Archive for March, 2010

Mother’s Day!

Am I blessed or what? The one thing I love about Mother’s day is that I will speak or hear from each one of children on the same day…. So what, I hear you say, it’s Mother’s Day! I will allow myself a smile… it is in the uk but in Florida, and Switzerland and Spain, it isn’t. Yet each of my children has sent a card, spoken to me or visited. What a fantastic day. I have greetings from my cousins lad and from my daughter’s Spanish in laws… because I am family. How special does that make me?!

Personally I think that Mother’s day has become far too commercialised, I mean, cards for Grandparents , to my wife, etc… why? I say to my children all the time. I love you and if you need to say or do something, call me, email me, make me a card but do not spend any money on me unless you feel you have to. I was blessed with flowers, wine, a rose for my garden, all fantastic gifts but none so important as speaking to each of my children and hearing about what they are up to in their lives and how my grandchildren are doing

Today I spoke to each one of my children and that made me the happiest Mum on this planet. They all have busy lives and all live across the UK and the world. What better than connecting them all on one day. Best of all they all asked me to pass on their love for their siblings.

I am a proud Mummy, and despite everything that fought against me in this life, I have eight wonderful, caring and thoughtful children. Each with a good, honest heart.I am indeed very proud of each one of them. I must have instilled something fantastic in each of them despite my struggles and none of them have let me down….

I love you all, David, Simon, Samantha, Scott, Laura, Ed, Suzi and Tabby…xxxxxxxx

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Inner thoughts

How hard it is to be a person in this world? How easy a statement to make, yet, if each of us were to bear our soul, how many pains would we reveal? Tonight I watched Lee Evans on TV, now TV isn’t my personal choice of entertainment, I call it the idiot box. Well it is true, isn’t it? They perform, we watch… but if the box in on no matter what garbage is on there, we watch. It compells us, draws us in and obliterates original thought or experience. That is society today but I like to think I still have original thought. Tonight as I watched the TV, at the end of the show Lee concluded the show with a fantastic tribute to his father, I have to confess, I was in tears. Why because I haven’t had that experience in my life. I don’t have a parent to look up to and it made me so sad and start to wonder, if only…..

It also made me  wonder what sort of a parent I might have been. I like to think I broke the mould and protected my children as best as I could. I am proud of myself in one way, at least my children are able to confront me, or should I say come to me and talk about the things they were unhappy with and we were able to talk it through and resolve it… No matter how much it hurt me, I felt it important to listenand acknowledge their hurt or pain. All I could do was to apologise for the way I was/ handled things. I felt helpless they were so right. I wish I had been a stronger mum, wish I could have been able to put their needs before mine, or at least come to a comfortable compromise. My trouble was I never had anything to compare with, no good parenting, no loving, no constructive discipline, no security, nothing that gave me a solid grounding upon which to become a good parent myself. I was so in need of love myself that I found it hard to split my own needs with theirs, even though I thought did my best, it wasn’t enough at times.

One of my daughters once said to me how could  have so many children knowing I couldn’t support them… my answer I could’nt tell her… like so many people.. until you walk a mile in my shoes…. I never knew how to be a good mother/parent because my life was such that at ten years old, I was the parent to my four younger brothers… nobody taught me and I have made many mistakes…. however it is only now as I am nearing sixty, I can reflect on everything I have done in my life…. I have so many regrets, especially those that have been pointed out to me by my children… How wonderful are they.. they show me that at least I have done some thing good in that they can speak to me and talk about the unhappinesses in their lives. Oh how I wish  had parents like that.

I think I had so many children because I just loved being a parent, loved being a mother, maybe even I hoped I could be the mother I wished I always had. You know, the one your friends always had… One thing I know, I did my best with the knowledge I had at the time and beyond everything else, I loved my children more than anything.  We has some great adventures, some fun times, some great country experiences.  There are things I have shared with each child that the others know nothing about. My kids call me the ‘keeper of all secrets’ and yes that is true. Maybe that is the secret of being a good mummy… never betraying the confidences of each child. At the end of the day none of us know how to be a good parent, no matter what we do, we are criticised. I t is the natural path of events, it has to be and at the end of the day our children need to be able to express themselves and become the people they need to be and also, at the end of the day it is the natural progession of life that we, as parents, will never be as knowledgeable as our children.

