I should be so lucky

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The one and only lucky tin!

 

While I was walking the dog this morning I found a penny on the pavement (note to my far flung friends: a pavement is what you should be calling your sidewalk!). 

When I was a kid, my nan always used to say ‘see a penny, pick it up, all the day it’ll bring you luck’. Some years ago now (gosh, probably 11 years now I come to think of it – my, how time flies, it’s terrifying!), when we were doing the rounds of University applications with my daughters, one of them had an interview at Bristol Uni.  We had to stay overnight and had some time to kill in the morning, so had a wander around town.

During our wanderings I found a penny on the pavement and quoted the ditty. After some discussion over who should pick it up, it was decided that although she was the one who needed the luck for her interview, since it was me who saw it first, I would be the only likely beneficiary of said ‘luck’

‘But’ she said and quoted ‘if you put it in your shoe, more good luck will come to you’

‘what about ‘if you give it to a friend, your good luck will never end’ I countered.

‘I’m your daughter though, I don’t count as a friend (?? ? I dispute this strongly!)

Suffice it to say, we debated the point for some time before I picked the darn thing up and ended up having it rattle about in my shoe for the rest of the day. (actually, for a good part of the day it was in her shoe on my foot, because she’d forgotten to bring anything but her manky old trainers to attend the interview in, so we had to swap. Though, please understand, I would only put my delicate, perfect feet in those manky things under exceptional circumstances).  I figured that I so badly wanted her to get the result she wanted, that my good luck would automatically transfer to her.

Well, wouldn’t you know it.  She didn’t get offered a place in Bristol, so it didn’t work.

Or did it?

In the end, she was offered a place at Cardiff, which she loved.  If she had ended up in Bristol, she would never have met her lovely boyfriend, or bought their perfect little house.  She may never have experienced some of the great things she’s done since moving there.   Indeed, it could be argued that the ‘good luck’ was in not getting the place at Bristol.

You see, I figure that luck is one of those things that we experience in different ways depending on our state of mind. In fact, on the whole, I believe it’s the little, seemingly insignificant things that ultimately make us the lucky ones.

Just like the one and only time I won a raffle prize.

It was an ‘own brand value’ tin of rice pudding.

Yay!

Yeah, how lucky am I??

Whilst I was bemoaning the fact that it was not a bottle of champagne, or a yacht, to cheer me up, my other daughter ventured

‘Well I like rice pudding’ she was probably about twelve at the time.

‘It’s yours’ I said

‘I don’t want it, I was just saying…’

‘nope, it’s yours now’

And it sat in our cupboard for years, waiting for her to eat it.  It became a standing joke in our family.

‘Helen, do you want rice pudding for afters?’

Eventually, I told her that if she didn’t eat it I’d sneak it into her bag when she left for university (there were still several years to go) and that she’d be glad of it then.  Though she pooh-poohed my threat, I did indeed sneak it into her bag when she left home, and eventually she sheepishly confessed she’d eaten it’s seven year old contents, and brought me back the washed out tin to keep as a souvenir.

Ok, our family is weird, but I still have the tin (see above!), and it still makes me chuckle that we kept that particular in-joke up for so long.  I’m not sure a bottle of champagne (or a yacht) would have given us so many laughs. So yes, I was indeed, very lucky to have won it.  I’m also lucky to have a daughter that still loves me despite my endless teasing.

Now, can someone tell me how long I have to keep this penny in my shoe? Do I have to keep the shoe on all day? Does the luck stop as soon as I take my shoe off? Will it still work if I quickly transfer it to my slipper?

Oh, and by the way… It’d still be nice to win a bottle of champagne…or a yacht! 🙂

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As you see me

IMG_0312Posted in response to the Daily Post weekly discovery challenge – this week’s theme ‘Portrait’.

Ok, I’ll fess up… I didn’t take the portrait, but I did take the picture of the portrait, if you see what I mean!

When my daughter told me that she’d received an old polaroid camera for her birthday, I was quite jealous. Enchanted by the idea of ‘instant pictures’ I remember badly wanting one when I was younger. Of course, that was way, way, before the digital camera age and now photographs are ten a penny and disposable so  I was surprised at how excited she was.

The film thingy’s are very expensive, and she was still getting used to the camera, and she warned me that the results were not so much ‘sharp’ as ‘interesting’ but in fact I love this shot.

I love the fact that, although you get the gist that its me, my features are blurred, and that she’s captured my expression of thoughtful bemusement at the world exactly how I would like it to be captured.  To put it bluntly – how I want other’s to see me.

