Hatches, Matches, and Dispatches

Just a post about a random thought that seemingly came out of nowhere this morning… 🙂

When I was growing up, we had two newspapers delivered to our house – one regional paper that was printed daily, and one local paper that only came out twice a week. I remember my mum and dad regularly checking the Hatches, Matches, and Dispatches page (otherwise known as Birth, Marriage, and Death announcements) in both newspapers to see who had arrived, got hitched or shuffled off their mortal coil since the last deadline for a print run.

Personally I’m not a great newspaper fan these days; what with internet and 24 hour news channels for ‘big’ news items being reported live I find there’s really no need for me to read it all again in print the following day. And when it comes to replacing the old ‘personal’ columns, I simply check FaceBook to see who’s been up to what – status updates tend to be far more immediate, far more informal, and often include photographs too. We can let the world of our aquaintance know about all our special occasions, anniversaries, and memorials off the cuff  and on the hoof, thanks to our smartphones.

Hmmm… I don’t even know if people even make such announcements in newspapers any more – I suppose I’ll have to wait until I next visit my parents so I can read their local paper to find out… 🙂


Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Book Title

Yeah I know I’m a day late with this post, but I was just too tired last night to make any real sense – me rambling on while firing on all four cylinders is bad enough, but when I’m suffering from brain-drain even I don’t understand myself what I’m trying to say!

Anyway, Linda’s prompt for this week is to use the title of whatever book we’re reading and write a post linked to the title. I’m currently reading ‘Pretending to Dance’ by Diane Chamberlain, and the title most definitely reminds me (with a wry smile and a chuckling laugh) of the latest ‘dancing’ I’ve done, with my young grandchildren, in front of their TV.

My youngest daughter lives in a house right in front of a bus stop, which is really handy when catching a bus but must cause a bit of amusement to any passengers who happen to glance out of the bus window in passing. Because although from the outside no-one can see my grandchildren dancing about below the level  of the window, they can certainly see me, fully-framed by the lovely picture window dancing like a maniac, apparently all alone.

The thing with my grandchildren is that in spite of their fierce concentration on their own moves, they also expect full particiption from everyone involved and so check frequently that I am indeed joining in properly. No pretending is tolerated – it’s real dancing or nothing! And you know what – it’s such fun! I don’t care how silly I look, playing with my grandchildren in whatever way they choose is one of the best feelings in the world… ❤

PS My three-year-old grandson’s current favourite dance tune is Gangnam Style, and yes he knows all the moves, and yes, he expects me to know them too… sigh! So whatever crazy visions of the scene you may have conjured up in your head, however over-the-top and ungainly they may be, double it and you’re almost there 🙂

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Book Title


Daily Prompt: Tailor

Beatrix Potter features heavily in my memories of childhood – I loved not only her stories but also the delicate watercolour illustrations sitting alongside the words on each page. The little hardback books I remember so fondly still sit in the bookcase of children’s books at my parents house, grubby and worn but oh-so-well-loved through the generations in our family. The Tailor of Gloucester, Peter Rabbit, Benjamin Bunny and the Flopsy Bunnies were always my favourites – for  some reason Mrs Tiggywinkle and Squirrel Nutkin just didn’t resonate with me in the same way… 🙂

Daily Prompt: Tailor

Daily Prompt: Dash

Being a Scottish lass living and working in London, the thought of a traditional wedding for me still conjures up fond memories of proud men in kilts, thistles and heather as buttonholes, a slap-up sit-down meal followed by speeches, and inevitably a good old fashioned ceilidh afterwards, with a proper band of specially selected musicians always up for the challenge.

To me there’s nothing more delightfully exhausting – and exhilarating – after the solemnity and formality of the marriage ceremony than an evening spent dancing together in enthusiastic (and occasionally chaotic) formation, a whole energetic dancefloor of friends and family letting their hair down en masse in the throes of a Dashing White Sergeant, a Strip the Willow, an Eightsome reel, a Gay Gordons.

They’re all very much social dances made up of repetitive sets, where those with more experience collectively guide those with none. Veterans and visitors and young and old alike join in with abandon, the main purpose to be having fun as you progress around the room, keeping time with the music, keeping up with the steps, and making sure you’re positioned correctly as you move on to the next set, sometimes with with a different partner, sometimes not.

