Thursday, 8 May 2008


I was reminded of some old memories when reading Lesley's blogg a few days ago so decided to share them today. The time between Mam' death and dad remarrying was a time when we still dared to be children. We spent a lot of time at Aunt Sally's , often sleeping there if dad was on nights or afternoon shifts. He was a Deputy in the pits at this time.
I used to love staying at Aunt Sally's because she was so kind to us all. She herself had a hard life as her husband died of Leukaemia the week her 4th child, my cousin Ray was born. (This was back in the 1950s and there wasn't as much help then as there is now in such situations) We were never made to feel any different to our cousins and it felt as if we were one big happy family- which we were of course. Ken and Ray used to get the Dandy and Beano which I used to read from cover to cover. Our Mick got the Hotspur and it wasn't my cup of tea.
Aunty Sally wasn't as strict as dad with bedtimes either. I recall sitting on a pouffe chatting to her one night. In an attempt to coerce me to bed she was telling me that Princess Anne had to be in bed by half past eight and I recall remonstrating "If I was a princess I would go to bed at whatever time I liked !"
Aunty Sally also helped me learn my lines for the school play where I was to appear as a fairy
See my wand and shining wings
I can do all kinds of things

Sadly I was robbed of my moment of glory as I had mumps when the allotted day arrived.
Dad was much stricter and there were lots of rules and regulations. We were sent to bed at 7pm whether we were tired or not. Well you can imagine it can't you - 3 of us with so much energy. Mick came up with a solution which became known as the Lav meeting. We would go to bed as requested and after about 15 minutes Mick would sneak across the landing, tap on our bedroom door and whisper "Lav meeting!". Julie and I would scramble out of bed and head for the bathroom. The bathroom was tiny so one would sit on the loo, one on the edge of the bath and the other on the slope that was the undercut of the stairs. We would sit there for hours chatting away in hushed voices, laughing and joking and just being in each others company was enough for us.
If we were caught out we had our lines off pat--- "I'm on the toilet dad", "I need the toilet dad", "So do I dad " Haha happy days indeed. Years later when we played "Can you remember when?" we would roll with laughter at the memories of our lav meetings. In the years to come our closeness and our ability to laugh in the face of adversity and fists were to keep us going.
Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose. ~From the television show The Wonder Years

Saturday, 3 May 2008

South Yorkshire Open Arts

I have been at Swinton Lock today as part of the South Yorkshire Open Arts event- this happens once a year and artists around South Yorkshire open their studios to the public. I will be there tomorrow and Monday too so if you live locally call in and have a cuppa and a chat. I thoroughly enjoyed myself as it is great to get to meet the public and actually chat with them. People are so interested in the materials we use and one person asked how I got into it all and that really is an interesting story which kind of makes you think it was all meant to be.
Several months before my 50th birthday I was at the Cooper Art Gallery in Barnsley. At that time I was working for MIND and was with a group of clients on one of our "Getting Out There" activities. A jeweller was there organising her stock which was for sale and I fell in love with a Fluorite necklace. I spoke with her briefly as she was leaving and she told me the Gallery staff would give me her contact details as she was dashing to get back to her car, fearing a parking ticket. Of course I forgot to ask them as my mind was on work.
A week before my birthday I was in Tesco and there was Julia. I stopped her and asked did she still have the necklace and luckily she did, but it was out in another gallery. She took my name and address and arranged to deliver it on my birthday. As promised she arrived on the day with the necklace which I wore with pride. However, the fastener was magnetic and after wearing it for an hour or so it would unclasp and fall. Several times I managed to catch it before it fell to the floor but on one occasion it fell and several beads broke. Naturally I was upset, but decided to check at the warehouse if they had any similar so that I could repair it.
I had been to the warehouse several times but never been in the bead department but from the moment I stepped in I was like a kid in a sweet shop. I bought more Fluorite and also treat myself to a few more strings of Amethyst and Quartz and repaired my broken necklace and made new ones. From that moment on I was hooked and the rest as they say is history ..... and my future :-)
Only passions, great passions, can elevate the soul to great things.
Denis Diderot (1713 - 1784)