Month: June 2011

Six down!

Today is the last day for signing up to the current round of online workshops.  There will be another round in the autumn, and I’ll let you know when registration is open.  In the meantime, I’m amazed to have completed a full six months of blogging!  I wonder if I can continue for the rest of the year.  I certainly intend to give it a try.

We are about to embark on a busy weekend.  If you fancy a little trip out or two you might like to read this post and this one too.  Come and have a chat, we’d love to see you.

Nostalgia continues!

Well, this week seems to have turned into a session of looking back, so I thought I would continue the theme for today’s post.

Yesterday I introduced my brother.  I thought I’d better convince you that he did grow up!

I was 10 when this was taken!  This was school uniform.  The jumper, cardigans and V-neck were all hand-knitted by grandmothers.  I recognise the pattern of the jumper I’m wearing – it was one our Welsh grandmother knitted many times.

I wonder what he was writing.  Even the artifacts on the table bring back memories – and the tablecloth was embroidered by our mother during her arduous journeys in the back of a truck to and from the radio station.

Of course, I made more noise than he did – as you can see in this photograph.  But…. just how do you play the piano without doing so?

Is there a Doctor in the House?

Obviously not

My brother would probably say that this was the start of all his problems, however, it’s plain to see that he needed me to make him better.

He was a good patient, and I was very patient too.  I’m always very patient, don’t let him tell you otherwise!

This photograph was taken in our London flat (doesn’t that sound grand, it was meant to because it wasn’t)!  The door which is behind the cot was our bedroom, and the one to the right that of our parents.  The photograph was taken from the front door – to the left was the kitchen and on the right the little sitting room.  It was home until we moved to Surrey not long after this photograph was taken.

A perfect day

Not a cloud in the sky, in fact, an almost unblemished sky

So clear, it seemed almost possible to touch the aeroplanes

The family gathered

and chatted

and chatted.

Oldest and Youngest great-grandchildren communed

And finally, it was time to clear up!

Happy Birthday

I was overwhelmed with the lovely comments and emails that I received as a result of yesterday’s post.  Thank you all so much for reading and taking the time to pass comment.  I thought that today I would just tell you a little more about the birthday girl.

Mum was born very shortly before the end of the first world war.  She was brought up in the north-east of England, spending several years living with her aunt and grandmother so that she could attend a good school.  She was a bright pupil and did well.  When the second world war came she was ‘called up’, something that didn’t usually happen to women.  She was chosen for a special squad, and, after spending time in the Isle of Man for training, was moved to the heart of the Yorkshire Moors where an elite band were intercepting German messages.  Several years ago I had the pleasure of meeting with several of her colleagues.  All had signed the official secrets act, and none of them had previously spoken about their work.  It wasn’t until information about Bletchley Park was revealed that they were able to do so, sadly this was too late for the experience to be shared either with mum’s parents, or my father.

Mum trained as an operatic soprano.  She had the most beautiful voice, and was due to go to Italy for further training.  Unfortunately the war made this impossible.  She met my father on VJ night and they were married five months later.  Her singing career continued but she was also plunged into a life of entertaining my father’s colleagues interspersed with caring.  She helped my grandmother nurse my grandfather until his death, and then nursed both my grandmothers – one after the other.  They both died of cancer and it was very hard on us all.

We have always been a close family.  My parents adored each other and both me and my brother.  They supported us in everything we did and encouraged us to be our own person.  Unfortunately my father became very ill and mum also nursed him until his death in early 1992.  She then made a new life for herself – helping me with my textiles business which was still in its infancy.  I can’t believe that that is almost 20 years ago.  She was a tremendous help and support, and we visited many places together.

Sadly the last 2 years have seen her become more and more frail.  Her voice now is as quiet as a whisper, but she still sings.  No longer a soprano, her voice is a rich contralto, but I can hear it in its former glory as I remember the concerts I attended.

This is one of my favourite photographs of her, taken with her then youngest great-grandchild.  It was taken in February of last year.  She is now a mere shadow, and you probably wouldn’t recognise her.

This was taken at the same time.  Happy Birthday, Mum.  I’ll always love you.  You are very special.  Thank you for being such a wonderful Mum, you’ve left me a hard act to follow!

Is forgiveness the key?

I’m writing this as a scheduled post as I am out selling and I won’t be able to find the time to do the subject justice.

Ironically, that’s what it’s about – justice.

