fiction and other writing

Archive for the ‘Autobiography’ Category

Photography Course

Today we went on a photography course in Stalybridge run by Peter Aitchison. It was a course for beginners with the main aims to help participants understand their cameras and be able to take photos not using ‘auto’.

Peter explained the ins and outs of how to use the camera. With support we all learned the basics and what the various buttons and menus on our cameras did. Then we went out and about in Stalybridge practising our new skills.

After lunch we shared our photos and Peter gave us more guidance on what we had achieved and what could be improved. You can check out Peter Aitchison’s website here if you want to know more.

Here are some of my photographs.


Camping in Somerset

We have just come back from a short camping break in Somerset. It was our first holiday in a touring caravan. My husband towed the caravan brilliantly. He’s a very good driver anyway and he’d taken a caravan towing course.

We arrived at Waterrow Touring Park and were shown to our pitch. My better half backed onto the pitch with no problems. Everyone at the site was very friendly and the facilities were clean. Waterrow is situated in a beautiful rural setting and the River Tone is nearby. The scenery was just beautiful.

I had an enjoyable week attending an art course which was run at the camp site. The tutor was Kevin Middleton. The idea of the art course was to spend as much time as possible out of doors, drawing and painting. Unfortunately we had torrential rain for the entire week, so the course was spent in the art studio. The studio was a converted barn that was heated and had facilities for making hot drinks. There were eight students altogether and we covered a variety of topics. Many of the students are returners and us newbies intend to return.

Taunton is about half an hour away and Glastonbury about an hour away. In this area if towing the caravan don’t follow the satnav as it’ll take you down ever decreasing tracks. If you want to learn more about Waterrow site or the art course visit

Camping (autobiographical)

I went camping at The Bay View Camp Site in Pevensey Bay last week. It is a small friendly site within a two minute walk of the pebbled beach. The beach was virtually deserted. Although it was raining heavily in Cheshire the weather in the South was warm and dry. It was the first time I really had spent much time in my little van. It’s a Romahome R10 Solo and caused quite a bit of interest, because of its tiny size. Basically it consists of a chair and table that turn into a six foot four inch bed, a sink with cold water, porta potti and a two ring gas cooker. The roof raises as you can see in the picture, which means you can stand up. It has electrical hook up so I’ve added a kettle, which is very handy.

I had a really good time camping. Lying in bed at night I could hear the waves on the beach. It was beautiful. I’d packed my little electric cool box with lots of my favourite foods and had plenty of tea, so I was happy. My van was warm in the evenings but first thing in the morning there was a chill in the air. I switched on the low voltage fan heater for five minutes and was as warm as toast.

In the evenings I watched Pride and Prejudice on my net book. A good overdose of Jane Austen is always a pleasure. During the daytime I hopped on the 99 bus to Eastbourne and spent time with my mother and sister.

Pevensey Bay – just outside the camp site.

The campsite was quiet but I met some interesting people and everywhere was very clean. On the Friday evening the place filled up and if I have a criticism it would be that the pitches were a little small. It didn’t bother me but those with massive motor homes and two cars weren’t too impressed. For those with children there was a small play area and a little pet corner. For adults there’s golf and fishing nearby. The Marina, which has lots of eating places, is about a mile away. I’d certainly recommend this campsite and if you want to check it out visit their website.

The Case of the Missing Earring – autobiographical

Why is it that you never lose a pair of earrings? It’s always one! Friday 2 March 2012 came and I was due to go to my writing group. I wanted to put on my favourite earrings; a pair of tiny dropped opal earrings, set in gold. I went to my bedside cabinet, where there is a small tray. As I go to bed I take off my earrings and place them in the tray, but when I looked, to my horror, there was only one earring.

I looked on the floor and then went on my hands and knees and felt the soft tufts of carpet hoping to find the minute piece of metal and stone. Then I grappled under the bed, pulling out bags and suitcases and felt along those surfaces. Time was running out. If I wanted to be on time I would have to leave soon.

I stripped the bed back and shook the bed clothes out, but no luck. After all these years of wearing those precious earrings one of them had gone walkabout. Of course they are not valuable in the monetary sense; they were special because my husband had bought them almost twenty years ago and I knew he had put a lot of time and effort in to choose something I liked.

It was a mystery how I could go to bed and place the earrings in the tray and one just jump out and run away, however I needed to leave and so I decided to put on my wedding earrings. They are gold circles that tumble together, much bigger than my favourite ones and a bit more dressy. They also have sentimental value but I wasn’t really in the mood to wear them.

Walking down the stairs I placed the left earring in my ear and tried to place the right one. I just couldn’t manage it whilst walking. There was no use rushing. I stopped in front of the mirror to put the right wedding earring in and then I had to laugh because there in my right ear was the other of my favourite earrings. Happily I ran back upstairs to get the one by my bed. Last night I must have taken one earring out and fallen asleep before taking out the other one. Well I thought – that’s old age for you!

The End and the Beginning

In the week my aunt died I experienced both intense sadness and joy. She was my favourite aunt; always interested in other people, caring, kind and non judgemental. Her death came quite quickly. In the last three weeks of her life I visited her for one day a week, which as she lived two hundred and fifty miles away, was not easy. I’m glad I had that time. She was my confidant and my friend. We always spoke for more than an hour on the phone each week. There was a space in my life after she died. I longed to talk to her.

A few days after she died, my first granddaughter was born. I was overwhelmed. To look at her brought such wonder into my heart. She was so tiny and beautiful. My son and his wife were radiant with love for this little bundle, although they shared my sadness too. My aunt had been looking forward to the new arrival and it made me sad that she never saw her great-great niece.

The funeral came and was a surreal experience. It’s strange how you can know someone so well and find out new things at their funeral. All her art class turned up. I knew she attended these as she often spoke about the people there in our long telephone conversations, but each one came, talked to us and told us a little snippet about their knowledge of her. It was obvious that they were very fond of her.

I had the privilege of doing her eulogy. At first I didn’t think I’d be able to speak. Then I looked across at my new granddaughter. Her first outing was to my Aunt’s funeral. I started to speak. I told the congregation about my Aunt’s achievements, her kindness and mentioned some occasions which many of us shared. It was obvious that she was loved and held dear by all the many people at the service.

For the first two years after she died, every time I thought of her I was engulfed in waves of sadness, but now six years have passed and when I think of her now I just feel her love. Of course I still wish she was here and I’m so glad she was my Aunt. I will always love her.

As for my granddaughter, she and my newer grandchildren are the apples of my eye. They bring all of us laughter, love and happiness. Something tells me that somewhere my Aunt sees and knows them too. I hope so.

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