Archive for March, 2013

Diamond Wedding Anniversary

March 25, 2013

ImageOn Spring Day we celebrated our 60th Wedding Anniversary. There are many reasons why marriages do not last that long. Often it is death of a partner. It could be Divorce or Separation, or maybe the bride and groom were older when they married. So a long marriage is not a reason to boast about but rather one to be thankful for. We are indeed blessed.


Of course it takes determination to make a marriage work. Love, patience and forgiveness are required in all lasting relationships. Some people would add a need to have much in common and a liking for similar things. And maybe have similar personalities. That is not so for us. At least, it was not so when we married. We have grown together over the years. We have three wonderful sons. Two have lovely wives and we have six grandchildren, one of which has made us great grandparents.

My hubby has his interests. Even after all these years he’s quite active in projects promoting engineering. He keeps physically busy too — the garden and workshop high on his agenda. Me? Well I have my books and still write a little. For years I designed, cut and stitched. Here our interests came together when he made me a good-sized workshop so I could do my freelance designing. He liked my pictures too and willingly framed them.  He also helped in the home when I was studying to become a teacher and later train for the Church. It is this mutual sharing and helping that matters. I am not obliged to love engineering projects (something that get discussed a lot with his sons) but we have a mutual interest in what we do with the garden. He has no real interest in the books I write but we share the pleasures of reading books we both enjoy — this came later in life. Of course we have our arguments but we make it a point not to let our differences build a wall between us. And never in all of our marriage has anyone come between us. It is not a question of trust but of fact — we have each other and no one will ever come between us. This has always been so. Away on study courses, working away for brief periods, hospital stays, have been the only events to part us.

What is love? Love simply IS.

We arranged to spend three nights at the hotel in Buxton where we had our honeymoon. We had to leave at the end of our Anniversary day because the forecast snow would have prevented us getting home. But it was a good day with relatives joining us for lunch.  Other great ‘celebrations’ are taking place (with our lovely family) and we are thoroughly enjoying it all. Getting a card from Buckingham Palace put a smile on our faces too!

ImageThe two black and white photos are of us sixty years ago when we stayed at the Alison Hotel, Buxton. The other photographs are inside the hotel sixty years later. (Now Alison Park Hotel). Image

Death of a Friend

March 6, 2013

ImageMy friend Brenda has died. But she will never be dead to me. She is too much part of my childhood, influencing who and what I am.

I recall the day I first met her. We were about eight years old. She was skipping outside the huge gate and high walls of her big garden. Her big ‘mansion’ house — posh to me — was the other side of the road from where I lived with my family in a modest late Victorian semi. Her garden is stuck in my memory too. Not just the profusion of fruit growing on trees and bushes — apples, pears, plums, raspberries, loganberries, gooseberries, and such — but the grass on which we played silly games, practiced three-legged races, played tennis with each other and her brothers, pretended we were famous entertainers. And, oh, so much more. It was another world where make-believe became almost reality. Plant pots were moulds for making sand cakes and pies. The sand having been carried back from the river a mile away, no easy task for a couple of young girls.

But if the garden was another world, so was the attic room where we played on cold and wet days. Her lovely mum would even light us a little fire occasionally, which we would huddle round and daydream. As we grew older, we even danced to my sister’s old wind-up gramophone, eventually turning our efforts into concerts for the family.

We bought our own records. Over the years, we developed our tastes through visiting the cinema a lot, sitting in the gods at the Nottingham Theatre when a ballet was on. And attending concerts at the Little Theatre, and generally ‘picking up’ our musical tastes from what we saw and heard. But not just musical tastes: we enjoyed the cinema and had our favourite films and stars. We saw one 1947 film — Song of Scheherazade — so many times that we wrote out the script then acted the parts at Brenda’s house. We saw all of Jean Pierre Aumont’s films.

As young teenagers, what a pair of dreamers we were. We carried the wind-up gramophone to the local gravel pits by the river. There we played our Swan Lake record to the swans gathered there.

As young children our amusements were quite simple: Skipping, hop-scotch, ball play, pencil and paper games, including battleships and cruisers. We collected wild flowers and pressed them in books. Wanting an Arrowhead flower that grew in the local canal, I dangled Brenda over the edge of the tow path and sat on her legs while she picked it with a garden rake. We drew and painted pictures. And we made our scenery for our little concerts. A large hall mirror flat on the attic floor, with flowers and leaves around the edges, made a lovely pool to go with Dance of the Flowers. Coloured paper over a bike lamp, plus sticks for the ‘fire’, and a bowl of water to throw liver salts into for effect, was great when dancing the Ritual Fire Dance (her young niece screamed when the liquid suddenly ‘bubbled’ up sending froth over the floor.) Bolero was a favourite too. We made our own costumes.

We lit too many candles one day and the wax ran all over the concrete floor. Brenda was very good at scrubbing, she was a methodical and steady worker. I soon gave up patient scrubbing and quickly mopped my part of the floor. Brenda cleaned the outside of the window by sitting on the outside cill with me holding on to her legs. We trusted each other.

There are so many things I could talk about concerning our childhood. (Many things are in my little illustrated book of childhood memories — When Phones Were Immobile and Lived in Red Boxes, extracts are on my various blogs) In our teens we had holidays together — Prestatyn, London, Isle of Wight.) I could write a chapter on each one! It was meeting my husband-to-be that eventually separated us. We moved to a different part of the country but we always stayed in touch.

Dear Brenda, you will always be a part of who I am — the gentler part.

Photo — Brenda (on front horse) and me, having a go at riding while on holiday at Little Canada Holiday Camp IofW 1952