Tag Archives: Granny

Memory clutches

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Memory clutches

     It amazes me how much of our memories (well, I speak for my sieve-like brain if not for yours too!) vanish into thin air, like a whisp of smoke floating out of reach, unable to be grasped. And yet other memories, both unremarkable and decidedly significant, seem to cling on, unwilling to fade with the passing of time. A picture, sound, sight, smell, person, occurence, or maybe just ‘the way things were’. memories take so many different forms. Sometimes they are sharp and clear, and other times they may be vague in form yet just as comforting. I have a mug. I grew up with that mug in our kitchen, but then it went on holiday somewhere (most likely tha back of the cupboard!) and it was no longer a part of my daily life. After its long absence, I remember the first time I saw it, and touched it. Something came flooding over me. I used to use this mug, a lot. I remember the colours of those pastel flowers. I remember the ridges in the paint. I remember the warm milky hot chocolate I drank from it. Oh, that taste! What comfort there was tied up in that bedtime cup of chocolate, in the comfort of home and routine. My memory connected with that mug is comfort. Not a picture, or a moment, or a funny thing that happened. Just comfort. That is more than enough. Still, when I see and touch that mug, comfort wraps its arms around me. Sadly, it is now badly chipped and worn. But that is one mug I won’t throw away! It’s too special to me, even if insignificant to others.

     A song just started playing on an iTunes playlist. Something clutched at my heart. Sure, it’s a beautiful song (Grace like rain, Todd Agnew) but it was more than the song that touched me. I was transported. Driving in the car during the year after passing my test. With this song playing, over and over, as the one CD in the car played over and over. Lovely memories of the thrill of being an independent driver. But more. Bittersweet. Driving to and from visiting my Granny, last living grandparent, closest to my heart. Visiting her in hospital and nursing care home. Bittersweet, time together, the dawning reality and acceptance of our time together ending. The beginnings of acceptance and mourning. The joyous awareness of the blessed time we still had. More than a song. No arms of comfort in this memory, just a clutching at my heart. Equally precious.

Today, memories are increasingly wrapped up in photo images or video footage. What a blessing to be able to revisit, ignite these memories, and store them up safely for the future you and future generations. I was recently watching a documentary on TV about capturing images during the great World Wars. The presenter visited with a Frenchwoman whose parents had served in espionage and undercover work during WWII. They had both been killed when she was just a baby. The documentary had investigated the photos and video footage her father had taken during WWI as he flew over France and neighbouring countries, capturing the landscape. She had done some research on her parents and on what happened to them at the end of their life, and her research was very precious to a daughter who had never known her parents. But, she had no clue about the plane journey her father had made in WWI. As she watched some of the footage, she saw her father, flying the plane, turning his head and talking and interacting with the man behind him holding the camera. She saw her father smile. She broke down. She explained how in the photos she had of her father, he was always so serious. She had always wondering what he would look like smiling. What a precious gift! Memory is such a gift.

     I have no memories of my birth father. He died after I turned 1 year old. There are photos. There are stories. They are precious. But in a way, more precious to those who knew him, who miss him. They have the memories woven into the images and stories. They have real emotional ties. I remain, in a way, detached. I remember coming across video footage belonging to a family member, compiled over the years from daily life and holidays. I remember the tension, I might SEE my father. I saw his legs, his back. But not his face. I have never heard his voice. But I have photos of him smiling. Of him with me. I have more than many others. And, I have been blessed with another father in life. From even before my birth father died, I was part of a complete family. I did not miss out. I had and have so much more than many others. I have been ingrafted, this is the reality of who I am. It is difficult for other members of the extended family, because they see how things were, they remember as label me as being someone else. But to me, I am my mothers and father who brought me up, raised me, kissed my bruises and told me off, daughter. I am my brothers’ sister, and my sister’s sister. I am who I have become. Life circumstances so often dictate who we become. Even more, I have a heavenly Father, who understands where I’m at, in life, emotionally, spiritually. A Father who has taken me through every moment, and who cares and provides for me more than any other. I trust Him. I trust Him to know the best. Unless we surrender, life will eat us up. I entrusted to him many years ago my confusion, my hurt, my questions, my life. To whom else can you go? Who else understands? Who else works things? And He drew close and blessed. What a blessed life I have known!  I tremble when I think of where the road could have led. But thankfully, man is not ultimately in control. Surely our memories of life bear witness to this? Cherish your good memories. Trust God with the hard and difficult ones. He knows.

I had hope just to share a little of what memories mean to me, but as usual, I seem to have gone on.

Words ramble, as thoughts flow. Thank you for letting me share.

