Saturday, 25 February 2012

Sometimes I am so proud

four generations of strong women
Today my daughter has begun a superb birthday cake for her daughter. She has designed it and learnt how to make the kind of icing that is called pastillage or something so she can make towers with pointy tops because the cake is to be a princess castle in pink and lilac with round pointy towers and a moat and everything - including a prince and princess. All this on top of a full time job. I think she is wonderful. But you know that don't you?

She wrote us a poem. I have kept it by my computer for several weeks now because I love it. I didn't want to share it straight away because I was afraid it might dilute it somehow. It won't, of course, but I was reluctant to share - selfish that's me. Anyway, I read it again tonight when I sat down and I thought that now I am ready to share.
Two wonderful words
That I am glad to say
You are mine.
You are always there
To hold me tight, yet never
Hold me back.
You are my support
And Cheer Squad, and keep me
Smiling even when
All I want to do is cry.
You believe in me, even
When I doubt myself.
You are interested in my life
But not interfering.
You are special to me
And to my daughter who
Gives you the best title
Grand Parents
Cause that's what you are

Isn't that fabulous? I will be putting that in a frame and hanging it in my bedroom because I want it to be there where I can see it.
Sometimes I am so proud

Thursday, 23 February 2012

I've been thinking...

Ann aged 8
I know that some people who know me consider those three words with dread and some of them ~turns her eyes in the direction of her daughter~ have been seen to flinch!
Anyway, I've been reading a book and combined with the fact that I was going through the old photographs in grandpop's ditty box it has made me think about the difference between when I was in Junior school and now.

There was a fatality about things. I distinctly remember someone in the playground telling us about the four minute warning. We were used to the sirens because they were still tested even though the war had been over for ten years. The boy, and it was definitely a boy who told us, said that we would hear the sirens and then we would have four minutes to find shelter before the nuclear bombs would detonate and we would all fry.
I remember being terrified as my imagination conjured up images of flames and white light and then I thought "What is the point of trying to find shelter if we are all going to die anyway?" and the terror was gone. I never worried about it again. I did once time my journey home and realised that if I ran I could be at home with my mother in three and a half minutes so everything was fine.

Thinking about this attitude now I am pretty sure that it was my father's fatalist mindset that caused me to react in that way. You see my Dad was injured right at the end of WW2. He had gone to Europe with the BEF in 1939 and had been driven into the sea at Dunkirk. In fact when my daughter asked him what the Dunkirk Medal was for he told her it was for running in the "hundred yards dash along the beach, everyone got one." He went back to Europe a few days after D Day and being with the RMRE he was with the leading troops as they headed for Germany. He was blown up by a landmine and badly injured, losing his right leg and being wounded in his neck and face by shrapnel. He wasn't expected to survive. He did though and because he was in hospital he met my mum.
Dad always said that when he asked the doctors what his life expectancy was they told him 15 years. He lived his life with that in mind so he crammed in as much interesting stuff as he could while still working and trying to build his business. This attitude has to rub off doesn't it? He wasn't afraid of dying he simply wanted to make good use of his time.
So there I was in the late 1950s and it was a weird feeling. I wasn't afraid while people around me were very afraid. They talked about how the government should build huge shelters for people, one that could shut out the radio active stuff and people could live there for years and years until it was safe to come out. I am claustrophobic so there was no way I was going into anything that would be closed up and not open for years and years.
I remember mentioning to my mother that I hoped that when - and at that time it was when and not if - the bomb fell I wanted to be right underneath it because I didn't want to go into a concrete bunker and I didn't want to get radio active either! My Mum's only reaction was a sharp intake of breath, a pause and then she said "Sometimes you are so like your father you frighten me"
I'm not really sure why it was so important to write all this down but it was and I have. It's funny how a few pictures and an autobiography can make your mind work isn't it?

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

My Daughter

I have a beautiful daughter. Did I tell you this already? Well, I need to say it again. I have a beautiful daughter. It's not her birthday, she hasn't broken any world records it's just that she has been in my head all day for a simple thing that she did. She made a chocolate egg. I think I should start at the beginning.

singing along to abba
Yesterday, to deal with the after effects of the fox attack on my hen house I thought a little retail therapy would be good so I got Mr M to take me to "The Range". I just knew they would have something I desperately needed and I still had some Christmas present money in my purse.
I bought pigment inks and a bumper bundle pack of goodies and some butterfly stickers - oh and several rubber stamps. Mr M bought the birthday presents for two little girls who will be seven at the end of the month and he also bought an easter egg mould. He said that WSD (wicked step-daughter) would have great fun with it and she could use it for the party she is holding for one of those seven year olds.

laughing about the ballooniversity in airshire
She was thrilled with it and thanked her WSD (wicked step-dad) for thinking of her. Later that evening she sent a picture to my phone of the egg she had made. It is made of dark chocolate and has a round panel in it made of white chocolate set into it with the letters WSD written on it.

She gave it to him tonight and he was really thrilled. That's the way she is. She cares deeply about other people and works hard to make sure that those people close to her have everything they want. She is a wonderful mother, far better than I ever was. She has so much patience with her daughter that I envy her sometimes. I am so proud of her my heart swells fit to burst and I daren't speak because I would cry. She infuriates me occasionally because she can be stubborn (just like her mother) but even then I am still so proud of her for being so independent and for being such a wonderful daughter that my frustration disappears.

