Sunday, 21 August 2011

Sunny fields

Photo: 'féileacán'  Flickr

There were burnished seas like this stretching as far as the eye could see in the flat plains of Poland as we drove to Warsaw many years ago.  No doubt they are still there now....this minute. Fields of sunflowers turning their heavy heads, golden and brown towards the sun. Swaying in vast undulating waves.  And there still sweeping across them a hot black ribbon of  road, sweeping through mile after beautiful mile of massive, open flatlands.  Polska meaning 'the people of the flatlands', always invaded by advancing armies in wars because it's mostly lowland with very little that is mountainous.  There were hills where we lived but they weren't very big, just small rises really, but there was the great river Vistula ploughing across the land in rippling majesty or in Winter thick and slick with huge ice-flows.  Farmers drove their farm-carts along these roads always standing not sitting, whilst the main vehicles were massive trundling lorries or tiny Polski Fiats often with great tall, fat men folded up inside them in order to drive.

The sun is shining this morning but there is a mist, a proper Autumn morning.  Soon leaves will begin to redden and  in a week or so the children are back to school and we move on - we move onwards, to Christmas. Carols and baubles, tinsel and glitter, and breathtakingly a whole new Year.

Friday, 19 August 2011


There's something about hearing the rumble of an aircraft when you're soaking in the bath in the summer.  Somehow the droning of the engines seems to hypnotise thoughts and gazing through the window towards a pearly sky I am suffused with feelings of languor and heart's ease.
Outside existing time seems stretched, swimmingly, smoothly.  I could be elsewhere.
In a garden of my childhood beneath shadowy trees, espying swallows swooping, swirling, drowsily hearing sheep bleating, and the rising falling 'peep-peep' of the swallows call as they fish the balmy air.
Or with unalloyed happiness sitting at a table in Bryant Park, New York, under a sunny lemon umbrella.  Blissfully transported by the garden of gravel paths and calm amidst the frenetic city of boundless energy and excitement.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Same old....

'Nothing is new.
Each gate squeaks to remind us of the other hands that have pushed it.
Each pair of eyes that encounter me for the first time have memories shifting behind them, like sand under tides.'
from: 'Eve Green' by Susan Fletcher.

Whose hands did the perfect pale lilac gloves enfold?
The gloves were lying flat in amongst the jewellery of times past in a shop called, Memories Antiques.  It felt strange to draw the thin, soft and cool
leather upon my own hands.  Gloves are so personal somehow.  Like watches they seem to embody something of the essence of a person.  Who was she?
The stamp inside says, 'Made especially for Kendal Milne, Manchester, Real Kid, Made in Luxembourg, Washable'.  They held no hint of perfume but only a slight musty aroma of age.
Kendal Milne the upmarket, exclusive and perhaps oldest department store in the world, once called the Harrods of Manchester until Harrods Group was taken over by House of Frazer in 1959.  They dropped the name Kendals back then, but everyone local who shops in town always still calls it, 'Kendals'.  I can remember being taken to lunch there by my Father and Grandmother, I must have been about six, but I clearly remember being so impressed by the extravagant tea-rooms, dressed with oriental rugs, palms and velvet-covered seats.  There were waitresses in little black dresses with white frilly aprons and caps, silver cutlery and linen serviettes and even musicians discretely playing. Whilst overhead I'm sure I remember that the ceiling was all glass, a dome shape and totally enthralling.
Did 'she' sit there once long ago?  Wearing her perfect hat and suit with her wonderful lilac kid gloves, escorted... by her Beau?