Merry Christmas

Home made Christmas Wreath

#Merry Christmas

To all the people who have made my life brighter this year with their writing, their images, their ideas and their inspiration.

Yes I mean you!

The readers, friends who cajole, inspire, support my ramblings and my thoughts however dark or bright they might be and who comment and share in the moments with me.

Recycled Slate MemoRecycled Slate Chalkboard

I have not written as much this year as I did last year. I am disappointed about that but my health has changed the way my life was going and I have had to learn to adapt to the way things have become. The new normal for me for the time being. I do not know what next year will bring. I only hope that it brings better health, less stress and more happiness for all of us. I hope that I will write more next year, both poems and happier posts, sharing good news with you all. This year has been a new kind of difficult, challenging in so many ways but I am hopeful for a brighter future.

Rosehip Syrup Herbal TeaPlum & Ginger Jam

As for Christmas in our home I figured out a few months ago that this Christmas was not going to be the usual what can we all buy each other that we don’t really need scenario. I have not had a proper job for two years so I informed family and friends that if I couldn’t make it, then I wouldn’t be doing it. Thankful that they accepted this I set about making their gifts and I have included here some of my snapshots of the things I’ve made.

Home made Decorations Truffles & GingerbreadSpiced Plum Sauce & Chocolate Truffles

So I embraced my creativity in other ways. Thanks to the people in a group or two that I joined on Facebook I have learned how to make things with foraged fruit and herbs, some of which will be given as gifts. I remembered that I enjoy cooking and making things so tried my hand at biscuits, truffles, gingerbread and cakes. I also made oils for cooking, jam, herbal massage oils and teas. I have made scented bath salts, Jewellery and Christmas decorations. I am also using recycled packaging wherever possible for these gifts. I also joined a group which showed me so many things that I had forgotten like ways to reuse and rethink and repair and recycle. I have so many wonderful ideas planned for next year that I want to try.

I have been cooking for weeks, trying things out and some have been gratefully received and others have driven my partner crazy. If I fancied making something new I set about finding a recipe to give it a try. He could not understand why I wanted to mess about with it all, but on limited means and I have made the most of the opportunity having learned new skills this year and revived older ones which I have forgotten. I spent a wonderful day recently with my sister where we made biscuits together, it’s something I don’t think we have ever done, we learned together and I loved the process.

Gingerbread Biscuits

When I have not been able to sleep, often In pain I have got up and made something. It hasn’t cost me much, only time and energy. Sometimes on my feet for hours, I have been exhausted but nevertheless for these simple things I have had a sense of accomplishment, which has been so important to me.

Plaited silks bracelet Vintage Crystal Beads BraceletShooting Star Biscuits

Homemade gifts are not everyone’s cup of tea. I have noticed a shift in the past few years where it has been more acceptable than it used to be, for that I am extremely grateful. I think it is lovely when someone has taken the time to make you something and it’s appreciated it is much more personal. I understand that not everyone has the opportunity or the skills to do that, but if you do then why not? It has brought back the real meaning of Christmas to me and I have made my gifts and are giving them to special people with love. So far they have been happily received and compliments abound. Especially with the foodstuffs.

This year we are at home in the South, much as we are missing our beloved Scotland I have dreams of a Christmas spent in our cottage of the future, especially when they play the reruns of the film The Holiday on television. I want to decorate our little place with things from the garden and the woods, home made decorations and lights on a tree a roaring fire in the house and the smell of woodsmoke and pines, while I cook the Christmas dinner, all snuggled up together with the family. I still have those dreams I’d like to fulfil.

So whatever you are doing for these holidays, however you choose to spend them. I hope that you are with people who mean a lot to you and you spread a little happiness.

As we look forward to a new and exciting year ahead, things can only get better.

With love and best wishes…

Merry Christmas everybody.

Harvest Prayer


Lady Goddess of the night,

Fill my room bathed in light.

Heal my body and my mind,

What I seek, I shall find.

Whatever path shall carry me,

Give me clear eyes, that I may see.

To assist in journeys, wondrous place.

To feel light and happiness upon my face.

Goddess help me to be free 

To grow with flower, herb and tree.

Lead me onward to the sun,

Barefoot, grounded as I run.

Help me learn what it is to be, 

So I embrace this bright new me.

Love is stronger than to hate,

Don’t take it lightly or underestimate.

Beauty remains and to behold,

More to us than silver or gold.

Loved by my little family,

We’re stronger with the power of three.

For riches are beyond compare,

By my side my family there.

Blessed by what you’ve given me.

A gift of just being free.

The Scents of our Memories

If I were to ask what your favourite scent is I wonder what would spring to mind?

