All posts by Marilyn

About Marilyn

'Share a little biographical information ----' There's really not much to say----imagine someone who lives in a Fairy Tale World, a land of make-believe, looks at life through rose coloured spectacles---- maybe that sums it up------ ;)

A little Tweet…

“For two days they were grafting,
Working hard on Graham Way;
Pruning shrubs and clearing brambles,
From morning’s start ’til end of day.
The result is quite amazing;
Now that jungle — overgrown—,
Has been sheared off to ground level…
But it’s left some without a home.
I watched and tried to Twitter,
But I found no one could hear;
With no signal by the culvert ,
My protests fell upon deaf ears.
I tried to strike up conversation,
To express my whim and wish,
But my acquaintance couldn’t follow,
He only knew Pigeon English.
The people overlooking,
Seem to think it’s a success,
That they’re Robin’ all the hedgerows;
It’s hard to Swallow — it’s a mess!
We may have to tell the Council,
In their meeting hall one night;
Mrs. Finch and Mr. Starling,
Could take some Bunting; share our plight.
They’ll know that we mean business,
When we all start to Crow,
And the Tits within our group,
Will say: ‘We want you all to know—
While you’re discussing all your Chiff-Chaff,
Our agenda slot’s quite Swift,
Please don’t treat us all like Pheasants,
Our morale just needs a lift.
We’ve come here with decorum,
We’re not wont to shout and ‘Owl,
And we’d like to just be treated,
As you treat the water fowl.
We’ve lost our habitation,
And our berry bush so when —–
Will you ever hear our voices—?’
Signed—Your servant,
Jenny Wren.”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

It was a conversation in the online Scrabble game with my friends in Australia yesterday which prompted me to reproduce this little poem which I wrote for our village Forum a couple of years ago..

Wendy told me “Our neighbours are having arborists arriving in the morning to lop some branches from large trees on their property and the men will need to come into our yard to cut overhanging branches of their Pecan tree…

“For many years we enjoyed collecting hundreds of Pecans but, unfortunately, no more…

“The sulphur-crested Cockatoos discovered the bounty a few years back and every year, at the exact time the nuts have matured, they arrive in their numbers and have a ball…..

“Another beautiful bird we have visiting our yard from time to time is the Rainbow Lorikeet…take a look at the ‘Feeding Frenzy’ of these birds on You Tube!… They love feeding on the nectar from our bottlebrushes when in flower and also the banksias…”

This morning’s chain of chat from Sarah and Wendy had this heartwarming snippet amongst their messages:

“The birds know what kind of face to put on when they look at us and exactly what kind of pathetic birdy noises to make. It usually melts my heart and they watch through the  kitchen window as I open the fridge…

“One of our Butcher Birds, the youngest one whose feathers are still brown but will turn black when he is older, is very playful and will often drop a seed pod from a liquid amber tree onto the patio. Maybe it is his way of saying thank you for his meals—and please keep them coming—;)”

Is it any wonder that, with just that little example of the messages I receive daily from Australia, a country which has revealed so much of itself to me because of a simple word game, I yearn for the unreachable goal of being able to beam myself into that garden and explore a piece of the-other-side-of-the-globe for myself—?

Thank you, Sarah and Wendy, for all your lovely messages —  I know I’ll never get across that Equator—so, content as I am with enjoying the company of family and friends here, I’ll try to send tastes of life in England to you in the way that you do for me… 🙂 xx

 

When Nobody Cared…

Following on from the previous post, ‘Sunset at The Forum’, I should have explained that few of the members used their actual name when publishing comments…

There was an array of pseudonyms but, somehow, even without meeting their owners, we could get a measure of each character’s personality from their style of writing…

This little poem was inspired by the story of an injured rat, contributed to the Forum by a gentleman who modestly called himself ‘Nobody’…

Ratty

Once there lived a little ratty,
In a village near a town,
But the folk around disliked him,
And it got poor ratty down.

He was quite an entertainer,
And as chatty as could be,
But he talked his right hind leg off,
And was left with only three.

