Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Wednesday morning ponderings . . .

Last evening I laid in a small supply of candy treats, just in case we get some Trick or Treaters this year.   Not a lot, just two bags of small sized candy bars . . . Mars and Milky Ways.  We've never gotten Trick or Treaters really, not in all the time I have lived over here, but . . . I live in hope.

Todd doesn't understand Halloween.  Of course, it is not something he has grown up with, and it is something which is only beginning to become popular over here, having always lingered in the shadow of Guy Fawkes night which is in a few days time.  He thought I could just take chocolates out of the box of chocolate in the sideboard and give them to the kiddies.  I looked aghast at him when he suggested that and told him that one does not give children candy that is unwrapped!

It reminded me of the year when my children were much, much younger that they came back with tins of peas and carrots in their trick or treat bags.  We had moved into a neighborhood of elderly people and they must not have been used to seeing trick or treaters . . . they gave my children what they had to give.  It was quite humorous really, although my children were not amused.  Tins of peas and carrots cannot compete with packets of crisps and candy bars!

Source: via Tamara on Pinterest

I miss the days when I had children around and all of the excitement which lead up to Halloween . . . the picking of costumes . . . the carving of the pumpkins into Jack-o-Lanterns.  Such an exciting time.  They are having an event at the chapel tonight for all the children.  A Car Boot thingie, with prizes given to the best decorated Car Boot, and of course lots of candy will be handed out.  I hope it stays dry for them.   I suppose we could dress Todd up as a Scarecrow and plant him in the boot of our car . . . but I doubt he would go for that.

It is an anniversary for me today.  It was twelve years ago today that I stepped off that plan in Manchester and took up residence in the UK for good.  I was so very tired after having flown all night and my suitcases were super heavy, not to mention that 2 liter tin of Maple Syrup which I had carried the whole way over with me.  It was a time of great excitement for me, as . . . in just a few short weeks,  I would become Mrs Rayner . . . a bride for the third and final time in my life.

As I look over these past twelve years, and see all of the changes that my life has gone through during this time . . .  I am astounded and amazed.   It has been an incredible journey.   Of course I stayed with a woman from our Church until Todd and I actually married, but when we did marry, I moved into a one bedroom ground floor maisonette flat.  Todd had been living as a Bachelor for many years and didn't have a lot in the way of cooking materials, or anything else for that matter.  I had only what I could carry with me.  I had crammed as much as I could into my suitcases . . . and mailed myself a few boxes, but it really wasn't much.

Within a few weeks I had found a job, working at a nursing home across the street from our flat.  I worked there for over a year.  It wasn't the nicest job in the world.  The other girls were very coarse and ignorant, and treated me very badly . . . because I was churchy and didn't drink or smoke, and a foreigner to boot!  I left there to work at a Service Station with Todd and took courses part time to upgrade my skills, studying to become a Chef as well as a Medical Secretary, with the idea in mind that when he retired retired, we would seek employment for me in one of those fields.

As it turned out I was employed full time as a Personal Chef, and we ended up moving down South and spent 7 1/2 years down there, living and working in a beautiful environment.  It was kind of like living in a dream actually, especially the first 5 or 6 years.  I was paid very well.  We got to live in a beautiful cottage, with beautiful gardens.  I got to work in a home with historical value and filled with beautiful things . . . we were isolated in a sort of bubble actually.  It was not like being in the real world.  It was an interesting experience and I learned a lot during those years . . . a lot about life and about many other things . . . I am glad I did it.

I was sorry when it ended, and upset as you will probably all remember, but upon looking back at that time . . .  I can now see that it was the best thing to happen for us . . . God's timing was perfect as it is in all things, and now we are here back where we started, those twelve years ago . . . having come full circle . . . and life is good,  and I am glad.  I have always loved Chester.  We no longer live in a one bedroom flat . . . nor do we live in a beautiful Country cottage, but God has been good to us, and we have a very comfortable three bedroom home with a huge garden.  We love each other very much, if not more than we did when we began our lives together, and I could not imagine being anywhere else on earth.  Here is where I belong and  exactly where I want to be.

Over the twelve years I have seen four of my five children get married, and six grandchildren born.  My baby boy has grown into a man with a good career in the Canadian Air Force, and I would be lying if I said I did not miss living closer to them, and to my parents.  I miss them incredibly, but thanks to the wonder of Modern Technology the world is a much smaller place now, and instant communication is at our fingertips, with Face Time on the i-pad and other things. 

As I ponder over the past twelve years I can see how very wonderful they have been and how very far I have come.   I could never have conceived when I stepped off that plane the great adventure I would take and all the wonderful people I would meet,  and the things which I would experience in the ensuing years . . . my life has been truly amazing and so very, very good. I am so glad I took the chance and lost sight of the shore.

"You can never cross the ocean, unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore."

As the month of October draws to a close . . . the air begins to smell of frosted windfalls.  Leaves drift down leaving most of the branches bare and we begin to see more sky.  The nights draw in earlier and cold seeps in through the cracks beneath the doors and catches out bones . . . tis the time for candlelit nights and fires to warm your toes by, mugs of hot chocolate and lap blankets . . . canoodling by the fire.

I miss the long summer twilights . . . when the day seems to linger indefinitely, but mornings now hold a certain sparkle, and I love to see the shadows of our home fall across the garden, gilded with silver frost after the sun has melted the rest of the crystals on the grass . . . our lives caught up in a crystal palace as it were. If only for a short moment in time, we can be Kings and Queens . . .

"Voices calling and laughing were carried on the wind like Fall Leaves."


Baking in The English Kitchen today . . . a very autumnal bake of Butternut Squash Baked with Tomatoes and Cheese.

Please keep the people affected by Hurricane Sandy in your hearts and prayers.

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