Sunday, 17 February 2008
Friday, 15 February 2008
Last year, at this time I wrote about the meeting that changed my life forever, when M and I first met, here and here. But long before that meeting could happen, maybe half a century earlier, another story was being played out…
They met at a wedding, both had sisters who were bridesmaids, and they had travelled from the small farming communities of Paarl and Willowmore to be there. The place: A society wedding in the diamond boomtown of Kimberly, Cape Province in the Union of South Africa. The time: sometime in those halcyon days between the end of Second Boer War and the outbreak of World War I.
Willowmore and Paarl were at opposite ends of the Cape Province and had it not been for the wedding, these young people may never have met. Her father was a wine farmer in Paarl and his family had a department store in Willowmore and the two towns were several hundred miles apart. That early meeting blossomed into love and they became engaged, not realising that events taking place in far-off Europe would soon force them apart.
The outbreak of WWI in Europe meant young men all over the British Empire were enlisting; he joined the RAF (Royal Air Force) in England and served as a fighter pilot until the end of the war. Years later when the war ended and he returned to South Africa, she was waiting for him and they were married.
My mother’s parents were not unusual; many young girls waited for years for their beloved to return from the war and many never came back. It’s a condition as old as the human race but no less poignant in the repetition…
Tuesday, 5 February 2008
Winter arrived on the weekend after all the mildly cold and somewhat gentle seasonal weather that we have been having; for a Scottish winter it has been positively bland! The ominous warnings began on the thirtieth, my birthday, when neighbours dropping in asked if we were ready for the weekend and hadn’t we heard there was SNOW on the way. Having not heard anything and thinking that perhaps this was a bit of over-enthusiasm for some real winter weather, we didn’t pay too much attention. The first warning that perhaps we should have listened a bit better, was the sound of heavy winds growling 'round the house Thursday night!
Friday I tried to get a quick post written in between other work as I waited for the telephone engineer, the tree felling guy, the landlord and M to sort out our broken telephone/Internet connection. Well, we all know where I got with that! I'm still trying to catch up with my list of "To do's" and here it is Tuesday already and this is my first post for February…pictures of snow. It didn’t stick around for long; rain later in the day ensured that the hills were back to normal by nightfall.
But it was magical for the moment; imagine a whole landscape dusted softly with a thick cloud of icing sugar! And the stillness, so still…the only sounds, the rhythmic lapping of the tide on the sand and the far-off calls of the Eider Ducks…