Whether just one thing, or many of them, what memories would they bring to you.  I have so many, I could not pick just the one.

So, in no particular order here are some of mine.

Fresh Mown Grass.  Laying on it in summertime, looking up at a blue sky with clouds.

Baking Bread. On the few occasions I’ve made it myself, the wonderful scent lingers in the home, I don’t do that nearly often enough.

Freshly Brewed Coffee. Reminding me of sunny mornings, with the light streaming through the window, sitting overlooking my favourite view on the hill.

Freesias, Roses, Lavender.  Just a few of my favourite flowers.

Sea Salt on the air. A reminder of all the moments, happy and sad when I sat on the beach.

Ysatis by Givenchy.  When I was younger, this was my signature scent. Years ago, my friend was in Hospital with difficulties when her first daughter was born, I remember her telling me that she knew I had been by her side because she had smelled my perfume when she awoke.

So which scents invoke special memories for you? Do share…

The Daily Post – Aromatic

 

 

 

 

The Interesting People We Meet and the Things They Teach Us.

It’s interesting buying things from eBay. No this post is not actually about the delights of eBay itself, there is plenty of advertising for that. I have been buying things from this particular platform for about 13 years now and have in the past few been also selling on there. It is one of those things, sometimes your sale goes easily and other times, it is a complete pain, with awkward people who expect far too much from the object you are selling, or leave the dreaded rubbish feedback which blights your account until the end of time. Or until the eBay team read the messages between you and decide that it shouldn’t be there and remove it.

This post is about the people you meet as you purchase things and collect them, over the years we have met some lovely people and some downright horrible ones. If you are buying from them, you make it a very quick collection and try not to share anything personal with them.

Then there are others, who by meeting them, they get you thinking about them, you share a coffee and a little of your life history and you get on really well. You leave feeling as though you have gained from the experience. Sometimes they bring you a gift, like the man who brought me a tray of duck eggs and a bottle of wine from his smallholding when he collected a trailer. The little girl who brought me a loom band bracelet she had made when she collected her sister’s horsebox. The man who turned up with flowers and chocolates. The kindness of others is always to be appreciated and like me if you often go the extra mile to help, just because you can, sometimes nice people turn up. Don’t get me wrong, we have had our share of unkind ones too, who have ripped us off taken our money, or not described something properly, or it has been damaged when it arrived. But for the main, we take as we find people and they do likewise in return.

Over the years, we have bought cars, things, furniture, trailers, horse boxes, caravans, clothing, almost a house on occasion but pretty much anything and everything via eBay and it has served us very well. We haven’t always purchased well though, some of the vehicles have caught us out and needed expensive repairs, but generally if you check something over before you part with your money and you know what you are looking for, then it’s still a good place to buy from.

On Sunday we did a 140 mile round trip to meet a lovely couple. We went to collect a trailer and when we arrived, we were a little disappointed as it was smaller than they had advertised. We could have walked away from it at this point, since its smaller size made it less suited to our needs, but we had driven the distance so we might as well take it and it was not expensive. My partner had a lovely chat on the phone with the man before we set off, to make arrangements to pick it up, it has taken a couple of weeks due to conflicting schedules. But we arrived there and met the man and his wife. The men immediately got along and since I had turned up with some flowers for his wife, she made me coffee, real coffee, which was very much appreciated.

Clifford was in the music business before he retired, he mentioned this before we arrived. Having worked in the entertainment business myself, I wondered what he would be like. Whether he was a musician himself, or would turn out to be a promoter full of his own importance. I needn’t have worried, it turned out he was a charming man, in his mid 70’s, with the carefree attitude of someone who has done well for himself. He wrote and composed songs and has enjoyed a comfortable living from it over the years. He kept himself healthy with various sports and martial arts, which is something the men had in common and they shared interests in many things. The house with its enormous garden looked unpretentious, lived in and enjoyed not there for show, just people getting along with their lives. It was not fussy or overly decorated. It was homely and I rather liked it. It had a pool in the back garden and some outbuildings and some rather lovely fields and woods surrounding it. Lots of greenery and a pretty and maintained garden. The sort of place which I would hope to have when I was their age, which is still some way off for me. I didn’t want to put her out but Dominique made coffee for me anyway and as the men talked and they showed us around their sprawling garden discussing their schooling and growing up bizarrely, it was clear that they got along just fine and that Clifford had a story or two to tell.

