Happy Bonfire Night.

Remember, remember the 5th of November, gunpowder treason and plot. Every year in the UK we celebrate the failed explosion of the Houses of Parliament, Guy Fawkes Night. Celebrating with burning bonfires, tall and roaring, warming the cold November night and fireworks that shoot far into the sky, bigger every year, louder ever still. Pets resort to hiding under beds and disappearing from the booms and bangs. An annual event that sees families and friends take to fields and big spaces to stare up at the mid-autumn sky,watching flashes and flares dance tall in the night.

When I was younger, much younger, my family and I would venture out to the local rugby club, to see a display of thirty minutes, joining the community in the yearly event. I remember wearing a big woolly hat with a bobble on the end, gloves that wrapped and snuggled my hands in tight and a big coat, zipped up to the top. We never drove to the rugby club, because there would never be parking spaces. We walked all together anticipating the start time warming up as we went. I remember seeing floods of people towering over me, waddling through the field to get the best view, I was clenching my Mother and Nan’s hands, desperate not to lose them. The smell of the burning bonfire, strong now nostalgic, all merging with fast food of burgers and hotdogs, fried onion and mustard, sweet candy floss and tooth shattering toffee apples. A tradition of candy floss eating became a eagerly awaited treat. I held the stick in my hands, removing my gloves to tear away at the fluffy ball, resulting in sticky hands and sensitive, sweet teeth.

The fireworks would start, of course with a bang, looking up to the sky I could never quite seeing enough, my view was impaired by broad shoulders and tall heads. To my benefit my Grampy lifted me to his shoulders to let me see the horizon, up, up above, seeing more than I could imagine. The fireworks illuminated a flock of faces, gazing happily and occasionally flinching at the strength of the explosions, they were stunning and bigger than little me could comprehend, the colours and the dispersing glitter, made time freeze for half an hour, the candy floss eaters seized and people stopped chattering, only allowing ‘ooh’ and ‘aahh’.

Every year from then on I would stop and watch, with my family, on Grampy’s shoulders, until I became too old and too cool going with friends, a chance to mingle and giggle on the fairground rides. Until I left the tradition and watched a far from my window. Its funny how I remember the 5th of November, fireworks, candy floss and sitting on shoulders.

I hope you have a lovely bonfire night, keep the pets in and wrap up warm, tonight is going to be a cold one.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Mine.

My mother, My brother and me.

This photo is one of those photos that you can stare at for a while or just one fleeting look but it remains emotive, powerful and heart-warming, this photo will never be dull or shoved in an album waiting for years to pass for me to stumble upon it. This photo is here, its mine.

This photo takes me to that place, my grandparents garden, probably summer and maybe a weekday. I look into the eyes of every person captured by the lens, I imagine and try to feel what I felt, what my mother was thinking, behind her bright blue eyes and imagining the person taking the photo probably by Grampy.

This picture isn’t mine, it is ours but when I behold this image, when I take the time to look at it for longer than a side glance it is mine and my thoughts, a moment paused. It represents unity and strength; My mother was a little older than I was now, she had two children and she brought us up being a solid and supportive figure in my life. My dad was working away a lot and weekends were when we spent most of our time with him. This day was a day when he wasn’t there, a day when my mum had us and we had her. She was/is our everything. She won’t know that this is how I feel when I look at this picture and how much respect I have for her and this picture sums up why.

There are copies of the picture, my mum has one and we share our love for this image but this one is mine, mine in thoughts and mine on my bedside, reminding me of my wonderful mother her young and continued strength, her happiness and inspiring love.

Thank you mum, love Jess.


Sundays, There is nothing quite like ’em

I always remember Sundays, the smell of a roast dinner cooking in the oven, Antiques Road-show on TV and most likely the rain was pouring outside, hitting hard on the windows of our house. Rainy Sundays. I used to hate those rainy Sundays, I hated the smell of the roast dinner, which was very controversial , and I hated the Antiques Road-show opening theme tune, all because they reminded me that the next day would be Monday and that meant back to school.  I’ve grown up since then. I love a good roast, lamb to be exact, I haven’t found the love for Antiques Road-Show quite yet, that will be in the years to come but, rainy Sundays, there is nothing quite like ’em.

