Monday, February 22, 2016

You have Mail


If you sent a message out of the blue to your man saying "I love you" how do you think he would you respond?  A group of ladies attended seminar on how to live in a loving relationship with their husbands.The women were then told to send a text message to their husbands - "I love you, sweetheart." To make it more interesting, the women were asked to exchange cell phones and read aloud the text messages received.
These replies would will make you laugh or maybe, ponder a little.

1. Who the hell is this?
2. Eh, mother of my children, are you sick or what?
3. Yeah, and I love you too. What's up with you??
4. What now? Did you crash the car again?
5. I don't understand what you mean?
6. What did you do now?
7. ?!? #@*
8. Don't beat about the bush, just tell me how much you need?
9. Am I dreaming?
10. If you don't tell me who this message is actually for, someone will die.
11. I thought we agreed you wouldn't drink during the day.
12. Your mother is coming to stay with us, isn't she??

Very funny but sad too! Seems like the spark can go out in our relationships very easily  if we done keep the fire going. To keep a fire alive you need three components - All South Africans know this because we are a nation of firemakers - the braai or barbeque is a national sport! You need oxygen, heat and fuel.
Am goind to bed now to start a fire and tomorrow I will disclose how I did this!!!! 
I bet you cant wait!!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Enduring Love

Watcb this and ponder how enduring is your love - where and when did you realise this was the ONE.

This is an interesting TED talk about what love looks like - I found it interesting because is was not what I expected it to be and it made me realise that a random and unplanned act can change the course of our life irreversibly. I met Tony when I was an art student and needed to work to fund my studies. I was 19 and he was 20, He was an apprentice and needed extra money as he had been transferred to St Helens to continue his studies. Those two thing were the only things we had in common - we were both studying and had no money - we were married within 10 months and yet we shared a love that spanned 4 decades. Our love was built day by day from the challenges we faced and overcame. We had very little money and had our children young, and yet we overcame everything that life dished out and were determined to succeed.
Vernon and I also had little in common when we met - we share a love of nature and ......and ..... Well I cant think of anything else! We met in August and committed ourselves to each other the following June - also 10 month later - although V informed me on our second 'date' that he planned to 'marry' me by July the following year and I informed him that he was crazy! We also had challenges - living 800 and odd kilometers away from each other being the first - his fear of flying being the second and then there is a lodge in to run in Natal and my work here to consider. If that wasn't enough to keep us on our toes, then his illness entered our lives!
Where would my life have taken me if I hadn't been in that place at that time on both occasions or for that matter if they hadn't been in that place at that time? The life I am living now - my current reality - is a product of the choices I have made and yet most of my life changing choices have been made in a blink of an eye ....or in Vs case a wink! That's when you believe that its all meant to be and that we really have little control over what is destined for us in life. EVERY little thing is as it should be and we are all where we are absolutely were God needs us to be. Loving and being loved by those who have been sent to us by the universe!





