Slaying the Dragon

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The proverbial dragon with fiery breath,
You’ll have to fight with until the death.
Your confidence captured it will trash,
Pray for a knight in armour to dash.
They call her the Dragon, the Witch and much more.
Collects trophies from the past, she’s keeping score.
Watching over like an evil Queen
Preying upon a weakness she’s seen.
Enemies have fallen in her wake,
Before her in their boots they’ll quake.
She’ll have her own way, or she’ll roar
Have you scrambling for the door.
With one fell swoop she’d reduce them to tears,
Been getting away with it all these years.
But just when she thinks that you’ll beat,
Away from her a hasty retreat.
Suddenly you grew so much stronger,
This couldn’t go on any longer
Dressed in your armour, you summoned your power
No longer the safety of her Ivory tower.
Scramble the walls and to battle, my dear,
To win over the dragon and conquer your fear.
Over all of the energy she would invest,
One day the dragon is laid to rest.
Trampled and broken on the floor,
Gone from your life, you’ve won the war.

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The Flat on the Corner.

The strangest things come to you when you are unwell. I do tend to compartmentalize sections in my life, sometimes without even realising that I have done so. But there are times when I don’t want to and somehow my subconscious tends to do it for me.

I often have a recurring dream about a particular place, where I own a flat, which is rarely used, but I don’t actually, nor have I ever owned. Bizarrely I tried to buy the flat I did live in many years ago, but was it did not go through and I moved on. With this particular place though I am always opening it up after a period of time and realising that this was indeed a nice place and I should spend more time there, but never seem to do so, I remember that it would have been a great party flat. I have never been a great party goer, or indeed held such an event but I can recall having a party there in one dream, it was filled with people dancing around, loud music, but everyone was just having a great time, with no stresses.

It is as though over time the dreams are building into a story, a section to which I return from time to time, filled with things from the past. Good and bad, little reminders, but also the promise of something new and exciting. I am sure a dream team would have something to dissect with this.

The flat occupies a corner of the block in which I used to live, on a high street when I first met my partner. Years ago, when I was a child, there was a haberdashery there on the corner, called Pollards, they had been there for 100 years and the shop had all the original wooden fittings and display cases. I was devastated when they sold up and the new owners ripped the guts out of the building and threw out the fittings onto the street. It was before the days when reclamation became popular, but these days there would have been a small fortune sitting there. They also sold school uniform, so I guess were an outfitter too, and occupied two floors of the building, but there were offices or flats to the rear too.

I always wanted to take this building and make it into something lovely, again I think I have a hidden architect within me. As I will often pass a building and then imagine turning it into a home. There is another building that since I was a teenager, I have wanted to transform into a great flat, or apartment since it lends itself beautifully to loft style living, It also has a rather nice double story flat adjoining it right on the corner of the road, owned by the Blockbuster video chain, before it went into liquidation. But boy, do I have plans for that part of the building.

Again, my mind is flitting from the property in my dream. I once had quite a strange dream about it, which strangely, I can still recall many years later. It involved rooms which were unused and contained various old Victorian style beds and blankets and the back stair leading up to it was rather grotty. It was a bit like a mixture of the flat where I had lived down the road, where passing the other doorways, the walls were so thin you could hear the conversation. In the dream you could hear babies crying and other signs of life, coming from the rooms, but I found the dream disturbing and did not venture into the rooms, at one time there was a baby cot, but no baby, as though it was supposed to but hadn’t arrived. I found it disturbing when I dreamt it and put to the back of my mind. It made me sad so I thought I had blocked it out, but again the memory has returned. Strangely, when I lived down the road, I had a baby pram, which someone had donated to the charity shop downstairs, I kept it because things like that were expensive and one day I might need one, like the bottom drawer which people used to have in olden days, where they saved things for their wedding, I had one for the baby. I would have donated it to a friend, but no-one at that time needed it. After a while, my partner suggested that someone else might find a use for it and we donated it to a local sanctuary for ladies who had to leave without anything, they got quite a selection from me. Thankfully it was also a turning point for that strange behaviour and I stopped collecting baby things. I think that was when the reality finally dawned that it simply wasn’t to be.

