Archive for February, 2011

Postaday2011: hidden talents

Well this is the first time I have been able to blog for three days. We have had a virus on the computers and although mine has been ok, we’ve not taken any chances. Thankfully we found a guy who could fix Harry’s computer and check mine for a reasonable price. So now I have some blogs to catch up.

Apart from computer problems the last few days has been absolutely manic. H has had a couple of days off and we have just been whisked off our feet with things to catch up with, family and household stuff like carpet cleaning and furniture moving and organising. Oh and my daughter’s scan. We are having another little grand daughter in the summer. Such a joy to spend time with Maica, trying to keep her amused and avoiding a tantrum while at the hospital, plus a long car journey for her. Her thoughts on telling Grampy that she was having a baby sister and what she was going to be called? ‘ I think it is Pinga!’ Ok so we are having a penguin….

As for hidden talents, that is one of those things that every single one of us could put our hand up to. Most of us have gifts we can talk about like writing, art, sewing and things like that but for me the hidden talents are those that are rarely spoken of. How many of us are happy to sit and chat to an elderly person at the bus stop or in a supermarket queue? That is such a talent and gives such a priceless gift to someone who might be lonely… How many of us support a charity or school, hospital or a cause that is close to our heart? For me those things that are done quietly and with love and sincerity are talents. Gifts that we are prepared to share, gifts that include love, caring, generosity, thoughtfulness and so on, are often hidden talents that are so very precious.

I guess my hidden talents have long gone, health problems have robbed me of many of my senses, like hearing and taste and smell but some time ago I used to sing. I sang at school, oh a million years ago, and as I got older I sang in the church choir. I have sung a wedding solo and at a christening, solo in churches but mostly I have loved choral singing. My most treasured moments were singing with the ‘Big Chorus’ at the Albert Hall in London. Verdi’s Requiem and Handell’s Messiah. I have also sung at parties and really enjoyed myself but these days my voice is not what it was and my hearing loss doesn’t help but many people do not know that I was once a singer. I class this as my hidden talent because it was one that I took the most joy in and one that I miss so very much. I sing at home some days when I am on my own and really enjoy it but I think my other talent, my favourite one, is the way I have all my memories stored neatly in little boxes. There for me when I need them, for me or to share, so that I can relive some of the most happy times of my life… but even my most treasured talents will never compare to those that give the little things in life, those priceless little gifts that make the sun shine for someone who needs it. That is real hidden talent!

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Postaday2011: What gets better with age?

This is a great topic and one I do feel qualified to answer being really ancient, well according to my children. I remember as a child asking my mother how old she was and when she replied thirty I was really overwhelmed at the age she was, thinking she was really old. Little did I know as a ten-year old.

When I was approaching thirty myself it was the most dreadful time of my life. I had swallowed the media hype that once you hit thirty you were over the hill. It happened and guess what? I didn’t feel any different. Well after a while I did, feel different… Suddenly everything seemed to fall into place and I sort of knew who I was and where I was going. It is difficult to describe and there were still many traumas and events to deal with after that but for a few months I had found myself.

As I got older that feeling never really left me and I gained a lot of strength and knowledge about myself. I still made loads of mistakes and because of a bad beginning in life, I had no good role models to guide me, my life was a learning curve all the way. However all the things I learned because of the pathway I chose changed me day by day. How I wished I had known what I knew with my last children when my older ones were younger and even moving on, how I could still have done things differently with the younger ones too.

Life is a continuum, nothing stays the same, we evolve as people, we learn and change as time passes. The thing that does make me smile is that even though we have so much more wisdom as we, and our children get older, they start to treat us as if we have no idea…sigh! So is it them that makes us slip into older age? Times are always changing and all the while we have that yearning to learn we will move with it. Childcare is one aspect that has changed so much. I was trained in childcare and worked with difficult children in my own home and in a boarding school for EBD boys, I was also trained in non directive play therapy and worked with an autistic child one to one. Nothing has really changed that much apart from the way it is now taught. I sit back and watch and say nothing as my children do amazing things with their children. It was new when I learned it but now, thankfully, it is naturally taught everywhere. I secretly pat myself on the back and smile, I hope it makes me a good Grandma.