‘Whatever has come to be has already been named, and it is known what man is… For who knows what is good for man while he lives the few days of his vain life, which he passes like a shadow? For who can tell man what will be after him under the sun?” Ecclesiastes 6:10,12  ESV

Pslam 27

“The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.” Psalm 16:5-6  ESV

That we would truly say this, no matter the trials that come our way. Because, over and above it all, He has blessed us with every blessing in Christ Jesus (Eph 1).

Granny, nearing the end of life

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Pancakes

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*disclaimer : links may stimulate mouthwatering reactions; contains food imagery; if hungry, do not click*

Today turned into a pancake day. Yes, I know it was a bit late, but it was planned this way. Kind of! Pancake making had been suggested as an activity idea for us to do with the local youth club that we help run, and I had pencilled it in for tonight’s activity. It was my turn on the rota, cunningly devised by moi, as I have been wanting to try out our new electric pan/hotplate and pancake making were the perfect opportunity. Our household grew up wolfing down a multitude of pancakes that Mum made on her electric pan. Mairianne and I graduated from watching on the sidelines, to helping flip the pancakes, and, in the end, making them from scratch, all by our chuffed-selves! Of course, Mum has the best knack! As did her mother before her, and its Granny’s recipe we still use. Pancakes, otherwise defined as ‘dropped scones’, hold many happy childhood memories. We loved arriving for a visit at Granny and Grandpa’s in Callanish when Granny was making pancakes. She kept the little crunchy tidbits that fell on the pan all for us! The dog didn’t like missing out on his treat that day though! Mum used to make pancakes at our Primary school’s gala day- EPIC pancake making days that raised a lot of money. I think it was definitely in the top three favourite stalls at the gala. Pancakes make great Christmas presents, and a batch is always made when family come home for a visit, or somebody is going to visit them on the mainland. My brothers would never forgive a lack of pancakes and scones from visitors from home! What do we do with all these soft, brown, airy, slight-sweet, beautiful morsels? Apart from (grudgingly 😉 ) giving them away, basically, stuff our faces with them! They are best, of course, hot off the pan. With a good layer of golden syrup, or butter and strawberry jam *mouthwatering moment*. Another favourite is toasting tham from frozen, or frying them to go along with a fried breakfast. Who couldn’t appreciate toasted/fried pancakes, bacon and maple syrup? Cold, they are popularly topped with combinations of butter, jam, whipped cream, crowdie (cheese made from buttermilk) and cream. Or creme fraiche for the healthier eaters. We love to have pancakes along with soup, especially lentil or scotch broth. Such a versatile cake, or scone. The different denotations can cause some confusion. Our ‘pancakes’ are smaller, thicker and denser than you might expect. But yummy all the same!

Mum’s electric pan supplied a LOT of pancakes over the years. It sadly gave up the ghost a few years back, and as Mum had initially received it from her sister in Canada, a replacement was hard to come by. Impossible it seemed. We couldn’t find anything like it on the market over here, or online. It seemed the express, consistent pancake making era had come to an end. Our hope failed. But it semed we gave up too quickly! One of our wedding gifts was an electric pan/hotplate!!! (I’m not sure how to define it. I suppose the box would show a title, but it’s downstairs as I write this, so it will have to wait!) It advertised cooking things like prawns, but it was perfect for pancakes too. I think Mum gasped when we opened it! “Where did you get that?” she demanded of the gift-givers (thankfully folk well-known to us and of good humour!). As it turned out, it was to be found in a shop in Stornoway (yes, Stornoway- who would have thought of looking there?!!) at a bargain price. The next day, Mum was the proud owner of an electric table pan. Of course, she inaugurated hers months ago, but ours only made it out of the box today!

Making pancakes on the new machine at Youth Club tonight

I did do a quick trial run before youth club, to get acquainted with the new toy. It behaved beautifully, despite my messing up of the recipe (disaster always follows the hurried baker!). Well, not a complete disaster, they were edible, I just mixed up tsp (teaspoon) and tbsp (TABLEspoon) with the margarine and syrup. They were just a bit heavy. The mix was much better later on. They ‘kids’ did all the measuring etc, and did really well spooning the batter and turning the pancakes. I think (and hope) they enjoyed it, we leaders sure did anyway! Hot pancakes and syrup opened a new world for some anyway, and another will surprise them tomorrow at breakfast- I recommend pancakes, egg and bacon! Many of our family and friends will be aware that we have a fondness for baked goods at breakfast time, so this will come as no surprise. You know about the pancakes, but what do you think of fried duff? (Duff is our version of a ‘clootie dumpling’- another post entirely!) I would like some more practice with the electric pan, to try and figure out the best temperature etc, but I’m really chuffed with this kitchen toy wedding gift. May it prove as successful in our family over the years as yesterday’s Canadian Pancake Queen  proved to be until the end of its days. And I think Pancake Day will be a future favourite with our youth club!