Laughter, Uncategorized, Writing

Knock knock, who’s there?

They turned up at the group, the usual suspects. They stood outside the meeting place, hands in pockets, shuffling around, looking shiftily at one another, nodding as a new person joined the troupe.

‘Cold tonight’ one said – the breath blowing out of their mouth like smoke from a steam train.

Of course it was cold, it was December, and it was Surbiton!

The boss turned up, keys in hand, fingerless gloves, and scarf covering half their face. They weren’t sure who it was letting them in, they were confident it was the boss. They nodded in acknowledgment.

‘Cold tonight’ the boss said – obviously, it was December and it was Surbiton.

The room was cold, but they had made a determined effort to meet for the last time. Well, the last time before Christmas that was. The blinds were closed, it afforded them some privacy. The door shut behind the last member.  Click.

They sat on the hard chairs made of ice, ice coloured metal, frosty blue, slate grey, snow white. She wasn’t there- but had left her chair behind on her last visit! They shuffled about, making themselves comfortable, they would be shuffling for a long time!

Knock. Knock. Knock.

They looked around the table at one another, shrugged, and carried on.

Knock. Knock. Knock.

Must be the heating – they said.

What heating – it was freezing, it was December and it was Surbiton!

Knock. Knock. Knock.

They decided to investigate – pushing their chairs back, they moved en-mass towards the cellar door, seemingly where the noise was coming from.

Left right, left right they moved down the stairs as one, into the dark cold room.

Of course it was cold, it was December and it was Surbiton!

‘I’ve got a torch’ one of them said, and dragged the huge bunch of jailers’ keys from her bag. A tiny little key fob torch lit the far wall.

Knock. Knock. Knock!  Insistent.

Panning the white back wall, the pin point of light shining at…nothing….except a huge safe. Green like a sullen giant in the corner. Its big bulk casting shadows over the cold slate floor.

Of course it was cold, there was no heat, they were in the cellar, it was December and it was Surbiton!

The safe door was open, slowly creaking back and fore on its hinges, a crumpled piece of paper lay in front of the swinging door, on the floor. The boss walked over and picked it up, smoothing it out with the fingerless finger gloved hands! It read simply –

Don’t forget Monday 5th December.

They looked at one another.

That was today. They realised the knocking at stopped. They looked at one another again, a look of confusion and fear on their faces. What was going to happen today? Where was the knocking coming from! They turned and moved quickly to the stairs, at the same time as they heard a crash from the room upstairs.

The cellar suddenly became colder, if that was possible. After all it was December and they were in Surbiton!

As quickly as their quaking legs would move, they left right, left righted up the stairs, and into the bright light of the main room. They looked at one other, and looked around. The lady with the light pointed to the table. ‘Look’ her voice quavering. There – in the middle was a tin. A gaudy Christmas tin. They looked at one another again, a look of horror on their faces.

Questions they wanted to ask. What was the strange knocking? Where had the mysterious tin appeared from? What was in it?

Why it was so cold all of a sudden, was it just because it was December and it was Surbiton? Would they ever know!

Walking down the street, wrapped in a long coat of red velvet was a whitehaired man, his wispy beard waving in the cold wind. It was December and it was Surbiton. He scratched his head in confusion, as he made his way to the local hostelry looking for some comfort and a warm drink of something.

‘Funny’ he said, I’m sure they would have been there tonight. I wonder where they have gone.

Gone for a walk probably, although its cold, its December and we are in Surbiton!

Oh well, someone will eat the mince pies I’m sure.

 

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Family, genealogy, history, Inspiration, loss, real life, Uncategorized, women, Writing

My history and I

Our holiday this year has been arranged around two old postcards that were written by my grandmother Elizabeth Williams in 1954 to my mother. She was born in 1887, in a small village in the middle of Carmarthen called Trefeurig. It was a rural area, not many houses, lots of miners lived and worked in the area. Her father Richard Williams who was born in 1860 was one of those miners, he died at a relatively young age of 30 in 1890. At the time her mother had a young baby of 9 months (called Richard), two young sons of 4years old (Luther)  and a 2 year old (Thomas) and her daughter Elizabeth  – my grandmother.

Richard’s parents were Thomas and Margaret Williams. Thomas was born in about 1813. He married Margaret Williams, who was about 3 years younger than he was, and in total had 5 children. 4 sons, and 1 daughter. This is where our history becomes very confusing. The children were called Elizabeth (19), John (16) Thomas (8) Methusalem (8) and finally Richard the youngest at 1 year old – my great grandfather- Elizabeth’s father. Names were handed down in families hence the same names appearing in two generations of family.

Generally around that time children came along on a very regular basis due to the lack of birth control, normally one a year. So it is probably likely there were some still births in this and many other families, who have not be registered on the census records of 1861 that these details have come from.

The post cards I have kept for many years were written to my mum and dad in 1954. They are of two places that my grandmother had visited on her trip to west wales. It doesn’t say where she was staying, but as this place is so very near to the place her family originated from, it was highly likely that she was staying with some family.

She tells her daughter and her son-in law (my mam and dad) about the places she has visited.