I think confidence comes as we get older, we lose that need to go out and hit the town looking sensational. We still care but for different reasons, it is for ourselves now, not for what our mates , or what the opposite sex thinks. Our priorities change, especially as the children leave home… we need to build a different life that doesn’t revolve around their needs. We start thinking about doing things for charity, about helping others and far less about ourselves and I feel we become far more content.

One major change for me was becoming far more spiritual, the wider picture became more evident and I developed a calm deep inside myself. I began to question everything I learned and everything that I had experienced and found answers… and as many more questions.

So I guess the answer to what gets better as we get older… for me it is life and understanding of it. Where I am going and the fact that the goal is not important, it is more the journey, the people we meet and the things we learn on the way. Life is great as we get older… and I believe ‘ as man thinketh, so is he.’ so a positive attitude makes for a really great older age.

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Postaday2011: favourite activities outside blogging.

Where do I begin on this one? I am using this prompt which was for Reading week, merely because it relates to me more than the blogaday one.  It is a hard thing to write about because I just have so many activities and hobbies. As much as I love reading other blogs and writing my own, my day is full with so many other things. I used to sit on Facebook and chat to friends but it got to the point that it became trivial, if there was no one on there I was playing games and was slipping on the other things I liked to do. I’d check for messages, maybe reply to a few but I soon realised that actually nobody missed me if I wasn’t on there. Where is the connection with blogging? I can hear you ask. Well, it’s simple, none! There is little connection between Facebook and blogging apart from me learning to balance out my time.

I love writing, always have, I even have poems I wrote as a child, and at school I remember helping out other members of our English class when homework involved poetry, so writing has always been there in my life. I also love blogging. I have mentioned before  about just how dreadful I am at keeping a diary. My entries might last for a few weeks and then I would start slipping and miss some so I always ended up with a few entries in the front and one apologetic one at the end of the year. Silly thing is I would love to go back and see what I was thinking and feeling when I wrote them. I still do but it doesn’t help me become any good at journal keeping, so blogging and particularly ‘Blogaday’ has really encouraged me. Having other writers out there encouraging me has been brilliant and reading other blogs and admiring the tremendous talent out there is really fantastic. I could spend all day on here but I have to limit my time because I like to join my family in various activities too. So for me, although participating as much as I can, blogging isn’t a priority to me. As I have arthritis, everything I do takes a lot more time than it used to, so even sitting at my computer takes its toll on me.

My other activities include, painting, writing, housework, knitting, gardening, reading, music, crochet, all sewing and dressmaking, cooking, entertaining, did I mention housework? haahha I have so many hobbies and loads that I have trouble doing. Nature and nature walks used to be a big thing in my life so did my dog, but life moves on and now I stick to those I can do easily. Having such a large family, I am always busy. So I guess my other favourite activities and blog writing have to fight for time. I do my best always and keeping up with a blog every day has become so motivating for me so I guess my answer would be, I don’t have a favourite activity I just like being busy.

Here are a few pictures from today when I had Maica to entertain me while her Mummy did a photoshoot.

Having finished baking some delicious chocolate chip cookies, Maica insisted on washing up. I reckon she did a great job.

I think she liked the cookies so much she preferred them to her lunch..

Teddy had to watch while she did her painting too.

I only spent around 6 hours with her but I look back and wonder how I managed with eight children!! I am exhausted, but we had a really wonderful day. Maybe I am getting old and maybe I should be sticking to reading and writing on WordPress.

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Posta2011: A short story

The Dawning.  By Marie Fullerton                                     word count 1137

   Jan looked around the Bistro; little vases of white and yellow flowers in the centre of each table stood out against the pristine, green tablecloths. She had seen the same cream walls and dark wood beams in a small bar she had visited in France. The canopy above the window outside sheltered most of the diners from the glaring sun but on one small table in the window corner, the sunshine streamed in. Jan took her cup and sat down there. She allowed the sun to play on her face as she watched tiny particles of dust dancing in the light through the window. Her mind wandered aimlessly. Enjoying the break, she sipped her coffee slowly.

          “Hello Jan, this is a surprise.” Jan jumped at the familiar voice that had intruded into her thoughts and looked up to see Mark standing in the doorway; he held his arms wide as if to welcome her. She stood up and smiled weakly. He hadn’t changed, the same old Mark.

          “Mmm, not forgiven me yet I see?”

