The memory box

Folding the letter she gently smoothed the sheet of paper under her fingers feeling beneath them dryness of age that had affected it. Eyes too poor to read it now, nevertheless she knew every word by heart having devoured it so often over the years, now carefully stored with so many others and only now seeing light of day.

HARRY!

Closing her eyes his face flashed into her mind, hazy now as she struggled after so long to keep his features sharp and clear, she was losing him to time she knew that and the thought made her smile sadly. So long ago yet brief moments of clarity would invade her thoughts, his smile cutting through the fog and making it seem like only yesterday and then he was gone again leaving her with only these tangible memories. 

Sighing softly she replaced the pages into the large carved wooden box, fingers brushing a small packet as she did so drawing it slowly towards her before cupping it gently in her wrinkled palms and clasping it to her chest.  ‘Not long my love’ she thought to herself ‘Soon, it shall be soon’

Leaving the packet unopened she returned it quickly to the box, thrusting it inside as guilt burned and she slightly afraid of being discovered although she knew she would not be, nobody came any more. A splash of bright colour caught her eye and she reached towards a garish painted picture of a child’s hand with crude scrawl underneath depicting the artist’s name.

Ella.

Another smile, eyes warming briefly before the light quickly faded, no Ella was long gone and this just yet another memory of things come and gone in her many years of being. Sadness less sharp as each year went by panged momentarily before she dismissed it and returned the picture to lie back along its fellow inhabitants of the cluttered old box. 

Her worn gaze swept over the small grizzled teddy bear and the beribboned letters, oh she had been so popular in her day with her many suitors all begging for a smile, a glance, some sign of recognition from her but almost from the first she had only had eyes for him. Sweeping an errant lock of hair from her forehead she leaned further over the box disturbing the contents in her hunt for the one thing she sought. She needed to find it, to bring him close again before her failing mind refused to remember what she was looking for and left her in that absent place where nothing mattered any more. 

There! There it was.  Her heart leapt as she found the one thing she wanted and fingers rapidly cleared the dust from the front of the small framed picture. Lovingly she gazed at the sun bleached photograph, yellow with age, showing a young couple smiling shyly at each other.He resplendent in some bygone uniform showing duty to his country and she delicately pretty in florals and lace, bonnet trailing from fingers gently clasped between his.

Harry.

Even as she gazed the fog came and eyes clouded over, picture already forgotten falling into her lap and memories of him vanishing like mist in the sun. In the shadows of the room a figure waited, brass buttons shining on a uniform of old, boyish face echoing the love reflected earlier on hers. He could wait, he’d waited such a long time that a little longer would not hurt. 

‘Soon my love’ he smiled ‘ i shall see you soon’ 

There is a happy land

images

In the course of my work i encounter many many people. All walks of life, all ages, races and religions. Some of these are your average pleasant examples whilst more often they are sadly the opposite. Whatever the person you meet there are occasionally those who for some reason or another stay firmly lodged in your memory. Up until now it has been my misfortune for all of those of my experience to be of a negative nature rather than a pleasantly positive.

Recently all of that changed when i had a conversation with an elderly man. To begin with he won me over with his lovely chirpy greeting and after a morning of exceptionally rude people he was definitely a balm to my downcast mood. They say that you can hear in the voice when a person is smiling and of this gentleman this was certainly true. Smiling he most definitely was. 

Faintly Welsh with that singsong lilt to his voice he replied that as the sun was shining he was very well indeed and asked after myself in return.  ‘My Lovely’ he called me and that in itself made me smile for it was nice to hear after a particularly harsh day. I explained the purpose of my call and he listened intently before pausing for a moment after i finished speaking. then he began to chuckle and i was taken aback as he announced that he would be glad to help but he really did not see the point for he was not long for this world. ”I’m dying you see” he told me quite nonchalantly.  Like any empathetic person i was horrified and apologised profusely, condolences rushing forth although i wasn’t really sure any of them were enough to befit the situation. Startlingly he dismissed my words with another chuckle and told me that he was ready to go.

”I’ve lived my life you see” he told me ”I’ve lived a very happy life, had a wonderful wife who is waiting up there for me to join her”

Then he began to talk. He told me of his life and his time in the second world war. That he found in me a willing audience there seemed to please him greatly and we talked for some time as he told me of his time as ground crew personnel. Scoffing genially at me as i enthused my love of the B-17, telling me firmly that there was nothing to hold a candle to the good old Spitfire. As he talked he never changed, that same chirpy happy nature shone through and despite his bombshell i found myself smiling too, very much warming to this old man i had never met and he did seem to be genuinely happy. 

Smiling still he told me of his wife, clearly from the gentle affectionate way he spoke of her it seemed he really did love her. That he was looking forward to seeing her again in whatever place exists after passing touched me and made me smile. No clearly this lovely old man had lived a happy life, this much was evident from the way he spoke. He stuck in my memory for his charm and his friendly nature and his gentle acceptance of his lot and i wondered if in my own turn i should feel the same. 

I have always been a big believer in trying to do the best we can with the life we have for we really do only get one try at it. There is no ‘return to go’ for those who make mistakes and get it wrong no matter how much we should wish it. Although many years hopefully yet to go i couldnt help but hope that i should be able to say the same as this lovely man, that my mistakes however many were still nothing compared to the happy parts of the life i managed to have. I have to admit a relief that my time is not yet up for i have not yet reached that place where i can look back and say i have led a happy life. My mistakes are many and i am not so very good at getting things right. Yet there are those things, however few, that definitely make all of the difference and i can truly say i feel i got right. It is so very hard to realise just when something is worth counting and when it is of no consequence at all but just sometimes there are things you just know you have to count. Regrets will follow when you realise you should have counted something that you didnt or in hindsight put too much stock in that mattered not at all.

