Memories of The New Forest

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It was a late summer day. The sky was an intense blue and enormous puffy white clouds sailed above our heads, heading towards the horizon as we set off on an adventure, satnav in hand.

The journey to the New Forest took just over an hour but didn’t seem very long at all. There was lots of lovely scenery to look at, especially as we got closer to the Forest.

You know when you are almost there, for you begin to see the wild ponies everywhere. They are allowed to roam freely, wherever the mood takes them and if you are lucky enough to live there, you must get used to them just turning up and being in the way. They are not that small, either. To call them ‘ponies’ would give you the wrong impression. Most of them are quite a size and can be quite formidable!

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I am always surprised when people seem frightened when a pony gets too close to them. Sometimes it can be alarming, one poor man had to give up his ice cream; it was either that or lose an arm.

As we made our way to the car park, there were several ponies standing around in the street and a few more in the car park. Nobody seems to mind, but it does tend to play havoc with the traffic. Most of the foreign tourists have no idea what’s going on, and I know from experience that it’s completely terrifying trying to steer a car around a completely oblivious animal that’s just standing in the middle of the road.

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It was not our first visit, so we knew what to expect. We were here about ten years ago and still remember one rather large and stroppy pony who was trying to break into some of the cars in the car park. He obviously thought he could smell food, and it was all very scary not to mention the damage he was causing!

We decided to have lunch and have a look around afterwards, so we chose an eating-place with a good view of the road so we could watch the show. One pony, in particular, was standing in the middle of the road and didn’t look as though he had any intention of moving anytime soon. He seemed to be hell-bent on causing as much disruption to the traffic flow as possible. Almost deliberately, I thought as I could swear I saw mischief in his eyes.

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I heard some of the locals explaining to the tourists that the freedom the ponies enjoyed was theirs by right, as they were here first. The New Forest belongs to them and people take second place, as simple as that. Very strange goings on, if you ask me, but wonderful to see. This has been going on for centuries and I can see it going on for years to come.

 

I could live there for sure, to literally share your life with wild ponies seems like my idea of heaven.

Quite apart from the fact that I have wanted to live in a forest for years…

City Walls… #Poetry

 

 

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Image by Pixabay.com

 

 

City Walls

Threads of gold with silver ink

Pen in motion, tides that sink

Her voice I hear with words made clear

Her face now lost to memory

Where cities burn beyond the gate

Soldiers march to Troy’s great walls

Prince Hector has fallen

Achilles lost to arrows swift blow

Paris carries his love away

His heart now wrapped in barbwire

For death, he left behind the city walls…

AAAAA

#Flash Fiction Challenge for Carrot Ranch Literary Community #Poetry

Carrot Ranch Challenge

April 11, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story using the phrase “beggars can’t be choosers.” You can play with the words, alter them or interpret them without using the phrase. Give it any slant you want — show what it means or add to its  meaning. Go where the prompt leads!

 

And this is our contribution…

 

Years ago when I wore second- hand clothes

Worn out shoes

Sleeping in a room with no heat

Blankets as thin as rice paper

I made my way long ago,

I am happy

Some I know are still searching

Most days, he sits at the corner of Waitrose

Playing his clarinet

I hear the coins drop into his open case

At his feet as I pass

Today, I would give him a choice

Between a sandwich and  coffee or a two- pound scratch card

I walked home eating the sandwich

Without waiting. I hoped he made the right choice.

AAAAA

Memories…

 

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Dante Gabriel Rossetti

 

 

Memories are funny things, aren’t they? The way certain things suddenly pop into your head, and you think – hey, I know about that, and you remember.
I wonder what makes some memories surface and not others? You could say it’s down to something you have just heard or seen, but I know that’s not always the case.

Just lately, I have been remembering a specific time in my youth, and never realised before how that time must have influenced me.  Was it that threshold of childhood, the time you really start to think and question things? To imagine a future for yourself, that you won’t always be just idling along, not really caring if it snowed, depending on others to organise your life.

This particular time was when I lived in Kent, in a small village called Birchington, a few miles from Margate. I was about 8 or 9 years old, and up to that point, I didn’t really think about anything much. So much had happened to me that I had got into the habit of not questioning anything. Not much point really, as I knew I couldn’t change anything.

