Times forgotten (1)

Often, when I’m musing about the way things are, I wonder what my grandmother, born in 1899, would have thought about….. whatever!
I am lucky, she left quiet a lot of musings and thoughts and memories, in diaries and an exercise book of remembrances where she begins, ‘I was born at a very early age.’ She goes on to tell of the young men marching off to war through the middle of Liverpool in 1914 and to tell of her first experiences of being a telephonist in George Henry Lee’s shop in Liverpool. It was all new technology back then.
I don’t feel old ……yet……but I think about things that I’ve seen and done. I think that all these little events, mundane at the time, will become a forgotten thing, designated to the recycle bin of our lives, fragments of social history, the fun of events passed.
Here’s a remembered fragment, a sunny moment in time, innocent, before Health and Safety and fear of grown-ups became a part of the collective consciousness.
We had a milkman, Mr Chaffer, who used to deliver milk in the Yorkshire of the ’50s. At the end of his round he used to call us all from where we were playing out, unsupervised, on the crescent where we lived. Any of us children who were playing out at the time (we were always playing out, if the weather allowed) would climb up on his cart and have a ride around to the bottom of the crescent where he would tell us to get off home. We’d run up the hill, giggling and laughing, safe as houses and go to outside the watchful windows, where we continued playing. There weren’t many cars in those days. It was about 1955 I think, our Mums were mostly at home, keeping an eye on us all from time to time. I’m on the left of the photo, my brother is on the right, I still remember the names and the characters of those friends, although we left that area in 1958.
We learned how to get along together, how to plan adventures, how to get up and play on when we fell and how to imagine games, imagine situations, imagine stories. We developed independence, imagination and resilience.
I know many of us remember childhoods through rose-tinted memories. It did rain, one boy in the road wore callipers because of polio and had a bad limping walk, we didn’t have a lot of pocket money and had to walk to school. We did have fun though.

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March of the Ants

My kitchen has been invaded, little ants that are finding a way in via the dishwasher pipes I think.
It’s set me thinking…….ants are fascinating creatures, in their place……..their place is not my kitchen.
This is my haiku tribute to their invasion:

Scuttling, work top bound
Scenting food, destroying my
Buddhist principles

Friends passing

I have a group of beautiful friends, we were 7, we all met at work. We have stayed in touch for at least 30 years, some of nearly 35 years. We have celebrated 30th, 40th, 50th and now 60th birthdays together. Sometimes with just a lunch, sometimes with a weekend away.
We call ourselves the LOGS. We are now a group of 5. Today would have been our eldest member’s 70th birthday. She died a few years ago but whenever we meet we always talk of our spirit-LOGS friends. Both died from brain tumours, both too soon, both missed.
We have all laughed and sometimes cried together, much more laughter than tears. We’ve weathered storms of house moves, divorces, alcoholism, debt, births, deaths, marriages, redundancy, rage, cancer, infertility, grandmotherhood and we’re still laughing, still supporting.
Here’s to the sisterhood. Women friends are to be treasured, especially those that stand the test of such times. Cheers, LOGS, and here’s my very much missed spirit LOG 70 year old. I’m lighting a candle for you tonight. I hope you know how we all still love you…….Cheers!

So spa so good

Went to a spa last week. A luxurious, sumptuous, scented feast for the senses. Walking in, I was assailed by calming music, reminiscent of Tibetan monasteries, bells, meandering moods. The scents, herbal and calming, enveloping. The therapist was deft, sure-handed and left me relaxed and soothed. I floated through the rest of the day, after relaxing on a lounger, visiting the steam room, reading rubbish magazines, drinking peppermint tea. I re-entered reality feeling totally floating. Wonderful experience.

Real atmosphere

Some places you visit have a really strong vibe, an atmospheric quality.
One such is a favourite place of mine in Wales, Carreg Cennen Castle. Totally ruined for centuries, perched high on an unassailable sheer cliff, watching over the gentle folds of the Carmarthenshire countryside. Unspoiled, isolated, brooding and yet with a safe feel. There’s a secret passage, ruined dungeons and crumbling walls to climb.
We’ve visited many times over the last 40 years, in all seasons. It’s always a moving place to be. It has a stillness, a primeval quality, a link to the pagan past, maybe.
Where else gives me a feeling like this place? Nowhere……

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I shouldn’t be here…

About eleven years ago, I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Such a shock and yet I knew something was wrong, I was bloated, couldn’t eat very much at all without feeling full, had to run off to the loo mid-meal, was so bone-weary even when climbing the stairs. ‘Ahhhhh’, said the GP, ‘it’s your job, it’s the menopause, it’s stress, it’s anaemia, it’s TATT’ on several visits over the course of three years. Fast forward to one very skilled, experienced surgeon and the support of a wonderful NHS hospital. The surgeon told my husband that I may have five or even ten years. That fact adds an extra piquancy to life, a real love of small pleasures, a love of experiencing new places, new explorations.
I now have a deep-seated wish to warn others about this awful disease.
There are no screening tests, the symptoms are vague and differ from woman to woman, around 70% of women die within 5 years. I’ve been lucky so far. I want others to know the signs and symptoms so it can be diagnosed earlier. Early diagnosis means a 90% survival rate. March is ovarian cancer awareness month. Please spread the word.
For more info check out the Ovacome, Target Ovarian Cancer, Eve Appeal websites.
Don’t want to preach but it’s an important message to share, one that is close to my heart.

Little Things

imageListened to the radio this morning, to a man talking about a dead relative’s valuable book collection. He started off by thinking that the book collection defined the man. He ended up, as he disposed of it, item by item, thinking that what we possess is easily lost, easily disposed of. It cannot define us. This is a somewhat liberating thought. I may well start de-cluttering with a less heavy heart. Incidentally, he remembered, not the collections , but the harsh words by this relative.

First editions or Firsts instincts?