The rooms at the back somehow seemed as though they were not connected to mine and it was almost as though I had snuck in to a place I did not belong. Like the belongings I had left there were now somehow no longer mine but I wanted to return and get them and yet, they had not actually been taken away from me. It seems as though it is some kind of secret place, I would creep into the building where I return to from time to time, it contained things from childhood, a treasured thing, or a favourite outfit. Perhaps it is a metaphor somewhere in there to which I may delve to find out more at some point. There was a neighbour who would try and catch you coming up the stairs, although I am sure that she lived at a later place, but to avoid her I became adept at coming and going quietly. I once visited there and was trying to get my clothes back as though someone had taken them in lieu of something, perhaps like unpaid rent. At that dream I never thought that I would return to the place, but I can remember parts of that dream now, several years later and also whenever I dream again of the place.

I do not ever recall sleeping there. For some reason the entrance arrived straight into the kitchen via a staircase up the side street. Off the hallway near the bedrooms, there is a bathroom, towards the back of the building. The rooms are really plain and old fashioned, barely used and in a bit of a state. Which always makes me wonder why I return to the place and why I seem to love the flat. The lounge area really sells the place. The Kitchen and Living area is huge open plan. It has enormous huge windows, which had window seats underneath them where you could sit overlooking the street below, up one end, right on the corner of the building, there was a window or double balcony doors, which you could open and see a glimpse of the sea, past the bank and down the street opposite. The space is phenomenal full of light and has character, it was never meant as a flat and is about twice the size of the others in the neighbourhood at least.

Last night when I visited with my sister, we walked in, I opened up the shutters from across the windows to let the evening light of a busy high street in. It must have been hot, since I opened an industrial fridge- freezer, rather like the kind you would find in a newsagents to get her an ice cream. I looked around the corner of the kitchen area over the breakfast bar to continue our conversation. I was showing her around the place, although she had not been there before. She was immediately feeling at home, perched in the window on the window seat as I had done so many times, looking at the lights. She was going to stay there, I think just like that, we turned up and within minutes it felt homely again. Dusty and unused since God knows when , but we sat there with just those high street lights, didn’t put the real ones on inside and just talked, whilst eating ice cream on a summer evening.

That is the thing that always seems strange, when ever I visit there, there is always some kind of thing in the fridge, although last time I did have to go to the shop for some milk as I had visitors coming.
I don’t remember the conversation we were having but it was although we were preparing for yet another party in the place.

Last time I went past the building itself, it had changed hands once again, it had been turned into a coffee house, I’m not sure if they had put the upstairs balcony doors in for me yet. But it doesn’t retain any of the original features that I could remember. It seems that the flat on the corner has changed beyond recognition. Perhaps the metaphor is staring me right in the face, maybe my subconscious will no longer send me there in my dreams now. That is a place I don’t need anymore.

Her Memory of Tennis in the Sunshine.

Initially there were several reasons as to why I began writing this blog. It started out in my head as an outlet for deeper feelings and how I would deal with them as they sprung up, like loose floorboards in an old house and hit me squarely between the eyes, often catching me unawares. I think that over time it will grow into far much more than that, as it has already shown signs of doing.

Today I am feeling as though another reason for writing this will be to remind my partner and I years from now, what was going through our heads, the memories we have made and the ones that we have cherished.

Since Alzheimers is a genetic disorder, there is some concern on our part, that it may follow down the line over the course of time and this may serve to remind us of some of the wonderful times we have had and how loved we both are. I would love to write his own story, and share his memories which seem far more interesting than my own, but he is not inclined to allow me at this point. It would make interesting reading though but he remains a very private person.

Last year we finally lost his mother to a lengthy fight with Alzheimers Disease, she lived a life which had been both tragic and wonderful at times. She lived to what is considered a good age, but unfortunately she could not remember most of it. In latter years, when I visited her sometimes her eyes would glisten and a flash of a memory would return, along with the excitement of being able to share it with someone. On the occasions whilst she could still tell me, snippets of stories would come back to her and she would recount them, although sometimes they would be all intermingled. To me it didn’t matter how she remembered them, whether they were entirely factual or not, it just proved that her brain was still working, despite some short circuits and that she was in there somewhere. She was a good friend to me and I have been thinking fondly again about her today, as I often do. It was devastating when she could no longer speak to share her thoughts, my last conversation with her was in October 2014 and after that her silence was awful, which the chatter of others around her was deafening, she passed away in March 2015.