I was with foster parents by then with several other children, all from broken families; and surprisingly it was the first time I felt relaxed enough to appreciate the peace and quiet of the countryside, not to mention the freedom from all my mother’s problems.

Every Sunday we all went to church, and right outside the church door was an impressive gravestone. It was made of a beautiful piece of marble, and I thought the writing on it was very ornate and posh. I looked at it every Sunday for ages, when it suddenly struck me that this had to be someone quite famous. But why was he buried here in this tiny village?

The name on the stone was Dante Gabriel Rossetti  (1828- 1882), and I remember being very impressed by the sound of him, resolving to find out more about him. I was about the right age for romantic flights of fancy, and the more I discovered about this tortured man and the life he lived, the more intrigued I became. He was a poet and a painter, and some would say that he wasn’t very successful, but history will always remember him as a founder member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood with William Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais.

I learnt about Rossetti and how he ended up a recluse in Cheyne Walk, Chelsea after a nervous breakdown, finally retreating to Birchington for rehabilitation only to die less than a year later. Perhaps he should have spent more time in Kent, for it was making me feel better!  I secretly sympathised with the mess he had made of his life, determined that my life would be better than it had started out to be. I just needed to be old enough to set the wheels in motion.

So you see, I think Dante was my friend back then, right when I really needed one, guiding me to where I am today…

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#Writephoto ~ Threshold…

Thursday photo prompt: Threshold #writephoto

 

 

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Image by scvincent.com

 

 

From inside the one they call the magician’s cave, it felt wrong.

On the other side of the small bay is the cave I always think of as his.

Where the fallen eagle with its beak touching the ground,

his wings guarding the threshold to a second cave.

One is full to the top with giant boulders, but on the other side of the giant beak, you can walk through to the sea.

Looking at this grand entry, with the Castle perched on top of the cliff, was enough to send my mind reeling back into the past.

I could almost see the magician sitting on one of the giant boulders, as I had done. It has been said that he was trapped by his love for a woman, and gave her his secrets. They say no man can free him, maybe a woman can?

I have searched all of these caves, one so beautiful it was worth the climb. I found myself standing inside a green jewel.

However, magic is not to be found inside a hollow cave.

On this small beach stands a large solid rock. I stood there wondering, is his soul alive inside. Does he want to be found?

Has he learned not to give away all his secrets? Could someone find the key to release him?

I doubt it, for love makes fools of us all…

AAAAA

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The Blessing of the Throats… @JacqBiggar

 

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Image from Wikipedia

 

Anita asked for this image to be shown for those of you who haven’t heard of the throat blessing.

(Mentioned in yesterdays post HERE)

Anita was eleven years old when this event took place at St Mary’s Church, Clapham Common. The nuns really were flapping about, as for them, it really was a big day. His Eminence the Bishop was treated as though he just flown down from a cloud in heaven.

One of Anita’s brothers didn’t have this blessing and suffered a great deal with sore throats until he had to have his tonsils removed.

This was a trip down memory lane for Anita…

 

This article is from Wikipedia too…

The Blessing of the Throats is a sacramental of the Roman Catholic Church, celebrated on February 3, the feast day of Saint Blaise of Sebaste. It also celebrated in some of the Eastern Catholic Churches, and in parishes of the Anglican Communion on the same day as a commemoration.

The Order of the Blessing of Throats on the Feast of Saint Blaise is in the Book of Blessings (de Benedictionibus).

Article 1625 from The Book of Blessings contains a brief historical background of the blessing of throats:

Saint Blase was the bishop of Sebaste in Armenia during the fourth century. Very little is known about his life. According to various accounts he was a physician before becoming a bishop. His religion spread throughout the entire Church in the Middle Ages because he was reputed to have miraculously cured a little boy who nearly died because of a fishbone in his throat. From the eighth century he has been invoked on behalf of the sick, especially those afflicted with illnesses of the throat.

Details regarding the miraculous healing of the boy vary. One account relates that the miracle occurred during the journey to take Blaise to prison when he placed his hand on the boy’s head and prayed; another that the miracle happened while Blaise was in prison when he picked up two candles provided to him and formed a cross around the boy’s throat.