          “What do you expect?” She allowed her coldness to confirm his suspicions but her hands trembled as she watched him saunter across the floor and join her at the table.

          “Let me buy you a fresh coffee; this place is new, I’ve not seen it before?”

          “Yes, fairly new,” she smiled as she added, “ I hear the food’s good.”

A family with two small children came in noisily and joined another couple already seated at a large table at the back of the room.

          “Excuse me,” Mark twisted round on his chair and called the waitress without noticing them.

          “Two coffees and two Welsh Rarebits, please love.”

As she came across to take the order, Jan widened her eyes and looked directly at her over Mark’s shoulder, shaking her head with the smallest of movement, she fleetingly touched her lips with a forefinger.

Mark turned back round to face her.

“I can’t eat alone, you must eat with me.”

Jan checked her watch,  

 “I only have half an hour. I’m not hungry, a coffee will do fine.”

Ignoring her statement, he asked, “Now, what have you been up to?”

          “Since you walked out on me you mean?” she cut in coldly.

          “Ah, come on Jan, we agreed to a trial separation.”

He leaned across and picked a hair from her lapel and watched as it drifted to the floor. She was beginning to get irritable as she relived all the emotions that Mark had unleashed in her on his leaving. But then, she had done all right for herself. OK, she was still single but she liked it that way and she’d done a lot that she wouldn’t otherwise have done; she’d gone to college for instance.

          “So where did you go?” She asked out of curiosity.

“I was in Australia for two and a half years and then…”

“You mean you went … on your own!” Realising she had raised her voice, she dropped it again and whispered, “Why, after all our plans, why?”

 “I’m sorry, please forgive me?” Her heart leapt at a sudden thought.

Mark looked down and brushed imaginary dust from the tablecloth.

“I dunno, I guess it had all been getting too much, I, I really don’t know. I nearly wrote to you several times but, you know how it is!”

          “I do?”

          “Two Welsh Rarebit and two coffees.”

Jan smiled and nodded her head at the waitress. “ Thanks, Emma.”

          “Ah,” said Mark triumphantly, “still eating out I see, not learnt to cook yet then?”

          “Meaning precisely what?” His assumptions tangled in her stomach.

          “Well, you were always pretty hopeless at cooking, you have to admit it. Even that dog wouldn’t eat it, remember?”

Jan recalled the picnic; how the sun played on the river’s surface. A small dog that she had thrown a stick for had jumped in and scattered the sparkling water. They’d fed it a sandwich and Mark had given it some of her quiche. He’d cut a small piece and, unknown to her until they’d got back home, had smothered it in pepper before throwing it for the dog to catch. How he’d laughed as it ran away sneezing. He’d laughed for days afterward every time it came to mind, ‘it’s only a joke about your cooking.’ he’d said.

“Long time ago now, come on, eat up.”

He picked up his knife and sliced the toast in half, in half again and again until he had eight little slices on his plate, he then picked each piece up with his finger and thumb before eating them noisily. Jan watched and sipped her coffee in silence.

          “ Eat up.” He repeated.

“I did say I didn’t want anything.”

“ You didn’t mean it, come on, eat with me.” Mark was insistent.

“If you want it you have it, I’m not hungry.” She watched as he slid her slice onto his plate and proceeded with the cutting ritual as before.

          “ I went through Italy, had some really good food there. Mmm, love this.” He added and stuffed another slice into his mouth. 

The mocking voices of insufferable people echoed through Jan’s thoughts. The warm smell of toast materialized the tiny kitchen of their flat, friends sat around chatting, Mark’s friends. Geoff had said something and she turned to listen. The toast she was making for everyone caught fire under the grill. Someone laughed and from that point on it had been a standing joke. ‘Visiting Mark and Jan, we’d better bring a take-away.’ Mark had laughed too.

“Pity you never learned to cook, you never know, I might not have had to go so far for a decent meal.” Mark was laughing at his insinuation.

His voice scattered the images. Jan sighed.

          “Mark, look, I have to go, I’m sorry, I’m working.”

He finished the last slice of Jan’s Rarebit and felt in his coat for his wallet.

          “Oh damn! I’ve left my wallet…”

          “It’s OK, have this one on me, I owe you that much.” Jan got up and walked across to Emma, she whispered something and they laughed.  As she turned to leave, Mark held his arm out for her but she brushed him aside and chose instead to walk before him. Outside the door she turned.

