Sacrifice.

The car in front of me ignores the green light as a shining clean police motorbike pulls into the centre of the junction and stops. The rider dismounts and I’m frantically trying to recall the page in the Highway Code that lists the signals used when the police are directing traffic.  While looking round, nosey as ever, wanting to know what this guy is doing. I mean, police officer or not the signals seem to be working fine so his presence seems a little out of place. We get a lot of police activity around here – its not the best of neighborhoods but I’ve never seen these bikes here before.

The man in front of me begins to multitask, still controlling the flow or rather the halt of traffic, then begins to stare down that queue of traffic behind me and signal to some of the motorists that have pulled up more towards the centre of the lane that they must move over. Whatever the mystery that is off to the right where this police officer came from is coming my way…

5 minutes of waiting… a second slow moving police bike arrives and progresses down the road beside me.  a third… a forth…wow this must be important. Now there’s a pair of them emerging to the right, riding together blocking the lane completely and that’s when I see it: the front of a disturbingly polished black car moving so mournfully slow my heart sinks as the hearse pulls fully into the junction in front of me carrying its heroic passenger on their final journey

The coffin is surrounded by flowers and draped with the union jack… A fallen soldier who’s name is unknown to me. As the car slowly progresses past me I find myself feeling a tiny bit sick. The regimental insignia now visible as the sacrificed stranger passes my window. All the air is pushed from my lungs in one long… I have no words. Sigh.

My driving instructor sat beside me calmly reminds me that all I can do is wait patiently and do as the police officer tells me, but he misses the point. Sigh.

Its the first time I’ve come face to face with the massive sacrifices that some are making for the benefit of many and I recount the sad story to Gadget Guy later who has obviously seen this more than me … “we’ve lost more” he says by way of explanation rather than accusation. To which I can only reply “But we’ve lost enough.”

We have all lost enough.

To my unknown solider hero and all who loved you: Thank you.  I am so sorry.

News report: a further 4 British lives were sacrificed  in Afghanistan today, Will we ever learn ?  So sad.  

Ali xX

3 weeks today ……..

I’m going to America!!  YEAH! 😀

Well, if my passport comes home in time that is… but it will… RIGHT? I had to send off all my ID’s as part of the income assessment of my student bursary for next year. You know, the pittance of money they are going to give me to live off when I become a student midwife in September. Still I’m not complaining because you know any money to live off is good news and AND for the first time in three years I’ll be able to sign off benefit. I’ll be back to working for my keep 🙂

Anyways, I sent the form off last week and my passport should return home in its special delivery envelope by next Tuesday. It should. If everything goes according to plan it will be back about a week before I have to leave. Am I nervous about this tight schedule?  JUST A LITTLE!!! Please keep your fingers crossed for me and my trusty passport that we can go on our adventures again as planned. It will be a massive sigh of relief when Mr. Passport comes home I can tell you.

So far on my six week adventure I have time planned in New York, Washington D.C. (whyyy do you guys have towns with a name and states with the same name MILES AND MILES from each other? It confuses my Brit Brain) Las Vegas uh huh uh huh I’m going to Vegas Baby! (mmhmm I’m taking a bunch of people who aren’t scared of Vegas with me to help me out lol)  I’ll be spending a considerable amount of time dropping in and out of Chicago so please wish Mr. and Mrs. Gadget Guy good luck with the British ahem… Scottish invasion.  I have one more week where I just can’t decide where to go and its driving me round the twist … I really want to do L.A. but not being able to drive (yet- think positive) seems to make this mighty impractical. I neeeeeed to decide soon… did I mention I leave in THREE WEEKS. 😀

College results finally dropped through my letter box this week … I didn’t quite do as well as I was hoping to at the beginning of the year and only scored a pass in five modules  but I also scored 2 merits and 9 distinctions and am well above my entry requirements for university sooooo … I really will be a student midwife when I come back from my summer of fun !

Getting Excited.

Ali xX

The Macdonalds

A cynic sat among the cathedral congregation: the music gently plays… men in kilts, fancy dresses… Mother dressed in pink, father oh so proud, a woman whose smile sparkles more than her stunning white dress, A handsome kilted man waits…

“Do you take this man ….?  I do”   The first of my two closest high school friends becomes someone’s Mrs. One of our trilogy is Married. Even the cynic wipes a subtle tear from her cheek believing for this moment that a wedding makes all the sense in the world. Musical Miss kissed her groom to the sound of popping champagne corks and shall hence forth be known as Musical Mrs.