‘Twas underneath some decking,
He had built his little home,
But one day he was discovered,
Narked on by the garden gnome.

His shelter was demolished,
And the owner called out “Shoo!”
Chased him all across the garden,
Shouting “Nobody wants you!”

It took rat all that evening,
To track down his new master….
(If he’d only had his fourth foot,
He could have travelled faster!)

When Nobody espied him,
It filled his heart with joy,
Was ratty an escaped pet?
—Was it girl or was it boy?

In minutes they had bonded,
And poor rat had gained a name,
“I’m going to call you Yardy –
Because ‘three feet’ means the same.” 😉


— and it was a conversation about Sarah and her Mum, Wendy, making a comfy nest out of a box lined with soft material for an injured Possum who has lost half his tail that led me to the parallel of how the kindness of humans towards the animal kingdom makes a difference right across the globe — 😉 xx

Sunset at The Forum…

Until very recently (yesterday, in fact!) the little village in which I live had a vibrant online Forum…

The new laws in data protection, though, meant it would be difficult for the facility to continue…. so the curtain was drawn… the stage upon which we skipped around discussing the serious and the not-so-serious since the beginnings of the development of this village at the turn of the Millenium was, following a gentle finale, cast into oblivion ….

Such a shame …. but, on reflection, in the ten years since its inception, firm friendships developed and the community spirit here was built…

Woven into each of the hundreds of topics were little stories that I often couldn’t resist putting into verse… some of them I have managed to save and may find their way to these pages..

One, in particular came to mind today when I was chatting with my online Scrabble partner, Sarah, who lives in Brisbane … I shall reproduce it on here in a minute but first, I’d like to reiterate a tribute to the Forum’s Administrator which, with the sun having set on his creation, has now been lost to the mists of time…

One day in two-thousand-and-seven,
A villager had an idea…
“Why don’t I just set up a Forum,
To help build up the neighbourhood here…?”

He’d no inkling when setting its format,
Of the journey through time it would take,
How the posts cov’ring allsorts of subjects,
Soon a treasured mosaic would make…

Some discussions of serious nature,
Brought forth many, and varied, a view,
As did light-hearted (rib-shaking!) comments,
Oft’ provided by……well……you-know-who…!! *

Through this website we’ve shared tears and laughter,
Been united in cares and concerns,
Learnt a lot from each other; made friendships,
…now from daybreak to dusk the hour turns…

As the sun sets, we’re left with reflections,
Of kaleidoscoped colour-rich gems,
Archived somewhere in space for forever,
‘Social Media’s Creme de la Creme’…

…so, eleven years on, we’ll say “Thank you”,
(Such small words can’t convey all we feel)
To the person whose virtual creation,
Breathed life into this village for real… 😉 xx

(*… the 800 or so members of the Forum know who… and are all now left wondering whether he-who-so-deserved-to-have-the-last-word actually did …. 😉

 

Medieval Snapchat…

Surprising what can be found lurking in a twelve-year old’s worn leather bag…

I have pondered the poignant content several times since its discovery and wonder if it will have the same impact on you as it did me…

It reads:


 

”                                                                                                                                  1340

25th June

To whom may be reading this,

Hello, I’m Timothy. I hope you’re reading this many years after the time in which I write this. And that my letter finds you well. I am hoping that whatever this awful disease is, it has found a cure.

Today it is the 25th of June 1340, I am writing this at the age of 12 years and today is also my birthday. It has been two years and 2 days since this horrible disease has become upon us.

My mother explained to me that the cats and dogs are carrying it and it’s there fault. But due to this terrifying thing, now whenever I walk through what used to be our lovely village all I see now is animals, like cats and dogs being blamed and killed. I see crosses on doors of houses telling us not to go in, everyone holding bunches of flowers and flowers sat in lonely windowsills. I see strange men wearing long black coats and an oddly looking pointy like mask although Mama tells me that there the doctors helping the poorly people, but she won’t tell me why they wear those strange masks. On the odd occassion I overhear conversations from people saying that it’s Mars and Saturn that have moved closer together and made the air bad. Sometimes when I go up to the local shop I see men whipping themselves, apparently it’s because God has been punishing us all because he’s angry, although I think Mama’s right, and God is better than that and wouldn’t punish in such a horrid way, instead would forgive our sins and give us another chance.