This brings me back to the unaswerable question about parenting. How can we be good parents if we never had an example, a good example to compare to. I had only dreams and to some extent I upheld my dreams but these were only things that were fed to me through life experience and mostly because they were thing  dreamed of for myself.. My wonderful grandparents gave me the most securityI had in my childhood and to this day I revere them for all they gave to me, I feel sad I was unable to express to them the gratitude for the security  and love they showed at the time because of my immaturity. I hope in spirit they will know…

Today, I am proud of the adults my children have become. I believe that each of us have life experiences according to our needs in order to ‘grow’ and I am so proud of each one of them. I have learned never to judge, my thoughts are not theirs but the hardest thing ever is to see the torments and  pain of life… the hardest lesson I learned was that we can never cry their tears…. though I have cried for each one of my children, they will never know….and I have born the pain of ‘what if’. Could I have done things differently? Could I have interfered? Should I have?

My biggest pain is that I know one of my children will never ‘make old bones’ as they say… Hard words, but not words spoken without tears. I will write in a further blog about this wonderful son of mine who , even though a lot of people would dismiss as a bum, as a drunk, is actually a wonderful person who could teach the world many things.

Can you imagine an acoholic and drug addict… ok so your image is someone who is also the thief, burglar, a bad person…. so many other things that TV shows you.. that is my son. Can you imagine the pain. My son is the most wonderful person you can imagine… for all his troubles, despite all the help we have given him, he has remained in the place he needed to be. Yet in that place he has supported and helped so many people. He has never been in trouble, has no criminal record and owes nobody anything and declares he is happy and that is no-ones fault but his own because he made his decisions… Should  I happy? he wants that so much yet I am here at this moment knowing my lovely son is closer to the end of his life at 38 than the beginning, because of his choices.  We all love him, yet none of us has been able to to help him out of this place….

The best writing is tied up at the end with the beginning and here I conclude, ‘how hard it is to be a person in this world!’ Consequences, things that happen because…. most of us never think about it but always in the back of my mind is my part in the consequence of events in the wheel of life, the life that each of my children have made for themselves.

Forgive me for my publishing of my inner thoughts… probably nothing, a few glasses of wine that releases them… but maybe some of these feelings might just touch other people who are holding onto thoughts that keep them in a place that they too could escape from if they shared them with others who understand… xxx

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A successful day!

So just what does make a succesful day? to a scientist it must be a major breakthrough, to an artist… the completion of a major work, to a mother maybe the end of a lovely day and the children are asleep in their beds… so many successes. I could go on but I won’t because for me my successes are very small and maybe insignificant.

Today I completed the proof reading and correction of a film script draft for an ex student of mine. She is Turkish yet writes in English, to me an unsurmountable problem because languages are not my thing, just like maths… a closed book, thanks to bad teaching in the fifties. Her script was funny and a brilliant capture of European life in comedy and its only flaw is her understanding of the English Language at a colloquial and common level, which is where I came in as her proof reader.

 It took two whole days, meaning a minimum of fourteen hours, to correct her ‘English’. But to me it was more than just a lot of rephrasing and changing grammar and spelling, it was giving a dedicated writer the opportunity to get out there and show her talent. It might seem harsh to those like myself, who are aspiring writers yet don’t have’ the bottle to get out there and do it’ but I like to take a different angle on it. So many of seek glory and recognition, few attain that status. Maybe a famous film star, scientist, artist… personally, I believe it is who you know not what talent or what you know. Yet I believe that in this world we all have our place, our purpose in life. Whether our dreams come to fruition, I believe, it is in fate’s hands and at every level we are silent heroes.

 My daughter always says ‘ your happiness and success is your own hands’ and she has the strength of character to go out and get it. I never did. My childhood crushed whatever aspirations I had and it is difficult to retrain the habits of childhood. My children will never understand who I am and why I did things the way I did because I am only just understanding them myself. Maybe too late to make a difference in my children’s lives, but I do believe that everything we go through in this life is a learning curve. We all need to learn so much , it isn’t the things we learn that is important as much as what we do with the things we do learn in this life.

My dreams as a chld were to be an actress, a singer a performer ,later to be a good mother, to make changes to the way i was brought up by becoming a better parent with my own children, then to be an artist, a writer… nowadays I aspire to be a good partner, grandmother, mother, friend and teacher. Always seeking that something special, always wanting that heroship.

