last sunday, a funny thing happened on the way to the church... first off... i am not a church goer. i was...once upon a time but that is a whole other story. however, my beautiful boy A, he is a dedicated church goer, a firm believer. a stand up and be counted christian. and so...occasionally i will attend a church service... if my boy is reading, or preaching, or playing his base guitar. easter sunday, the village kerk congregation were to meet at the harbour and walk (with someone carrying a cross) through the village to the church. sounded like a happening sort of ceremony...provided the rain stayed away! so about thirty people met up that sunday, the wind was cold but the rain was absent. As my boy was helping to organize things, he handed his bible to M to carry. M in her turn turned to me and asked if i would carry her bible...her actual words being... "here you go mom, won't you please carry my bible, you can pretend to be a christian for the day!" now i am very fond of my d-i-l, a lovely girl, she and i get on like a house on fire. i found this quiet comment hilarious. so...it appears...did everyone else! by the time SL and i had our weekly lunch together on wednesday...she told me who had repeated and regaled her with the story:-) so now... my beliefs and i are outed in the village...
another working week done... well, working week for some folks. working folks... whose ranks, i might add, i will soon be joining!
yesterday was a beaut, sunshine, warmth, no wind. so gorgeous was the day... i took two walks!
i was expecting aj, my foster care worker at two. after the emergency with liam and his broken arm i had reached a reluctant but firm conclusion. family come first, my saltcoats family in particular. they have a definite need... for me to be available for the somewhat frequent emergency situations they find themselves in. i had written to aj and explained the situation and my decision, he was popping in to see if there was anything the department could do to assist me.
just on ten to two my doorbell rings (it has the most aggressive ring, no missing it!) and i bound downstairs to greet aj. nope, no aj, just lady r looking sheepish.
lady r "so sorry to disturb you eryll, but do you perhaps have ten minutes spare?"
me "weee...ll, actually lady r, ten minutes exactly, i have an appointment at two."
lady r "well in that case could you not be popping over and watching the shop for me for a wee while."
she must have noticed my look of surprise, after all the shop only opens at two, why on earth would she need me to keep an eye on things.
lady r "well ye see, i was just taking something into the shop and along came this couple and they need a mattress. now i dinna like to turn them awa' ye ken."
aye...i ken! lady r deserves a whole blog... nay book to herself...she is a fund raising tiger who works endlessly for the local community.
lady r... "so i need to drive them down to the store room but in the meantime more folks have wandered into the shop and i dinna want to disappoint them. so...if you could be keeping an eye on things fer a wee while, it shouldna'be meer as ten minutes."
ah what the hell...nobody says no to lady r! i would keep an eye peeled and if aj arrived before the two o'clock shift arrived to relieve me... i would just have him sit with me in the shop for a while.
i sold three pairs of second hand knitting needles at ten pence a pair. i increased the shop's revenue by a whole thirty pence in only ten minutes!
the afternoon volunteers arrived just before two and aj was running a little late so... no problems.
we had an excellent chat and aj agreed with me that family should come first. he asked after liam and his problems, we chatted about joshua (high functioning autistic) and the problems he will face when he moves on to high school next year. he offered me some excellent advice on various issues, incredible assistance is available in the uk... you only have to know how to access it!
once aj was off on his way back to ayr and i was just settling down to my computer. griiiinggg! darn door bell again! my place was turning into grand central ;-) ms g was at the door, "do you have time ?...for a short chat"
ms g is the manager of the care agency i live next door to and almost on top of...
me..."sure g, come on in"
ms g..."no...i meant...could you come to the office for a chat."
to cut a long story short... i did... and they offered me a job...
ok, ok, i swear this is the last coffee morning i will write about! in future i will spin wild tales of drunkenness and debauchery...;-)
sl and myself decided we would grace the BRICC coffee morning with our presence. the function was being held downstairs...so, i did not have far to go.
during one of my smoke breaks, on the verandah the night before, i had glanced into Downstairs. the room looked beautiful, tables set for four, beautiful white tablecloths, china and silver and each table with a small vase of daffodils.