It is all a question of balance and doing for yourself those things that will make you look back and say you led a happy life. Perhaps you may not have started out that way but the world is full of choices and it is up to us to choose the path to the right memories. For myself i shall remember that lovely old man whom i met only briefly but who made me smile on a very bad day and who gave me faith that if you stay true to yourself and what you believe you really do have the potential to be happy. 

Wherever you are sir i wish you and your wife a most happy ever after. 

Fifty ways NOT to leave your lover

Image

Breakups.

According to the old song there are fifty ways to leave your lover. There are definitely the old classics and again some much more inventive and whilst i hesitate to bore you with exactly 50 ways it seems there are a few of the definite old favourites..

Most of us have been through one it at some time or other and you are a rare person indeed if you have not.  It is very hard to know the right way or the wrong way to end such a personal part of your life, especially when often the other person has little idea of what is coming.  I have lost count of the times friends or acquaintances have sat in floods of tears as the result of the object of their desire effecting some ruthless termination of their ‘affaires de coeur’.

Is their a right way to leave your lover? 

The matter is one of much debate and indeed there seems to be much opinion on how NOT to do it as a pose to how to actually get it right. Having instigated debate amongst friends it seems that people are of the same opinion about the faux pas of the relationship terminating world.

Image

THE TEXT MESSAGE:

Oh yes the dreaded text. Probably one of the worst and most thoughtless ways of all and yet possibly one of the most frequently used. A perfect way to avoid the confrontation and the devastated reaction from ones partner yet calculatingly cold and callous. You can only imagine the response that will be forthcoming and wishing to avoid the scene and make an easy escape many do choose this option as a get out of jail free card. One of the most hurtful methods however since for the recipient the chance of closure and an explanation as to why the relationship failed is never given.  It must be crushing indeed to feel your spirits lifted at the beep of a text from your lover only to find a textual dear john stating ‘its over’

ITS NOT YOU, IT’S ME:

Ah the old chestnut. Trotted out so often over the decades that it is now a statement of much ridicule. Used in times of cowardice when the aggressor wishes to bow out gracefully but avoid the confrontation of a scene. ITS NOT ME??? Of course its me you snivelling little toad…you wouldn’t be leaving shortly to hurtle into the arms of another if it wasn’t ME! Actually now i think about it , you could be right here and it is actually you after all. Clearly you have deficiencies which i was besottedly unaware of, cowardice being the aforemost of them all. Seriously though, how often have we rolled our eyes derisively as some poor sap bleats out that eternal old phrase ”It’s not you, it’s me” NEXT!

Image

THE PHONECALL:

Admittedly a step up from the text message but only just.Usually lasting only so long as it takes for the recipient to dissolve into tears and demand an explanation before the call is ended. Exactly the same reasons as with the text message, avoidance of confrontation and total absence of any courage but still with the same result. Perhaps a little less cold and callous this one but still getting the old heave ho via the telephone is hardly the ending of choice. BUT at least you get to say your piece or scream blue murder on this one even if just a little before the other person baulks and hangs up the phone. Courage only goes so far you know!

HI HONEY IM DEAD:

Oh yes this one is true, believe it or not. I have heard this story more than once with both males and females as the protagonist and was rather horrified at such deliberated dispassion. The general idea was that, tiring of the relationship, the person would invent some serious illness or disease that would enable them to lessen the contact and time spent with their partner. Often coupled with financial extortion this enables the protagonist to very often take up with a new partner and not need to find excuses for being absent from the relationship. After a time the ‘illness’ progressively worsens until eventually the unsuspecting partner receives a message from a ‘friend’ saying their signifcant other has passed away. Horrifying and cold in the extreme but nonetheless true. I felt such sympathy for these people for this was truly an abuse of trust in the extreme. Perhaps it is just me though, that sat and thought why bother?? Why go to all that trouble and intrigue instead of just saying sorry it’s not working. The mind boggles and maybe we shall never know but happen it did. 

Image

THE EMAIL:

Oh ye fiend of modern invention, how many of us have received the old ‘dear john’ via email. Perhaps it is the safety of hiding behind a computer but often it is the case that explanations are more than forthcoming in this instance. There can be no doubt we all like to know just WHY our security blanket suddenly became rather moth eaten but often the email takes the why just a little too far. Perhaps it is just the modern day age that we live in that leaves us feeling safer ‘talking’ by email rather than face to face. So many people i know have received emails from partners in times of emotional upheaval outlining clearly all of the things that they feel are lacking. Sometimes perhaps this can be a gentle opening for a good heart to heart talk and a chance to address any problems within the relationship but often it is just a covert way of venting ones spleen and once started tends to spew forth unguarded. I have seen many a friend shocked at he receipt of such an email since they mostly had little idea anything was wrong. I have been guilty of this myself in a lesser degree but only in the early days of a relationship when i was unsure of the person and their reaction to what i considered to be an issue in our relationship and thankfully it led to proper adult discussion. I, thankfully, have never dissected my whole relationship via email nor felt the need to end it that way and much prefer to talk whether it be good news or bad. Email can be a good opener but should never be used as a method of closure in our opinion.

Image

THE CHEAT:

Oh definitely topping the best seller list with everyone here for the worst way to leave your lover. Nobody likes to be replaced and there is no doubt that seeing the object of your affections in the arms of another is never an easy thing to take. Confronted with your replacement you would have to be very secure indeed not to compare yourself unfavourably with the new improved version of ‘US’. This has to be the most uncaring way of ending a relationship and the visible proof that you are not irreplaceable after all is a bitter pill to swallow. Worse still is having this thrust upon you whilst you are still in a relationship with that person as a pose to having time to bring yourself to terms with it to some small a degree. I can never understand why a person should cheat when it would be simpler to end that which you are not happy with and then look for something else yet still so many continue to do so. Perhaps it is the old having your cake and eating it scenario where they simply wish a little excitement aside that which they already have. Definitely a risky business then since often when caught you lose everything anyway. The other option is perhaps the simply wished to be caught after all , leaving their partner to do the act of ending the relationship for them. Whatever the reason there is no worse feeling in the world than knowing that the one you love has another besides yourself. 

