I have been away, as you see. In that time I have taken at least 38 photographs, using both film and digital cameras. I have knitted nearly a foot of stocking stitch 97 stitches wide (it’s going to be a cardigan, and has the advantage of being something I can knit without thinking and therefore I can knit whilst watching telly or holding a conversation and not watching what I’m doing). I have washed my hair every day. I have been to Mass, but not taken Communion because I am not a Catholic. As such, I have lit a number of candles and sent up a number of prayers. I have been walking out in the most beautiful city and I have eaten in two brilliant pubs. I have witnessed the tail-end of an argument and been part of another. I have looked at hundreds of photographs, many over fifty years old.
And I have heard stories and histories and theories and tales of places I have always dreamed of. I have heard my history, from a time before I was even the vaguest thought. I have heard of love and politics and fear and sacrifice and faith, of money and stones and hills and sieges, of knights in armour and years in the army, of universities and coincidences and friends long lost. A whole rich tapestry of things that are in many ways a part of me. I have heard so much that I can’t hold it all in my head and have come away with the most tantalising, blurred impression of all of these things. And I want to hear all these things again and have some way of committing this all to my memory and passing it all down to generations that will follow.
In short, I spent the weekend at my grandfather’s house, with my sister. Primarily so we could learn to develop our own photos, but we also went out for a delicious lunch and caught up with other branches of the family – my great-aunt, and her children and grandchildren, who are, I suppose, my second cousins? Or third? Of course, I went to church with Granda, and as you may have gathered, we heard a lot of the old family stories and saw a lot of the old family photographs.
And now I’m back in the real world. Ho hum.