I was learning to appreciate the village coffee mornings! for a mere £1.50 a person is entitled to sit themselves down at a table groaning with delicious home baked edibles and be served endless cups of tea or coffee.this saturday we were doubly spoiled as there were fresh baked scones and homemade strawberry jam...yumdelicious!
of course, there are also tables with goodies for sale and the inevitable raffle... but... am i complaining. uh..uh, no way, after nearly sixty years of purchasing raffle tickets...to no avail...lady luck avoided my company as astutely as a summer fly avoids the swatter. now suddenly, here...in this village...i am spoiled with the winning force. so far i have won a coffee mug and a hot water bottle. easter saturday... Downstairs... i out did myself and came home with a bottle of bubbly and a very nice chardonnay.
Although Downstairs is used as a meeting place for various clubs, boards etc... it continues to feel like a well loved home. saturday the villagers turned out in force, it was cold and windy outside and inside we were warm, cosy and well fed. I felt it for the first time, the village heart beat... the feeling of belonging, being part of something more, a sense of inclusion in a large extended family.
no really...omg!! i have no idea how she copes...i mean, my daughter. last night, must have been about 7.30pm i got a text from the son in law. "great start to easter weekend. at hospital. liam has broken his arm." aaarrrgghhh... nanna panic! liam is the grandson who has the, as yet, still undiagnosed, thought to be...perhaps, maybe, nobody actually has the foggiest... mitachondrial disorder. not that i blame the nhs, our boy has had almost every test one could imagine, no expense has been spared. the care he has been given...exemplary. he just does not fit any of the known genetic disorders.his paediatrician is wont to name it the liam s syndrome. liam has spent quite a bit of his young life in hospitals, being poked, pricked and prodded. around doctors he often refuses to talk, which leads them to think he might be a bit delayed. my daughter assures them his speech is normal for his age...they tend to look on her with some pity...imagining her to be a horribly delusional mom. until... they produce a needle...hah...then they learn...silence was golden...liam's control of the english language is impeccable... and loud!
where was i... evidently, liam was climbing something, i think the bunk bed, when he had a seizure. he fell badly and broke his right fore arm in two places. it was a bit of a mess. at first the docs thought they would have to operate and put in a plate. fortunately, under anesthetic, they managed to maneuver the bone back into alignment. he will have to have more xrays in a weeks time to verify that all is healing as it should.
i received an sos from the son in law, could i drive up to look after the other four youngsters (at this stage we were expecting an operation). i packed my over night bag and was about to sally forth on my rescue mission when s-i-l phoned and said ... "the weather is sheit mom, i will manage fine tonight, perhaps you could come at the crack of dawn tomorrow. then i can be at the hospital with daughter and liam before the op."
i woke up at 4.00am this morning...oh yes...indeed. if anyone ever doubted my fortitude... well...hah...phoooey! takes about an hour and a half from my place to theirs. i was there in good time. before he left for the hospital, son in law made me a special bowl of fruit salad for my breakfast... and a hot cross bun! man, that boy has style. the kids were great,well behaved, helpful. we sneaked out to the chippy and i bought slap chips for our lunch. not perhaps the healthy alternative which daughter would have fed them... but hey man, what is a a granny for, if not to break the rules!
liam came home this afternoon, in a plaster cast from fingers to shoulder. he looked a little wan until his siblings crowded around oohing and aahing at his cast, his bravery etc, etc.
she never slept last night...my daughter. even with morphine, the boy was in so much pain. i have no idea how she copes. sometimes heroism comes in small, blond packages. i salute you my darling daughter.
now see...i like nicked this wonderful piece of art off photobucket... as i am sure this is "just not cricket" i thought i would add a copy of her ad to my blog...man, this chesire cat lady is talented!
the thistle club
the octopussian arms of the village are reaching out and testing my worth! before very long i will be an accepted part of the whole. one small step at a time...
friday i was drifting around the thrift shop, eyes peeled for a bargain. a successful day and all it was too. i found a wee shot glass which has measures for teaspoons and tablespoons... now... how useful is that? and what's more it cost me only twenty pence!
quietly triumphant, i was about to escape with my booty, when... one of the local ladies with whom i am acquainted hollered out... "oy you, missus, do you bake?"
me...bug eyed and fearful..."you talkin' to me?"
local lady, advancing on me..."uhuh"
me, trapped beneath her piercing and questiong gaze ... "well, ummm, errr..."
local lady..." it's the thistle club you see, we're having our daffodil coffee morning tomorrow and we're in need of some homebaking"
you might well be wondering about the thistle club... or not, as the case may be... the members of the thistle club work to collect funds to take the old folk of the village on a yearly outing. a day trip in the summer. off on a bus to some new place, where they will enjoy a wonderful high tea.