I have just seen the most distressing item on the News.  The killer of Millie Dowler has been sentenced today and her parents and sister made heart-rending statements.  They all declared that it was as though THEY had been on trial while the ‘human rights’ of the accused had been respected on all levels.

I feel close to this on two levels.  Firstly, Millies body was finally found not far from where I live.  It was a shock, especially as the initial investigation was carried out in areas that I knew well from my childhood.  Secondly, I understood the family feelings very well as we had experienced something similar.

My mother has always been a kind and  gentle person, always putting the other person first and offering hospitality to many waifs and strays.  Unfortunately this backfired when, at the age of 80, she was attacked and assaulted by a young man.  I won’t go into all the details, but suffice it to say that he imprisoned mum for many hours and did atrocious things to her.  Fortunately she was finally rescued when he fell asleep and she was able to raise the alarm.  He was still in the house when the police arrived.

The court case was horrific.  Not only did she have to relive the entire occurrence, the accused took great delight in making the situation worse.  Through the entire proceedings she was made to look as though she had encouraged his ‘advances’ and that she had been complicit in the dreadful acts that were committed.  Bear in mind that she was now 80+ and he was in his early 30s.  His defence counsel asked the most dreadful questions and made many statements which were totally untrue.  I can imagine that this is the sort of trauma that Mr and Mrs Dowler have also had to endure, and my heart goes out to them.  The worst part of all was discovering that he had done it all before – but this couldn’t be mentioned during the trial in case it harmed his defence!

Fortunately my mother was able to forgive and put the incident behind her.  I can assure you that this was no easy thing to do.  The police and witness support team could not believe that she was able to do it.  She knew that she had to get on with life – and there was no point in destroying her life as a result of someone else’s actions.  A few years later she was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to have a mastectomy.  She faced this in the same manner.

Tomorrow she will be 93.  Last February we were told that she probably only had another couple of weeks to live.  She’s extremely frail, and living on ‘borrowed’ time, but her spirit is still strong.  It isn’t her time yet, and she will continue to love and be loved by all her family.  We’ll all be there to celebrate tomorrow, even though she won’t be strong enough to even cut the cake.  She loves her Lord, and is an example to follow.

My hope and prayer is that eventually the Dowler family will be able to put this behind them and start to live again – that way Millie will live on.

Why….

…. do the camera batteries always seem to need changing when you want to grab a photograph in a hurry?

I wanted a quick photograph for one of the current online courses.  I wanted it NOW!  A simple task.  Threads arranged – light perfect, but…..

And of course, exceedingly low battery also meant no preview picture, so quick snaps were the order of the day – and I just hoped that it would last long enough to load onto the computer.

Phew!  It died just as the last one loaded!

Not perfect, but it illustrates my point perfectly.  And that is…..?  LOL, you’ll have to join the course to find out!

Silly me!

I’m usually so careful when I set my camera.  However, when photographing the sky last night I used completely the wrong setting.

You may not think much of it, but I just love the way the flax in the foreground is in evidence.  I had expected it to be just a silhouette.  Maybe it isn’t a good photograph.  But I like it!

Do you qualify as a Blurker?

Most of you know that I’m taking part in the WordPress Postaday 2011 challenge.  It’s working, and I’m keeping up with the posting.  However, I read something today that is really pertinent.  The following is something I’ve slightly rehashed!  It made me take note – I hope it will do the same for you!

Every time you update your blog, you’re creating another page for search engines to index and therefore, more reasons for them to send traffic to your website. So, each time you post to your blog, you’re essentially buying a ticket to the search engine lottery. Even if each ticket isn’t a million dollar winner, a ticket that scores you a dollar here and five dollars there eventually adds up to a pretty big win.

So, now you have to consider if you are a ‘Blurker’!

You might be asking yourself right now ‘What is a blurker…?
Well, a blurker is someone who lurks at blogs and never leaves comments.

Did you know that by blurking you could be hurting your blog or small business!

How?

Well, it is a potential to advertise yourself! If you have a blog and you never post comments on other blogs…how are you going to get people to link back to you? How will people even know that you are visiting?  How are you going to get people to take a look and see from where you came?

The moral is – DON’T BE A BLURKER!.  Leave a nice comment for a blogger – and it won’t just be that author that checks you out.  The fact that there are 20 or 30 in front of you won’t matter one little bit.  And frankly, I’m quite content if there is only 1!
Thanks for reading, and I promise I’ll follow your link if you leave a comment.