The thought has been growing in my mind ever since it was taken.

I’ve always had problems trying to find a ‘suitable’ profile picture which encapsulates my overall demeanor without showing me baring my wonky teeth in an insane grin, or wrinkling up my eyes, or losing my real chin amongst the others.  Problem is, in my head I am still youthful, slim, and lovely so it’s always a bit of a shock to see the reality captured in a snap.

I have the same problem at the yoga studio, the one where there is mirrors.

‘oh blimey, who is that baggy old biddy who looks like a squishy sack of potatoes?’

‘oh poop, it’s me.’

I guess a lot of people of my age feel the same, and really, I’m fit and healthy so I shouldn’t worry about what I look like, right?

It sounds like a cliché, but speaking to my friends I gather I’m not alone in still feeling young on the inside whilst my body tells the bitter truth in photographs. It’s depressing.

So from now on I’m steering clear of the lens and you’ll just have to take my word for it that I’m a happy soul who moves my sylph like body with the grace of an angel and whose face is as blemish, and wrinkle free as an Egyptian sheet in a five star hotel. 😉

 

 

 

Love in a vase

Last Sunday was Mother’s Day here in England. My twin daughters live at different ends of the country, and because of their, and my, schedules we were, to my dismay, destined not to meet up for the day.  They were though, dutiful enough to send sweet and thoughtful mother’s day cards, and to my surprise and delight, also both sent the most wonderful bouquets.  I wish I could harness the scent, which fills our living room, to share with you, but in the absence of smellyblog here are a few studies I took of the flowers.

What’s in the box… I want to believe…

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With the return of the X files to our screens this week, I thought it might be a good time to reveal to you what is in this little box  (I’ve put my lens cap next to it to give an idea of size).

My daughter made this in a woodwork class at school when she was about 14 I think.  As I remember, the brief was to make a box with a surprise inside.  As she was a big fan of X Files at the time, she came up with this neat idea.   As you can tell, being meticulous in her work, she could (and still can when she has time and puts her mind to it), produce some pretty impressive results.

So… what’s in the X box…

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an alien of course!  Not just any old alien though, he’s a glow in the dark, alien on a spring so he wobbles when you open the lid. It still amuses me!

By the way, what did you think of the first of the new episodes?  I thought it was a bit slow going, but I’m hoping it will pick up speed, and be as entertaining as the last series were soon.

The truth is out there…

Can she do it?

Well the New Year is underway.  I’ve not made any resolutions as such, but as always have promised myself that I will get (and stay) fit, lose a few pounds, be happy, let myself off the hook now and again, and try and do my bit to make the world a nicer place.

Of course, all those things are more of a challenge than they ought to be.

At the moment I’m feeling like a bit of a blob, so I’m all enthused about the getting fit and losing weight bit. However, I do know from experience how quickly disillusion can replace that enthusiasm, and those carefully set goals seem unachievable and all that effort a waste of time.  It’s so much easier to just accept your fate and eat another chocolate, after all, who really cares what shape this old woman is in?  Does staying in shape matter as you get older? After all, no-one wants to look like a boney and haggard little old lady do they?

Actually, yes, it does matter.  People might not worry too much about what I look like, hey, they might even like my huggable, soft, curvy shape. The thing is though, I don’t feel healthy.  I’m tired carrying this extra load around.  I still enthusiastically and regularly practice yoga but my forward folds are lately feeling hampered by that baggy belly.  Everything is more of an effort.  My clothes are getting tighter and that spare tyre blobbing over the top of my jeans is, frankly, not attractive.  There you go then…. I’m definitely (yes folks, you heard it here) going to stick to my fitness regime this time!

Then there is the ‘being happy’.  Well, it should be easy enough, I’m generally a happy sort.  But then I get the doldrums.  For no apparent reason I’ll wake up full of gloom and doom.  Or I’ll be worrying about something.  Usually something daft that really doesn’t deserve my time. Or I’ll be sulking over some slight that the person who said it is oblivious to (yes, yes, it’s my husband we’re talking here).  What a waste of effort that is.  So this year, I’m not going to go there.  No glooming, no worrying, no sulking.   Yes, well, I’ll let you know how that goes!

‘Let myself off the hook now and again’.  Does everyone beat themselves up over stupid things or is it just me?  My foot in the mouth moments, or letting myself down moments (see getting fit above!!)  Am I naggy? Am I a cross sort? Am I fat? Should I work harder? Be nicer? Do more housework? Write more? Take the dog for longer walks? Look prettier? Be less of a slob? Be more interesting?  Good god, the list is endless….