well... i was cornered, there was no saying nay to this particular local lady. besides, shortly after i arrived in the village i had reached a conclusion... cooperation equals inclusion!
do i bake?...not really. however, over the years (thanks to and excellent and easy recipe supplied by my niece) i have learned to produce a pretty mean melk tert. yup...that would do the trick!
fridays from two till four i help out a little at the drop in club downstairs. i am actually in training to become an assistant! ah yes, my infiltration of the village hegemony is well underway. ;-)
so...at afternoons end, i leaped into my rav, shopping list shoved into my back pocket. now, i had most everything i needed, what was required were some disposable, aluminium pie plates. i walked the town...nothing! how can the people of ayrshire continue to exist? at the local asda, i found the pie plates, they contained a ready cooked pie shell. very handy, but i make my own pastry, of which, i am inordinately proud. the hour was growing late and i decided to cover my arse and buy them in case. needless to say... i had zilch luck in the pie plate search. interesting...back home in south africa, every little shop stocks 'em... basic cultural difference? i feel a thesis coming on... " a study of the comparative ease of shopping for disposable pie plates in south africa versus scotland".
anyway... live dangerously, i used the purchased pastry shells...my, my...how low can you go... making a melk tert without having to make the pastry is a piece of cake! will i ever feel the need to search for empty disposable pie plates again...
come saturday, ten o'clock, i toodled up to the village hall, balancing a pie plate on each hand. it was drizzling (scots style) and the wind was blowing but i made it to my destination, safe and sound. handed my contribution over, paid my £1.50, made a tour of the tables and bought myself a bottle of home made apricot jam, a loaf of gingerbread and some raffle tickets. i then sidled over to a table with some vaguely familiar faces. the table was laid out with a variety of cream cakes, fruit loaf and ginger bread ...yummy.
well... it was a good morning, all in all. i enjoyed my coffee, managed to wolf down two cream cakes and a slice of gingerbread. however delicious the tea was... it was nothing in comparison to the delectable conversations going on around me. i have long suspiciousned that there may be more to our wee village than meets the eye. and indeed... there is! the gossip, the undercurrents, the humour and ah man...the character assasinations! This place is a book waiting to be written, every villager whispers...write me! change the name of the village, change my name...no imagination needed...the story is already living and breathing, it only needs to be recorded. perhaps a sitcom...? then..."the movie"... fame! more money than i know what to do with! any one out there want my autograph now?
it would appear i missed some wild and wonderful weather in the small wee hours of this morning! either my new home is really sound proof and has the most stable roof in ayrshire or... i was really sound asleep... i woke up at about seven thirty, stared with dismay at my morning face. liewe wereld, it was one of those days! my eyes were slits in the puffy surroundings of my larger than normal face. nope...i had not been drinking the night before ;-) i managed to stumble through to the kitchen and make myself the cup of black, bitter coffee i love. pulled my jacket on over my jammies, managed to descend the stairs without spilling ...always a good sign. i paused between the two front doors to light my first smoke of the day...generally attempting to light a cigarette once past the entrance space is pretty much a waste of time. breezy place in winter, my village. not a breath of wind and no rain, wet though, the whole verandah was soaked, the daffodils appeared to have been mowed down...hmmmm... i took up my coffee drinking, cigarette smoking position. leaning nonchalantly against the door jam. i surveyed my kingdom. one set of gates were open, so someone must have been up and about the place. probably lady s, that woman is a workforce all on her own...no sight of her now though, safe to hang around in my jammies looking like an out of work bum. the scots have a grand work ethic, retirement is appreciated as it allows them to work themselves to death on a volunteer basis.
The sun came out, no wind... the rest of the uk is being battered by gale force winds, high tides and flooding. lucky us... for some reason the weather gods have decided to look kindly down on our village. always one to take advantage of a bit of sunshine i took off on my daily walk. the tide was in, bashing against the stone built embankments which prevent the wishing tide from moving in on the built up shore front.the harbour water level was higher than i have ever seen it. not really much of a harbour, as when the tide goes out... well, the harbour becomes a mere sand bed. i do remember seeing some small water craft docked there last summer, nary a one during the winter though.
i meet a fellow, with time to spare, he leans against the back of a bench and gazes out to sea. "good bit o'weather" he says, "wild night, last" he says, "not good doon sooth" he says "we're lucky, i hear ayr is taking a beating" he says
i say "lucky us" and flash him a cheery smile
"aye" he says "the good lord takes care of his ain!"