Grey sky and autumnal colours…

Summer has barely left us but already I am looking forward to the coming months, the paths are already filling with leaves of different autumnal shades and my wardrobe needs a season re-vamp. The cold is rolling in thick and fast, “its going to be a long cold winter, I can feel it in my bones” I keep saying to myself as if I was intuitive about the coming weather, when really the increase in jumpers and layers says it all. Today was a cold and rainy Sunday, I had to go outside but tried to keep it to a minimum, these are the best kind of Sundays because there is really no need to do much at all, the weather brings with it a need to hibernate and my rainy Sunday pushes me behind closed doors. Curling up on the sofa, nestled beneath blankets with a good film to watch in the afternoon, after the legendary Sunday roast, then settling down for the prime time period drama, and certainly not forgetting drinking copious amounts of tea and stuffing my face with biscuits. The grey rain clouds cover the sky with an early darkness, bed time looms and I am thankful for these Sunday’s, the rainy ones.

I Hope your Sunday, rainy or not, was a peaceful, lazy and happy day.

There is no party like a family party.

Big family gatherings are a rarity in my family, on average there are one or two of these occur every year, what I mean by big gatherings are when the whole family, extended family, cousins of cousins, great uncles and family friends that your parents once knew at school all meet up for a big party. These gatherings aren’t a cup of tea visit, they are huge in comparison. This year I am seeing an influx in these ‘big gatherings’ as aunts and uncles and cousins of similar ages are hitting the milestones, 21, 30, 50 and 80. 2012 has brought many parties, buffets, lots of alcohol and catch-up chats that sound something like ‘the last time I saw you, you were in your dad’s arms’. Which is great because I can’t remember this and embarrassingly the conversation has suffered, as neither of us know where to go from here.

I love the reuniting of families for one night only and a good old knees up, too much alcohol and far too many ham rolls. But when I check my calender and see that one is closely looming I begin to work up a sweat and anxiety increases, meeting family that you haven’t seen in a while and updating them on the past few months or even years of your life, making small talk in an attempt to find similarities of in our lives.

Last night was an example where I perspired quite a bit before a big family gathering, my brother had other plans so I had to take one for the team and go as a lone sibling hence increased pressure. I was going to an Aunts 50th and to make matters worse it had a theme, a pink theme. I don’t have anything pink, I have a pale pink and an off pink but nothing pink pink. ‘Oh well’ I thought I will just wear this light red top with my smart jeans and a nice jacket, surely people won’t be that dressed up, the pink theme conjured up candy floss and big feather boas, something fun nothing too serious.

When I walked in and saw how much effort went into the venue, the table decorations, the balloon arches that were all very pink. Then there were the women, adorned in the smartest dresses coloured in an array of hot pink. The men of the party, who rarely make an effort had gone all out and specially brought pink ties and shirts. I probably brought the whole tone of the party down with my attempt at smart/casual wear when clearly it was smart/formal. Faus pas number one, wear what the invitation says. I felt incredibly awkward, you always want to make the best impression on family you haven’t seen in a long time it doesn’t help when you are the only one in jeans and not a very pink top.

There I was standing in the doorway wanting desperately to run home and change feeling ashamed at my interpretation of pink but, instead I hit the bar. I think it is perfectly normal and really quite natural to drink more than you would usually to help you get through the big family gathering  night. A bit of Dutch courage allowing to ease up on conversation, the adrenaline and sudden rush of  inspiration to dance and the encouragement to say “hello” to everyone.  Nothing at all embarrassing, yes Dutch courage is what I needed. My cousin was another bad influence, she continued to top up my drinks and even made me do a shot of vodka, she’s wild. My wild cousin, mother and me found that the Dutch did give us courage, as we were dancing on the little stage by the DJ booth: “I can’t believe were on the stage!” my mother screamed a fair few times, crazy, tonight we were crazy! Perhaps another faus pas but at least we will have the subject matter to talk about at the next do.

There was once a BBC comedy in the UK named The Royal Family, my family aren’t like that but I can defiantly draw comparisons between their family and mine: Uncles shouting across the table and no one hearing him because the music is too loud, then there is Granddad who waits at the buffet, head of the line, making sure he is first to get food and get too much so can bag up half and take it home.  A one-off drunk mother, father, uncles and aunties, a cousin who is a bad influence but fantastically fun and the drunken love that is spread around the room all night long.

I guess all families work in similar ways, we all dread reunions and finding something to wear, we want our pasts and presents to impress and we hope that conversation flows. But the best part about family reunions is there is an acceptance of what you do, who you are and what you drink because in the end we are family and that is OK.