My birthday’s been different this year, by that I mean worse. Last year we didn’t celebrate like usual. I still had Mama and Grandmama but no other family or friends, but now I know why. But this year we didn’t even celebrate. I mean, Mama was here, obviously, but no one else, though I guess that doesn’t matter because now I just pray that this will all go away, and everything can go back to how it used to be, when the village was lovely and there weren’t any doctors, if that’s what they even are.

Right now, I’m a bit worried about Mama, the other morning I heard her being sick, and then yesterday one of the creepy looking men knocked on the door. with his long cloak and black pointy mask, and he was asking for Mama and ever since he came we have a cross on our door, flowers all around, the living room, my room, though I don’t know about Mama. She won’t let me in to see her now, and I haven’t seen her since yesterday and it’s now 8:00pm. I just want to hug her and make sure she’s ok. The supposedly doctor comes in the mornings with a jug of water and 3 meals, I’m guessing breakfast, lunch and dinner. I just closed my blinds ready to sleep and the streets are filled with quick, crawling, black coloured rats.

I really must go to bed.

Timothy.”


It wasn’t really found in the crevice of the wall of an ancient cottage…(although, to my mind, it could have been) and the punctuation, spelling and grammar are as delightfully un-honed as the written narrative of any child of that age…

It was actually a piece of school homework about the Bubonic Plague written by one of my grandaughters whose twelfth birthday happens later this Summer…

I was so touched by the empathic part of her imagination that I asked her permission to reproduce it on here now that it’s been handed in for marking at school…

(…and if it doesn’t get an A+, I’m off to see the teacher…. 😉 xx)

 

 

To ‘8813’…

 

—a while ago, I wrote this little poem:

‘If ever bored and lonely … (Who to talk to…? What to do…?)

I’d at last found a solution … I could simply turn to you…

We would take a seat together, always lingering for a while,

But to get a word in edgeways took a fair amount of guile…

It occurred to me one morning, that I didn’t know your name,

All we seemed to have in common was our online ‘Scrabble’ game…’


…so I used the little ‘Chat’ box in the top righthand corner of the screen and we now know each other quite well! 😉

As opponents we are well-matched with little between our scores and I reckon there’s an equal total of each of us winning or losing a match …

We chat regularly about the happenings in our day-to-day lives and the main reason for me writing this now is because I’d been talking about the view from my window these past few days. I don’t do Facebook so the only way I can post a photo for you is on here …

…so, Sarah, while you’re enjoying temperatures of 34 degrees on the third day of Autumn in Australia, ours have crept up to 3 degrees on the third day of Spring …

…see you on the board later… 😉 xx

  

The Kingfisher…

 

Sometimes it can take almost a whole lifetime for a desire of the heart to be realised…

Years ago, (probably around the time of my tenth birthday) I was given an album filled with pictures of British Nature. Although I’m no Twitcher, my favourite full-page, glossy photo was of a majestic looking Kingfisher perched on a branch above a stream, the colours of its plumage vibrant and shimmering in the dappled sunlight…

 

For the next more-than-five-decades, catching sight of this bird in real-life seemed as elusive to me as the happily-ever-after stories trapped between the jackets of the rest of the books on my shelf—

—until the middle of last week—-

For the occassion of a friend’s birthday, we were taken for a drive through Devon countryside to the Seaton Wetlands, marvelling on the way at the Autumn scenery with its gold and copper tones—

At our destination, we found a round wooden shack serving as a bird-hide overlooking a lagoon where our binoculars brought the sight of gulls, curlews and other waders pecking at the mudflats and bays of the islands as they sought nourishment, closer to us— Sweeping our gaze across the tranquil water we watched ducks and geese dipping and diving in their search for tasty fish—

