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’ 

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A letter to Grandad

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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

Is that for your husband dear?

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Hunting madly through the kitchen drawer i really was far from impressed to find that yet again a screwdriver famine had descended over my once well stocked tool kit. Over the months various members had ‘borrowed’ items and as usual either lost or not returned them home leaving me with few sorry items hiding away in a huddle. What should have been a simple task of changing a vacuum cleaner belt was now turning into something far more complicated but then this is my house what did i expect? The one remaining Phillips screwdriver lurking in the depths of the drawer was far too short for the very deep screws so thoughtfully designed by the people at VAX. Heaving a sigh i eyed the rain resignedly, decided to brave the weather and trudged my way up to a local hardware store. Humming along  to tunes on my ipod i abandoned my very wobbly and now soaking umbrella at the door and headed for the tool section. I decided that whilst i was here perhaps now would be a good time to price up a new tool kit since i’d had one on my to buy list for quite some time and not gotten around to it. 

The store itself is very haphazard, cluttered and narrow which makes viewing items properly quite difficult. Far from being hung in uniform military precision as in the larger department stores , these items were much more scattered and overflowing. Deciding to save time i approached a shop assistant for advice which i normally do not do, much preferring to ponder my own choices. Explaining what i wanted the kit to contain i smilingly asked to be shown suitable items at a reasonable price. Immediately afterwards my smile faded and i gaped as the shop assistant blithely asks ”Is this for your husband dear?”

”Ummmmm, no actually its for me” I announced confidently ”i dont have a husband”

Her eyes opened wider and she swept her gaze over my red lipstick, down to my heeled boots and finally settled on my finger polished nails before quietly exclaiming ”OH!!”  

Hmmmm had she been an elderly lady i might have understood but this woman was younger than i am so perhaps she should not have been surprised at a woman buying herself a toolkit. I debated telling her that i can quite happily accomplish all manner of DIY tasks from unblocking a U bend to repairing electrical items. As for flat pack furniture well there i’m almost an expert and super speedy and the go to gal amongst my friends when any is purchased. Showing me two or three less robust kits in between sideways glances i rolled my eyes as she was clearly showing me the more ‘delicate’ end of the range. Definitely not what i was after i want a proper tool kit that can withstand anything i throw at it not a pretty pink barbie kit!! 

Chuckling to myself i decided that perhaps one of the bigger department stores might be more realistic and instead settled for buying the size screwdriver i wanted for the job at hand. Shoving it into my bright red handbag i had to smile at the rather incongruous picture it surely presented to her. So they say the world is much more equal these days do they? Perhaps not so much as you would imagine after all! Ah well, time to go and file my nails whilst baking a cake i think. Tea anyone??

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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. 

mission impossible

Being pro green doesnt mean i suddenly develop an amazing memory infact i cant be terribly scatty at times for such an organized person. Take this morning, plodding my way down the stairs stifling a yawn, tripping over my giant sized pyjama legs as i go i heard an all too familiar clinking and crashing sound coming from the next street THE RECYCLERS!! Now i do recycle as you know and i’m rather good i separate things into correct boxes, well i call them boxes but after the asda van merrily rolled over mine some time ago i find i’ve had to improvise and now have a strange assortment of crates and bags in which to put everything. What i am terrible at is remembering to put the darned things out before i go to work and im usually gone by 7am when the big recycling orchestra comes tinkling and clanking down my street, but not today. Oh no not today!! I actually stopped at the bottom of the stairs and said RECYCLERS!!! to myself before tripping out of the back doors, pivoting in the garden and flying back though for the garage key, standing on a most indignant cat waiting for his breakfast as i went. Now Tom Cruise would’ve recruited me on the spot here as i scaled the contents of the garage before sliding over a mattress and landing in a heap next to a pile of empty kitekat tins. Anything guaranteed to put you off breakfast is the faint aroma of long used sardines and the nauseating waft of turkey and duck in tantalising jelly. Yes not so tantalising at 7am when your bum is on a cold stone floor and your nose is inches from the nearest tin can!! So rescuing my butt from the floor i carefully opened the garage door halfway hissing at it to HUSH as it screeched gleefully on its hinges,announcing to all in earshot that i was about to emerge.In my best mission impossible style i peered under the door making sure the recyclers werent standing at the end of my drive arms akimbo, tapping one foot in a ‘what do we have here’ manner, grabbed the nearest crate, limboed under the door and hurtled down the drive trying to reach the end  before some man in yellow caught me crate in hand displaying all my guilt. Of course it had to be wet so there am i, crate loudly going clinky clanky, socks going splishy splashy and praying madly that i didnt trip over my trouser legs before i reached my destination and avoid further embarrassment. I confess i must’ve looked a comical sight in giant pyjamas stumbling furtively up and down the drive before diving under the safety of the garage door, doing a quick reconnaissance before emerging with the next load to be hurriedly deposited with the rest. I think once the pile grew to the size of a small armchair i had to abandon the mission and plodge at speed back into the house, once again standing on a most disgruntled cat before hiding behind the curtains to watch and see if the recycling mountain was disposed of by the lovely men in yellow. My guilt forces me to confess they really didnt look impressed and i had to duck from several glances towards the house but eventually the wagon rolled away somewhat more weighty than before and i breathed a sigh of relief and vowed to put out the boxes more often and avoid another mission impossible

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.

conversations of an unusual nature

okay i confess i have gone entirely and utterly mad. perhaps working with dementia is affecting me for it has come to the stage that shopping in Tesco’s i am actually answering the talking checkout as if this were a perfectly normal everyday thing to do. Now i may have been a little rude but i did say this under my breath so as not to offend the little electronic beings sensibilities. 

okay first item scanned..

CHECKOUT…please place the item in the bagging area ( i comply)

CHECKOUT..unexpected item in bagging area

ME…no its not you just told me to put it in there!!! (shop assistant rectifies the problem) 

CHECKOUT…please scan your next item

ME…I am, i am calm down

CHECKOUT…please place the item in the bagging area……unexpected item in bagging area

ME...well stop telling me to put it in there then!! (shop assistant comes over again)

CHECKOUT…please scan your club card….please scan your club card…please scan your club card

ME( hunting through handbag)….hang on hang on im getting it!! lord have a little patience for once tut!!

CHECKOUT…please take your items…please take your items..please take your items

ME( chasing a rogue apple across the floorwell i’m hardly going to leave it here am i stupid *!$*

oh dear more time spent in intelligent conversation needed i think!! maybe its time to lie down 😛Image

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