Monday, 26 January 2015

Nella Last in the 1950s

With lots going on towards the end of 2014, my 12 books in 12 months Goodreads challenge has spilled over into 2015. This is the 11th...

It was so wonderful to have another installment of Nella's diaries to devour. Here are some of my favourite passages:

12th June 1950
Nella is admiring the crew and workers aboard a sailing ship that's come into the ship yard for repairs. She's pondering on colour and race and makes the comment: "It makes my theory that some day there will be one race with no warring element of barriers that fear and greed make, and understanding of each other's ways and thought."

19th August 1950
The war in Korea rages on, along with the threat of atom bombs and total destruction. Nella has cultivated "a feeling we are all in some great and intricate "Place", that "it's not life that matters, but the courage we bring to it"."

23rd January 1951
Nella is talking about her one extravagance being the football pools and the 1 shilling she spends on the postal order. This tickled me because I've been working in a Post Office for the last couple of years and still do postal orders for people's football pools - but it's a darn sight more expensive now!

30th May 1951
Arthur, Nella's eldest son comes to visit and he now has children of his own. The two of them are talking about the joy of children and grand children. A wonderful mother and son moment captured here.

15th September 1951
Nella is enjoying her low level gambling with the football pools and dreaming about what she would do if she ever won, how she could help her husband and her boys. She recalls Cliff, her younger son having this to say on the matter: "No, I don't think so. I'm sure any artist is better without security. I sometimes think it would be better if I had not even my (Army) pension." I believe there's truth to this. When your back is against the wall financially and the one thing you have is your talent - whether that be writing, sculpting, painting - to get you out of a hole, it makes you work harder than ever.

11th March 1952
Nella has been listening to the Tommy Handley Story on the wireless with her husband. He was a great comedian of the time. She remembers her days in the canteen during the war, quipping with soldiers who "went gaily off, never to return". The laughter and the nonsense was a shining light in the dark days of World War 2. She says: "I hope Tommy has met them now."

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Faithful Smile


Reflecting the smiles
and mirroring the jokes
It doesn't take much
to love all that evokes

This contact between strangers
is spontaneous and warm
but it only takes one
for poison to spawn

It catches you out
The churning begins
and your whole demeanor
no longer sings

Time to get tough
Let battle commence
Channel the emotion
and jump over that fence

It can only be painful
for just a while
You must fight for yourself
and fight for your smile.