The posters around the walls of the hide helped us to identify each species and indicated that Kingfishers were also natives of this idyllic habitat—

“I’d so love to see one—” I remarked to my friend—

“Over there on the sandy inlet—” softly spoke a gentleman further along the bench, his eye fixed to his telescope—

Following his direction, we focused on the ridge of the little island, my idea being that we were looking for something about the size of an owl as the image in the treasured book of my childhood came back to my mind—

“I can’t see it—” I told our guide—

“Come and look through here—” he invited—

As I concentrated on gazing through the eye-piece, there, nestled amongst the grasses enjoying the afternoon sunshine, was a little feathered ball of electric-blue and green, hardly bigger than a sparrow! The Kingfisher I’d waited all these years to see—-

(Photos courtesy of Google ‘cos I’m not adept at juggling binos and camera at the same time!)

—sometimes it really is the smallest things that fill the biggest place in one’s heart— so much so, that the enthusing over retelling the tale resulted in this gift being presented to me at the weekend—

— and you remember I spoke about the happy-ever-after tales being as elusive as the Kingfisher—well— no sooner had this little fella come into my home than quite a catch of happiness arrived my gate— but that’s an entirely different story—- 😉 xx

 

It’s all in the name…

It’s not the first time I’ve been to the house—

Some time ago, before there was one in the village, its back room housed a little shop where I could stock up on essentials —-

Today’s mission, though was in quite a different form—

“Does anyone know someone who would dog-sit one day a week?” read the advert—

“Maybe I could help—” I replied.

I was invited to visit the Jack Russells’ owner and his pets at 2pm this afternoon.

“Come and meet Belle,” he said, leading the way to the conservatory. Tails wagging, the two dogs greeted me exuberantly. As I took a seat, Belle immediately jumped onto my lap and made herself comfortable.  Her master told me the story of how he and his wife had rehomed her from a dog-rescue centre.

Belle jumped down as her companion came over, vying for attention—

“After she’d been with us for a while, we wondered if she felt lonely when we were at work,” he went on to explain, “so decided to go to the RSPCA centre with her and let her help us to choose another dog of the same breed—”

He went on to tell me that the one they selected had a sad start to life. He had been rescued from a yard where he was kept with seventy other dogs— Two years on, though, he is healthy and well-adjusted and it was evident the pair of them got on well together—

“What’s his name—?” I asked—

“Ticker—” came the reply—

————————————————————————————————————–

Although the symbolism of all this will only be apparent to those who know me, sometimes, it’s the little happenings in life which completely bowl me over — xx

 

Thirty-two-year catch-up…

Wiping tears from my eyes, I picked the next envelope from the pile—

The messages of condolence with their sincerity had touched me and I braced myself as I examined this card’s neat handwriting —

“Dear Marilyn and Richard,

I hope you don’t mind me writing to you and trust you are both well—

Last week, several of the Nurses, including Tina, Jean and Sheila, were talking about days gone by — your name was mentioned and we all wondered how you and Richard are……”

My gaze skipped over the rest of the message as I looked to the bottom of the page for the signature:

“……Hoping to hear from you, Lesley.”

Suddenly, I was transported back to 1966 and our home at that time; the Spa Nurses Home in Bath.

At seventeen, we were too young to be enrolled as Pupil Nurses at St. Martins Hospital so shared rooms in the Cadet Nurses’ wing for the year before we could enter the following intake at the Pupil Training School to embark on an SEN course—

The room I was allocated was just across the corridor from Lesley and Tina’s—

Oh, the memories that came flooding back! Being fitted for our mauve-and-white striped uniform dresses, starched linen caps, wonderfully warm navy-blue capes with their red fleecy lining and cross-over straps and heeding the advice to equip ourselves with sensible, flat, lace-up shoes— Meals taken in the grand dining room— a coach ferrying us to the hospital at 7.45 each morning and returning us at 5pm each afternoon, Mondays to Fridays. Duties we were proud to be a part of on the wards as we were initiated and prepared for our future roles as Pupil Nurses when uniforms would change to green-and-white stripes and work rotas would include split-shift patterns and night duty.

