At the weekend, sitting amongst chromatic scenes afforded by chez Strachan’s back garden. it struck me how I need to make the most of every second I’ve left in this residence. GJ Strachan’s fixed abode for the previous three years soon to leave family ownership following my siblings and my acceptance of an offer to purchase the property.
A detached domain bought from brand new by my parents as autumn dawned in 1989, this venue providing countless happy memories during three decades as the matriarchal/patriarchal home.
This welcoming place where every visitor, be that family member, friend or someone servicing the boiler, was afforded identical warmth of greeting. A reception which oft saw the guest not allowed to leave until they’d had a cuppa and a slice of my mum’s delectable homemade fruit loaf.
The aforementioned confectionery, along with her moreish Mars bar cake, oft distributed among family and friends as an offering to callers. Or when mum visited their home, or felt moved to perk a friends spirits up when confronted by challenging existential imposters.
Incidentally, everyday I see a little knitting needle Maggie used to test the fruit loaf was fully cooked during the baking process. This 2-3 inch darning utensil laying on a kitchen cupboard shelf where it’d been left since she last baked her signature cake. A sight which when witnessed never fails to trigger fleeting melancholic episodes.
I’m not a baker so personally won’t be passing on the fruit loaf’s recipe to future Strachan generations. However my two siblings, who’re more culinarily accomplished, will hopefully ensure this skill doesn’t pass with mum. I know my sister Helen bakes the Mars bar cake, not sure about the fruit cake though.
Footnote – When yours truly wrote fruit cake above I was referring to uncertainty as to Helen’s penchant for making mum’s fruit loaf. Scribing ‘not sure about the fruit cake though’ wasn’t, under any circumstances, a slur aimed at my brother Ian!
Anyhow, back to the narrative’s topic of making the most of what remaining time I’ve got in my late parents home. A place which for thirty two years has created a wealth of memories.
Like every family these episodes have played out as a mixed bag of life events. Like everyone, many serendipitous events, as well as those smeared in detritus, can’t always be mitigated against. The very nature of existence among this vale of tears means many lows, as well as brio raising events, aren’t always within our control and can’t be negating against.
What you can govern though is a home’s ambient warmth; irrespective of which episodes are fired towards you from life’s howitzer of jeopardy. No matter how challenging my parents and their families lives played out, provision of hospitality par excellence amongst these walls was guaranteed to anyone by our familial heads.
Saturday afternoon, sat within the confines of the garden pergola I’d had constructed last summer, I became increasingly aware sands within a metaphorical egg-timer were unwaveringly emptying as completion of chez Strachan’s sale hovered on the horizon. Consequently, I’ve to accept my time in what I dub mon sanctuaire de jardin is limited.
Although I’ll not have the opportunity to perch amongst the patio’s rattan furniture contentedly gawping at the chromatic landscape after dusk falls on summer, life has to move on. And, hey, there’s nothing stopping me creating an equally colourful garden as I transition into my next existential episode.
In the remaining two or three months I’ve got residing in this place until shifting out to embark upon that next chapter, I fully intend to create some equally good late memories in this home I love. Hopefully some of those episodes with my remaining family members who bear equally fond recollections of times among the hallowed chambers of our parents/grandparent’s home.
I’m resolved that leaving won’t leave me too downbeat, though. As late comedian Tommy Cooper advocated “When one door shuts, another one opens.“….. Advice from his uncle who Cooper quipped was “A lovely bloke; terrible cabinet maker.”