31 May 2011

Moy Castle, Isle of Mull

My mother always chose her annual holiday, and for many years we stayed on the Isle of Mull in a charming cottage within walking distance of the Iona Ferry. It just so happens that one of my mother's favourite films  was "I Know Where I'm Going" starring Wendy Hiller and Roger Livesey, and Moy Castle on Mull featured in the film. Therefore, each year we ventured out to gaze at the castle, and on the last occasion I bought this oil painting from a local tea shop. Unfortunately, it isn't signed, and I have no idea who the artist is.

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18 May 2011

A Cup of Coffee and a Good Book

I noticed that the description for this blog is 'musings and memories' and that although I have been sharing quite a few memories, I haven't been doing very much musing. So here goes.

This picture, taken in August 2008, sums up my idea of relaxation because it contains all of the essential elements that allow me to switch off from work and unwind. They are independent of time and place, too. These elements are plants and flowers, comfortable outside seating, clement weather, a nice view or outlook, a cup of coffee and a good book. Although I greatly enjoy being with friends and family, people are not one of the essential elements for relaxation, which is why this picture could be recreated in many places around the world. I love a busy house full of delightful people, but this should be interleaved with as much relaxation time as posisble.

A nice view or outlook could be across open countryside, the sea, an historic cityscape, or as in this case a view of water and boats in the docks. The plants and flowers could be anything from the summer tubs and pots as shown here, to mature trees, to tropical shade or desert cacti. The comfortable seating has to be upright as I'm not going to sleep, which would entirely miss the point of having everything else, so it just needs to be soft enough for a prolongued sedentary position. A cup of decent freshly ground coffee is essential, but only at those times early in the day before it metamorphoses into a glass of chilled white wine, preferably a Sauvignon Blanc, but these days I'm not really that picky. Then we have the weather. The only requirement is that I can sit outside without being chilled to the bone or wrapped up in winter clothing. This makes it extremely frustrating to be currently based in England, where the weather is at best unreliable, and at worst unbearable.

Finally, the good book. For non-fiction, a substantial glossy high quality illustrated book for browsing, and for fiction nowadays, a well stocked Kindle which makes reading outside so much more enjoyable with its anti-glare screen performing so well in bright sunlight.

All these elements I have described are simple ones and relatively low cost once located somewhere suitable. There are no yearnings for excitement and adventure, no quest for sporting prowess, and no extravagant social settings. Boring many would say. I take a different view. It is the equilibrium between mind and nature that soothes and satisfies, and leaves no regrets and sets no challenges. Contentment.

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14 May 2011

Rocket Life Saving Apparatus

This picture is of a long service medal awarded to  my Grandfather, William Lucock, who served as a volunteer for the Rocket Life Saving Apparatus. The reverse of the medal is the Head of George VI.

My Grandfather lived at Veronica Cottage, Shingle Street, on the Suffolk coast. I remember my Mother taking me to stay with him when I was very young, and he was very old, and not so tolerant of little children! There is a painting in oils of William Lucock by Emily Green, FRSA.

The link in the title takes you to a useful explanation of how the Rocket Life Saving Apparatus worked.

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08 May 2011

Wartime Diaries from 1942 and 1943

My mother and father both kept diaries during the war, while my father was stationed around the country with Air Sea Rescue. They were tiny books, and it was clearly a struggle to fit into the space a chronicle of life spent apart for so much of the time. The entries are very descriptive, even mundane, but at the same time a wonderful commentary on daily life in wartime.

In these little books, there are matching entries for every day during 1942 and 1943. On 1st January 2012, exactly 70 years since they were written, I will be publishing the diaries, one day at a time for two years, during which their lives will unfold during those difficult times. A time of sadness, of parting and of great hope for a better and peaceful future still so far off. As my mother wrote at the end of her entry on 1st January, "First day of another year of war. I wonder what I shall write in this book for the last day. Please God that Bill, Lyn and me may be together in peace and the war ended, no more partings."