Maybe there are 50 ways to leave your lover. I have no doubt that many of you have heard of some of the more inventive ones but still it cannot detract from the fact that a heart is being broken. Does it really cost so much to be honest and to simply sit and talk. I cannot promise it will be well received for people people react differently to the loss of that which they love but surely it is kinder to be straightforward and truthful. We all decided the same, that we would rather be truthfully told that our significant other did not love us any more and be allowed to grieve for the relationship than to be the receiver of untruths and excuses.  Whilst some of the more colourful of us decided that throwing your other half over Niagara Falls in a barrel or putting them up for sale on ebay were perfect ways to end your affair perhaps it is kinder to just talk. 

Image

50 WAYS TO LEAVE YOUR LOVER:

We thought of a few, how about you?

I dreamed a dream..

Quotation-Charles-Dickens-regret-space-Meetville-Quotes-11965

Love them or hate them, when we close our eyes we all dream at some time or other. Many of us will not realise that we do for they are so quickly and easily forgotten upon waking. Have you ever experienced the frustration of trying to remember a dream that despite your best efforts slips away without you even realising? I have, to the point that i resolved to keep a notepad beside my bed to pen down my imaginitive nocturnal ramblings. I have always been of the opinion that dreams are the minds way of making sense of what it either cannot or will not whilst we are awake. 

I dream a lot. I have never quite decided whether it is purely because i think too much and have a chaotic mind or whether it simply is because i have a lot of unresolved past residing in the darkest recesses of my brain. Perhaps a mix of the two although i confess i definitely do fall into the overthinkers anonymous group a lot of the time. Still given the fantastical nature of some of my sleep sodden imaginings, i should perhaps be writing them down and turning them into potentially best selling novels. 

Sometimes though a dream will recur and these i do remember. Perhap the sheer repetitiveness of it drums it into my longer term memory for me to muse over and self psychoanalyse at leisure. Lately though a dream has recurred that i do not have to particularly look at in too much depth for i know the source of it very well.

REGRET.

My dream is of my grandmother, i have news she is dying and i am trying frantically to get to her but cannot. I find myself running through a field of deep mud and getting nowhere as is often the case in a dream. As i run i pass people i know and frantically hold out my hands begging for help. One by one they shrug and turn away or just ignore me completely until i say desperately ”But i was there for you!!” Then one parody turns and laughs saying  mockingly ”That doesn’t mean that we are there for you”

The result of the dream is always the same i am so bogged down that i do not make it in time. Whatever the visual interpretation my brain put on it the facts are still the same, i have a lifelong regret that i did not make more time for her in the years leading to her death and this is something i have had to learn to live with because the clock cannot be turned back however much we wish it. Perhaps the bigger regret is the time wasted on meaningless things and on those people who deserved my time much less than she. Whilst i know she would not judge me and never would she think ill of me, still i feel that i have failed.

I have always tried my best not to regret things i cannot change for it does little good and in the end merely holds you back.  The curious thing about this dream however,  was the presence of people within it who either were not present in my life at the time or who have no relevance to the situation. I have not yet concluded what significance they have in the dream but i wonder if perhaps it is my own inner awareness warning me not to make the same mistakes again. Perhaps i am guilty of placing too much importance on things and people who do not matter and neglecting those things and people that could be a cause of regret. Maybe it helps to remember who were those who were those who were there for me when i needed someone and who were those who caused me the pain to need someone in the first place. Whatever the meaning it seems sure that this dream is determined to recur until i have taken heed and acted upon it. 

Life is full of regrets. Some we can live with and some may haunt us for the rest of our lives, emerging in our dreams as sad reminders of the mistakes we have made. I do not want to spend my life running through mud chasing regrets, especially the ones that will be the kind to haunt my dreams. It seems, at least for me, that it is time for change although much thought is needed as to what these changes will be. I cannot ignore the fact that lately i have been less than enamoured with some aspects of my life and a redress is in order. Perhaps then i can return to my fantastical dreams of the purely fantasy nature and sleep more soundly than i have of late. 

Still if one is going to be a Panda then at least one should look like a Panda and thanks to a few sleepless nights i most definitely do.

Sweet dreams everyone!! 

Image

That which i do not know

                                  Image

Plans, plans plans.

It seems our society thrives on them and for many of us it is a predictability that dictates our lives. We plan every aspect of them with regimental detail and for many of us the resulting order is the only path we feel safe upon. We like to know what will happen and when, from getting up in a morning to when we go to bed. All carefully organised in a familiar routine.

I hate routine. I find it suffocating and i am one of those rare people who hates to plan. I abhorr appointments and preplanned order, partly because i am terrible at remembering to keep them but mostly because i do not like being forced to do things at a certain time. I am very much a whim person, if i want a haircut i want it done the same day or i do not bother but this works very well for me.

So with the passing of the Yuletide holidays, waving goodbye to christmas, as usual my friends are planning planning planning. Holidays, Easter, Birthdays, going to the gym, family get togethers and even those christmases yet to come. No sooner has one ended than another one is already in the planning department being drawn up for final review. However i try i just cannot seem to bring myself to think further forward than a month at the very most. Oh of course i have hopes and dreams like everyone else but i would never begin to forward think on any of them.

If i am honest i would have to admit that unlike most people i am not afraid of the unknown but more likely the complete opposite. It is the fear that what i do know will be taken away that scares me most of all. So often the unpredictable comes along to scupper any plans you have made and then perhaps it is all the more painful because you had expected things to happen or for situations to be a certain way. Instead you are left devastated when your hopes and plans are shattered because it was not as you had imagined it should be. So no i do not plan, i do not take for granted that what i have and where i am now will stand to be the same a month from today. I am too afraid to want for certain things to happen or for certain things to stay the same. So i expect for change and loss and should it not transpire then i am only left gladdened and never disappointed. Perhaps if in the back of your mind some small part of you expects to lose that which you have, it makes you value it all the more rather than taking for granted.

