Fantasy Island, The Tour.

Yesterday I had my tour around fantasy island as our friend refers to it.It is tongue in cheek, but also I think a place where many crave to live. They are drawn to this place of beauty, surrounded by nature, where flora and fauna abound. A sanctuary in the south. It is private gated and restricted access so I felt privileged to get a guided tour from one of the Islanders.

I have only visited once before. Last time I came away my imagination fired up and I decided that it would be the most wonderful place to be able to live. Idyllic and the new life I crave for us would fit in there beautifully. 

His home with its interesting garden making use of things he has found, recycled items all around utilised within his space and others for projects yet to be undertaken. I found it so inspiring there I designed furniture following my last visit it reminded me of some of my as yet unfulfilled ambitions which I would like to work towards once my health improves.

Arriving there again I am filled with peace, my heart was racing as I arrive anticipation growing for what I might see whilst there. 

We drive, or rather he does so that I may be able to enjoy the view. I am in a semi altered state. Lightheaded or as though I am in shock. It could be the antibiotics or the painkillers. Or it could be just what I see there. I look at the houses as we pass and the fields and hedgerows as we drive slowly by, observing the lowered speed limit. It is a nature foragers dream, the hedgerows brimming with wild fruit, plums, elderberries. Blackberries, sloes. He stops to pluck one from the hedge for me to try. They would make Lovely jam I said, he agreed that they do. Enveloped by countryside with no one around hares running up ahead of us along the road and birds walking across the roads in front of us. We stopped at the cockle beach where apparently you can fish for Bass. I love sea bass. There was none but the birds. Around the island three rivers meet. Further round where it meets another river, there is a slightly more recognisable seascape. I may have seen near there before but not from this side. There were some wonderful rocks in beautiful colours piled high as though dropped there by giants. I intended to take photos on this tour but my eyes are taking it all in instead. The camera on my phone does not take one shot for the duration. Which as I write this I am regretting somewhat. It is unusual for me. 

Some of the grand houses, the homes with character and the cottages tucked away are empty. My imagination kicking in again as I wonder what I could do with one of them as a space of my own.The two pubs have long closed down as has the church. No longer required here lack of use forced their closure. There is one shop and there are farms in the village, it is a sleepy place. I wonder how and when it comes alive or if it is always like this. The workers have left for the day, a mass exodus off as I was arriving. Much of it looks deserted.

Our friend shows me his sculpture garden. Have you seen it before he said? No I replied. It used to be his allotment but he changed it. He built this to enjoy. In a non public place it is a community garden. He has had parties there and there is a summer kitchen with a pizza oven he has made. A pergola which has grape vines growing up it they have grapes this year apparently for the first time. There are plinths of marble and stone around and many of them hold small statues. They are not your average garden statue. Many are of the muscular male form draped around females. Holding, cherishing. I could have stayed there for a while. It was a place I could happily sit, embrace the moment and meditate. A calm place.

In the centre of the garden there is a huge stone column, about ten feet high and as yet I carved. He told me that it would become a dancing couple. I did not know when he took me there what I would find, the significance only dawning on me now in the early hours as I write this.
I was struck by the beauty of the stone. I asked who made them, he replied “some old bloke from over the road, he likes carving stone” I admired them blown away by what I saw, as he explained he told me about some them. He started the garden when his wife was gone I did not ask if it was in tribute to her. But it is clear that this man loves female company and why shouldn’t he for he is witty and charming, flirtatious and engaging and can cook. He also has several female friends who gather at his house for a meal on a regular basis.

There are signs carved in slate and sandstone sculpture along with white almost alabaster, possibly marble. They are beautiful and written with his sense of humour. The sculptures were something else and just the sort I like and appreciate. I wanted to touch them, feeling drawn to them and photograph them but it felt strange to ask. I have not known him very long and I did not want to push my luck.

He said that the locals are not interested in the garden, I asked why not it’s a beautiful place. They should use it if it’s for them too. 

He said that some of the other visitors to the island had seen it. I loved it.

Upon waking in the early hours it occurred to me, I may be way off the mark here but I get the very strong feeling that the “old guy over the road” was at that moment standing by my side proudly showing me his own statues. That he not only created the garden, but the sculptures within it. That the dancing couple would be formed one day by his own hands.

Only time will tell. There are clues, he is creative and has a good eye. His mother is an artist. He is useful with his hands, builds things in wood and has a beautiful garden. 

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit today, I don’t know if I bored him to tears with the subject matter. I talk more when I am nervous and I am not used to having the floor. When my partner and I are out together the conversation is more evenly spaced. It can’t have been all bad. I was invited to go and visit again whenever I liked. 

