Saturday, 26 October 2013

Artist:- Edward Robert Hughes, 1851-1914

'part of doing something is listening.
We are listening
to the sun
to the stars
to the wind.'

-Madelaine L'Engle-

 I've been doing this for the month past...reading and listening to the wind plucking the leaves from the trees.  Time whirls about us all and our lives move inexorably onwards.  I hope to return to writing soon.... 
That face in Edward's painting is so hauntingly full of beauty.

Friday, 27 September 2013

'The News Reader'
Photo:- Llse Bing,
Paris 1947

later that night
I held an atlas in my lap
ran my fingers across the whole
and whispered
where does it hurt?

it answered

-Warsan Shire-

In memory of those killed in Kenya and Pakistan this week.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

'Our world is like a silent film on which we each write our own commentary.'
           -Mark Williams/John Teasdale-
                                                   Miltenberg,Germany.  1900
                                                                    photogamma-keystone/getty images.   Visit:

Sunday, 4 August 2013

'Keep the circus going inside you, keep it going, don't take anything too seriously, it'll work out.'  -David Niven-


Sunday, 28 April 2013

When we moved from the big house it was because someone forgot to check on things and suddenly the lease on the land which had been 99 years long was...up, so the house and land reverted back to the descendants of the original owner.  Drastic news for my parents, they had only a couple of weeks to rehouse their family, so we ended up in a terraced cottage with no electricity connected, no bathroom and cockroaches carpeting the floors like shiny black linoleum.  It was a massive shock for my mother as she struggled to make a home for us.  My dad chopped-up the piano to make her a display bookcase and every Friday evening the zinc bath was unhooked from a wall outside in the yard, brought in by the fire and filled with buckets of water heated in an old boiler, for her to take the first bath.  It can only have been huge disappointment to her, she'd been brought up in a family who had been used to servants.
My sister who was twelve years older than me and was used to her own room in the big house, now had to share her space with me, a five year old.  But, how glad we were of each others company, on those first few nights when the candles were blown out, leaving only a night-light in it's saucer of water flickering in the cold darkness and there began a wailing and crying coming through the walls from our next door neighbours.  Banging on the adjoining wall was our neighbour's adult son suffering, we were told later from schizophrenia, he couldn't sleep because of the voices, but in the dark strangeness of this old cottage it seemed like we had moved into Bedlam itself.  The stairs ran adjacent to each other in the terrace and we later heard the old man from the other side stumbling up his staircase talking and talking to himself, we were hemmed in by people who had lost their minds its seemed.
 Some weeks later after he had been taken away to a hospital we learnt the story of our neighbours son, he'd been jilted at the altar by his fiancée, and back in 1954 they knew very little about schizophrenia and the connection severe stress can play in its development.
We never did find out anything at all about our neighbour the other side, apart from the fact that he was an old man living alone, who shunned contact, he never spoke to anyone except his imaginary companions.  His garden was a complete tangle of raspberry plants, so dense, that one day when I'd illicitly climbed over the wall separating our gardens so I could gorge on his luscious raspberries, crimson and jewel-like and all the more delicious in their pilfering, I was completely invisible to him when he trundled along the path with not more than a couple of yards between us, still having an animated conversation with his invisible companions.

Friday, 5 April 2013

My Mum-in-law was also my lovely friend - I wonder how often any of us can say that?
 She was Dutch, born in Jakarta on Java 81 years ago, the child of a girl who fell in love with Ferdinand a married man, who was part Serbian, part Czechoslovakian, which was all the information she could find of her father when years later she searched, and searched.  So, my Mum-in-law was heartbreakingly given up to be adopted by the Matron and her husband, of the nursing home where she was born.  She must have led an idyllic life on the island,  described as paradise on earth, with it's green rice-fields, distant mountains and tropical sunsets, that is until the second world war wrenched that life-style from them, flinging her and her adopted mother into one of the horrendous concentration camps formed by the Japanese invaders, whilst her adopted father and  older brother were separated from them to be sent to one of the men's camps.  The death rates in these camps was between 13 and 30% and as a consequence her adopted father sadly died there, only a few days before they were liberated.