She often told me about the Grand old house in Kent where they used to live as children, it was where she had grown up with her two brothers before the loss of her beloved mother in her teens, it was very clear that she was happiest there. They had a large house with Tennis courts out the back and she was playing tennis in the sunshine, they backed onto woodland behind the house and the trees offered dappled light across the house and shade when out on the court. She often spoke of the tennis courts, she must have enjoyed the game. I think it was due to it being a bright sunny day today that, it reminded me of this.  It would be a wonderful day to play tennis, I would have loved to have played the game with her.

My Grandmother

“Let’s go and sit on the Haystack, and whose got the lipstick?” I never knew the exact circumstances or what would follow, but somehow it symbolised Jessie, to my mother, the person whom she would know as a friend as well as family. The person I knew who was so different, a Stoic, Matriarch and Christian lady of the church and would not want to be recognised as the flirty young girl who once was, who gained three proposals before settling upon my Grandfather. I remember my mother telling me that it was something my Grandmother had shared with her once.

I am sure that there were still signs of the girl she once was to her friends from younger years and also to my Grandad and I for one would have loved to have known her better then, but by the time I came along, she was already Nanny, to look at her, you might think Grandma, but no she was always called Nanny. I knew very little about her younger years, just that she was a very attractive young lady who bore a striking resemblance to a young Princess Elizabeth, who would later become Queen. I was ten years old when I lost her, but for a moment would like to share in some of the memories I do have of this wonderful woman, whom I was proud to call family.

I recall how she was heavily involved with the church, a local Baptist church and organised the Christian Aid jumble sales to raise funds abroad. We always knew when Christian Aid week was or when Christ had Risen, since there was a poster proudly displayed in the front window for all to see. I passed a home the other day, with the same familiar purple and white Christ is Risen! text with a cross, which suddenly got me thinking about her.

She was a creative woman, I knew this since she taught me how to bake cakes, knit and read music when I was learning to play the recorder at school amongst many other things. She also taught me how to build an open fire and clean it out after it had burned away and toast bread on a toasting fork. She had a sweet tooth and a liking for “Lift” Lemon Tea, which she used to make in a tea glass with a plastic holder and a long spoon for stirring the sugar in. I have the two of those glasses still to this day the ones we used to share on cold winter evenings amongst many other sentimental treasures. She had three black cats all at once, which was unusual at the time for someone to have quite so many, they were named Buster, Timmy and Sooty and I thought they were great. Buster used to let himself in and out of the back door by standing on his back legs and pushing the handle down with his paw and Sooty was the last remaining one who lived to be 23 years old and outlived her. My Nanny could put on a fantastic spread for the whole family and cook a mean roast dinner with all the trimmings, but always overcooked the vegetables, we found out later it was due to her having trouble with the false teeth, but at the time we had no clue. I guess we were just too young to understand.

I remember that in the summer months, we would congregate at Nanny and Grandads’ house for Sunday Lunch and family gatherings under the huge weeping willow tree which stood in their garden, I was devastated when years later, my Grandad cut it down, it held so many memories. Nanny attempted to teach me to crochet, but for some reason, I could not do it, preferring to knit. Years before I came along, she had once ran a haberdashery store from the front of the house, which by the time we came along had been turned into her bedroom, but the wooden shop style fitted cupboards remained and held a plethora of the stock she had kept when she closed it down. There were bolts of fabric in there and packets of best knitting wool, which I craved to be able to knit something wonderful with since there was so much of it. Instead at the time I hadn’t the skill so ended up knitting small dresses and outfits and blankets for my Sindy dolls and Teddies.

Nanny would not have approved! She always kept things for best, there were cupboards full of things she was keeping for best when she died. But whilst she was alive and well, there were recycled buttons and unravelled wool for making things like that but I was just a child. She and Grandad were both really good at recycling things, I think my own quest for recycling came from there frugality.

If Dad had got his way, I would have borne her middle name Florence as my own. As a child of the 70’s I am grateful that Mum won that debate since the ridicule once I arrived at School would have been unbearable. The Magic Roundabout was a great program for kids, we used to watch and enjoy it but I didn’t want a living hellish part of it as I was growing up. For a sensitive child having a strange name was already difficult enough in a world full of Emma’s. In my infants school alone, there were as many as three Emma’s in every class I had. I craved for a more common name like Emma so that I might just fit in.