Is it any way to live a life, secretly fearing? Perhaps not, but as i listen to those friends making plans for many months from now i cannot help but wonder how many of them will actually get to see those plans transpire. I should like to hope they all will but experience tells me it shall not be so. I do not know where i shall be  a year from now, i will never imagine or even plan for it to be any particular way. Life has a funny way of working out exactly how it is supposed to now matter what we try and do about it.

For now that is enough.

A Mother’s Love

A-mothers-love-poem

He sits in half silence surveying the scene around him, lips flickering with a smile now and again as some humorous interaction infringes on his somber mood. Hunched slightly forward with arms around his waist he half heartedly joins in the conversation flowing around him although i know he secretly wishes he were back at home. The woman is not fooled she knows his moods better than her own and she leans forward, gently touching his arm. 

”What’s wrong?” She says and he shakes his head, shrugging slightly ”Nothing”

She knows better than to accept his words. A brow creases with concern and fluttering hands beckon him closer and i watch as in an instant the face of the man i know becomes instantly again a small boy. Abashedly he hangs his head and he smiles somewhat ruefully but does as she asks moving instantly to her side.  Those motherly hands reach for the boy within offering comfort and he confesses some small discomfort to the woman at his side. Ever the mother she gathers him close, this man of mine, this child of hers and the caring embrace soothes and pets him and he relaxes beneath her ministrations, smiling at her words. Murmuring softly to him, words i cannot hear she seeks to make this child of hers feel better with the love only a mother can give. He makes a pretence and  shrugs away slightly.

”Mama, i’m fine”

But she knows he is not, this boy of hers and continues to mother him making him smile for despite his protests he secretly  feels better for having her caring arms around him hugging him close. Strange how sometimes all it takes is mother to make it all better again just like when he was small. 

Suddenly i feel very much an outsider. Like some small wistful child looking in a toyshop window on Christmas Eve at the toy she knows she will never get, i watch an unfamiliar scene. Strange that i should miss something that i never had in the first place but then the moment passes and i cannot help but smile at the little boy before me where before i saw a man. He has no idea how endearing he looks as he tries to pretend that he does not need the care she gives yet secretly relishes it all the same.

 A mother’s love it seems brings out the small child in all of us and no matter how old we may be we will always be someones little girl or boy. Just as he is hers and i am glad for the small easement he feels from her gentle affection. It just goes to show that no matter where we go nor how old we become, you really never are to old to be your mother’s son. 

The tides of life

D86

Sometimes, just sometimes, life has a way of making itself felt with an almighty slap that sending you tumbling off your feet with no idea of where you will land. My philosophy has always been that sometimes fate just steps in and gives you a push into the direction you were to afraid to take for yourself. Other times perhaps it is simply because we were taking too much for granted and merely needed a sharp reminder to be just that little bit more grateful for the things that we do have. There is no doubt that most of us are guilty of complacency when it comes to our lives and often do not cope well when change upsets our little world and everything in it. 

When i was small it all seemed so easy. I had my life mapped in a fairytale way that only a child can imagine and never at so young an age did it occur to me to think any differently. I may not have liked everything nor been happy with it but since it was all i had ever known i accepted it as a given and never had the thought to even try and change any aspects of it.  As a child, even when things are not perfect, we do not really see nor really register the less than ideal but merely accept it as it is. We simply do not know any different and therefore have no reason to hope for more. Only when exposed to situations more idealistic than our own do we sometimes wonder what life may be like if we were someone else. I never imagined for myself the life that i have now. Never did i imagine going wthout nor sacrificing until you wonder if you have anything left to give. No, for me i imagined a glamorous lifestyle and a handsome husband who adored me. 

As i should have realised, life does not work out in such a fairytale way for most of us and even those we imagine living the perfect lives have their own regrets and unhappiness. Perhaps then it is not merely what you have that makes you happy but your perception of it. Is it enough to have money, esteem and material things or perhaps is it a case of the more that you have, the more you want. Whilst it is a good thing to have things to want and aspire to, to be without dreams makes life not much of a life at all, there comes a point when perhaps the wanting is not merely for ourselves but more to appear credible and successful to others. What hope of happiness when we rely on others to give us some sense of worth, yet will living our lives for others give us the feeling of success we crave? Will it make us happy?  At the end of the day when doors are closed and we are alone, there is only our own reflection looking back at you in the mirror. It is then that perhaps you realise that without a love for yourself and a sense of inner peace, the regard of others does not count for much at all. 

Life is sent to test us. Some of us more than others and whilst the instinct may be to bury our heads in the sand and ignore that which is happening, sometimes the solution is to stand up tall and weather the onslaught the best way we can. Perhaps we will emerge a little battered and we may need to pick ourselves back up from the floor, but sometimes we can rebuild a better stronger version of what was there before. It is easy to be swept along by the tide and overwhelmed the the deluge that life occasionally throws our way but if you do not swim just that little bit harder then it is so easy to be washed away and drown in the tides of life. 

I have lost my focus of late because i forgot to remember to count my blessings. I fell victim to the need to feel sorry for myself when circumstances dealt me a decline in fortunes. So focused was i on what i had lost and what i no longer had that i forgot about those things that i do. In hindsight all i have done is waste months of my life on worry, regret and upset when really i should have stuck out my chin and taken the blow. We never lose everything, there is always something left to cling to even when it seems like we have nothing left at all. It is that one thing we need to hold on to and start building upon it until we have more than we had the day before. Even as i am I am fortunate, i  somehow forgot that along the way, but there is no doubt that i AM fortunate. Whilst i could definitely have more than i do right now there is no doubt i could easily have a lot, lot less. I have been there before and i will try to remember how far i have come. 

Grant me the serenity to accept the things i cannot change, the courage to change the things i can and the wisdom to know the difference.

