Thoughts

All of a flutter.

Things are a little tense in my corner of the world at the moment as we wait in anticipation for the safe arrival of the new little member of our family.  He or she will soon be here and for a while im sure life will go a little crazy.

So far as a Grandma or (nonna) to be goes I still feel pretty much the same.  My skirt length hasn’t changed, in fact I have spent most of the summer in a pair of cut down jeans shorts with frayed edges, feeling very  ‘ungrandmotherly’  if indeed there is such a word.  I think I have been cutting an old pair of Jeans down to shorts since I was about 13 but it still seems to be an acceptable fashion item,  and I count myself lucky that at 55 I can still get away with it.

This post however isn’t about being a Grandma or giving birth but about parenting, and how yesterday I got a ‘birds eye’ view (pardon the pun) of how it works in the world of our feathered friends.

One minute we were sat having coffee, the next it was raining sparrows and we were suddenly surrounded by fledglings, unable to fly or feed themselves.  I’m not quite sure how they made their way to the ground without breaking something, but somehow they did.

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Two were fairly healthy looking but this little guy looked like he’d been given his marching orders a little too early, and although Dad spent the day feeding all three in different parts of the garden, I didn’t think this little bundle of fluff had much chance of survival.

Baby sparrows leave the nest unable to feed themselves and the male will continue to provide for them for up to two weeks while his wife gets on with laying her next batch of eggs.  Gosh she must be one exhausted female!

I really didn’t expect them to survive the night and I’m pretty sure only 2 have .  It’s a tough world out there and I guess it really is ‘survival of the fittest’, but I was pleased to see this little chap popping his head up from his bed this morning and we had a little chat of relief while I took his photo.

Parenting is a tough job.  It takes commitment, courage, hard work and a whole heart full of unconditional love.  We are thrown into it with no real training, but somehow we survive and amazingly so do our children.  I take my hat off to this proud Dad who has probably been up all night worrying about his young as they spent their first night without him.  Dont we all know what that is like?  He is now completing his final step of the journey as their dad, and bravely letting them go.

Very soon I will be watching two new young parents take the first steps on that same journey.  If I was to give them some advice I think I would say this…Trust yourselves, trust your heart and love and support each other… the rest I think will come naturally just as it does for Mr and Mrs Sparrow.

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And at the end of the day if all else fails there is always a Nonna in denim the other side of town.

 

 

 

Love Alison x

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Thoughts

Listening in on Fistral Beach.

 

“Give it a magic tap Lilly”

A squeal of delight as a bucket is lifted,

and Lilly’s first sandcastle stands proud.

A little room for improvement,

with jagged turrets and crumbling  walls,

but isn’t that how a perfect sandcastle should be.

Built with enthusiasm

excited smiles, and

a bit of help from Dad.

                                                                                ~

“Dont knock it down yet!”

Lilly’s face crumbles

a little like the walls

of her sandcastle built,

but Dad has other plans

grand ideas for his pride and joy.

A row of ten and

then,

“then you can knock them down Lilly”

                                                                                 ~

Dad and Lilly work hard

Magic taps abound

buckets are filled and emptied

with salty tasting sand

and love,

and as the tide turns

Father and Daughter stand back

admiring what they have built

together.

                                                                                ~

“Go on then Lilly”

With a hint of the rascal

a little girl runs,

jumps, twists and turns.

Sand castles once standing tall

now flattened with childish glee.

                                                                                 ~

As the tide creeps in

bags are packed,

sandy little toes are dried

and a small hand is held.

Looking back over his shoulder

as the last remnants of their handiwork

are gently washed away

Dad smiles to himself.

“Well done Lilly”

 

 

By Alison Fielding x

 

 

Thoughts

Helen. (A short story)

It was exactly ten years to the day that Helen found herself sat in her car, tears flowing freely, on a street just minutes away from her home.  As her loud sobbing began to subside and her shaking body began to calm she glanced quickly around.  Her sight, momentarily blurred from the infusion of tears took a little while to clear, but as it did she realized that she had stopped only a few feet away from where he lived.  Without warning an intense heat began to rise from her chest to her neck, then like flames in an uncontrolled fire began to work its way up, encircling her face as the full force of the emotion she was feeling surged through her body.  All she could do was sit and wait,  knowing from experience that it would eventually pass.

Life for Helen over the last decade, had been messy to say the least.  A cacophony of  mixed feelings, difficult relationships and entangled lives.  A roller coaster of emotions and Helen hated roller coasters.  She detested most fairground rides with the exception of the merry-go-round, which even as an adult she still couldn’t resist.  The brave colours and enchanting music had drawn her towards it, and with a little girls dream of riding her own pony, it was the closest she came to getting her feet in those stirrups.   As an adult the gentle turning and up and down motion of the brightly coloured horses was calming, and gave her the sense of safety and control that she so often craved.  Other than that the fairground would always be enjoyed for the sweet taste of candy floss and the excited screams of her children as she watched them from a place of safety, feet firmly on the ground.

As her panic began to fade, and feeling more relaxed Helen began watching passers-by and wondered if their lives were as complex as hers.  A tall, elegant young woman being pulled eagerly along by a lively Red Setter,  passed by on the other side of the road.  She threw a quick glance at the tear stained face in the car, then carried on her way.  Helen hastily emptied her handbag on the passenger seat in search of a tissue and began to dab her eyes, trying to remove the stains of waterproof mascara that were now tatoed onto her cheeks.  After a few attempts she realized that this would have to wait till later, she also made a mental note that waterproof mascara didn’t behave as it should, at least not the brand that she afforded.

A few more cheerful dog walkers passed by.  Children were happily riding their bikes in the midday sun, whiling away the long summer hours.  In her now slightly dreamy state she only just managed to duck as a figure she knew  ‘oh so well’  came out of his door to place some rubbish in the bin.  Trying to breathe calmly Helen wondered at the irony of finding herself in this place so many years after they had met, and knew that a torch was still being carried, if only in her own heart.  Amongst all the chaos of her life emotions had been buried but not dealt with.  It was one of her fortes ..’why deal with today what can be put off till tomorrow?’  she really did need to work on that one and maybe her doctors suggestion of cognitive therapy wasn’t such a bad idea after all.  Something else to add to her long list of  ‘things to do’  to improve her mental and physical well-being.

An hour passed.  Calm and quiet were replacing the turbulent state of mind which had caused Helen to jump in her car, in search of a bit of space where she could collect her thoughts.  Being a single mother had not been what Helen had in mind when the words  “I DO”  had poured eagerly and naively from her mouth.  A blushing bride, gazing adoringly into the eyes of her husband to be, dreaming the dreams of a young girl brought up on fairy tales.  Fifteen years later, the only bit of him she adored was his contribution to the procreation of their children.  Any further contribution was on his terms only and definitely not so enjoyable.

The warm sun shone through the car windscreen and landed on Helen’s long, already tanned legs.  She had always had an enviable figure and one that would often be the reason for a turned head in the street, but the kind nature in her possession didn’t allow her to use her looks for her own gain.  She did however take a little secret pleasure from the male attention she received, whilst still nursing a broken heart.

Sitting in the safety of her car Helen wondered what was going on in the house she had left behind.  She hoped that moods would be changing and apologies being prepared, if a little unwillingly.  On a good day coping with four teenagers and their raging hormones  was challenging enough, but there were many occasions when she felt totally out of her depth, and leaving the situation was the only way she could keep some form of control, if only of herself.

Looking around and taking in the all too familiar surroundings brought difficult memories flooding back to the forefront of her mind.  She tried in vain to squash them down to a place where they no longer caused her pain.  Did he suffer like this?  She thought not, and once again a fresh stream of tears began to flow down her already mascara stained cheeks.  She really did need to invest more money in herself and made a mental note to give Chanel a try.

Catching sight of the clock in the car Helen knew that it wouldn’t be long before she had to make tracks and return home.  She hoped that putting some space between them would have helped calm a difficult situation.  How she longed for the support of a partner at these times.  A male voice to guide her boys through teenage trials and a strong pair of arms around her to provide comfort on stormy days.   Helen did her best but boys needed men in their lives to look up to, and above all to learn how to treat the women in their lives with respect.  How could they learn this with no resident role model.  An idea travelled through Helen’s mind and made her smile.  ‘Rent a role model’  maybe she could start a business providing struggling single mums with positive male role models or maybe just male models…..what single mum could resist.  Uncles might have been a close substitute but Helen’s brothers all lived abroad and at times this had left her feeling very alone.

Looking at her reflection in the wing mirror of her car she noticed the hair bobble holding it in place.  She laughed to herself as she remembered the light-hearted teasing of the mechanic as he had put her car through its M.O.T.,  bobble intact.  The Fiat Punto, which had cost a mere £300 had served her well and in the three years they had been together it had been completely faithful.  Sadly, more reliable than the men in her life.

Helen’s upbringing had been strictly religious.  She had been discouraged from dating outside of the church and had grown up with a shallow experience of the world and its ways.  Meeting her lover whilst still grieving a failed marriage had been the starting point of change in Helen’s life, and although he had brought a lot of additional pain to her door, she found it hard to forget him.

Helen could scarcely believe that the years had passed so quickly.  The fact that she had pulled up just minutes from his home-made her realize that feeling close to him, or to memories of the times they spent together, still brought her a sense of safety in her troubled day.  She wondered if this constituted stalking and contemplated starting the engine only to take her hands of the keys and let her mind wander and relive, if only for a moment the way he had made her feel.  Looking back it was as if he had been all the men she had never met, all the experiences she had never had.  As a young woman in her twenties when all her piers were just enjoying life, she was knee-deep in nappies and domesticity having never really known herself.  The way he touched her had made her feel like a goddess, sexy, attractive adored and beautiful.  His body was youthful, tanned and muscular and the thoughts of being wrapped in those strong arms made her feel safe.  She needed them now when she was alone, not knowing which way to turn.  She needed to hear his voice comforting her,  and she needed to feel the passion to which she had become so hopelessly addicted.

Helen knew her time of reprieve was fleeting, but those precious moments of escape had been just what she needed to pull herself together.  The sun was getting warmer and she felt cramped in the limited space.  Deciding to stretch her legs before returning home she opened the car door and let the fresh air cool her warm body, blowing away what was left of the cobwebs in her mind.  She could now return home with a slightly renewed sense of self, although could she have afforded it a holiday might have been more beneficial.  Bringing all her senses into action she tried to recall memories of holidays taken.  Her small children playing happily in the sand and splashing in the waves, not a care in the world.  Donkey rides and buckets and spades had now been replaced with X boxes and I pads, a natural progression through life but Helen knew which she preferred.  Watching her children beginning to discover life for themselves was causing her to feel anxious, and although she knew it would come right in the end she still had to squash down an overwhelming sense of fear and loss.

Having only walked a few paces from the car Helen suddenly realized that she could now clearly be seen from his house.  Her previous feelings of safety wrapped up in familiar surroundings were replaced by a rapidly beating heart and she knew she had crossed a line.  Hurrying back to the car she opened the door and sank into her seat, and as her racing heart began to slow she started the engine.  Glancing in her rear view mirror as she drove away, she knew she had to let go.

Pulling into her drive Helen could hear laughter and music coming from the house.  Her daughter came to the door and smiled, genuinely pleased to see her.  Walking into the house she could see that the washing up had been done, not to her standard but done none the less.  Picking up a tea towel she started to dry the dishes and smiled as she listened to the concoction of music travelling down the stairs.

Her life wasnt perfect, but it was her life, and for that she was grateful.

 

 

By Alison Fielding x

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Thoughts

Life after death. (A journey through grief)

My posts seem to be tinged with a little sadness at the moment, but I guess it’s just the way life is at times, and don’t we all have to take the rough with the smooth as we work our way through this amazing, beautiful, scary thing called LIFE.

Life isn’t a permanent smile on a social media selfie, however much a little internet surfing can make us feel that it should be.  It’s a complex mix of Sadness and laughter, Sorrows and Joys, Births and Deaths, Fear and Overcoming.  We all know that it takes ‘Sunshine and Rain’ to make a rainbow, and life is equally as colourful.  It’s this patchwork of emotions and circumstances that make up the rich tapestry of our lives, each complex square stitched together with threads of love and endurance.

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One of the squares on my life’s quilt will have the word  ‘MUM’  running through the stitches like a stick of rock.  My mum died two years ago on the 1st June, and I still think about her everyday.  Life after death is a path we all have to tread when we loose someone we love, it can be a long, and difficult journey, and unfortunately not one that we can avoid or decide to take at another time, however much we might prefer to postpone it.

For a long time there was a gaping hole, a rip that only time could mend.  Sometimes its tempting to make a quick repair and hope nobody will notice, but just as any seam sewn quickly and without care, would sooner or later fray, so a heart that is broken needs time to mend and there is no easy or quick fix, especially in matters of the heart.

Grieving takes time.  To begin with the loss of our loved one is the first thought each morning, and the last at night. Days can feel like weeks as we begin to work our way through the intensity of our emotions.  These are the days that we need to make our self-care a priority.  Taking some time each day to do things that bring comfort and peace can help us cope, along with trying to eat well, and getting a good night sleep.  These things may be difficult at first but as time goes by they do become a little easier… honestly.  We begin to make small steps towards recovery,  and each new little burst of sunshine in our daily life helps to slowly dry the puddles of sadness that we are wading through.

It’s a time in our lives when we need the support of those closest too us.  Just a hug or a kind word of understanding can do wonders for a grieving heart.   Human touch is  powerful and healing.  We could all benefit from more of it on a daily basis, but for someone who is grieving just a hand-held, an arm touched or a hug given can often bring greater comfort than words, and allow space for a little sadness to be relieved.  Tears at this time are tears of healing and far better out than in.

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Noticing the beauty around us can be really beneficial,  and help to bring us into the present moment.  Mother nature is around every corner,  waiting patiently for us to be ready to acknowledge her.  At first we are often too engrossed in our sadness to be able to do this, but as time moves us on we begin to see and hear all her amazing handiwork once again, and gradually we are drawn back into life.

The loss of any parent is hard.  My mum moved up to be near me in her later years and within a couple of months we found out that her days were limited.  We didn’t even have time to adjust to living close to each other before we were thrown into a myriad of appointments and specialists.  We then had to adjust to the fact that we were saying a very long goodbye, knowing that the end was near, but not knowing when it would be.

I’m so thankful that I was with her on her final journey.  It wasnt easy and there were times when I would have happily postponed it or decided to take a different route if that had been an option, but I know I did my best, and knowing my mum, that is all she would have expected of me.

I love you Mum x.

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Love Alison x

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Patchwork quilt made with love by Raye Smillie.

 

 

Thoughts

Who sacked the Teapot?

Do you remember when?… Oh gosh I must be getting older if I’m starting a sentence like that…Oh well here goes.  Do you remember when you used to use a Teapot?  You know, that chubby, homely looking piece of pottery, with a spout and a handle that used to sit comfortably in your kitchen.  Perhaps you are one of the few who still use one, or could possibly locate one at the back of your cupboard if you looked hard enough.  Maybe after reading this blog you might even be inspired to get it out and give it a dust.. Do let me know.

‘Legend has it that in the year 2737 BC tea leaves from the Camellia Sinensis tree floated down into a bowl of water being boiled for Shen Nung the Emporer of China.  Finding that he rather enjoyed the taste he continued drinking “tay”.  Tea didn’t reach Europe until 1610 when Dutch traders brought it back to Holland and of course now it is the drink of choice for us Brits and many others throughout Europe’.  An interesting bit of trivia!

The Teapot which came later was at first used for just one or two cups, and often carried around for personal use.  The drinker would apparently drink straight from the spout. Hmm, maybe worth a try although I think I prefer mine in a mug unless im on a posh day, or having a ‘remembering my mum moment’ in which case a china cup and saucer is definitely preferred.

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I guess we have the  ‘T bag’  to blame for the decline of the Teapot, it’s so much quicker and easier to just chuck one in a mug and drown it in water, but is that the answer?  Is quicker and easier better? or are we loosing something in the passing by of the Good ol’ Teapot, and the time it takes to make an old-fashioned brew.

I think we are.  The Teapot symbolizes friendship, companionship, chatting and sharing.  It says  ‘Im making time for you’.  Picture a plump, brightly coloured Teapot sat in the middle of a table, surrounded by a group of friends sharing their deepest troubles and joys.  The Teapot sits quietly, nonchalantly.  Faithfully doing its job of keeping the tea warm while listening in to the chattering voices that surround it,  understanding the importance of quietly kept confidences.  From time to time it smiles as it’s lifted up and tilted towards a favourite mug or tea-cup, as friends happily share from one vessel.  The Teapot unites us.

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Time is such a precious commodity and yet how often do we hear people say  ‘I havent got time’  or  ‘I havent had time’  or  ‘there just aren’t enough hours in the day’.  Maybe they should go and buy a Teapot, and enjoy the old-fashioned ritual.  The warming of the pot, the waiting for it to brew, deciding to have just one more cup before it goes cold.  It really is an art form and one that is sadly fading.

I think my recipe for a good cup of tea would be this:

1 whistling kettle, 1 Tea pot, 1 mug, 1 tsp tea leaves, a little milk (I prefer goats milk) 1 tsp of time and 1 tsp patience.  A little sunshine always helps along with a good friend.(recipe to be adjusted for two). Oh and dont forget the strainer!

Try it and let me know how you got on.. you may find that taking some time, actually produces more,  as relaxation and the taste of a good well made cuppa recharges your batteries and restores you.

I always feel quite sad when I break a tea-pot.  I just think they hold such precious daily memories.  It’s usually the lid that gets broken and once that has gone you really need to go and buy a new one, but I always find it hard to throw the old one away and often try to think of a good use for a lidless Pot.

I was faced with throwing this one away the other day.  Its been sat on a shelf for a long time,  but I really didn’t want to part with it as it holds memories of a certain time of my life.  Thankfully I found a new use for it and although I don’t have a picture I was excited to see a little blue tit flying in and out of it the other day enjoying a good meal.

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Its seems to me that there was no good reason to sack the Teapot,  but I can think of lots of reasons to reinstate it.

 

 

Love Alison x

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Thoughts

Bicycle bells and memories.

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At the bottom of my garden there is a pale blue shed, In the pale blue shed there is a pale green bike with a basket on the front, and on the handlebars of the pale green bike with the basket on the front, is a bright pink bell with a daisy on top. Oh how I love that bell. I can still remember the sheer joy I felt when I opened the brown package and saw it drop onto my bed.  And no it wasnt my 10th birthday but my 50th!

Having never had a new bike in my life, and being affectionately named  ‘Second hand Ali’  by my first serious boyfriend I thought it was high time I treated myself, and what a proud purchase it was.  Receiving that bell as a gift on my birthday was the ‘icing on the cake’ or should I say ‘the bell on the bike’.

This post however isn’t about the bike, or about the person who sent that package, it’s about that pink bell and all it stood for. It’s about the little things in life that can so often turn out to be the things that mean the most.  Giving us an overwhelming sense of joy, and creating the best of memories.

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That pink bell with the daisy on the top stood for 3 things to me

  1. I know you.
  2. I’ve put some thought into this.
  3. I know what will make you smile.

We often say it’s ‘the thought that counts’,  It’s a phrase that is often used in jest when a gift has been misplaced or forgotten, but for me it’s definitely the thought behind things that can mean far more than the object itself, and can make a seemingly insignificant gift seem of much greater value.

Of course it’s not just about gifts. Some of my most precious memories are made up of small moments that mean a lot to me.  The flower picked from the ground on a walk with my man, the decoupaged flower-pot that my daughter sat up making late into the night, the unexpected christmas stocking filled with love ‘ The night Santas elves filled my stocking! ‘, the breakfast cooked on mother’s day by two very grown up sons, or the words on a mother’s day card this year that yes, kind of brought a tear to my eye.

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It’s these little moments of thoughtfulness, kindness and honesty that make life worthwhile, and make me so thankful for the life I have forged for myself and the lives i have had a part in creating.

But it’s not just the small family moments that are special, it’s the small unexpected things that happen in our day that can mean so much because they took just a little extra thought.  For me it’s the lady down the road who constantly stops and asks me how im doing, even though I hardly know her.  It’s the unexpected call from a friend on a day that you may feel a little alone,  or the person who gives you their ticket in a parking lot without expecting any payment in return.  It’s these little momentary gestures that have taken just a little bit of extra effort that have the greatest value.

Our lives are made up of thousands upon thousands of moments, it’s up to us how we use them and which ones we log as memories and keep close to our hearts, but im quite sure that for many of us it will be the  ‘small bicycle bells on the handlebars of the pale green bike with a basket on,  in the pale blue shed’,  moments that turn out to be the best. Ding! Ding!

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Love Alison x

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Thoughts

Mums are…

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The womb that nurtures
the arms that cradle
the hands that hold
the eyes that watch over.

 

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 The ears that listen
the voice that soothes
the rock that shelters
the feet that lead.

 

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  The Nurse, the teacher,
the chauffeur, the cook,
night-watchman, forgiver,
encourager, protector.

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All in the name of,
one feeling
one emotion
one Word.

 

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 Happy Mothers day. (11th March)  If you’re a mum enjoy it, if you have a mum, make her feel special,  and if you have sadly lost your mum, know that you’re not alone.

 

Love Alison x

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