Saturday, 30 January 2010

Odd rambling thoughts about an odd week

It’s been a funny old week. I don’t seem to have done much except look through old black and white photos and try to identify places that my Uncle Eric visited in the 1930s.

I find it sad that the only two folk who really knew Eric all their lives are GB and I though Jo and Richard got to know him in his eighties. At least when people have children there is a bit of them that continues on for years to come but when they die childless, as he did, it makes one wonder what life is really all about. All the experiences he had – only a fraction of which are hinted at by his photos – what do they all add up to?

The best that can be hoped for I suppose is that even if one’s memory doesn’t live on at least one has left a legacy of doing one’s bit to improve one’s own tiny portion of the world. And among Eric’s contributions was his role as a Sergeant in the RAF in North Africa and Italy during World War II. Each generation, the better it treats its fellow man and the more it fights for justice and the rights of man, the better legacy it leaves for the next generation. As someone who was both caring and cared about I guess Uncle Eric did his bit in that regard.

The main purpose of sorting through Uncle Eric’s things has been to provide background material for a possible article in the Meccano Magazine. (He worked for Meccano in the 1920s and 30s). But the exercise has resulted in me wanting to get Mum and Dad’s albums out of the loft and scan them in as well. since I haven’t even got a quarter of the way through scanning my own albums in yet I just seem to add one job to another and get nowhere fast...

Jo has been working all week so I haven’t had much chance for chats or crosswords and consequently my embroidery has suffered since it is while with Jo that I tend to do it. Nevertheless I finished one serviette and have started another. This time they are for us rather than gifts as it occurred to me that we don’t have a real set of them – just odd ones I have done over the years.

One of the odd facts I learned this week was that birds sing more loudly in the town than in the country.  Apparently it is because of the competition from background traffic noise.

My quote of the week is one I found on a blogger’s review of Susan Hill’s “Howard’s end is on the Landing”. I love this quote but have mixed views about the author who at times inspires me and at others infuriates me with her elitist view of what makes a writer..

"But if the books I have read have helped to form me, then probably nobody else who ever lived has read exactly the same books, all the same books and only the same books, as me. So just as my genes and the soul within me make me uniquely me, so I am the unique sum of the books I have read. I am my literary DNA."

Another quote that caused me to reflect on life came from Hill Billy Farm Girl in Sweden
Life around us changes every single day. So much is going on in this world and the shocking news about the people suffering at Haiti makes you pause and think for a while. It reminds you how fortunate you are that you have a nice, warm home, a car, a warm meal on the table every day. It reminds you of having the privilege of good health care and you just need to turn the knob and you have warm and clean water coming out of the faucet. It reminds you of how quick things can change, even in your own country, your own home...

So, I hope you are all warm an cosy and safe this weekend and that any changes for you are for the better.


  1. Very nice, CJ. I've been enjoying the photo montage of your uncle and your bits of prose. I have a little catching up to do...must go back through a couple of posts, but I will.

  2. I think you have taken on a major project going through your uncle's photos. I know it is enjoyable because the pictures are nostalgic and remarkable. It is great fun to see them as you post them on your blog.
    You said "So, I hope you are all warm an cosy and safe this weekend and that any changes for you are for the better." I think that is one of the best sign offs on a blog yet!

  3. Well with publishing these pictures you have made your uncle known to a few more people, haven't you.

    I collected a bunch of photographs after the death of my grandmother's brother-in-law who died back in the 1970s. His wife, my grandmother's sister, died earlier. They had no children. I just kept their photos in a box for many years. A few years ago I put them in an album and went through them with my dad, making notes, because I sensed that this was "the last chance" to note down who some of these people were.

    At the same time I wondered why I bothered, since I in turn will have no one to pass those memories on to.

    (I have to be honest: It cuts deep into my heart every time the suggestion pops up that having children of one's own is the only thing that gives life meaning.)

  4. What a beautiful and touching posting. I too have been going through old photos -- I am trying to put together a selection of family photos to copy and put into an album for a cousin and his wife whose house was partially destroyed by fire just before Christmas.

    The fire was an accident and started in the kitchen while they were out one evening. What wasn't actually destroyed in the fire was smoke and water damaged. Which included a lot of his family photos, hence my project.

    Fortunately they are both all right, though sadly their cat was lost in the blaze. Currently they are living in an apartment hotel which is being paid for by the insurance while their house is being rebuilt.

    I agree with you that one does sometimes wonder about the why of things and what sort of impact --if any -- one is making on the world at large. I think you are right and that doing one's best on one's own small patch is enough. Because while the famous are the ones written up in the history books, it's the ordinary people who truly make our lives worth living. And that includes family and friends like you.

    Perhaps all the current economic woes (see Cheshire Wife's blog for a poignant example) and all the troubles in Haiti contribute to our somber mood. I know those things have made me increasingly grateful for the small things in life. The other day while I was changing our bed linen and wrestling with the mattress, I thoght how lucky I was to even have a bed and a bedroom to put it in while so many people in Haiti have nothing.

    I know that the weather in England is still cold, and I hope that you and Jo will stay cosy and warm this weekend.

    Take care and God bless, dear friend,
    Canadian Chickadee & English Robin

  5. I didn’t mean to suggest that having children was the be all and end all of everything, only that it prolonged one’s memory by a generation or two. I really apologise if that caused anyone any hurt.

  6. John, I understood your meaning. It is just "one of those things"...

  7. Having three children, I have a hard time imagining what a life without them would be.
    There's something very touching about your post today.
    I hope you have a cozy weekend as well.

  8. Oh Scriptor, how could anyone be offended by your beautiful post? I never for a moment thought or even noticed that one interpretation of your message might have been that having children is the be all and end all. I do have a daughter and I love her with all my heart, but I have friends who are childless and I don't feel that my contribution to the planet is any greater than theirs! Perhaps even less so, because I seem to dither around and not get as much done as they do!
    Take care and have a great weekend. More anon,
    Love, Carol


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