Showing posts with label Memories. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Memories. Show all posts

Monday, 11 February 2013

Karma? A love story...



Image from here

Once upon a time, there was a girl. She was just 23 years old. She was in the depths of grief. And upon her return to work - in a restaurant - from a funeral, she met him. The "one"?

Leaning in the frame of a doorway, tall, broad, with the most intense of eyes, she fell.

He knew, and she knew.

Just one look and she knew that here was the one, the character, who could take away all her pain.

He was older. Assured. Confident (Arrogant?)

His voice and its undertones held her heart and caressed it.

His eyes were the darkest navy blue and they held hers and locked her in.

His hands were broad, and capable, and they stilled her. He was lean, long haired and undeniably sexy.

From that instant it was a given that they would be together. No words required. He presumed, she just knew.

Within days they moved in together, and for the first time in months, the pain of grief was not the dominant emotion. Lust and love were. As he circled his arms around her, as she nestled into his chest night after night, she found a calm and a safe harbour of bliss. Love?

So much anticipation. So much clarity and thrill at every move and every exchange.

They worked together and fell harder. Loved harder.

He was supremely capable and talented. Temper and passion. A heady and attractive mix. His charisma was legendary.

She was a leader and she thrived. Her energy crackled and she draw the very best from everyone around her.

Quite simply, they turned heads.

Until.

Until he cheated.

And then lied.

Savage denials to simply save face and buy time until he married. Yes, married. Another.

And her naivety at his ongoing affairs and lies and misdemeanors became apparent.

The grief this time was different. Not death, but betrayal. Raw heartbreak and shock. Humiliating heartbreak.

She did not eat for weeks. She worked, head down, pain suppressed, pride over-riding. Until she left.

"I am leaving you, leaving this place, leaving this country."

The pain of loss, of lost love, was revolting. Memories too jarring, to sad to recall or contemplate. Promiscuity in two countries did not salve the pain. She still thought of him too often. The hopeless sadness of being apart from him took longer than they time of love they had enjoyed. How can the pain of lost love be so disproportionate? How unfair.

In time, a long time, her resilience won. He was an echo in her past. A high that resulted in a deep low. That eventually returned to a sane equilibrium.

Over the years, she wondered about him, quietly and illicitly.

She dreamt of him at night. Tremulous complicated dreams that were filled with anticipation and hope. Hopes that were, as in reality, wasted.

And she searched for him. Not often. But enough. Enough to keep tabs. Online searches.

And she tasted the sour taste of resentment as she read of his fame, his accolades, his success, his partnership with his wife. She saw him, on TV, by accident, on occasion, and was ashamed at how her pulse still quickened at his voice.

An embargo was set. No more prodding at the rotten tooth. No more searching.

And, eventually, she was at a resigned peace.

Twenty years later, children later, blogs later, states later, on a random search for a particular hotel, his name and face popped up again.

She smirked in delight. Older. Greyer, with less hair. A broader girth. Tired. His charisma had entirely faded. In the images of him, and in his aura and in his appeal: all that dynamic attraction was gone.

She studied photos. Those fingers, those hands that had touched her. They no longer had any power.

She followed the breadcrumbs.

Separated. Bankrupt. Shamed.

Running scared. Tail between his legs, alone.

Karmic revenge is a powerful and gratifying occurrence.

He told me once that "what goes around comes around. We may not witness it, but truth and karma will out. Rest assured, people get what they deserve."

They do. They really do get what they deserve.


Monday, 2 July 2012

The best thing since sliced bread...


My Dad's Mum, my Granny, Phylis, was known to all of her ten grandchildren as "Barnham Granny"

She was an amazingly resourceful cook. My cousin Kate & I both strain with guarded but keen desire for her old handwritten recipe notes. They speak of how to create peppermint creams within the confines of the rationing that became her commonplace in World War II. My aunt used to tell me of tuck boxes sent to her at boarding school, filled with sweets, made from complicated substitutions of cornflour, essence and glycerine.

My Granny lived in a toll cottage, on Lake Lane, in a tiny Sussex village called Barnham. She and my Grandpa retired there, and lived opposite a bakery - Holt's bakery. (Which has since been demolished and turned into townhouses. Such is life.)

