Alexander Averin

Thursday, 26 April 2007

Saturday Mar 24 2007 20:27:50
By Cait
This will be a short one as I am still unwell. I’m running a temperature so apologise if I ramble on even more than usual. I’ve really missed reading all my favourite blogs; I wonder how you are all getting on, your stories are better than any TV soap. I also missed going to work this morning, how many people can be lucky enough to say that? * I took some syrupy knockout cold remedy last night and it did its job. I fell asleep straightaway and had very vivid dreams as I fell in and out of feverish consciousness. I dreamed about my childhood. I have kept every copy of my Country Living magazines since its inception and now I am pleased to say that my daughter is the same, she is also a regular reader. I read the ‘My Country Childhood’ page with much envy though; I rarely ever feel those green stabs of jealousy but must admit to feeling envious of those lucky enough to grow up in a rural environment. Even M has that good part of his childhood to look back on as he grew up in the then unspoilt Surrey countryside. Instead, the backdrop to my childhood was South London suburbia in the 1950’s and it was very grey. The nearest thing to a field was a ‘recreation ground‘ (what a funny term that seems to me now) and I didn’t see one of those until I was eight and we moved from a completely ‘greenless’ area to a bigger house which backed on to one of these and we called it the ‘rec’. I yearned for a home in the country, away from it all, just me on my own but with dogs, cats, ponies and donkeys for company. Even then, as Country Living says, ‘my heart was in the country’ But I hadn’t even seen a field, a primrose, a sheep or a cow. I wish I could tell my children and their children my own tales of an idyllic childhood, of summers spent on the coast in the west of Ireland. Unfortunately I cannot, but that is another story. At least my own children were brought up in a fairly rural environment. For that I am grateful and I hope they are too. We moved them from West Sussex to Wales when they were aged twelve and nine but always wished we had done it earlier. Financially though it wasn’t possible. We took a brave step when we did come as we had no idea how we would make a living, but thank God it has all worked out for the best. I fear I am beginning to sound too much like an old granny overdoing the reminiscing so I think I had better get back into the present century. This afternoon I felt a little better and felt up to reading. If I want something different to read I sometimes go to my own bookshelves, close my eyes and just pick up whatever comes to hand. Today I did just that and my hand picked out ‘Lark Rise to Candleford’. a beautifully illustrated version. I have an ordinary paperback copy as well. I take it to my bed and drool over all the pictures and discover pressed flowers which long ago I had placed between its pages. I also find an article about the book which I have obviously cut out of an old copy of Country Living. The article cites a quote from someone who says ’Lark Rise is my Bible in times of stress’ In it I also read that Lark Rise was actually the name of a field. Funny that as all the fields in this area of Wales have their own names. I haven’t yet found out the names of ours, we have two fields which were made into one, why I don’t know. I need to go to the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth to find out their names. There are several Helen Allingham reproductions in the book, two are of cottages in Surrey, close to where we used to live. I am taken back in time as I lose myself in a book I have not enjoyed for many years. Like my little cottage in Wales Lark Rise would have been inhabited by families of many young children, all crammed into a tiny space. Sorry I have gone back in time again. But isn’t it wonderful what books can do? They can take you to other worlds, other times, other lives. * It is now 5 pm. The day is still and all is green and gold. The brightness of today’s still-shining sun has been a gift. I wish I could smell the Spring in the air I am sure its scent must be around. Even Sammy Squirrel is enjoying a very pleasant sunny teatime snacking on the nuts and he has the table all to himself at this late hour. I really appreciate the two evergreen pines outside my window, home to the birds and the squirrels. I collect their fircones and keep them in an old brass scuttle by the fire; they are useful for burning on the woodburner. No other tree has leaves yet of course but these two spruces are always there for me, ever green, the colour of calm, harmony and balance. The clocks will go forward tonight. Spring forward, Fall backwards. We will lose an hour in bed but I will be alright as I have been in bed all day anyway but it would have been more of a treat if I had felt well. For I love my bed, I only have to wander into my bedroom, see my bed and I am sorely tempted to get in it. Getting out of it is the problem! Blessings today? Managing to be positive. Very hard as I wanted to be out in the garden. Writing my blog. Apologies as it is a wee bit boring and I am sorry for any errors or if it reads badly. I didn’t even think I would make it to the computer. M who went to the supermarket for food and the chemist for remedies and was back before nine this morning! My bed. My window which opens inwards like a door and enables me to draw my bed right up to it so I feel as if I am out in the treetops. My radio which has kept me going. Thank you Radio 4. Restorative sleep. And finally as I have been laying in my bed I have been looking round the room as you do, there is little else indoors to look at. My eyes fall on pictures, ornaments, picture frames etc, just some of my ‘knickknacks’: the beautiful objects all over my home which I have acquired along my life’s way. Firstly, when I was very poor, I got things from jumble sales (do you remember those?). Then came the charity shops, car boot sales, garage sales, auctions, antique shops, craft shops, markets, potteries, craft fairs etc. Thirty years on and I am still searching. I always enjoy browsing for bargains and things of beauty. The cottage is full of these items, pictures, ceramics, glassware, tiles, linens and blankets, jugs, vases etc. The garden too has its share: beer and cider jars, pots galore. All these treasures hold their own story; a memory of where, a memory of when. And lastly as I bid farewell for now, a final blessing. Hope, which springs eternal. Please let me feel better tomorrow! (The picture today is an Helen Allingham print). But before I go a poem. It is also called Blessings God bless the little orchard brown Where the sap stirs these quickening days. Soon in a white and rosy gown The trees will give great praise. God knows I have it in my mind, The white house with the golden eaves. God knows since it is left behind That something grieves and grieves. God keep the small house in his care, The garden bordered all in box, Where primulas and wallflowers are And crocuses in flocks. God keep the little rooms that ope One to another, swathed in green, Where honeysuckle lifts her cup With jessamine between. God bless the quiet old grey head That dreams beside the fire of me, And makes home there for me indeed Over the Irish Sea. Katharine Tynan Bye for now, Caitx

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