Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Thankyou... with a cherry on top!

Imagine my surprise when I finally returned here to the land of my journal blog, as opposed to my crafty one which is still sadly languishing, to find a gift from Tamara whose blog Thyme for Tea inspired me to remember Paris in July.  

Not quite sure my blog fits the description, at least from my side of the screen, but thank you all the same.

AWARD RULES: a question to answer, some other blogs to foward the award to, and a thankyou. First the question: "If you had the chance to go back and change one thing in your life, would you, and what would it be?"  As I sat and thought about my answer only one thing came to mind.........  Despite a lot of things I would not like to REPEAT in my life (and there are quite a few of those!!)(wearing quilted brown velvet springs to mind for a start), there are few things I would change completely except this: I wish that I had been able to see the bigger picture of my husband's last year with us, to have been more understanding and perhaps less selfish, kinder and more accepting. 

Peter was slowly becoming less able to live the life he wanted while his heart and its various machines and medications struggled to keep him alive.  The rally driver was no longer able to drive, the mechanic was no longer able to do more than advise from the sidelines while his son struggled to teach himself to re-build his car, the photographer no longer had the strength to hunt out special locations, the engineer could only manage going into the office for a couple of hours each day.  Throughout this time I refused to cook the fatty salty things he loved, pestered him to get up, grumbled about rearranging my work to get him to and from his own and somehow think I lost my partner underneath the schedules and the medications and the ambulance rides and the maybe the desperation.  Now I wish I'd just curled up with him, lived the slowest life possible together, and maybe it might have been longer.  How could we know it wasn't something we could fix?  

Oh boy this takes me to places I didn't want to go just now, just ever.  But as I write I am trying to sit up, wiping my eyes for the hundredth time this week (it seems to be a raw time just lately) and taking heart from the fact that this blog has only a small audience and perhaps they will understand, and so it doesn't matter that my response has been more personal than perhaps it needed to be.  Maybe I should have written about regretting the brown quilted velvet instead?  I feel my mood lifting at the memory of that awful skirt.

Okay. Lightness.

Finding only 6 blogs that fit the bill is easier.  In no particular order, my 6 special blogs are:
1.  Nancy at Small World of Inchies and Twinchies - where tiny things are celebrated and wonders can be found.
2.  365 Cat Ladies and Friends - for lovers of cats and whimsy
3.  Lisa at The Craft's Meow - she has to be amongst the kindest and most thoughtful people I know, and we've never even met.  Such is the power of a blog.
4.  Electra at Wishin' I knew how to Blog - where you never know what you're going to find (and this makes two awards so that PROVES she's special!!)
5. Third Storey Window for intriguing things that get me thinking...
6.  Free Advice - still worth every penny - because I love Rosemary's sense of humour and pragmatism.

Now to thank Tamara properly for her kindness in bestowing this award on me..... I found your blog through Electra's posts and just had to take part in the Paris month.  It was a lovely time for me to hunt through the photographs and post some special moments.  Writing those posts gave me confidence to take up writing for pleasure again and I cant thank you enough for that small piece of motivation.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Thoughts on a book: Let Me Sing You Gentle Songs

I love holidays so that I can read and read and finish a book in my own time instead of snatching moments here and there and perhaps losing something of the thread.

This small book is a product of the author's life in both New Zealand and Sweden, and the images of each seem to ring true despite my never having been to either place.  The story is of two women who bring their memories and their wounds into their life together and forge something new and precious.  The book is set in present day Sweden and begins with Veronika arriving in a remote village to rent a house and perhaps to write the book she has been planning in her mind.  Veronika's neighbour is said to be a witch but is only a reclusive older woman living in the house her grandfather built.  Her name is Astrid.  The women share their stories in alternate chapters, going back further and further into the past, and deeper into the reasons for their individual sadness and chosen place of solitude.

A lovely touch throughout the book are the snatches of poetry which head each chapter - first in Swedish, followed by their translation by the author.  Each phrase is mirrored and expanded by the chapter which follows and had the effect of making me stop to reflect before starting on the next small journey that the pages would chart.

The book is essentially about love, loss, compasssion, accommodation and finally renewal.  The friendship between the women, so different in age and experience, is developed and nurtured with understanding and sensitivity.    Crisp and clear pictures are painted through the memories and the seasons.  While there is much sadness in the stories of the past it is not a sad book, rather a celebration of the small steps towards living with the experiences of ones life and reliving memories to keep the good and let the bad filter away.

"Come, sit by me, and I shall tell you all my sorrows; we shall talk to each other about secrets."

Read it.

"Let me sing you gentle songs" by Linda Olsson.  Penguin 2005 (255p)