She was a strong woman.By the time I came along, nearly the last grandchild, she had aged and mellowed. My fondness for her was, quite simply, beyond measure. She had a grin that warmed the whole world. My perpetual memories of her were her beautiful voice, her huge bust and the cigarette the was her constant companion. She was a coffee afficionado. Of her and her gurgling coffee machine, and her laugh: I was so fond. With her red hair and her cuddles and her protection, I was so comfortable.



She smelled so good. Of baking, of tea rose, of cigarettes, of coffee. She was strong and tough and gentle and simple and sophisticated all in one hit of loveliness. I search for photos of her - the snaps never do justice to her persona, at all.

But due to the nature of her proximinity to the bakery, her bread baking days were done! She could concentrate on less arduous baking; and quicker treats, often with me at her side. She taught me so much.

She served tea. High teas. Jam tarts, and scones. Fruit cakes and iced fancies - sugar & butter and eggs and fruit in the 1970's were a long way from rationing, and she made the most of it! And sandwiches, made from bread from the local bakery across the lane.

Always at the dining table, we would wait for her to slice extra bread. A whole fresh loaf. A 2lb loaf, no less, to entertain her grandchildren.

And she would hold that bread under her arm like a baby, against her bust, and slice the most perfect thin slices. No squashed crumb. She evidently had had years of practice to get the tension and pressure just right. Never a nick or a cut, and certainly she never caught her cardy or her pinny strings with the end of the knife.

Just perfect slices of easy bread.

I miss her.

She was the best thing since sliced bread.

AND, all that said, I have a winner for last weeks bread baking giveaway....this was kindly sponsored by Brad Russell and the team at Kitchenware Direct - thank you!

Kell from Mad Mummas Sweet Randoms



Thanks to everyone that entered, and Kell, could you please email me with your postal address please?


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PS That image up there? Of my Granny's cottage? I managed to get that by going to Google Maps and moving up and down the lane until I spotted the house. A house I have not been to for thirty years, but I knew each curve of the road and spied it easily. How cool is modern technology?!

Sunday, 17 June 2012

And so she baked...


As a child, at primary school, we had a choice - school dinners, or packed lunch.

School dinners were mass produced in the school canteen. I have a pervading memory of the smell of the gravy that covered everything savory, and the custard that covered everything sweet.

My Mother was an exceptional cook, and these smells of institutionalised gruels were alien to me, never warming or enticing.

So I was a child who opted to take a packed lunch every day. My Mother's food was always my preference to the unrecognisable slops.

In the mid seventies my Mother was juggling a tight budget around a family of seven, along with school fees and a huge mortgage. So she baked her own bread.

We lived in a small town, where the local bakery was being squashed by the new fangled and cheaper supermarket. The mass produced white sliced wax wrapped loaf was 50 pence. It never went stale. But it tasted of nothing.

So she baked.

She had a houseful of hungry boys who devoured bread to fill their empty legs. So she baked.

She was a woman who could turn her hand to anything, and had time at home to do so. So she baked.

Our kitchen was always filled with the smell of yeast and rising dough. So she baked.

She was a strong and bouncy Aussie girl with energy to burn - she turned her vitality to good use by never ending kneading. And so she baked.



The gas boiler, in the space of an old range, next to the oven, was the perfect rising place. A mammoth stoneware mixing bowl, filled with dough, covered with a well faded, well loved damp tea towel, found its home. And so she baked.

I would take to school with me wholemeal rolls filled with lettuce and locally made cheeses in summer. And when winter, which seemed to take up most of the English year, hung around, these same wholemeal rolls, spread with thick butter, would be the accompaniment to a Thermos of homemade soup. And so, she baked. She baked for us.

I am proud to say she taught me all of her baking skills. I wonder if I can recall them true.

I think I instinctively know the alchemy that is the staff of life. I do not bake from necessity like she did. But I hope her lessons are ingrained never the less.

And so,  I bake.

I write this with a happy heart. My Mum is so so so much better.