But back to Jessie. We had fun, we used to go to their house at weekends. Saturday night into Sunday, with my cousins and my brother, we would stay over and all head off to church together the next day. It was walking distance from Nanny and Grandads’ and because he couldn’t fit four children and two adults into his car, Grandad would drive down and bring Nanny back in the car afterwards. This served two purposes, we would walk there and back, which involved playing on the way home and so would be sufficiently tired by the time we reached Nanny’s and Lunch would be almost ready by the time we all arrived there. Since my Brother was four years older than me and the eldest, and my cousins were only a year or two around me in age, there were safety in numbers and our grandparents only lived four roads from the church, it was deemed safe for us to walk home without getting into too much trouble. Nanny would be putting the finishing touches to the Sunday Lunch that our parents would join us to enjoy when we arrived back. Sometimes, I would be able to help with the cooking.

On other occasions she would bake and I loved baking with her.
I remember being invited to Nanny’s one day to help her bake some cakes. She had one of those 1950’s kitchen store cupboards in her house, with numerous doors and drawers, which served as an extra work surface when needed and small children were assisting in the kitchen. There was also a blue Formica covered kitchen table, which was her work surface for rolling out pastry etc. and after my grandparents passed away, I inherited the table for a while, for sentimental reasons. I had to get out the kitchen steps to be able to reach the top shelf of the cupboards which contained a large selection of Homepride Bakers with Bowler hats, who held all the wonderful ingredients we needed for baking. Along with a selection of Cornish pottery with the blue and white stripes. I loved being in her kitchen. It looked out from a huge double sink over the garden. My Grandad had built the kitchen as an extension years earlier for her and it was just the right size and had become the hub of the house. On this particular occasion though, I’d been invited to bake with her and she had let me have free reign. Nanny loved to make scones which were would be later drenched in butter and jam whilst still warm from the oven. It was our treat for making them she said. Margaret, was our Minister’s daughter from the church and had been invited to join us on this occasion.
We assembled the ingredients to make the pastry and Nanny asked what we were going to make. She had hoped for some jam tarts for a cake stall maybe, or just for tea, but creativity kicked in and we made furniture.

Yes, Pastry furniture. On a baking tray, we rolled, moulded to create a three piece suite each, sofa and two chairs, with pastry arms and cushions made from Jam. They were kind of like tarts, weren’t they, but much more inspired! Margaret and I had such a wonderful time and since there was still a little of the pastry left over for a more traditional jam tart, Nanny also got her wish. But the sofas were out piece de resistance, and I can remember her mother’s surprise when we answered her question, “So, what did you make today?” when she collected Margaret later that day and we chorused “Jam Sofas and Chairs” “I’ve had such fun, when can I come again?” she said. Her mother’s eyebrows went up and she took her away, I don’t think she was allowed to come and play again.

Christian Aid week was always hard work for Nanny, she would spend the weeks leading up to it, collecting and sorting through donations from people. They would be dropping off sacks of jumble for the sale, and Grandad would be getting cross that she had taken over his garage again and he had to park on the driveway instead. Since we lived in the next road, Mum and I would be called upon to help and sort things through before they were sold. We were not well off, so if there was something that we needed in the clothing department, then Nan would let us have it just for helping, since the items were donated for people in need. If there was a toy there, we had to make a donation from our pocket money for it. I am sure that it encouraged our love of bargain hunting in later years. Nan’s philosophy was that these were donated goods for children and families in need and if we were in need, we should also do what we could to help.

There was always heaps of clothing, toys and bric-a- brac and it all had to be sorted out. Nan’s kindness was a double edged sword though, since I often received clothing which had been donated by families locally, I would then turn up wearing things at school, since we did not have a uniform at our school, only to be bullied for being poor, and wearing someone‘s old clothes, or wearing something that Mum had made or altered to fit me, amongst other things.

Nanny must have been great at selling though, she was always busy at the jumble sales, there were regulars who would queue up to come and buy from her stall no matter what and we would be roped in to help. My brother and I once had our photograph taken for the local newspaper chattering away on some toy telephones we had picked out from the jumble sale. There are just not enough of them around now, Jumble Sales. Time has moved on with the arrival of boot and table sales, have we lost the community spirit which used to surround these events and the joy to rummage. My curiosity never wanes but rummaging is now met with displeasure for messing up someone’s display. I miss the jumble sale.