The use of candles for the blessing of throats stems from the candles that Blaise used while in prison. When an old woman’s pig had been miraculously rescued from a wolf by Saint Blaise, she would visit him in prison, bringing him food and candles to bring him light in his dark cell.

Ritual

Articles 1626 and 1627 explains when and how the blessing takes place:

1626 The blessing of throats may be given by a priest, deacon, or a lay minister who follows the rites and prayers designated for a lay minister. If the blessing is conferred during Mass, the blessing follows the homily and general intercessions, or, for pastoral reasons, the prayer of blessing may take the place of the final blessing of the Mass. When the blessing is given outside Mass, it is preceded by a brief celebration of the word of God. If the blessing is to be celebrated at Morning Prayer or Evening Prayer, it is given after the reading and responsory (and homily) and before the gospel canticle.

1627 The blessing may be given by touching the throat of each person with two candles blessed on the feast of the Presentation of the Lord (February 2) and which have been joined together in the form of a cross.

The candles may be joined together by a red ribbon, the color of martyrdom. Although it is the general custom to touch the throat with the candles, it is not required, especially if the candles are lit. The candles may be held over the person.

If all cannot be blessed individually, the celebrant, without candles, extends his hands over the assembly and says the prayer of blessing.

The following blessing is said:

“Through the intercession of Saint Blaise, bishop and martyr, may God deliver you from every disease of the throat and from every other illness: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

 

 

 

Not Yet Born… #Supernatural Fiction

 

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Image by Pixabay.com

 

 

 

Jessica’s day felt all wrong.  She seemed invisible. No one spoke to her at school. She knew she hadn’t upset anyone, so they couldn’t have sent her to Coventry. She stopped off at the corner shop on her way home to buy the pint of milk her mother wanted. Paying for the milk, she had the feeling Mr Thompson didn’t recognise her. Lindon Avenue was ten minutes away. Turning the corner, she could see the front door was open. Her mother would never leave it open, something must have happened.

Stepping inside, she wondered how long could she sit in an empty house wondering what had gone wrong. Her mother wouldn’t leave without her. They had lived here for the past nine years. Jessica’s birthday was coming up at the weekend. He mother had promised a posh lunch and a trip to the cinema.

Standing in the middle of the living room, silence scraped at the windows like cats claws, but not even a ghost would stay inside this space.

Leaving the milk on the window sill, Jess knocked next door. Mrs Amos would know what had happened, she was always at her window.

Having pushed the bell, she remembered Mrs Amos always took her time coming to the door. The door opened with the usual squeal of hinges.

‘Yes dear, can I help you?’

That strange feeling from school came over her again and she knew the answer would be wrong.

‘No one has lived in that house for the past five years, I’m sorry dear, I don’t know you or your mother.’

Going back to the empty house, Jess sat on the floor. She drank the milk, hoping to hold off the hunger rumbling around in her stomach. She couldn’t stay in an empty house with no food, no furniture, and no mother. She had to find out where her mother was and why she left without a note. But where to start?

It was dark now, and cold inside this empty room. Jess couldn’t hold back the tears. What chance did she have if Mrs Amos didn’t know her?

She fell asleep, thoughts running through her mind like an old strip of telegraph paper, holes punched in her memory. Waking to the sound of birdsong, frozen stiff, the floor was no place for sleeping.

The world outside frightened her. What if no one knew who she was? Mass amnesia was possible, but telling herself this didn’t help. She searched her coat pocket for money as she needed food. Change from the milk plus her pocket money from last week. The memory reminded her of a house full of furniture, her soft bed with warm blankets, her mother giving her the money she held.

Norman’s cafe, where she spent most Saturday afternoons helping with the dishes would be open now and she had an hour before school started. Not many people sat waiting. Rushing to the counter, she asked Norman for her usual sausage sandwich and cup of tea.

‘Take a seat, young lady and I’ll bring it over.’

What was he talking about, he always called me Jess? She took a seat by the window, and everything was as she remembered. Clark’s shoe shop across the road, the post office on the corner waiting to open.