And in the next week I shall be posting up some sensational bread recipes to honour my Mum. And I shall be running a brilliant bread baking giveaway. So come back soon?



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Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Ten things I know...

Lissy, aged 19


I am in a very very busy place over the next few days/weeks.

I shall go into more detail later...when I get chance to breath.

In between times, a list - a list of ten things I know, today.

1. My Mother was once very beautiful. Today she is sick sick sick.
2. My children are amazing. Their tolerance and acceptance and resilience over circumstance is phenomenal.
3. I shall never ever smoke again as long as I live. Nor will I ever get addicted to alcohol.
4. Some shit is so hard to deal with you need to obliterate it with boiling water. Literally. Seriously.
5. The Aged Care Assessment Team here in Australia are underpaid and undervalued and overworked.
6. My solicitor (who is also my Mum's solicitor) is worth his weight in gold. He is the calmest and most gentle of gentlemen.
7. My lovely husband supports me, and strokes my head as I fall asleep, and I am so grateful for him.
8. You can play a lot of Plants and Zombies on your iPhone when waiting around hospitals.
9. It is fucking hot today in Adelaide - 36`c and overcast. I'd like a storm please
10. I have really really great friends - Sue, Dave, Kat, Mike, Paul, Emmy, Linda, Lynda, Tammy, Chad...without you, I could not deal with practicalities around my fragile mother. That you understand, and that you treat my kids and dogs as your own makes me feel safe. Thank you.

My Mum is even sicker. How is that possible? She is made of strong genes. She hangs on. I didn't think it could get worse, but it has. I just hope for comfort. For her, and selfishly for me too.

She is hospitalised, and it seems, unlikely to return home. I am not sure if I am relived or sad. She is wasting away, and it is such a futile waste.

It is a complex thing, when a child becomes the parent. I feel I have parenting her and her habits, for a great many years. The guilt is immense. I am not sure why I feel guilty? Because I feel resentment too? There is a lot of frustration and the premature grief over what could have been. And the sadness.

But I do know she was amazing, in her day. Those are the memories I need to maintain.

If your mother is healthy and well, know that she is to be treasured?


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Sunday, 6 November 2011

Anchored memories...


When I was a little kid, I spent a long hot summer in Adelaide, with my grandparents, who both lived here their whole lives.

All the way from England, it was foreign to me, but home, adventurous and exciting, but still safe.
I took it for granted at the time, I'm sure. The sights and smells, the treats, the journeys.

My Grannie worked in the city - for the South Australian Red Cross.

We would meet her for lunch, my younger brother and I, and she would wander us down for a picnic on the banks of the River Torrens.

Sometimes my Grandpa would meet us too, and as she went back to her office, he would take us for walks around the Adelaide Oval, or for a boat trip up the Torrens on the Popeye river boat. In his hat, with his pipe and his short sleeve order, we would trundle.



It was many many years before I returned to Adelaide. In my minds eye, as a child, growing up through my teens into a student then career girl in England, Australia became represented by the image in my mind of the lush grassy banks of the River Torrens in the sun. I had a memory etched in my brain - a vivid picture of a sunny bright day, and the green clean goodness of Elder Park.

And now, here we are, thirty five years later, and Adelaide is home.

We took a day trip out today, the lovely husband and I, with the children.

We took them on the Popeye cruise, from Jolley's Boathouse to the Adelaide Zoo, and back again.

We picnicked on the banks of the Torrens in the sun. We let the kids roll down the river bank and get grass in their hair. They chased seagulls and laughed and laughed. We played tourists in our own town, and it was quite wonderful.



I anchor myself to the memories I had, and then link those anchored memories to days like today, when I realise that all the dreams of contentment I wished for myself as a child are magically my reality right here, right now. If I manifested this for myself or if it is all just one huge lovely coincidence, I don't care. I am here, and it is good. So good.

Has this happened to you? Do you have childhood memories that come back round?

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Friday, 28 October 2011

The night Santa got busted...(free movie ticket giveaway!)


Yesterday I posted a snap of my seven year old self. It reminded me of a whole host of other stuff that happened when I was that age.

