The Things We Do For Love


The day before we take Ma home, we decide to poke around a cavernous bric a brac shop close to where we live. Above a sea of sad sofas and heavy dark wood furniture, something catches my eye and I feel a little sharp thrill and edge nearer but suddenly a hand shoots out and beats me to it. ‘I like this!’ says Ma, hanging on to it. ‘So do I,’ I gulp. I’m truly not a covetous person, but, gosh, how I would like the jewel blue vase with its mysterious swirly depths that Ma is holding. I tell myself to grow up and stop being a tad disappointed about something so trivial as we return to the car. Then suddenly Ma turns to me and places it in my hands. ‘You have it,’ she says. There’s a bit of a tussle but Ma wins again, so now this beautiful piece of glass lights up our room not just for its gorgeous looks but also a reminder of everything Ma’s given up for me.

We drive Ma back home to Surrey then continue on to West Sussex where FiL is trying to make sense of his changed world. When my dad died, I think we all felt relief that his suffering had ended as well as great sadness but my mother-in-law’s final weeks were so difficult, all of us are struggling to come to terms with what’s happened. It’s something we get to discuss later the same day when we call on dear friends in Hampshire. Jan and Roger have moved on from sailing to new adventures in their motorhome, Molly, so have boxes full of useful boaty stuff which they generously give to us. During the course of the evening they also open two bottles of ‘special occasion’ champagne, feed us, listen to us offloading our troubles and give us a bed for the night. Surprisingly I don’t have a banging head in the morning, but as we head back to West Wales, my heart feels lighter thanks to the kindness of good friends.

Two days later, we’re back down the M4 again this time to move Rose and Si from their first floor rented flat in Bristol to their very own home, a three-storey townhouse between Bristol and Bath. Si’s mum and stepdad are there too, but we still climb an awful lot of stairs between us! Si’s dad and stepmum have been hard at work too installing new plumbing and an electrician's also been busy but somehow we manage to clear enough space to get the new home owners moved in. Si’s mum produces a tin revealing the wonderful cake she’s made - and after all those stairs, there’s no better way to celebrate! To Rose and Si, wishing you every happiness and much love in your new home.


Comments

mountainear said…
What a pretty little vase. I wonder if there is a story hiding in its blue swirls. I often wonder about the previous 'lives' of the junk I see turned out of the house clearance man's van at the car boot sale.

Jane Lovering said…
Sad times and happy times - and a beautiful vase! I hope you get a while to sit down and just enjoy being at home for a while now, and appreciate your vase in its proper setting.
Flowerpot said…
I covet that vase too, Chris! Glad you had some good news in amongst the not so good.... X
Gorgeous piece of glass. Possibly Venetian? Modern-ish??

As our elderly rellies gradually fall off the twig - its a very wisfull experience. We miss them, but it becomes once less person to worry about.....


Meanwhile, you start worrying about your kids, and grandkids, and that never ends!!

*sigh*

Cheers,
John
Chris Stovell said…
News on the vase thanks to a clever friend who,lives in Malta and spotted it as Mdina sea glass designed by Michael Harris (1960/70). Isn't that brilliant!

You can't help but wonder, can you Mountainear? What I do know though is that it has a very good 'feel' and seems to glow now it's back in a home. I hope it's as happy to be hear as I am to have it!

Thanks Jane. I have to say we're both pretty worn out and I'm worried about all the time that's passed since my last book came out, but that case is making me jolly happy!

Now that I know ithe design is 'sea glass' I'm not suprised that you're drawn to it too, Sue! And Ma's Pisces so obviously it appealed to her!

Maltese, it seems, John! But the designers then moved to the Isle of Wight glass factory which is what I was reminded of when I spotted it. And, yes, that sums up family life - I've been clearing brambles in the garden today for fear of Bee being mauled by them even though she's not walking yet! Must try to live in the now!
Frances said…
Chris, I am a very poor shopper in thrift shops and flea markets. My tendency, as my eyes scan the offerings, is to be reminded of what I've already got at home, and my current lack of space for more acquisitions. And yet, I love the scanning process.

Your new vase is a beauty! Bravo to you and your mom for spotting it.

