A day out with my daughter. I am a man blessed.

Recently I’ve been writing memoirs and reflections about my life forty years ago and one of the things that occurred to me was how much I missed being a young daddy. As I write my daily blog (see memoirsofgibraltar.com ) I sometimes wonder where the past forty years went but take heart and comfort (in my Autumn years) from the closeness I still have with my children. Today I spent a magical day out with my eldest daughter who very much shares my sense of humour and it’s been totally lovely.

Forty years ago I adored my child……….


Forty years later no change, I still adore my child.


I am a man blessed X 

Cooking with the little people

It’s been a really busy week this week especially with it being half term. Over two days I’ve had two groups with a total of I think 26 children under-4 and 16 parents. Activities have included biscuit making, sing-alongs, making fruit kebabs and smoothies and painting and drawing.

Naturally there was loads of mess (which I love to see because at home it’s not that easy to be as chilled) but in fairness the children have loved the activities. The parents too had a fabulous time and the magical thing has been seeing them to do things together. Sorry I can’t put pictures of the children online but trust me they had a ball 🙂

I’m quite tired now and hoping for a really early night tonight; what has probably contributed to that was my trips out to Llanelli and Carmarthen on Tuesday; it was a lot of driving in very hot weather.

Still, it’s a gorgeous evening and so a drive in car with the roof down and then a long walk on the beach with Mowgli is on the cards. Then dinner and an early night 🙂

 

Genesis

When I first began writing my autobiography I naturally began at Chapter 1 which is here on my website titled ‘Memoirs of a child in care’. 

I wanted my story to be as honest as possible and so one of the first things I needed to do was track down my birth mother which I did to a small flat in Uttoxeter. Bizarrely she had quite a lot of photos dotted around the flat of me as a small platinum haired little boy and pointed at them saying ‘That’s Alan’. However she did have occasional lucid moments and during one of these I asked her why she had put me in a children’s home. 

She replied that in those days everything was means tested and that she was only given eight Bob a week (40pence) to keep me. One day she walked into the Social Services office and plonked me on the counter. “I can’t keep him on eight Bob a week, you do it” she said, and walked out.

At the time of that conversation I was in a very different psychological place to where I am now; my sense of humour could be particularly cruel and to laugh at something like that then was a coping mechanism for me. 

Naturally these days I wouldn’t see a scenario like that funny at all and as a children’s worker for many years I have often actively prevented adults saying things in front of youngsters that I feel may cause them emotional harm? This ink painting was how I coped with my feelings at that time.

 

The child within the adult within the child

    

As a child I remember the Jungle Book animated movie coming out and absolutely loved it. Years later it was showing at a nearby cinema and I took my three children to see it. One of their strongest memories of childhood was their embarrassment at me laughing out loud at Baloo the bear scratching his back with a tree during the Bear Necessities song – I just couldn’t help myself; even today if the film is mentioned that is the memory they all relay.

My little granddaughter Rhiannon (age 7) went to a car boot market with her parents today and saw this LP vinyl record. She knew the Jungle Book is my favourite ever movie and insisted on haggling with the seller until she bought it as a present for me. I’m thrilled. And even though there’s something very ‘role reversal’ about my granddaughter acknowledging one of my childhood loves I don’t care; in fact it’s quite one of the most touching things I’ve ever experienced.

A soul-less place with no connection

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Today I went back to the gardens of remembrance at the crematorium to pay respects to my foster Mam Katie who passed away 40 years ago today. I’d made the trip many times before in order to see the book open with her name on the page but today was different. For some reason, maybe because it was raining I’m not sure, as I walked round the gardens I felt them to be totally soul-less and I felt no connection with my mother at all. Even looking at the book with her name in left me spiritually indifferent. I won’t go back. The fact I am sharply aware of my mothers birth date and passing date is enough for me to know she is always in my heart and I get more comfort on those days from my own reflections and private prayer.