We were a family of seven, all living in a very small, very creaky holiday shack in the middle of winter. It was a beach house right on the coast, in a tiny seaside village in West Sussex, in England. In the middle of winter. So all glorious family beach recollections can easily be replaced with much frostier memories. No sandcastles and swimmers. More like scarves and swift sea breezes against flint grey skies. But they were happy times.

The house was a rental. (From memory we were living there because we were 'between houses' - property settlement timings were evidently a horror then as they are now!) There were three small bedrooms for seven of us. I truly cannot remember where my older siblings slept. But my younger brother and I shared a room together. We were accustomed to this. Giggling and bickering at bedtime was the norm.

The carpeted hall outside our bedroom was long and reached the back door, which in turn stretched to the beach. When the winds were strong and winter coastal gales were headed in our direction, the high tide waves would edge closer and closer to the back door, seeping in. Carpet soaked. I recall many winter nights, snuggling, falling asleep, listening to the salt water creep and lap across along the hall carpet.

The crust of salt would be felt underfoot, with the damp, the next morning, along with the hiss of the gas fire, to try and dry out the carpet and keep us toasty.

Christmas time was spent in that house. Christmas Eve came, and my younger brother and I were hysterical in our excitement and anticipation - with me at age seven, my younger brother just five. I was at 'that age' of uncertainty as to whether Santa truly existed. Hopeful, but realistic.

I tried to keep myself awake that Christmas Eve, to try and figure out the whole Santa down the chimney, crinkling stockings on the end of the bed, presents under the tree mystery. Torn between my imagination and pragmatism.

I heard the creeping up the hall carpet. Sea water or Santa? A shadowy figure at the end of the bed who, I realised, smelled sweetly of Diorissimo. My Mummy. Gently laying rustling stockings stuffed with little pressies.

I scrunched my eyes tight shut, all of a sudden wishing I was asleep and hadn't spied her. I listened again as she crept back out of our room. I pulled the quilt up around my neck, and listened again.

I heard the creeping up the hall carpet. Sea water or Santa?

When and how did you find out that Santa had an apprentice?

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I have ten family movie passes to give away, to see the new Christmas Movie, Santa's Apprentice. Just make sure you are following my blog, and leave me a comment below?
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SANTA'S APPRENTICE


In time for Christmas, the heart-warming festive themed animation, SANTA'S APPRENTICE dashes into cinemas everywhere from November 10!

With an all-star voice cast including Shane Jacobson, Magda Szubanski, Delta Goodrem and Hugh Sheridan, Santa’s Apprentice follows the story of young Nicolas (voice of Jack Versace), a 7 year old Australian boy on his adventure as he struggles with the ups and downs of being the next Santa Claus. It's a big responsibility that would scare even the bravest boy – but Nicolas wants to be the best Santa ever. So he will have to learn a few lessons along the way. Christmas has a way of making even the biggest mishaps alright and thanks to his loving mentors, Santa (Shane Jacobsen) and Waldorf (Hugh Sheridan), Nicolas learns, as we all do, the true meaning of Christmas!

SANTA'S APPRENTICE takes you to a place where wishes really do come true and proves that sometimes, happy endings are only the beginning!

Distributed by Becker Film Group, SANTA'S APPRENTICE is an Australian-French Coproduction by Gaumont-Alphanim and Avrill Stark Entertainment Pty Ltd with the participation of Flying Bark Productions Pty Ltd, Gaumont, Cartoon Saloon and ORANGE CINÉMA SÉRIES. Centre National de la Cinématographie et de l’Image Animée, Bord Scannán na hÉireann / Irish Film Board.

Dashing into cinemas everywhere November 10 http://www.santasapprentice.com.au/

Open to Australian readers only. Winners drawn at random. Closes Weds 2nd November.

Winners all informed via email.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Do you 'do' Halloween? (And another giveaway...)


Growing up in little tiny villages in England, as a child, Halloween was a big deal.

The evening before All Hallows Day (All Saints Day) was a mark of a turn of the seasons, a mark of the end of harvest time. Perhaps with pagan origins, certainly some Christian origins, as kids, we celebrated big time by "guising".