          “When shall we meet again?” Asked Mark.

His arrogant, self assured face smiled at her and the knot in her stomach untied. Jan leant across, gently kissed his cheek and smiled back at him.

“Actually we won’t; I won’t, and by the way, I’m ok and doing very nicely, thank you for asking”.

Mark opened his mouth to speak. Jan gestured with her eyes to the sign above the door, held up her hands in front of her, winked, and walked back into her Bistro.

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Postaday2011:Deciding when a post is ready to publish?

As an aspiring writer I was taught to write, read, read out loud and re draft, many times , certainly no less than five, before a piece of work was to even be considered for publishing. However, writing a blog is such a different thing and I guess it depends on the reason for blogging in the first place. It is easy for me to get hooked into wanting loads of people to read my blog and comment. It is sort of warm comforting treat to know that people are out there and interested in what I might have to say. But then equally, I love to read other blogs and hear from people with similar interests too. Most of all, I love writing for writing’s sake. I write for me.

As I look over my blog entries, whether I write for a topic or something more personal, each piece of writing contains a little of me in it. Like writing a diary, which I am totally hopeless at keeping up by the way, it is so interesting to look back and see what I was thinking in the past. It sort of helps me to understand me a bit more and see how and what I have changed in my life. Reading back helps me to also see where I have come from and not to mention the little things that I write about that I might have otherwise forgotten as unimportant.

I always keep every little piece of writing I do, a note, a reminder, an idea and so forth and just reading those brings back the seconds when I first had those thoughts, where I was, what I was doing and who with. I think that is such a powerful and precious thing. Here are a few examples :

‘They entered, they stole, they wore gloves but they dropped something, it had a fingerprint. They entered my space, my time and destroyed my comfort, they invaded my life and left me insecure, fragile and unsafe.’      =My son had his flat broken into and I can see the smashed window and all the aluminium fingerprint powder over everything. I can remember where everything in that room was because it was attached to my son’s emotions.

‘I said I miss you, and I do. I don’t know where you are, where we are.’ = Before a broken relationship.

‘March 26 ’02 – Dusk is nearly upon the valley and the previously bright sky is darkening. Across the field a mist creeps over the ground and covers the countryside with a blanket of white as if to keep in the last of the heat from the day. Houses and trees emerge from the milkiness in shades of grey forming a pattern of lines. The sky turns from blue to grey and pink and compliments the mist. The whole world has been sapped of colour apart from the sky. Darkening blue and grey, the night slips silently across the heavens. Small bats flutter on leathery wings, they are awake too early in the year because even the crickets do not sing yet; the earth is still too cold.’   = Diary entry from our time in the village.

‘I swapped the white sparkle of a million stars for the coloured twinkles from artificial decorations on a Christmas tree.’ = first christmas after leaving the village.

‘What impression has each of my moments in the world meant??’ = a low moment in my life… long-winded way of saying what’s the point. haha.

‘Inside every woman there is passion and power.’ = Don’t remember writing this but I jotted it down when I was trying to get myself together again.

So, you see everything I write has a meaning from the smallest note, a single word in some cases or a short piece to help me never to forget. As such each piece is so important to my life. Some are just as they were written, some have been drafted but I treasure them all no matter how good or bad the grammar and spelling. They are part of my store cupboard for future writing ideas. The only thing I can see different between my blog entry and my writing notes is that others might read it. I do re read it and run the spell check on it before posting usually but sometimes I just post it as it came straight from my heart. The decision also depends on just how much time I have, especially if I have only been able to get to the computer late at night. One thing for sure though, every entry I write means something special to me and inside I always hope it gives something to who ever reads it too.

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Postaday2011: It’s in the genes!

Monday morning, I’d only a little laundry to do and cook a meal and the day was mine. Ok I could find some housework to do but hey, that’s boring. I prepared tonight’s meal and placed it in the slow cooker, job done. Laundry does itself and I can put it in the dryer when I go down for coffee so today is for me to do as I please. My brushes and easel call me. I must get the panoramic seascape finished, hence writing my blog early. I have another reason too. All the pictures on blogs on here are just so inspiring. I want to sketch and paint, I want to dig out my oil paints to try again, I want to do a million things all at once. I have included a few of my older pieces of art work, as much to inspire me as I hope to give enjoyment to other people.

