Friday, 26 March 2010

Letting go

Many a year ago ( in the mid 1970s, to be accurate) I married a man whose parents lived in Whitstable, Kent in the family home where he had grown up.  Suffice it to say that it turned out he had ALOT of mental/emotional problems, and I eventually fled to Orkney with my children, in order to get as far away as possible from him, without actually leaving the country!  Consequently, it's a place I have very mixed feelings about, especially as we used to go to Seasalter quite a bit when i was a child - so I have 2 different layers of happy memories of dog walking etc on the shingle beach, all tangled up with some corrosive feelings of betrayal and fear, swilling around to make some very confused ghosts in the machine that is me!  Today, my present husband, the delightful Jiffy, took me back there.

The ghosts are no more, I have walked the shingle anew, and left all my pain on the beach.  Moreover, I have filled their space with contented memories of sharing a wild and beautiful place with my Jiffy and Sioni (our ageing but doesn't-believe-it terrier)  The gusty spring wind blew it all away, and we wandered past my ex-in-laws' house on the way into Whitstable, and I was glad it was still there - even though new houses have been built on the garden that 'Papa' loved so much.

We found a lovely restaurant for lunch (the 'Samphire' if you're in Whitstable any time!) and had the best fish pie in years, then wandered around taking pictures of new memories.  It's good to go back as a visitor to your own history, sometimes, once you have enough distance to get perspective.  It helps you let go of 'stuff' that can be a millstone round your neck, even though it's as ephemeral as memories that haunt your present - they can be surprisingly weighty and cumbersome, and their loss is truly liberating.

Monday, 22 March 2010

Easter meanderings

This blog is entitled " A Wandering World" but there hasn't been alot of wandering over the past year! (apart from holidays, which don't really count) I'm glad to say that we'll be doing a little bit of wandering in the next few weeks, not quite holidays, more by way of a change of scene, as life has not yet offered us work to take us somewhere different.

Tomorrow we head for The Smoke, well, close enough! We will spend a few days near Dartford, in Kent and visit with family, then return to Gloucestershire, but to a different site, one where we stayed in a much smaller caravan, in much more uncertain financial circumstances, when we first made Gloucestershire our base in 2004. It's near Cheltenham, and we shall be there while our granddaughter, Bethan comes to stay over Easter. We are greatly looking forward to her stay, and taking her to share all sorts of lovely places that we know - let's hope she enjoys it as much as we expect to!

Friday, 12 March 2010

Memory Lane

We not only live a mobile life, we try to live as minimalist a life as we can, so I've been scanning in the scads of hard-copy photographs that we own, so they are digitally stored (and take up less space) and the originals can be given into the care of my children, who are not so enamoured of the mobile/minimal life!

This process has, of course, resulted in many trips down Memory Lane, which could have been seen as time-wasting, but which I've found to be deeply positive and affirming. As we go through life, it's all too easy to stand in judgement on oneself, specially if others express their dissatisfaction with you! I have finally realised that storing up other peoples' assessments of you in an archive of judgement is the road to madness and depression, not to mention a life that is wasted! Any mother will tell you that you're on a hiding to nothing - everyone, parent or child, could do it much better than you! This archiving process has given me a new perspective on my own mothering.

The 'static' between myself and my children has sometimes led me into believing that I was the worst mother in the history of mankind (no, I'm not exaggerating) and I half expected, despite the wisdom of hindsight, to find many pictures of sad, lost-looking children. Instead I found a treasure-trove of laughter and joy, pictures of giggling faces, families fooling around on the beach, picnicking in parks and generally enjoying life together.

I found, too, reminders of how beautiful my children always were, how they all have a family resemblance in one way or another, and they have handed down the generations. All of us have a resemblance as tiny children, and 2 of my daughters have grown to look remarkably like my sister as they have grown into women, while my son and middle daughter have retained the 'Black Welsh' look that I have (my father's family came from a farm near Lampeter)

I have still only scanned in about half of our store of photographs, which date back, in some cases, to the early years of the 20th century, so I still have many adventures in Memory Lane to look forward to!