Wednesday, February 17, 2016

I Love what I do

I love what I do! To spend time doing what you love and then to get paid for that creates the energy that fuels the passion that enables you to become your best at what you do. If that makes sense? Like a self charging battery. I once saw the Oprah Show in Johannesburg and remember a young woman asking, "What is the secret of success?" Oprah replied that you have to find what you are passionate about then become excellent at it and then success will follow. The working world would be a better place if we could all have this experience but we don't live in Oprah Land and to be realistic that's not possible especially not in our South African situation - some jobs require that you make a decision to fall in love with them every day. I find that the quickest way to change the way you feel about something (or someone) is to change the way you think about it (or them). So if you find your job is uninspiring, tedious or unfulfilling - ask yourself "What does my job do for me?" "How does my job help me to provide for myself and my loved ones" or "What skills are my work developing within me that will assist me in the future?" of "What can I do to make my work more enjoyable?" In other words looking for the positives creates a positive mindset and if you look for good in your work and in others you will find it. There is a wonderful DVD that I sometimes use in my work called "Celebrate what's right with the world." Its all about our perception of our circumstances and our environment and how it can shape not only our present but our future.
When I came to South Africa the only job I could get was in the office at Woolworths - I cant speak Afrikaans and it limited opportunities to work with people in business.I was grateful for that job - very grateful!  When I was shown the office where I would be working - the lady operating the switchboard picked up her bag and relocated to another desk as there was an unspoken rule - Last one in the office got to handle the switchboard as well as their other work! This was not the work I envisaged - but it was work! I had never managed a switchboard before and I can relate it to having a crying baby - when it wails you have to answer it no matter how busy you are - incoming calls are always urgent and as I was employed in accounts this 'crying baby' interrupted my calculations and my concentration and so it was hard to put a smile on my dial and in my voice, before I answered it! However, I made a decision to do it and do it well - I decided that I would see this disadvantage as an opportunity to learn and to get noticed - I got to speak to everyone in the company so it was great exposure AND I fielded all the Head Office calls so I got to know all the decision makers in Cape Town .......and for them to know me. Several months later a vacancy for a personnel assistant was created in PE and Mr Fourie the CEO in CT suggested to our branch manager that I should be given the opportunity based on my 'people' skills on the phone! That is how it works - That opportunity shaped the rest of my life, created the opportunity for me to study and  to discover my passion for HR and was the vehicle to get me to where I am today enjoying a job that I love.
PS - To this day I care deeply about an unattended ringing phone and I cant walk past one in WoolWorths - I have been know to answer the phone on the sales floor and call  a sales assistant to help LOL!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Romance in Rhyme

Just two of my favourite romantic poems today because its late and I am feeling too lazy to write my own!

I Carry Your Heart With Me by ee cummings

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in my heart)i am never without it(anywhere i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done by only me is your doing,my darling) i fear no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true) and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant and whatever a sun will always sing is you here is the deepest secret nobody knows (here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide) and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)
How do I love thee? by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. 
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Love is in the detail


So what did you do for Valentine's Day? We enjoyed a lovely evening with old friends who have clocked up more than a century of marriage between them last night and yes because its Valentines Day to day we did pay attention to a few details - dark pink roses, a beautiful pink table setting, chocolates and generally something red or pink but other than that it was just a divine catch-up with a magnificent sunset as a backdrop.  Valentine's Day is unfortunately another celebration that has been hijacked by consumerism and hyped up to the level of excess.
I remember it as a day for youngsters - single youngsters  - who would send anonymous cards through the post leaving you guessing who was your secret admirer. Maybe a flower left on your desk and perhaps the church would put on a social for star struck singletons!
 I went to the Boardwalk today as I spend Valentines Day with two of the loves of my life  - my grandies! There were a lots of couples strolling around hand in hand - many ladies dressed in red or pink some looking a little disappointed and one of the restaurants were handing sad looking single red roses out. The looked as if they were all sort of going along with it but lets face it - You don't need a special day to celebrate your love if you are happily settled with someone. That special day is already there - your wedding anniversary or the day your significant other made a commitment to you. It doesnt have to take the form of chocolate and rose petals, expensive perfume or jewelry.
Love is in the detail that is there in your everyday activities - Its the cup of tea that is made for you in the morning - its remembering to buy your favourite biscuits or ice cream. Love is a bunch of flowers for no reason except its Tuesday and its a shoulder to cry on.  Its a gentle touch on passing and its offering to run the bath. Its coming home to a clean house and its a reassuring look when you know a tough day lies ahead. Its a good night kiss and its taking your car for a wash and polish. Love is knowing the name of her favourite perfume and its showing enthusiasm through 'the game' even though you are bored. Love is being polite to work colleagues that you dont know and its warmimg up her ice cold feet. All of those small everyday gestures day in, day out, year in and year out - that what LOVE is. Real love is in the detail.

Friday, February 12, 2016

My Perfect Marriage Bouquet

The floral theme continues and today I popped in to see a friend who has suffered the cruelest blow in life - the loss of a child. Doesn't make it any easier that she is in her 70s and he was in his 50s - her eyes were bruised with crying and the flowers in my hand seemed insignificant in comparison to her loss. The most that I can hope is that she will look at them over the weekend and know that I am thinking of her - the language of flowers Begonia for deep thoughts and white for remembrance!


