Friday, 30 August 2013

Lovely Bit of Life - No3


One of the great joys of the two days in Devon with the family
was spending extended time with our great grand son Zachary. 

Having given in to his insistence we have our photo taken
 in the middle of his beach fortress.
 I'm trying not to show how much my aged hips are
 screaming at me for
getting down there. 
It's the sort of picture repeated over and over again in every generation,,
 reflecting the great British holiday tradition of sitting on the beach with the children all day.
 My childhood memories are of single days out,
 not week long holidays.
Weeks before we would actually get to the beach,
 preparations would begin when two neighbours would do a tour
 of the row of houses perched on the Welsh hillside where we lived.
It was their self-appointed job
 to see how much support there was
for an "outing"
 to the sea side for the day.
As even this modest excursion was enough to stretch the budget,
 each week leading up to the outing these same two ladies
 would tour the little community collecting instalments towards the cost,
 until, all paid up,
 the longed for day would arrive.
Sandwiches duly cut and packed, thermos filled with tea,
 swimming costumes, bathing caps, and towels packed into everyday shopping bags,
 we would scramble into the bus ready for the off.
Once the obligatory head count was over off we would go,
with two adults to a double seat as you would expect,
 but and in those pre- health and safety days,
 three children to a similar seat.
It wouldn't be long before the a big bag of sweets would be passed around the bus;
 the result of pooling sweet coupons in those days of post war rationing.
It always seemed an age before somebody who knew the route and thus where to look,
 would begin the chant,
 "I can see the sea!  I can see the sea!"
 until it seemed all the bus had cottoned on
 and having glimpsed a bit of the longed for water somewhere,
was able to join the sing-song.
Once out of the bus, and the queue for the toilets behind us,
 we headed en-masse for the beach,
where one or two would "bag" our place on the sand,
 not too close to the water's edge,
 to allow us to
 remain in the same place all day
without having to move back when the tide came up.
The remainder of the party would hire and carry the stack of deck chairs for the adults,
 which would be arranged
 in one large arc facing the sea.
We kids would sit in the centre of the semi-circle under the eagle eye of the grown ups,
 so all our castle building, squirming in and out of  "cozzies",
 wandering up and down to the sea, and communal paddling,
 was supervised and commented on.
Our lunch of sandwiches would be liberally seasoned with sand from our fingers
 and I can still taste the hated cold egg and grit, and the stewed thermos tea. 
 Still, eaten with friends,
 (and if possible swapped for their tit-bits),
with ones toes buried in the cold, wet, sand,
and the smell of the sea in ones nose,
they still went down well. 
Our return home at the end of the day would pass
 oh! so much more quickly than our journey to the sea,
and far too soon the old music hall songs we sang all the way,
would come to an end
 as we would tumble out of the bus in the gathering summer dusk,
say our "Good nights",
and go our separate ways.
I am slightly sad Zachary will not have these memories of community,
of neighbours who seemed like extended family,
 but he will have his own treasured moments to look back on.
He obviously has his own way of collecting these,
and perhaps his drawings of the family,
done on post-its
and stuck to his pyjamas to carry to sleep with him,
means he has already begun.
Learning to hold those you love close can't start too young,
or last too long can it?


Saturday, 24 August 2013

Lovely Bit No.2 -. Up Above My Head

I hope you will forgive this device of "Lovely Bits of Life",
 which seems a bit superfluous given the whole blog is dedicated to
 the wonderful in the everyday.

The reason I'm employing it is to pick up on the fact that
 so much of my recent time has been spent resting and feeling ill,  and then
 there have been extreme contrasts
 of something really beautiful and "other" in between.

For instance, this photo was taken from the patio of a beautifully restored fisherman's cottage hubby and I got to share with our family, a couple of weeks ago.
I hadn't been well enough to spend the whole week there
but we had travelled down by train the night before to spend two days,
 and arrived after dark.
The morning brought this sight of the water front from the patio,
 with the bobbing boats practically at our feet.
  (That's my coffee cup in the lower left hand corner.)
 Above our heads was a blue, blue, sun-filled Mediterranean style sky.

Thinking about the uncertainty, and sheer randomness of life's happening
 it was this palm tree and deep blue sky,
( which could have equally well have been snapped last year
 when we were in Turkey, or Greece),
which somehow spoke to me,
bringing to mind as it did words from the old song,
"Up above my head I hear music in the air".
We may be familiar with the words,
Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning .    Ps 30:5
but we never can know the how, or the where of it:
never can know when our mourning will be changed to dancing,
but we can keep faith with the music,
 and the strangely weaving dance of that faith,
which is uniquely ours.
I've included two versions of the song "Up Above Your Head",
(both by women as it happens),
just to emphasise how important it is to
 sing your own song,
in your own way.
Without your voice creation wouldn't be complete.
Who knew Sister Rosetta was such a rocking mama!

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Lovely bits of Life - No1.The Perfumed Path

 In between feeling lousy I got to feel life was possible a few weeks ago,
 so we pell-melled down to Devon for a few days
 because it is just awful to go so long without glimpsing the sea.
We stayed in a small apartment literally across the road from a path which
 linked onto the coastal path.
About one hundred and fifty yards down the road was another path
 leading down to the steep drop to the sea.
This is it viewed on the climb from the sea.
Can you see that for some two or three hundred yards or more
 the path ran between buddleia bushes?
As the path plunged down amidst the greenery,
except for the occasional glint of blue below the horizon,
the sea was lost to us,
and we were cocooned amongst the sun-hot,
 blue, perfumed, branches waving around us.
With the butterflies thick about us,
it felt as if we had stumbled into a timeless place,
where summer was the only time imaginable,
then as the trees became storm twisted,
 and the nature of the path more rugged,
 the spell was broken. 
                                                                                                                                                 ;- Eddystone Inn,  Heybrook Bay

Passing through a gate,
 we found that conveniently enough the path emerged
near the pub which sat perched over the bay .

Beautiful though they are these coastal paths don't just wander about willy nilly you know!
May the week ahead offer you some version of a perfumed path,
or the awareness that the one you are on leads to a lovely bit of life of your own.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Lovely Promising Bits of Life


Isn't it amazing how often a stony place can bring forth unexpected new life? 
After so much time off line I still don't really have anything I can say accept that,
 just like the photo,
there is still  lot of contrast going on between comparative barrenness
some lovely refreshing bits of life for me.  

Just now I am waiting for more test results and hoping there will be indications of what is going on. 
(For those who were kind enough to ask, and I said I was o.k., - I was wrong!)

When I feel more able I will post some of the bits of loveliness,
 but until then how about this? 
As the title suggests it really is a song I find difficult to end once I start to sing.

How about you?