‘having a lovely time out each afternoon, pity dad bach isn’t with me. I have all the places on a paper. went to Aberystwyth yesterday 10in the morning. Called at ^^^^^^ bungalow 9 of them there, very nice. a scorching afternoon after the rain, and returned Newquay we intend going to Tenby tomorrow. St Dogmails is a lovely place you get town and country here. Sat will soon be  here now hope you are both feeling good.Let us know what time to expect you home on sat. hope you have good digs I will not write again now. Kindest regards from Elfyn and Mena. fondest love mam xx and in the margin .our church marked with a spot (dogmael) ‘

I have had these postcards in my possession since my grandmother died in 1978 when she was about 92. I’ve never taken that much notice of what they were, they were just two sepia  postcards, that she had written. 4 years ago I started researching my family tree, and they became a big part of the jigsaw. She said that she was with Elfyn (her son) and his wife Mena. I had found that they lived near to his place. And in fact Elfyn had died the year I was born in 1960, in this area. On the card she makes reference to dad bach, her husband, or in those days the husband was known as dad. He had died just before this card was written.

So why am I telling you all this? Well – we decided that our holiday would be a great opportunity to visit this village where the post cards were from. We researched a local hotel, booked the break, and this story is built around the postcards.

The Cliff Hotel overlooks Poppit Sands in Cardigan. The Teify Estuary leads out to the Irish sea, Poppit Sands is on one side, and the Cliff Hotel is on the other side There is a coast guard station there, a café that does the most amazing Bara Bryth. a selection of Holiday homes, and a YHA (Youth Hostel Association) place to stay. We drove round the estuary, and parked the car in the little car park. We had a coffee in the café, and then walked onto the beach. The wide expanse of golden sand, peppered with little flecks of black and tiny pebbles and discarded cockle shells. Although it was a damp day, it certainly didn’t deter the dog walkers, dogs don’t mind the rain or the wet as they jumped in and out of the waves.

My heart soared, as I thought that this was a beach that my grandmother  (or nain as she was known to her grand children) had walked on. Of course I’d been to many places with her as I grew up with her  and she lived with us until she passed away when I was 18. I could imagine her with her son, and daughter in law travelling around in a little car, looking at the same view I was looking at. Maybe sitting in the same sea side café, and if I know my nain, eating the same cake I was eating, she had  a sweet tooth! Probably where I get it from. Of course I’d been to many places with her, she had lived with our family from when I was 8 so I grew up with her until she passed away when I was 18.

I’d like to think that she went there to gain some comfort from family, having recently been widowed. And although back in the mining communities of the early part of the last century, you appreciate that death was a part of their lives – mining accidents, and child mortality being a more regular occurrence than today – I don’t think they were so hardened to it that they were void of sadness and distress.

We then went to St Dogmaels. A quaint village perched on the mountain side. Winding streets with little houses brightly coloured cling to the mountain, and tumbled down the hill. The 60 year old picture on the post card looked nothing like the village of today, and it was difficult to find out anything that appeared on the card, so we went to the ruins of the Abbey with a little heritage centre that has a lovely café inside.

I kept this post card in my hand trying to find any reference to anything we had seen. Then when I looked for the umpteenth time, it was like a light bulb moment. There on the post card in the middle were the ruins. I had never seen them like this before – I thought they were houses. It all fell into place, and although the village on the card didn’t look like the village in 2016, the trees were more overgrown, and there of course were newer properties in the sight line I could see the village of 1955.

What an amazing day, I look some pictures of the houses in the village, as a reminder of our trip. We walked through the car park to the banks of the estuary, we saw a heron trying to catch some lunch for himself, a young man getting ready for the St Dogmaels market which is held on a Tuesday, where sellers and buyers travel from near and far.

I will go back, and visit this magical and historical place again.

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Family, Inspiration, Laughter, real life, Uncategorized, Whatever, Writing

Words and pictures

1473161330596-1376577931We all release our emotions in very different ways. I write to get things out of my head onto paper. It’s said to be cathartic and that’s so right.

When I was younger I wrote in a diary every day. In fact I had a 5 year diary, not very much room for reams of pouring out my emotions. But just enough space to say what I had eaten for my dinner, how I felt, and what I did either in school, or with my friends. On the odd occasion when life was less mundane that that, I would write on some odd scrap of paper I found, and fold it neatly and tuck it in the page. The diary is full of these little nuggets of life. A little bit of history, a simplistic lifestyle. I did this religiously for two years then life took over seriously, I went to college and then moved away. I didn’t have time for the diary, and it was locked up with a hair grip and tucked away in a drawer, and each time I moved, it came with me, my little book of memories.

Although I didn’t write down the day to day events the memories from that time have been firmly engrained in my mind. Not the everyday ‘lunch and how I was feeling’ memory, but the bigger things. Working in a factory, and how mind boggling boring it was!  Working in a restaurant, and making cocktails, now that was fun! My first holiday abroad, and getting very drunk on my favourite tipple. The first time I met some very good friends, who dip in and out of my life after 35 years. Getting married. Getting divorced. Meeting my now and forever husband, and our memories from then on.