Last but not least, I will try and do my bit to make the world a nicer place. Well, that’s a bit beauty pagenty isn’t it? Vomit inducing?  Yes, I can see you sticking your fingers in your throat and gacking. But honestly, I do think I can do this one.  Ok, I can’t save the world (sometimes it seems beyond saving), I can’t even save individuals, but I could make the odd person smile now and again.  I can recycle more, I can grow more flowers, spend less, point out the good things in life to anyone and everyone that will listen, laugh lots (the world is always a better place when people are laughing), support charities… I am not, and will never be, a full-bloodied campaigner, but I can sign the odd petition regarding ubiquitious injustices or things I’m passionate about.

Yep, reckon I can do the odd bit to brighten up this corner of the world.  I only hope that if you take a look at my blog now and again, I can brighten up yours too.

Happy New Year! xx

 

 

A Loss? – Flash Fiction

Although the walls on each side were black and sooty, she could see the light in the distance beckoning her with the promise of safety.  She expected to hear her footsteps echo, but all she could hear were her gasps of effort.

She couldn’t quite remember how she had got there, although it seemed to her that it had been quite a journey.  She knew she wouldn’t have taken public transport, she hadn’t done that in at least fifty years.  She remembered quite clearly her revulsion at having to sit on the filthy seats, pressed too close to grubby strangers when she was a student, and how, as soon as she could, she’d bought herself a little car. But she hadn’t been able to drive for a couple of years now, not since they’d taken away her licence. Bloody old age.

She’d felt ok really.  Still had her wits about her although, in general, modern life was a bit of a puzzle.  The youngest members of her extended family seemed to live on a different planet, what with all their gadgets and gizmos, and what rare communication there was with them always seemed difficult. That’s not to say she didn’t love them all, but there were just so many these days…

She wondered where they were now, and instinctively looked down at her hand where the gold band still glistened, though it’s pair had been long gone.  It had been buried with him.  His only bit of decoration against the best black suit that they’d put him in. She wondered if it was still there, in the ground, encasing his bare finger bone, and shuddered at the thought of how cold his touch would now be.

Ineluctably her thoughts turned to her son who’d made it big in the US and then came to grief with the help of chemicals and alcohol.  She’d been mystified and heartbroken that her perfect boy had gone so soon. He’d been naughty as a child. A tease, with a cheeky chuckle, but he’d grown into a handsome man, broad and muscular with long dark hair that softened him and disclosed his gentle nature. She was so sad for his wife and their twin boys who had had to get along without him all those years, but they’d diligently kept in touch with her, emailing photos of special occasions, such as the boy’s weddings, and the babies births.

Looking ahead at the light, she saw she was progressing. It was becoming dazzling, and she closed her eyes, after all, she knew the path was safe. She could feel a slight breeze just brushing her cheeks like a gentle kiss, and for a second, thought she could smell perfume, the one her daughter Lillian liked that was hugely expensive and came in a fancy bottle. Smiling, she remembered her firstborn, who hadn’t been the brightest spark in school, but whose bright eyes and curves ensured that she’d married well.  She’d lived in an impressive house, with a room for the au pair, and a paddock for the ponies, but had ‘downsized’ to an idyllic country cottage when the children left for university. They had said it came with a ‘granny annex’ but they had converted it for the cleaner to live in before they moved in. It was a shame it was so far away, she felt she barely knew her children, or their children.

And then there was Jennifer.  Her youngest daughter, scrawny little Jenny with the mousey hair and crooked teeth. Always angry at the others, she was a loner who seemed content with her own company, so it astonished them when, in her fifties, she married a man 10 years her senior.  A professor or something.  He was a ramshackle widower, with umpteen adoring grandchildren always clinging to his hands. Jenny took them all on like a trooper. She became the perfect grandma, baking cakes and biscuits, letting the hoard have run of the house. It was good to see her happy though, even if it did make her forget her own mother sometimes.

Resolutely she strode on, picking up pace and as the light penetrated her lids, she knew she was close. Opening her eyes she grew accustomed to the brilliance enough to pick out dark shapes against it. As her excitement grew, her breath got louder in her ears and turned to an uneven rattle.  She gasped her last as she saw the shadows become the two men she missed so much, waiting for her, there, as she reached the end of the tunnel.