Sunday, 3 April 2011

My Mum - A brief history of time

Normally on Mothering Sunday (not Mothers Day - that's what card companies call it, according to my Mum) we go to Shrewsbury and visit my Mum.

This year my Dad has a nasty cold so we are staying put, at my Mum's request, we don't want to tire him out.

So I thought I would write about her instead.

How do I describe my Mum. Hmmm. Expressions like 'they broke the mold',  'powerful woman', 'eccentric' come to mind.

My Mum is 82 in a couple of weeks. She is fit as a fiddle.

My Mum is a farmers daughter. The youngest of three girls. When she was young, she wanted to be a PE teacher, but she had problems with her knees so couldn't do it (also, around that time it was hard for people her age (she was born in 1929) to get a place at University to study. All the places went to the soldiers who had just returned from fighting in the war)

So instead she did a secretarial course and went to work in London.


She stayed their for a few years then went to work for an insurance company back in Shrewsbury where she met my Dad. When they got married she wasn't allowed to stay on working in the office (that's the 1950's for you). So she became a housewife.

Now, housewife is a relative term. Until my Mum got into her seventies she was:


  • A guide leader and then commissioner for the county
  • A Duke of Edinburgh assessor (or whatever they are called)
  • Leader of the Trefold Guild
  • In the WI, the chair and all sorts of other things
  • Made costumes for the Local Drama Group and for a brief period acted in things as well
  • A school governor for both my Infant/Primary school and my Secondary school
  • Kept Bees, extracted honey and exhibited or judged it at national flower/agricultural shows
  • Kept Chickens and Ducks and always a grumpy ginger cat
  • Grew vegetables year round so we only ate vegetables (and sometimes chickens) from the garden 
  • Plus making various costumes for me and my brother for school or parties
  • When we started doing our exams she decided to do an Open University Degree which she completed the same year I got my degree.
  • Not to mention just being a Mum
  • Even now she is heavily involved in the local community
  • She has loads of friends
  • She has a laptop and emails them, she even emails me sometimes
This is a picture for the local paper, can't remember why, think it was to do with the bees.



Here she is getting her degree (so proud!)


On my wedding day, my Mum and my  Mum-in-law (another powerful woman, she's a story for another day)

But this is how I think of her, always outside, doing or making something, infinitely practical. My friends still talk about her, the story they repeat when we are reminiscing after a few drinks is this one.

We are all about 15, we are camping in my back garden, we have arranged to meet some of our other friends (boys) and are trying to leave, we have no way of letting them know that we can't get out (there are no mobile phones). The light is on in the kitchen and my Mum is in there. 10pm comes, and goes. 11pm then midnight, she is still there. At about 1am we decide to make a dash for it, figuring that we can see her but she can't see us. Wrong. We start to make a charge through the yard (there's about 6 of us) but there she is, hanging out washing. Fail.

She terrified my friends. They all think she is great now they are parents and close to the age she was then. I always thought she was great. We don't always see eye to eye, but I couldn't wish for a better Mum or role model.

For more posts like this, visit The Gallery over at Sticky Fingers



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