And of the 13 Angus children, the eight surviving sisters with our mother Louie next to the front ~ this photo was on the back of her funeral sheet

The photo in question

Just 400 words !

I finished this piece about Mother and got it off to Guardian FAMILY Supplement before lunch ~ hope it is what they were expecting !   To squeeze anyone into so few words is not easy.

Mother’s Photo

This was the perfect picture  for the cover of our Mother’s funeral  service sheet.   Already well into her eighties, we can see that she was still bursting with life.   She is wearing her favourite pinafore dress and the spotty blouse with a colourful bow at the neck, which (like nearly all her clothes) she had made herself, and worn for years.   

Any excuse to put the kettle on,  and here she is with her favourite blue and white china and her best teapot.

She sits alongside the book case with all her poetry books to hand ~ her head was stuffed with poetry ~ she had a quotation for every occasion (which could be infuriating !).

There were 7 of us : David, Joy, Stephen, Nancy, Mary, William and Helen.   Apart from Stephen, all of us had family names.  When I asked her about this once, she told me that in 1938  when they moved to Bristol, David would have been six and I was 18 months younger, and  she was longing for another baby.   One day she found herself outside Old St Stephen’s Church in the centre of town and went in and prayed to the Saint.   Her prayer was answered, though it was FIVE babies he sent her, four more besides Stephen !   Which just goes to show you should be jolly careful what you ask for ~ you may get more than you bargained for  !   

In the days when 2 or 3 of us were at the local primary school,  with a baby in the pram, a toddler perched on each mudguard,  and the others skipping alongside, Mother would lead us in a rousing chorus of  “Forth in thy name, oh lord, I go, my daily labour to pursue … “     So this was a good hymn to send her on her way .

 The last time I saw Mother was at her 100th birthday party ~ by then she was  seriously bewildered and in a wonderfully caring Care Home which Nancy had found near her, down in Somerset.   There were about fifty of us,, immediate family including the latest great grand child.     “I don’t believe you know who I am, Mother,”  I remember saying, to which she replied with a chuckle, “I don’t know who I am myself, dear.”     She died a month before her 102nd  birthday, bless her, our dear old Mum.    [398 words]

Whoops !   I've got the photos wrong way round but will leave them like that for now !

Tuesday 5pm ~ pitch dark and raining but the Christmas lights swirling round Keynsham House again ~ so cheering these winter nights.   As usual, no TV worth watching tonight so after Jon Snow's News I will come up and find something useful to do up here until NewsNight .   For now, time for a bath.    Knowing that my days are probably numbered, sometimes lying in the bath, I think this would be a comfortable way to die ~ submerged in the lovely warm bubbles ~ but I quickly pull myself together and scramble out !   I've excellent risotto for supper and I really do want to know how this novel ends and I promised I'd phone Georgie later ~ no, not yet, too much to live for !

Wednesday evening ~ oh Lord ~ have just discovered that the piece I sent to the Guardian yesterday has bounced back ~ in my relief at having finished it, I'd mis-typed the Guardian's email address !   Let's hope it will reach them now ~ i'd put guarhian by mistake ~ dear Gawd !

There is a petition on line to have DONALD TRUMP banned from the UK after the outrageous things he's been coming out with in his presidential campaign ~ surely even the Americans wouldn't elect him !!

The glorious poinsettia Ellen brought me on Sunday ~ she must have chosen the biggest, brightest and best !!!