I have come to the conclusion that the secret of happiness is that of other people… Imagine if everyone thought that way and gave everything they had to enhance others. what a wonderful world this would be. It doesn’t matter what my dreams and aspiration are, my successes lie in the  happiness of those around me. No one sees it, knows it, maybe even notices it, but each time someone says thank you or acknowledges your friendship, it is a success. It maybe nothing but your own acknowledgement of something someone has achieved because of your support, advice or friendship, the thing is we need to take stock of our feelings and forget self and acknowledge the important part we played in that person’s life progression.

 Such a hard role to play, yet it is these roles that make is heroes. Unsung, yes I agree, but who actually counts the acts of heroism each one of us plays every day? We shall never know how much a smile made a difference to the passing stranger, the helping hand to an elderly person, a kind word…. I could go on… I believe that what is important is life itself, giving and loving.

I might well say I have done so much, written so much, yet it is all insignificant in the wake of what we do for others. I hope my student is really successful because she has something special, get up and get out there… something I never had, yet here Iam standing in her shadow, supporting her dream and I believe that is my role in life. Little as my efforts might be, I am the rock that they stand on to reach the goals they seek…

Is that not success? I think it is. So let us not seek heroism, success in material or public acknowledgement but watch carefully the success of others because of our involvement, even for a fleeting moment, in their lives. Now that is real success and something we might never know about is nothing short of heroism in the thoughts of others..

Today,  achieved everything I set out to achieve, success! my list was filled! but maybe my daughter had a good day because I said that to her and gave her my love before she left for work, Harry was able to carry out his long arduous day because I said ‘I love you, have a good day ‘ before he left, my older daughter felt loved because I told her ‘I love you’, my son felt comforted because I gave him my blessing on a decision he had to make. Maybe my student will become a published screen writer.  Maybe, just maybe, these are the successes I should be counting, we should all be counting. Those little things we do that we don’t even notice might just mean the world to someone else… Now that is success!

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bobbins and lace

Well not really bobbins and lace, just the bits and pieces I was talking about yesterday. I thought I would take the opportunity in between jobs to take some pictures and get them put onto my blog before the day gets over run with other things that seem to take priority. Proofreading work finished until the final draft, phone calls made, letters written, housework well maybe some ironing later the rest can wait till tomorrow, some art work to complete today… only the ironing and the art work still to do and it is still only 10.30 ish, doing well so far.

The bobbins I have here are a mixture of wooden ones at the top and some plastic  ‘kit bobbins’ which aren’t the best but still do thejob. Here you can see the results of my efforts and try to imagine the fun I had making up the completed bobbins.

spangled bobbins

 The bobbins at the top are largely wooden and you can see immediately the difference in quality. These are threaded ready for use. It is just so relaxing roganising and threading glass beads into sets, pair by pair and so satisfying to see the end product, almost as satisfying as doing the lacemaking by itself.

This next picture shows bobbins secured by ribbon on the beginning of a piece of work.

 If it works out it will hopefully be a bookmark. You can see the blue pattern, each dot pricked out ready to work as I wrote about yesterday. There is something soothing about sitting doing mindless, no not mindless, well things that need no thought, then I suppose there are many things like that. Most hobbies in fact take little need for serious thought, Painting, gardening, knitting, crochet, cross stitch. It is nice to do such things to relax, let your mind wander aimlessly in total relaxation. Which is why I guess we have hobbies.  Speaking of cross stitch the next picture is of the little pin cushion I made in cross stitch years ago. Victorian pin cushion in cross stitch Just another of my many hobbies.

 It is rather nice when I can produce something that is useful. This one has been shut away gathering dust until now.

The final picture is one of my little workbox, my beginners kit, and sort of demonstrates my need for tidness and order in my life. I was chatting to a friend yesterday and she made me realise where it all came from. My childhood home was sadly lacking in cleanliness, tidiness or any home comforts really so as an adult it has become important to me. Like my box, I like my home to have everything in its place, now I know this might sound sad but I get a lot of pleasure from organising my little box, here I have the control, whereas in our home the space is shared with my family who are not always as tidy as I am.

my beginners workbox

It sounds awful but I can reassure you that my house is always clean but less often tidy. I love when I am on my own and everyone is at work, then I can busy myself and return our little home to its tidy and neat state again, I get such a buzz when it is all done. Tidy house, tidy mind. I so agree with that. Well it works for a while until everyone comes home again. I guess I am blessed with Harry, as an ex submariner, he is no stranger to tidiness. My kids laugh at me and call me a neat freak as they mess it all up but I smile and know that as soon as they have gone to their own untidy places I shall tidy mine up all over again. You don’t think I aught to get out more, do you?

