Thoughts of past and present

Those of you who follow my blog closely may have noticed that I haven’t posted much since I was on my holiday.  There are no particular reasons for this except I have had lots of non-blog things to do since my return which have taken up every waking hour for the last week or two.

I enjoyed my weeks holiday immensely even though in typical style I was busy almost every minute of it.  I still have a few more blogs to write one day about other places to see.  A friend told me how she admires how I make the most of every moment of my holidays and it is very true.  I totally love being away from home and doing what I want to do rather than what I am told to do or compelled to do.  I even made 3 stop-offs to see different tourist attractions on the drive home.

I seem to have a general sense of unease at the moment due to several factors, all out of my control.  It is now 6 months since my dearest Mama died.  I still think of her just about every second of every day.   I know she would be very happy for me with the steps I am taking to change my life.

I miss her lots and have much I would like to tell her.  A lot of things I can guess what she would say.  She would have liked the nice summer weather we had but she would have got sick of the heat after a few weeks.  No doubt we would have had a few BBQs in our garden at weekends which she would have enjoyed a great deal.  She might even have had a small tipple as she loved any excuse just to have a little drink with my wife.  Whenever she came here, she was pretty much waited on hand and foot.

Perhaps once a year I would take her to the cinema to see what she would say is a nice film.  A nice film to her generally involves hardly anyone dying unless tragically and if possibly from a disease, no bad language and a story so saccharine that just by watching it, your teeth could go bad and fall out.  I’m sure she would have liked my most watched films of the year so far, Star Trek and Olympus Has Fallen.  She may well have liked Place Beyond The Pines and would have loved The Great Gatsby.

Bizarrely for such a small and gentle lady, she loves horror films and when I was a child we would watch them together.  I remember watching Halloween not long after it came out in the 70’s.  I was only about 3 years old and have loved horror films ever since.  She would have quite enjoyed watching The Purge and probably The Call which I saw a few days which I really enjoyed.  Funnily enough there were just 4 other people in the auditorium and they were all old ladies.  One of whom thought it was slightly too violent in places but all 4 of them went out of the cinema talking excitedly about what a great film they had seen.  It made me think of someone special and made me smile.

People may remember the unusual event that occurred when I went to say goodbye to my mother.  She often believed in slightly supra-natural happenings and when I went to see her a few after she had died and touched her hand, the lights in the room flickered off twice.  I knew instantly that was a message to me.  Another one of her things was that whenever she saw a white feather that she assigned it to be one of her our parents to be around keeping an eye on her.  Well in the last few months I have had no end of white feathers coming across my path.  I come across them even in rooms where the window has been shut for weeks and which are regularly hoovered and dusted.  Very bizarre!

I still miss her in every way even though to most other people, life seems to have returned to normal and who can blame them.  Everyone will have similar things to deal with sooner or later.  My situation might have been more tragic than many but not so sad as others in Syria for example.

Everything reminds me of her, what I do, what I hear, things I smell.  Commercials on television, plants in the garden, foods that I eat.  I recently remembered and often think of how about for 20 years, every night before she went to bed she would open the door a crack and say “I love you little Steve”.  She would also be one of a select few people who would buy me little gifts for no reason at all.  Not all of them did I like or even want but all of them I appreciated and now that there haven’t been any for 6 months they are also missed.

Whenever she would come to visit, which she would do with incredible regularity no matter how busy we were, she would always leave the living room where everyone was talking and come and see what I was doing.  We had nearly 40 years of in-jokes, in truth the jokes were all mine but she always laughed at them and I would just have to say a word or two or pull a face and even in a busy room, she would start giggling to herself.

She was only 5’2″ tall and being her “number 1 son”, I had been lifting her up to give her a strong cuddle often several times a day since I was about 12.  She would always squeal but I have been told she probably loved every minute of it.

I always get a bit melancholy in the autumnal months, everything is winding down, getting colder and darker.  I am glad that I don’t have to go to work in that awful place that I have done these last few years.  Getting up at 5.30am in the dark from the end of July to May is soul-destroying and I would look forward to Christmas like a thirsty person in a desert looks forward to an oasis.  Most people match-up winter with dark mornings and working there I had dark mornings for about 9 months of the year.

It will be an interesting few months with wedding anniversaries, Christmas and my birthday all in the next 3 months.  By interesting of course I mean, it’s not going to be the best Christmas or birthday ever. I will be 40 in December and will celebrating without the person most responsible for me getting here at all.

Nevertheless, I have one or two amazing, brilliant friends and several more wonderful friends I have met from blogging.  Last but not least, my ever so lovely wife.  7 years ago I would have expected to reach 40 without a wife but with a mother.  Life can be so unexpected, some for very bad reasons, others for very wonderful ones.

So here I am, just thinking about times past and sharing a few memories with my very special readers.

About Stephen Liddell

I am a writer and traveller with a penchant for history and getting off the beaten track. With several books to my name including several #1 sellers. I also write environmental, travel and history articles for magazines as well as freelance work. I run my private tours company with one tour stated by the leading travel website as being with the #1 authentic London Experience. Recently I've appeared on BBC Radio and Bloomberg TV and am waiting on the filming of a ghost story on British TV. I run my own private UK tours company (Ye Olde England Tours) with small, private and totally customisable guided tours run by myself!
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22 Responses to Thoughts of past and present

  1. swaneta says:

    More good stuff you had, more you are missing.I dread the moment when my other half will share the experience with you.
    Take care till at least all the first times pass…


  2. Diane Tibert says:

    As a mother, I hope my children remember the evening tuck-ins. I make a point of slipping in and saying good night each of my children even though they are in their mid-teens. I wonder when they will think they are ‘too old for that, Mum’. I hope never.
    Thank you for sharing.
    I also dislike rising at 5:30 through the winter, but I must for another year. It is dreary and oh so dark.


