Family history

‘I don’t want my Grannie to die, I would miss her too much.’

I was holding an ageing folder with the name ‘Mother’ emblazoned on the front in red felt tip capitals. Skater had asked me what I was carrying. I told him it was some of my Grannie’s writing. He gets a tad confused when I mention my older relatives. He asked was she Bill’s daughter. No she was Bill’s wife, my mother’s mother. My Grannie Pat, died aged 67 when I was just 21. This is what prompted my son to utter those words.

I am well aware that my mother is now 71, I assured Skater that his Grannie is going to live longer than his 21st year. Talking to my mother this morning I mentioned this conversation to her.

‘Tell Skater that I take better care of my health than my mother did,’ she told me.

Last night I was reading some of Pat’s work. There was a tale of a holiday taken with her husband and son on a narrow boat. She described the galley and how being of a round build she had to step out of the galley each time she needed to turn around, unlike the two males who were ‘beanpolish’.

This brought back memories of my favourite woman (after my mummy, that was). Throughout my life I have seen photos of my Grannie as a stunning young woman. A slender brunette, both as a bride and young mother.IMG_2045

However my memories are all of a short, cuddly, grey haired smiling woman whom I loved so much. I remember family walks with her and her much loved labrador cross (Candy), hours at her kitchen table making or drawing things. I remember the dresses she made for me. I remember the many friends she had in their small Essex village. The flowers that she arranged in the church when it was all quiet.

I  don’t have memories of her sitting writing, although I realise that this would have been something she did when we were not there. I don’t know when I first became aware that my Grannie was a prolific writer, both for the WI of which she was an active member, but also for magazines. I don’t think I ever read anything she had written. In my late teens I started writing too, nothing much, just for my own pleasure. When my Grannie died so did my desire to write. I just couldn’t bring myself to write anything, until about 2007 that is.

Today as I began to read some of my Grannie’s writing, I could picture myself in the places she described, whether it was a tale of a fox being hunted or the joy of her faithful dog when she knew they were going out walking. Those childhood walks on the common or along the tracks beside the farms close by, all came flooding back from that time more than 40 years ago when life was so much simpler for us children.

My Grannie loved life, it is just such a pity that her love of life didn’t include taking care of her own health. I remember that for some time she suffered from Angina which in those days was quite common amongst people who I realise were in the age group that I have now joined. She died in her sleep, after having a massive heart attack. I will never forget that morning when my grandfather phoned to speak to my mother at the crack of dawn on a Sunday.  Having answered the phone and called my mother, I sat on the stairs and just cried, I didn’t need to be told the news, I knew it in my heart that I had lost my adored Grannie.

I dressed and set out walking through the town inconsolable. Not only had I lost a beloved relative but I had also lost one of my greatest allies, my confidante.

Although my life has been without her in it, for far longer than she was in it, she has been one of my greatest influences and I shall never ever forget her.

Evelyn Patricia King always in my thoughts, I love you

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On the move

Saturday morning and we were on the move, or at least Pug was moving with his mother’s assistance. He was up early finishing his packing, loading the back of the truck (Chevvy). I only had to move a few things around. Just as we were preparing to leave Skater asked for a lift to the station so we had to reorganise to make room for him.

Skater dropped off, fuel purchased we started on our journey. We hadn’t been on the M3 for long when we joined the almost static traffic more or less in the same place as last week. Only this time the stops were more prolonged. I figured out from the emergency vehicles that passed us going in the opposite direction before racing back up on the hard shoulder on our carriage way, something had happened prior to junction 11. It turned out to be ‘vehicle fire’ according to the signs.

When we eventually reached the incident it did look nasty but the people looked unhurt, they were unloading possessions as we passed, surrounded by the emergency services. After this we made good time, although I did have a minor panic on A34. I had pulled out to overtake a caravan, I spotted a white car coming up behind me, I couldn’t be sure but it might be a police car. Should I pull in behind the caravan to allow the car behind me to pass or should I put my foot down and go for it? I did the latter then prayed. The white car quickly caught up and passed us, obviously not interested that I had been breaking the speed limit to get around the caravan. The police car with its single occupant was soon disappearing into the distance.

Coming towards Didcot we pondered te fact that 3 out of 6 cooling towers had been demolished, why not all 6 and did the demolition wake the local residents who hadn’t chosen to witness the event?

Being ahead of time and feeling that my bladder was soon going to be in trouble I followed a sign for ‘Services’ taking the slip road to a roundabout where there was no further sign pointing to ‘services’ I guessed, wrongly, the the first exit. I took a right turn in the hope of finding somewhere to turn around, but ended up driving through the pretty village of Steventon. Through Drayton to Abingdon, at which point I began reminiscing about a date I once had there and also a lucky escape which I might tell about another time.