Jess forced herself to eat the sandwich and drink the tea, knowing she needed it. Once outside again, she passed faces she knew on their way to work. No one smiled or said hello. The paperboy rushed past as if he hadn’t seen her.

She took her seat at the back of the class. The register was taken but her name was not called. Why not, she was here? Jess couldn’t let this go. Mrs Johnson was ignoring her now, despite Jessica’s hand up, waiting to be noticed. Making her way to the desk, she said, ‘Excuse me, Miss, you didn’t mark me in.’

Mrs Johnson  looked at Jess, and said, ‘I think you must be in the wrong class.’

Jess insisted that this was her class.

‘Maybe Janet should take you to the Heads office. You are clearly upset about something.’

Jess let herself be led away. She had never had much to say to Janet over the years, still, she should know this is my class.

Janet left her sitting outside the Heads office. Five minutes later the door opened and the same grim face she knew, asked ‘Why are you sitting outside my office? Shouldn’t you be in class?’

At last, someone who knows me. ‘Mrs Johnson says I am in the wrong class.’

‘Surely you and Mrs Johnson must know where you belong?’

‘I do know.’

‘Then off with you, young lady. Time is wasting.’

Jess turned to leave. The wrong still surrounded her.

‘Wait a minute, what’s your name?’

‘Jessica Wilde. Two days ago you called out my name in assembly.’

‘There is no need to be flippant, young lady. You can’t expect me to remember every name in the entire school. Off with you to class.’

By now, Jess was getting sick of being called ‘young lady’ by those who deemed to speak to her. She couldn’t go back to class, she would only be sent out again. With the key still in her pocket, she went home to find the key didn’t fit. There were curtains on the window now and sounds coming from inside. Mrs Amos said that no one had lived here for five years. Had the whole world gone mad?

Jess decided to knock and a small boy about four years old opened the door, his mother right behind him.

‘Can I help you?’

At least she didn’t say ‘young lady’. Things must be looking up.

Jess stood for a moment, not knowing what to say. From the doorway she could see carpets she didn’t recognise, furniture that didn’t belong in there. Again the woman asked if she could help her.

‘I don’t think you can. You see, I am supposed to be living here with my mother. For the past nine years, this has been my home.’

‘You must be confused. I was told it had been empty for five years. I moved in this morning with my husband. I fell in love with the house. It was the magnolia in the front garden that sold it for me.

Jess remembered when she planted it with her mother, the memory causing her body to shake with sobs.

‘Are you sure you have the right place?’

All Jess could do was nod her head. A small whisper escaped her lips. ‘God help me…’

‘Would you like to come in for a moment, I could make a cup of tea. See if we can get to the bottom of this. My name is Jill and this is Thomas. We are trying to find a nursery for him. Jess didn’t feel like telling her that her school had a nursery. Maybe anyone living in this house would be invisible once they stepped outside the door.

Jess drank the tea, grateful for the warmth. She couldn’t bring herself to say much. Standing too quickly, she almost knocked the cup from the saucer. ‘I have to go now. I need to find my mother.’

She made her way to the park and sat on a bench, trying to remember her life. She began when she was three, her birthday, her friends, and her father who died when she was eight. Mrs Amos always came for a slice of cake, such happy memories. Starting big school, making new friends, it was all there inside her head. She knew she couldn’t sit there forever, she would have to go to the police station, they would know how to find her mother.

She was wrong. Her name didn’t show up on any listing. She heard the sergeant say that she didn’t exist. Yet she was standing there.

They told Jess they would keep looking, and they called Child Welfare to find her somewhere to stay.

Jess could feel herself shaking as this new information swept over her. They couldn’t find a record of her or her mother.  Jess pinched herself and it hurt, the pain telling her she was real enough.

Temporary foster care was found, a Mr and Mrs Foster. Jess couldn’t say she liked it there. She was just taking up space she would rather not be in. Her days were pleasant enough. She was sent to a new school where this time they knew who she was. A new uniform and books were supplied, making her feel even more out of place. She had almost forgotten how to talk. She couldn’t be bothered, for this wasn’t her life.

