Nuthatch Grove

LJ at NG

In A Widow’s Words I wrote about the several significant places where I scattered some of my dear John’s hair – for example at Hever Castle, and in St Moritz.  There was one more place I wanted to do it, and I finally addressed this the other day.

It’s a place we loved at Wakehurst Place, a clearing in the woods where birds come to feed.  I saw that it’s really called the Himalayan Glade, but we called it Nuthatch Grove.

I wrote about it in People and Places – here’s a link to that chapter: Nuthatch Grove

So I went and did it, managed to spend some time there alone (though it was quite busy with people despite being quite isolated).  I took ‘Little John’ and got some photos.  All very sad and sentimental.

Amazingly, I really did get several sightings of a nuthatch, so it’s a pretty reliable place to see them.  It’s a tiny bird that flits about so quickly and never seems to rest long in one place, so even if I’d had a proper camera it would have been difficult to get a good shot – below is the best I got on my phone camera.

I don’t know if I’ll ever go there again… too painful.  Very beautiful though.

Nuthatch crop

 

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Reflections on a view

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I’m looking to move house and am having great difficult deciding where to go.

One of many factors is what the immediate area is like, and might there be a better view from the windows, or at least a view nearby you could go and look at repeatedly. For example, should I go to a seaside town so that I can sit and look at a view of the sea?

The above photo shows a view from my hotel balcony, on a little trip I went on last year.  (I’ll leave you to guess where it is.)

This view taught me something about views!  Namely, they may be nice and impressive and interesting the first time, or the first few times.  But after you’ve been looking at the same view for a week, it just becomes boring, like a looking at a picture – doesn’t it?

So if I buy a house by the sea, for the view – won’t I quickly get bored with it?  I don’t know the answer.

 

Trapalanda

The Wild Heart my version

I picked up an old children’s book I found amongst my stuff, to re-read.  The Wild Heart, by Helen Griffiths.  Published 1953.  I reckon it’s around, or at least, 40 years since I read it.  I was so hit with familiarity as I read the first couple of sentences, and saw a word that had not been in my mind all that time, that I burst into tears.

“The gauchos say that there is a heaven for horses.  They call it Trapalanda.”

I wonder how many other people know or have heard that magical word.

It is a very beautifully written book telling the story of a wild horse, and all she suffers as various men try to capture her, for her speed.  It creates such an atmosphere and is in the end so sad; I have really enjoyed reading it again.

Last night, before I’d finished it, a phrase came into my head, which turns out to be the last phrase of the book.  I am beyond astonished that this has been buried in the depths of my mind, un-accessed, for 40 years, and yet it has leapt into my brain whilst reading the book, and now feels so, so familiar – it’s a phrase that must have had a profound effect on me all that time ago.

“… for surely in Trapalanda, La Bruja deserved to be.”

Weepy!

Fear of grief

This is why I have had to look through every piece of paper that is in the house – amongst all the junk, I occasionally find a treasure!  Have come across some early writing of mine including a poem which I must have written at the time of my wedding on the Isle of Wight in 1988.  I don’t think I’ve seen it since then.

Difficult to read and retype, the particularly poignant verse being:

I will work through pain and problems,
Lean to live with fear of grief.
What we’ve had is worth a lifetime,
Even should our time be brief.

Well, our time wasn’t that brief (29 years), but I did end up experiencing grief at the end of it.

Link to complete poem here:  Wedding

The Red Arrows in a Constable

Red arrows in painting

I was amused by this painting I saw in a pub somewhere – the red arrows aircraft display team appearing in a traditional Constable painting!

I did see them this year, when they were appearing at an airshow nearby.  I must admit I’m always impressed – on a physical level the wonderful noise is just exciting, on a mental level you can’t help but marvel at the wonder of human achievement, and skill, that such a thing is possible.

They always make me think of my father, who passed away many years ago, my first bereavement.  He had been in the air force and was always interested in aircraft, in fact my last photo of him was an at airshow – I came across it the other day when sorting things out.

I wonder what Constable would think if he could see how his masterpiece had been embellished?

 

Casablanca Steps

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These are the Casablanca Steps, which I have written about in A Widow’s Words.

A jazz band that plays cheerful, humorous songs at the country shows – I have seen them often.  It was horribly difficult the first time I saw them after my loss – knowing that the person I had watched them with before would never see them again.

They can’t know how poignant they have become for me.

 

Grits

I have often before noticed the phenomenon that after you come across a new word, you then find you hear it more often than you would expect.  The conclusion can only be that it’s about as prevalent as it always was, but you notice it because you are now aware of it.

In the USA in July, I had something I’d never eaten before, something which is very common in the States but which I have never, ever seen on any menu in England.  Grits.  Actually ‘cheese grits’.  A sort of mushy stuff made out of ground corn, or something, which is served with breakfast.  I enjoyed them, but couldn’t finish the whole bowl.

Since my return, I can’t believe how often references to grits have come up in books or newspapers or on TV.  They’ve been referred to several times on US shows and cartoons, it seems amazing.  In the past the word must have gone in one ear and out the other.

Similarly ‘corn dogs’.  I’ve never had one of these before but really enjoyed eating one in Kentucky.  A frankfurter sausage on a stick with generous, slightly sweet batter, something like yorkshire pudding mix but crispy on the outside.  So far two references to corn dogs noted since my return!

Well, grits I can leave, but I’d love to eat another corn dog!  Wonder if I can source one in London somewhere?

(The second picture is fried chicken with sweet waffles and syrup.)