Back to love and what I would put in MY wedding bouquet if I had to use flowers to symbolise an ideal marriage

Azaleas -for abundance
White Chrysanthemums - for truth
Forget-me-nots - for remembrance forever and because I love their pretty colour!
Hyacinth - for sincerity
Black eyed Susans - for encouragement (not domestic violence lol)
Daffodils for Chivalry and for John Hayter!
Plenty of Ivy for fidelity
Pink Carnations for gratitude
Peony for healing because V needs healing right now!
Red Roses for Passion because what is marriage or life without it!
Yarrow for good health
                       and white tulips for forgiveness.

I think that would do the trick and it would look and smell beautiful and we would live happily ever after!

Ps. I would leave out the Orange Blossom........it symbolises fertility!


Thursday, February 11, 2016

Say it with flowers

Romance - Its the weekend of romance coming up and I walked though WW today and saw a huge sea of flowers in reds in all hues from dark crimson to the palest pink. Flowers have long been a beautiful means to convey feelings. In today's world, white lilies are associated with death and sympathy while red roses have long symbolized romantic love. In the Victorian age, that intent was heightened as Victorians used flowers to express complex emotions. I quite like the idea of symbolism and young women swooning when given a rose of a particular hue - I also like the idea of it all going wrong and some bloke forgetting whether its roses or Lilies and lets face it many guys really don't know the difference! Anyway there were whole books on the topic to help them and this is what they told them. Its interesting to go online and look at the whole list here
Tulip
Tulips represent the first declaration of love in Victorian flower language. If you are saying "I love you" for the first time, they make an especially meaningful bouquet for the occasion. Since this moment is a significant event in your relationship and will likely be looked back on in the future, the beloved tulip will sweeten the moment you let her know how you feel and give you both a wonderful memory in the future.
Purple Rose
Has your loved one put you under a spell? Do you dream of her often, think about her constantly, or walk around in a dreamy haze? Gift her purple or light purple (lavender) roses to let her know that she has bewitched you, in a very good way. Signifying "enchantment," fresh purple roses heighten the romantic feelings between the two of you and show her just how much you think about her.
Alstroemeria
Also known as Peruvian lilies, alstroemeria are both beautiful and versatile. In the Victorian era, they were the symbol of devotion. If you want to express your commitment to her as well as your love, a bouquet of alstroemeria is a beautiful way to say "I love you and I am devoted to you." I have one of these plants n the garden in full bloom right now - devotion!
Baby's Breath
In Victorian Times, baby's breath symbolized everlasting love. What is a more beautiful way to "I love you forever" than with these delicate and lovely tiny blooms? Better yet--send her a baby's breath corsage before a special evening of romance.
Red Rose
Let's face it--this list would not be complete without the inclusion of red roses, the defining floral symbol of romantic love. In Victorian times, it is believed that the deeper the passion you feel for your loved one, the deeper the color the rose should be. This makes red roses the ultimate symbol of passionate, romantic love.
I'll have the red toses thank you - I love being strewn with flowers - V once met me off a plane at King Shaka airport with an armful - he said so many women approached him and asked who the lucky lady was.  Hmmm - a good way to meet ladies and start a conversation! I wonder what being given a cactus meant? Or an ornamental cabbage? A few months ago I was sent a pretty bouquet of roses in antique coloured anonymously - I didn't swoon but they did wonders for my confidence and brought a little magic into my life. 


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Love is...



I think love is perfect and effortless............ It's relationships and marriage that are hard work and like all work, it's how much time and effort you invest that determines the reward. Where you focus your attention is where you will be successful. Hmm..... it becomes hard work when you are giving more that you are receiving from your partner - putting in all the effort and all the giving, when the other is doing all the taking - that's allowing yourself to be taken advantage of and that is another conversation altogether.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Love is all around us


I love nature and its seems she loves us too! I think she particularly loves Africa. Its amazing how many heart shaped symbols that nature leaves around to show us how much - each one like a Valentine's card. Heres a link to some awesome hearts found in nature

What I love most.........

  • Sunrises - I have said before that I supsect I was a druid in a previous life but I love the sun rising over the sea and make a pilgrimage every July to catch it at my favourite spot near Something Good.

