Thursday, 3 December 2009

End of an Era December 2nd 2009

End of an era.

None of us were to know that last Christmas would be my dad’s final Christmas in his old home, before he moved into residential care in April this year.
I was staying with him for a week before he came to us eventually on December 21st
But he had flu and did not really remember much about Christmas after that at all.
I had taken a small artificial Christmas tree, and lights, up there with me to have some sense of festive cheer, and hung his cards on the wall. My mum loved Christmas and she would shop for weeks, squirreling things away, saying it would “come in handy” or stockpiling nuts, dates and fruit! boxes of biscuits and other treats.
Each time she went down to the small town she would climb back up the hill again with loaded bags of assorted sizes, unless she came up on the bus, which just stopped a short distance from the door. It was a single decker serving the three estates, which are situated on three sides of the valley. A circular route.
So, we could time our visit to my aunt’s by catching the bus as it was on its way to the next estate. It would meander its way down to the centre of town and then stop to disgorge the passengers, whilst those of us staying on, paid again for the next stage.

And now, I drive those routes myself. I never thought when I was younger that I would live in the Midlands let alone drive a car. Why is it that when we are older, life seemed less complicated then? It wasn’t of course. To the young, who have the wonderful security of two loving parents, and a welcoming home, as we did, some of the struggles which went on in people’s lives would pass unnoticed, until we became of an age to understand it more fully.

Life in its rawness had not touched us then, that was to happen later.

But, to go back to the beginning, which is about dad’s old home.

Yesterday, 2nd December, it was handed over to its next occupants, who happen to live in the same road and have bought it for their daughter. We like that sense of continuity. Dad knows the family.
That indeed is the end of an era, but I began to think back through the years we all lived there, having moved from a small terraced house further up the valley. I was 13 and my sister 8 years old.
It felt so light and spacious and we had a garden. I loved the garden, and it was a positive suntrap at the back in the summer, on days when the sun shone!
Dad began to grow his roses, which he nurtured and tended. They rewarded him with glorious blooms. Mum liked bedding plants and we would have antirrhinums, petunias, begonias and tubs of splashing colour.
After my mum died in August 1990, when the roses were as beautiful as I’ve ever known them, dad still kept up with his gardening, when he could, and also with help from others. He had two hanging baskets at the front door each summer and tubs of bedding plants.
As he became unable to manage it was hard to watch the roses suffer.

So, a new address for him, and one where he feels “at home” and cared for so well.

But my memories are there in each room. Even the sound the various doors made. The glass vestibule door into the kitchen, the front door when it finally shut, which rattled the letterbox, and the garden gate, closing with the familiar metallic click.
If walls could speak, what conversations and dramas they would unfold!!
My old room on the front looked up the valley to the north. I could see the lights on the hillsides twinkling at night. On wet days often the hills would be shrouded in mist.
It is strange what springs to mind.
Snatches of moments in time,…………
I can see our kitchen on a Sunday morning as we came back from church, (further up the valley at that time) having walked either across the fields opposite or along the main road and up the hill.
My mum always had so many pans on the go at once, boiling cabbage, carrots, potatoes, (before roasting them,) and sometimes cauliflower, which I could take or leave(!) that the window would be open and if it was a nice day, the back door.
The smells of Sunday roast wafting outside.
We would always sit down together on a Sunday for roast dinner. And I still do not know anyone yet, who can make gravy quite like my mum’s! She made it using a Tupperware plastic beaker with a lid, to mix it first, a bit like she was shaking a cocktail!! Using the meat juices and flour.
After a lovely dinner there was always pudding. Sponge pudding or steamed pudding, apple pie, or a stomach filler of an apple suet steamed pudding!!

These steamed ones used to make the kitchen walls run with condensation! They were done in a steamer pan with a lid, sitting on top of a pan with boiling water on the go. It took for ever. But the end result was extremely satisfying.

My sister was good at cooking, and also at organisation. She went on to do an Hotel and Catering Course at College of FE. So, as you can imagine, two women in a kitchen is bad enough, three is a definite no go! And anyway, I freely admit it all mystified me. I liked being outside, or doing something else. I was often told I used to play the piano after Sunday lunch to avoid the washing up! I leave you to judge for yourselves.
Dad would ask me to play a tune, so I obliged!
It was a house where people popped in and were given a cup of tea. Or they would stop at the gate and chat, if either mum or dad was outside. Then they would be asked “Would you like a cup of tea?”
Friends came to visit. Relatives came to visit. Our friends came and were always given a real welcome and usually a massive tea!