One afternoon, sitting in the library, she came across a book titled ‘Wrong time’ about people who believed they were born into the wrong time. So many people believing they are living the wrong life. Jess wondered if this was happening to her. Was she wrong? What if she shouldn’t be here yet? What if her mother was somewhere waiting in the life she remembered?

Jess wasn’t doing well at school. She drew into herself. The Martins didn’t know what to do to help her. Every day after tea, Jess would lock herself in what had become her room, a room full of things she didn’t want.

The curtains, the bedding, all wrong. The new shoes hurt her feet. Her mother would have known how to soften them.

Reading more of the book made her feel so much worse. She almost convinced herself that she had been born too soon. She felt out of place. She believed her memories were real, no matter how many times they told her that her mother must have run away. They must think she was really stupid, or her mother some kind of genius, able to vanish their names from existence.

This new life was too dark for Jess, and she couldn’t stay there. The water of the canal closed over her body, the last three minutes of her brain knew she would return to Lindon Avenue and the mother she loved…

AAAAA

Another memory of the Falls…

 

St. Nectan’s Falls

 

On one of our trips to Cornwall, we decided to seek out St Nectan’s Glen.

Not realising there was a short cut, we took the long walk through the fields along a small path to get to the Falls.  Single file small!

There were cliffs to one side, the other a sheer drop that was full of trees, nothing soft to break a fall. I moaned all the way there, to find the waterfall at the end, the most wonderful sight.

Jaye had stepped into her own paradise, her love of water. It was plain to see, her face lit up as if the sun shone where there was none.

We noticed people high on a ridge, at the top of the waterfall.

Jaye has a fear of heights, but that day she conquered it, to get as close as she could to the top of the Falls. I am not kidding when I say that there was barely room for a pigeon on this ridge. There we were, my entire family, along with any future grandchildren I might have, vanished in fear.

Squeezing past people coming down was the moment I realised just how dangerous this was. Even now, when I think about it, I remember the nightmares I suffered. I still believe we were fools to have climbed up there.

We found our way to the small hut where St Nectan lived out his days. We signed the visitor book. Back on the flat ground, I gave a sigh of relief. Never again, I said, more times than I can count.

The thing I remember most was the deafening sound of the water and how cold it felt. Would I go again?

Maybe, but taking the shortcut, and no climbing high…

 

 

(This was Anita’s memory of the day I posted about HERE  )

Living Light ~ Kirlian Photography

Nostalgia for the past is lingering this week, a hangover from all those lovely memories we posted last week.

The following image are negatives, I had to tape them to a window in order to photograph them…

 

 

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Anita’s Fingerprints

 

Living Light

 

The aura, the living light that surrounds each living thing on the planet.

Jaye and I had these photographs taken many moons ago,

too many to count, meaning to have them printed.

The other night they came to mind.

Of course, I asked Jaye to do something with them, and she did .

I cannot remember the name of the man we met at a Spiritualist Fair.

He invited us to his home where he took these images of our hands.

I think they should see the light of day after all this time…

AAAAA

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“Kirlian photography refers to a form of contact print photography, theoretically associated with high-voltage. It is named after Semyon Kirlian, who in 1939 accidentally discovered that if an object on a photographic plate is subjected to a strong electric field, an image is created on the plate.

In controversial metaphysical contexts, Kirlian photography, Kirlian energy, and so on, are sometimes referred to as just ‘Kirlian’. Kirlian made controversial claims that his method showed proof of supernatural auras, said to resemble a rough outline of the object like a colorful halo.

Kirlian proposed and promoted the idea that the resulting images of living objects were a physical proof of the life force or aura which allegedly surrounds all living beings. This claim was said to be supported by experiments by the Kirlians that involved cutting part of a leaf off – the Kirlian images of such leaves, it was said, still showed the leaves as whole, as though the cutting had never happened.”

 

 

Golden Memories…

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Due, I suspect, to the arrival of our Great Grandchild three weeks ago, an air of nostalgia has descended upon our household. All the old photographs have come out of hiding, accompanied by much reminiscing.

We thought we would share some of these golden memories with you…

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It was like having a time machine, going back to all those times and remembering them as if they were yesterday…

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Do you ever take a walk down Memory Lane?

AAAAA