A Mother Time

by Penny Mleaf2

While contemplating my next blog, I realised that I turned my new leaves over months before New Year’s Day 2014 had a chance to survive the fireworks and reverie. Resolutions were therefore not required. Now that we are in March, after a phenomenal couple of months, I feel I should mark the occasion.

For me, there are few places better than the UK for Christmas. I guess that’s because I was born there and have memories of my father sneaking up the stairs with the stockings at midnight, frosted glass and grass, baubles, tinsel, mince pies, brandy butter, gammon, cranberry jelly and roast parsnips. No matter how hard I tried to recreate the traditional lunch, it was never the same in the humidity of a Durban summer.Frosty Somerset morning

I began this year with my parents in their Somerset home, following a sumptuous meal with their friends at a farm in the English countryside. Above is a view of their back garden, my mother’s wonderland.

After several years of matchsticks until sultry midnights climaxed with self-imposed, lonely views of crackling gunpowder showers over the ocean, local sound effects and calls to children wherever they were, it was pleasant to spend New Year’s Eve with parents and people.

Until my son and then my daughter and her family emigrated to Australia, apart from each New Year’s Eve, and a few years (a couple of decades ago) when I was supposed to watch the share markets as a part of my job, I never seriously considered that anybody else, besides God, was awake when I went to bed.

 “Time is what keeps everything from happening at once.”
― Ray Cummings, The Girl in the Golden Atom

Communications became complicated. Melbourne, where my son stays, is eight or nine hours ahead of Durban and one or two hours ahead of Brisbane where my daughter lives, depending upon daylight saving. The UK is one or two hours behind Durban. My brother lives in California which makes it even more complex. To clarify then, as I write this in Brisbane at midday on Monday 17 March, it is one o’ clock in the afternoon in Melbourne, four o’clock in the morning in Durban, two o’clock in the morning in the UK, and seven on Sunday evening in California. I am literally way ahead of my brother.

For the first time since I returned to employment, a quarter of a century ago (eish!), I didn’t have to rush back from the UK for work, school or anybody else. It was like falling into a liquid-centred chocolate pudding. When I eventually emerged four weeks later and tripped back to South Africa, it was to organise my life prior to my trip to Australia. Five and a half weeks squashed into a couple of days of reality in between puddings. I have arrived in Brisbane for two months of mother and granny blessings, interspersed with tapping keys and swiping screens.

 Oh the bliss of being a writer no matter what the time and where. There is always somebody awake to ponder my musings.

 A belated Happy New Year to our precious readers
We would love to hear from you so please Comment.


3 thoughts on “A Mother Time

  1. Sue says:

    Well contemplated Penny. I have recently acquired a new phone and was delighted to find a world clock app. So now, at the swipe of a finger I can find out the time in San Francisco, Cape Town, London and Peru. Yay! By the way I love your mom’s garden.

    • jacky says:

      Well done Penny – nice one. Maths has never been my strongest point, in fact I must admit to being math-deprived; same goes for the concept of infinity, light years and time lapse. One son-in-law is a keen amateur astronomer and sends the most amazing images of galaxies (?) he’s found, highly coloured and terribly interesting IF one can grasp that particular nettle so to speak. I hope he never unearths my weakness – and I’ll happily stay with the one known factor in my life, we’re either one or two hours ahead of the UK, and leave the Brisbane and Vancouver time problems to others to work out! Happy days.

  2. Susan says:

    Lovely blog, Penny. It must have been wonderful to have a wintry UK Christmas with all the traditional trimmings, and no urgency to get back here. Sue, I have a similar app on my phone that tells me the time in Melbourne and Auckland, so I can hazard a guess at what my family might be doing in those places at any particular time. It’s always odd to think when I wake up that their day is winding down while mine is just beginning. I have now added San Francisco so I can work out what time of the day you are in. You are usually still in the day before which gets very confusing…

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