It has been a happy house, even though it has seen some extremely sad times, and difficulties. My dad always said in the years he has lived there latterly, as he had found it harder to cope,
“I always know when I go in through the door and close it behind me, that I am safe. I’m back at home”.

The other week, as I was taking him back to his new home, after lunch out at a nearby pub, he suddenly said to me, when I told him we had reached the end of the road where his care home is situated
“We’re nearly back home then. “

I said I was glad he felt like that.
He said to me
“It’s home to me now, and I feel pampered to death in it” So, although the
re is sadness, there is a sense of peace for dad who has been able to move on.

Monday, 9 November 2009

I had a dream.............early this morning. 9th November 2009

Early this morning I woke after a particularly vivid dream. It was so sharp and clear that I could see the colours and almost sense the atmosphere.

Sometimes our house seems quite empty, with the loss of Matt and then our other son moving away . Family living in different places. There are times when I feel it and the impact is profound.

When I am not well, for whatever reason, I don't cope with it and feel bereft. Not having been 100% for a week is one of these times. And I make no apologies for writing that either.

But this morning I had a dream.....................

I shared it with Timelord and I was in tears, just before he went off to work. It had been a truly remarkable experience, and I can still see it now.

I was moving into a new home. It was welcoming and warm. I went through the rooms enjoying the discovery of each one. Downstairs as I went into the first room, at the front of the house, there was a bright, glowing, real coal fire, crackling in the grate.

"Oh" I thought, " Stephen has taken the trouble to set the fire before going to work." There were comfortable big armchairs and thick patterned curtains. It was a place to relax totally. The flames dancing and flickering. There was another room at the back of the house, running the length of the house, with large multi-paned windows, and a double window leading out to a patio. This time two coal fires!! More squashy armchairs and lovely settees, to bury oneself into and enjoy the cosiness.

"Well," thought I, " He has been busy this morning." I thought I was alone in the house.

I went upstairs and the first room I saw was one which looked as if it had been especially made for me. It was a room with a window at one end and a skylight overhead. Plenty of light. There was an enormous long table stretching down the middle, a craft table! And someone had filled up cupboards and drawers with all kinds of artist's materials, so I could paint!! I loved it!! It was MY room. It had a beautiful wooden floor. I became very excited wondering what I would find next!!

I went along to the next room and there was a view over the garden.........only I became aware of Matt there. He looked a lot younger and was deciding for himself which room he would like, and then he was talking to Alan, (who also looked a lot younger!) about his room. They were really pleased about them. Both rooms were at the back of the house and Alan's had a sloping roof, which suited him, for some reason. I watched them both and felt happy to see them there together.

Then I peeked out of the room which was to be ours, on to the most beautiful garden. It stretched out in a series of terraces, from a stone flagged patio which was laid out in a particular pattern, with various potted plants dotted about. Each terrace was different from the rest, all with lovely colourful plants and roses, until it ended at a hedge which opened out on to fields and a small coppice on the left hand side.

I breathed in the tranquility and peace. And I adored it.

I woke.

And I realised it had been a dream and when I told TL about it I was in tears.

Later in the day I was recounting this to another friend of ours who suddenly said "That wasn't a dream, it is a triumph."

What did he mean? He reminded me of what Jesus said in John's gospel Ch 14

"Don't let this throw you. You trust God don't you? There is plenty of room for you in my Father's house. If that weren't so, would I have told you that I'm on my way to get a room ready for you? And if I'm on my way to get your room ready, I'll come back and get you so you can live where I live. And you already know the road I am taking."

The Message version.

All the hairs of my head tingled at that, and he said I should write it down. After Timelord came home this evening I was telling him all this and he said

"That's exactly what I thought this morning when you related it to me. You should write a blog...."

So, I have. And the dream is still as vivid. God moment or not? I know what I think!

Saturday, 24 October 2009

My dad.

Every four weeks finds me making the now familiar trip up to Rossendale to visit my dad. He is now in his 91st year.
I have already written of his move into the home where he now is a resident. He is well settled and looks so much more like his old self, than in the 18 months before when he was still struggling on in his own house.
This last year has seen major changes once more in his life, and as always he has accepted them with great fortitude and the limitations under which he now finds himself.
He decided a few months ago, that he would sell the place where he had lived for over 40 years. It was not an easy decision for him to take. And quite emotional for us all.
This has meant a change in my routine when I am there, as it is now necessary to sort through the accumulated books, letters, files, furniture, and so on, to make decisions as to their distribution.
I never thought that we would decide to finally bring dad's clock here with us, (as he'd told Stephen it was his if he wanted it! And Stephen wrote a blog about it)
One of dad's neighbours, Ian, took good care of it, coming in each week to wind it up. And repairing it when it went wrong. It does have a loud "tick" but I have to say as it is on the wall in our back room, it is a reminder of both dad, and the home in which he lived.

