Posts Tagged ‘life’

Winnie Luv — a short, short story by G B Hobson

May 30, 2013

Winnie Luv

 Bad news comes creeping in, just when you’re thinking that life is pretty good and worth the effort of keeping alive, even if a black hole had opened up in his bank account.

John read the letter again, as though re-reading the words over and over, might somehow change their meaning:

 “Sorry but there is no other way of putting it. I don’t want to see you again. I don’t want you to communicate or ask others to intervene. We are finished. I don’t love you anymore. I know it’s cruel to tell you this way, but it’s for the best and, in the long run, kinder. I could not cope with your pleading, as happened so many times before. I enclose a cheque to the value of the ring you gave me. Well, near enough the value. I don’t see why I should pay the VAT. I have become attached to the ring, even if not to you.” Zara had signed it with a mere squiggle.

Suddenly, John realised the irony of his position. He had lost the woman he adored but gained the means to pay off the heavy debt that was dragging him into liquidation of his only asset — A ripe-for-breeding female English Bulldog — his adorable Winnie.

A broad grin spread across his face. “Come on, Winnie Luv. Let’s go walkies. Just as well she’s buggered off. One wrinkly bitch is as much as I can handle.”

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True treasure never fades

May 29, 2011

A golden chest of memories


A bird sings for Bill


Inside San Diego Zoo, within a cage where birds fly freely, one feathered friend with orange beak
has chosen my brother out of everyone there to sing him a melody.

Does he know that Bill is dying, his spirit caged within a rotting frame?

We laugh to see the bird standing on Bill’s head. Well, not quite because Bill is wearing his familiar cap, so much part of him when out of doors. Under the cap’s brim Bill is laughing with his eyes and with his curling lips. We surely see his whole body laughing even though Bill stands perfectly still.

The bird sings from his makeshift perch and our hearts sing too, Bill is relaxed and happy. It’s not often we see my brother at peace within himself. Many trials and tribulations have befallen this good man — too much pain, too much torment for one man to bear.

This was a moment to remember, a precious ruby picked from a treasure chest of memories of ones we’ve loved but are no more. Beloved parents, brothers, sisters, friends. How well I recall that precious moment when, after a time of intense suffering in a state of paranoid dementia, my mother murmured her last words — ‘Good night Luvvy.’

Not just loved ones live on within that golden chest, but also memories of family, and of things achieved and cherished that dwindle through time to dust. For the world moves as do the seasons — a time to live and a time to die. But within that golden chest each moment, each object, each love never dies as long as memory remains…

Picture — painting inspired by a photograph taken while on a caravan holiday along the Scottish coast.

Did I switch the light off?

October 4, 2010

Light in the gathering gloom

Did I switch it off?

Did I switch off the light? Turn off the TV ? Turn off the tap?
I know I have a problem when I keep going back to a room to make these checks. Yes, I go back feeling pretty sure I did the right actions. It isn’t just the cost and waste of fuel and water, but just as important are the safety issues. Am I going bonkers is what I ask myself, or have I a hidden anxiety that manifests itself in repetitive actions? Fears of senility?
Well, I don’t think I have dementia. I know the questions asked of dementia patients and I can answer them all. Apart from which, having lived with dementia (my mother suffered from the worst kind and her life was a living hell) I know the signs.
Is it stress? I have to admit, I have been working on the computer doing actions that require more knowledge than I possess. Not having been brought up with computers I don’t understand the language and I tend to work trial and error style. I get shown how to do things but I soon forget again. I have to go over and over to make things sink in.
I recall doing psychology during teacher training and one model was that we build on an already acquired concept. Growth comes with building on that solid foundation. Trouble is, as far as new technology is concerned foundations can change. Even some of the web sites change and grow and I can’t keep up. Or different sites have slightly (or totally) different ways of doing things. AND they will use pale text, sometimes quite small too, for important actions. I get tied in knots.
Governments want everybody to be on the Internet. Impossible. Not just because it does not adequately reach some areas, but many older people do not have the skills and computers are no-go areas. Maybe they do show ancients grinning because of their achievements at getting on line but they are a mere few. Fears of losing money is enough not to get an on-line bank account. Deafness (and foreign and regional accents) are enough to make oldies shudder and cling to their local bank, even if they have to travel to get there. The hole in the wall for doing business may be simple to most, but to some elderly it could well be a hole to lose money in.
So the computer has become important in my life for I am the one in our long partnership to use it. Not just for business and information, but for my writing and books. It has opened up the world to me. And found me new friendships at a time when friends have become thin on the ground. But I admit to getting frustrated and feel like putting the mobile toilet roll holder (it is heavy metal) through the screen. I yell with frustration as my son comes into the house HEEEEEEEEEEEEELP! Poor lad!

