Well, here we are again, as the summer holidays end and the school term starts; it’s time for innovative expectations, unique experiences and new beginnings.
For five years now, I’ve been involved with cuddling, feeding, caring for, and sharing precious moments with my two grandchildren – how time flies. It seems like only a hairs breadth away since, I remember, starting St Patrick’s School in Consett myself, at the age of four; and being overawed by the size of the teachers – all my family were little – the stark high ceilinged classrooms, prefabricated dining hall and P.E buildings.
Having no knowledge of nursery, I came straight from the cosiness of my home environment to a whole daunting new world. How different it is now, as my 3 year granddaughter is more than equipped for a new start in Nursery school. She has already tried on her school uniform and shoes, is familiar with her book bag, has an exciting new lunch box, and with a couple of visits under her belt, she knows exactly what to expect. As does her elder sister as she moves into Year 1, already able to read and write.
As I reflect on this, I’m acutely aware of how short life is, and because it’s September there’s always more than a tinge of sadness in my family, as we remember my husband and their Dad on his anniversary. For many years, along with Round Table and Consett Rotary we celebrated his life by holding a cricket day at Shotley Bridge to raise money for WillowBurn; now, I think about all the lovely times he has missed. Yet, I’m positive he would be enamoured to read the stories about his family and rejoice in his children’s and grandchildren’s achievements.
For my part, I have new beginnings too, as I’m preparing to write another poetry book to help raise money for charity, with illustrations kindly donated by Fr John Bagnall.
And also on the cards is a very shaky attempt at my first novel – of course based on Consett; yet purely fictional!
This will keep me busy in the months ahead as we all prepare for Autumn and then the coming of Winter. But for now I’m still celebrating the last of the Summer wine, and there’s no better way to do that, than a day trip out – just like the ones I remember as a child – and you can’t get much better than Lindisfarne.
Last month I was lucky enough to have my name down as one of over 90 pilgrims from Pontop Partnership travelling from Consett to Holy Island. Leaving John Street, the bus was awash with chatter and just like I did, many years ago, I took a sneaky few bites out of my sandwiches, five minutes into the journey. There was an onboard raffle and we all chanced our luck buying football cards as we left the rain in Consett behind us; looking forward to being greeted by clear skies and a hint of sunshine on the island.
Community based events like this have the magic needed to bring folk together, young and old and although we didn’t sing: ‘Oh the drivers got the wind up’, as in days of yore, I have to say the experience was exquisite, with good company, companionship and a pint of Guinness in The Crown and Anchor, before our journey on to Seahouses for fish and chips.
Returning home to my little house, nicely weary, yet content, I reflected on the days events and scrolled through the photos on my phone, ready to share them on Facebook before getting ready for bed.
Turning off the light and preparing to sleep, I caught sight of my husband on one of our family photos on the bedroom wall, and couldn’t help thinking,
Wish you were here!