She has been in my head all day so I thought I would tell you about this quirky, beautiful, articulate, smart, sassy, did I say beautiful? woman I am proud to call my daughter

Monday, 13 February 2012

I need a man with a gun...

Last night a fox killed Whizzy-chick. So the countryside has arrived in the city centre. We heard a funny thumping noise at about 11.30pm and Mr M looked out the kitchen window down into the garden. He could see "stuff" floating in the air and a big cat or something on the garden. It ran off when he opened the window so we grabbed torches and rushed out. The fox must have been laughing his socks off watching me clambering down the steps one at a time because of my sciatica. The garden was full of feathers. Whizzy was in her death throes and poor sweet Amber had done what chickens do when they are afraid and hidden her head in a corner to try and be invisible.
Whizzy (brown) and Amber (white,speckled) 
The inside of the hen house was also full of feathers and the perches had been knocked over. As we were examining the damage the bl**dy fox poked his head over the wall to see if we had gone! I threw a stone at him and so did Mr M.
We resecured the hen house, captured poor little Amber and put her inside then shut the door on the small run instead of leaving it open so they could go into the garden. Knowing how clever foxes are I also put a cable tie through the hasp on the laying box and tied a knot in it. Mr M put a brick on top too. We went back up the steps and into the house and by the time I had taken off my shoes and put on my slippers the fox was back on the wall again. Mr M filled the giant syringe with water and opened the window. Mr Fox didn't turn a hair so Mr M whispered "have some of this you bas......." and squirted the water. Foxy beat a hasty retreat. Mr M refilled and waited. Foxy came back about ten times and received the same treatment eventually we heard a bird screeching from the big hedge behind the factory so we think he found an alternative for his dinner.
This morning Amber has stayed in the house even though I opened the pophole. Chickens give up very easily and turn their face to the wall and wait to die so she could still just stop living. Now I have to review the situation. I have just one chicken, they are social birds and like company. Do I get more or do I take her to my cousin who has a few chickens and let her have company and I give up having chickens ever again? Jury is still out.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

The Tramp's Supper

Way back in the Seventies, yes, that's the nineteen seventies, when I was still married to my first husband we lived three miles outside a small village called Raglan. It has a castle and was the last castle to surrender during the English Civil War. But that's not what my story is about.
Because the village is not large there was, and still is a thriving community spirit. The Village Hall Committee was raising money to fix the hall and we (I was a member of several committees) hit upon the idea of a Tramp's supper where everyone would dress up as a tramp and there would be food and a bar and some music and perhaps a few local people would get up and "do a turn".
I told Mr and Mrs Bluefunnel about it and they bought some tickets. Because they bought tickets my ex decided that he would come with us. This was a shock.
The day dawned and the Bluefunnels arrived with all their costumes and props. My ex decided that he would go dressed as a woman. This was a shock.
We drove into the village and parked the car. Realising we were a little early Mr Blue suggested that we went into the pub first. There were three pubs in the village then, The Ship, The Beaufort and The Crown. The Beaufort was very posh and going in there dressed as tramps was not a good idea. The Ship was one of those pubs that anyone who had lived in the village less than 100 years would stay away from, the regulars "looked" at you like something out of American Werewolf in London. We went into the Crown. All except Mrs Blue who was resplendent in a couple of skirts several torn tops a coat that looked as though it had been torn from the jaws of an angry lion and a hat. A hat with a wide floppy brim. A hat that she informed us had spent days being sat on in work and had been stretched and pulled and twisted. It was a magnificent wreck of a hat.
She didn't want to come into the pub with us because going into a room full of other people dressed as tramps was OK but into a pub with "normal" people was more than she could cope with. Mr Blue had, as one of his props, a pushchair. Not one of the modern folding buggy types but an old fashioned pushchair. into this he had stored his treasures and covered them with a piece of old blanket. This came into the pub too. So there we were Big Smed (as Mr Blue called himself because he had an empty Smedley's Peas tin in his treasures) Crimpo (that's me because my hair was very long and wavy) and this six feet two inch tall bloke in tartan tights a paisley dress, a fur cape, a dreadful nylon wig and a fuchsia pink beret type hat - oh and a pair of cork-soled platform shoes that had been cut open ti fit his feet and then tied together with thick string to keep them on.
We certainly got the attention of the customers in the pub.
Mr Blue said he would get the drinks. This was after he had approached several people we knew and asked them for "a shilling for a cup of tea Guv." As he leaned forward to give our order to Ann behind the bar Mrs Blue was with us. Actually she was in front of us telling Ann what she wanted to drink. We got our drinks and looked at Mrs Blue
"I couldn't stay out there. There was this man." she looked at us as though we should understand. We didn't.
"He propositioned me!" she wailed, "and I thought that anyone who would proposition someone dressed like me wasn't safe to be alone with so....." her voice was drowned by our raucous laughter. Gosh we were so cruel in those days.

This story has been brought to you by Storytelling Sunday created by Sian at Fromhighinthesky why not go there and see what everyone else has written. There are some truly remarkable stories there.