One of the things that has amazed me as I have been looking at dad's books and files, is just how much he has written.
He always wanted to be a journalist when he was younger, but he had to leave the Bacup and Rawtenstall Grammar School and, as his own dad Fred, put it, "Tha con get thiself a proper job......."
so he ended up in local government, before the WW2 started.
But it didn't stop him from writing..................
He was a compulsive writer.
He wrote stories which were published in "The Bedside Guardian," and had short stories read out on what was then the Home Service. Now Radio 4.
This being after the war, which interrupted his life in a big way, as it did to all other people at the time.
I can remember when I was very young sitting by the radio one evening to listen to one of the stories being read.
It was before I went to the very same grammar school and we moved to the address now for sale.
He wrote letters. When I went to college I received one a week. And these would not be short pithy ones! They were always descriptive and interesting.
It carried on after we got married and moved to Portsmouth, in 1974.( And on to Sutton Coldfield in 1981). One letter a week, unless we were visiting dad and mum, or vice versa. They only stopped around 2003, when he began to have problems with his sight.
He wrote to my sister when she moved to London, then Halesowen and finally Knaresborough, where she lives now.
It didn't matter that we all had telephones, he loved the written word.
We were not the only recipients of his letters.......
He wrote to people in Ireland, South Africa, and Canada, not to mention hundreds of letters to our local, paper, "The Rossendale Free Press"
When his sight eventually made it impossible for him, people would stop him and say they missed his letters in the paper.
He was blind in his left eye, due to glaucoma, before the next major problem reared its head. He began to have Age Related Macular Degeneration, and although he has limited peripheral vision, he is now registered blind and partially sighted. Although to look at him it is not obvious.
And he was also an avid reader, instilling in me a love of Shakespeare, and poetry, to mention but a few........ but he had to forgo his favourite pastime of having a book in his hand.
This he accepted and moved on to talking books and the radio. Having a thirst still for spoken words of literature.
He has not complained about his circumstances, and we have been proud of him, all of us, as a family. (We know he is not a saint! And I don't write this looking through rose tinted lenses!)
He has a determination about him which has kept him going and he deserves to be looked after in the best possible way. All the carers at the home love him to bits, and we tell them we love him too.
So I found myself having a conversation all about Beirut, and Lebanon, at my last visit. He has a huge Dictionary, which also serves as an encyclopaedia, and it is a ton weight to lift!!
"Get the Dictionary out," he will say, and so we do. Then we go off into a journey of history, geography, definitions of words, and back again. I learned a lot about Beirut in a short time!! Timelord being in Lebanon for a few days whilst I was visiting dad.
Sometimes I read to him, from the Lancashire dialect stories he has collected down the years. He used to belong to the Lancashire Authors Association and he wrote short stories for Radio Blackburn, (now Radio Lancashire). I recently found all the scripts! Which I am copying for the family.
A man of letters then, truly.
We hope he makes his 100th birthday and gets his telegram from the Queen!!

Saturday, 10 October 2009

What is it about the Lizard that it draws us back?


I never thought after our first visit to The Lizard in Cornwall that we would be returning year by year until now.
We went for the first time as my dad didn't feel like going on holiday on his own after my mum died in 1990, aged just 70.
When asked where he would like to go he pronounced "Cornwall, to the Lizard." As he and my mum had loved it there.
So began an annual trek, beginning in 1992. At that stage it was just ourselves, Alan and my dad. Matt at that time had gone to "Soul Survivor" at Shepton Mallett, a huge Christian gathering at the Bath and Wells showground.
Each year we have returned, with dad, when it has been posssible for him. He has only missed a couple due to his health until now when he cannot make the journey.
We stayed at Trenance Farm Holiday Cottages
And as the years went by, Matt joined us at times then when Alan began his stint at Shepton Mallett there were 3 of us!
When Matt and Heidi were married they came along two years running, the last being 2004, when we were all there, Alan included. We had two cottages then. It was a lovely summer.
So, what is it about The Lizard and Mullion that draws us back each time?

