Socialising on Sunday

I have written before about some poems I have read that see that seemed to have been written just for me. This poem by James Rainsford is a particular one:

“Please put down that book you’re reading now
and gently close its pages.
So no harm shall come to damage its cold thoughts.
Look up.  Please, look up and see
what little there is left of me where you felt loved.

© James Rainsford – Author, poet, photographer.

I often think about that poem and hear my late husband’s voice each time.  How many times did I hear words like that in the 41 years we were together?  

Today, I had lunch with friends in their garden on a lovely summer Sunday.  I commented on how good the garden was looking. 18 months ago there was no garden when they moved into their new house, just hard-packed earth, mostly clay,  that had been compounded by the trucks during building, and delivery vans once they took possession.

These people have a good life and share many things but not a love of gardening and the comment was made by the wife that her husband spent much of the day engrossed in a book.  Her complaint was that while she was working in the garden (which she loved) she would often call him to come and look at a particular plant. 

He doesn’t always respond by putting down the book.

Many of my friends, all avid readers, have been guilty of ignoring calls to put down that book.  Think about it. I know there were many times when the call disturbed my concentration. I didn’t care about the rugby game playing out on the TV.  Now, I wish  had read the poem while my husband was still alive.  I hope I would have heeded the call. 

Thank you, James, for permitting me to reprint your poem on my blog Growing Younger Each Day 12 years ago. 

JB Wellington, NZ
January 22, 2023

On This Day

On this day, 65 years ago I married my DYS (Dashing Young Scotsman).

Sunday, November 17 was a cold, foggy day in 1957.  All those years ago and I was a naive young girl sitting painting my nails and talking to my family.  Excited, yes and somewhat scared at what I was getting myself into. what I was about to do.

Wedding photo
 Our wedding 1957

This was the day I was going to marry my Dashing Young Scotsman.  Oh so many years ago.

I clearly remember sitting in the car on the way to the church with my own, supportive Dad who asked me again was I sure that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with the young man waiting at the church.  He told me that there was still time to change my mind.  Of course, I was sure and no I didn’t change my mind.

And the Dashing Young Scotsman became the son my Father didn’t have, his own son having died as a small baby many years before..  My parents loved him as did my sisters.

So on this day 65 years ago, I married my soulmate and for the next 41 years, we celebrated the fact that we had found each other.

What a long time ago, no doubt before many of you were born, but what a glorious day it was for me.  And how glad I am that I didn’t change my mind on the way to the church.

“Circumstances or people can take away your material possessions,
they can take away your money,
and they can take away your health.
But no one can ever take away your precious memories.”
Judith Baxter, Blogger, Mother, Grandmother, Friend


When it comes to women of a certain age I hesitate to use the word

OLD. Old posts. Old stories. Old posts. JB remains in that most exotic location, Bali, so here is a treasure from September 2017 she titled ON THIS DAY

I have just been going down memory lane.  I found a box full of letters to and from my Dashing Young Scotsman before and shortly after we were married.  At that time my DYS was a chauffeur for a car rental company and he was away from home for weeks at a time.  In case you don’t remember or are too young to know, in 1957 many Americans came to the UK and then from there, they toured Europe.  Self-drive cars were around but many preferred to be driven.

I was delighted to find these letters from 60 years ago – yes I am that old, particularly as I don’t keep letters, cards etc for any length of time.

So having read one dated 18 September 1957 I decided to look at my earlier blog posts to see what I was thinking and/or doing at that time.

This blogging journey started on March 1, 2011, so the first stop was 18 September 2011.

On that day I talked about My September Years and reminisced about the great life I had lived up until that day.

18 September 2012 I continued the story with Yet More on the Bonnets.  If you were following my blog then you might remember that Sallyann at Photographic Memories found some bonnets sitting in the back of a disused taxi and suggested that I might write a story on this.  Well, I did.  I hope you enjoy it.

18 September 2013 found me in Oxford with my sister visiting with my blogging pal, Sallyann of Photographic Memories fame.  We had a great day and as Sallyann lived in Oxford then, we saw many things not usually seen by tourists.  A great day was had by all and it was particularly memorable because I met a blogging pal In Real Life.

18 September 2014 I was working through Writing 101 and on this day the challenge was to write about loss.  I chose to talk about Miss Lotte my small Tibetan Spaniel and my faithful companion.  Unfortunately, Miss Lotte’s life was short but sweet and I still miss her.

18 September 2015.  This was a particularly hard time for me as my late love, The Architect had died a month before.  So there was only one post in September that year – Missing You.  Oh, how raw were the feelings at that time and how unfair I thought it was that our lovely partnership was cut short.

18 September 2016.  There were few posts in September that year.  I was recovering from my latest adventure aka accident and the closest post to this date is Words and More Words.  The theme is obvious from the title, and I talked about Elizabeth George a favourite author, an appointment card to visit an Otolaryngologist and other meanderings in this ancient mind.

