Tag Archives: Mother

Beethoven catapults me through time…

I went to my daughter’s school concert this week. The Chigwell Junior School concert in St Mary’s Church. A beautiful setting, an hour’s worth of music by the 8-13 year olds. I thought it was going to be light and frothy: indulgent parents and over-eager kids. But then it turned into something else. I was catapulted into my own past, and because I wasn’t ready, it was quite a shock.

How I best remember my Mum

One of the girls did a piano solo: Beethoven’s Sonata No 2 – the Moonlight Sonata. I was thrown back 30 years or more, to when my Mum used to take me to piano lessons, and I used to hack my way through the same piece.

But the power of the memory! The details – piano (the wonderful Boesendorfer), teacher (Mrs Johnstone – very patient, long slim fingers, very cool dry touch), my Mum marking school papers whilst I did the lesson next door.

Parental dedication and time: The weekly lesson at St John’s College in York, Mum ferrying me and my brother back and forth. We used to finish at 5.30, and listen to Just A Minute with Kenneth Williams on the way home. Shared laughter. Shared time.

Younger days

On her wedding day

Deep inside I’m sure that my Mum must remember these times too. I will ask her next time I see her, try to bring our shared memories back up to the surface. I should play her the Beethoven piece, although probably not on the piano…


And then the young girl finishes the piece at the concert, and I snap back to the present. Nothing light and frothy about that, she played it beautifully. Way back then, if memory serves me right, I did not… But I do have the memory, and for that I thank my mother and her dedication.

Sharing time together, telling stories.

hands that have held each other for over 40 years

Last weekend I visited my Mum and Dad back in York, and my Uncle was there too. A long planned weekend, a chance to tell some of the old stories and record them for the family files. Do we all reach that stage when it suddenly seems important to capture these stories and save them for future generations?


Good stories they are too. A wealth of happy times, full of laughter, excitement and quite a bit of travel. The dining table has heard them all before, and probably will again. But where else should you tell family stories apart from round the family dining table!


Mum doesn’t really contribute too much now. Several strokes mean she finds it hard to join in. But she is present, and if she doesn’t listen, she does at least hear. And that makes her part of the stories too.

Uncle in full flow

An uncle is always good for a riveting story, all the more riveting when tongues are loosened by fine wine (Gigondas, Domaine du Cayron, awesome!)

Listening and hearing

That arm doesn’t work, the legs have given up, and the wheelchair is a bitch, but Mum’s still present and we hope she hears the stories too.

And occasionally an awakening and some shared laughter by all. A ray of sunshine.

Still time for laughter