We went inside to talk as it was late afternoon and getting cooler. She was a smart and interesting French lady, a few years older than me. In no time at all we realised that we also got along well. We stood in the kitchen, discussing what we did for work, whilst the men talked school, history and other things. I told her that currently I am writing a book, having just finished my first one of adult poetry, it was now ready for publication, I hoped. She was genuinely interested in hearing about it and asked me how the writing came about and I explained that it was part of my therapy, an outlet for my thoughts, following injury and trauma. That I had written over the years, but done nothing with it until recently and that now I write a blog. Although at some point I may have to get other work too, I was taking the time to do this for me. I told her that a couple of years ago I had become involved with a health products company but that due personal reasons felt and with a lack of self confidence that it was the wrong time to throw myself into a public forum, where you have to sell to people and speak to people you don’t know. Despite my good intentions when I began I just wasn’t ready for that and so had let it slip into the background having done very little with it, but it was there to pick up with again when I am ready, although I did not know when that would be and I secretly hope that I will be able to in time.

As we talked I found out that Dominique is a Corporate Coach. A person who big companies employ to get the best out of their staff and improve their self confidence to boost productivity. She told me a little about her work, that she enjoys it and gets to travel and does a lot of remote working also. She also told me about the benefits of “EFT or Tapping” I had heard of it before but not looked into it, she explained that she had found it reduces stress and she finds it really helpful. I asked her more and she told me briefly how it works, that it is something that you do for yourself involving the meridians of the body. The Acupressure points throughout the body can be quite literally tapped with the fingers to relieve stress and trauma influences and calm the body, a bit like acupuncture without needles. Now as you might know I prefer a holistic approach wherever possible and have been a bit stressed out lately, so I was very interested to hear about this and thought, I’d definitely give it a go. I have had acupuncture in the past and found it very useful for pain relief, but also suffered nerve pain from a misplaced needle too, so this method definitely appeals.

Early on in our conversation, I sensed that she was holding herself back, but still remaining polite. She was more than a little distracted but soon explained that her mother was very ill in France and had been taken to hospital that morning, she apologised but she had to keep checking for messages. I understood, but she kept coming back to speak to me whilst the men sorted out the trailer. For a moment, there was a visible glimmer of a girlish quality, laughter as she demonstrated the tapping technique to me, she reminded me so much of one of my friends who I have not seen for a while.

Dominique suggested that I look up a couple of websites and watch some YouTube videos on how to do it properly she wrote them down for me and suggested I give it a go, if I wanted to. No pressure but it might help oh and it also won’t cost anything.
This lady may have just given me a present in this conversation. She wrote the websites down for me and as it turned out I had heard of one of the people Nick & Jessica Ortner. I had signed up for an email to “The Tapping Solution” a while ago, but had not looked into it fully yet. As usual other things had taken a precedence recently and the doing things for me, time out from everything else has only been happening to write very occasionally.
I resolved to look it up and read those emails.

We were there for several hours, we had difficulties with the trailer, since the size of the tow hitch was different to our towing gear on the vehicle, Clifford had to adapt it to fit and it took a while. But what was lovely was that by time we left there, we felt that we had been treated more like visiting friends than someone who had just gone to collect a trailer and they asked us to stay in touch with them. We were hugged and invited to call again if ever we were down that way.

I recently saw a quote which resonates with me, it said that “Your Energy Introduces You Even Before You Speak” I believe this to be true. I have met many people over the years, some I have taken an instant like to and they have been good, kind people some have become firm friends. You can tell a lot from someone upon a first meeting, the first impressions do count. Some call it a hunch, or a gut instinct, or a vibe. Whatever you choose to call it, in deciding last year that I would follow my instincts when it came to meeting new people, I have been better protected. There are other people who on meeting them I instinctively up my guard and don’t like, I can’t always put my finger on why at the time, but usually my instinct has proved me right, they have turned out to be people with alterior motives or who are just downright nasty. In misplacing my trust in them, usually by giving them the benefit of the doubt I have got hurt and gone through all sorts of pain, or put myself in places I should not have been. I hope that in future, I will learn from that mistake.

But what I am thinking about today is that it makes such a difference when you meet nice people and restores your faith in humankind and I would much rather spread a little happiness.

The Nunight Song

For those of you who do not know, Nunight is slang for Goodnight.  In our house growing up we always used to say it, before heading off to bed and I carried on the tradition. Up until recently I used to play a particular piece of music for Kato and I to go to sleep to, it was Binaural music, intended to relax and sent both of us off into a calm and deep sleep in minutes although sometimes, we would play it twice.  I nicknamed it “The Nunight Song” he always knew when it was coming and would be snoring within minutes… I highly recommend it for peace and meditation if you have trouble getting into the right frame of mind and shutting all the other noise and thought out. I found mine via Mindvalley.com  Meanwhile, as we try to adjust almost two months later to the fact that he is no longer here, our days and our bedtime routine hasn’t got any easier and we miss him so much.

