Ruth in Harrogate

Postcard from Harrogate

It’s beautiful here ! The gardens and parks and tearooms and old buildings are a joy. I will stay for a few nights as I want to walk and walk and I feel Harrogate will keep me company.

My boys phone regularly and I miss them, but for now I shall keep going. So much to see in our beautiful green and pleasant land!

Regards, Ruth.

She  has 2 sons. Tom almost 30, married and living in London with his wife Leah. Ben 27 and living with his fiancée Jo, just a short drive from the family home in Berwick.

 She adores them and knew how worried they had been for her over the months. But she had to be their Mum still. They  too needed to grieve for their father rather than worry about how she was coping with it all. So she kept her tears these days for when she was alone. She spoke to them and answered their questions with upbeat words which she tried oh so hard to feel.

She desperately wanted to feel happier and be able to pick herself up and push herself forward but it felt almost a betrayal. William wasn’t there so could she really be the Ruth she had once been?

So she booked the first hotel in Alnwick and made a list of what she would need and found the beautiful purple pen he had given her their last Christmas together and bought a new journal and began to plan her journey. Somewhere out there was Ruth. Ruth, who loved modern art and old buildings. Ruth ,who walked with her eyes on the roof lines, admiring the angles, and as a result tripped on edges of pavements. Ruth, who stood listening to street music and tried the local food and ale.  Ruth, who she realised she desperately  missed. If she wasn’t to be allowed William back she could try to find Ruth. After all William had loved Ruth. She needed to find her again.


Harrogate burst into her head with a dazzle of green. Such a fine bus ride into the town, past the open spaces, surrounded by majestic houses, which steadily became exclusive shops, intriguing food emporiums and grand hotels.

She felt fresher and somehow brighter in her gently coloured shirt, which she discovered didn’t really go with her old shapeless jeans, so she had matched it with a knee length skirt she had forgotten she packed.

She put her journal into the old, deep, brown leather bag her sister Ella had bought her many years ago. Knowing that having her journal to write made eating and drinking alone much less lonely. She felt the warm day smile on her as she followed the route others were taking and wandered the pavements winding their way around this grand town.
After her fill of building admiring and park enjoying and windows shopped, she headed for the wide spaces of The Stray. The grass looked so green and soft she did something she hadn’t done since her last visit to the beach with William and that was to take her shoes off. She had always loved to feel the ground beneath her feet. She remembered the amused comments he made every time she did it. Sand, grass, carpet, water, anywhere she could she took her shoes off. She remembered the time they had holidayed in Sicily and the waiters had expressed their concern as she wandered around the hotel barefoot, while William laughed quietly to himself knowing that their worries were wasted. She smiled to herself at the memories.
Later on, after an early dinner, she took a glass of wine to the lounge and looked out over The Stray feeling glad she had visited this old town.
The woman sitting across the room from her smiled as she noticed Ruth was barefoot.


In the best possible taste

graysonI am a Grayson Perry fan. Grayson the transvestite Turner prize winner. A very intelligent interesting man who has created 6 huge tapestries depicting working, middle and upper class taste in today’s England. Fascinating and oh so true!

I read about them, watched the documentaries about their creation and have been waiting patiently for my time to go to see them. and this week it happened! They are huge, imposing, detailed beyond belief and quite magnificent. The way he picks up on the importance of choice and taste within the class system is accurate and thoughtful. I could explain more but the link below does just that for those interested.
It was a special day in the life of this modern art fan and I thank Mr Perry for these works of art.

Life through a lense

Recently, I saw a news item on TV which was about Prince Charles visiting somewhere, and as usual the crowds were gathered near to where his car pulled up. Now back in the day, he would be greeted by claps, cheers and smiles. the odd camera may flash but on the whole it would be real faces he would see, witnessing him with their own eyes.

But oh no! Not any more!

On the news item the crowds were still there, but instead of claps, cheers and smiles, he was greeted by a bank of mobile phones, held at eye level taking snap after snap after snap. No claps or smiles…just photos taken.

All of those who had stood, for no doubt quite a while, to get a prime view of him, saw it all through their view finder.

When and why did we become a people who no longer value what we see unless we can show it to others? Seeing something and enjoying the sight isn’t good enough anymore, and to miss out on the reality of something altogether because we were too busy clicking it, seems such a pity.

I was guilty of this last year, when the Olympic torch came through our town. I took a photo on my phone rather than watch it myself, and afterwards I realise what I had done and what I had missed. I wanted the visual proof rather than the face to face experience. No more however!

We need to put our phones in our pockets and enjoy the view! It could be fleeting and never to be repeated, or maybe something we can see over and over again, but whatever it is experience it, rather than missing it by capturing it.

Time to tell a story

The world is full to bursting with stories.

So many books full of stories, stories told from one generation to another, stories of far off lands and stories about the here and now.

But will we ever run out of stories? Will there come a point where every story has been told or written? Where there are no more new ideas so therefore no new tales to tell?

One school of thought holds that there are just 10 archetypal tales around which novelists spin more or less elegant variations. How many times have you predicted the ending of a story really closely? It must be because there are only a number of varieties of tale to tell. The ones that surprise us are the ones which move away from what we expect (from our existing knowledge of story patterns) onto an unpredictable path. But maybe that path was paved by a different story but still a considered tale. How long before new books no longer surprise us with twists or plots we were expecting, but become just another version of the same old same old?

But…the book I have just completed made me cry…

I sat in my back garden with tears running down my cheeks because the words painted a heart breaking picture. and I saw it coming! I saw the ending, I saw how the child would leave them and the woman would turn in on herself, but it still moved me. Even though this story wasn’t a brand new plot, the words the author used were so right that even though I predicted the journey, it didn’t really matter. It was the travelling there which brought the joy.

So , if there are really only ten basic storylines, hey ho! Find the twists and turns and parallels and contrasts and enjoy the journey.