  • Sunsets - I love the golden light just after dusk when rosy tones warm mountains, clouds and the sea.

  • Flowers - Who can pick a favourite? Roses, Pansies, Proteas, Sunflowers, Peonies and Poppies are some of mine but a life without flowers is unthinkable. I have rolled in daisies in Namaqualand and skipped  amongst the Cosmos in the Freestate. I often say "Good Morning" to garden pansies as their little 'faces' look up so expectantly at me!
  • Trees - I admit - I hug them! I like them stripped of leaves in winter, full of buds in spring, drenched in blossom in summer and then autumn has that russet magic which sets them on fire,
  • All creatures great and small - Try and type that withour humming the hymn! I'm not so keen on the small things though - I have a gandson who wants to be 'a guy who rescues insects' when he is older. I dont like bugs, especially mozzies and I cannot love mice and rats - sorry! I am an elephant whisperer and send them telepathic love messages en route to Addo and they always respond!

  • Clouds - I have to admit that a cloudless sky is a boring sky and I love clouds - when I fly I love to look down and see them below me - giant cotton wool balls. I love seeing clouds roll over mountains in the distance and of course clouds mean rain and rain means life to all living things.
YES - I fall in love with nature every single day  - she puts something in our path - we just need to stop and admire it! Love really is all around us.





Saturday, February 6, 2016

The Way of Love

The Way of Love
13 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned,1 but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but lrejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Love on the big Screen

Ha!  this is yesterdays post - I wrote it out and then fell asleep before I could get it onto my laptop! Its harder than I thought committing to a daily blogpot. Anyway - Friday is movie day and I was thinking of my favourite love movies. Here are my top ten!

10. I couldn't decide so I had 3 movies at number ten - An Indecent Proposal - remember that movie where the rich guy (Robert Redford) offers a young guy R1 million dollars for a night with his wife) Personally I would have spent the night with RR for nothing.....but that's another movie! Ghost - that divine movie with Patrick Swayze and Demo Moore. Four Weddings and a Funeral - part comedy and part romance - Its one of my all time favourites and I love it when that old man arrives at church and the usher asks him  for seating purposes - Groom or Bride and he says, "Don't be preposterous - I am neither!" Just typing it makes me laugh! anyway here is the trailer in case you have forgotten how funny it was. Then there was that awesomeW H poem at the funeral. " He was my North, my South, my East and West, My working week and my Sunday rest!

9. When Sally met Harry - say no more - just watch this. Ok I need to remind myself that love is not the same as funny!

8. Mamma Mia - Although Pierce Brosnan should not sing EVER! The film also made be fall in love with Greece and the female leads were fab - Meryl Streep, Julie Walters and Christine Baranski rock!

7. Shirley Valentine - What I learned about love in this film is how you can forget to love yourself and put your needs first. In the movie Shirley Valentine fell in love with life....It is also set in Greece! Pauling Collins was brilliant.

6. Gone with the Wind. Such an epic and dramatic love story with the dashing Clark Gable and the spoilt and petulant Vivien Leigh who needs kissing badly.

5. I have Bridget Jones's Diary at number 5 with the romantic ending kissing in the snow - Love Bridget and love the character Colin Firth plays - very Mr Darcyish!

4. Love Story - There wasn't a dry eye in the cinema when I went to see this and lots of sniffling - I went with Tony and drenched the front of his M&S pale blue lambswool jersey which smelled like wet sheep for the rest of the evening "Love means never having to say you are sorry!" SOB.....

3. Love Actually - Lots of love stories within a love Story but I thought the most poignant moments happened between Emma Thompson's and Alan Rickman's characters when she finds out the necklace is not her Christmas gift - makes me cry. every time I hear this song.

2. Pretty Woman - YES all women want a Richard Gere in their lives - dressing them up and making them into a modern day Cinderella and then arriving with a rose between their teeth on a ladder! Remind your man here by showing him this trailer and then this. I just did!!

