Good Morning Dear Friends!
A quite exceptionally hearty sláinte mhaith to you all on this, St Patrick's Day and also the very first anniversary of my move into Myrtle House . . . and quite a tempestuous year it has been too as you, my dearest companions on this journey, are only too well aware! Yet, we are still here; the kettle is boiling, there are some celebratory and sinful dark chocolate hobnobs for breakfast and the study - albeit a little more crowded with volumes and possessing a genteel shabbiness that only comes about with a passage of time - awaits; the sun peeping in at the windows with a promise of a blue sky day on its lips and the whispered prospect of Spring being nearly upon us on its slightly damp and still chilly breath.
I think one of the most abiding memories I have of that day which, after all is only one short year ago, - besides stepping out of my front door for the first time and falling flat on my face - was the joy and excitement of the Old Duchess when I told her I was moving into Myrtle House; the house itself is no more than 50 yards from where her mother was brought up in stepped cottages in a courtyard behind the Old Pear Tree pub, and not much more to where she was born and brought up, surrounded by family as it always seemed to be in those days. Whilst researching the family tree, I followed their trek from the rural landscape of Parbold in the 1600s, along the Douglas Valley and into the bustling metropolis where, of course, the work was and, with it, a prospect of a better life. Family groups set off and in their wake came other brothers and sisters and their families, all making the journey into the urban industrial environment in search of a few pennies more a week to feed their burgeoning brood. The Old Duchess never forgot this area; it where she was born, grew up and went to school and a part of her always wanted to return so, when I took over Myrtle House it was, in a way, her chance to come home, at least for a little while. I think she thought that at last her wayward son had settled somewhere nice and she could, after fifty plus years, stop worrying about him. Sadly, she died three months later to the day, but in those few weeks managed quite a few visits and a couple of trips down her own particular memory lane. Ah me, time . . . I think it is so very true that it is a great storyteller and that, regardless of age, you have to do your own growing, no matter how tall your grandfather was!
And so what's on the books for today? How will I be toasting the memory of my loved ones present and past, here and departed? Well, there's a better than average chance that today will see me, at some juncture, seated in my favourite repository of cakiness, watching the retail antics of the crowd below and, one hopes, as far removed as possible from the beer-swilling crowds who, I imagine, will be much in evidence, clad every man jack of them in large green felt top hats and ginger wigs in an effort to be considered "Oirish" and generally being uproarious . . . I must admit to having guzzled a fair amount of Jamesons and quaffed innumerable pints of Ales and Scrumpies in my previous life but have never worn a top hat with the moniker Guinness scrawled upon it, or a curly orange wig in an effort to emphasise my Gaelic roots . . . that smacks rather of having fun, don't you think? And, after all, drinking is a rather serious business!
I'd like to also take this day and this blogging opportunity to thank all of my lovely and adorable friends, both seen and unseen, who read my scribbles on a regular basis and remark just how much they enjoy it; their kindness knows no bounds although their taste is to be considered somewhat questionable. I do derive a great deal of pleasure from having this chance to spew my wordage 'pon a waiting and innocent world and your comments, when they arrive, bring cheer and warmth to the cockles of my heart! It's interesting that both counselling and writing are essentially communicative professions yet intrinsically lonely ones; I recall reading a book many years ago about lighthouse keepers - I always imagined it would be an ideal way of life - and discovering that all of the ones in the book were considered loners and outcasts, difficult to communicate with and unhappy in the company of others . . . I hope that my willingness to communicate and urge to spread my thoughts before you like the hand at Belshazzar's Feast, goes someway to proving that I am not quite like that; although solitude, like honey, is a beautiful taste, too much of it leaves one feeling ill at ease and with nothing but memories of the summer on the tongue.
And so the morning wends on and I must be about my tasks; a small canine domestic quadruped is eyeing up the sunshine and imagining the number of unsuspecting squirrels she can - quite unsuccessfully - chase; a goodly amount of domesticity requires my attention and, unless I want to terrify the population of the Wigwam, I had better try and do something with my phisog before venturing forth into the world!
I hope you have a wonderful day and a fantastic weekend; thank you for popping by this morning and sharing my celebrations with me; May the hinges of our friendship never grow rusty!
'til next time
Be Seeing You !