So that’s one thing that could be making me anxious. I guess there are a number of things though that I can do nothing about. Things I would so much like to help with, but have not the money, the talents, the time or the health to oblige.
It is then I start to look back on my life and wonder if I should have done things differently. Have I wasted my talents? Taken a wrong turning? (That is a constant thought over certain matters that were costly at the time and just as much so in retirement.) But looking back is useless. As the sands run speedily through the hourglass, I am keen to make the most of the present, while being aware of what I leave behind. No, I have no desire to go off on cruises or fly to foreign lands. Maybe I just want to be successful in my own efforts, not be a burden on others and to have the satisfaction of a job well done.
Now then, did I turn that tap off?

Doom and Gloom — Look For the Silver Lining?

September 20, 2010

Rain today is water through the tap tomorrow.

Spreading gloom and doom is easy to do. A few days ago we heard that food in supermarkets had severely risen in price. We went shopping and found we actually spent less because of many reductions. Do these reporters go from shop to shop looking for the highest price to report?

Evidently only 15% of income is spent on food. It used to be much higher than that. And clothes can be bought cheaper today than many years ago. In my younger days, it paid to do your own sewing, now it costs more to do so. Bags and shoes are bought like sweeties. I rather think that money goes on more non-essentials than anything else. Phrases like ‘must have’ ‘shop until you drop’ ‘retail therapy’ were unknown years ago. I think we must have been more content and happy then. ‘Much wants more,’ my mum used to say.

Of course, it’s foreign imports that give us cheap choice. Unfortunately someone has to pay and it is those working many hours for very little pay. It would be called slave labour if it happened here.

Sex too, is ‘cheap’ in the sense that it is seldom considered special with virginity a desirable state until that special person comes along.

Are people happier for spending money frivolously? For leading shallower lives?

Society has to pay the piper financially for the individual’s over-indulgence but the individual pays with severe problems in his or her later life — should they live that long.

What we need is to change our attitudes and be thankful for life itself, to live more simply — as the old saying goes — ‘that others may simply live.’

So best not to listen to those spreading gloom. Otherwise their forecast will be self-fulfilling. When troubles come, why not look for the silver lining?

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New Growth From Old

July 25, 2010

New life linking to the past where a new life began


Rambling Rose linking love and life — the past into the present


We may be living some distance from where we were born but we have managed to achieve a living link to my husband’s birth town in our very own garden here in Cumbria.
We visited the village where my husband was born (10 pounds plus!) over eighty years ago and I saw the cottage where he arrived in the world. It has a view of the river below. The garden is below lane level and not only were vegetables grown there but pigs were kept too. Hubby says he had his photo taken on the back of one. The river supplied water for running the local mills.
Just along the lane hubby’s uncle lived. But the houses were knocked down years ago. I noticed the wall had been filled in where gates had once been. About the place where the uncle had lived a pink rambling rose grew over the wall. I took a cutting. From the piece I managed to grow several plants. Now a couple of years later they are doing very nicely in our South Cumbria home.
I planted one of the roses under a tree hoping it would grow upwards into the branches. It has. I look at it and think about how it links us to my hubby’s birthplace. So too those cuttings I planted by a trellis.
Little pink lanterns of joy! New growth from old. Life moves onward but always we are rooted in our past.

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Love, Honour and Obey… And the bride said, “I do.”

July 21, 2010

Love, Honour and Obey… And the bride said, “I do.”

Love in their eyes


Couple with Bride's parents

Couple with Bride's parents


Happy couple with groom's parents


Happy bride with her joyful mother!


Yes, that's me — grandmother of the groom.


Laughter (and tears) at the Wedding breakfast


Family shot of the wedding Matt, Lisa, Joni (Best man), Dad and Mum.