Oh yes, i am fortunate. 

Aside

The power of a word

                                     Image

I wonder how often we ever stop and think about the things we say. Most of us very rarely do unless we are aware, due to conscience, that what we are about to say is offensive or hurtful. Sadly even then there are those with none, who just do not care and will say whatever they wish regardless of consequence or resulting feelings. Even knowing they are causing hurt to others is of no matter since they feel little empathy for the other person and pay no heed to the results of their actions. 

Ordinarily i am not a person to pay mind to the cutting words or tones of others and have over the years developed a disregard for the negative opinions of those around me. Having always been a strong personality with more than a little resilience, i wear a very thick skin with all the aplomb of an armoured knight of Medieval England. Lately however, perhaps due to a very stressful period in my life i find that where once i should smile and ignore, i find i now take more to heart than i did before. Strangers i more easily can forgive but not so those verbal wounds from those closer to me. Unless for good reason one does not expect to be on the receiving end of an unkind comment or harsh tone of voice from a friend or loved one. 

So often lately i find myself biting my tongue and apologising profusely where once a simple heartfelt ”i’m sorry” would have sufficed. It seems these days people are not so ready to accept an apology unless it comes so often as to be almost of begging and pleading proportions. Forgiveable yes when the apology is merely a platitude but is it so forgiveable when the apology is a genuine one?  I myself am not a lover of discord and conflict and often will remain secretly agitated by an unpleasant situation even if i pretend on the surface that i am not. Yes, i confess i am one of those who sleeps badly at the slightest upset in my life these days, perhaps as the result of a metaphoric straw upon an already overloaded camels’ back. Perhaps a lifetime of being the peacemaker and backing down for the sake of harmony is wearing thinner than it should.  Yes i confess i secretly nurse the odd hurt although i hide it well since to confess it often draws out the cause and in turn makes it all the worse.

Yes it seems we really have lost the ability to be nice to each other. It seems that verbal abuse, cutting tones and blatant name calling are the norm of the day with once derogatory names such as ‘bitch’ now being used in everyday language as an acceptable term to refer to ones female friends. Not a term i can say i wish to be referred to by. If it is the norm for you to open your mouth and something unkind or unpleasant come from it perhaps then it says more about you as a person than about me. However often i hear this and no matter how much i try and pretend otherwise i cannot lie and say it does not hurt and even knowing that sometimes the comments were made in jest do not detract from their meaning nor their destination.

Myself i think i prefer to remain silent. I was taught by a very good kind person that it is better to say nothing than to say something unpleasant and i hold firmly to those principles. Whilst i will defend if attacked i will never knowingly inflict on others anything hurtful that has the intent to cause bad feeling. I shall not lie for i believe honesty to be a must in all cases no matter the consequences but i shall not deliberately set out to hurt another with the force of my words.

Profanity and abuse may be the norm in todays society but only if we continue to subscribe to it. Somewhere along the line someone has to take a stand and lead by example by refraining from doing as others do. Words are a most powerful weapon and used in the wrong hands can wound with invisible scars. A most famous quote springs to mind ‘the pen is mightier than the sword’ , i wonder had the author seen todays society he might have changed just a little and quoted ‘the spoken word is mightier than the sword’

Words…will yours hurt or heal today??

Happy Birthday to You

Image

So another birthday comes along. Another year has gone on its merry way, another ring has been added to the tree of my life.

I have to confess i do not much like birthdays, that is to say i love to celebrate other peoples but i am far from having any fond feelings for my own. Too many unpleasant memories are barely tempered by slightly more enjoyable ones of late. Alas the negative wins out by sheer number for want of any other reason.

As perhaps is typical i mourned the loss of another year and then began to ponder my place in life in relevance to my remaining years. At first, of course,  it was easily done to follow the thought paths leading to wondering how many years i may have left and whether i will achieve the many things i would like to within my lifetime. Where will i be ten years from now? What will i be? Who will i love?

Strangely unbidden a quote popped into my head that much disturbed my train of thought and i wondered perhaps if we are so guilty of forever wanting more that we forget to live and enjoy the life we actually have.

 “First give time to your love, family and friends. Who will remember your presentations, meetings, degrees and overtime after you died?”

I have no idea why that thought popped in my head and i sat and mused about it for a while. Whilst it is true that those very famous of us may be remembered for the things we did, the rest of us in general will not. Of all the people who are no longer in my life i confess i do not particularly remember what they did as a career, nor do i know their qualifications or if they were given awards or recommendations. Yet what i do remember long after they are gone is the kind of people they were and the roles they held in my life. For that i miss them greatly and yet for no other reason than that. They may have achieved great things, true enough, yet strangely it matters very little now that they are no longer here and those deeds have long since faded. Yet i shall remember those people and yes in many cases miss them greatly just for the kind of people that they were. 

I wondered then how i should like to be remembered when i am gone. Am i so guilty of wanting that which i do not have that i forget to be happy about what i have in the here and now. Perhaps it is all too easy to take for granted what you have, to assume you will always have it and to continually keep on reaching for the greener grass on the other side of the fence. Yet as i realised recently, assuming something is a constant in your life is easy until you see a glimpse of what your life would be without it. A thought we should all consider far more often than we do i think.

There is no doubt that we all need dreams. They give us purpose and give us something to make our lives worthwhile. Strangely though, we often do not realise that the happiest things we dream about most are often those things right under our very noses. It is not until we are in danger of losing them that we realise they are dreams at all. It may be something to consider that perhaps a dream does not cease to be a dream just because we attain it.

So another ring on my tree and if i take a rather maudlin moment to consider my mortality i shall adjust my perception and place a little greater importance on leaving a reason to be missed. No you will not remember my qualifications or my career. You will quickly forget any achievements that i made or even if i became famous. But what you will not forget, i know, is the small way in which i touched your life and hopefully made a difference. 

It only takes one person to keep a memory alive. Have you touched anyones life enough to be theirs?