I might just have to go and ask him about his garden.

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The Wedding Speech, that hasn’t quite happened.

I was watching the tail end of a film last night. It got me thinking and also a bit tearful. There was a wedding scene. I know it’s OK to cry at a wedding, if you are happy for people. I wouldn’t want to be crying out of sadness after all.

In the last few days I have been thinking about the wedding dress and bridesmaid’s dresses safely stored up in the loft. I have often thought of getting it out and looking at it, my own dress. I think about the fact that we came so close to it, becoming husband and wife before my partner became ill and we chose to postpone it. We haven’t rebooked the date. There have been several opinions as to how we should have our wedding. Having booked the church years ago we planned it around places which held some sentimental attachment to me and it all having gone rather wrong we thought about having an extreme opposite to the Church Wedding and thought about a Beach wedding somewhere hot. A friend of ours recently suggested that she and her husband could meet us a Gretna Green on the way up to our house and they could be our witnesses, then we could have a party. I also favour a wild Scottish beach, with our wonderful dog as ring bearer and our friend the laird to take the ceremony with a small celebration in a country house afterwards. But my partner is not so keen.

But, it got me thinking watching that wedding scene, of a chap who had been rather out of the picture in his daughter’s life, her parents were divorced and the Mother had remarried. It would have been rather nice to see the whole film, but we had been watching Saturday Night Dross instead and didn’t know it was on, however since it was TV, it is bound to be on next week or again soon.

It was time for the speeches at the reception and the groom handed over to her step-father as her father to speak. Suddenly, her birth father stood up and asked that since he was her Father, he might speak. He said some beautiful things, like how proud of his daughter he was how beautiful she looked there in front of her family and friends and then handed over to her step father to also speak, it was very civilised. It was lovely to hear and I started to bawl. Somehow it was like flicking a switch to me.

The last wedding that I attended, the bride’s father’s speech had me weeping like a child, it was many years ago and before we got engaged. I had no idea that my own love would ever ask me at the time. Her father took us on a real journey through her growing up and what a wonderful person he thought that she had turned into. Unfortunately we saw a very different side of her later that evening when she wasn’t getting her own way and was screeching at him, but he could see no wrong, totally blindsided. The poor man, but it must be nice to have someone that can see no wrong and I hoped for him that it was just the emotions of the day which had her overwrought.

What got me thinking last night though as I wondered if we ever get married, was whether my own father would be there, what he would say about me if he got up to speak. If we had the beach wedding somewhere, then he might not even attend. But I genuinely do not know whether he has any wish to make a speech, or even be there if or when it finally happens. I would not want him to be there out of duty alone, I only want the people who are happy for us and want to be there, at our wedding.  I am reminded, by my conscience that I promised my partner’s Mother when we got engaged that she would see us married, she wanted to speak, she was very pleased for us and knew that we loved each other so much. It pains me that she didn’t get her wish, she loved a party and was looking forward to it, before Alzheimers’ took her from us. She will be there though, in spirit at least when it happens and we will drink a toast to her. Unfortunately, I will not get to wear her beautiful necklace that she wanted me to on the day, she had wanted to me to wear it and intended to bequest it to me when she had gone. Alas someone else got there first and it disappeared.

The bridesmaid dresses in the loft may have become outdated, they would suit the beach wedding idea perfectly though, with the backdrop of a bright blue sea behind them. But despite me buying an extra one in case they outgrew them, ten years have gone by since and I think the ladies for whom they are intended may want to choose something a bit different now. Like mine their figures have changed in that time. Hmm, maybe I should try on the dress again too, but since there is no date planned at the moment there’s no rush.

As for my own Dad, well I guess that only time will tell and I hope that when we finally get married, if he wants to be there, he will find something nice to say.