    • Thanks for your comment Diane. I hope they are never too old for that either, I know I never was.

      What makes it worse getting up at that time is that you still probably get home in the dark too whereas people who get up at 7am or later probably come home in the dark but at least have a light start.


  3. Boyer Writes says:

    Stephen, your mother must have been one of the luckiest women alive to have a son who loved her so. I have three sons and a daughter. One of the saddest things of my life is that one of my sons decided to separate himself from me and the family. I cannot think of a reason why…and he will not say. Of course Christmas…birthdays etc. are less without him….and has been for several years.
    You said that you think of your mother everyday….as I do of my son. My prayers are always with him. I am lucky to have other children who love us and spend time with us….but it would be wonderful to have my son think of the great things we did as he grew up. Life is not always what we wish…but faith is strong…and I hope for better things.
    Thank you for sharing your heart. The feathers are most likely God’s message to you that all is well. Nancy at


    • Hi Nancy, thanks for your lovely comments as always. I think my mother would agree with you if she were here. I hope that your son one day returns to the fold, whatever that happened for real or imagined can’t be that bad.

      At least you have your other children but I can imagine it leaves a big hole. Like every good mother, you never stop thinking, hoping and praying for all your children.

      Yes I think you’re correct. Not only do they turn up where they shouldn’t possibly but they are little fluffy baby white feathers only half an inch or so long. There aren’t even any birds in the gardens that are white, they are all browns and blacks even when young.


  4. Rosemarie says:

    I love hearing the stories about your mom. I feel that I know her from your description.


  5. blosslyn says:

    My mother died aged 50 over 30 years ago when I was 28 and I think about her nearly every day…..the pain never goes, but you learn to accept it as they would want you to. Its sound like you have lots of wonderful happy memories of your wonderful mother and thank you for sharing her with us, treasure them for ever xxx


    • Thank-you, I am sorry to hear about your mother. I am sure that she is pleased you think of her and you’re right I am sure yours or mine wouldn’t wish to be unhappy because of them.

      As I never got to say goodbye, memories are all I had right from the beginning but they are all happy ones.

      Thank-you xxx


      • blosslyn says:

        Stephen, I have just read your pervious post about your lovely mum, which I found very endearing, as it was very similar to my mums, breast cancer etc, but I was holding her hand when she went……….but when I got to the end of your post…..yours mums teddy bear is my live long friend….the same bear looked at me….c1950’s Chad Valley ….it gave me a really warm feeling when I saw my bears twin…..the chances of having the same bear over 60 years old is quite remarkable 🙂


        • Thank-you so much for your comment. That is quite incredible isn’t it? I didn’t not the variety of teddy bear so had a quick look on the internet and immediately found an almost identical bear.

          The next time we come to Norfolk we will bring teddy along too so they can have a teddy bear picnic 🙂


  6. Rosemndmarie Burt says:

    I still talk to my mum even although it will be 15yrs this Christmas eve since she past.
    Deep in my heart I know she is listening and with that thought it always leaves me feeling peaceful, happy and with a smile.
    Never stop talking to your mum Stephen.


    • Thank-you for commenting, I didn’t expect to see you here! I bet that makes every Christmas tinged with a little sadness.

      I will keep on talking to her and I hope she is keeping entertained by what I get up to each day.


  7. gn0mel0ver says:

    Oh Stephen. Darn you! You made me cry! That was so beautiful. Thank you for sharing those precious moments. The whole post flowed. You were able to document your mother so perfectly. I feel as though I knew her. I think she would have loved your post. Very lovely. Off to get some tissues.



    • I’m sorry Jenni. Thank-you anyway for the kind words, if I got that reaction I know I did it right. I know that in the few weeks before she died, she did read some of the blogs and said how she enjoyed them so if she saw yours I am sure she would have loved it.

      Don’t cry too much, that’s my job!


  8. merrildsmith says:

    I’ve been thinking about my dad a lot recently for some reason. He died several years ago. The pain will ease at some point, but the memories will continue–and luckily you have many, many good ones. She sounds like a wonderful woman, and you were both lucky to have each other.

    I also hate the dark of winter, although I am fortunate to work from home. Still, I don’t like waking up in the dark at 5:30. My birthday is also in December.
    By the way–I chuckled at the four older women (and you) at the horror movie.
    All best,


    • Hello Merril,

      thanks for your comment. It is strange how little things can make us think of people. I hope that you are keeping well. I hope that your Mom is doing better these days.

      Yes I’m not sure that Halle Berry was aiming for the 75 year old demographic when she made that movie. I don’t know if makes them very cool or me considerably less so!

      Take Care Merril,

      PS Well done on the new book!


  9. Laura says:

    Sending you good vibes. The way I look at it, we keep the people we love alive in our minds, as well as by sharing who they were with others. You mom would be proud, I think.


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