Bereavement, Things my mother did for me

Weeds

Dirt is just stuff in the wrong place. Weeds are just plants in the wrong place. Context is everything.

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My Mum loved me and wanted to please me (I think). She loved gardening and bright cheerful flowers. She filled every available receptacle with colourful annuals – pansies, busy-lizzies, lobelia, alyssum, salvias, verbena, primulas, snap-dragons and begonias (I hate begonias!).

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I love wild places. When we lived together at the end of her life she had a garden and I had a paddock and a wild area. But big lolloping red tulips would pop up mysteriously amongst the wild crocuses in my natural area and brightly coloured primulas appear mysteriously in the hedgerow of the paddock. She was incorrigible! Feral cultivated hyacinths were insinuated into the bluebell wood, people would give them to her and she never could stand their smell in the house (reminded her of incontinence).

After she died we moved to a really wild place where God does nearly all the gardening and where even rhododendrons are banned. But by the kitchen door there is an old sink where I have planted primulas.

Yesterday, when I was feeding the ewes, the sun came out and I noticed the first yellow star of ranunculus on the bank and two dandelions by the shed and they lifted my spirits (we’ve had a difficult few months) and in the sink by the door, peeping out from last year’s leaf litter, like a prayer, are Mum’s primulas, bright and new.

 

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Humour, Metaphysical

Eternal Analogy

Don’t panic but I’m talking about the relationship between Man and God. I should say between God and Man because God is more important but then, when it comes to the ‘relationship’, Man is probably the main mover — wielding his free will and his recently evolved imagination.

The analogy: you guessed — the shepherd and his flock (why does this woman never stop talking about sheep?) It’s not blasphemy — me and my sheep — the precedent is well established by great authority, it stands to reason and is immediately evident to anyone who keeps a woolly congregation.

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Position is relative: I am the Walrus, the Ombudsman, the Gatekeeper, the Father. I don’t control the weather but they think I do. They plead, they nag, they accuse me, and when it rains for a week, they stand in full view, in rows, entranced, fixing me with all their  psychic energy, praying (I swear they do) – it’s not easy being the supreme power.

Sheep's view of Supreme Being.

Sheep’s view of Supreme Being.

We, — the trilogy — Him, the Maa and the Holy Dog — put up fences, make barriers, structure the known world. But we don’t make the lambs stick their heads into the fence and get stuck. We spray for fly and we immunize but we don’t hold dominion over all living things although they think we do.

You believe in God if you want to but be reasonable, believe he makes the boundaries, puts up the fences but doesn’t stop you crossing them — sticking your head in where it doesn’t belong and getting into difficulties – getting stuck. He can’t control everything – you may not like it but he’s muddling along doing his best. We all muddle along together — that’s Life.

Thanks to Peter Jenkins for image of the iconic arse (all rights reserved).
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Bereavement, Metaphysical

Life is short —

Andy had enjoyed life and particularly paragliding so what better way to celebrate his life than for him to posthumously drag his unfit friends, one last time, up the steepest hill, have a few drinks then  jump off the top in tandem with an old friend.

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Advanced party

Canine support

Canine support

Time for refreshment.

Ready for one last turn around the valley

And so Andy’s ashes soared over the valley he loved and then were scattered on the mushroom field where he had  taken his friends for one last picnic and some quiet reflection.

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Andrew Stewart Pryce

21-5-50 — 4.12.13

What's it all about?

 

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Bereavement, Metaphysical, Thoughtful

Supernatural Elements of Pheasant Plucking – Really

There is no pleasant way to pluck a pheasant, the pheasant pluckers agreed.

‘You put the wing tips under your feet, so, and hold the feet in your hands, so, and you just pull, hellish hard,’ the domino players were discussing novel ways to disassociate the tasty bird from its feathers.

It’s quick, but messy.’

Ah, but if you get the knack you can disembowel it all in one movement, have a look on You Tube,’ — unlikely things you hear in a Welsh pub.

‘Layered with sausage meat and bacon and wrapped in foil and baked in the oven, that’s how I like it.’

And so, last night, I went to sleep thinking of the first time I tasted it – pheasant —  picked from the dried-out carcass of the left-over roast bird that invariably sat in my ex-father-in-law’s  massive but largely empty fridge, next to a half pint of dodgy milk and the stale eggs that made us ill, in the days before he re-married, when all there was to eat in the old patriarch’s brightly lit kitchen in the dead of night was the remains of his Sunday lunch and hard baked water biscuits; a Sunday roast, no veg or trimmings, but a roast nevertheless, is the benchmark of a proper home-life.  There was sometimes roast rib of beef, tender, pink and delicious, served with salt and there was always whisky and Canada Dry, whatever time of day or night that we arrived.

Last night I had a dream; other people’s dreams are very boring, but it illustrates something, something quite important that we all know but which I have rarely felt. 

Pop, he of the Sunday roast who has been dead for years and anyway long estranged from me by circumstances, visited me – a visitation.  He walked down our lane weaving through the puddles, in a tweed suit and a beige waistcoat (he usually wore a cardigan) but the buttons were still straining.  The wind lifted a layer of his unruly frizzy hair, darkened and restrained by repeated applications of Brylcream.  His small feet (size 7) wore good leather shoes, shiny and very stylish with leather tassels on the laces and he guffawed when he trod in horse manure which is odd as we do not have a horse.  He rebuked me for my directions; everyone gets lost when they visit us.

That’s all.

Afterlife is what I’m writing about.  Heaven, if you like.  Ghosts.   You can fill in the details but I woke with the glow of affectionate recall (Pop wouldn’t do love).  But there he was.

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