So now to today, 18 September 2017.  What thoughts are going around in my mind?  I have had a pleasant but short interaction with my No 3 grandson.  Oh, how I love to talk with these young men.  He is very solicitous of his Granma and always happy to help in any way. Today he moved plant pots around for me.  Yes, I could have done this myself, but he brought them down the outside stairs and placed them along the front of the hedge.  Now all I have to do is buy plants for them. So a visit later today to my favourite store aka the garden centre.


Today the sun is shining brightly and all the doors and windows are open.  This follows torrential rain and wind yesterday and we learn that rain, thunderstorms, high winds, and snow are on the cards for many over the next 24 hours in the South Island.  I hope Grandson No 4 is safe and warm in Christchurch.

Rain and snow

We also hear that air travel is disrupted in Auckland as the Airport will be affected after a fuel pipeline from a refinery in Northland was temporarily shut-down.  Auckland is our busiest airport and Airport chief executive Adrian Littlewood said some 27 domestic and international flights were cancelled over the weekend.  So I suggest there are many disgruntled/unhappy travellers.

We read that former Napier City Councillor Peter Beckett has been found guilty of the first-degree murder of his Canadian wife following a jury trial in Canada.  Guilty of drowning his wife, Laura Letts-Beckett, on Upper Arrow Lake in August 2010 and was handed an automatic life sentence with a minimum non-parole period of 25 years.

And the good news?  A Catholic priest held hostage for almost four months in the besieged southern city of Marawi has been rescued hours after a deadly battle between Philippine soldiers and Islamic State-allied militants.   Father Teresito “Chito” Soganub was found abandoned with another hostage near a mosque early Sunday, one of three militant strongholds that have fallen to government forces over the past several days.Father Soganub had been held captive since militants attacked his Saint Mary’s Parish during the siege of Marawi on May 23.

So enough meandering on this Monday.  I hope you all have had a pleasant weekend and are looking forward to this new week.


My Father’s Hands

Firstly a big thank you to all those who read, liked or commented on my Fathers’ Day post. Yes, a special man to be celebrated every day even though he is no longer here in body he is always in my mind.

So another tale of this man. Way back in 2013 I wrote about his hands. I would like to share that post here today.

 “I have said before that I read and use Judy Reeves’s “A Creative Writer’s Kit”  As part of this kit there is a book called ‘Prompts and Practices”.  Each day of the year has a suggestion for what to write.  And today’s was “Write about your father’s hands”.

Well if you have been reading or following me for a while now you will know that I consider myself the luckiest person alive in that my father was a fabulous person.    I wrote about him in September last year – Memories of My Father. He was a special man.

But now his hands.  These were the strong hands of a working man.  He had been a cabinetmaker all his life and so his hands were rough to the touch and scarred from using and being nicked by his tools.  The hands were strong and capable.  Apart from being a master craftsman, he was a virtual jack of all trades.  He it was who reupholstered the couch when it needed to be done; he decorated the apartment and then our house, he fixed leaking pipes and he fixed his daughters’ lives when any of his girls were unhappy.

On my wedding day, those were the hands that held mine in the car on the way to the church and those were the hands that passed me over into the care of my DYS (dashing young Scotsman).

Those were the hands that lovingly cradled his first grandchild the day she was born.  Those hands went on to cradle each of the other grandchildren in turn.

Those were the hands that helped a small boy build with Meccano pieces and on a later visit showed that small boy how to use some of his tools.

Those were the hands that picked up small people when they had mishaps with their tricycles.

The nails were short and bluntly cut.  I remember when I was visiting him in London late in his life that I offered to do his nails for him.  He agreed and so the next day when I went to see him I took my manicure things with me.  Of course, I had no intention of giving him a manicure, it was just to get a laugh out of him.  He took one look at all the implements and said: “Just cut the nail straight across”.  However, he did enjoy my applying hand cream.

So my memories of my father’s hands are many.  He was a good man and his hands feature in many of my memories of him.

Sadly he is no longer with us and is sorely missed by his three daughters and their families.  At his funeral, they played “Unforgettable” and that certainly sums up my father.” April 08, 2013

And Daddy – “Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world, which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime, and falling in at night. I miss you like hell.” Edna St Vincent Millay.  American lyrical poet and playwright. 1892 – 1950.

JB September 6, 2022
Wellington, New Zealand

When you’re feeling blue

I am a big fan of rose-coloured glasses. I prefer to call it an optimistic POV.

I am also a big fan of positive memories from which I believe we find inspiration when times are low.

My grandsons are growing up, as I may have mentioned one or two or a million times.

I had gotten to thinking about mortality lately. Mine, specifically, and I asked myself what words of wisdom I would leave for them, and pretty much came to the conclusion I had no wisdom to impart. At least, none I could think of in the moment.

Then I came up with an idea.

So I had a few photos mounted on a light board they could hang on a wall. Wrote the blurb below and mailed off the package to them today.

With the note below

I hope you will hang this on your wall,

And when you are feeling down,

And life is hard, as it often is

Look at the pictures for a moment or two

Look at the pure joy,

Close your eyes,

And remember how it felt

And breathe

And for a moment

Let that pure joy

Lift you up and make you strong,

I will love you always and unconditionally


So, from North of 43, I hope if your day is low you can conjure up a memory or look at a picture of a blissful time and remember how it felt. It works.