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Back to childhood.

I wrote before about going to learn to make lace again and I had forgotten how , I wouldn’t say simple, but easy it was to pick up again. I have had two lessons so far and am embarking on a bookmark at the moment. Sitting for too long is a trial for me  but I can do this in short bursts and still have a great deal of satisfaction in what I have done. I don’t want to talk about lace making though, lovely as it is, more about all the bits you need to go with it.

I have a lovely set of wooden bobbins turned by a gentleman who did woodturning as a hobby. He was the caretaker of the school we lived and worked at and unfortunately is long gone to his maker. The bobbins are beautiful to work with, smooth, heavy and I think there is always something wonderful about wood, especially when turned in such wonderful wood as ebony, tigerwood or cherry. They are more wonderful knowing they were turned especially for me. When making lace the bobbins need to stay in the correct place and not roll around so that is where the spangling comes in. Sounds wonderful doesn’t it? All it means is that a little circle of beads are connected to the bottom of the bobbin to stop them rolling around during lacemaking.

My bobbins needed a small hole drilled in the bobbly bit at the end and I had no way of doing it nor knew anyone who could do it so bless Harry he went out and bought a miniature drill kit, just make these holes.  What should have been a simple little job cost a hundred pounds worth of equipment because the manufacturers seem to be able to make sure the exact piece you need just happens to need a connector not included in the kit. Anyway Harry drilled these tiny holes for me and all I had to do was thread them with beads.

 I had long lost all my beads so what better an excuse to buy some more? I ordered some pretty glass beads one late afternoon which amazed me by arriving early the following morning. I spent the next few evenings making the spangles and wiring them onto the bobbins. It was so satisfying watching the little pieces of wood transform into beautiful workable tools. It reminded me of the little beads, or precious stones as we called them, of my childhood. I think there is a collector in all of us but I seem to be more of a squirrel than anyone I know. Having also bought all the little pliers and so forth to make them I decided to respangle every one, I think it was about fifty or so… I must post some pictures, sticky note to remind me for tomorrow…

So now having collected all the bits and pieces my collecting turned to the prickings or patterns. I brought a book from the library and set about making my own. Thin card, sticky back plastic and many hours pricking hundreds of holes in little lengths of plastic coated card. A trip to Hobbycraft was such a good idea… I managed to get the special pins and some thread too, oh and a box to keep it all in. I already had ribbon and the lady teaching me has lent me a pillow. But that is my next task. I am going to try and make myself a lace pillow by squashing an old feather pillow into a tight sausage and fastening and covering it.  There is of course many other little things to be collected that make this hobby more interesting, bobbin winders, patterns, new bobbins… they can be a collectors item too and there are bobbins from all overe the world as well as antique ones to collect. Hmmm now there’s a thing.

Collecting all these bits and sorting them into little boxes takes me right back to my childhood and I hope if my granddaughter comes to stay, she might like to learn lacemaking too, or maybe patchwork or cross stitch. If not she is also an artist and we shall paint together which is really nice.

Even though I have many craft type hobbies I am also a neat freak and sorting beads and gathering bits into boxes fitted my desire to keep things in neat and tidy boxes. A bit like my mind I guess. Sewing things in the sewing box, lovingly made for my mother in law by my father in law out of an old oak radiogramme manyyears ago, knitting needles, crochet hooks in little cases, wool and knitting projects in the basket my only untidy place is my corner of the study. I suppose I do have rather a lot of stuff, my writing stuff and well I have favourite pens and pencils and my brushes must be kept in the right pots , art bits in their box, paints, canvases, easels where does it end? OK a job for when I can find a moment will be to reorder it all so I can at least fnd it.

I think my habit of collecting does come from my childhood, not because I was the same then but rather because I had a lack of things to collect. Being the eldest in a large poor family, personal possessions weren’t high on the priority of things so now as an adult I am able to indulge. It is really nice to produce hand crafted gifts for special people too. Whether they are appreciated or not, the love that goes into making and giving them satisfies something in me and I shall carry on unless I am told to stop. Who knows they might be heirlooms one day.  My plan for tomorrow then is to schedule the task of re-organising my workspace so that I can find things easily…. after I have made my lace pillow of course. I might even get round to doing some lacemaking.

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