1. Out of Africa - No justification required at all,  I watch this movie just about once a month with a box of tissues or chocolates and never tire of this love story and one day I WILL fly over a lake of flamingos with my beloved - hope its soon while I can still climb over the wings of a light aircraft and hope my beloved is cured of his chronic fear of flying or he will be drugged while we are in flight!.

Ok so what is your number 1........










.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

The price we pay for love.

My thoughts on love today. My eldest son would have been 43 this week, he died 21 years ago but losing him is never ever something that I will 'get over' and its foolish to try! It was a loss of the cruelest kind not only for Tony and I, but for his brothers and his long term girlfriend. Grief is the price that we pay for love as all living things will die - its the price we pay for the love our animals give us too, as their life spans are shorter and we will lose them one day for sure. The price of love is immeasurable and yet we love.
When Craig died we were privileged to have an amazing minister Robin Jacobson - he was heaven sent to us at just the right time and his words have never left me. He explained love in these terms to our family. He told us that there are many types of love - there is the love of God which is the purest type of love. There is the love we have for one another and for our friends - love of our fellow man, There is the love we have for our parents - which is a dutiful and respectful kind of love.  Love for our siblings  - where loyalty and honour is key, and there is the love we have for our spouse or our romantic partner which is about desire, attraction and a sexual type of love. The love we have for our children is the deepest love - its a sacrificial love and cant be explained until you have experienced it. As parents we have all experienced that feeling - we think that we know what love is until your baby comes into the world and then you in that moment - love overwhelms you and you know with absolute certainty that you will do anything for this little person, Put it this way - if your spouse or sibling needed a kidney and you were a match you would donate one. If your child needed a kidney - you would not hesitate to donate both if it meant that your child would lead a healthy life. That is parental love. As much as you try and protect your heart when you love, you are utterley exposed and vulnerable and when you have a child it is like having your heart walk around outside your body.
So Robin didnt teach us this - he just put it into understandable terms so that we could identify the different levels and types of grief we were experiencing and that made sense to me.
In the law of nature our children should outlive us and I wish I had had my son for longer but I had him for 22 years and for that I am grateful and for all he taught me about love. My heart may be scarred but it still beats lovingly.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Make a decision to love yourself unconditionally today!


After years of coaching people, mostly females from all walks of life, I have found that there is only one thing that heals every problem, and that is: to know how to love yourself. When people start to love themselves more each day, it’s amazing how their lives get better. They feel better. They get the jobs they want. They have the money they need. Their relationships either improve, or the negative ones dissolve and new ones begin. It’s a very simple premise—loving yourself. This may sound too simplistic, but I have found that the simple things are usually the most profound. Someone said to me recently, “You gave me the most wonderful gift—you gave me the gift of myself.”  To me life is a voyage of self-discovery - to reflect within and to know who and what we really are, and to know that we have the ability to change for the better by loving and taking care of ourselves. It’s not selfish to love ourselves, you cannot give to others what you haven’t got. Self-love is a deep appreciation for who you - your unique talents, peculiarities, embarrassments, weak spots blind spots, warts and all.
I know of many women who are saving their love for their perfect self – until they lose the weight, or get the job, or get more money, or a boyfriend, or whatever. We often put conditions on our love. But we can love ourselves  as we are right now .If you are not willing to love yourself today, then you are not going to love yourself tomorrow, because whatever excuse you have today, you’ll still have tomorrow. Yesterday I gave you 16 reasons why I love my beloved, today’s challenge in the month of love is 16 reasons why I love moi!
  1.   My heart – I know that it beats strongly and that it is large, slightly scarred
  2. My curiosity – I have never nor will I ever stop learning
  3. My ability to bounce back after a disappointment (and I have had many) to be acceptance and the ability to forgive and move on has been a lifesaver.
  4. My energy – it’s not always 100% but give me something I believe in and I will give it my everything.
  5. My body…….even though it’s not the shape it was, there is definitely more of me to love these days! I love my capable hands, my good legs and I even love my toes – except for the little toe on my right foot my kissing corn is so hard to love!
  6. My sense of humour has saved my life on more than one occasion and has probably saved yours too lol
  7. My imagination – it takes me on endless journeys – some of the wild goose chases – they are the best day dreams!
  8. My optimism – or I wouldn’t be living in Africa!
  9. My ability to have a conversation with anyone – strangers are just friends you don’t know yet.
  10. I am a good driver and those skills have taken me all over the countryside.
  11. My skin – I think its 50% genes and 30% Clinique and 20% diet but my skin is in good condition still – like my sister says “There are no wrinkles on a balloon.
  12.  My creativity – I love creative thinking and I love to paint, sew, take photographs and write – I will always find an outlet for my creative self
  13. I am giving up here! It’s really uncomfortable to justify why I love myself – I think I have done well to get this far but in the words of Brene Brown : I am enough!” Vernon would say that I am often more than enough!                              