How to describe it?
My dad describes Mullion Cove as "timeless" and on a wet windy night with the sea bashing over the breakwater, "primeval". His memories of the Lizard are special and vivid.
It is a timeless place.
The other side of the peninsula that is Land's End is much more geared to tourists. St Ives, Penzance, Carbis Bay, and the monstrosity that is the theme park at Land's End itself.
The Lizard is a peninsula which begins at Helston,passes RAF Culdrose, and then unfolds as you drive along its spine. Heathland either side, covered in wild gorse, wild fuchsias and tumbling hedgerows, scrub and stunted trees.

Cadgwith village.
The little villages that sit on its edges in coves and bays are all different. Inland is partly a designated wildlife reserve, with Goonhilly in the centre and St Keverne's church a landmark. Other small hamlets dotted about.
Visitors emptying out of coaches at the Lizard village itself, wander along to The Southernmost point and to The Most Southerly Café. This in itself is not commercialised and although there are the usual gift and craft shops, the whole thing is very low key.
In spring now, the RSPB set a watch there as there are pairs of Cornish choughs breeding. They returned to the area after 50 years absence.
I was so excited when I saw them last May flying out of the cave in the rocks where they were raising their brood. I always have a pair of binoculars handy. There are usually seals in the water at the Lizard Point.
All this still does not describe why it draws us back. It stays in the mind visually, and as impressions, tumbling white surf, serpentine rocks, calling sea birds, the tang of the salt in the air on a windy day. Wide skies, turquoise blue of the water, smooth sand in little coves , the rough feel of the granite as you sit on a slab for awhile. The timelessness and the knowledge that year by year it changes very little.
Narrow coastal paths snaking their way along the edges of sheer cliffs or descending into hidden bays. Always always a delight. The scenery is superb on these coastal fringes.
And we have been there in all weathers and all seasons. Seeing the wildness of winter storms, and the abundance of spring flowers, the lushness of summer, and yes we have had some excellent summers there.

Sky endless blue, sea stretching to the horizon in a sparkling, ever shifting panorama, shimmering until infinity.
The scent of autumn, ploughed fields, brown bracken, a sense of the holiday season coming to a close and a quietness arriving.
Mullion village itself is the largest on the Lizard,and is a bustling community, with several artists in residence, which I enjoy. They actually work on site and it is fascinating to see their craft unfold in front of you. They are friendly and like to discuss techniques, offer suggestions and encouragement.
It is to Mullion we returned again this October after a 4 year absence when we had stayed at Housel Bay Hotel, Near Lizard village. It was like coming home. So many good memories there of family holidays, shared experiences, the voices and laughter echoed in my mind.
So, we are back again next June, and hopefully, for as long as we are able to make the journey.

Matt and my dad, on the walk to Kynance Cove. 2004.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Autumn Equinox. 22nd September 2009

Sunset 23rd September 2009.
Location: Back garden.

There was the most spectacular sunset last night. I wished I'd had a camera that would have done it justice.
Not only was it a glorious purple, red, pink, orange and blues, but in the east the clouds were reflecting the same colours.
Absolutely fabulous.

Autumn is definately in the air now, and I am always fascinated by the rhythm of the seasons here in our hemisphere.
Ok so the summer was not good, from a blue sky, sunshiny days, point of view. And, yes, the weather men got it spectacularly wrong, telling the nation we would be having a "barbecue summer"
Oh how we all longed for one after the last two years total wash outs!

Our nation collectively looked to the skies in July and August and felt very cheated!! Our national psyche wants warmth and summer holidays on the beaches, and in the hills and lakes!!
We live in a country which, lets face it, has weather, and loads of it!!
So we live in anticiption each spring, that we will be able to cast off the winter clothes and go out and about under blue skies with the sun shining down day after day.........................When it doesn't happen we have to blame someone, and this year it was the weather men!

We think "Should have gone to France, Spain, Europe.........anywhere with SUN!!" But the pound against the euro? Hmmm!
My French friends in Provence, have been complaining about the heat!! It has been TOO hot this summer they say................too hot to go out some days.