Nunight Sweet Pea, Our Darling Boy We love you xdscn4903

The Nunight Song…

As I play the Nunight song
And Daddy says he won’t be long.
Whilst I clamber on my bed
And say Goodnight to Little Ted.
I hope that I will feel you near,
As I wipe away another tear.
As time goes by and weeks have passed,
I wonder will the feeling last.
The one where every night to sleep
I lay my head and gently weep.
And feel the sadness of it all,
That you aren’t here to answer my call.
The raw emotion in my heart
As such huge loss, we are apart.
Until the day we meet once more
The Furry Son that I adore.
To see your fur, Black and White
Translucent shining, your eyes so bright.
To once again feel your kiss
And hold you close would be such bliss.

The Teddy Parcel

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The Teddy Parcel.

A knock was at the door today, A man was standing there.
He called, “He’s home and here to stay, I’ve brought your Little Bear”.
The most precious teddy parcel, he placed there in our hand.
Have fought to try to explain it, but they don’t really understand.
It is so very important, than we should bring him home.
For he was never happy, when he was left alone.
Wanted him back with his Mummy and his Dad.
Safely with our family, our furry little lad.
I clutched the teddy parcel and held it to my chest.
We cuddled as a family, the one we loved the best.
Put the kettle on and poured our favourite drink,
Brought it with your biscuit and didn’t stop to think.
We gathered up your blanket and put it in the sun,
As we talked some more about you and where you used to run.
Now although we cannot touch you, since you’re resting in the box,
The fact that you’re now with us helps, the pain it often blocks.
As you are in our hearts and always on our mind,
The memories we will cherish and the fur we’ll often find.
We’re watching and just hoping, that when you’re ready and in time
You’ll show you’re thinking of us and then send to us a sign.
So I will look for butterflies and feathers on the breeze,
And look out for you to smile at me and bless me when I sneeze.

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The Daily Post – Longing

Decay #6 Blessed with a great outlook

IMG_1522

On Bank Holiday Monday I spent the afternoon with my sister.  We chilled out at home talking about all kinds of things then ventured out in the car to a nearby river.  It is lovely how a quick trip to water brightens the day.

She has recently bought a car and I am enjoying the afternoons where we can go out and see some of the great countryside which surrounds us, where I get to show her the places she hasn’t seen before, which are right on our doorstep and she gets to practice her driving.  It makes a change not to be the driver. More importantly, we also get to be sisters again, when we are out on our own and just be ourselves.  We were talking about location shoots since she is after some new promotional pictures for her work and I tried to think of places which were a little out of the ordinary.

I thought of just the place and took her along the river. It was threatening rain all afternoon, so we went over there early evening for an hour or so, despite the slightly grey evening, we messed around with our cameras and I came away Happy with a load of new shots and making new memories as she put it.  Although I will not be the photographer for her promo shots, I also got some nice ones of her.

I decided that I would add some more images, bit by bit to the series called Decay, which I have photographed over a period of time.  So, here goes…

 

Look Up

sidewalk

Image used with Kind Permission, Kristin Granger – Gratitude in All. 

As my morning browsing took a new turn , I saw this image. It reminded me of how things used to be, when younger we were encouraged to look away and not look others in the eyes. Whenever we walked together his eyes averted to the floor, as to cause no conflict with others, not meeting their gaze as they passed, in case they might think badly of him. (I never asked for what, afraid of what darkness might come from his mind) He missed out on what was around him for so long, became sad, withdrawn and introverted, or was he always that way.  It is one of the reasons why I rebelled and have something to say to him now “Yes, Look up see it and smile.  Relish in the beauty that surrounds you before it is gone.”

Gratitude in All – Facebook

 

Welcome Back

I have missed your kisses.
The taste of you as you kiss me,
The pressure of your mouth upon mine.
Exploring me as you look into my eyes.
Reaching for me in that all enveloping make you feel loved and safe, nothing else matters moment.
I have missed the closeness, of your head resting against mine, being hand in hand and the curl of your hair, soft under my fingers.
Sickness had placed a distance between us, a cruel infection that neither had wanted the other to share, but inadvertently done so, making us sad, erratic and ill. Although a temporary setback we have been together all along, but that something has been missing, the closeness and we were somehow detached.

You are still here, I am still here, Let‘s celebrate.
Yesterday I stole my first kiss from you in ages and whispered “Welcome Back”
Although I had not even meant to do so it came so naturally, It made us both smile. I ran my fingers through your hair and sat cuddled up close to you, hand in hand and happy. We are Home, we are together.

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.