A letter to Grandad

Image

Dear Grandad, 

I should have written this letter long ago but i guess i never knew how, or perhaps i wasn’t ready. I can’t believe it’s been 30 years since you left us, would you be surprised if you knew that even after all this time i can still think of you and cry? I know you would. You’d shake your head and laugh and hug me like you always did.

”Silly Billy” You’d say. But i know you’d be glad that i remember.

I never got to be famous Grandad, never made the rich list or ever did anything to make the history books. Never got to live my dreams and you know what a dreamer i always was. But i never gave up on them Grandad and i know there’s still time.

Are you proud of me? Yes i rather think you would be whether i’m famous or not. I’m a good person you see, just like you were and i know that would be enough for you. I’m still dreaming Grandad don’t you worry about that.

I haven’t changed much Grandad, do you still see the little girl i was? i’m sure you laugh and remember the stubborn pout and the folded arms and that funny little stamp of the foot i’d do when i wanted my own way. Well i’m still as stubborn as ever  although i pout a lot less these days than i did back then. But you always gave in and laughed at the funny little figure that i was.

I met someone too Grandad, and would you believe he talks more than i do? Yes im sure you would find that funny since i really was the most dreadful little chatterbox and i haven’t changed there either. I know you’d like him Grandad he’s a good man just like you. I’m sorry i know i’ve made you shake your head over the years at some of bad situations i got myself into. I know they were wrong for me  and i’m sure you worried that i’d never get it right. Not like you and Nana. But don’t worry Grandad i’m happy and i’m sure you noticed how much more i smile these days.

I wish you could have met your great grandchildren, i know they’d have loved you just as much as i did. Would you have taken them driving, singing ‘All things bright and beautiful’ to them in that oh so funny way as you did with me. I still can’t hear that song without hearing you in my head Grandad and it always makes me smile. I was worried that my daughter would choose that hymn at her wedding and i’d get the giggles in church when i heard it.  You’d like my children grandad, im hoping they grow up to be just as good people as you were. I wonder if you’d look at them and see anything of me in them at all?

I still talk to you sometimes when i’m alone. I wonder do you hear me? Somehow i think you do and it helps that i can tell you things and let you know how i am. You always did worry for me and i miss that even though im grown and shouldn’t need a grandad any more. Somehow though i’m pretty sure you’re watching over me just like you always did and waiting in the wings for me to run to you when i fall down.  Its been 30 years grandad are you surprised that i still miss you?

Did you see that your picture hangs upon my wall so that i can see you smiling down at me?

Don’t be. A man like you will always be remembered even after 30 years and i hope one day someone will miss me when im gone as much as i miss you.

I wrote you a letter Grandad, im sorry it took so long.

Amanda Jane

Who wants to live forever

Image

It has been a long standing joke in my house that i am going to live to be a very aged cantankerous recluse, with a spooky house full of cats that children dare each other to knock upon the door. Quite blase i would airily announce that i was going to live to the ripe old age of 103. I have no idea where this number came from or why i settled upon it, but 103 has always been my mantra. 

I cannot for one minute imagine what quality of life i should have at this age and being in my early 40s, which i consider very young in the scheme of things, i do not ponder it too much as to me it is a terribly long way away. Imagine the things i will have seen if i reach such a ripe old age!! Croakily announcing to the younger generation that i remember a time before computers were invented will no doubt make me seem incredibly old indeed. Much in the way that i regard with awe those older persons who were around in those historical times and witnessed the birth of monumental discoveries we nowadays take for granted. So i tell myself i shall be regarded for those changes having taken place in my own lifetime.

Perhaps, like many, i have been guilty of thinking too little about my own mortality and just taking for granted that i should be here for quite some considerable time….until recently. Being a member of an online fitness group brings me into contact with a diverse range of people and within this community i have made many likeminded friends. All of us dedicated to fitness and trying to live a healthy lifestyle. Gradually as you converse you learn the stories behind the people and those things that motivate them and in turn relate your own. 

Meeting a new friend recently of a similar age we happily swapped tales and when she declared herself impressed and inspired by my own success i volunteered to help her in any way i could. As she related her tale to me i was horrified and catapulted into a reality that, i for one, had not even thought of considering. This particular lady, although a year younger than myself, had suffered a heart attack only a year before. Granted her size had much to do with this but, as i reminded myself, i had also been considerably overweight myself and only luck and perhaps good genes had prevented me from being in her place. To say i was shocked was an understatement for i had not for one moment considered the fact that people at so young an age can, and indeed do, suffer from such devastating health scares. Thankfully this lovely lady did recover and is very dedicated to redressing all those factors that led her to suffer as she did. For myself i sat and thought for a while, for this really had made me think quite seriously about my life. one cannot deny that it is all too easy just to sail along complacently, imagining that we shall always be here and putting off until tomorrow those things which we should do today.

Life is a gift and we really should treat it as such. I have long realised that, were we to waste the time we are given ,you do not get sent back to have another try. We none of us know when our time will come and for some of us it may be far sooner than for others. I guess all in all its a case of living every day like it could be your last. No regrets and no what ifs. Reach out and grab those things you can while you can, and do not waste time being afraid or complacent. 

So easily i could have been her, but thankfully i changed my life in time to save myself….this time.

                          Image

How to have a happy New Year……….or not!

                        k179_christmasfat

So Christmas time has come and gone and with it all the hustle bustle and weeks of planning. January settles into somewhat of an anti-climax that leaves you sitting amongst piles of discarded wrappings gloomily wondering ‘Now What?’  Dismally we prod our post christmas weight gain and vow resolutely to sign up for the gym and turn ourselves into body beautifuls, quit drinking and therefore become wonderful people. Right?? 