The Girls from the Beach

Surrounded by beautiful countryside,
That’s where he took her off to hide.
It took so many years to see,
The friend who’d left Leigh-on-Sea.
Through our teens, we’d grown together,
A storm to fight almost any weather.
But like a cloud she drifted away,
In my heart a place, she’d stay.
Years went by and a message I’d send.
To the girl, who’d been such a dear friend.
Would time have changed her beyond reach?
From one of the girls who sat on the beach.
Had habits wrecked the person I know?
If she was hurting, would it now show?
But we got in touch and to my relief,
The girl I knew was still underneath.
Scratch the surface and you will see,
A part of the person she’d wanted to be.
A passion for travel was her desire,
She’d at last got away from that terrible liar.
Who’d built around her a wall you could shove,
Now thankfully found a man she could love.
They now have a wonderful family
Of beautiful children, I’m dying to see.
So into the car a visit was planned,
Will we stop by the beach, put our toes in the sand?
Should we sit for a time and dwell on the past,
Let’s sit in the park as time’s gone so fast.
A picnic with her and three of her brood.
Couldn’t give them a lift and didn’t want to be rude,
But couldn’t fit them all in the car in the back,
The years have been kind and she’s on the right track.
Stayed there for hours as though no time had passed,
Would she still be my friend? I’d know at last.
In conversation, you’d see that she’s changed,
The same girl you knew but just rearranged.
Is it her past? or just motherhood,
Quietly reserved, are things for the good?
You see that under it she’s fragile,
But what else hides behind her smile?
Was once like your sister, will be so again.
Wonder if she’s managed a refrain,
From the sad life that she’d come to know,
Before way back when she’d decided to go.
Imagine my true happiness,
When she gave me her address.
An invite for her family to see,
A shade of the girl she used to be.
This is the girl who would go with the flow,
Who is lots of fun and a pleasure to know.
She’s gone shy and quiet, doesn’t talk on the phone.
Off with her kiddies for hours she’ll roam.
Exploring the places they’re eager to find,
Space for some thinking or there to remind.
Up and down trees or charging about
“Where are you Mum?” “Over Here!” she’ll shout.
Hide and seek up hill and down dale,
A photo of them sitting on a hay bale.
A great imagination, a thirst to excite,
A great bunch of kids, they’ve brought them up right.
Over the time her children have grown
But a wonderful family they have shown,
That they stay together through thick and thin.
Way back then, he was determined to win.
Not prepared to give up at all cost,
Do not dwell on the time that we lost.
So glad that she settled and turned things around.
Glad that finally my friend has been found.

The Daily Post – The Girls from the Beach

 

 

This Beach, The One…

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This Beach, The One
The first real one that you ever visited.
With it’s sandy spot, where you took off your shoes and pushed your feet into the cool sand.
Where you carefully navigated the section with the smooth pebbles trying not to find a crab or jellyfish.
The swimming pools, where you paddled with friends.
The beautiful views, never ending water, reaching for miles.
The boats bobbing and swaying on the tide.
The mud flats when the tide had gone out,
One of many children searching for crabs.
Beachcombing, to see what can be found.
Kiosks selling ice creams, or chips and the smell wafting along the promenade.
Friendly dogs running up to say Hello and share a picnic.
Sandcastles and random artwork, left for someone else to find.
Listening to the waves, crashing against the breakers.
The trains rumbling past, shattering the peace and quiet.
The seagulls swooping and squawking investigating the remnants of the day.
This Beach,
The one you used to play on when you were ten years old and had just moved close to.
The one you were baptised right out in the open air in the swimming pool, followed by a Barbeque with all your friends from church. A celebration of your life given to God.
The one you used to walk to as a teenager, when you needed to think when you thought you were broken hearted.
The one you bunked off from school to walk to, since it was just far enough away for you not to be found.
The one where you watched the windsurfers and the beach bums and toasted your skin for hours, working on your tan.
The one where you sat and sobbed, when it was all too much for you.
The one where you yelled at the top of your voice, when you felt that things were unjust.
The one where you met your boyfriends, years apart.
The one where you had parties on the beach, listening to your favourite tunes.
The one where you used to meet your friends.
The one where you used to sit on the wall to look at the boys.
The one where you walked your dogs,
The one where you met your current love.
The one where you walked hand in hand with him.

This Beach,
Is also the one where he used to go to think. His favourite beach, where he had sat in the same places, done some of the same things and for years and you had just missed each other. The one where on that day, years later the time was right and walking back from the beach, you met, talked for hours, arranged to meet again and began to fall in love and your story began.

The Daily Post – Beach

The Tractor

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The tractor was hiding down a back street when we went to view a house in Scotland, in a field at the top of the road near to the beach.  It was owned by an ex-headmaster who has it just sitting there in his garden.  He was about 80 years old and stopped for a chat, as curious people do out in the countryside when confronted by out-of-towners’.  He told my partner that he would be pleased to let me have it, we just have to go and collect it and visit for tea. It hasn’t turned a wheel in years, but I thought it was a fantastic piece of machinery and I simply had to photograph it.  We didn’t buy the house for several reasons, it just wasn’t right for us. I’d love to take the man up on his offer, but getting it home would be a real mission and restoration of such a wonderful machine a challenge that might be beyond my capabilities.