And Wednesday was the autumn equinox.
I read an article in the Times and I quote here:

"Today is the autumn equinox, when the Sun rises due east and sets due west, and the world shares roughly equal hours of day and night.
A wonderful phenomenon also appears at night about this time of year.
An hour or so before sunrise, a faint glow shaped like a cone or triangle towers up from the eastern horizon. It is called the zodiacal light and shines in a really dark location well away from any light pollution, but can look so impressive it is easily mistaken for daybreak, and is often called the false dawn. As Rudyard Kipling wrote in his short story False Dawn: “The moon was low down, and there was just the glimmer of the false dawn that comes about an hour before the real one. "

So the evenings are becoming darker sooner, and the mornings are becoming lighter later.
A watershed.
FLN used to bemoan the passing of the summer, complaining that winter was on its way and he loved the sunny days of summer when we had any! Muttering about wet days, lack of warmth and blue sky, and revelling in days which were truly summer.
It's ironic this year that the minute the schools return the weather decides to calm down, and the last three weeks have been a blessing to those of us who hate being cooped up inside!!

I had a 3 hour walk in the park on Sunday and it was beautiful.
The pools were are still as glass and reflected the changing colours of the trees. Squirrels were scuttling about in the undergrowth looking for acorns to bury, or stash away.
The light through the trees filtered through on to the growing carpet of leaves which had already drifted down from the branches above.
I love scrunching through leaves!! That is something very satisfying!

And the last sunflower in our garden has opened at last. Mrs FLN gave me some seeds earlier in the year, and this one stands up very tall.
Another beautiful sunrise asleep, the cool fresh air with a nip in it at 6.00am, and condensation on the outside of the windows! Must have been colder last night. Another day dawns. And it was three years ago on 22nd September we said our final goodbye to FLN at his Thanksgiving service. And the next day, for Chris.

Monday, 24 August 2009

"Welcome to Rossendale's great hills, we'er natur's music allus charms un niver 'arms yo"

Looking down the Valley from Haslingden Old Road.

This picture is on the wall in our hall at home. So as I took a photo of it, it may look a little blurred!!
I forgot to take my camera with us when we went for a walk last Friday evening and we were enjoying the self same view.
I was born and brought up in the Rossendale Valley, whose damp climate supported the cotton industry.
I roamed the hills freely and loved the sense of the agelessness they seemed to emanate.
Like the saying " As old as the hills".
So, on a beautiful sunny evening with the light sharp and clear, we found ourselves, Timelord and I, once again savouring the panorama, and remembering our roots. Both Rossendalian, and both loving hill walking.
The damp musty smell of the old stone walls. Spiky reeds, which I used to plait when I was young! The wind rippling field grass, the occasional sheep bleating, and a kestrel hovering overhead. Peaceful interlude in time. Clearing the mind for awhile of care.

The second picture, also on our wall at home, is looking to the north of the Valley, where the road eventually goes over the moor into Burnley.
Around the middle of the picture is a dense small wood on the left. And the streets on the righthand side housed our small community, and the street where I was born.
More hills and fields to explore!!

So for a brief interval we walked and talked about the days we used to live there, and all the memories which it evoked.
Until we turned once more for home
in the Midlands, all too soon.

PS Click on each picture for the larger version.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

D-Day 65 years on...........

My dad and mum in 1941 on their engagement in March
My dad was just 22 when the war began in 1940. A young man.
He landed on Sword Beach in Normandy on 6th June 1944, and was in the battle for Normandy, also being involved at Pegasus Bridge.
He would never talk about his experiences, except they were funny little anecdotes, which we all now know so well.
The hen,Clara, taken from a farm by his army sergeant, and travelling with their unit up through France and on into Germany, laying an egg for him each day!
The description of the Mayor of Colleville- sur- Mer, wearing a big shiny fireman's helmet and running up and down on the beach waving his arms in welcome!
Dad given a jeep to drive, never having driven in his life, but not knowing how to stop it and driving it into a tree in order to do so!!
Here, in his own words of annotated text in the book he gave us to read about his Division, the description of the mayor.
" I finally hitched a lift on a Sherman (with its 105mm) on DDay, and after seeing "fireman sam" on the beach, jumping up and down, I saw an extraordinary sight, a French courting couple strolling along in the fields, oblivious to the shelling and bombing going on: not to mention the hazard of tiptoeing through the minefields!!"
But he has never been able to talk about what he saw............
I remember as if it were yesterday, when I was 16, and I was talking to him about the fact that he survived, and if he hadn't I and my sister would not have been born.
He took hold of my hand and and said he had seen things it was better not to talk about, and he had had to do things which he found so awful, that it made him cry.
He did say that he had helped to bury bodies in a concentration camp, and that memory was seared into his brain. He was 25 years old then.
Afterwards, he cried like a baby, which was quite shocking for me at the time, never having seen him cry, or a grown man cry before.
When I got married, we lived in Portsmouth for awhile and dad traced his old sergeant, who lived in Gosport. He went to see him with my mum.
I took him in the DDay museum there at Southsea, at his request, but 5 minutes inside and he was reduced to tears once again. The memories too painful.
So watching the ceremonies again today, is very moving for me. Matthew and I were planning a trip to the landing beaches for the October of 2006, but sadly we never made it. I will go to pay homage to all those who went and fought and died to stop our country from being invaded, and to help to liberate another, which I have visited many times and where I now have friends.
We should not forget them.
My dad is a veteran, but a silent one.
I finish with his words, written in the flyleaf of the history of his Assault Division
"War is obscene and brutalising, if sometimes unavoidable. The only post-war celebrations should be in the form of Rememberance Services to the many who never came back.
Smith of Rossendale May 1994. 50 years on."