She didn't speak a lot about her time there, and always answered our questions with,
"I can't remember a whole lot except to say, I remember the hunger.  The terrible hunger - I was always hungry.  And I can remember having to stand for long hours in the baking sun at roll-call.  And I remember the Japanese."
She could not be in the same room or on the same side of the street with someone Japanese even after sixty years.

 She told us a story of one day standing queueing for something and of hearing a violin being played somewhere nearby in the camp, she could recall the sound clearly.  It wasn't until years afterwards that she discovered that the person she had heard playing was her real mother, they had been interred in the same camp, and that her mother had been a gifted musician.  But at that point she wasn't even aware that she was an adopted child, that was a fact she stumbled upon when she was in her twenties.  During a time whilst her adopted mother was in hospital she was asked to produce some document or other and my friend in her search for it came upon her adoption papers.  I can only imagine what a massive shock that must have been. By then they had been repatriated to the Netherlands and my Mum-in-law was working as a nurse/midwife.  Eventually she met her husband an Englishman and they moved to England, where they were together for over fifty years and had five children.   She did manage to trace her real mother again many years later, but alas too late to meet her, but she never forgot the violin music she had heard being played that day in the camp.  So yesterday because I was unable to attend her funeral I listened to that music - to Beethoven's Violin Concerto in D Major, Opus 61, in honour of my lovely, lovely friend, that little girl all those years ago.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

My Dear Mum-in-Law and treasured friend died suddenly last week.....

Your way begins on the other side
Become the sky
Walk out like someone
Suddenly born into colour
Do it now.


Saturday, 16 March 2013

Sometimes, When the Light

Sometimes, when the light strikes at odd angles
and pulls you back into childhood

and you are passing a crumbling mansion
completely hidden behind old willows

or an empty convent guarded by hemlocks
and giant firs standing hip to hip,

you know again that behind that wall,
under the uncut hair of the willows

something secret is going on,
so marvelous and dangerous

that if you crawled through and saw,
you would die, or be happy forever.
Lisel Mueller

Photo: Source unknown- apologies.

Monday, 25 February 2013

 Words are sometimes a problem for me now, when at one time words were part of my job, they are not as forthcoming.  When you have M.E. you loose words.  'Presque vu' - 'almost seen', 'on the tip of my tongue', they float about just out of reach and it drives you potty trying to catch them, like netting gold fish darting hither and thither in a pond or if you've ever had the occasion to try to catch a tame rabbit.

  One morning my eldest daughter came into the living-room with a big grey-brown rabbit she'd found hopping about in the back entry of our house. It was obviously an escapee, someone's beloved pet having made a run for freedom.  I decided a box to put it in was the best option (rather than a pie!) and went to find something suitable, but by the time I returned she'd made the mistake of putting it down.  Then....of course we had to catch it again!  Every time we approached it under the table it would niftily evade us.  It sat there there, eyeing us craftily from a distance, perfectly still.  Tantalising us with it's stillness, and then at the last moment it ducked and dove or otherwise manoeuvred, all the while growling and muttering, evading capture.  Until that moment I'd thought of rabbits as fluffy bunny creatures, that idea changed quickly, this was a beast, trying to bite at every juncture, spitting and screaming.  At least three quarters of an hour passed, school time loomed and my patience was wearing very....very thin, eventually all was resolved when there was a knock at the front door and a neighbour stuck her head around it and called, "Anyone seen our rabbit?". Words were at my beck and call back then, so you can imagine a few choice one's were thrown towards the door that particular morning!

Sunday, 3 February 2013

This is just what I've been doing since my last post.... thank goodness, unlike some people who have ME I can still manage to occupy myself with reading.  Sorry to be away from here for such an inordinate length of time everyone, I have occasionally been able to at least read some of your lovely posts even if I haven't left a comment for you all.  As soon as I feel I might have turned a corner again, as Arnold said in 'Terminator'...
"I'll be back!".  In the meantime much love to you all.