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
1938-

.

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Three am on Thursday

Chris has told you of the new regimen for posting in AWA, and Thursday is one of my chosen days to write.
I am one of those fortunate people who decide it’s time to turn out the light, do so and immediately fall asleep for many hours. So, on the very few occasions when I find myself awake in the middle of the night I am surprised. And then I have to think of something to send myself back to sleep. So here it is 3 o’clock on Thursday morning. I’m drinking camomile tea and writing my blog post.
So what to write about?
Here in New Zealand, we have large areas of geothermal activity. This is surely one of Mother Nature’s most spectacular tricks. It is scary, amazing, and totally mesmerising; these things don’t change no matter how often you see this activity.
I always make a point of taking overseas visitors to see it. 
I have said before that I enjoy writing to a theme or to a specified number of words. One thing I used to do was write to a theme in five sentences. Here’s a post from several years ago about the activity.

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She had loved Dante’s Inferno since first being presented a copy to read for English Literature classes so many years ago.  And now she wondered was this the closest she would get to Dante’s Inferno in this life?
She stood there, totally surrounded by mist, mesmerised by the sight of great gusts of steam emanating from the ground accompanied by the roar of a fast-approaching steam locomotive.
As she walked slowly past a pool that resembled a boiling cauldron she remembered reading that the indigenous people, the Maori, still used the heat from this activity for cooking and heating their houses as they had done for centuries.
On her return home on the other side of the world, she needed to have these photos as evidence that this was in fact real and not a figment of her very active imagination.

The word that week word was STEAM.  I thought as few people might have seen the
Geothermal activity producing clouds of steam, I would use this as the setting for my Five Sentence story this week.

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.

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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.

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Courage

“Believe in yourself. You are braver than you think, 
more talented than you know,
and capable of more than you imagine.” 
Roy T. Bennett, Author, Politician and

member of British South African Police
1957-2018

 I have spoken before about my amazement at how people, in particular women, handle and survive quite awful situations.

I have a reasonably new friend/acquaintance with whom I’ve become quite close. I knew she was divorced but knew little about her life before meeting her in our reasonably affluent
community. 

Recently she had a book published titled Notes from Inside.

A pseudonym to protect her family

The preface to the book starts “Domestic abuse, family harm. Now here’s the question: how do we put a fence at the top of a long-drop cliff rather than an ambulance at the bloodied bottom? She goes on to say that “This book is a journey, a slice of life memoir of shimmering images from my long resounding memory, now given hard edges into story”

She tells of a childhood, often happy but always overshadowed by her father, a bullying patriarch.  Then to married life in a fairly remote part of New Zealand with an abusive husband, several young children and little or no contact and/or help from anyone in the neighbourhood. She doesn’t dwell on the abuse, both physical and mental, but she does talk about how her mental health has been affected for many years since that time. 

This is certainly not an easy book to read. It takes us through various times of mental illness, lost loves, and broken families.  Unfortunately writing and publishing this book has caused an estrangement with her daughters which seems incapable of being mended.

The daughters feel that in telling this story, my friend has opened her family life to the world. And they feel that their lives will now become conversations for many people.

 I am now in awe of this woman; What she has been through and how she has come out the other end as a totally caring, helpful friend.

It’s a book well thought out, giving an honest depiction of her life up to this stage.  She still suffers from the hurt but with help, is coming to terms with what has happened. 

The dedication reads 
For my mother, Silvia. Mum, how I wish you’d lived much longer. I was only twenty-six when you died. There wasn’t enough time to absorb your wisdom, your laughter and your myriad skills. You told me of Saint Augustine, who said ‘Hope has two beautiful daughters – their names are Anger and Courage. Anger at the way things are, and Courage to see that they do not remain the way they are.’

JB October 6, 2022
Wellington, NZ

Not Forgetting!

I wrote this on Monday, and now it’s Friday, and wondered whether to share. it. Obviously, I decided to.

