That Day, That Day, Again, Again the 13th April - 5 years ago by daintydora

This day 5 years ago - 13th April 2010 - my mum had a brain hemorrhage and spent a month in hospital. Amazingly, she lived. Every day is a gift and more than anything; that day, that day, brought it home to me how precious life is as moments slip between fingers into the cracks of memory.

On the first year anniversary of that day, 13th April, we spent the day out in the West End of Glasgow. Here's an extract of what I wrote then in a blog post called 'West End Day':

Had a fun day out in the West End yesterday with the madre. It was a year to the day since... and we wanted to make it special.
Was it a coincidence that browsing through a box of old postcards in a vintage shop I found a bundle of Marine Art Poster postcards and I knew before I saw it there was going to be one depicting the very ship that began my mother's journey from the place of her birth to the rest of her life?
The Cunard line ship that brought home my Mother and my Nana from South Africa in 1946 – the Samaria. The one I researched for hours online and described in my prose for 'the family saga' with a searing accuracy? I was stunned and elated to secure that postcard.
This discovery sparked a recounting of remembered events and experiences, all entirely pertinent to the plot at hand. Had I known that the Samaria had in fact been chopped up for match wood at the end of its useful life? No.
How many matches – 500,000? 500,000,000? A billion? How many stories did that ship have the pleasure (or the pain) of igniting in its lifetime? How many lives did it unwittingly touch?
And then: a gift for me.
An original copy of Tamara De Lempicka's 'Girl with Gloves’.
When I was studying Higher Art I was obsessed with chiaroscuro and the artists that painted or drew in that technique (still am.)
My mum said that day it was a gift of "a beautiful woman, from a beautiful woman, to a beautiful woman."

Girl with Gloves - Tamara de Lempicka

Art Deco elegance, that careful poise, the coy but somehow sad tipping of the wide-brimmed hat. The enduring sage of her dress that sometimes appears emerald, other times dampened chartreuse. She is herself a Pandora of possible - and impossible - interpretations and from now on she will be my muse. My lady luck with the joyous curls and sharp gloves concealing vixen-talons.

What a wonderful, wild-weathered whisper of a day. How I never thought we would have another 5 years together of chatter and laughing and bickering and dancing. But we did and we have. Here's to the next 5, 10, 15, 20, 25...

It was significant. Today is significant. Every day is significant.

PS. And today there was cake! A Victoria sponge with fresh cream and jam!


Friday Diary: thoughts of autumn leaves by daintydora

I've been collecting and photographing leaves for the past few weeks now, becoming a bit obsessed. I love all the colours and hues and shapes that nature creates. The natural world is but a beautiful kaleidoscope. A leaf and moss

Everyone who knows me, knows just how much I love autumn (have I mentioned that before?), and it's clear from going over old diaries and journals that I've written about autumn endlessly. It was interesting then to find this short extract which references autumn leaves:

If you’re travelling, you’re in transit. Not in any particular place. It’s a strange limbo between two worlds. I had left but hadn't arrived, was with no-one and didn't need to do anything at all. I was untraceable for that fleeting moment.
Staring out at the passing landscape and scenery, I wrote down what I saw. The leaves that autumn were almost edible in the descriptions I gave them: marmalade, tangerine, cinnamon, ohre.

Autumn Leaves, The Magpie Diaries Leaves in the Wood

On certain days, the colours drain away, become more like shadows. I love the power of black and white.

Black & White Leaf

And every journey has a beginning, an end, and some bends in the road...

Bend in the Road

Finally, as I was thinking about writing this post, a tiny leaf blew in the window and landed right on the keyboard of my laptop. Autumn is my season.

A leaf landed on my laptopHappy autumn days to everyone.



The Emerald Earring by daintydora

Emerald earring I take the hexagonal box down from the shelf and run my finger over the decorative stained glass panel. The colour has begun to peel; etched away by time and touch. Inside the wooden confines a vibrant rainbow of life shimmers out from red velveteen pockets and compartments speckled with dust.

I spy tiger's eye and gold and coral and paste and ivory and lapis lazuli and agates from the Western Cape. There are rings and earrings and a couple of brooches, and a special hair clip that I wore as a child; all safely stowed away in Nana's jewellery box.

Nana’s jewellery box brimming with the celebratory threads of her life, her treasure. The cherished place where secrets fell, tangled in silver and gold. A quiet place. A calm place. Save for all those memories and colours vying for the limelight.

Grazing the individual pieces with my finger; the gold knot earrings, the amethyst ring, I am transported back to the stories Nana told me as a young girl. From the top of Table Mountain and its airless misty scrub of heat and weeds, to the beach at Kalk Bay dancing with shells and late-afternoon swimmers; my Nana the lifeguard who swam with the sharks.

And then my eyes fall to the emerald earring.

Just one. It’s contours alive with it’s vibrant energy caught between leaves of gold. How sad to keep just one of a pair, the other mislaid, lost, stolen, gone. Where does it rest now? Is it equally preserved in a box of wooden calm; revered and clasped with grace and love?