Chris G July 20th ’22

In my Park 11 years ago

Yesterday JB told us about age catching up, reminding us. Funniest thing. i found myself in the same position, bereft of energy,, and like her having to recuperate for a couple of days.

So, I spent yesterday and today, reading, writing, and remembering. Days when I was loved and treasured by two wee boys who thought Grandma was pretty special.

They are busy growing up now. Teenagers. Too sophisticated to adore anyone with the purity of the child. As it should be.

This little piece from eleven years ago reminds me of joyous days with G1 and G2.

It’s a wonderful thing when a three year old finds his voice and language; words, sentences and phrases flow – nonstop; and his brother has reached a level of sophistication where he assists, guides and helps direct the care of the whirling dervish nuclear explosion his sibling has become. Three is an age of pure energy, pure articulation, and pure delight if one has the wherewithal to withstand all this purity of motion and sound.
G1 who turns eight this weekend plays a mean game of Eye Spy and it was thrilling to find out not all youthful pleasures include iPodsiPads, and Nintendo although they were certainly part of the journey. Eight is also an age of deductive thinking and ability to reason with a healthy dose of imagination, bringing refreshment and delight.
The day started out when I picked the boys up in Hamilton loading the chariot of blue up with bathing suits, water bottles, towels, toys, snacks and sun screen. Once we returned to Kitchener it was off to Victoria Park. Promising to introduce the boys to Queen V and her great iron lion lying at her feet on the marble pedestal we parked and approached. The intent was to share my childhood park with them and to get them used to the idea of Royalty since The Queen of Hamilton will be setting up residence in their city in a few short weeks.
Ducks, fish and Queen were bid adieu and it was off to lunch. I decided a trip to our local Waterloo International Airport for eats at the Runway Cafe was in order. There we could sit at a round table and watch planes through a wall of glass take off, land, get serviced all within a few feet of our table, accompanied by a squadron of model planes hanging from the ceiling.

The excitement was incredible and of equal interest to both ages. The best moment was when a large military supply plane landed dressed in gray steel and promptly declared by G1 as a bomber.
G2 picked at lunch too energized to eat and G2 ate all declaring he was in a growth spurt, then it was off to Grandma’s house for a swim in the pool and after an hour of splashing and jumping then almost as much time in the tub.
Children safely home by 7 and grandma in bed by 11 for a sound night’s sleep.  Whew!

They don’t remember these things. But they don’t need to. They are busy building their own memories. As it should be.

Chris G July 5th ’22

Genetic Traditions

Probably a silly title as genetics can only be by tradition. Hmm now I wonder if that makes sense at all. But I know what I mean.

This is the time of year we talk a lot about tradition and reminisce about traditions of the past. These can be filled with comfort, sadness, longing, or joy.

Yesterday I visited with 3 of the 4 most important men in my life and then I came across this:

My two sons. Taken about 40 years ago. Eldest is what we call a Strawberry Blonde, though the light here makes him look redder. The youngest who was about 6 at the time is a darker auburn red.

And I looked back at G1 & G2:

Now this was taken about 10 or 11 years ago *I won’t post current photos of them or anyone without permission, but G1, the eldest, is the same Strawberry Blonde and G2 is the same Auburn. Lighting may make this not quite clear.

There are actually a lot of redheads on both sides of the family but honest to goodness it’s natural that this septuagenarian calls each by the other!

Did you think for one moment this post would be about grandmas calling children and grandchildren by each others’ names? No I did not either but that is where we ended up.

Y’all have a lovely day. Cold and sunny here at North of 43. **But after tomorrow the days start getting longer!! That means Spring is just around the corner!

Chris G Monday Dec. 20th ’21

It’s a Ducks in a Row Kind of Day

Two minutes short of noon here a 43 Latitude N on Tuesday November 30th, 2021. For my down under friend JB in New Zealand it is Wednesday December 1st and only 6 a.m. so she is hopefully still in dreamland.

You know I only mention this not for your benefit, but mine. I won’t tell you the fun we had working out a ’posting’ schedule, as we have sworn each other to secrecy on that bit of foolishness.

Free range

It’s a ducks in a row kind of day, sort of.

Okay my Ducks are actually Ducts and I had to wait for the Duct Cleaners to arrive before I could head out – possibly to shop.

I’ve feel a bit of lethargy about Christmas shopping this year. So today I felt the desire to shop or at least look. But of course had to wait for the cleaners.

And it turned out to be an eventful enough day so far: some good news, some good memories for those gone before at this time of year but still missed (the time for mourning has passed as it should, and what remains are the memories), and some good plans made.

Oh! and the Stuart Danker post today is awesome so if you get a chance do pop over.

Now, ducts done, plans made, memories honoured, and the snow has stopped, so I am off to see what mischief I can get into in the outside world’

Enjoy your day and drop me a line if you get the chance!

Chris G