Lisa’s choice, her own thought-out decision.
Antiquated? Not relevant in today’s society?
Taking the form of a chattel?
Romantic idealism far removed from reality?
Others will think what they will, but the vows have to be seen in context of the wedding ceremony of EACH receiving a ring and the groom making his promises to love and to cherish. A sharing in all that they are and all that they have. A joining of body, soul and possessions. The groom accepting his responsibility, not as a lord and master but as a loving responsible companion along a road of self discovery for them both. A lifetime commitment. Not a form of musical chairs — changing partners when the romantic music stops.
Two people who saved themselves until the right person came along. Two people in love and desiring the good of each other. A true Christian marriage, with Christian values.
It is over 57 years since I made the same promises. We have lived through some difficult times, things have not always gone smoothly, but we have worked through our problems and those years have been growth. That is what marriage is all about. To love and to cherish… to give and to receive…
We each bring different gifts into a marriage, the blending of masculine and feminine, the gifts with which we are endowed, the skills we have learned, all these form a whole, bound and strengthened by love. To love and honour the man you marry, to be obedient to the demands that love makes on all of us, is not a hard task but one that leads to joy and happiness, a foundation for bringing up a family with which we hope to be blessed.

(Photographs are quick snaps with digital camera. They are not the official ones. My hubby not on any because he had the camera)

View chapters from my novels at Magpies Nest Publishing
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Of Life and Death

May 26, 2010

Beautiful Lake District

We have just returned from a wonderful relaxing (if strenuous) holiday just 50 miles away. We have been staying in our caravan parked not far from the lovely Ennerdale. We managed a great walk to the top of Whinlatter, a more gentler one in Ennerdale, and various others taking in some of England’s finest scenery. We say new life grazing in fields — lambs, foals, calves and pretty little pigs. One little piggy followed us along the country lane!

Gentle mum with her baby.


One little piggy followed us, then went all the way home!


We also saw death in its most horrid form — a small lamb that had been attacked by crows. The sight was so shocking that tears ran down my face. A gentle creature that could not possibly do harm to others. Near by another lamb limped on three legs. Hopefully we saved it the same fate as when we told the farmer of what we had seen, he said crows will attack lambs that show signs of lameness. He intended dealing with both lambs right away.
To me that little lamb stood for all helpless creatures in the world — human as well as animal life — that are brutally treated and murdered by evil forces present in man and beast. The cries of many go unheard. We can only do what we can and pray for change. The farmer told us that the lamb’s fate was just nature. That only made it seem worse. I wanted to get a gun and shoot every crow in sight! Yes, I like to think that I’m a pacifist too!
I doubt I could have done it anyway, unless I saw a crow about to strike.
It set me on a chain of thoughts about wars. Can we stand by and watch murder on a huge scale? It is easy to turn our eyes away — or is it?

Sheep may safely graze? Are they ever 'safe'?


At least I had a welcoming Email waiting for me at home. Another great review for Seduction By Design but I’ll be posting that shortly.