I remember fondly those Saturday nights spent at Nanny and Grandads’ house, the boys used to sleep in the back bedroom, whilst the girls used to share the big room at the front with Nanny. We were always getting told off for talking late into the night and giggling. It always backfired though, when we would be awake several hours later when Nanny came to bed, then she would keep us awake with her snoring. One Sunday morning we were discussing that Nanny snored, much to her horror when we demonstrated just how loud it was, to the boys amazement, she retorted with “Well you all talk in your sleep” We sat there in disbelief. Grandad corroborated her story, yes they said, you don’t stop talking even in your sleep. We were amazed and immediately asked what we had been saying. It wasn’t as interesting as we thought it would be, but nevertheless it must have hatched a plan in her head. The very next weekend, they decided to prove it to us.

We all stayed over as usual and had forgotten the conversation during the week which had followed. Some time after we had all gone too bed, Nanny opened the bedroom doors to our room and the boys. There she sat in the hallway, poised with tape recorder and microphone and recorded my cousins and I having a conversation, from two rooms away. So there were four children across a hallway conversing in their sleep. At the breakfast table the next morning, she played us the tape to our absolute amazement.

As an adult, I have a picture in my head of my dear Grandmother, sitting in her hallway on a Saturday night tape recorder in hand, just to prove her point and realise that I am so much like her in so many ways. If I have a point to prove, I will go to any lengths to do so. I am also stubborn, just as she was. It’s been over thirty years since I have seen her, but I am so pleased to be able to tell you these small stories about her.

Learning to Fly

It was a time, when Nectar points meant fun! Nectar points for the uninitiated, are store card points as a Thank you for shopping, whilst your spending habits are dissected. But at the time the possibilities were endless. You could save them up indefinitely and use them for experiences, instead of falling back on them to cover the emergency shop when you are broke, or being sent vouchers with an expiry date, which you would find weeks after they had run out and your rewards would be useless.

We had been saving them for a couple of years, to do something fun together and not knowing at that point that my partner had a fear of flying, I had booked the surprise for both of us to have a flying lesson as an anniversary present.

The day came and we checked the weather report, jumped in my car, a Saab convertible put the roof down and headed to the countryside I had selected a different airfield to our local one, so that we could see different scenery and explore it. It turned out that my partner had other plans, he would collar the instructor and see if time would allow and they would swap his part of the deal so that I could extend the experience. He would have his feet planted firmly upon the floor watching from the club house whilst I took off and he would enjoy a pint or two of Guinness and a cigar, it was a beautiful sunny day in the countryside and a pleasant place to pass the time. He succeeded in his plan, and since I had only ever travelled by air once for a holiday, I was excited, I knew that this was going to be different and I was looking forward to it, but slightly disappointed that he would not get to enjoy it with me. However I was going to get a long lesson, which was great.

I was introduced to the Pilot, a man who shared the same name as my father, but thankfully had a much more relaxed manner about him. He was friendly and informative and showed me all of the controls in the Piper 125 which we were going to take out. I clambered in, full of excitement and hoping that I would remember it all. I asked what happened if the engine failed. He told me not to worry since this type of plane could still be landed safely if the engine cut out, it basically glides. As we took off, he took us up over the countryside, I was in awe, I knew it would be beautiful. But it was so calm up there, I took a couple of photos in the cockpit. I seem to recall that we travelled at around 2700 feet, but may have that wrong.

As we climbed everything grew smaller, people disappeared into dots, cars and lorries, into matchbox figures disappearing completely and trees and green spaces turned into a blanket of fields as we floated through the bumpy clouds. Colin allowed me to take the controls and told me how to move the rudder to change direction and the pedals to keep it steady. He could see my interest and excitement in the process and when I asked him to show me how to loop the loop, he obliged. We travelled quite some distance and talked along the way, I was able to see my home town, fly over my parents and our house. Along the Estuary past the pier and up to the docks, where I could see small cranes and brightly coloured containers being unloaded from the ships, It looked so much better there from that height. I was on top of the world. I loved every minute of that flight and decided that I would love to do that again as soon as possible. As someone who was claustrophobic in certain environments, I was not sure how I would feel up there, but to my relief it was wonderful. We had the small window open in that plane and the thermal breeze floated through.

I remember saying to him that I had to resist the urge to put my foot on the accelerator like in a car, since it would upset the balance of the plane and there seemed to be no sense of speed up there, but you were still travelling, it took some getting used to, but I think I mastered it.

As we headed back, Colin explained that it was a wonderful job, that he could fly over to France in less than an hour, have a nice lunch and a bit of sightseeing and be back in time for tea. I was hooked on the idea, that one day I would learn to fly and when I got that lottery win, there would be a small plane in there somewhere to do just that.

