I was thirteen years old when we took our last holiday as a complete family, two weeks in Yorkshire where my parents had grown up and met, I was still child enough to enjoy splashing in rivers and rolling down hill sides and adult enough to enjoy wandering around shops.
On this occasion we were in a little shop that sold gem stones to tourists, My father, who always liked to take a selection of local stones home to polish from a holiday, was looking at grinding powders, I was examining lumps of polished tigers eye and pyrites and the various little silver items they sold to make your own gem stone jewellery, and my mother was at the counter chatting to the woman who owned the shop.
My mother told her that although she had grown up in Leeds, she now lived in Kent, “the garden of England” she laughed, “oh” the woman exclaimed “ I went on a coach holiday to Kent when I was a girl, we had a blossom tour, they drove us through the orchards, mile on mile of apple blossom, the most extravagant pink and white froth, like acres of wedding dresses, even the grass was pink with fallen petals, i shall never forget it” we paid for my fathers tubs of grey powder and left.
It was the following spring, before the apple blossom had really got going, that I lost my mother unexpectedly, we were still trying to learn how to keep things rolling along, with a wheel that had suddenly lost its hub, I was at the stage of smelling clothes that might still smell of her, and looking through her magazines or sewing box, imagining that she had just popped out and would be back, when I came across a postcard, new and unwritten showing a Kentish orchard in full flower, a confetti of pink and white. “What is this” I asked my father, “Mummy bought it to send to the lady in “the Gem Pot” he told me.
So I sent it, maybe I was still trying to be helpful to my mother, I cant really remember why. what a strange postcard that must have been to receive, from a 13 year old girl who you didn't know, talking about a long ago holiday you had mentioned to her mother the previous year........cont