Monday 21 November 2016

One of the things about getting out and about is meeting people

I've just returned from a week in Keswick, Lake District and no, it didn't rain all the time. Hopefully there won't be the floods there were last year. There is still a bridge not in place from last year.  The trees were still ablaze with colour and Derwentwater was not as high and on my birthday was calm and shimmered in the sunlight. People strolled about enjoying the fresh air and scenery, pausing to converse with complete strangers now and again. There were a few moments when we enjoyed watching some children attempting to feed some geese, not the common or garden Canadian kind but those my son, Iain, thought were called Graylings. I was a bit concerned for the smallest child because I remembered staying with my aunt Agnes, uncle Jack and my cousin Patsy in the Old Roan which was country to me living in the back streets of Liverpool. My uncle took us for a drive to a farm where there were geese and one pecked me. It hurt! Which is what happened to the little lad when a goose took bread from his hand.

One of my most enjoyable conversations was when Iain and I went into a small art gallery. The young man behind the reception desk was painting and so we took a peek and asked him about his work and what was his name. He told us that it was Chris Nelson and that interested me because my maiden name is Nelson. I knew there were painting in the gallery by an artist by the name of Nelson and Chris said he was his father. Their styles were very different. I told Chris that my great-grandfather was a Norwegian mariner who had sailed into Liverpool and married a local girl. He told me that he had visited Norway three times and that one of his favourite places is Bergen. One of my ambitions is to visit Norway myself but I don't want to go on a fjords cruise but to stay in Norway and one of the places I'd like to visit is Arundel as I believe it possible that my great-grandfather's ship sailed from there in Victorian times. I also mentioned that my brothers and father and two of my sons were artistic and had done a fair amount of drawing and painting pictures as a hobby.
     Naturally I bought one of Chris's paintings which he kindly reduced the price of as it was my birthday. I can't say that I'm much of a painter but I did treat myself to a colouring book for adults at one of the shops as well as buying a jigsaw from a Dr Barnardo's charity shop and chattered to the women in both places.

I've found most walkers are prepared to pass the time of day for a short time and on one of our walks along the old railway trail a couple stopped to talk to us. My husband had gone on ahead of me and Iain and Tim as the latter had set up his tripod and was taking some photos. The river Greta was roaring over some rocks and worth a shot or two. Anyway, the couple remembered meeting us all earlier and  told us they had seen a man in a red jacket further on where a bridge was closed due to a landslide but they had not seen him on the way back and he had mentioned not waiting for us any longer. We said we hadn't seen him so we were all puzzled to where he was but I then reckoned he had managed to get the other side of the river and was walking through the woods on the other side and gone back to the house but he was not there when we got back but arrived shortly after and said he hadn't crossed the river but found a track that took him to the road and had come back that way.

When in Liverpool I'm always falling into conversation with people on the street or in the cathedral but it's good to know that it's not only us Scousers who enjoy a gab.

Thursday 10 November 2016

Memories that Time and Distance can Never Destroy

A few days ago I had a visitor from New Jersey. It was great to see my cousin Irene who I hadn't seen for several years. It's true that these days we can keep in touch via email or on facebook but it isn't the same as actually seeing someone in the flesh and chatting and giving each other a hug. Interesting, her middle sister lives miles away on the west coast of America in California, New Jersey is on the east coast. Two scousers who have chosen to live near the sea when they emigrated. It's in the blood. My mother was fond of saying that Liverpudlians have salt water in their veins. Their eldest sister lives in Liverpool. My eldest brother, Ron, when he went south, ending up living in Westcliff -on- Sea, on the outskirts of Southend in Essex. my other brother, Don, went to sea, following in the footsteps of our maternal grandfather.

When we were kids we used to go camping to Towyn, nr Rhyl, N. Wales. Our mothers being sisters meant we were all very close and those camping holidays remain strong in our memories and we remind each other of those happy days whenever we meet up.
This time my cousin said to me, 'You were always singing when we were on holiday.'
I thought 'Always!'  I know I love music and have been in various choirs in my time and never miss 'Songs of Praise' and singing along if I can but I'd soon be sat on if I never shut up by my menfolk. Then my cousin reminded me of the times when we had a choice of catching the bus from Rhyl to the campsite or walking and having a bag of chips. More often than not we chose to have the chips. On the walk I would start singing 'Take me back to the Black Hills, the beautiful hills of Wales,' to the tune of the Doris Day hit, 'Take me back to the Black Hills of Dakota,' from 'Calamity Jane'.
She had been reminded of that the other year when my cousin who lived in California and her husband decided to go on a road trip and asked her along. When looking at a map they spotted Dakota and immediately my cousin recalled those days in Wales and us singing and eating chips as we walked home to the campsite from which we could clearly see the hills of Wales dark against the sky, so straightaway, Dakota was one of the places they had to visit.

It was my brother, Don, who reminded us of visits to the outdoor swimming pool of Rhos-on-Sea, nr Abergele, and how we dared each other into climbing higher and higher until we stood on the uttermost highest diving board. I do still remember jumping from it but no way would I have dared to dive. Another place we liked to go during the evening was to the penny slots arcade near the beach at Towyn. We never had much money to become addicted to gambling and some of our money went into the juke box. One of the hits of the time was 'A White Sports coat and a Pink carnation'.  He and my elder cousin Maureen recalled outings to the Pivvie after Christmases to see a pantomime when part of the entertainment was a sing-a-long to words on a sheet dropped in front of the stage.

At times as we remembered those days so long ago for a while we forgot our health problems, the hip replacement, the new knee, high blood pressure and stroke and were
back together as children and the Atlantic ocean that separates us can never take that away.