It begins with a slow rumble, then builds in speed, volume and tenacity, before you feel the earth moving like a travelator, but with side movement and no hand rails. No, I’m not talking about sex (get your mind off that), I’m talking about earthquake number one. This was what changed my decisions about life after spending 21 years in New Zealand.
Cast your mind back circa September 2010. It was a time never to be forgotten. Some of you were settling in to bed and some would have been enjoying breakfast, I was, literally, being shaken up to a new life………
It was a sign? A catalyst? Or just about the push I needed to find me, Aly Stringer. Some would call it an epiphany, some would call it panic, but, I was a 43 year old, mother of two boys, who had decided that panic wasn’t on my life menu, I mean, the boys seemed fine.’ She-be-right’ (a popular idiom, used in New Zealand and Australia that expresses belief that, whatever is wrong, will right itself with time) appeared to make its appearance, quite a lot. ‘She-be- right’ in body and mind, but in heart, ‘she’ was definitely not. No matter how things are ‘out there’, it’s inside that little pulsing muscle, where the ground stops shaking and that travelator slows down enough to be able step off, at least for a while anyway.
Hit fast forward and eight years later. England. Blighty. God’s Country. And, as a Yorkshire lass, born and bred, I can only say, ‘Tha can’t beat a good bit o’ soil!’
You see, it is about heart, it’s about love and it’s about that good bit o’ soil and the smell of that green grass from which it grows (which is, by the way, very green). This is where my ancestors began forging their incredible lives. I don’t really think I appreciated what I had, when I did have it. I didn’t really think the battle of Hastings in 1066 was that important, and I never took note of The Wars of The Roses in 1455. Guy Fawkes’ 1605 gunpowder plot had faded into the flames of New Zealand’s November heat, and I never really felt any pride or consideration that my Junior school celebrated a 100 years old anniversary (I was 5), but now that I’m half way towards being hundred years old, I realise it is important, and it does matter, to me, anyway.
I spent the first year back home, soaking in what England is: ancient history, kinship, quirky village people, Walkers crisps, broccoli at 46p, and Christmas. Yes, Christmas. It’s like an assault on my senses. It’s cold, it’s wet, it’s damp and very dark (usually around 4/4.30pm) which, I might add, is what Christmas is, for me, anyway. It doesn’t stop there, because we have Spring, which for me, means thousands, yes thousands, of daffodils, plump white Spring lambs (running around on that very green grass). I had even forgotten how solid and fat the lambs are. Everything is solid, even the horses, which come in every size, shape and colour.
These define my roots, solid and stable, not shaking and rumbling. Life is a fascinating parody of sarcasm and sincerity, moaning and laughter. One day I’m deep breathing and reciting yoga sequences at traffic lights, the next, my yoga brain is being challenged by TK Maxx, and it’s ability to beckon me to a smorgasbord of bargains, which, believe it or not, also come in every size, shape and colour.
Ping forward one year, and is raining. Lots. I start to wonder why? Then it occurs to me that, the weather is the ‘other‘ reason the grass is actually so green! Yes, yes it rains, but, it actually makes no difference to that sarcasm and sincerity, nor the moaning and laughter!
The satire and wit is profound here. It’s all about the delivery, the timing of the words said, the facial expression, plus the inaugural description of the event. I find myself ‘mentally’ at the event, with the person telling me. The punchlines are waggishly funny, yet said story tellers remain unmoved. Perfect sarcasm and a perfect antidote to the moaning. Moaning about everything, especially the rain. So, upon reflection of my first blog, I won’t let the rain dampen my spirits and the moaning? Well, ‘she-be right,’ because she be home.