Wonderful sunshine, good food, great friends… It truly was a beautiful wedding. Running like clockwork, no stress, no awkward standing around and even reasonably priced drinks at the bar but these physical details are tiny compared to the joy written on the happy couples faces all day long.  A truly loving union of families it was wonderful to watch. And who could help but cheer at the news that Dad’s aging old Jaguar had made it to the church on time, or at the appearance of the childhood friend Soft the teddy bear, testament we were told to the bride’s loving nature and proof that she would love her fiends not for a short time but until they are literally falling apart.  There was perhaps only a slight hint of jealously as the many talents of family and friends were displayed: a song written for the happy couple, a violin tune so lilting and lovingly played by a young girl whose skill leaves many adult fiddlers in her shadow. Even their own Scottish reel “The Merry Macdonald” created by friends and danced into the late hours of the festivities.

Yes, it was a soppy overflow of love with a sprinkling of the usual wedding traditions but in no way did this day feel cliché. It seemed to flow as a natural celebration of my friend and her man.  I truly am grateful I was able to share it with them.

Maybe this wedding thing isn’t so bad…

Much love luck health and happiness to you both and I do hope we continue to be friends until we are falling apart.

All my love

Ali xx

Priceless

Family time – I finally made it up to visit my mother’s parents in their new house which they moved into last JULY, almost a year ago. I fail as the loving granddaughter but between college, volunteering and other things that have happened this year I just never seemed to have a few days in a row with which to make the trip to see my granny and granddad.

Happy that I finally made it to make some memories in this new abode. Troon on the west coast of Scotland has been home to members of my mum’s family for years and I’ve always liked the seaside town. Gran was like queen of her new castle; pleased as punch she told me she had always wanted a bungalow. Finally in her late eighties her wish has come true. She wishes they had done it years ago… and to be honest so do I. This newer, smaller more accessible home with the all important garden big enough for two suits them perfectly.

There are, of course, the numerous comical stories which result from staying with a couple who have been married 65 years. YES 65!!  Who are both well into their eighth decade.

Quiet time – my granddad whose hearing is failing “accidently” forgets to put his hearing aid in some days just to get a few hours peace from the women invaders (my gran, my mother and me).  Much shouting and confusion results and he just smiles.

Teamwork- My granddad still drives but can’t always remember where he’s going.  He needs his navigator in the front seat yelling in her broad Scottish accent “It’s the other way! TURN AROUND!!”   There is nothing like approaching a junction in the road and barely hearing the driver mumble “now is this one a roundabout or a junction?”  The journeys have gotten much more hair raising for me ever since I’ve been learning to drive and have some clue what’s meant to be happening in a car.

Dinner time – My loving granny always makes a dinner for me after my long journey. Unfortunately this time she forgot that I’m able to chew my food and don’t need her special modifications which make their meals denture proof.  I swallowed it anyway. I mean she’s been making me dinners for nearly 28 years.  It’s not in my heart to tell her to stop.

Bed time – I felt like a 5 year old again when I found out I would be sleeping on an inflatable mattress at the end of my mummies’ bed. I fought for half an hour to get the thing inflated and having not slept the night before I even had an earlier bed time. You should have seen my grandparent’s expressions when on pouring their night caps the kid calmly rejects the weak orange and states that she’ll have a brandy as well please.  That brandy helped me sleep but so did listening to my grandparents talking and giggling in bed together like teenage lovers. Age- its just a number huh?

Money – Granddad strongly expressing his disapproval as I try to treat them to lunch during one outing. He shot across the dinning room and practically pushed me out of the way! Later they both tell me “we go out for lunch a lot now, seeing as we are not able to go on holidays anymore we have to find someway to spend our money.”  I giggled.  Grandparents: you rock! 

Love – I was awoken one night by my grandmothers shouting. It turns out my granddad bless him had fallen asleep during one of his several nightly trips to the bathroom (bladders age too people!) After he had been away from bed for a while his wife had become concerned. I hear her shouting through the bathroom door, I actually hear my granddad wake up – he must have been sound asleep. Granny goes back to bed but only after she’s been told three times I’m OK! through the bathroom door.   

Yeah they have a lot of little quirks that have come with age, but you know as a person who is fiercely independent I have got to express my admiration. They are still living independently, looking after each other and having a good time.  My granddad growing the veg and his wife making the garden look pretty tending to her flowers!  Hopefully will be well into the future..

We’ve had out ups and downs over the years, but the smiles when I walked through the door and the hugs their surprise visitor received… those my friends are priceless.

I had to share my granny was oh so proud of this. She called it her prettiest flower. It graces her garden opening up only on very sunny days.

Ali
xx