Ring out the wild bells by Lord Alfred Tennyson

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
   The flying cloud, the frosty light:
   The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
   Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
   The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind
   For those that here we see no more;
   Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
   And ancient forms of party strife;
   Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
   The faithless coldness of the times;
   Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
   The civic slander and the spite;
   Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
   Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
   Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
   The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
   Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.


Private: Tennyson, Alfred Lord

An excerpt taken from In Memorium.

Happy New Year 🥳

It’s been a while since I have posted. It seemed over Christmas that I might contribute a post about the kind of traditions that we uphold here in our home. The winky snowman that we have as a table centre piece, annoying Santa, who hangs on the living room door, rattling every time the door gets knocked. He has lost limbs and his beard in his 10th year but has managed to retain his ability to irritate . The robins which we place on the tree, one for us all and my sister. Some may recall my sister has passed, so her robin, now 39 years old, has travelled from our childhood and keeps her as part of our celebrations. He has lost his beak. Then there’s Christmas Eve PJs. Cheese and crackers on Christmas Eve. Reading Christmas stories on Christmas Eve. And so many more little things we do as a family.

Last night we sat and we made our resolutions and we looked back at our best bits and my daughter offered me a reminder of how our minds are so different. Very often it seems that we are thinking along similar veins but it struck me throughout the evening how little the pandemic and the lockdown has followed her through to the present. I wondered if perhaps, it’s impact upon others is not quite held in young people’s minds. Perhaps it’s not only the lockdown but people’s inner lives which escape us when we are young. The egocentricity of youth though keeps the young buoyant across rough seas and for this year it has been with good reason.

So I held back in reminding her the full impact upon others and prompt myself, it’s unnecessary to burden the young with too much. Highlighting all the differences in between us does nothing for the present. Or our future. Ignorance is bliss. Just as Santa and Snowman and the Robins are enjoyed without seeing their differences; being in the present without too much analysis is the lesson which I have taken from 2020 , to accompany me throughout 2021 and beyond.


Here we go again

Looking back many of my posts have focused on Lockdown. I wondered if going into the New Year things might change enough for me to take my eye away from all things Covid related. Not to be folks. We remain in Tier 2- one of only three towns in Essex who are not in Tier 4 and with my Dad in the latter, we are back to dropping food at his door and retreating. It’s a bit worrying now. So we went to Walton and were greeted by this.

Walton on the Naze

Life became lighter for a couple of hours and then we returned home for Shepherds Pie. Not forgetting the sublime truffles created by middlest. Praying for a turning point.

The beautiful North Sea

The last blog – and twinkle ⭐️

The best known nursery rhyme in the world, ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star’, was written by Jane Taylor, aged 23, in 1806 in her attic, which still exists in Stockwell Street, Colchester.

It’s a sad day. Not just because this is the last day of the NaNoPoBlano challenge but because tonight…..I sang my last twinkle twinkle little star to my son. It’s a funny thing but after 20 odd years of parenting I didn’t think of this as being a milestone. Quite often though, these milestones are slotted in between minutes that are hurried and unexpected. And this was definitely the latter. Why the significance? Maybe it’s because he is my last, maybe it’s because he is my loudest or maybe because he chose this milestone himself. He lay in his racing car bed, looked at me and said, “I’m getting big now Mummy. No more songs – I can go to sleep all by myself”. While my throat tightened and I swallowed hard, i also felt the joy that you feel when your child makes a decision for themselves; based upon them realising something about themselves. This is definitely something I have been so much more aware of with smallest. It doesn’t matter how long they have a bottle or stay in nappies or in this case how long they like to be sung to sleep for, what matters is that they feel in themselves when the time is right for them to grow. Allowing them the space to feel for themselves when things are right, helps them to transfer this knowledge to all situations in life. Making sure they aren’t imposed upon helps them learn to feel based upon what they experience within, rather than due to someone else’s expectation.

So it’s a bittersweet moment. I am just blessed to have the opportunity to have sung this nursery rhyme in the town where its lyrics were composed, to three beautiful children who maybe one day will do the same.

And that’s it from me for this challenge. It’s been a blast and I have really enjoyed reading some amazing and inspiring posts. From the inspirational work of Anyes to the information loaded posts by Steven, the beautiful words of Ra and all in between, I have enjoyed it all. Much love and goodnight 👍

When the past is present, the present passes is by.

This was a header for a previous post though looking back I don’t feel it was necessarily entirely well placed.

Today though i feel I have found a better space to use it, here in my penultimate post for the month. A month when I picked up the challenge to write 10 posts, (I opted for 10/10/10) and when I found myself indoors mostly- again. I have only been blogging for a short while; it has given me immense pleasure and has allowed me to use some of that brain power which has been redundant since I stripped my life down a few months back. Most of my posts , if not all have featured one of my three children but I felt this time round I wanted to think without them.

So anyway I thought I would write something about what I have learned of life recently. Something that has been useful to me and which I might share, on the off chance it might offer something to others.

Life has offered me plenty of possibilities and chucked some difficulties along for good measure. Some I have walked into and at other times I have turned away. The choice I have made recently though has shown me that life is not as hard if you can let yourself be present. Don’t let past moments intrude on who you are or cast your mind too deeply into the future to check out the impact of the present. In the words of the Chemical Brothers just “let forever be”.

Rules

This morning i awoke thinking about this poem it, I wrote it down and then looked back at the original. I realised that my memory of it is skewed and what I thought I had written originally is actually what I think now. So I wrote them both to marvel at the fallibility of memory but also how this can occur in the service of who we have become.

