A Turtle kind of Thursday

Little Terrence was parked right outside our garage door this morning. “I’m a bit lost, can you help me, please?” he asked in a very tiny voice.

DSCN4677I knew exactly how he felt, as I’ve often been lost. Thank goodness for GPS these days. In the bad old days when I had to rely on map books to find my way around, you would often find me parked at the side of the road, map book in hand, turning it this way and that, trying to decide which direction I was actually facing, and then endeavouring to work out whether to turn around or go straight on. I must have inherited my lack of sense of direction from my dad. He was always making u-turns. It’s not just on the road that I get lost. When exiting a public toilet in a shopping mall, I invariably turn the wrong way and head towards the men’s. Then I suddenly realising that there’s no way out at that end of the corridor. Hubby thinks this is funny and always has a weird smirk on his face when I eventually find him again because he knows what I’ve just done.  Anyway, dear little Terrence had found a kindred spirit in me and was gently taken to the backyard, where he was deposited in the lake. I’m sure he’s now happily reunited with his family.

Hope your Thursday is a good one.

Lest we forget those who gave their lives

“They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old. Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.”  ~ Robert Laurence Binyon

Today being Remembrance Day, I’m again thinking of family members who served, and especially of those who gave their lives during the 2nd Word War, and how it affected our family in particular. I shared some of these memories and photos a couple of years ago on my old blog, but today the feelings of loss once again well up in my mind.

When I was growing up in England, we often visited my Great Aunt Sue and Uncle Harold, and my eyes were always drawn to the photo of a handsome young man in army uniform, which stood on their piano. Alfie was one of the many young casualties of the second world war. The piano had been his, and was never opened again after his death. Here he is in happier times, with his mom and dad, who never stopped grieving for their only child.

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My mom often spoke with pride of her older brother Fred. He was her hero, a great swimmer and competition diver, diving from the top of cranes in Hong Kong Harbour. The two of them were very close and had lots of fun together.

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Fred went down on an unmarked Japanese POW ship, the Lisbon Maru, which was torpedoed by the allies in October 1942. A Military Medal is little compensation for the loss of a beloved son and brother. His name is at the bottom of the first column on this segment of the Roll of Honour.

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I know I would have loved to have had him as my uncle. Maybe he would have taught me to play the trumpet, as well as how to swim, which is something I still haven’t mastered.

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This pretty birthday card was the last correspondence mom received from him, and it’s now one of my most treasured possessions.

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Mom’s Uncle Bob is another relative I would have loved to have known. He would have been my great uncle, if only he hadn’t also died in the war.

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My dad’s dreams of studying to be an engineer were shattered by the outbreak of war, and he was in his late teens when left his home and family in the Dutch East Indies, now known as Indonesia, to join the Royal Dutch Navy on the submarines.

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At the end of the war, he fell in love with my mom in England and they married. Because he spoke very little English, he was forced to settle for a very mediocre job as an electrician in a coal mine. Times were very hard, and any job was better than nothing, especially with a young family to support.

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My dad survived the war physically unscathed, but he never saw his mom and dad again, and my sister and I didn’t ever meet our grandparents. My grandfather died at the hands of the Japanese, and my grandmother passed away when we were very young.

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These faded B&W photographs fill my heart with sadness, thinking of how war can change the course of people’s lives for ever, and usually not for the better. These words spoken by General Robert E. Lee, are so true: “What a cruel thing is war: to separate and destroy families and friends, and mar the purest joys and happiness God has granted us in this world; to fill our hearts with hatred instead of love for our neighbors, and to devastate the fair face of this beautiful world.”

A Photo a Week Challenge: Dear Dad…….Miss you lots

This week, Nancy’s Photo a Week Challenge is ‘Recording History’. It’s ten years ago today since my dear Dad passed away, the day after he and mom celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. This photo was taken in 2003 when our family met for lunch at his favourite restaurant, ‘The Pot and Kettle’.

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I miss you, Dad. xx

Family Vintage Motorcycle pics for Cee’s FFC

This week, Cee’s fun topic is ‘Bikes and Motorcycles’. These photos are from my family archives, and are over 80-years-old. I’ve shared these before, a couple of years ago, so some of you may remember them.

Here’s my dad and his big sister in Old Batavia Indonesia, probably around 1930. I think the motorcycle is a ‘New Henley’, made in Birmingham England. If you click on the image, it will enlarge and show you all the detail.

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This very grainy pic one is of hubby’s uncle in suit and tie, posing in the backyard in front of the garage and the garden shed in England.

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Of course the people here have all passed on, and I guess that the bikes are also long gone. I hope you enjoyed these two blasts from the past.

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That which was, still is.

“There is no remedy for love, but to love more.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

I can hardly believe that today is our 48th wedding anniversary. I wonder if in the next two years, we’ll morph into one of those traditional ‘sweet old couples’ that I’ve often seen  in our local newspaper, celebrating their Golden Wedding?

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So many years have passed since we said “I do.” So much water has flowed under the bridge, and yet it’s hard to believe that we’re both forty-eight years older than we were on that cold and snowy December day in England. Now, with a wonderful grown-up daughter and son, and five precious grandchildren, we’re still the same two people, still happily in love, and hopefully with many more years to look forward to together. When we married, we had virtually no worldly possessions, as hubby had just graduated from university. Most of our ‘stuff’ was donated by kind relatives who saw our marriage as a great excuse to turn out their drawers and cupboards and off-load unwanted kitchen utensils, bed linen, towels, and ornaments. We were of course very grateful and soon managed to buy our own little house in a small English village, where we lived until we emigrated to South Africa in 1970. One of the most useful donated items, was Auntie Doris’s old Sheffield steel kitchen knife, of probably 1930’s vintage. It’s packed up with all our other belongings in South Africa, and just looking at the picture here, fills me with longing for it.

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I well remember her happily donating this really old, and certainly very well used item, and  asking myself, “What on earth is she giving me this old thing for?” But, as the saying goes, ‘beggars can’t be choosers’, and we accepted it along with a motley collection of other items which she was throwing out in our direction. Well, I bet she really regretted having tossed out that knife. It might look really awful, but it’s been used for everything from carving meat and chopping vegetables, to cutting down bamboo and banana palm branches. It always stays incredibly sharp, unlike more modern knives I’ve bought over the years. It’s probably the only thing I have left of all those donated items, but it’s definitely a keeper and I love it; sharp and dependable, even though it’s quite old; a lot like hubby really. 🙂

Tonight we’re going out for dinner in Delray Beach and will have a look at the Christmas lights too. This was the tree in 2011. I’ll try to get a less fuzzy pic tonight.

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and here’s me with Santa.

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This afternoon I have my 4th art class, so I may show you my lighthouse again in the next couple of days.

Wishing you all a wonderful Wednesday.