Brave New Worlds

It’s strange to think that when I post this blog, my elder stepson, his wife and their toddler son will be on a plane bound for Canada where they are going to live. Last week we attended a family farewell party for them and the next day Tom and I looked after the baby whilst they said goodbye to their work colleagues. It’s been a time of mixed emotions; we all want to keep our loved ones close, but our daughter-in-law is a French-speaking Canadian who can see the opportunities her country can offer their little family and Tom and I certainly support them in their quest to make a good life.

This view was reinforced after our babysitting stint. It was getting late, but we decided to drive home to Wales whilst the roads were quiet. We stopped at the first takeaway we found to buy something quick to eat, a kebab restaurant in a straggle of run-down shops by a dual carriageway. As we waited for our order, a handful of men also waiting struck up a sexist, racist conversation that was painful to hear – not least because our daughter-in-law is black. Did we say anything? Of course, not – we had three hundred miles to travel and didn’t especially want to end up in an even uglier situation. Now, I’m not naïve enough to believe that any place is perfect, but being confronted with such casual racism and sexism, I was simply grateful that night, that my stepson and his family were leaving that particular crowded, claustrophobic and narrow-minded part of the world behind

To the secret beach...
We needed to recharge our batteries after our return to west Wales. The weather’s been glorious and Tom’s been trying to persuade me to visit a little beach he and my stepson discovered some time ago. I’ve dragged my heels as the beach is only accessible by boat or down a steep cliff and I wasn’t especially reassured by Tom’s ‘It’s easy! You’ll be fine!’. And, actually, it was fabulous, although quite a slog (even more so coming back) and I managed the cliffs a lot better than a pair of frail-looking Dutch ladies who practically landed on us. The sheltered bay was perfect for swimming (not without a swimsuit, as Tom told Lily, but without a wetsuit!) and we had a lovely day, so it was well worth the effort and just goes to show that sometimes you just have to be brave!

The sweetest ‘brave new world’ story this week has come from a new Facebook friend, writer Tina K Burton, who was kind enough to buy my novella, Only True in Fairy Tales and liked the heroine, Eloise’s rescued greyhound, Gracie so much that she’s hoping to adopt her own Gracie. Tina’s written a blog about the beginning of the adoption process which I guarantee will have you keeping your fingers crossed for everyone involved – especially when you see the lovely photo of the beautiful girl who’s waiting for a new home. You can read Tina’s blog here.

Painting is 'By the Cliff Edge' by Tom Tomos


Mandy K James said…
Good and bad in your lovely post this week. I am convinced that any proximity to the sea will help clear away negative thoughts. Perhpas those racist and sexist folk might like a walk near the clifftop the dark :)
Chris Stovell said…
Thanks, M'dear! It wasn't just what they were saying, which was shameful, but also that they either didn't care that we could hear them or - even worse - mistook us for like-minded people. Horrible.
Chanpreet said…
We tend to think because we live in "modern" times that people's views will match them. Unfortunately that's not true. I'm sad to hear that you had to hear what they had to say.

It's always hard to have family far from you, but I wish them all the best on their new jobs and safe travels. The side benefit is that when you come to visit them, a trip to the US won't be out of the question. :)

Clare Chase said…
It sounds like an emotionally challenging week. I love the thought of the beach trip though - I would have been hesitant too! I’m impressed by the cliff-scaling! :-)
Liane Spicer said…
Ugh. Bigoted people and their ugly attitudes can crop up almost anywhere. Hopefully they're a dying breed.

But your photos! What a beautiful place! I'm sure it blew away the cobwebs. And Tom's painting, as always, makes me wish I had an art budget.

Best wishes to your stepson and his family. From all reports, Canada is a great place to live.
Liane Spicer said…
Ugh. Bigoted people and their ugly attitudes can crop up almost anywhere. Hopefully they're a dying breed.

But your photos! What a beautiful place! I'm sure it blew away the cobwebs. And Tom's painting, as always, makes me wish I had an art budget.

Best wishes to your stepson and his family. From all reports, Canada is a great place to live.
Chris Stovell said…
Thank you, Chanpreet, that's very true. (Just had a look at the map and it would be a bit of haul to get to you from Alberta, alas!).

It was, Claire, and I quite impressed myself with the cliff-scaling too! Not quite as impressive as the death-defying Dutch though!

Thanks, Liane - yes, you're right and quite difficult at times not thinking horrible thoughts back. The walk did us a power of good - especially as I managed not to break anything - and thanks for your lovely comments about Tom's painting. Here's to Canada being a great place to live.
Flowerpot said…
Racism makes my blood boil - how can people be so thoughtless and arrogant? Don't get me going! Glad the beach trip was worthwhile and that Tina's gong to adopt a greyhound - well done you Chris!
Chris Stovell said…
It's brilliant news about Tina, Sue, fingers crossed it all works out for them.
So sorry you had such an uncomfortable experience at the takeaway shop. There is so much ignorance and stupidity in the world that I sometimes despair. Good luck to the little family setting out for Canada. Since I was born and grew up there, I of course think it's a pretty nice place. I hope that it lives up to its billing for your family. Take care and God bless, xoxox
Irish Eyes said…
We have an old saying here "They say what they say, let them say it" and don't pay any heed to ignorant twits. They make things unpleasant but you handled things wisely and well. I always shut out that sort of ignornence and when they realise they are not getting anywhere they dry up. Loved your blog, as always, but this one is particularly poignant. Good luch to your step son, and his family in Canada. Could see the Welsh coast yesterday very clearly so waved over to you. xx
Irish Eyes said…
My spelling appears to have become unstuck...definitely an early night is called for! xx IE
Chris Stovell said…
Lovely to see you here, Canadian Chickadee. Thank you so much for your good wishes. x

I love the thought of you being just across the water, Irish Eyes! I was laid up with a bad leg yesterday, but I'll hobble out to look for you tonight. And thanks for your wise and kind words. x
Pondside said…
It's so hard to say 'goodbye', isn't it? Our son and DIL and their four live in Edmonton, Alberta. Will your step son and family be near Edmonton? Racism and sexism are everywhere, but sometimes less here in the 'new world' where we are such a grab-bag of culture and ethnicity.
Chris Stovell said…
Good to hear from you, Pondside, especially with that encouraging comment. Yes, our little family are settling down in Edmonton so it was good to hear your thoughts. Thank you. X

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