Leaving On A Jet Plane, Again.

IMG_9415

“I miss your brother,” Freya commented about an hour after we dropped him back at his hotel. 

He had flown to Holland from the US on business and had popped over to Norwich for two days on his way back. We’d had a lovely time with him but, knowing it will be a while before we see him again, I was certainly feeling a bit maudlin.

“I miss him too,” I said.

“It would be good if he could live in Norwich.”

“It would,” I agreed, although I know that’s not going to happen. His life (and family) is there.

“We could see him all the time.”

“Yes, maybe.”

“You could do things with him.”

“I could. We all could.”

“And now he’s gone.”

“Now he’s gone,” I agreed.

Then, with typical five year old aplomb, she shrugged her shoulders and said: “Circle of life, I guess.”

Not quite, little one, but it certainly made me chuckle.

~

You’d think I’d be used to him leaving by now. He has lived in the states for many years. At first there was no FaceTime and phone calls were still expensive so we really only caught up when I went over to visit each year, pre-Freya.

If it was just me – and not my parents too –  he would pick me up from Dulles International and, in a bid to stave off jet lag, we would drive to the local Barnes and Noble, in whatever neighbourhood he was living, and I’d look at pretty journals (you couldn’t get them over here then), browse the books and enjoy a hot chocolate at a certain coffee shop chain (also not over here then).

If you know me, you know I’m addicted to peppermint hot chocolate from that very chain (now practically everywhere) but I’ll let you into a secret; at least part of the reason I always like going there is because it reminds me of him. It’s the little things.

I’m lucky in that although he is gone, he isn’t gone. I can still email him, send him quotes from Ferris Bueller and get a response (no one else in the family gets that film) and see him via FaceTime. He has always been an amazing brother and I know if I needed him he would drop everything and come but I think I’ve almost got used to not needing him, as sad as that sounds. It’s just easier.

I was thinking about what Freya said later that night and maybe the five-year-old approach has some merit. While it’s not quite the ‘circle of life’ it is certainly ‘life’. There’s nothing to be done about it, I can’t make him stay – and wouldn’t want to as I know he wouldn’t be happy – so we just need to make the most of it while he is here and the best of it while he’s not.

IMG_0229

Do you have relatives who live abroad? How do you cope with missing them?

Advertisements

My Sunday Photo – September 23rd, 2018.

IMG_2894

It’s been a bit of a dreary (not to mention windy) week in Norfolk and Freya and I got soaked for the first time this term walking home from school on Friday. As a result I thought I’d share some sunshine in the form of these sunflowers.

Mark came home from work with them, which was a lovely surprise. It just happened to be a night when there was a beautiful sunset too and I couldn’t resist getting them together.

IMG_9587

IMG_9575

They lasted a good while but as they were getting past their best, I decided to have a play with them. I’m always admiring flatlays on Instagram. How hard can it be, I wondered? Actually quite hard indeed when you don’t know what you’re doing.

IMG_9286

IMG_9256

The only one I like is this one.

IMG_9810

I’d quite like to work it into my blog header, some how.

I hope you’ve had a sunny week.

As always, I’ve linked up with Darren’s My Sunday Photo. To see what other people have captured, please click on the camera below.

Photalife

Book Review: A Respectable Woman.

A respectable womanWith her second book Susanna Bavin has cemented her place as one of the country’s leading family saga writers.

Following the success of her debut, The Deserter’s Daughter, it must have been quite a feat to come up with a story equally as good but, in my opinion, she’s produced something even better.

And I don’t say that lightly, as I loved her first book, but this one charmed me even more.

Here’s the blurb:

After losing all her family in the Great War, Nell is grateful to marry Stan Hibbert. However, five years on, she is just another back-street housewife, making every penny do the work of tuppence and performing miracles with scrag-end. When she discovers that Stan is leading a double-life, she runs away to make a fresh start.

Two years later, Nell has carved out a fulfilling new life for herself and her young children in Manchester, where her neighbours believe she is a respectable widow. But the past is hard to run from, and Nell must fight to protect the life she has made for herself and her children.

From the first page, Susanna pulls you into the backstreets of 1920s Manchester so that when you’re done you’ll be wanting to scrub your front doorstep and send your children out to play in the street with their mates (although no noisy games on a Sunday).

It’s a hard life, especially for a single mother, but you get a real sense of community as Nell’s neighbours pitch in to look after her children while she works – although no matter how hard she toils, she’ll never be allowed to earn as much as a man. Interesting that we are still having similar conversations today.

Along with Nell, there’s a wonderful cast, including swoon-worthy Jim, the solicitor turned window cleaner, Mrs Brent, who takes the family under her wing and later has her kindness repaid, and two lovely young characters in the shape of Alf and the beautifully named Posy.

Then there’s the villain. Susanna seems to have a particular skill for conjuring up nasty pieces of work and Edmund is up there with the best of them. Thinking about him still makes my blood run cold.

The story is so well written, with wonderful little details from the period adding to the colour of the tale.

Having learnt my lesson last time, when I carried on reading long after my bedtime, I gave myself some much needed ‘me time’ while Freya was at school to enjoy this book. I am so pleased I did because, once again, I couldn’t put it down – even to make myself some lunch (unheard of).

I’ve already pre-ordered her next book, The Sewing Room Girl. Hopefully I won’t have too long to wait.

Format: Libby (borrowed from Norfolk Library Service).

My rating: Five stars.