Pretty much! Prodding my own post christmas tum, i have happily christened it my food baby and only the expected January diet has prevented it from growing into a full blown toddler complete with requisite tantrums. Actually in all honesty i’m exaggerating just a teensy bit here since Christmas weight gain was less than 2lbs despite eating enough for a family of 5. Someone up there must like me just a tad and i sent up a silent thankyou to those in the know as i wriggled into my size 10 dress. Partner in crime (twiglet boyfriend) is still bemoaning non existent stomach on the slimmest mans frame i’ve ever seen thus making us the most typical examples of New Years Resoluters going. Out of the window went any thoughts of portion control and to my shame i really did go on a see-food diet!! 

Lack of sunlight has robbed me of my lovely summer glow and my customary winter milk bottle skin blends me in to the bleak winter landscape, saved only by a splash of scarlet lipstick in total defiance at conformity. As is traditionally expected i sat, pen poised, ready to make my new years resolutions and winced as i automatically trotted out the age old ones written down by the population en masse. 

1) Lose weight (ah the old classic)….hmmmm i’ve been doing that most of 2012 and have very little left to go so we can pretty much scrap that one after march!!

2) Go to the gym ( but of course!)…. but ditto here too since i went most of last year, i just need to go back post christmas so lets scrap that one too!

3) Become best selling author and churn out books like post it notes. Okay maybe a little optimistic here but i have vowed to actually finish my book this year…..honest!! I just need a title, a plot, some characters and a beginning! Easy!!

4) Become total genius in 6 short months and make multiple appearances on Mastermind thus leading me to be invited to a dinner party with Stephen Hawking and other intelligent beings of note…

5) Become multi- lingual and annoy people by pretending to be from Sweden. 

6) Ride my bike without holding on to the nearest passing lorry, abiltity to turn corners would also be an advantage here so vow to work on that. Might consider removing stabilizers by Easter if progressing well.

7) Stop giving my wrinkles names and marking their progress off on height charts!

8) Learn the calorie content of every food on the planet thus saving large amounts of time in the supermarket. On the subject of supermarkets i will only slide down the aisles on my trolley when grouchy shop assistants aren’t looking

9) Will resolve to improve my aim when throwing stuffed missiles at rival team aka gorgeous boyfriend. Will also learn to duck faster thus scoring more points.

10) I will stop buying shoes since i have over 50 pairs and chances of ever leaving my room are being greatly diminished weekly. Maybe we’ll just tactfully ignore the 4 pairs i’ve bought since christmas *cough*

11) Buy new pyjamas and throw away ‘big enough for three people’ sized ones currently being sported by yours truly. Remind self constantly that having to hang on to your rapidly descending trousers as you walk is not a sexy look. Bum does definitely not look big in this!!

12) Be nicer to my ‘love me, love me’ cat. Will resolve not to miaow back at him from upstairs windows when he is frantically yowling to come in. Will also remind myself that comically surprised expression on his face when i do so is not actually funny.

13) Will resolve to have very uncharacteristic minor crisis at some point within the year, just to buck the trend. It just doesnt do to get stuck into a rut these days…

14) Stop annoying myself singing random songs that pop into my head especially when i dont know the words and have to hum half of it..

15) Be happy….just because life is too short and im too far along the path to go back and start again.

Happy New Year Everyone!!

Screen-shot-2011-11-03-at-12.52.011

Happy New Year everyone!!

Great Expectations

                       

If you had asked me to describe myself i could think of many words to do so. Perhaps they may differ somewhat from those other people would use for me but still there are some that would not have automatically come to mind unless i thought about it for  a while. Optimistic has always been a word i would apply to myself and for the most part i am very much so yet much recent musing has led me to realise i am also very much of a cynic and a pessimist. Such a strange contradiction for surely one cannot be both, can you? 

For myself i believe they can and that both do apply in my own case. Steadfastly determined to see the bright side of every situation i refuse to let things drag me down. Unerringly strong and dependable and definitely very much of a go to gal. I was once told i’m the kind of girl you need around in a crisis which pleased me greatly for i have never been the fall apart kind. Yet under this optimism and positivity i have to admit lurks a slightly less Pollyanna view of the world that i do not often acknowledge nor admit to.

We are alI a product of our life experiences and through mine i learned long ago never to expect anything of anyone or of life in general. This may sound awfully negative but my experience has been that in setting expectations you are frequently let down by people and situations themselves.This in turn has yet another effect upon the person you are and often not for the better. If you go along your merry path with no prior preconceptions or wants then you will never be disappointed but will only gain the opportunity to be pleasantly surprised along the way.

Admittedly i confess that the surprises are few since the people i have encountered are invariably  not of the positively life changing kind. Still all the more significant then when every once in a while someone comes along to break the mould and make me revise my opinion somewhat. Still the further down the road you walk you cannot help but don a little armour to protect you from the definitely expected and if your steps become a little weary you would no doubt be forgiven for that. 

Perhaps modern life itself is to blame for people no longer have the care for others that once was such an inherent part of their nature. Selfishness more frequently lurks behind every thought and action and rarely do a lot of us put other people before ourselves. Those that do frequently are trampled upon and taken for granted instead of appreciated and thanked. One would be forgiven then as such a person for becoming much disillusioned and unappreciated and set to wondering why they should bother at all.

But optimism prevails and whilst i will never look very far forward and dream and plan as others do i will never fail to make the best of what does come my way. Those rare surprises will be valued and appreciated and whilst i may secretly smother a small hope in some direction and would never turn away the chance for it to become reality i will never take it for granted that it may one day be so. Many say we need dreams and things to aspire to and yes perhaps in this harsh modern society of ours this is so but what we need more is the wisdom to distinguish between that which can become a reality and that which cannot. 

Yes i am definitely and optimist, but a pessimistic one at that. 

Rowing a small boat in a big ocean

Crisis, breakdown, issues, problems….

Call them what you will but we all have them at some point in our lives often when we least expect them. We may be merrily ambling along the path of life when suddenly we are knocked off our feet and left down in the dirt trying to find a foothold to get ourselves back upright again. For some of us this may be easy but for others even such a short ascent  may seem like facing the tallest mountain when they know they are no mountaineer.

