Time passes


In the late 1940s her parents moved. She was 16 and she was the middle child of 3.

Her father had sold his stone quarry further south and decided after many years of hard graft and his time fighting in the war (which left him with a permanent injury) he needed a change. So quarry sold they moved further north and to the coast. Her father bought a plot of land with a spectacular view over the rugged coastline and a short walk from a beautiful holiday town. He built them a house with stone from the old quarry and opened a caravan site.

In time she left to go to study in London and then to teach in a city 60 miles away, but would return home every chance she had. The caravan park was doing well , it now had a shop and a good reputation.

But tragedy struck. Her beloved father died before he even met his 50s, just days before her 21st birthday. She returned home for his funeral but once she returned to work a parcel was there. The last thing her father had done was send a birthday cake for her. His writing on the box and her sadness revisited.

But her Mother continued running the caravan park and she went home as often as possible to help.

Easter in the mid 50s and she was, as usual, helping out in the shop. The camp site was busy as the holiday season had begun. Among the guests were a large group of young men in their tents. They were full of laughter and smiles and she enjoyed seeing them come and go around the site and in and out of the shop. But one of them seemed to come back more than  the others. He didn’t buy he just stayed and talked. And stayed, and talked, and laughed and joked and found his way into her affections.

He came to stay when she was home. He helped her Mother with the heavy work. He enjoyed being there and she enjoyed him being there and they fell in love. She lived too far away from him. But she found a job near him, they married and bought a beautiful house 40 miles from the caravan site. They had 3 children and were happy.

Her Mother sold the site and even today it is still there, perched on the edge of the cliff watching the tide come in and out and the boats sail by. Much smarter and 2014 friendly but the quarry stone house is still there and the views which feature on so many old family photographs. The day the beach covered with snow, the picnics before her Father died, the black and white sunsets and daybreaks.

Those people are no longer alive but despite never visiting it when it was owned by the family, whenever I drive up and wander around, see the familiar views and quarry stone house, imagine my parents falling in love in the shop,  I  touch a part of me that will live on forever.



Portrait snapshot

Coffee was required. I had been on the go since 4.45am and it was now almost 11am. I had driven 4 1/2 hours to London and despite a couple of on-the-move coffees I needed sustenance. The carrot cake was waving at me too.
I found one of the few remaining tables and sat down.
I love this place. I was deep in the foundations of the National Portrait Gallery on Trafalgar Sq. and a few steps away were an exciting gathering of photos by David Bailey. The grand building felt tasteful, popular and welcoming.
I glanced around the room at the selection of people there. Couples, small groups and two or three tables with 2 women sitting chatting. The ladies opposite me were maybe 60 ish, smartly dressed and obviously good friends who had met for a day together.
I began my cake and enjoyed the deep, rich coffee.
“Is that carrot cake?” she gently asked. One of the women opposite had left for a while and it was her friend who was asking me.
“Yes, it is, and it’s delicious! I make carrot cake myself so I like to try others to see how I can improve.”
“Oh, I can tell you are a cook from your hands! I can always see creativity in people’s hands.”
And so we continued. She found out where I lived, why I was here, when I was returning and how exciting being a new grandma was.
Her friend returned.
The original lady started to tell her all about me and what I had done that day and where I was heading and with great excitement they wished me a fabulous time. Then they left.
I sat back and finished my coffee, smiling to myself and knowing that my tale will be related to whoever they ate dinner with that night. And who said London was an unfriendly place! Friends are there, you just have to be friendly.