View from Whinlatter Forest Park

The Dim Light

May 2, 2010

The Dim Light — a true story by Gladys Hobson

The light grows dim


In the dim light of the bedside lamp, I stood by the pink-flowered curtains that were keeping at bay the dark miserable night, and looked across at my yellow-skinned father’s head lying on snow-white pillows. With yellowed eyes closed, gurgles of laboured breathing came out of his open mouth in some semblance of sleep — the sleep of the dying.
My eyes followed the shape of his body under the lightweight bed cover and I reflected on the skeleton it had become, with parchment skin so thin that his bed sores refused to heal. I didn’t want to see his emaciated body; it seemed totally wrong for a daughter to see her father naked, especially his private parts, but he’d asked for his bottle so he could urinate. I’d given it to him and he’d performed, quickly returning to sleep. I could only be thankful. I did not want to hear him moan or scream.
Tears welled up in my eyes and I became fearful of speaking lest he awake and I betray my sorrow. Here lay a once proud, well-built man. A man who’d faced life’s challenges — and there’d been many of them — with courage and determination. Maybe he hadn’t been a perfect father, and without doubt he’d often treated my mother like a doormat, but much outrageous behaviour could be excused by his frustrations when, for years, trying to work in spite of increasing physical handicaps and pain.
My stalwart father, now reduced to this — a helpless bag of bones enclosing a rotting inside eaten away by a spreading cancerous growth.
I knew the district nurse had inserted suppositories to quell his pain. I also knew that this could mean the end. For months his suffering had been severe in spite of the many codeine tablets he swallowed daily. We knew that the change in treatment would prevent his fight against death — two, maybe three days away, or so the nurse had said.
No one had spoken to my father about dying. We had not dared. I recall a friend telling me that my mother had told her that when my dad thought he was dying, she woke to find his hands around her throat. He’d said that he thought he was dying and he didn’t want to die alone. I didn’t think he would have carried it out — surely not. Maybe he needed to express his fear. Afterwards he would have sobbed with shame. That is what he did — fall into depression — when he’d allowed his emotions to lead him into dark areas of his soul.
Earlier, I thought his end had come. I woke my mother and together we stood over his bed. But Dad opened his eyes:
‘Why are you looking at me like that?’ he demanded with new strength in his voice. ‘Do you think I’m bloody dying?’
Then his eyes closed again and mother went back to her couch in the lounge to try and rest a little longer. I kept up the watch, for that is why I had left my husband in charge of our children. My mother, weary with sleepless nights, needed me to be there.
How I would have loved to sit on his bed and take his hand in mine; to speak to him quietly and tell him that I loved him. But no one ever spoke of death and dying, no one ever spoke of cancer. My dad had major problems with heart, lungs and a creeping paralysis — these things were obvious to him and everyone. He believed he was suffering from jaundice and no one, not even the doctor was prepared to tell him different.
Is this what it must be for another two days? With my mother, already suffering acute weariness of body and soul, fading away; and my dad struggling with only agony waiting for him should he wake before another administration from the district nurse?
Time to pray. Not aloud. And time to talk to my dad, not with sounds but soul to soul.
So I whisper from my heart, prayers of love, repentance and forgiveness. I pray that God will take him now, not tomorrow or the day after. But now, in the peace and quiet of His presence.
And I turn to my dying father. I remember my granddad had been a lay minister who had gifts of preaching and healing. Yes, surely he would approve of the healing found in a peaceful death.
‘Let go, Dad. Don’t be afraid. Granddad is waiting for you. He’ll look after you. We all love you. God loves you too. You can let go now. Let go, Dad, let go..’
Gurgling noises come from my father’s throat, shortly followed by a deep, deep sigh…

The valley of the shadow...


The light shines on in the darkness


The darkness has not overcome the light...

As Time Goes By

November 20, 2009

Recently, I was invited to take part in a radio programme, shortly to be broadcast, concerned with everyday life. In fact, a week’s diary of events.
I do keep a diary of sorts. Just things quickly jotted down to help me remember what we have done and when, plus unusual happenings and important events — that sort of thing. This ‘diary’ is similar but also includes my thoughts and feelings — putting flesh to otherwise boring details?
The word count was quite restricting but good as it cut down on waffle and made me concentrate my mind on the essentials. A good exercise all round.
At the end of the week, I had before me a brief look at my life as I live it now. One of the things that will be evident to some people is that I am greatly blessed. Although others may think I have a rather boring life because I am not, and never have been, part of a ‘jet set’. I enjoy the simple things of life. One of those things is having my hubby read to me each day. A pleasure that unites us by sharing together in ‘other worlds’ where mystery and intrigue prevail. Normally we sit within a bay window, close to the garden, so we can have the benefit of the beauty around us. Even the early morning sky, with its mixture of blues, greys and brilliant early morning golden sun, has a wonderful magic — enough sometimes to produce a tear of sheer joy. Such simple things…
But if that was all I had to write about it would seem a dull account. I was also completing my new book, but more than that, we had a medical emergency that interrupted our lives for five days. When we might have been watching Casualty on the TV on the Saturday night, we were sitting in Furness General’s A&E.

For those interested in my new edition of When Phones Were Immobile and Lived in Red Boxes – four more chapters and five more pictures — taking the reader to 1980, it is at the printers and will be on sale in two weeks time. The new edition includes our move up to the Furness area — a step backwards in time?