Probably like a lot of people, we sit and reminisce about the past, the good time and the bad. We have some wonderful memories together, times when we have laughed, and times when we have embarrassed each other. When times have been sadder than sad, and the joys of parenthood, and being grandparents.

Today my mind and my computer are my diary. Memories written down, and locked away firmly. And my phone, a thousand pictures, and a thousand and more memories. But that is a different story.

 

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real life, Whatever, Writing

Life isn’t written in draft.

Lots of things in life start off as a draft. The email we write, we change words, add extra bits to it. Make it sound more eloquent, understanding – easy to read. How often do we send it out after the first go? Or the text we want to send, if we have a spell checker on, it tells us we need to change a word so it is correct.

The simple cake we make, we put embellishments of icing on, add extra glitzy balls, or tiny flowers. That simple cheese sandwich just needs an extra squirt of mayo, we want it to be the best it can be.

If only all of life was so simple! We can’t often take back that nasty word or that argument over something stupid. What a shame it can’t be previewed like the draft of a blog!

Such a shame. Life would be less painful if we could don’t you think?

 

 

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Inspiration, real life, Whatever, Writing

When you get your mojo back

I’ve been away. Not literally away, but figuratively speaking. I haven’t posted anything for a good few months. I’m sure some of you know just what that is like, some times you need the headspace to be able to find the words to write. Sometimes you just don’t have the inspiration.  I just haven’t been in the right place to put pen to paper…or get typing.

But now I feel ready again. Lots of things have happened to me – and my family while I’ve been away, I wont bore you with them. I’ll start afresh, and see where my imagination and of course real life  takes me.

 

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Inspiration, Laughter, real life, Whatever, Writing

500 words

Do you know what 500 words looks like, honestly? Without using the word count on your computer, can you tell me what it looks like?

No, me neither. I have been asked to write 500 words, and I thought that will be easy. It wasn’t! I got to 250, and thought ‘finished’ but I was only half way there. I still had another 250 words to pull out of my little brain, jumble them around, make them sound entertaining, interesting, and like they were mine to be the puppet master of. It was so hard. (91) and now I still have 404 left to write if I want to fill this blog up with 500 words…now I only have 387. And the more and, buts and becauses (is that really a word) I can put down, I have less of the interesting words to fill the page with.

The hardest part was, that I was writing about why my company should let me go on a  training course to improve my leadership skills, so that I could move up the career ladder. I want to be at the top of the ladder, then I can look at the world below me, at all the little ants scurrying around, chasing their tails, while I hang on for dear life, as the wind of bureaucracy batters me from left to right, and the trees of red tape try and tangle me up, and pull back down to the reality of life again.

What to do? Write 5 more words to (250)

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Inspiration, Writing

Why I do what I do

I want to say ‘Thank you’ to those of you who have followed me, to those of you who have read my last few blogs. To my family members, friends and colleague I have circulated my link to, and to those seasoned writers who have taken the time to find me and read my outpourings.   When you produce something, the greatest thing that can happen is that someone takes notice. When I cook for my family and they say ‘thank you that was really nice, we will have that again’ it makes me feel good. Or if I help a colleague or friend  to achieve something, or to improve their daily life – and it works for them, I feel great.

That’s what happens  when you write something, and send it into the wide world for others to read.  Only the descriptive words for how you feel as more elaborate. When I see that someone has read one of my blogs, and bear in mind I am so very new to this, I feel elated, proud, satisfied, honored and fulfilled. The greatest achievement for anyone who has that burning passion to write something meaningful – is for others to read it. You could be the best author in the world, but without your audience, you are a writer without a purpose!

I started writing without a purpose about 15 years ago. My writing was long and laborious, hand written on scraps of paper, to test  if I could form the words together. It wasn’t too  bad, if I say so myself. I got better, I bought myself a book to write in, then a better book, more elaborate, bigger with pictures on the corners to make my work seen more valued by me. Then I started  to type up some of the work I had written, and after a few disasters – my work was sitting on the ‘c’ drive in the folder ‘Pats writing’ and that is where it has stayed.

Then I started to write short plays, the theater group I volunteered for had an opportunity for writers, actors and producers to show case their talent. So I wrote a play, and submitted it. I cannot tell you the feeling I had in my heart when I pressed the send button. This was the very first time that I had shared a piece of writing with anyone. I mean anyone. I enjoyed it so much I send another one off, my head was bursting with ideas. Finally I was acknowledging I could do this!  The next year, I sent my work off to a friends daughter who was a fledgling comedy writer for her to read it through before I submitted it. Now that was a very odd feeling. Someone who had got the format right and knew what they were doing was reading MY WORK! She has her own show now on TV, I make sure I follow her on Twitter and watch the show, as a thank you for that little bit of hope she gave me.

What I’m trying to say after 598 words is when someone writes something, the greatest thing anyone else can do is read it. And acknowledge that piece. We are all prolific writers, I spend hours on social media commenting on my friends funny videos, and posting kind words. But when you put your heart and soul into something like a blog, because to be honest not everyone does, you want it to be acknowledged. From your first piece, to your 1,000 piece.  So thank you again, and your feedback is very much appreciated.

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