Best wishes also to Rose and Si on their move to the new home. Many wonderful memories have already begun there for them.

All those car journeys you and Tom have been taking are very impressive! Wow.

Happy Easter to you all. xo
Pondside said…
Ah yes, the things we do for love. The vase is lovely and I enlarged the photo to enjoy those gorgeous swirls, like something from the depths of a warm sea - definitely not a piece reminiscent of northern ocean. What your Ma did is like something my mother would have done - indeed, there is hardly a corner of the house that doesn't have something from Mum - something that came with 'I saw this and it made me think of you.'
The generosity of friends - I have had occasion this year to depend on that. There are sometimes things that are just too hard to share with those closest as they are the most affected. A good friend with a strong shoulder and a good ear (and seriously good champagne) can ease the hard time.
Finally - the move. Been there and done that and have more than one T-shirt. We moved our Lillypad so many times! The basement stairs in their present house are a killer!
So, Chris, this is more a letter than a comment. I'm off to bed as you are probably stirring. Have a good Thursday!
Chris Stovell said…
Frances, I don't usually manage to spot anything either but that little vase just called to me and, it seems, to Ma! It was keen to go home with one of us. I'm so pleased with it, it's a delight to watch the light play through it. Thanks too, for your good wishes for Rose and Si. As for the car journeys - we've reached a point called stop for a while. You wouldn't believe how much mileage we've put on our poor old car. I think we all need a rest. Happy Easter to you too xx

Pondside, you're right about the sea temperature encompassed in that glass. I'm glad you had a close look at it - it's giving me a great deal of pleasure and although I do feel a bit guilty that it's sitting on my window ledge not Ma's it will always make me think of that day. I'm sure all those pieces around your house given to you by your mother are especially important to you. Yes, I'm very grateful to all the friends who've provided a shoulder to moan on - deep breath and then I'm ready to face the world again thanks to all of them. I guess your legs ached as much as ours after all those stairs moving Lillypad! It's always lovely to receive a letter -thanks so much for making the time in your busy day. xx
Chris, I enjoyed this post for so many reasons. One is that I have fond memories of shopping with my mum, liking the same things. After she died, I went to one of "our" shops and bought some pieces of our favorite blue and white china. All these years later I think of her whenever I use it.
What lovely stories. I think we have to store up the beautiful memories, like the blue vase, and the champagne supper and the wonderful cake, and just try to put the bad stuff behind us. My husband has a very selective memory. Sometimes when we talk about things, I wonder if we actually lived through the same event! But I've gradually come to the conclusion that his blinkered view of the world may be the way to true happiness.

Have a wonderful Easter! xoxox
Chris Stovell said…
Jean, thank you so much for visiting and for your kind comment. I can imagine that blue and white china is very precious to you for the memories it holds. Just visited your blog - and even though I've just eaten that bread recipe in particular has made me long to try it!

Canadian Chickadee, lovely to see you again and thank you. I smiled at your description of your husband's selective memory - they do say that true happiness comes from living in the moment rather than fretting about the past or the future so perhaps your husband realised that before the self-help gurus! Happy Easter to you! xx
Deborah Carr said…
What a stunning find! So thrilled you were able to get it and take it home.

My MIL died at the end of last May but like your father we felt it was an end to her suffering. My uncle died suddenly just before Christmas and that's still a bit surreal for us all and another uncle died a couple of weeks ago but he'd been suffering for a few years so his loss wasn't unexpected. Life can be quite difficult at times, can't it?

I'm delighted for your daughter and SIL, exciting times moving into their new home and how lovely for them that their families were there to help them move in. X
Irish Eyes said…
I have been drooling over your Mdina glassware. I'm not surprised your Mum was drawn to it, and that her daughter has such excellent taste...afterall, daughter to a Piscean, what more could you want in life? O.K., so I'm biased...I'm a Piscean too and am always drawn to that lovely sea green colour. Enjoy it my friend, you deserve it and I suspect Ma had it in mind for you from the start. Lovely blog as always; I'm sitting here at my desk, large mug of tea to hand [willow pattern mug] and I'm off for a second read, at a leisurely pace.

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