Monday, March 11, 2019

Three years ago today

11th March 2019

I don't usually share writing from my journals, especially on my blog, which obviously, gets seen by so many people.
But I make an exception today.
Three years ago today a grandson was born - he was neither the first child nor grandchild, but when I heard the news early in the morning I had to go to my journal. Looking back, I'm surprised by the joy of it, considering it was only a month after my mum died.
I copy exactly as I wrote it, unedited, bearing in mind, it's a stream on consciousness.

11th March 2016

Well, what news, there you are , another new addition!
Baby Walker, born 4.25 am this morning. What lovely news.
We will go over later, for a few hours. New life, new hope - that
makes twenty one grandchildren now and what is to be is yet to be revealed.
I just wonder what the family will look like in ten or twenty years time. No doubt there'll
be more grandchildren, but also more great grandchildren.
What a blessing it is, our large family. And each new addition so precious.
Your tiny hands, baby,  that will one day perform that many tasks of life. That cheeky smile that says,
"Heh, it's good to be here with you guys!" Those chubby legs that will eventually get into, goodness knows what, mischief as well as kicking a ball and running with brothers and sisters and cousins.
Who does he look like? Seeing the family genes in each of his delicious expressions.
And don't cry, baby, we're all here for you.
What will you be like? How tall? What will you like to do? What will you be good at? What kind of person will you become?
We love you to bits already, even though we haven't met you yet. Your softness calls to us to hold you close, showing you how the world can be comfortable, safe and kine. You might learn otherwise later.
But for now, for you, the world is wonderful.
And I am your Grams. Hopefully we'll get lots of time together to get to know each other. Hope fully, I'll be blessed with many more years of life, so I'll be able to enjoy you own family, if you have one,  in the future.
I wonder what your brother and sister will make of you. Livi has been looking forward to your coming for such a long time now. She'll be over the moon with you' I'm sure.
And your dad, his heart will melt , he'll fall in love with your obvious likeness to him, part of him. He'll love you with his life.
And of course, your mum will be so happy.
See what joy you bring to the world.  All your aunties and uncles, cousins and other relations there for you, loving you already. You are one lucky little boy. And still no name yet, though it is early days. "Baby Walker" - we laughed at that this morning, at the pun.
As I get older I get more sentimental about our family. It becomes more important and my hope is that I see more of all my children ( those with or those without children ) and all the grandchildren. I'll have to make plans....

Thursday, March 7, 2019

No More Mourning

8th March 2019

Story for Friday Fictioneers

Thank you to CEAyer for the photo.

No More Mourning

Staring out of the hotel window, Grace noticed the motorbike, almost hidden in the side street, waiting.  She'd seen it the morning before, when she'd watched as a handsome, middle aged, Italian man strode up to it purposefully and rode it away. She'd watched  him throw his head up against the wind as it blew through his dark hair and billowed through his open shirt, exposing his tanned body.
 Now she waited by the window. Three minutes, four minutes.. She was rewarded with a repeat of the day before, but this time he lingered, turned around,  as if looking for someone. Catching sight of his face made her shiver, her skin tingling, yearning. Her eyes followed him as he drove away and hung there after the noise of the engine faded. 
Guilt welled up within her. She shouldn't be feeling like this, she told herself. Surely it wasn't right.
 Grace thought of her husband who'd died just two months before. She'd nursed him during a long illness. She'd spent herself, put her own life on hold. Maybe it is only weeks since his death, but I'm done with  mourning, she decided, she'd done plenty of that over the last year as her dear Frank slowly disappeared.
They'd promised themselves that when they retired they'd spend some time in Florence. They'd looked forward to it, dreamed about it for years. She never expected to be here on her own, certainly didn't think she was brave enough, yet here she was. She knew her husband would understand, would even be happy for her. 
Maybe she would practice her Italian.
Maybe tomorrow she would speak to the mysterious stranger.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019


5th Mar 2019

I used to make pancakes one at a time on Shrove Tuesday, while everyone sat and waited.
It took hours and the children would get fidgety while waiting .
It soon became clear I had to think of another way.
So, that's how I came to be cooking 24, 30 + pancakes every Shrove Tuesday after that, till most of the children left home. 
I could then take the warm pancakes, which I'd cooked earlier, to the table and sit with them and chat - much better. 

Pancake Day

I put the baby to sleep.
It's nearly two
No time for a cuppa
I've pancakes to do
Come and help me little man

You still need the stool
you're only three
here beat these eggs
in the flour for me
We'll soon have them in the pan

Let mum have a go
give your arms a break
let's keep it in the bowl
How long will it take 
just a bit of milk fast as we can

Frying pan  is hot
you'll have to go and play
let mum get on
Or we'll take all day 
And we'll not be ready for nan

By half past three
we have twenty four
keeping hot in the oven
should I make more
to feed my hungry clan

crepes royalty-free stock photo

They all rush in just before four, with their nan trailing behind them 
She's picked them up for me today so I could make the pancakes
"Up to the table" - she gives the order, in a very serious tone
The six of them rush to take their seats, no time at all it takes.
They wait for the prayer before they begin and then their nan relates 
the reason we have pancakes on Shrove Tuesday each year 
as with tasty goodness they pile up their plates
Some reach for the lemon and sprinkle spoonfuls of sugar 
Others are interested more in the chocolate, spreading it thickly,
And one prefers the strawberry jam thinly spread over a hot pancake. 

Monday, March 4, 2019

Three Years Ago

4th Mar 2019

Three Years Ago

This time three year's ago ( wow! is it really that long)  my Mother had been gone for just four weeks and I was trying to get life back on some sort of even keel. I'd decided to see dad as regularly as I could which, for me, meant more than before. And, although Dad was struggling without mum, he'd got plans to see people and had contacted some of the grandchildren to that end.
I could see a future where we could have precious times together .
These were very hopeful weeks which were to be cut short by his sudden death, just seven weeks after Mum's.
I am sorry we didn't get time .
I am sorry I didn't get all the stories.
I am sorry I didn't know him as well as I might have done.
I am sorry I didn't realise what a good man he was until he was no longer here. And the older I get the more admiration I have for him.
Miss you always Dad .
I have a lot to thank you for.
The best thing of all being my faith, which you passed on to me , probably without even knowing.
I remember being quite small, you banging the table and saying, that what moved you to the Catholic Faith were those words in the Gospel when Jesus says to Peter:
 "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church". That was enough for you for many years. And I always think of it .
It's helped my own prayer many times over the years.
I pray that you and I will get to talk about this again when time, for me, is no more.