Thursday, March 03, 2011

Friday Club: A favourite childhood memory

The Friday Club

I did this last week, sort of, so I thought I'd do it again.

My favourite childhood memory is a bit tricky to pin down. There are the ones I, as an adult, approve most strongly of - my mother teaching me hopscotch using chalk on the kitchen quarry tiles, and a shoe-polish tin full of dirt; watching my mother dig a drain outside the house to reduce the damp in the downstairs bedroom; times she made us feel special and cared-for when we were ill or she chose something just for us because she knew us well. But those somehow don't quite cut it.

What actually does, what lives like a memory and is called to mind involuntarily and makes me happy and excited and peaceful, is a quality of weather.

I don't have a very good vocabulary for weather, so this could be difficult.

There's a particular kind of morning - pretty early, definitely no later than 9:30 am - when it's not hot, and not wet, and I can hear birds (pigeons or seagulls work best). The air is kind of crisp and damp-smelling. There are clouds, but not ominous ones. It may or may not be misty. And I'm outdoors, whether urban or rural.

Those mornings are exactly like the ones from - if it's pigeons - holidays at my Nana's house, when we'd get up and eat cereals we never had at home, and then go out into the garden. And if it's seagulls, they're like mornings on Inis Mór, in my mother's house, when I'd get up (often before anyone else) and cook a huge pot of porridge and again eat and out, adventures and excitement and getting things done - so sometimes we'd get up to do work, not play, but it was satisfying and useful and enjoyable just the same, hauling seaweed or water or something, children working with adults.

So that kind of weather, those sorts of mornings, fill me with energy and a sense of safety and anticipation.

The light was never right for the years I lived in London, though. It's pretty often right where we live now.

Here are the other entries in this carnival:

My Friend Next Door from QWERTY Mum.

My Mum was the best storyteller from Baby Budgeting.

A Favourite Childhood Memory from Patch of Puddles.

Domino Trails from Mummy From The Heart.

Freedom from Live Otherwise.

A Favourite Childhood Memory from The Gingerbread House.

Birthday Memories from The Diary of a Frugal Family.

Please Turn Over from Bibsey.

Not Tonight Josephine from Cheeky Wipes.

Freedom from Little Legends.

A Favourite Childhood Memory from Who Teaches Whom.

Holidays from Seasider In The City.

Making Paper Boats from Red Ted Art.

Remembering a Fishpond from Mymumdom.

Canada from South of the River Mum.

Goodbyes from Notes From Home.


Jacq said...

That's an interesting description of 'weather' but I'm wondering if it was a particular time of year you recall?
Have you ever seen a photo that reminded you of these mornings?

Ailbhe said...

I've had mornings like that pretty much every season - it can happen with frost, just not with mist.

The only photo I've seen that reminded me of mornings like that is one I took myself at about 8 in the morning, of a particular feature of the gable-end of an old church, Teampall Chiarán, on Inis Mór. The light is *exactly* right to trigger the same memory.

ella said...

Isn't it funny how weather can be so evocative? When I lived in the Southern US, I can clearly remember very early hot summer mornings when I had a sense of real energy, although in my case it was probably because the rest of the day it was too hot to get much done.

QWERTY Mum said...

There is a quality of light, of summer turning to autumn, that evokes such strong memories of a very sad event for me. Now when the sadness seeps into my soul I try to turn it around and celebrate the wonderful person whose life was cut short, to embrace the end of summer with happy memories.

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