Rules are there to be broken mistakes are there to be made;rules they all make and mistakes we all make and our memories of this they won’t fade. Ez June 1995

Rules are there to be broken,

mistakes, there to be made.

Rules we all break,

Mistakes we all make,

Memories with time will fade.

Esther December 2020

Boat Snack

We love Moana here in Alexandra Road. My daughter and my youngest can recite large chunks of Disney’s 56th film and where there is a thank-you , you can guarantee a chorus of “your welcome” will reverberate from one room or another. By far their favourite line from the film is “Boat snack” , which is delivered with impeccable timing when food is presented or just on cue when they sit down to watch it – again.

We were chatting about our different reasons for our obsession the other day. “Middles” was crouched on the floor perusing the snack cupboard (no twinkies here folks) and debating the merits of a Mr. Kipling cake vs several Rich Tea biscuits. I was busy sorting the recycling. Placing the batteries in a old cereal box ready for the battery bank, I contemplated how diverse we were. We all focus upon completely different aspects of the film yet still came together to enjoy it together. My daughter carries on staring at the snacks. I continue my consideration stating how, Middles loves musicals and has encyclopaedic knowledge of all things Disney. Smallest loves Maui and volcanoes and I just love the sea. “So you see love we are nearly all catered for”. “Mmm” she responds.

Oldest though is not quite feeling Moana on the same level. For him , he has learned to love it not because he has seen it but because while we are watching it , we are mostly quiet which, he says, is quite frankly a ‘bloody miracle’.

My daughter chuckled at this and opted for the Mr. Kipling Cherry Bakewell. Good choice.

Forward wind to the next morning, I listen to each set of footsteps emerge from their rooms. There is the unmistakeable clicking of my daughters toes as she comes downstairs and the racing car like pounding of smallest as he descends after her. I hear them settle in the front room shortly before eldest comes down and avoiding the hive of play which buzzes in the living room , I hear his steady passage into the kitchen.

I feel it’s time to join them and so head upstairs leaning towards the day and into the kitchen.I say morning through the hatch to the youngest before greeting my son.

I stop. Standing there , with his bowl and his spoon is eldest. He looks down at his bowl with a puzzled look on his face and I give a stifled laugh.

“Why”, he pauses and frowns, “are there batteries in my cereal?” he looks at me and then down again.

“Er well…..” I begin, “I….” .Before I can finish though , from the living room I hear in stereo a cry,

“Boat snack!”

Tell me

Last night sitting in the living Room my daughter was reading through some film studies notes with me. We had a thoughtful discussion about John Trubys’ framework for character which was discussed in relation to the brilliant Shaun of the Dead. Anyway my daughter explained how Truby outlines the 3 basic elements of character as weakness, need and desire. I really love it when she’s shares her learning and this in particular was interesting stuff. It did , of course, prompt me to consider this in relation to myself – what is my weakness, my need and my desire? And in turn what would you guys consider your own to be? I wonder if perhaps others that knew us would concur or perhaps they would perceive differently?

Weakness- this is tricky not because I can’t think of it but because of connotations linked to what I will say. I am addict. I have been clean for 18 years but I started to use drugs when I was 13 and so by my mid twenties the addiction was well established. I tend to do things to excess so I have to be careful about having a drink or smoking cigarettes.

Need – to be here with and for the kids. It has proved to be so beneficial taking this year out so far.

Desire – to fulfil my writing ambitions and finish the book I recently started writing. To perhaps be in another relationship one day.

Approaching the enemy line

Last night I thought about the last time I went to a gig. It was with my daughter for her 15th birthday last year. We both enjoyed it however for her it was particularly special as it was the first time she saw Dodie live. Dodie is her first music love. Memories of the night have not faded, unfortunately not just because of Dodies’ performance. On the way home someone took their life, by jumping onto the track that our train was travelling along at a high speed.

We were in the train all night talking to passengers and the driver of the train. The driver , it turned out was an ex-serviceman and this was not his first suicide experience. He explained the process that would hold us here for a few hours and him for a month at home. His tone was somber but it cracked when someone asked him how he coped. “Music”, he said “I am a musician”.

I sat holding my daughters hand and watching the other passengers, occasionally chipping at their conversation which was slow and stunted. Everyone revealed something of their nature that night, myself included, some of it good , some of it sad.

When we got home we lit a candle for the person who died. We didn’t know anything about them but we both felt the despair of someone so unhappy and scared that their actions that night were the only option for them.

This is the poem I wrote shortly afterwards.

Back Track

This was the day that run on time.

On this present tour you are in between five enemies,

acting now in the service of the train operator,

Here you can only muster the occasional control,

As when push comes to shove,

and in the absence of either,

you are ordered to stare into the face of death,

and wait for its hold to slow us down.

How many times have people sought the tranquility of the track gauge?

Like a stinger thrown down,

a persistent thought, a heavy sadness straddles the track.

In tonight’s delay, our shared experience,

Cast us into a cell, where we share our crimes

Him for his infidelity,

Her for getting drunk with her teenage daughter

Him for being so drunk he cannot remember

And her , for her lack of support,

myself, standing on the outside of who i am.

It is hard to imagine why you, so delicate and wise are here,

Your presence is an anchor,

You allow a vestige of times normal velocity

running life towards a station on the main line

in waves of emotion heralded as the Driver and

His guitar walk off the platform to only he knows where,

After the train took life from the track.