Burnt Autumn

Sun in Gemini

bonfire-2016

My mother is eighty-six years old. She looks full of vitality, though her health is challenged by a less than perfect heart and a recent diagnosis of dementia. She’s facing this bravely, in the same way she has always faced adversity.

mum-anglezarke-sept16 Barbara Tanham, September 2016

Born in 1930, her early life was dominated by extreme poverty and the 1939-45 European war. She was, in her own words, “As thin as a rake and malnourished.” She tells of how the whole family had to live for several weeks on a large bag of rice which someone had given her father in lieu of a cash payment for a watch repair.

Her father,  my beloved Grandad, was out of work – as so many were in the Britain of the 1930s. But, she does not remember those times as painful. She remembers the camaraderie that prevailed. “Everyone was the same,” she says. “We…

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