This involved dressing up with all the other kids in the village and telling spooky stories and singing to our neighbours in order to earn treats. Idle threats of tricks may have been made and quickly dismissed. Our dress ups were usually nothing more fancy than a sack or a cloak, and often the treats were apples. Apple bobbing was always the culmination - in someones kitchen, safe and warm, with water being sloshed all over the lino floor as we fought for apples with our mouths.

In more recent times, it seems Halloween celebrations has become all about the lollies and chocolate and commercial costumes and parties and elaborate decorations and loot bags. I am not sure how? But I know the shops are full of pumpkins and masks and orange plastic stuff...and lots of chocolate and packets of lollies!

Olivia, Charlie and Lexie, are all seduced by all the promise of abundant sugary prizes. They are intrigued by the concept of it all, the glamour of the lit pumpkins and the general air of partiness. The concept of running through the streets in dress ups is so novel to them, they are entranced the idea of it.

Previously, I have never entertained the thought of celebrating Halloween particularly.

But this year they have nagged my ears off.

So I am relenting.

We won't be cruising the streets in witches and skeletons costumes.

But we will play dress ups at home. I may even try my hand at some face painting.

I am going to carve out a pumpkin and light a candle inside.

I am going to introduce them to the delights of apple bobbing.

I am going to cook up some spooky Halloween treats. (Bat shaped biccies?!)

And I will let them stay up and settle down for a "Spooky" movie on the couch.

Tell me, do you do Halloween? Do you have any Halloween traditions to share with me?


In celebration of Halloween, I have the brand new Spooky Buddies Blu-ray and DVD Value Pack (RRP $49.95) and a Buddies plush toy (RRP $14.95) to give away...as well as a $25 Woolworths Gift Card (to buy some lollies and a pumpkin!) and a Halloween party pack full of Halloween games, recipe and costume suggestions!


All you need to do to enter is make sure you are following my blog, and leave a comment telling me YOUR Halloween traditions.

Open to Australian residents only. Giveaway closes Tues 25th October - winner will be picked at random.

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Wednesday, 12 October 2011

♫ Hakuna Matata! ♫ (Review and Giveaway!)

Way back when, in 1994, I was managing a restaurant close by to a huge cinema complex. And whilst I was partying hard in my off duty hours, many of my colleagues was married with children. They were all crazy about Disney's "The Lion King". I can remember them all going to see the movie and raving about the animations, the characters, and the music. (Them, and their kids. It was full on Lion King mania back in 1994...)

At the time, I shook my head, lit another cigarette, took another slug of my beer,  and wondered whether I would ever be interested in Disney movies, and whether I would ever be a parent who had littlies to take to the movies, and indeed whether I would ever actually enjoy those Disney movies as much as my kids did...?

Seventeen years ago! Imagine!

Little did I realise I would indeed be rounding my kids up and getting totally beside myself with excitement at the idea of settling down for a viewing of the very same movie: The Lion King, re-released and digitally remastered into 3D.



It was marvellous. I cried. (I cried a number of times actually.) So did Olivia. They were all glued, and they adored the music.

The animation (which must have been utterly revolutionary back in 1994>) is still remarkable. The music is sensational.

There are so many levels and themes to this movie - responsibility, friendship, love, integrity - the circle of life.  It appealed to me just as much as it appealed to the kids.


To celebrate this, I have a Lion King Gift pack worth $140 to give away...



The pack includes Lion King Diamond Edition Blu-ray and DVD, Lion King 48 Piece Puzzle, Lion King Soundtrack CD, Lion King Book and CD, Lion King Plush, Lion King CD Read Along Book, Lion King Mini Collection Activity & Storybook, Lion King Shaped Board Book

To enter to win this Lion King gift pack, all you need to do is:
  • Make sure you are following my blog
  • Leave a comment below, telling me what you were up to in 1994!
  • The giveaway is open to Australian residents only.
  • Entries close at 5pm Adelaide Time Sun 16th October 2011
  • The winner will be drawn randomly

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PS This is not a sponsored post. But I was sent a copy of the DVD to preview with the kids...and of course the opinions I share above are entirely my own. (If I get sent movies which the kids or I do not enjoy, I simply don't post about them!)