Once we had been upgraded to the ranks of Pupil Nurse, we were delighted to find that the friendship which had developed between Lesley, Tina and myself in our junior posts had been recognised and we were allocated a three-bedded room on the first floor of the Nurses’ Home.

I read the rest of the message with its snippets of news —

How had we lost touch in the years since we completed our training and went our separate ways? I remembered Lesley coming to see me when my children were very young and my return visit to her after her son was born—

When was that—?

Oh—my diaries—-

It wasn’t long after I’d passed my driving test (— I recalled feeling nervous about travelling from Somerset to Wiltshire so soon after being awarded my full driving licence —) so that made the hunt through my personal journals easier — 1984 — Eureka! October 23rd — a Tuesday!

I put pen to paper and the words which flowed from the nib spoke of my delight in hearing from her, how my spirits had been lifted in the sadness of this period of my life, how well I remembered all those she spoke of in her reminiscences, how the thirty-two years since we last met seemed to have melted away, how I reflected with fondness on those good times, fun times— Proper nursing. With proper thermometers!

Off to the mailbox, post-haste —-

Last night, the phone rang —-

“I can’t tell you how excited I was to hear from you!” Lesley’s voice trilled—

An hour-and-a-half of catching-up later, I asked when she had written her letter as the postmark was illegible and it had been forwarded to me, together with a batch of Sympathy cards, by the occupiers of my previous address—

“I wrote it a few weeks ago,” she replied,  “—and what you’ve just told me has given me goosebumps!”

“Why?” I queried.

“Well, I’ve got friends staying with me for a few weeks while they’re waiting to move into a new house. Since they’ve been here, their son, who lived abroad, has tragically lost his life. This morning I picked up a bundle of mail from the doormat  — it was mostly addressed to my friends and consisted of more Sympathy cards. Your letter to me, though, was nestled amongst them—-“

Having pledged that we will ever more stay in touch and arranging to meet up soon, we ended the telephone call—-

—and I was left pondering that life is full of mysterious occurrences that cannot be explained — No matter, though— long may there be those little twists and turns and things that make us wonder—

—and the venue for our get-together—? It’s got to be the former Nurses’ Home, now the 5-star MacDonalds Bath Spa Hotel although the tariffs for the sort of full-board we took forgranted in those memorable days may be out of our price-range so we’ll just settle for coffee and cake— 😉 xx

The Carnival is Over…

When they were choosing the music for today I just kept quiet about ‘our song’—-

!967 and, as we lay on your bed in Bishops Lydeard, listening to Pick of the Pops before I left to catch the train back to Bath, the Seekers were at number 1 —

“—how it breaks my heart to leave you” was the lyric that made my tears fall—

How could I listen to that same song this afternoon when the Goodbye is so hard—?

Only you and I know the secret memories that were framed by this—

Good night, Tick — God bless xxxx

 

A letter to Ticker…

“There won’t be time for any more music—-” considered Rev. Alison when Stuart and Colin asked if they could just squeeze this into the set which has been arranged for next Wednesday—

 

 

Well, Tick, you know how strange things have often happened for us; then you’ll believe me when I tell you that , just before 8am this morning, I thought, “I think I’ll turn the radio on just to hear the news—” (after a week where it has sat silent on the table in the corner)—and this was playing on BBC’s Radio 2!

The song had been adopted and adapted by Timex in 1960 to advertise their watches with the slogan ‘Ticker, Ticker Timex’ woven into the lyrics — your proudly showing off the Christmas present on your wrist that year, had your mates chanting the jingle and creating the nickname that stuck with you to this day—

Made me cry (just a little bit!) and then I wondered how come you’re shuffling the DJ’s tracks when you’re s’posed to be getting a little corner of Paradise ready for when I come to join you—-

Love you xxxx