We were only back on the A34 a short time before exiting at the right junction where they are doing a lot of road works, late Saturday morning was not the best time to be trying to negotiate the Hinksey interchange and Kennington roundabouts whilst this work is being carried out. Roadworks negotiated we made our way towards the agency. Pug rang to say we would be 5 minutes only to be told that they needed 30 mins. I pulled up at the side of the road and rushed as quickly as my short legs would take me without breaking into a run. Pug striding along beside me, towards a pub on the corner. I instructed Pug to buy an orange juice whilst I went for a comfort break.

We were sipping our expensive (£6 for 2) glass orange juice when he got the call that the agent was at the house waiting for us.

When we arrived at the house there were a couple of workmen loitering outside the door, this had me worried, what had they been fixing? My concerns were soon forgotten as we began the slow process of going through each room in turn with the young agent, as she passed a form to Pug to complete in each and every room as he assessed the condition of the carpets, walls, furniture etc. This was a real eye opener for him. Being the first to move into this 5 bedroom house it was down to him to do this without help from his housemates.

To me this appears to be a typical student house, not up to the standards that a family would expect but good enough for a bunch of impoverished students. The rooms were all a good size, the kitchen large and clean,Kitchen  the sitting room sparce but brightsittingroom 1  sittingroom

After a trip to get some groceries, a quick sandwich and I was ready to head off home leaving my boy to unpack.

I am sure that he and his friends will be happy there for the next year. I just hope he doesn’t get too lonely before his mates move in, although I am sure that he will enjoy having the place to himself when he is entertaining his Princess.

One move down, two to go.

Hills and things

After taking 6 hours to complete a 4 hour journey we finally arrived at our destination late afternoon on Saturday. It had been a warm sunny day which made the many hold ups including a 4 mile stop start crawl on A34 bearable. 7 miles before we reached our destination I suddenly noticed that the engine light had come on, this brought on a mild panic, that and the constantly changing fuel gauge as we travelled up and down steep hill roads, would we make it before we ran out of fuel or the engine conked out?

Half a mile to go the SAT NAV told us to turn right then left, I almost missed the left turn it was so narrow. Well by that I mean that I saw it just as we passed it. Being a dual carriageway I had to continue until I could do a U turn, retrace our steps back to the narrow lane. Trundling along the lane I was thinking that I knew my in-laws lived down a lane but I hadn’t expected it to be such a narrow lane. The grass growing in the middle of the lane indicated that it wasn’t much used. It was with much relief that we reached the end of the lane which then merged with the lane we should have been on. A & B were there waiting for us as we turned around.

Next morning we woke to heavy rain, hurricane Bertha had hit the UK overnight, I believe that the weather was worse back at home than it was here in the Peak District. However the rain couldn’t take anything away from the view from our bedroom window.IMG_1783 I can see why A & B fell in love with living here.

Late morning we went for a drive (their car not ours) for a tour of a rain soaked Buxton, I was impressed with the architecture there, I will have to go back another time to investigate properly. This was followed by a drive around Bakewell, which was also very pretty even if it was crammed packed with pubs. Even in the rain there was an abundance of walkers. Before heading back for lunch we visited Chatsworth Park. We stopped to see a small Classic Car gathering near to the impressive stable block. The rain had just about stopped which was appreciated as we strolled towards the stable block. A & I made a dash for the public toilets only to be met by a queue so we made our way to the restaurant to use their facilities. These I found most disconcerting. It is not every day that I find myself surrounded by 3 images of myself reflected in the yellowish tinted glass of the cubicle (whilst sitting on the proverbial throne).

IMG_1809 The stable block at Chatsworth House.

After lunch owl and I set off on our own to find some fuel. I was worried that we wouldn’t make it the six miles to the nearest petrol station, the further I drove the closer we were getting and the prospect of a rainy walk was decreasing, I was beginning to relax. Having filled up I was much happier, we went in search of a local landmark, Monsal Head viaduct.

IMG_1813  IMG_1812 As you can see the view of the viaduct was not quite what we had expected so whilst Owl took himself off for a pint in the nearby bar I decided to follow the footpath to get a closer look at the viaduct. The path to the right looked very steep so I took the path to the left through the trees in the hope that it would come out nearer to the 1870’s construction over the river Wye. The tree covered steep hillside walk meant that all I could see were trees and more trees. Eventually I managed to work out from the glimpse of hill side across the valley that I had long ago passed the viaduct without seeing it so I made my weary way back up the hill for a well earned diet coke.

Next day we woke to see the sun shining on the fields, this was not to last all day but we didn’t get too wet on our visit to the Derwent reservoirs, where Barnes Wallis practiced his bouncing bombs.IMG_1823 IMG_1826 Howden Reservoir leads down into Derwent reservoir before finally ending up with Ladybower Reservoir.IMG_1836 Here we can see the different levels in each reservoir.