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Mackie

There have been a few posts recently regarding kids and their comforters.

I have commented, explaining that my children have them, and I encourage it, and will never take them away.

As a child, I had my comforter. It was a satin ribbon edged brushed cotton blanket. He was called "Mackie" and I would run the edge of the satin ribbon under my nose as a comfort. He smelled of warm safe bed, and I loved him. (I have NO idea why I gave a blankie a gender. I have even less idea as to why Mackie was a boy. Go figure.)


Source: diminishinglucy.com via Lucy on Pinterest



Occasionally, a very smelly Mackie would be taken from me, in order to be washed. I can remember crying one afternoon at the window, watching him flap in the breeze on the washing line, waiting for him to dry.

At the age of eleven it was deemed that having Mackie was too babyish, and he was "lost". That he was lost around the same time that I moved from primary school to secondary school, after much encouragement from my parents to 'put him away', didn't go unnoticed my eleven year old self.

As a replacement comfort, or as an act of rebellion perhaps, my habitual thumb sucking increased. After the dentist put the fear of hell into me about my teeth, I gave up thumb sucking and replaced it with nail biting as my comfort.

And if you look back here, you'll see I have a tendency toward oral fixation.

It makes me wonder - if Mackie had not been "lost", would my subsequent habits of nail biting, smoking and over eating have developed so impressively?

I'd suggest I am an individual that needs a little a lot of comfort. Let's face it, who doesn't? And snuffling into a blankie is a much healthier habit that anything I ever replaced it with.

So if my children want their comforters, I shall let them keep them. Far better those comforts than many others...


Sunday, 10 April 2011

The Crossword



The only downside to choosing online news to the actual newspaper? Sunday mornings are missing their crossword.

My parents were crossword experts - they would both complete the carefully folded broadsheet cryptic every day, separately, one at home, one at work, then return and compare over a gin to fill in their gaps. It was teamwork at it's finest.

I miss them.

Do you do crosswords?

I think I need to reinstate the newspaper delivery, just to get my crossword fix.

Have a lovely Sunday....





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Total calories inhaled - 1405 ~ Exercise calories burned - 212 ~ Glasses of water sculled - not enough 
Glasses of red wine that I didn't even really want - 2  ~ Hours of glorious sleep - 8

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Vanity.


When I was a little girl, my Mum always had a dressing table. She would sit at it and apply her moisturisers, her creams, her perfume and her cosmetics.

Watching her, and myself, in triplicate through clashing mirror reflections of smoke and reality, I would crave the smell of the scent and the leather of her vanity. The essence of her.

She would meet my eyes as I sat behind her, scrunched on my parents bed, and smile. A soft sad smile that was sure, before a gaudy clown like grin replaced it as she sipped then lipsticked and formed great big circles with her lips to avoid staining her teeth with either tannin or lanolin.

My eyelids peeling back with evaporating coldness from the fumes of acetone and polish for her nails. The sure strokes as she painted the enamel. And then sat, palms of hands against the vanity, fingers splayed, stretched upwards, as she killed drying time by gazing away from herself to winter trees beyond the window.

That same front window that I would peer from as they left for their evening, my father with her. Laughing into one anothers eyes, in a cloud of black chiffon and Diorissimo, as he guided her into the car, to whisk her away for an evening of dancing, of dinner, of revelry.

When I became a mother and wife myself, I had no vanity. At all.

Tinted protection at best.

Until recently.

As she has lost her ability to care, mine has replaced hers, perhaps.

My lovely husband bought me a leather vanity case a number of years ago. I cried. It reminded me of all of the things she was and all of the things I had never let myself be.

And now I am actually using it. It sits, utilised, on my dressing table. My dressing table that has no mirror. I do not sit there, yet. Maybe a chair and a mirror will be next.

Either way, when I sit at and with my vanity, with my children behind me, there will be no sad or sorry. I will meet their eyes and make them giggle. There will be no smoke in my mirror. I will not gaze away from myself. I will turn and gather them, no care for my vanity, for kisses.

