Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Blog 54 f...My Mother...

Blog 54...                                    ...My Mother...
By the time you read this week’s Blog you will have celebrated Mother’s Day in your own traditional way. I love the idea of having an extra day just for me as well as my birthday later in the year. My boys make me something special either a breakfast in bed, a homemade present [mosaic photo frame with a picture of two little boys in their favourite shirts and shorts has to still be the best!] or flowers and a CD…depending on when the ‘Hubby' remembers what day it is. It doesn’t matter really, it’s a great time to be with the children with no pressures for anything to be done as ‘Hubby’ over the years has become adept at getting their school uniforms ready…so I don’t even have to iron on my special day and ‘Bridezilla’ always buys me something that smells nice or tastes nice. I’m spoiled really when you come to think of it. This year I shared my special day by inviting my mother in law and my father as well to an afternoon tea: using my favourite china tea set and cake stands and pink table cloth; in fact by the time I had finished adorning the table it resembled a doll's tea party any little girl would have been proud of! The sandwiches were complimented by a home made trifle, [yay the jelly set this time!] and lots of home baked fairy cakes, a Victoria sponge and some hot scones. ['A bit dry' to quote my father; 'A bit heavy' to quote someone else !! I had baked specially and in my eyes the thought was there even if the taste wasn't!]

However, the day always has a tinge of sadness as my mother is ‘no longer with us’ as the saying goes…and this year for the first time ever I am going to dedicate some words in memory of my mother...

My mother was born in 1929, the fourth child out of seven for her parents. She grew up in a strict household with Victorian values and very little money. Her mother had been a spinner in one of the cotton mills and her father had been in the Bantam Battalion during the First World War. [This was a regiment of soldiers who were less than the 5'3" regulation height, he was 4'11" and he said that when they were climbing out of the trenches it frightened the Germans as they thought they were firing at little boys.] After the war he had set up a bakery with his younger brother and their pies became the best known locally baked pies in the district…being delivered in a hand cart to mill workers.

My mother was beautiful. A classic English Rose, smooth skin, delicate fingers and she was talented. She could make dresses and coats; fashion new outfits out of old ones; including making our Christening dresses out of her wedding dress material. She was elegant; using just a little bit of pink lipstick and a dusting of rouge on her cheeks; I used to love watching her apply a thin brown line of pencil onto her eyebrows. Her face would light up with her smile as I ran into her room and she would scoop me up into her arms and kiss my neck and make me giggle. 

My mother was a great Mathematician: she was a Tax Officer; being offered promotion to Chief Tax Officer, in the town's Tax Office. [The ‘Intelligent one’ definitely got that gene!] My mother made wonderful pastry, baked bread, baked cakes [the 'Cutie-pie' has inherited that gene!] and became a confectionary artist: she was before her time really; making flowers and a whole range of different objects out of icing sugar for engagement cakes, wedding cakes and christening cakes. In fact her cakes became legendary amongst family and friends and she was one of the founder members of a Sugar Craft Guild. [I haven’t got that gene!] My mother was a lady, she wore gloves and hats; she was polite, she didn’t go into pubs until she was in her late forties, she didn’t gossip, swear or be unkind. [I definitely didn’t inherit that gene!] She worked hard for the family. She brought 4 children up during the fifties and sixties on a budget so tight it would make Mr. Cameron’s budget look like winning the lottery. She made sure we were fed and safe despite all the power cuts and bread strikes. She created a loving home out of poverty: being married to a window cleaner is not easy, financially. She adored my father and she adored all her children.

Her eyes were a bluey-greeny colour with a speck of brown [one of her grandchildren has exactly the same fleck and colouring] I remembered her singing to songs like ‘The Party’s Over’ by Shirley Bassey  and humming to the tune ‘Stranger On The Shore.’ She would dance around the kitchen clicking her fingers and then she would walk towards me, smiling and cup my little face in her hands and kiss me on the forehead and in that one moment I felt as though I was the only person in the world that she loved. The smell of her Blue Grass perfume wafting in the air as she squeezed me.
She made me feel happy, she made me feel loved, she made me feel safe.
In short my mother was perfect. 

When I was 11 years of age we had to write a poem for English homework. I wrote;

My dear old mum,
She does love rum,
She drinks it nearly everyday,
But she’s still a good mum,
My dear old mum.

I was top of the poem pop chart for 2 weeks running, the teacher was delighted, my class mates voted for me but mum was horrified; I didn’t know if it was because I called her old or because I made it sound as though she was a drinker!

In her forties, when we were all out at school, she took the notion of setting up a toy stall on the local market. She had a saying from some where that no matter how poor people were they would always eat, bury their dead and try to find the money for a toy for their children [speaking from her own experience I suppose.] She used to queue for her stall first thing in the morning and then display the few toys she could afford from the wholesalers. We laughed at her, we thought she’d gone loopy but she persevered. She stood that stall in all weathers and built up a great stall of toys that people could afford instead of using the larger toy stores: she also built up a great reputation with customers returning weekly not just to buy but also to chat. She even trusted mothers who hadn’t enough money to pay the full price…my mother let them take the toys, pay what they could and owe her. Not one ever let her down. In cold weather she stood on cardboard and drank hot Horlicks from a polystyrene cup. In warmer weather she still stood in her boots on cardboard and drank tea from a polystyrene cup.

When she died at the young age of 59 we all fell apart. The shock alone does that really, it either pulls everyone together or pushes you all apart. We all coped with our grief in different ways. Our mother had put so much into bringing us up, allowing us to develop our characters, supporting everything we wanted, creating happy memories but the one thing she didn’t do was make sure we knew how to survive without her.

So today if you are reading this and Mother’s Day was difficult for you then my thoughts are with you…if you still have your mum then pick up the phone and tell her how much you love her, go and see her as much as you can…in some way let her know you appreciate everything she has done for you and forgive her for the things she didn't do or give to you: because one day you will think ‘Wouldn’t it be nice to go and have a chat and a cup of tea with mum…’ 
...and she won’t be there...

Blog 54 g coming soon...every Wednesday... 
Copyright ©GML2012


  1. Your encouragement is also brilliant, x

  2. Oh what a tribute to a lovely lovely lady you have done her proud and Im sure she is smiling right on down at you. BTW I cherished the needlework box she gave me one Christmas I thought I had won the lottery x

  3. Yes,she was a lovely lady and I know she would have put alot of thought into the sewing box...a lovely memory of her, x