He asked me if I was sure that I hadn’t flown before as I seemed to be so at ease up there, I must admit that I felt no tension, it had all just floated away whilst I was up there. Flying back, Colin told me I was going to land the plane. I asked if he was sure, he told me that he was confident in my ability, we came in to a lovely smooth landing and I couldn’t help but be pleased. As I taxied the plane back to it’s parking spot, past the bar, my beloved was standing there, waving and with an ear to ear smile.
I jumped out and he ran over to me, he’d been worried since we were only supposed to be an hour, an hour and a half had passed and we hoped that I had not got him into trouble. He asked Colin “how did she do?” “An absolute Natural she should learn to fly”…. he replied.

I had to tell him all about it as we drove home around Sunset, he decided that if we ever could afford it, then we should make it happen. Six months later we returned for another lesson.

Thirty Years, Just Think!

 

In our family we think about Birthdays wherever we are in the world, but if we are together usually on that day, If I am speaking to my father, he has what we refer to as the “Just Think” moment. It is when he reminisces about the time I was born and tells me about it. It draws me close to him for a moment and gives me the warm fuzzy feeling, it is nice that he still remembers. I had my very own “Just Think” moment for a very special lady in my life, so Happy 30th Birthday to my Little Sister.

Thirty years ago tonight
As this poem I try to write.
We were expecting to arrive,
a child who would change my life.
Was so small when I kissed her,
So pleased to have a little sister.

At twelve years old, I’d have never bet
A new sibling I would have met.
I went to sleep asked Dad to wake me.
“If she comes along I want to see!”
But with other ideas you didn’t delay,
And so very quickly you were on your way.
Arrived so quickly they had to run,
Mum there with baby by half past one.

On TV there was a big boxing fight,
We watched it at home that very night.
Between Big Frank and Tiny Tim,
I’d got you a bear and that’s what I named him.
The first little bear, but you had a few
This was the one that I gave to you.
Arrived to visit Mum and her tot.
And placed him beside you in your cot.

As time’s gone by she’s big and grown,
Things changed a bit when the nest I’d flown
But tried to be there for her as I may,
Would offer her a place to stay.
Would attend the home for a visit,
Be there when needed to baby sit.

We’d go out for Ice Cream at the “Eating Pub”
When aching and sore, my back she would rub.
She really was the sweetest kid,
The one that we all called “The Didd,”
It’s because she was the Diddie one
Smallest of three to Dad and Mum.

For a cause, she’ll stand up and fight.
Her teeth and claws may give you a fright.
Slender and swift, she’ll pounce like a cat.
Would like the last word and that is that!
Looking at her, I’m pleased to state,
She has about her the family trait.
Being there for you, when up or you’re down,
Always happy to stop for a coffee in town.

Will help you with the odd household chore,
And shopping with her is never a bore.
Don’t know what’s been decided to follow which path,
When we’re together, don’t hold back just laugh.
I love her so much, just as I ought,
Of course there’s been times when we fought.

On a few occasions I have met her friends,
But that is not where the story ends.
Going about with her long fiery hair,
Says what she means without a care.
She’s arty and clever and ever so loud,
But she’s my sister and makes me proud.
Through thick and thin this I have learned,
And to achieve her own success I’ve yearned.
With her there’s certainly no room for faking,
And her successes will be of her making.
She gets up on stage and sings her heart out,
Excitement abounding she’ll jump and shout.
So now that the baby has finally shown,
She’s a woman today, I’m pleased to have known.
Doesn’t matter how near or how far,
Travel required by train or by car.
But always know we’ll be together,
Through thick or thin, my sister forever.
So please raise a glass tonight to drink,
And as you do, say to her “Just think”

Keeping it for Best

045The tattered duvet cover was once her best one, she had purchased it after moving into the house, five years before. It was embroidered with silver and pewter and gunmetal on a white background, she would dress the bed in it, if there were people coming over who might see it as they were going past the room.

She looked at the now faded colours, the bleached marks, pulls and loose threads. There was fur where the dog had been laying on it and a small hole, where the spark from a candle had fallen. It had caught on the bedpost and formed a small tear. She suddenly realised that all of this had significance.

This is what Life can be like just after five years… With all that gets thrown at it, it can become tired, exhausted in fact. But you can still find comfort in it, however battered it may be. When others take a look, they can see clutter, old things of the past, things that should be thrown away, but yet you are inclined to take comfort in some of the past and the sentiment you hold for it.