I will wave at them and blow more affection up at the window.

And later, race home to them, without haze or guilt at my evenings pursuits.

I did not start this post with any intention of writing about my mother. I meant, really, to talk about how I was never, in the past,  keen on beautifying or cosmetics or tizzying with my hair or nails. As a "fat chick" there seemed little point. 

And how now, I am embracing it all.

And revelling in it.


Saturday, 6 November 2010

Remember, Remember.....

I realise today, a whole day late, that this year, the first year in fifteen, that I have forgotten to recall Guy Fawkes Night.

The 5th of November.

Bonfire Night.

I grew up in the UK. A country that remembers the Gunpowder Plot, a plan to blow up the Houses of Parliament with thirty six barrels of gunpowder, in order to kill the King of the time - James 1st.

Guy Fawkes was one of a gang of traitors, and he was the one who was caught, in the cellars of the Houses of Parliament, with thirty six barrels of gunpowder.

On the very night that the Gunpowder Plot was foiled, on November 5th, 1605, bonfires were set alight through London, to celebrate the safety of the King. Since then, November 5th has become known as Bonfire Night. The event is commemorated every year with fireworks and burning effigies of Guy Fawkes on a bonfire.






All this went on in 1605. Over 400 years ago. Imagine.

I grew up in the UK, where November is winter. Cold night air, bonfires and layers of clothes to keep warm.

The smell of woodsmoke, the promise of celebration. This hiss of fireworks. The gasping cold against cheeks. The excitement of being up and out so late. The intake of cold air into lungs, at the surprise and wonder of the fires. The smell of browning sugar from the making of treacle toffee.

The stamping of cold feet and the vision of breath leaving warm bodies in puffs and clouds into the chilly air. Children running, faces turned to the sky.

The crackle of fire. The high pitched squeals. The camaraderie. The changing light of darkness: of a night lit by fires.

And I forgot.



I am finding it harder and harder to recall the traditions and senses that I associate with England
and my childhood and my youth.

I do not know if this scares me or reassures me.


Friday, 2 April 2010

Memories of another Good Friday.......

When I was a little girl, Good Friday was the ONLY day on which we ate Hot Cross Buns.

It was a very big treaty thing in our household, to have something different for breakfast.

We lived in a village by the sea in West Sussex, on the South Coast of England, called Elmer Sands. I cannot recall if Elmer had any shops....I know we piled into my Mother's old banger to get to school and to go shopping. To a neighbouring village called Felpham.

It was Easter time....the school holidays were upon us. Spring, most definately, had not sprung, that Easter in 1975.



Winter was late in leaving that year. So late, in fact, that it was snowing.

On the south coast of England, in the heart of Blake's green and pleasant land, it was snowing in April.

But it was Maundy Thursday, and we needed Hot Cross Buns!

So my Mother, me, my baby brother, and my oldest brother all piled into the car. From memory it was an old Morris 1100, although I may be wrong. (My father was a motor enthusiast with five children and expensive school fees......my Mum's cars varied from cheap wreck to ......cheap wreck.)

Off we went, mittened up.

My elder brother would have done the dash and run in the snow to the bakery. A brown paper bag containing more than a bakers dozen of warm hot cross buns were with us, steaming up the car.

And for home we set.

And got stuck in a drift. A deep snow drift.

Very stuck.



So stuck that no one could get us out for hours.

Obviously, 1975 was not within the era of mobile phones. I am not even sure if the village contained a public telephone box to 'phone my father.

But we were on the main road, we would just while away the hours playing eye spy, waiting for him to pass us as he drove home from his office in Chichester.

And when we got hungry, my brother would rip open that bag of hot cross buns again, and we would nibble on them in the fug of that car.

We nibbled so much, all four of us, on those delicious hot cross buns, that we had to bundle out of the car again, to get MORE from the bakery. And it wasn't even Good Friday!

Maybe that is why I have just fallen for tempatation and put a dozen into our oven here to warm.

34 tears later, I am reminissing over too many hot cross buns with......too many hot cross buns.


Happy Easter............