Ultimately there is just no tried and tested way to deal with all these things, we are all so very different and what may be an effective coping mechanism for one may leave another floundering.Good advice whilst kindly meant may often result in an adverse effect to the one intended, for none of us can say how another may react to any given situation.But does this mean we should not offer for fear of doing the wrong thing? Encountering a rebuff whilst hard to accept is inevitably better than failing to act at all then regretting the fact you did not.

Call me whimsical if you will but i rather like to picture life itself as a small boat on an ocean.

We start our voyage of existence sailing solo but along the way we may invite people to share the journey with us and at various ports along the way we will pick up and drop them off, sometimes just one or sometimes a few. Fate will bring along its share of both calms and storms but struggle begins when you choose to either ask someone to row along with you or whether you choose to weather the onslaught and battle along alone.

After much practise i find i have become rather adept at rowing my boat, rather skillfully weathering the storms and if at times i get a little seasick, well at least i know it will pass. Even so there are times when rowing this boat alone gets a little lonely and then sometimes you wish that you had someone else along to share the ride. This is when i wish i had not put into port so often and cast ashore my shipmates. Hindsight most truly is a wonderful thing.

Perhaps there was something to be said for press ganging after all!

So as we cruise along on our various odysseys perhaps we should all keep an eye for those boats adrift or battling the storm and as we pass by hold out a hand and offer to help row. For when life’s tempest rears its ugly head we should like to hope someone will sail by our side and battle us into calmer seas. 

And since i can profess no claim to being any kind of mariner I know i would.

 

Austen-tatious

Image

I know myself to be far from alone this weekend being totally immersed in the screening of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, sighing wistfully as the knee weakening Mr Darcy bestows on the most beautiful Elizabeth Bennet ‘THE look’  A tale much loved by me in both literary form and the visual adaptations which duly followed, i find myself drawn once again into the romance and propriety of Austen’s world with all the ease of donning a favourite cosy cardigan. I am a most old fashioned girl in all things pertaining to matters of the heart but also find great appeal in such decorum and wealth of manners and believe i should have felt most at home in this earlier period of time. Oh how very wonderful to be wooed by some dashingly handsome man emanating respect and to be duly afforded such correct behaviour as was my right. So very far removed from most gentlemen of my acquaintance today, and i hesitate to call them gentlemen, who are more likely with great ribaldry to request that i display some area of my anatomy for the entertainment of all present. So appealing too, those so articulate and eloquent, an art which these days i find is very much on the decline and the talent of conversation and wit is severely lacking in all but a few. Perhaps i move in the wrong circles having neither connection nor fortune to move in a society above my own but this does not prevent me from longing for the stimulation of intelligence and decorum that seems doomed to be lost in a bygone age. Little wonder women the world around sigh disconsolately and  take solace in a world so very far removed from our own. And forgive me if, just for a short while, i  join the ranks and submit to the smoulderingly charismatic charms of the irrepressible Mr Darcy.

back when i was ten

Back when i was ten the world seemed like such a weird and wonderful place. I lived in a world of books where rabbits could talk and tales of boarding school and tuck boxes were my things to aspire to. Oh i so wanted to go to boarding school, to be like those merry little characters in my books,causing mayhem and having untold adventures with exciting new friends. I dreamt of smugglers and sleeping on islands just like those five so famous and so real to me when young. For i believed everyone did this and quite happily made plans as sleep eluded me on many a night in bed. I sailed with amazons and fished with huck finn, solved mysteries untold and inevitably always made it home for breakfast as every hero should. Yes the world was a wonderful place back when i was ten.

Flying!! So much i wanted to be Wendy and soar over the tops of houses following a star and the ageless charming Peter, to battle with pirates and crocodiles,nary a care in the world but to live like the heros and heroines i so admired. I danced at the ball and lost my slipper on the stairs, fell in love with a beautiful beast. Cried inconsolably for The little Match Girl and made as merry as any with the infamous Robin hood.

Yes show me a book and i would dream you a dream, back then when i was ten. Yet perhaps i shall always be such an age as with each tale i am transported away finding solace in a world so far removed from my own. So exciting a life i lead within the realms of my own head as stories unfold and imagination takes over, heroine again of a fable not of my creation yet where i feel so very at home. 

As i pick up a book i find things have not much changed from back then when i was ten.

Previous Older Entries

Top Clicks

  • None

Top Posts & Pages

Top Rated

Follow xpanda1969x on WordPress.com

Twitter Updates

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,278 other followers

Blog Stats

  • 36,967 hits

Top Posts & Pages

The KiltLander's Blog

JP's Outlander Recaps and other perspectives from the Dirk Side

JamesRadcliffe.com

James Radcliffe, Musician. Music, Blog, Pictures, Live, News...

Dionne Lister - Author

I love sharing my stories but I wish they wouldn't keep me awake at night

Great Scot!

Cultural Musings of An Outlandish Nature

clotildajamcracker

The wacky stories of a crazy lady.

Professional Moron

Daily Doses of Surreal Humour & Culture

Soul Love 11:11

Love That Transcends All Understanding

InfinitelyRemote Blog

Gateway to BlogDogIt.com

There By Candlelight Press

How many miles to Babylon? Three score and ten. Can I get there by candlelight? Yes, and back again.

Top 10 of Anything and Everything!!!

Animals, Gift Ideas, Travel, Books, Recycling Ideas and Many, Many More

PICZLoad pics a la carte

Watchout Loud and Have PICBliss!

Under Construction

Something is coming soon.

Jane Austen's World

This Jane Austen blog brings Jane Austen, her novels, and the Regency Period alive through food, dress, social customs, and other 19th C. historical details related to this topic.

eyE[before]E

in the land of the m[EyE]nd the one E'd man is kEEn

Perking the Pansies

Jack Scott's random ramblings

%d bloggers like this: