Thoughts

The faces of Christmas.

Another Christmas now is past

a Santa sack full of  memories made,

of smiles and laughter, and love expressed

as gifts were shared, and games were played.

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And carols were sung across the world,

and fires were lit, in houses both big, and small

and hearts overflowed, with emotions raw, and new

remembering those who’ve gone, but warmed by those held close.

And as the days of Christmas fall silently behind

hope stirs in our hearts, of what is to come.

A new year ahead, an unwritten page,

an adventure waiting,

a new journey…….yet to be taken.

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HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL X.

 

 

Love Alison xx

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Thoughts

Old friends and slippers

Long-Time-Friend-Quotes-006Last week I had a surprise autumn visit from a childhood friend.  We hadn’t seen each other for nearly 20 years but after just a few minutes together, intermingled with hugs, tears (mainly mine) and more hugs, we were chatting away as if we had never been apart.  That to me is the sign of true friendship, the kind that you can just slip on like that favourite old pair of slippers. You know, the ones that you mislaid somewhere along the line of life, but when you eventually find them again they are as comfy as they ever were.  Marina is just that kind of friend to me.

Do you have ‘Marinas’ in your life?  Friends that for one reason or another and without intention have faded from view, as families grow and life just gets, well,….busy! Somehow however many new friends we make, and as valuable as they are to us there is always something that remains strong and unique about the ones you grew up with.  Those friends who knew about your first kiss and who it was with,  or who shared your sleeping bag at a summer camp, even if, as is the case for me and Marina, we have allowed too many years to slip by without a hug.

Marina and I grew up in church circles and both went on to marry men who became ministers.  Oh the joys of being a ministers wife (another blog maybe!).  Marina is still married to her minister but mine unfortunately ‘threw in the collar’  in more ways than one, and during that time of change, for one reason or another, I mislaid many old friends from the past.

Over the years as we all do, I have made some very special new friends.  Friends who saw the mess and were there to help me clear it up.  Friends who came along at the right time and season.  2721725-Alan-Kay-Quote-A-new-friend-is-new-wine-when-it-grows-old-you-willThose friends are like new wine and as the days go by they are ageing into something very pleasant on the palate.  I’m not a big drinker but I’m always ready for a glass of Sue, Megan, Vivienne or Lynn when we get time to sit down together and share our news over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine

There are however for me just times in life when I have to search out that cosy pair of slippers, someone who knows me of old.   It’s even better when they just turn up unexpectedly as my lovely friend Marina did the other day.  Those friends we grew up with, who know where we’ve come from and share the memories of our youth.  Looking into the face of one of those friends is like looking in a mirror, they reflect something of ourselves and remind us of  what once was, while accepting us for the choices we’ve made, and who we have become,  because that’s what friends do.

I think I have quite a few old pairs of slippers that I havent looked out in a while.  What about you, do you have ‘Marinas’ hiding away at the back of the cupboard?  Why not  seek them out and dust them down, put them on, and remember just how very comfy they were.

You never know, they might be searching for an old pair of slippers too.

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Love Alison x

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Thoughts

Moments of madness!

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Each day as I walk Jess through the park we wander past a cheerful, burbling little stream, and I love it.  It reminds me of my childhood, of water filled wellies and death-defying rope swings.  The water ripples merrily along, and birds flit swiftly between the trees, skimming the water as they go.  With the added touch of sunshine on a spring day it is nothing but a joy.

There is just one problem.  Over the last few months as I have walked past my stream, and been uplifted by its sheer presence it has begun to talk to me, calling me, trying to entice me back into its memory filled waters, but each day I have walked on by,  trying to quiet the battle within.  My heart said  “Go on Ali, you’ll be fine”  but my head was saying  “Come on, it’s too risky, wait a while longer, till your fitter and stronger”!  (Poetry creeps in even when I’m talking to myself).  And so I’ve continued on each day, walking past my stream, and squashing down the childish excitement that bubbled within me, until…..

The other day Jess was happily chasing evasive squirrels, the park was quiet with not a photography blogger in sight and suddenly, without warning, my heart won the war.  I found myself wellie deep in a lovely, murky, pebble filled stream and I was back in the town of my birth, down at  ‘The Mole’  once again, and for a few special moments I was in heaven.

The only trouble was that I had got in fairly painlessly,  but now I had to get out.

Feeling secure in my Barbour Wellington’s (a brand I would definitely recommend) I had stepped carefully down a fairly small bank, and into my joyful place.  Having squelched happily along for a while and coming to the waters end,  getting out looked a little more risky but.. here goes.

OUCH!!  That hurt!.. The bank was probably only two steps tall but as I put my second foot on the slope my Welly failed to grip (hmm!) and I began to slip, instinctively grabbing the first stinging nettle that looked like it might have a ‘cat in hells’ chance,  of saving my fall!  After successfully making it up the bank it wasnt long before I was hunting for the ever faithful Dock leaf.

Dock leaves are never far away from stinging nettles, I think they just like to grow in the same boggy conditions.  Its not a proven fact that they do anything for the sting although it could be the sap that soothes the pain, or possibly just the placebo effect as we have been brought up to believe that they help, but whatever they do or don’t do the Dock leaf worked its historic magic on me, and if I’d wanted a trip down memory lane that nettle sting certainly did the trick.

I guess we all have times in our lives when we have a battle between our head and our heart. Our head says no, but the passion in our hearts beats so loud and so strong that we take the plunge or risk.   I didn’t come to any lasting harm on my little adventure, but in hindsight and given my recent state of health it maybe wasnt the best of ideas.  It did however bring a smile to my day if only to smile at myself.

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As the quote in this picture says.. A wise person uses both mind and heart in their decisions and I think that maybe before I indulge any more of my childhood longings that I will try to amalgamate the two.   Especially when it comes to the tree that is just begging to be climbed!

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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

Letting Go.

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This picture,  of a rather chewed, rather ragged teddy,  is the 55-year-old version of the teddy that was in my pram as a baby.  He (as I’ve always thought he was a boy) was originally pink, and I can still see the fresh pink fluffy skin in the folds of his furry body, unchanged by age.  Of course, he’s well-worn now,  to the point of really having no face   (JESS you bad dog!!).  Maybe its time to let go?  but as I was clearing through some things yesterday afternoon,  and sat for a while with said teddy on my knee, I couldn’t make that decision.  Teddy doesn’t even have a name, other than Teddy,  but he represents something to me that is hard to let go of.

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From childhood, we are told to hold on. ‘Hold on to Mums hand’, ‘hold on to the pushchair’,  ‘hold on to your ball’,  ‘hold on to your bag’.  Then as we get older we are told to ‘Hold on to love,’  ‘hold on to your dreams’.  Hold on! Hold on!   It’s no wonder that when the time comes for us to begin to let go, that it can cause quite a commotion in our emotions.

I remember a friend saying to me a couple of years ago that she felt she was spending all her time saying goodbye,  and I totally empathize with her feeling.  As our children grow up we start to say goodbye in lots of ways, whether it’s packing them off to Uni, watching them move into their own home, or maybe just saying goodbye at the station after a special visit,  but there is a reason it’s so hard, and no one explains it better than another very special bear called Pooh!

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How blessed we are to have had that special someone or something in our lives,  the pain involved in releasing them, is proof of the years of love, affection and time that has been invested in that relationship.  It’s so easy to be afraid of it, but maybe we should embrace that pain and be proud of it because it is born of Love.  (ok maybe easier said than done).

Some of you will have read my previous post Slow and steady wins the race. and know that I have just said goodbye to my son Simon.  Letting go in this case is a bit harder than usual,  as the investment has been immense, but seeing Simons face as he proudly makes his mum a cup of tea,  with his own kettle in his own cave is well worth it.  Thankfully Simon isn’t quite as hairy as this little fellow.

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Letting go is hard, and my heart goes out to those in America who this week are having to come to terms with such a terrible tragedy.  Lives have been lost, love has been lost.  It makes my feelings in comparison seem so small.  Every day Mums and Dads in the States, have to  ‘Let go’  as they send their children off to school, trying to hide the fear they feel, but they do it out of love and I know they will bravely continue to do so.

As parents, we do a lot of hand-holding as our children grow up, but each time we brave letting go of a hand, trusting that they will be ok without us, we are giving them the opportunity to grow.  As they enter the new phase of their life, it leaves us with hands that in time,  will be ready to hold something new.

Now that I have a completely empty nest, I think I have a few afternoons ahead where I will be sorting things out, and wondering if I can let go of certain memories, but for now, I’ve decided that Teddy can stay, at least for a while longer until I’m ready to say Goodbye.

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Love Alison x

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