Friday, 5 June 2009

More changes in our lives........

This is a picture of my dad, which I took recently, after his move to a residential home.

This inevitably is a great change in all our lives in the family, for my sister and family, my cousins, and dad's grandchildren.
At Christmas dad was quite ill and I looked after him for 4 weeks. two weeks at his home and two at ours.
He has always taken his bouts of illness in whatever form straight on the chin, no messing. He would go into hospital like it was a routine event, and then proceed to tell the doctors and nurses he was "fine"!!

I have inevitably, spent a lot of time away since Christmas, as I had to call out the ambulance in March when I was there after he had been ill again, at midnight. I did not like driving after it at 70 mph to the hospital.
I felt very alone.

And all those thoughts of emergency vehicles and ambulances which I push down in my mind when I drive on the M6 came flooding back............
Dad then had to go into repite care, and it is a lovely place, where the staff are very caring. He looks better now than he has for a long time.

Which brings me to the point of writing all this!!!
Having managed to find him this place, with the help of my cousins, and all the whirlwind of activity that went with it, I had been away from home again a total of 7 weeks since January.

I began to feel the weight of grief again...........

I felt a sense of loss as I knew that dad would not go back to the home where he had lived for over 40 years, and where my sister and I lived. I knew that all those memories would be locked away when the house, eventually, (not just yet) is sold. I will not know the familiar click of the garden gate as it shuts, the sound the front door makes as it closes, with the rattle of the brass door knocker.
The rhodhodendrons in full bloom, and dad sitting in his arm chair with the clock on the wall ticking loudly.
I will miss all those things......... well perhaps not the loud tick!

So, dad took the decision to stay at the residential home, and he is settling in and enjoying the care, but it came, to him, at an emotional cost. He has had to accept his circumstances.
I admire him for his courage.
We all do.

For me in the tiredness, my own grief, which is always there, surfaced big time. I have missed Matt so much lately, and Stephen too. When the weather is so good, and the days are long and sunny till late in the evening, I can see him in my mind's eye, walking up the garden path from the back his shorts.......enjoying the beautiful endless blue skies and warmth. One of my closest friends texts me on days like these and says "It's a Matt day today".

It reminds me of the hot summer days we had just before he died. So we go on, and it is an act of will to choose life, after such devastation. I understood, in small way this week, why the couple who jumped off Beachy Head, could not live without their son.

But I know that Matt is safe. And I know I will see him again. That is our sure and certain hope, even in the dark times which ebb and flow around us.
I finish with a picture of Matt and my dad, his grandad, at one of dad's favourite pubs. It was taken in 2002.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Another blog! Fresh start................

April 23rd 2009 Stratford upon Avon.
We set off this morning to glorious sunshine, blue skies and yellow splashes of fields of rapeseed in flower. A real springlike smell in the air, fresh and sparkling.
Matt's day, yes, and one he would've enjoyed. Also our favourite playwright, William Shakespeare's birthday.
Flowers in bloom, cherry blossom overhanging the edges of the road at times, and the nice sensation of warmth. We could walk around the town without coats.

After a nice lunch in Café Rouge, we went to the Courtyard Theatre and picked up a Sonnet Sleuth scavenger hunt booklet and proceeded to enjoy finding the clues in various historic places around the bard's own town.
Each clue was matched to one of his sonnets, (not ALL the sonnets of course!). It took us awhile but we had a very interesting afternoon as a result and visited many historic sites in the process. The Scavenger hunt was launched today, and we met other people wandering round the same direction each with their booklets. A very relaxing day out and a lovely way to remember Matt, who also liked Shakespeare and especially Henry V !!

So, if ever you are in Stratford try it, it's fun.