I feel it’s such a great way to facilitate an intimate interaction between the two newly-joined families. It seems to me to symbolise a ritualistic bonding; arm in arm and hand in hand, the constant weaving in and out over and under across the dance floor acting like a human warp and weft, as if each dancer trails in their wake an invisible thread, all together subtly supporting and strengthening the underlying fabric of family fusion  created by the newly-blessed union of bride and groom… ❤

Daily Prompt: Dash

Pencil Sketch – My Baby Boy


While searching for something else this afternoon I found this tattered old pencil sketch of my beautiful baby boy in his Christening gown – he’s now 34, so it’s definitely been kicking around for a while!

I’ve never been great at portraits, neither in drawing nor photography, but this was drawn with love and I’ve kept it all these years for sentimental reasons as much as anything, so I just thought I’d share it here ❤

Thirty-Five Years Ago…

Thirty-five years ago today I first got married, aged 18, a scarily young bride who was in retrospect far more in love with the idea of being in love than with her 21-year-old groom. We were totally unsuited to each other, and should never in a million years have got hitched, but at that time in the world we lived in getting married was just what people did. Sadly, one way or another the reality of that unfortunate legal liaison was for me a thoroughly rude awakening to the best and worst of adult life to the point that five years, three children and one near-fatal overdose later I left him, never to return.

It may seem odd still to mark the anniversary of such an unhappy marriage after all this time, especially as I’m now very happily married to someone else – to my best friend, in fact – but how can I not remember such an important anniversary when the most tumultuous experiences I’ve ever had in my life were condensed into the relatively short space of time when my first husband and I were legally joined together. Giving birth to my three beautiful babies, being zonked out on valium for nigh on two years and then the devastating nuclear fallout of trying to kill myself has inevitably left its mark – how could I ever forget?

Confusingly I can’t find it in my heart to regret a toxic relationship that ultimately created life – well, three lives – during that same period of time it almost destroyed my own. Each year that passes takes me further away from those darker memories, and although the old hurts may be long healed the scars still remain. And divorce may have given me my legal freedom, but genetically the ghost of him lives on in my much-loved children and grandchildren, and like it or not in them we stay in part forever shackled together.

So I always consider the anniversary of that first wedding each year in my own way, depending on how I’m feeling on the day. This year I’m feeling quiet and thoughtful, eternally glad still to be here on this earth and still to have a good relationship with my children in spite of all our ups and downs and familial difficulties over their formative years. I love them all as fiercely and passionately as ever, and find I cannot simply erase the memory of their father from my new-and-improved life narrative just because it may suit me to do so, and as a result I still regard the continuing recognition of my first marriage as a relevant part of their birthright…



Songs from the Past: Taylor Swift – Shake it Off

A bit of a fun track for this week’s Songs from the Past – Taylor Swift from 2014 with ‘Shake it Off’ – my 5 year old granddaughter absolutely adores this song, so having spent some quality time with my family recently I’ve inevitably heard it a lot and I’ve found it’s been firmly stuck in my head since I got back on Monday.

Hugh has a theme of cover versions for this week, but as I’ve posted a few cover versions already in past posts I thought I’d share my favourite non-standard video instead. OK, so technically it’s not actually a cover version, but OMG it’s such fun!  🙂


Daily Prompt: Apprentice

The art of housewifery was learned, for me, from childhood onwards through an old-fashioned apprenticeship served at the knees of the closest adult women in my life; in particular my mother, my aunts, and my two beloved grandmothers.

I listened, I watched, I helped, I copied, and finally over the years I developed my own style of cooking, baking, cleaning, and home-making in general; a personal blend of the best of all, adapted and updated as necessary to suit my own familial needs and circumstances. It may have been a time when societal expectation meant that men went out to work and women kept the home-fires burning, but those traditional skills have proved invaluable nonetheless.

It is an inheritance I am forever grateful for, an oh-so-familiar ritual of home-making I have hopefully passed on in a similar simple fashion to my own children, both son and daughters. And in time, with luck my beautiful grandchildren too will find the same solace in absorbing those same familiar tasks by a kind of cultural osmosis, as already they watch and learn in their turn, the next generation of apprentices in the making…

Daily Prompt: Apprentice