Monday, 23 October 2017

Robin Livingstone 1920-2017

 My mother, Robin Livingstone passed away on Wednesday 11 October 2017.  In 2013 she won First Prize in an essay writing competition for the Ulster Countrywoman Magazine.  The piece was read out during her funeral on Saturday 13 October and is reproduced in full below.

From My Kitchen Window

The theme for my story is taken from the film, Casablanca, the lovely, sad song: 'As Time Goes By...' 

As I sit at my kitchen window the scene changes by the hour.  The post-man in his 'little red van' is the first to arrive.  Disappointing, no letters!  Only circulars about great deals from supermarkets and letters from charities asking for donations for worthy causes.  Today, nobody has time to write; it's all texts and emails.

The afternoon is quite exciting. I see businessmen home for lunch.  Wives drive to supermarkets.  Nobody walks to the local shop with a shopping bag today.  It's all trolley, plastic bags into the boot of the car and home.

Vapour trails in the sky mean the plane is on time as it flies towards City of Derry Airport.  The bus passes bringing children home from school.  The lady walks her dog and the neighbour's big ginger cat takes its afternoon stroll around the garden.

In the evening I watch for the crows on their way to roost in the tall trees, and keep warm near the road's lights during the night.

Sometimes, there is a spectacular sunset.  I stand in awe as the sky glows with colours - red, gold, yellow and primrose - a scene not even David Hockney could paint.

The road light outside my window has come on.  It's time to draw the curtains and call it a day.

Days of the week are known by what is happening outside my window.  There's the bin lorry, so it must be Thursday.  Sunday means neighbours drive off to church - men in tailored suits, ladies with freshly styled hairdos.  Sunday is  no day for jeans and anoraks.

As the seasons roll by I enjoy my garden.  Spring brings flowers - snowdrops to cheer cold January days and daffodils at Easter. May brings life to a my cherry tree.  I watch it from bud to leaf to blossom and sadly, it forms a carpet of pink petals on the grass. 

I look out of my window and listen as a pair of doves coo a duet on the telephone wires while a blackbird searches for worms to feed its chicks.

I welcome the swallows, and the butterflies feeding on nectar from the buddleia bush. Summer is here at last.

Autumn, although a season of fruit and Harvest thanksgiving services, fills me with a kind of melancholy.  I watch the leaves on my cherry tree colour yellow, then gold and drop off.

There's not much to see during the winter.  The only interesting thing was the arrival of a large flock of redwings. They stayed for three days feeding on the little apples on my crabtree.  Redwings are beautiful birds with black cap and red wings -they are a delight to watch.

Today I am glad to be sitting in my warm kitchen looking out.  Overnight, a snowfall has turned my garden into a sparkling Christmas card. I'll stay indoors.  Too old to throw snowballs or make a snowman.

Over the years I have seen babies in prams become toddlers, teenagers, adults and parents themselves: life, full circle.

To conclude, I must confess I have idled away too many hours sitting at my kitchen window.  I have never finished my 'Things to Do' list.  I just say like Scarlett O'Hara in the film, Gone with the Wind, - 'Tomorrow is another day!'