Here I sit. In my family’s heritage. With my youngest son, on the edge of a stubble field. All I can hear is the wind whistling the long grasses and trees, birds singing and cooing, the odd insect buzzing past. And possibly some thunder in the distance. No cars or trains, drunks or kids, dishwashers or washing machines. Just the odd coo from my youngest. Just us and peace. The silence of a valley in evening.
And my thoughts. Lately I’ve been more aware of my age, turning 30, and my parents’ ages with my Dad turning 60. That, along with the birth of another grandchild for them, and the realisation coming that they are now the age my own grandparents were when they were my grandparents (none of which I still have). And a very close friend of mine’s father is seriously ill which has been sobering and made me really look at how I spend my time and what’s important to me in life.
So I’ve come away to spend a couple of nights in my parents house in Suffolk. Tonight I’m in Assington. A sleepy village near Sudbury. My mothers home, place of growing up, marriage and memories. I’m sitting over looking my grandparents’ farm.
The place I visited as a child, spent summers wandering. Learnt to fish, row, paddle, climb trees, get stung, pick doc leaves. Where I saw my first bonfire, watched fireworks, toasted my pajamas by the fire. Where we went badger watching, hunted Easter eggs all the way up the drive in brambles, collected chicken eggs. Where we turned wood, built dens, played in the old caravan. Where Granny fell in the mud, the only time I ever heard her swear, where she welcomed us with the warmest arms you could imagine, made stories come to life. Where she made her hands crack from gardening, her beautiful garden, prize winning fruit and vegetables. With a stream running through and ‘little Menorca’ a tiny beach on the stream. Where we had freedom, free rein to do as we pleased.
Where she made pottery with us, helped us glaze and paint. Where we scaled the walls of the ‘sand pit’, a huge excavation in the side of a hill exposing yellow sand.
Where we got up at 5am and no one cared so we crept downstairs with Granny for tea and dunking before breakfast. Where we had blankets and layers, not quilts. And ice on the inside of windows. Where the phone rang on a bell in the yard and where Grandpa would let us drive his car on the track.
Where Granny was a magic person who made our childhood such a wonderful happy time. Teaching us about nature and having fun. Laughing.
She was an extremely special and kind person.
I’m sitting here in the middle of what was our farm, certain she would be proud of what it’s turned in to. Sad that she never got to meet my babies. Sad that my babies won’t know this special place. Happy that the silver birch I planted and named Fred is still there, in front of the house. Happy that I was so lucky to have known her and experienced this special place.
Happy that my son’s Granny, is here, happy that she is so like her mum. Happy that they love her like I love my Granny and happy that she is making special memories for them.
I love this place.