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Thursday, 17 October 2013

Lucky me - Reflections

 Today is the anniversary of my mother's death 12 years ago and Saturday is her birthday - I can't believe that were she still alive she'd be 99 on that day!!  I wrote my tribute to her before here so I won't do it again now.

I am currently reading Martin Sixsmith's book The lost child of Philomena Lee and as it is about a mother's love for her child it seems appropriate reading material for today.

I am finding it really hard to believe that what happens to Philomena, a young pregnant teenager who is sent to a convent to be looked after as a "fallen woman" who is kept a virtual prisoner working at the convent and whose child at the age of 3 was whisked away to be "sold" to America for adoption, happened not hundreds of years ago but in the 1950s when I would have been about 8 years old myself.  Reading the book reminds me how lucky I am that my mother wasn't an Irish Catholic or who knows where I might have ended up (although it's true my mother was not a teenager but in her late 20s when she became pregnant).  Life for my mother was hard but at least she knew her baby was safe!!

According to the book it was believed that children born out of wedlock were fated "to become rebels and to suffer from complexes analogous to those of certain invalids....Such offspring are destined for suffering and often for failure".  The mothers were "grave sinners with severe moral problems.... unfit to have custody of their own children". 

Lucky, lucky me then that I was born to a Methodist Englishwoman whose family were supportive and helped her every way they could.  I couldn't have had a better mother and as far as I could tell she was never a grave sinner with moral problems but simply a young woman who loved too well and paid the price.  Nor have I have ever been a rebel nor suffered from complexes or failure or at least no more than anyone else!  It is a sad thought provoking book though and if Judi Dench is in the film I am sure that too will be worth seeing when it is released.

I have noticed today that there seem to be dozens of ladybirds about on the window sills, in the conservatory and everywhere.  I dare say they are looking for somewhere to hibernate but in France ladybirds are thought of as lucky - so as I said LUCKY ME!

Photos taken at Forde Abbey some while ago


  1. Sounds like a very interesting read. Similar to a film we saw a few weeks ago about three Irish girls sent the the 'laundries' for similar reasons...unbelievable it was, especially thinking it wasn't actually all that long ago. What a terrible waste of lives and hardship many of those young girls had to go through. Sounds like your Mum was lucky for a number of reasons.

  2. What beautiful photographs.
    Yes, difficult to appreciate that so many bad things happened so relatively recently, and I'm glad that you and your mother were not part of that.

  3. What irks me about these horrific stories is that the father always gets off scot-free. It's always the woman who pays the price. Grrrrrr.

    How wonderful to have had such a loving mother and great memories.

  4. I think it is the saddest story, especially as her son was desperately looking for her, but was turned away by those terrible nuns.

  5. It is hard to believe what was done in the name of righteousness. Thanks goodness for families like yours. But that aside, I saw lots ladybirds today as well, I haven't noticed many all summer.

  6. Some dreadful things happened in the past which today seem unbelievable!! You were indeed very lucky to have not only a wonderful mother but the support of a strong extended family who were not influenced by so-called men of God!
    V x

  7. Firstly the photos today are very special.
    Secondly I am often amazed at how far we've come in my lifetime to escape these old social beliefs.... thank Heavens !! and I am so glad that my life has not been ruled by those harsh religions but by kindness and common sense.

  8. Beautiful photos! After reading your childhood stories, I say your Mum was one amazing mother. :-)

  9. I caught an interview on the radio this week about it and was very moved. We are lucky, but there are still a lot of women around the world who suffer enormously at the hands of socially dictated practices. Thinking of you on this sad anniversary - there's no other relationship quite as complex as the mother/daughter one, it stays with us always.

  10. I read about this in last week's newspaper magazine - you know, the one we both read .... - and we've earmarked the dates when it's coming to Cardigan so that we can go up and see it. What a story and what a woman to go through it all and stay positive.

  11. I need to find out if she ever did get reunited with her son so I will have to read the book or see the film! The top photo is especially stunning Jane! x

  12. I didn't know that, about the French and ladybirds. I wonder what they think about black cats!

    Your mother sounds to have been a strong woman :)

  13. Such beautiful images!

    How things have changed since my youth. It was a dreadful stigma to have a child out of wedlock but nowadays not a single eyelid is batted!

  14. Sounds like a fascinating read. Your photos are lovely.

  15. Such beautiful reflections.

    To memories, loved ones and missed ones.

    Nina x


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