recent health developments I am no longer quite so certain.. I don't want to anticipate dying younger, but illness does have an effect on ones capability to stay younger feeling.. Today I am having a good day, so I am optimistic, lets hope tomorrow will be the same... whatever it turns out to be, I am so glad I am back online....!!