Nana didn't wear her jewels unless occasion demanded and I wonder just how many occasions she might have had. Back in the days when she was young and stayed out dancing to the Afrikaans music she called 'tikkie driver’ and loved so much. When she wasn't restricted by a cornucopia of medicines for blood pressure and angina and heart problems.

She loved green. I remember a green dress she had with huge white flowers on, and a pea-green raincoat she often wore. The emerald earrings would have set her face alight, contrasting with her bright white hair. I'm not sure now what her natural colour would have been.

She told me once that her hair turned white overnight when she heard the news that her mother had died days after she set sail for Southampton from Cape Town. She hadn't known that anything was wrong. It would take too long to go back. She never got to say goodbye.

Emerald is fire, strength. The jewel of her jewels.

They say that stones take on the vibrations of their owners, be it pebbles on the beach or tumbled stones to semi-precious and precious stones. I wonder about the missing earring and if it was tossed aside or perhaps repurposed as a brooch.

The fire lives on, I'm sure, that fearless passion and light, the stone simply a conduit, a mirror for it’s surroundings.

My mind filled once again with thoughts of Table Mountain, and the ashes that were scattered from its airless heights, I restore the precious cargo of jewels, more precious and rich in memory than money could ever afford, to their neat red valleys and place Nana’s jewellery box back on its shelf.

This short story was inspired by the image of the emerald earring, taken by my 'blog-buddy' Karen who writes at Leaf & Petal. Read Karen's corresponding post to see how the image inspired her.


9th May diary - remembering the day I got engaged by daintydora

This is a diary right? Because I remember exactly what I was doing this time eight years ago. Eight? Is it really eight? Since 9th May 2006? Yep.

It was one of those defining moments in life that becomes a flashbulb memory.

Yes. I remember it all! I remember how the day started, and how it ended, and all the bits in-between.

That day, we awoke at 5am, in time to greet the sunrise as the ship pulled in to Port Said, Egypt. I took a photograph of the scene; a modern-day version of Monet's Impression Sunrise, the orange of the sun melting into the murky blue waves. It was hazy and dreamy, just like an Impressionist painting.

Impression, Sunrise - Port Said Impression, Sunrise - Port Said Impression, Sunrise - Port Said

We were on a 3-day trip to Egypt from Cyprus; our first holiday together.

We journeyed into Cairo, in convoy, with a ship-load of other tourists. Even when we were wandering through the treasures of the museum, amidst the jewels and artifacts and sarcophagi, I could feel the rocking motion of the waves as if we were still at sea.

We saw the pyramids at Giza, leaving a little disappointed by the McDonald's so close by, and the scaffolding surrounding the Sphinx, and the street kids that could ask for money in multiple languages. But, it was still an experience to be there, at the foot of the great pyramids - an amazing once-in-a-lifetime experience.

And then we had lunch on the Nile. It was wider than I had thought it would be, and a murky turquoise blue.

The Nile, Egypt

And we went to a Papyrus factory to watch some papyrus being made. And bought some traditional Egyptian images on papyrus. And collected the Egyptian gold ring that spelled out my name in hieroglyphics.

22-carat Egyptian gold.

One of two rings that was bought for me that day.


And the day whirled on; a dizzying unfolding of heat and wonder and dust and learning about the Egyptian culture and then back to the ship. Sleep. Wash. Dress for dinner.

After dinner we went on deck to get some air and it felt like the day we had just experienced was more than just one day - at least two days or three. The wine went to my head and I was happy and in love and on holiday, soaking it all up.

And then he proposed to me. He proposed to me. And I said 'Yes'.

And I put on the ring. And it was a certified conflict-free diamond in a classic princess cut. And we went to the bar and ordered drinks and we giggled, giddy, happy. I wanted to phone my Mum.

And there was a live band and they started singing a Simon & Garfunkel song (I LOVE Simon & Garfunkel! This is love!) and the song they sang, right after we got engaged, was... 'Bye Bye Love'. And I LOVE that song...but it wasn't the song I would have chosen or imagined at that moment, that moment, but we looked at each other and laughed and it was funny and we didn't care and we were ENGAGED. Eight years ago today.

And then we thought it might be nice if we made our wedding day 9th May (2009). It seemed fitting somehow. But then I realised I wasn't a 'planner'. I wanted it to be about love, LOVE, LOVE! And my favourite season is Autumn.

So we moved the wedding. Forward. And got married in October 2008. The 9th May 2009 didn't turn out to be the day we got married. But it WAS the day that I got engaged.

Here's a 9th May poem I wrote in 2009, which would have, could have, been my wedding day, (it rained that day too):

I looked out of the window and it was dark and grey and dank. Dark and grey and dank; and raining.
Trees blustered in the wind. They were green - green and grey and wet. The trees were green and grey and the day was dark and dank.
It should have been my wedding day.