As a British subject, living on the other side of the world far from Queen and country, I have always been totally in awe of The Queen. I remember when we watched her marry her prince; when we learned of her accession to the throne; a day off from school for the coronation. So many memories over 70 years. And yes I am a Monarchist. But…

9/11 passed by here with hardly a murmur. 21 years and have we forgotten? There was little coverage in our news media, and I read no comments about the day on WordPress. Maybe there were posts on blogs I don’t read.

Most of the news here was about the Queen‘s passing. I agree she was a very good Monarch and somebody to look up to, but I wonder if we should be spending so much time on this 1 person’s death almost ignoring the 2996 who died because of 9/11. 

Just a Brit,  thinking on the other side of the world.

JB Wellington NZ
September 16, 2022

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

LOVE, YOUR GRANDMA AND GREATEST FAN

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

Aren’t Grandsons Wonderful

“I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?”
Piglet

9.00 pm and I realise it’s my turn to write a post. My son has just left after dinner. I love my daughter-in-law from heaven but how I love it when there are just the two of us.

We talked about the four grandsons, all growing into fine young men (no bias here, you understand) and some of my special times spent with them, without parents. I could go on about them but I really don’t want to bore you.

But I thought of one day 10 years ago when I had the strangest text conversation with Grandson No 3. I wrote a blog about it and will reproduce it here –

“Monday afternoon. 
Ping – a text arrived from my No 3 Grandson – “Do you by any chance have a set of poker chips.” Excuse me.  This from a 15-year-old to his then 74-year-old Grandmother.
I remember I did have something that might or might not be poker chips.  So after some consideration and much digging and hunting, I found what I was looking for.
Me – “I don’t know if they are poker chips but I have some things that could be”
Grandson – “Are there many and could I possibly have them for the weekend”.
Me – “Yes darling.  I don’t know what they are.  There are red ones, blue and green and white.  There are 16 of each colour.  If they are of any use you may keep them.  How shall I get them to you?”.
Gr – “Sweet I may ask mum to pop by on the way home”
Me -“Good.  See you soon”
Gr – “Sweet”
2 hours later.
Me – “What sort of time will you be here?”
Gr – “I don’t know maybe not today”
Me – “OK  I’ll drop them into Mum’s office tomorrow or bring them when I meet her for coffee later this week.”
Gr – “Thanks”
3 days later. 
Gr – “Is it today you said you would drop off the poker chips?”
Me – “Yes.  I’ll give them to Mum when I see her this afternoon”
Gr – “Thanks”
6 hours later
Me – “Mum has the chips”
Gr – “Thank you so much.”

I wonder why my 15-year-old grandson would think that his grandmother had poker chips?  He didn’t discuss this with his mother, he just decided that I was the best bet (ooh an unintentional pun).  He is going away for the weekend with the rowing team and so I imagine that poker will be one way they will amuse themselves during their long waiting time.  I wonder where and when he learned to play.”

At that time I said ” I don’t send many text messages.  I would much rather pick up the phone and speak to somebody, but we know that all the young of our species are glued to their smartphones sending and receiving many, many texts daily.  I was pleased to see that Grandson No 3 was not using ‘text speech’ obviously either realised that I wouldn’t be impressed or else he thought that I wouldn’t understand what he was trying to tell me.  Over the past few years texts seem to be the only way that my grandsons communicate with me when we are apart,  So I am learning the art of “texting” although I am firmly convinced that text is not a verb, but in today’s changing world, I shall probably be proven wrong in this.”

I just thought I would like to share this with you and see your reactions.

And for no other reason except I love it and over the years the boys have often had to come to Granma’s aid, I share this –

“Sometimes the smallest things take up the
most room in your heart.”
Winnie the Pooh

JB July13, 2022

Time Flies – So we must be having fun.

Tomorrow is June 11, fifty-five years since my children and I first set foot in New Zealand. Their father had come on ahead, so it was just the three of us arriving.

