The Friday Flower…on Saturday

Yesterday was the end of a particularly stressful week at work and so by the time I had fought my way through the traffic and got through the front door, fed Slipper and finished my chores there was no time or energy left to write my post. So, I decided to write it this morning. The sun is out and the garden is laying heavy with the overnight rain, although the rain is doing wonders for the flowers which are all looking lovely, it’s also bringing out the snails and slugs….the battle I fear is about to begin as I moved my rocket plants and tender lupins out yesterday ……..However, the flower for today just has to be my Clematis. This is Nelly Moser, a beautiful and relatively easy to grow clematis that favours my east facing patio as it gets both sun and shade throughout the day (sun when it decides to show itself I may add!). The flowers are huge at 6-8ins in diameter and it looks sub tropical when in full flower. My Nan loved this clematis and I remember that the one in her garden was simply huge, clambering over the other shrubs and trees. I bought it because it minded me of her, smiling as she enjoyed her gardening, something we can still share even though she is gone. When something holds a memory it is good to hold on to that something……

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41 Day 278 – Racing With Dad

For as long as i can remember my Father has been a fan of horse racing, a passion that he shared with his Mother, my Gran. I remember going to visit Gran usually on a Sunday morning, Mum stayed at home cooking the Sunday dinner, and the visit was always timed to perfection, we never dared be late thats for sure, our dog would have seriously enjoyed the roast! Gran was a formidable woman, a hard upbringing had taught her to deal with most things life threw at her, raising a large family against a backdrop of World War 2 with 6 children in a small terraced house in the backstreets of Coventry, bombed out in the blitz, losing a husband to a routine operation gone bad, you could say she had it tough. But racing was an escape to Gran, a moment to dream of winning big, the thrill of the chase, the pleasure of losing the stress and worry of the life she led just for a moment, the pulse racing, feeling alive, like she was racing with those horses to the finish line. More often than not she would lose, but she never bet more than a few pence, she simply couldnt afford to, but that did not lessen the enjoyment. I don’t believe Gran ever got to visit a real life race course, taking pleasure from the TV screenings, and although she could stand up to any man she never ventured into the then male domain of the betting office, preferring to send one of her sons on the important duty of placing her bets and collecting any winnings. I remember them chatting animatedly about close shaves and stewards enquiries, fiddling jockeys and bent trainers….I never really understood what it was all about but I observed their exchanges, soaking up the drama. Maybe this is where my love of horses stems from. Gran is no longer with us, no longer studying the form from the comfort of her armchair in the same house that she raised 6 children and survived the war whilst homes around fell in the bombings. But my Dad continues the family passion, Saturdays are the day when he can be found for an hour or two, studying the form in the same way as Gran did, working out the odds, willing the jockey to bring his choice home first, riding every stride to the last. I had the ultimate pleasure of taking him to Cheltenham for the Gold Cup meeting on his 60th birthday, and more recently to Warwick races as a Fathers day surprise. On both occassions we had a ball, winning some, losing some, but always enjoying every moment….jumping around like kids when we won, tearing up tickets when we lost, me and my Dad. Or was it……somehow I think the spirit of my Gran was right there with us, looking over our shoulders and sharing in the passion that i believe we both have because of her, for that I thank her.

41 Day 234 – And All That Jazz

For some time now I have been revisiting the past, looking at old photos. That’s the wonderful thing about a photo, it can trigger memories and feelings like no other media. In a split second you are right back at that moment in time, the energy of that moment still lives on. You smile at some old distant memory, you remember the good times, you lament the bad times, you pause for a second and today evaporates into yesterday. You are there, transported back in time, who said time travel wasn’t possible? Its right there in our photographs whether they are framed on the shelf of electronically framed in our computers, tablets and mobile phones…….taking us back down the paths of our lives. For many years I taught dance classes, children mainly but some brave adults too! My memories of those children, teenagers, young people will never leave me, their vitality, determination, and sheer enjoyment in their faces and in their achievements, the look on the faces of children who had never set foot on a stage in front of 800 people now applauding them loudly. The child who had  never achieved a high mark in an exam, now rewarded with a gold medal, even the child dragged in by their mothers who want to relieve their own childhood dreams of becoming a ballerina suddenly find a confidence and energy they never had and bounce out with a smile and a balletic leap learned moments earlier! Only I hold these memories, but the photos can be shared with you all, and give you a small window into a past that’s long gone but always there.

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41 Day 201 – Gone But Not Forgotten

Whilst out walking around the park yesterday I couldn’t help but notice the variety of people around me, families, couples, dog-walkers, teenagers, toddlers, pensioners, even the odd happysnapper such as myself! The sun was shining and although there were sheltered areas covered in a half hearted frost the day was warming nicely. Id taken the path around the lake but as I rounded the corner I saw the bench, bathed in shafts of hazy winter sun, half shadowed by a large rhodedendron bush shining with dew, the seat vacant awaiting use, but in one corner a carefully placed stem of lillies wrapped in clear cellophane. The first thing that struck me was the vivid colour of the lilies against the grey green weathered slats of wood, a contrast of age and of youth.  The wrapper was drenched in diamonds of frosted dew, but the flower stood tall and defiant against the elements, almost like a statement left by the one who had placed them, a statement that shouted out to me ‘You may be gone, but you are not forgotten’…….The inscription was ‘In the memory of George and his loving wife’ …….I may stand and wonder who you were but that someone who left the lillies will always remember you.

41 Day 159 – Portrait of a Right Bunch of Charlies!

For those of you who adore bears this one is for you! I started to collect Charlie Bears a few years ago when my Mother bought me one as an additional Christmas gift……and then every Christmas thereafter! Its kind of become a Bear obsession, although they haven’t broken out of the cabinet yet! The problem I have is that there is a wonderful toy shop in Bowness in the Lake District and each time I visit I feel drawn to the bears! The last purchase was a limited edition collector bear, oh those eyes just begged me to buy it! As a child I was not one for dolls, it was always soft toys that drew my attention. Whilst holidaying in Devon we always visited a group of craft shops and one was a soft toy makers….and so the obsession was born, managing to persuade Mum and Dad to buy one although the budget was tight and so it was always the smaller ones that I used to have, but that was enough for me, something to cuddle up with in the caravan and fall asleep with on the long journey home. Some of us never really grow out of our childhood passions, some collect dolls, some collect toy cars, others toy train sets……but why should we grow up!?

A Right Bunch of Charlies!

 

41 Day 158 – Riot reported in Town Garden

Ooh I do love a dramatic headline! I was reading the newspaper round my parents house this evening and noted how the more dramatic hadlines grabbed my attention, so I thought Id apply the same logic to my post tonight. Plus I have to say that the colour’s going on in my Dad’s containers are simply riotous! Pansies are a fairly widespread garden flower and I remember as a child planting them out with my Dad’s careful guidance and then once they had flowered and the seed heads dried out I used to collect them and scatter the seeds in the hope that they would return the next year, and happily they did! Only Id manage to scatter the seeds all over the patio and so most of the new flowers were appearing in the cracks between slabs! But I love pansies, the flowers always seem to look like faces smiling up at you come rain or shine, a truly cheerful little flower. The other images are of a slightly more hybrid flower, the Fuscia, my Mum’s favourite. I always think they look like tiny ballerinas twirling and pirouetting at the end of the stems, so delicate yet quite a long lasting flower (weather permitting). The problem with these is that they require quite a lot of management especially over the Winter as they really don’t like a hard frost. But the rewards of careful effort are stunning, where would we be without flowers?