My posts, thus far, have been scheduled just before Valentine’s Day and just before Easter, and as is my wilful way, I’m going to be talking to you about something else – me.
I was thinking of what to write for this blog, when I was walking the dogs yesterday, and I reflected on what I’ve been doing, where I’ve been and who I’ve seen since I last posted. And then I thought about how often we take time out of our lives to talk about ourselves. Mostly our lives involve a lot of other people and their needs and wants, and as a consequence, we – that’s the Royal we, I mean obviously you and I – tend to take a back seat. Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m a terrible back seat driver, and to be honest, I’m an even worse front passenger seat driver, but that’s a whole other story!
The theme for this post then is My Definition, and the song I found myself humming coming back from walking the dogs yesterday is by The Dream Warriors – ‘My Definition of a Boombastic Jazz Style.’
It’s the chorus that caught my imagination, for its simplicity:
‘Now what is my definition
My definition is this’
So, let me catch you up!
My son and I went to Wales at the end of February to celebrate the 100th birthday of my aunty, who is still living in her own home, with some support. For every UK resident who reaches the age of 100, a special birthday card is sent from Queen Elizabeth II.
Aunty was thrilled to receive this and I am priveleged to have been part of her birthday celebrations.
My definition of this? Inspiration. My aunty and uncle were married for over 77 years when he passed away a few years ago. They never had any children of their own, but they were each other’s best friend and soul mate. We always believed that if one of them passed before the other, the one left behind would die of a broken heart. There’s no doubt that my aunty’s heart was broken, but she has kept strong. The cardigan you see her wearing in the photo is my uncle’s – it keeps her warm but also keeps them together.
More inspiration? My aunty and uncle are not blood relatives, they were my nan’s best friends. When my nan had her last two children close together, as often happened, the older children were looked after by relatives. My aunty and uncle looked after my mum, who was only a baby at the time, for almost two years and loved her like she was their own. They also gave my nan and her family a holiday on many occasions when my nan couldn’t afford to take her five children away. And the close bond continued throughout their whole lifetime.
I lost my mum 13 years ago this August to cancer, and my dad still maintains, to this day, the close relationship, for the sake of my mum, and because we are all family. Blood doesn’t always make a family, in my opinion, and in this day and age, where the sense of community that once existed is now hard to find, and families are broken and rebounded, or made of friends rather than relations, we can make our own family and our own community.
Inspired by a mixture of my aunty and uncle, and my nan and grandad, and how their own romances blossomed in times of war and hardship, I wrote a short story, which is part of a collection, some years ago. I had intended to finish the follow up to that in time for my aunty’s birthday, but time was against me, so that is what I am currently working on now.
Below is my aunty and uncle on their wedding day, my aunty as a young woman with a picture of my uncle in the corner, and then finally a picture of them together – taken about 13 years ago.
We had some decent snow in the south of England, where I live, just a few days after my visit to Wales, for the first time in about six or seven years. For my two dogs, it was their first experience of it, so before it disappeared again (only took a few days), they enjoyed it very much.
My definition? This one is two-fold. We are so lucky to have these beautiful dogs in our life, who love us unconditionally, and who we love in return. And, just like the snow melted away after just a few days, life happens when we’re not watching and we need to take time to enjoy the little things, the simplest of pleasures, like throwing a snowball into a pile of snow – completely impossible to find again, but my little dogs had the best time looking for it, time and again.
Next? A few weeks ago, our lovely friends drove four hours down from Wales to help us with cutting back trees in our garden. It was hard work – not so much for the girls as we stayed inside and I made slow cooked lamb chilli – but it now lets so much light into our garden. With the snow, and rain and working full time, we had a forest of branches in our back garden for a couple of weeks and that would need to be gotten rid of somehow.
Gardening is not my most favourite thing to do, and I am a great one for putting things off – one of my nicknames is Lastminute.com – but why do something today when it will still be there tomorrow, right. However, we hired a woodchipper, and as a family, the three of us stood out in the garden for several hours, tirelessly feeding branches and limbs of the wooden variety into the woodchipper and then spreading them on the raised beds. I ached for two days afterwards, but it was worthwhile and needed doing.
My definition? It seemed a never-ending task, but we worked together. The end result may not be perfect, and the grass is a bit of a mud bath, but guess what? Grass is resilient, it will grow again given the right conditions. I ached, but guess what? I still ached for a few days but a job well done!
Lastly? I baked. I love to bake and this week I have made ginger biscuits and oat & honey cookies. Yeah, I’m meant to be eating more healthily and yeah, there’s more healthy things to eat but I made them. I know what’s in them. I like biscuits – that’s my definition. A little bit of what you like is so very good for you.
What’s your definition?
Happy Easter. Hope you get to spend time with those you love, doing what you like.