Monday, 2 April 2012

Happy Easter!

Easter Bunnies

I couldn't resist starting this blog with these wonderful photos from my last trip to West Sussex.  I was struck by the beauty and symmetry of the trees and despite a difference of only 5 minutes and 50 yards between pics the lighting changes so much.

 I have attended my last teaching day and my Enquiry Unit day before my Easter holidays.  We have four weeks break until we return for our last few weeks of teaching on our programme. I feel very ready for a bit of a break. Last Saturday was taken up with working on the uni Open Day.  I was a tour supervisor and worked with four other students showing visitors around the Mansion site.  It is always fun to listen to the visitors sharing their stories their aspirations, hopes and dreams.

Open Day

I can really feel for the parents who are having to say goodbye to their children now grown up and ready to flee the nest.  I remember when my two left home within a year of each other; the pain of an empty, quiet house was almost unbearable and I wandered around it in tears, realising that life would never be the same again.  I clung to my friends who were experiencing the same ‘empty nest syndrome’. We felt so torn. We wanted to celebrate our children’s achievements and their excitement of leaving home to start their grand adventures but were deeply grieving as we felt feelings of emptiness and redundant. I thought back to my own parents saying goodbye to me as I left home at 18 to live in a mad hippy household with seven fairly disreputable ‘friends’ back in the early 1970s.  I remembered Mum and Dad waving me off at the airport 6 years later as I left for Europe as a newly qualified nurse ready to start my grand OS (overseas) trip.  Since starting work aged 16, I had saved every spare penny to fund all by myself and felt so proud and independent.   

It is now 34 years later and my parents are still waiting for me to come home!  They never tried to stop me leaving and I always felt I had gone with their blessing.  They understood my need to explore the world – they had done the same thing when they spent two years here n 1951 -53. My father had recently graduated as a physicist and had won the opportunity to work in London. With two small children, they packed up and set sail on a decommissioned troop ship that took six weeks to travel from Melbourne to Southampton. Throughout our childhood Mum told us tales of that amazing journey via the Suez Canal to an England reeling from the effects of World War II with rationing still in force.  Letters to Oz took six weeks so they had to be very careful not to include alarming news which would cause undue worry for their parents.

It is only as a parent myself that I can fully appreciate just what amazing parents I was blessed with. A few years ago I asked my mother about how she felt as her six children all left home one after another.  She described the same pain I had experienced.  We had no idea and I believe that is how it should be.  I have tried to pass this legacy onto my own children who are wonderfully mature and independent young adults now building their own lives and families.  Isn’t it funny how life can go full circle?  My Jack is leaving London on the 10th April to live in Perth, Australia.  He is going with my blessing but I will miss him terribly, as will his sister! Thank Goddess for Skype!

… but now I am off to Paris for three days  with my new husband – that still sounds very weird! - and then to Aldeburgh in Suffolk for another four days with his family – my new official in laws!

...but no rest (or not enough in my case!) for the wicked as my Mum would say!  I have to catch up on my college work ready for the last push when we return to uni at the end of April.  This week I was shocked to discover another bit of work to submit in May that I had not clocked at all.  That is a warning for me to get myself properly organised with a timetable and schedule to get all my work finished in time.  I will need to heed all the advice from the research I did for the last blog!

The goddess Ostara (1884) by Johannes Gehrts 
 So there is just time for me to wish all my readers a very Happy Easter.  Did you know the word Easter comes from an old English word Eostre or Eastre which in turn descends from the old German word Ostara , the name of a pagan goddess. Pagan celebrations were held in April in her honour and the modern traditions of rabbits, hares and eggs at Easter time descend from these ancient Spring rites.


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