Thursday, 23 July 2009

I had to let go

I have not posted anything on here for a little while, as we had a tragedy in our family a short while ago and it is taking me a while to come to terms with it.
My illness has also hindered me from doing certain things as well, but grief is a hard thing to live with.
This is a personal tribute to my father.
He died on 12 July aged 69 after a short illness and we said good bye to him on 21st July when he was laid to rest.
My father had a hard working life, he started in the coal mining industry at the age of 15.
From there he moved into farming.
He loved the label Countryman because that's what he was, he liked nothing better than rolling his sleeves up and mucking in.
He always had his shirt sleeves up, that was a habit he never got out of even at the end.
He was brought up on the fells in a place called Tindale Tarn. (See attached link)
From there he moved around and settled in Calthwaite near Penrith.
He worked on a farm which had a large Frisian dairy heard, Black face sheep and as I recall from childhood memory a large selection on bulls which were chained to the ground in the fields.
I believe they could have been Charolais which were part of an AI centre.
Growing up there as a young child held a lot of fond memories for me.
One of which was crossing the fields from our home which was Rose Cottage in Low Plains, to our soon to be new home which was Lott Cottage, as our family was about to receive a new arrival imminently.
Dad said he would take me to help or hinder tidying up the new home for the flit.
At the time I would have been just over 4 years old, it was cold and wintry, late November early December time, the snow against me was quite deep, over my wellingtons anyway, my knees were chapped with the cold snow wetting through my dungarees.
My father had a firm and yet comforting warm grip of my small hand.
I felt at the time that I was doing a marathon, "why do parents insist on walking so fast when you have to do three paces to their every one"?
I remember starting to sob under my breath, (big girls don't cry at least not in public anyway), because I was so cold and tired with the trek over the snow covered fields.
My father looked down and I felt a tug on my hand as he swung me into the air and lifted me onto his shoulders, "there" he said "is that better now you can see what I see".
He said something that always stuck in my head, which comes to mind now and again, it was something like, Mums and Dads are learners too."We don't get a manual when we arrive on the planet on how to do things in our lives, but we have a journal at the end of our lives when we leave".
I took it to mean sorry for dragging you through the snow I forgot I was bigger than you ; )
But what ever his meaning it stuck with me.
We arrived at our destination, at was a large cottage with two bedrooms an outside privy, and a shed for animals which was situated under the back bedroom.
When he opened the door about five sheep came scampering out and nearly flattened my dad.
I asked if they were living there too, dad said they were about to be chucked out.
The floor in the house was flagstones covered in sheep droppings.
There was a pot sink in the vestibule as you walked through the front door a fireplace in the living room and that was all.
It was dark and damp, but soon to be our new home.
This was the start of many happy memories for me, I loved Lott Cottage and hated it when we eventually left years later.
My father was a great personality he filled a room with his stories and reminiscences from old.
He believed in telling the truth as no good ever came of telling lies, however hurtful the truth could be, lies they always come back to haunt you.
He brought us up to speak our minds, never to be afraid of doing so.
He was a strong character, but towards the end he became agitated because people were doing things for him when his mind said you do it has body would not let him, it broke our hearts to see him suffering in such a cruel way, a strong willed man reduced to a broken spirited shell.

He was always there for all of his little girls when ever we had a problem or we just needed to talk to him he was there to listen and offer what advise he could.
It's been a short time since I said good bye and I still have to stop myself from picking up the telephone to speak to him.
Life still goes on sometimes it sweeps you along like a raging river whether you like it or not.
The grief will always be there sometimes like a dense cloud cover sometimes like a small cloud.
But never far away.
I had to say good bye to Dad which was heart breaking to do I had to let go of his warm comforting hand for what seemed like the first time in my life.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

My Spoilt Brat

Well you better believe it Fraochan has turned in to a little brat ; )
He has taken over everything, even bossing cullan our collie dog about.
Even though he has been a great addition to our little family, he makes you smile even when you just look at him.
Fraochan has taken to sleeping between us in bed and if you do not make room for him he scratches your head until you do move to let him in.
He will not eat normal dog food he has decided that he will sit beneath the dinner table and bark until you give him something of yours from the plate.
He will dive into the dog dish when Cullen has finished eating everything and avidly scrape the sides of the bowl like he is starving, when you put something in the bowl for him he sniffs his nose at it and walks away. : (
He loves Malteser's and gets huffy if you come out of the shop without any in your pocket.
We found out he will attack you for an ice cream, the minute you get into the car with a cone in your hand he is on your knee trying to take a chunk out of the ice cream before you even get a taste of it.
He loves the bath but is not keen of the sea, I think he deliberately goes and gets dirty just so you can put him in the bath.
If he hears one of the Tornado planes shoot past over head he will come running in and jump on your knee for protection : 0
Mischief is his middle name, I can put something down and he will pick it up and run out into the garden with it, he has been caught burying his food in the garden as well as my socks.
Cullan has grown attached to him and very protective of the wee man.
He also runs along behind you and taps at the back of you ankles with his feet to pick him up, he likes to get a birds eye view of things rather than a view of tall grass only.
He makes us laugh out load sometimes, and it's hard to tell him off when he is naughty because he looks at you with those big brown eyes which would melt the hardest heart.
I have a screen saver with wee whiskey playing in the sea with cullan, I still miss him terribly and Fraochan will never replace him but he has filled a hurting heart.

Creag Mhor Caravan

I have added a link on the right hand side of this blog for our caravan. (See Creag Mhor Caravan) It gives an idea of the area that the van is situated.
I get many people ringing up and sending emails asking where we are and what it is like.
I do not mind explaining and going to the effort of letting them know we are not on the beach front.
They all appear to be exited and do not mind that we are not on the beach front in fact as they say it is just what they are looking for?
Well that is until I mention the fact that we live down what I call a dirt track, yes it is not a tarred road, but you do not need a pony and cart to get down the track either as someone once asked? a car is quite adequate I think ; )
So I decided to post a video of the caravan and part of the track it is not a great quality video but you should get the gist of it.
I have also posted a couple of pictures of the "dirt track" just for information below.
It is secluded and private, ideal for couples (although it will sleep six) who like peace and quiet away from the madding crowd.
The track goes all the way up to a place called Scammadale by Loch Morar.
It is a beautiful walk or maybe if you are energetic a bike ride.
There is great fishing in the area, and I have had many parties of anglers staying in the van, it is ideal for them to leave their fishing rods fully extended and left under the van without worrying about them getting damaged, lost or stolen.
Anyway see for yourselves, I am sure you will be more enlightened.