how good to know... i live among the chosen... safe from the vagaries of nature...
goodness gracious! how on earth do busy folk find time to write?
me, myself... one of the unrepentant idle... i now find myself vaguely occupied ... in an eryll-ish sort of way. i have things to do and places to be...
nature watch... there are the lambs in the field opposite, born about three weeks ago, they have almost doubled in size. the wee ones are full of spring fever, they play follow my leader and chase each other around or up and down the field. at least i thought that was what the little blighters were up to. had a closer view today and discovered... the truth! the little boy lambs are actually chasing the little girl lambs... with big boy thoughts on their tiny minds. yup, lost innocence at three weeks of age.
economic experimentation... i am decided. my reflexology practice will be open by the 1st of april. i had a meeting on tuesday with a business guru from the small business gateway and he recommended i see an advisor involved in the "new deal 50 plus" in order to start "test trading". Damn! i love this country and it's socialistic ways.... so monday i have another meeting in girvan and then hopefully i will be on my way to being on my way. quite a few of the local folk have hinted that they could do with a little foot magic.
postprandial perambulation... of course... one does not find ones self in residence in a most beautiful ayrshire village and then neglect the task of exercising one's legs whilst taking in the sheer magnificence of one's surroundings.
the never ending search for under priced antiquities... well... the thrift shop is right next door, somewhat hard to resist a little perusing...
preparation to foster... i have the time, i have the space, i have the capacity, i've done the preparation course and now... i'm being considered, evaluated... which involves a supplying a list of every place i have lived from birth until today. yikes! the nomad has been working man! thus far i have remembered 31 homes i have lived in. some of the street numbers are permanently misfiled in my brain, i have probably missed a couple.... what can i say... this weeks home work... like write the story of your life! social worker says "no need to stress eryll, just tell us about your family, your relationships, high and low points of your life. events which have made an impact on your life." well... that would be easy, a piece of cake, a walk in the park... if... i was like thirty!
i was delighted, the children were all coming through to my place for lunch. i have a 'new' second hand dining room table with an extending table top and six chairs. i picked it up for a song at the local thrift shop. damn beautiful thing, solid mahogany. sunday was our first chance to use it at full capacity! what a wonderful day, the grandchildren love my new home, plenty of room and exciting spaces to hide, the old house seems able to absorb their excitement and noise whilst remaining a tranquil and peaceful space. guess those victorians knew a thing or two about building homes for large families.
i am a super lucky mom as my scots children spoil me on mothering sunday and pj back home in south africa remembers me on mother's day!
today the high hills beyond the village are adorned with a sprinkling of snow. although the sun is shining the wind has an icy touch. i wrapped up warm and enjoyed my walk around the village and out onto the sea wall. i love it out there with only the surge of the sea and the mewling gulls. this afternoon the tide was a way out and the floating bed of sea weed was exposed. i always walk to the very end of the wall and stand and stare into the churning sea below. i dream of summer and a fishing rod, of what a fine place this would be, to sit, rod in hand whiling away the hours. of course, come summer, there will probably be crowds of tourists invading my quiet kingdom! if i lean with my back to the sea wall, i can see my village, pretty as a picture, somnolent in the winter sunshine. as far as my sight can stretch...the ayrshire coastline unfolds.what a sight...
some wee critters live and die in a far shorter time span.
i survived and bt have even offered to pay me compensation for the inconvenience!
how did i spend my one month and seventeen days of enforced retreat... was my mind awash with great thoughts? have i produced a worthy poem? do i have a stock of blogs, written and stored, ready for the dry days?
nope... none of the above.
i walked and talked and breathed the sea air. i met the village and the village met me. i memorized some names and forgot others. i rediscovered the joy of being greeted with a smile by people who know my name. inundated with invitations to attend...tuesday club and friday pop-in, ladies agricultural society and the luncheon club.
do i play whist...uh no...
would i like to join a quilting circle... c'mon ladies! do i look like the quilting type! you could learn... i think not...quilting is just one step too far.
i moved into my beautiful home in my beautiful village. i found home. i found peace. i am once more whole.
"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" Mary Oliver
“People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.” ~Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
"There are too many people, and too few human beings." Robert Zend
"Strength is the ability to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands, and then eat just one of those pieces."