Clearing the attic — goodbye to the past

September 21, 2009

Wolfscotedale, Derbyshire

Wolfscotedale, Derbyshire

When I entered the exam for entrance to the Nottingham Secondary Art School at the age of thirteen, I was asked what job I wanted to do. I wrote down DRESS DESIGNER. I was told by several people that it was almost impossible to get into designing. So I crossed it out and wrote BOOK ILLUSTRATOR. I was told that I would never be able to get into that sort of business. Better to opt for dress designing. So I crossed out my illustrator option and wrote designer again. Whoever read the form likely decided I was good at dithering. How true! I dislike having to make choices — too bad, life is full of them.
I have written elsewhere how I got into designing and eventually, to suit family life and cut down travelling, decided to go freelance. I could never have done this at the start as I was unknown and untried. But I was able to carry on at the same firm, plus design and pattern cut for a lingerie firm, then take on the design and pattern cutting of nightwear and housecoats. Now I could see my designs on display in a large range of stores.
Three years after my third child was born I saw a notice asking for married women with experience of children to train as teachers. By this time I was quite interested in education and thought this would be an ideal occupation as it would fit in better with my family. We lived at a distance from the manufacturing cities and so I still had to travel when designing. But was I cut out to be a teacher? Did I have the qualifications to enter the local training college?
The story of how I accomplished this, plus the training and enormous problems when my husband became redundant and we had no choice but to move 220 miles to a totally different environment, will be the subject of another post. Enough to say here that I still continued to do a few designs and cut patterns for one firm for quite a few years. Such was my value to that firm — reliability is essential — that the manager would travel many miles from his factory in Nottingham to ensure he would get his perfect patterns. I recall on a few occasions, working in my workshop (a purpose-built shed in our garden) at five in the morning so as to get the patterns completed. It also enabled me to work while the children were still in bed. On another occasion, the manager relaxed in a deck chair in the sunshine, with cigarettes and cool drink, while I was sweating away in my workshop — I was heavily pregnant at the time. Such was my reliability.
Changes in garment manufacture, especially with the growth of imports, and a severe credit squeeze, forced many manufactures to give up and buildings to be sold. Nottingham’s mills, indeed mills all over the country, seem to have been turned into apartments. Britain has largely lost its manufacturing base. I can buy clothes cheaper today than the cost of material. Once I made most of my own clothes, all of my mother’s clothes, the children’s clothes until they went to school and needed a uniform, and clothes for relatives and friends. I made wedding dresses and bridesmaids outfits, I even made the carry cot for our first child. With industrial machines (lockstitch and overlock) and a Viking to do embroidery, there was little I could not attempt. Pram covers to fancy patches on our sons’ jeans!
Now with my diseased eyes, I only do essential mending. But I still had all my basic patterns in our attic. Pattern blocks are the tools of a designer-cutter. They were shaped and perfected over years of use. There was no pattern I could not cut using those blocks. A pile of them, all cut in Swedish Craft paper: basic blocks for all garments — knicker, cami-knickers, nightdress, slips, housecoat, coat, dress blocks of different sizes – my personal block and those of family members etc etc. A stack of them hanging up and in a large flat box. Once worth a lot but now completely redundant.
Yesterday, I took them all out, made a huge parcel of them, and took them with other rubbish to the recycling bins. I am still left with collections of designs I did years ago. Those were the days when dresses had to fit the figure. Soft drapes or neat collar, shapely bustline and waist, pencil skirt or mid-calf flowing skirts — all so feminine. I smile at some of today’s clothing — I had patterns for baby-doll nightware that would do nicely for what women buy today!
So my pattern blocks are gone — the end of an identity I once had.
Lots more to clear out of the attic yet — materials for teaching, especially art and reading. Amazing what I have hung on to. I have cleared out boxes of fabric — useful for many purposes. And old Nativity costumes etc. etc.
Still to go — and this brings tears to my eyes— my cassocks, surplices and cloaks, used when I was conducting funerals, services and when preaching or assisting with baptisms or with Communion.
Then what? I have already sold off books I used for studying with the OU and other courses. I once thought of writing novels associated with my fields of study, especially the Victorian age and maybe a Roman romance. Or a school yarn? It will not happen. So I have thrown out many essays and so on, although I have kept two long dissertations — well, I did get a distinction for one and just a few marks off a distinction for the other. Pride!
Now, about my writing…. Time to be realistic?

I looked through the photo album to find a photograph that seemed the most relevant at this stage of my life. I decided on this one. Looking forward. I am standing alone, and that is the way it has been in most of what I have done and achieved — academically and in the workplace. But I am not alone in my life. Does our work define who we are? To me that is a side issue. I am a wife, mother, grandmother, aunt, a homemaker, friend and neighbour. If we cling to what was, what might have been, to faded hopes and dreams, the ‘stuff in the attic of our lives’ then we miss the scene around us and the joys that may well lie ahead.