Road Trip to Brighouse Bay.

 

As a young boy in Kirkcudbright,

Dad sat on the harbour wall eating fish n chips.

Summer bliss.

 

Wet and windy August Bank holiday

Returning to old haunts with Dad,

Trip down memory lane,

Eating haddock and chips

In the bandstand in the rain.

© Alison Jean Hankinson

My offering for d’Verse after a blissful weekend away in the caravan taking a trip down memory lane with Dad.

 

 

Cocoa Beach

 

It was to be the holiday of a lifetime, reunited as a family following my husband’s “unexpected” tour of duty in Iraq, we had planned a two-week vacation to Florida. Emily was devoted to Mickey Mouse and it had been her plea that had prompted me to book the holiday to keep our spirits up in those long terrifying months. We booked a stay in Orlando near Old Kissemmee and a week in Cocoa Beach so we could visit Cape Canaveral and venture as far as Daytona Beach and the Harley Davidson shop.

It was everything it had promised to be and more, we had breakfast with Donald Duck, watched the Disney Parade, saw Snow White, melted in the heat, saw real raccoons, bought trinkets in the old town of Kissemmee. We set off in the early hours of Friday 13th August to try to outrun Hurricane Charley and hoped to nestle in the safety of Cocoa Beach. Hurricane Charley had other ideas though and the hotel bravely hosted a hurricane party and we survived a little bit wet and flooded but mostly intact. Cocoa Beach Daytona and Orlando were all hit fairly badly but it didn’t spoil our holiday. There was a little eating place called Coconuts on the Beach and they served the best Nachos I have ever tasted and I always declare that if I ever win big in the lottery that my first treat will be a return visit to Cocoa Beach to bask in the heat and dine at Coconuts again, I believe it is still there.

 

Cocoa beach summer

Nacho-time at Coconuts

Hurricane hits hard.

 

©Alison Jean Hankinson

Tonight at d’Verse we were asked to write about a memorable vacation and this was one of my favourites.

Love you to Timbuktu and back…

My mind has gone to Timbuktu

I’d like to meet it there

It may be buried amongst some books

In a scholarly “libraire”.

 

I used to know the names of towns

And fun places by the sea

But now I can’t remember where

Or what I have eaten for my tea.

 

I think it is still a novelty

To see you sitting here with me

Your face is strangely familiar

Your love and kindness plain to see.

 

You take my hand with tenderness and press it firm against your face

Somewhere my memory stirs anew and I remember your embrace.

 

©Alison Jean Hankinson

According to the WHO globally there are about 47 million people who have dementia, with about 9.9 million new cases each year.

This is going to be my contribution to open link night for d’Verse. With love.

Towards Troubled Waters.

 

When I was loved by you I knew who I was

When I was loved by you the sun shone daily

And I could feel the warmth on my face

And there was a seductive security in your firm embrace.

 

When I was loved by you I could rest a while

When I was loved by you I could close my eyes

And hear your gentle breath through my restless slumber

In my turbid life you were my shelter and human anchor.

 

Now I am lost at sea, tossed and torn on turbulent tides

And you have left me for the love of another

Eyes wide open and sleep eludes me now.

 

Whose pillow will support my weary head

As I sail away from the safe shelter of your love

I stow the anchor slowly as the windlass grinds to a halt.

 

©Alison Jean Hankinson.

This was written for d’Verse where Bjorn challenged us to write an Italian sonnet. I have no idea if this lives up to what I understood of the form but I did give it a go. The image was from Wikimedia and labeled for reuse.

carl_bille_-_et_skib_pc3a5_et_stormfuldt_hav

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shadows of yesterday, promises of tomorrow.

Today we took my Dad’s caravan to Kirkudbright for him. As this year has progressed I have learned to accept that it isn’t about the wealth we have or the belongings that we possess but about the moments we share with the people that we love.

Mum passed away in August 2008, she is probably still giving someone grief up there for how untimely that was at 64, as she had worked all her life and never got to draw her pension. I had emigrated to New Zealand in 2006 with my husband and the girls, and got stuck with our property falling into negative equity following the global recession and no hope of returning to the UK, and I didn’t even make it home for the funeral.

My sister held everything together. She helped Dad and sorted affairs and then continued to shoulder the weight of Dad’s illness. He was diagnosed with cancer less than six months after mum’s passing and the weight loss that we had put down to grief was actually the cancer eating away at him. He had some major surgery to remove a lung and was given fairly low odds of survival, but survive he did, and whilst he was unable to receive any chemotherapy, he was too ill and frail, he slowly healed and recovered. He was never really able to return to being an active solo captain on his boat without his beloved bosun and the years rolled by until in 2011 he got his beloved Emma dog. He then grew from strength to strength and got his first camper van in 2013, followed by an upgrade in 2015. In 2016 finally after seven years, we managed to sell our house in NZ and we returned home at the beginning of 2017.

Fast forward to today and the latest roadtrip as we were able to drive Dad’s newly acquired caravan north to Kirkudbright for him. It is these moments that make all the complexities and turmoil of the last decade somewhat worthwhile.

Driving to Kirkudbright itself was a trip down memory lane, we often went there camping as a family when we were younger, as Dad had lived there as a child. Ironically Galloway had also been a favourite haunt of my husband’s family. My husband and I honeymooned for 2 nights along the same Galloway route at the Isle of Whithorn in 1994, the car breaking down in Dumfries on the way, robbing us of a night’s money. We then camped and visited Dumfries and Galloway fairly regularly in our early marriage even partying on down for Hogmany in Portpatrick with friends on numerous occasions. Emily learned a lot on the journey northward. Every name on every road sign brought back some distant memory and now there was a new excitement as what we were embarking on was a new adventure, and a new opportunity to create new memories both for and with Dad.

Our lives can and do change so rapidly. It is important to treasure and cherish each moment that is of meaning and see it for its true value and worth especially when we live in troubling times where values seem to be challenged and dropped so readily and with such ease.

I was glad to be able to have today. I hope there will be many more days like today.

It was a day full of promise. It took a long time to get here but we got here in the end.

©Alison Jean Hankinson

Are you going away with no word of farewell?

 

Mother

Died suddenly

Bereft beyond belief

I mourn her untimely passing

Tears shed

 

Still night

Stars beguile me with their beauty

My heartfelt loss immense

Grief engulfs me

Silence.

 

©Alison Jean Hankinson

This is for d’Verse poetics. It is a reverse cinquain? My song choice was Tom Paxton. “The last thing on my mind”.

Tom Paxton

It’s a lesson too late for the learning
Made of sand, made of sand

It will soon be the anniversary, she passed away in 2008, suddenly without saying goodbye, she was 64, and I was on the other side of the world and didn’t even get home for the funeral. We all feel it still. She was my mum.