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Sixteen Reasons!

A wise lady once told me that we only fall in love once - each time after that we fall in love with a different version of the same person. I thought there was more than a little truth in this.
I didn't forget my commitment to a blogpost a day about love for the month of Feb - My yesterday ended with me reading an article about how the quality of sleep improves if you switch off all your technology an hour before bedtime - so reluctantly I did and yes I did sleep really well!


 I woke up with this song playing in my head......so I am thinking of 16 reasons why I love my beloved :-

  1. I love the way he talks - so Pukka English!
  2. I love the twinkle in his eye
  3. I love his original quirkiness
  4. I love when he throws his had back and laughs
  5. I love his sense of humour and his sense of justice.
  6. I love that he knows the names of all the trees in every landscape I have explored with him.
  7. I love that he opens the car door for me.
  8. I love his clean scent
  9. I love a saying of his when he is amazed but I cant print it here lol!
  10. I love that he calls me babe......I felt like 'Babe the pig' at first but I have come to appreciate it.
  11. I love that he values freedom - mine and his.
  12. I love that he loves really 'old' romantic songs.
  13. I love his love of old things,,,,but not his love of old clothes.
  14. I love that he sleeps with his arm over his eyes - like he grew up without curtains.
  15. I love that he is a tractor man.....and a bakkie man - I just wish the latter had aircon!
  16. I love the way he speaks Zulu at every opportunity - event to Xhosa speaking people.
..........and I love that he loves me! I challenge yourself to think of your sixteen reasons :-)

If you haven't heard the song here it is....... Sixteen Reasons by Connie Stevens

Monday, February 1, 2016

One cannot THINK well. LOVE well or SLEEP well unless one has DINED well

I am not sure who coined that phrase but I love it!  I have set myself a challenge for the month of February- the month of love - to tell stories about the different aspects of love. Here is my first one.
My Nan Westwell (1899 – 1979) was the inspiration for my love of cooking and baking and food. Her tiny kitchen at Queen Street in St Helens, was Spartan and held a gas stove, only cold running water, no fridge and not even a food mixer, a fork and an energetic wrist produced the same result! Yet she produced the most amazing dishes in that kitchen. She shopped daily for the freshest of ingredients and used Fitzpatrick’s Butchers at the meat market and Morton’s Bakery in North Road for her daily bread her whole life. Money was hard earned and tight so she demanded the best for her shillings.
Braised pork steak and onions with mash potato and carrots and turnips was her favourite dinner dish and she could create a feast with a pound of steak to feed an army. She doted on her grandchildren and we loved being 'only' children when we slept at her house - in her creaky double bed - and the rustling of chocolate paper in the dark was the norm as she secretly enjoyed a sweet treat. She had been hungry as a child living through two world wars.
 Nan loved to bake. Savoury and fruit pies were a staple and her pastry was spoken about in reverent terms, her apple pie was legendary – made with apples from our garden in Eccleston. The tree that they came from was grown from an apple pip by my brother and nurtured by him with the belief that one day it would be a tree. It was a bit of a family joke but still he poured his love into the care of it, and  for many years was just a twig till eventually took off and shot heavenwards to produce a bounty of baking apples each September. These apples were rationed amongst the women in the family who baked and were treasured as they made the best apple pies. 
A simple existence revolving around meal times and based on hard work, honest food, counting the pennies to save the pounds. Nan Westwell taught me that you can make a feast from nothing and that LOVE is the most important ingredient when making food.