My children were 7 and 4. Oh how very long ago that was! We knew nothing of this country. The Embassy in London was obviously staffed by English people who knew just about as much as me. “Wouldn’t you love to be able to dry your washing on an outside line every day?” I was asked. Yes, but not in Auckland where it rains most days. And in response as to whether I should bring my about to be delivered new car I was told that wasn’t necessary as new cars were readily available to buy in NZ. Wrong again. When we arrived we discovered new cars could be purchased only with overseas funds. At the time NZ was controlled by import licences on everything from rice and aluminium foil to new cars, and everything in between.

The day we arrived and for the following six or seven days, it rained. Auckland in the winter is dull and drizzly and had little to commend it. We quickly learned that shops closed at 5.30 pm except on Friday when they closed at 10 pm and didn’t reopen until Monday. And pubs and bars closed at 6pm This was referred to as the 6 o’clock swill. Men rushed from their offices to get a drink before the bars closed. This law had been introduced in 2017 and 50 years later it was revoked. But more on that some other time.

We felt that we had moved back 50 years in time.

We were to be here for only 2 years and so set about finding a place to rent. We looked at the house the person before my husband rented, but I took one look and decided I couldn’t/wouldn’t live there. We found a lovely property on the North Shore with a path down to a separate beach. Perfect. Among the many rules and regulations at the time, you were only allowed to take $11 a day out of the country. So as we had overseas funds we paid the house owners in British pounds for a year in advance so both sides were happy. Oh, and we inherited their dog a large rambunctious mutt who immediately decided that he was David’s dog – when they sat beside each other the dog was the taller. Our own dog was on the way from Scotland and so suddenly we had two dogs.

The inherited dog was naughty and got into much mischief, but that’s for another time.

We enjoyed living on the beach in this lovely property. Unfortunately, the mother of the owner’s wife was diagnosed with terminal cancer and so their trip to the UK was cut short. Of course, we agreed to terminate the lease and found somewhere else to rent. Another tale for another time.

At the end of two years, we were off to Montreal – another tale. And after two years there we decided we wanted to bring up our children on the beach at Takapuna. But that’s yet another tale for another time.

By the time we left for Canada, New Zealand was catching up with the rest of the world, and in some instances was in advance – eg Women’s suffrage in 1893. And two years later when we returned, it was hardly recognisable as the colonial outlook it had been in 1967.

So now 55 years later we choose to live here in this far-flung land and are all New Zealanders. Each of my children married New Zealanders. Of course, we retained our British passports as here one can have dual nationality.

End of today’s walk down memory lane.

JB June 10, 2022

 The Day The Rain Came

Wherever you go, no matter what the weather,
always bring your own sunshine.”

Anthony J D’Angelo. American author
1909-1984

For farmers across the country, the rain that fell overnight was welcome. This year summer with its heat has continued well into April. But the usual summer showers have not. 

Easter usually, is celebrated(?)  with a wet tent and holidaymakers looking for somewhere to go. But not this year.  It was a perfect four-day break, sunny, warm and delightful. 

I think back on the Easters when the children were younger. We had a boat that we kept at Lake Taupo some 300 km from Wellington. and so on Thursday of Easter, we would pack up the car and take off for the weekend. We always hoped it would be four good days and we could get out on the lake and do some fishing or water skiing; however it so rarely worked out that way.  Mostly it was several miserable, wet days in a motel or hotel, with two children totally bored and itching to get out on the water.

And then when the sun did eventually come out, the mood immediately shifted as we all traipsed happily to where the boat was moored.

Alas for me, those days are now over.  My son keeps his boat in the location where my DYS stored his, and he and his family spend many hours fishing, water skiing and generally enjoying this beautiful area.

So, thanks for the much. needed rain and special thanks to the weather gods for a stunning Easter weekend.

With that weekend and the following days in mind, we can now move on to the cooler, wet days of autumn in New Zealand.

JB April 21, 2022