On route home from our recent Spa Break Travel Review: Wonderful Spa Break – Part 3 – Brasserie is Best – This Mancunian is not a ‘Fine’ Diner…, we took a last minute detour into Tewkesbury, which is a smallish Town with an unexpectedly large Abbey.
Why we decided to divert off the motorway on our journey home and take that trip into Tewkesbury, I’ll never know…. but somehow, I think I was ‘drawn’ down that road for a reason as it provided a key which has unlocked a part of my mind that was locked away..
What an unexpected trip down Memory Lane we had both in Tewkesbury and the key we found and bought home, has shone a light on memories long forgotten, in more ways than one!
On first arrival, we thought we wouldn’t be too long on our little ‘detour’ as like many of our Towns, Tewkesbury contains it’s fair share of Charity Shops as the UK High Street’s struggle..
However, as we meandered at a leisurly pace down the High Street, we began to notice lots of lovely ‘individual shops’ and some absolutely fabulous ‘vintage’ shops which sparked our interest.
I’ve got a big box of old ‘slide’ photographs that we found and have never seen before which holding them up to the light, contain many images from our childhood..
We’ve been unable to look at them properly as we didn’t have a slide projector, so when my husband spotted an old ‘slide viewer’ in one of the Tewkesbury Vintage shops, it was a ‘must purchase’ and hey – for only £4.00 is definitely worth its weight in gold.
We normally hear of people burying their ‘sad’ memories but for me it was the opposite.. I remember the ‘hard days’ very clearly but could only recall a few happy childhood memories.
This ‘view finder’ doesn’t look like much does it? Yet to me, it is truly priceless and it’s been the ‘key’ to unlocking many long forgotten HAPPY memories!
Since returning home, it’s been like walking through a ‘candy store’, now that we can finally ‘view’ the photographs on those slides.
That little ‘find’ in Tewkesbury has opened up a world from my childhood that I simply didn’t remember, which is understandable for the very young ‘me’ pics, but surprising for the pics of me as a young teenager and yet I have no recollection of the photographs being taken and in many cases, where we actually were.
It’s a strange thing.. my dad took lots of photographs and yet mum had hidden the slides away.. As we grew older, we sort of new they were there but for some reason, she would never let us go through them. She said she couldn’t bear to be reminded of those long gone days… For our me and my sisters, it’s like discovering a ‘lost world’.
Our childhood wasn’t too easy. Mum was incredibly stylish and an amazing cook and in her own way, she loved us all dearly… However, like her father before her, she was a bit of a ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ character. She’d had her own difficult upbringing and she never really delved deep enough to work through the scars she’d been left with and I realise looking back, that this had a lot to do with her behaviour towards us..
We were very rarely or never ‘smacked’, I certainly don’t recall it anyway, but my sisters and I all suffered ‘THE SILENCE’… I used to fear it.. If I did something that mum wasn’t happy about, she would ‘put me into silence’… Oh THAT FACE… and it could last for weeks.. during which even the vacuum somehow seemed to be ‘angry’… yikes!
However, on the other hand, if I did something that ‘pleased’ then the reward of her smile and loving hug was like winning the lottery!
So my childhood swung between those 2 extreme emotions depending on mum’s mood…. I suspect this may be why I don’t remember the photographs and why books were my ‘friends’ as a child .. a place I could retreat into a world of dreams.. For one of my sisters, she retreated into the world of ‘Fairies and Magic’ which has remained with her as you can see in the photograph below.. her love of mermaids and all things spiritual/magical remains!
The emotions of those imposed ‘silences’ have long stayed with me and my ‘happy childhood memories’ were few, although I had an incredibly deep sense of love for mum and through her final years, as she travelled her journey into Dementia, our bond and love for each other was immense.. we laughed and cried together as the light dimmed on her amazing mind..
However, having the opportunity following purchase of the ‘view finder’, to look through mum’s old photograph slides, has opened up a new personal and ‘happy’ history..
I’ve been reminded of a different side of my childhood that for some reason had been lost in the ‘echoes of my own mind’. Incredible reminders of the ‘Happy’ days, where mum was laughing and playing.. (I don’t remember those times). Smiling faces as we walk through beautiful countryside on our camping and later caravan holidays. Mum swimming and playing with me in the sea and looking at me with true love in her eyes.. It made me cry when I saw that photograph for the first time last week!
Having seen these photographs, I’ve had a light shone into a corner of my mind that was untravelled and would otherwise have remained forgotten….
I’ve also been reminded this week from reading other blog posts of some of the amazing lessons she taught us.. My love of reading, the quest to seek more knowledge, my love of nature. She taught us not to be avaricious, to place value on the ‘little things’ in life. She made us strong and now I often find myself repeating her words and philosophies on life, which even though I didn’t always appreciate at the time, were actually right in so many ways!
I can finally appreciate those lessons and values that she instilled in us.. not always in the best way, but still, in a way that made me the person I am today…..
Our trip to Tewkesbury took us down ‘Memory Lane’ in more ways than one though…….
After out wander down the High Street, we came to the wonderful Tewkesbury Abbey http://www.tewkesburyabbey.org.uk/ and the ‘old’ part of Town.
Wow – what an amazing step back into Ancient Britain… We are so lucky to have this wonderful heritage and historic sights to see all around the United Kingdom.. England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland… let’s hope we don’t lose this wonderful connection and bond in these politically tumultuous times!
As we wandered through this part of the Town, we happened across an unassuming ginnel which beckoned me in…
…. and once again, I was well and truly led down ‘Memory Lane’ and indeed ‘time travelled’ back to a 17th Century cemetery where I’m sure I finally let go and left behind a few ‘ghosts’ from my own past….
As we came back out of the passageway, we found ourselves next to the very ‘unusual’ Abbey Tea Rooms. Indeed the most fascinating tea rooms I’ve ever seen and which continued our Time Travel trip … this time back through the 1900’s – Wow what an incredibly journey down my ‘Memory Lane’…
If you ever visit Tewksbury, a trip to The Abbey Tea Rooms is an absolute MUST!! It’s a unique experience.. Here’s just the ‘tip of the iceberg’ of what we saw as we sipped our tea and we were cast back to our childhood memories and to a bygone era…
Every inch of the walls, ceilings and tables are covered in vintage items of every type, shape and size…
Ohhhhh that magazine with Donny Osmand’s smile staring back at me, just like the poster I had on my wall as a teenager… the old spinning top, the string of conkers and of course the ‘non PC’ postcards that were a constant source of amusement to me as a child on holiday – I spent many an hour reading those cards when we were on our camping holidays…
Having worked 70+ hours per week for much of 2015, seeing the newspaper aspiring to ensuring people work only a 40 hour week made me smile.. we really haven’t ‘advanced’ when it comes to how we work have we? We may not be working down ‘coal mines’ very much any more, but are many of our businesses today, really that much different when it comes to ‘slave labour’?
Tewkesbury will forever remain in my heart, for it’s given me a ‘view’ to my past.. the gift of a key which is unlocking deeply buried and yet ‘happy’ childhood memories…
How Wealthy I Am!