Showing posts from October, 2013

Two faces of autumn

Yesterday autumn roared in on a thundering wind, blowing over the bay tree, sending the wheelie bin rolling down the grass, filling the air with flying flowerpots.  On the heels of the wind came a downpour which overflowed the gutters, set the land drains spouting, hammered on the slates and turned the paths to water. It was a day for staying in the warm kitchen. Our bedroom faces east.  When I woke up this morning the sun was pouring in and the sky was a vivid blue behind the ridge on the other side of the valley.  Today has been a gold and blue day, the sun warm, the air still. The crab apple is loaded down with fruit.  This is malus Red Sentinel, planted to replace a little quince tree which slowly but surely lost the will to live.  I kept trying to persuade myself that the quince would survive, even though it would shed a branch or two every time the wind blew strong.  Eventually it split in two, falling open at its heart.  The crab apple went in last autumn with some daffod


I have been thinking a lot about what makes a good parent this last few weeks as I watch my own parents cope with the difficulties of my father's illness and struggle to work out for myself how best to show my own love and support for them. I think I am very lucky.  On the face of it the fact that my own father died when I was three and my brother one was clearly a tragedy, for my mother, for his own deeply loving family and for us.  Yet somehow out of that my mother, and my stepfather, conjured for us a very happy family and an easy, adventurous childhood. It is very many years since I thought of Dad as my stepfather.  He is just Dad. When you are a teenager you do not know that your own family is not normal.  I have read much about the child of an unhappy family slowly learning that theirs is not the only way to live and finding that there are families out there which are places of sustenance and love.  Many of them build their own lives very consciously to produce a differen