The afternoon saw a trip in the opposite direction for a trip down memory lane for Owl and his sister. We drove across the Derbyshire dales to Macclesfield where they had lived briefly in their early teens. We then went on to Knutsford where they sent their teen years. It is a small pretty town that has kept much of its history intact. We ended our visit with a drink in one of Owl’s old haunts.  IMG_1858

On our return to the house the sun was shining so I took the opportunity to take a wander up the garden to take some pictures.IMG_1871 IMG_1875  IMG_1872 Such a lovely place to live.IMG_1879

Then yesterday we made the journey back home, all was going well until the last few miles when the roads were gridlocked due to a burnt out lorry. Which I understand has still been causing problems today.

Changes

I am beginning to get used to my new injections although I still don’t think I would be able to do them for myself.  I’ve had seven in total so far and the only one that actually did hurt was the first one that was done by the diabetic nurse. Since then two of my colleagues have done them for me and the last few Owl has done.

I have noticed since I started having these injections that my appetite has been much smaller, I am struggling to eat much of even my favourite food. I am suffering from heart burn on an almost daily basis.  I feel very full and bloated. I would have thought that considering that I am eating less I would feel slimmer but I feel fatter.

Since watching that program yesterday about the people who have to follow extreme life changes to lose weight I have decided that I need to make myself go for a walk every day. I have now done two days. I can’t promise I will go every single day but I am aiming for 5 times a week for now.

This morning I got up early, I had got an idea into my head about a possible new story I wanted to write. I wrote two pages right away and have been thinking about where I want it to go from there. This afternoon I was reading another blog  When all is said and done and found a post talking about a book ……The Bobblehead Dad by Jim Higley. I have not read the book but I gather that Jim has survived cancer and this is his book about it. This got my mind working. I have been going wrong all the time I have been trying to write a novel. All this time I have been trying to find a plot to write my fiction novel about, when all along I have been wanting to write about living with and after cancer.  I have already written about my experience with cancer elsewhere so why don’t I just write my story in my own way instead of trying to put it into a work of fiction.

 

 

 

 

Home alone again

For the second week I found myself home alone for most of Saturday. Owl is on a 3 day course that takes place on Saturdays. I had driven him into the city early in the morning before returning home. Skater was watching Soccer AM (which I hadn’t seen for years, there had been a time years ago, when it would have been on our tv every week.) He then went off with his skateboard to meet his friends for the afternoon.

After Soccer AM had finished I had surfed the channels and found a program I hadn’t heard of before (I don’t usually watch tv during the day), Fat, The fight of my life. I watched as a 25st (350lb) woman was put through her paces walking up a steep hill, completing a strenuous assault course, swimming and various other exercises. This got my mind thinking that I really should be going out for a walk while it was dry. So that is exactly what I did. We are lucky to have a country park very close to our home.

It was very muddy underfoot, not surprisingly after all the rain. In fact the footpath actually had a stream zigzagging along it. Even though the weather was mild it was still a little on the chilly side. I did have gloves in my pocket but didn’t wear them as I was busy taking lots of photos which isn’t easy with gloves on.

Here is a selection of my photos.

IMG_1450 I don’t remember the last time I saw a tree laden with catkins.

IMG_1455 first sign of new life

IMG_1457 and there it is…..the lake

IMG_1459 party time for the mallards

IMG_1473 a distant bridge

IMG_1481

IMG_1482 No running up this hill for me (not at the moment anyway)

IMG_1484 nearly at the top

IMG_1485 looking back from the top

 

Oh wow

Yesterday morning when I came down for my breakfast (which Owl proudly makes for me most mornings) there was little Christopher Robin perched on my bird feeder.

Owl mentioned that when he came down our cat was out on the decking trying to out stare a fox.

My reaction was ……….Oh wow a fox in this garden

His reaction was……horrid thing.

I know if he still had a shot gun he would have shot it, to him they are vermin. To me they are part of the tapestry of wild life in our world.

A Sunday walk

Bank holiday Sunday Owl was desperate to get out of the house . He didn’t want to go where he would be recognised. He had fallen during the week and his face was badly cut. We went up to my favourite hill to take in the views and have a drink. I decided not to park in the pub car park but the next one along facing the back of the hill away from the sea and the city.

We had a quiet drink and a chat in the pub garden that looks out over the city. When we returned to the car we sat on a bench to watch a couple of guys with a kite. Not your usual type of kite. This kite was attached to a harness which the guy controlling it was wearing around his middle. He was then stood on a board similar to a skateboard but bigger. I am sure that this has its own proper name but I have no idea what it is. ……it turns out that it is kiteboarding.

Whilst I was watching these two guys, one with the kite and the other filming, they later swapped places. I noticed that there were a lot of dog walkers coming and going through a gap in the bottom corner of the field. I wanted to know what was the other side of the hedge so we took a gentle stroll along the edge of the field and beyond. On the way I took a few photos.

IMG_1163elderberry tree, when I was a child my dad made elderberry wine. IMG_1164not a clue about this one IMG_1165this one I have forgotten

IMG_1167could this be old man’s beard  IMG_1168this is just my old man  IMG_1169   IMG_1174sloe ? IMG_1176  IMG_1177  IMG_1178 kiteboarder.

It was good to get out of the house and into the sunshine for a couple of hours.