I have long forgotten the wonderful smell of oil paintings and the sheer pleasure of creating a picture that both satisfies sight and smell. I wonder if other artists feel the same passion as they paint that I do. I also wonder about my sanity sometimes as I can feel really overwhelmed by a painting or even a beautiful piece of music. As I finish some of my own art work I feel so excited by the wonderful gift I have been given.

My daughter brought a little suit that she had made her three year old daughter over to show me, she had made it without a pattern. It made me think about the blueprint we all carry in our genes and I looked back to our ancestors. On both sides of my family there is such creativity, unfortunately I cannot trace my father’s family back very far to know who might have been an artist then but I have ‘met’ other members today of his family through Facebook, who are brilliant artists and writers. I know my grandfather could turn his hand to anything and was a fantastic craftsman. My brothers and cousins also have the same ability, I watch them as they transform their homes into show houses with such ease. A cousin builds his own motorbikes , another bakes amazing cakes and is incredibly artistic which she encourages her children to be too.

On my mother’s side, my great grandmother was a seamstress and a tailor in her own right. I am a reasonable needle woman and used to knit  crochet and sew clothes for my children. I have many craft hobbies too. I look at my daughters and am so proud that these little gifts have passed down to them.

 I wonder if procrastination was passed on too. I am expert at it, my writing, painting and well, in fact everything I do can be sidetracked so easily, a good book, a little piece of writing that isn’t what I should be doing or my favourite, just sorting through all the scraps of paper with notes on that seemed so profound that they inspired me. They are still in the box file and only a few of them have actually been used… As for the internet I won’t comment on that, Ah well. Now for that painting!

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Postaday2011:A fantastic weekend!

I have failed miserably to post for the last two days because I have had the most fabulous weekend and I have just run out of time and energy. However, I have a little time though not too much energy, plus a couple of glasses of wine, and I am posting now. I knew Saturday was going to be busy because we were visiting Harry’s family in Southampton during the day and going to friends in the evening for a meal. What a fantastic and busy day.. we did our visiting and crashed out for an hour before we drove to Emsworth for the evening. We had a really gorgeous meal and a brilliant time during the evening, thank you Kate and Graham, and arrived home around 1pm.

Sunday, nothing planned so we got up rather late and were having breakfast when the phone rang. Number three son said  ‘are you in this afternoon?’  ‘Er, yes, ‘ says I , ‘apart from popping down to see your sisters.’ ‘We’ll be coming over around 1pm.’  So the day was changed. Scott arrived on time with my youngest son Ed and instead of us going to the girls, they came to us. What a fantastic afternoon! Ed lives in Bristol and we don’t get to see him very often and he’s never met Millie, so I was blessed with four of my eight children and two grand daughters for a whole afternoon.

Rather than go on about it I will post some pictures but they in no way show just how much of a great afternoon we had or what smashing people they all are.

 This picture shows all of them posing for the camera. Each one of them brings their unique presence and love to our lives. I am so proud of them all. No matter where they all are or how far apart they live, when we get together it is like they have never been apart. Their love and caring for each other and the children makes me feel so very proud. I must have done something right along the way.

Ed is my youngest son. A very intelligent guy and such a brilliant juggler and dancer. He has used the discipline of both juggling and dancing to overcome

a lot of his health problems. He has multiple exostosis and other difficulties but through meditation and the exercises needed to dance, he has straightened his spine, balanced his body and I was so amazed to see he had grown taller. A short while ago he was on crutches! A very clever young man, he puts me to shame. He likes orange! I will post a video of his amazing dancing as soon as I can. So proud of his achievements so far.

 

Scott is often the kingpin and the joker of the family. He gives us such a laugh and here he is doing the same. Bunny ears for Millie is only one thing, I won’t share the other tricks he gets up to, bless him.

Here is Scott with my two youngest daughters Suzi and Tabby, plus Suzi’s Maica and Tabby’s Millie. They adore their older brother.

Finally the four of them, plus more bunny ears… thanks Scott! I know the other four, scattered between Hastings, Switzerland and Florida, David, Simon, Samantha and Laura, would love to be here with them all and my dream for my sixtieth birthday next year is to have my whole family together, all thirty-four of them, to help me celebrate.

I am a very blessed lady.

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