today was a better day, a much better day. Despite being exhausted and wanting to stay home, I went, as promised, with my daughter to see her Grandparents in their home city. They are lovely people, still shocked from the loss of their son, her Dad, so suddenly, they get great joy from seeing our gorgeous girl.
As ever these visits have a pattern. Granddad buys us all lunch, and we have to have pudding too!! Then we hit the shops, this time for last minute items for her trip this week. We love this city, so many funny and kind people all around, we potter about. Soon it is time for a cuppa, and the sun is shining bright and warm. I head for a place that has long been a favourite. A garden in the middle of a city, surrounded by a building that has always had its roots in art. I remember sitting there, the same age as my daughter is now, lunch times from busy office jobs, and a grabbed half hour of peace and a sandwich. It is almost the same as it ever was, and we sit, happy in each others company, and the sunshine on our faces.
Later we head for the train, Grandparents head to the shops and then home and we walk up the hill. We need to pop to a shop and head into a station, I have an idea. We carry on up the street towards the place I worked when I was pregnant with my girl. I show her the building, it is much the same as it was, can it really be almost twenty three years ago??
We stop in a bar, which is situated on a spot close to where I used to park my car, it was mostly derelict land back then, and now buildings have sprung up all around. It is joyful and vibrant. We chat to a lovely young women from Northern Ireland, supplementing her teachers pay with summer holiday work, and sip our cocktails. A photo is taken, I am trying to avoid the sun in my eyes and am captured looking happy and a bit wobbly. I realise I am feeling happy, the sunshine, the familiar environment and my girl with me all are working magic.
As we continue back towards the station I realise we are close to a very special pub. A back street bar, with a rockers juke box, it was a favourite back in the day. It is still there, in the midst of the trendy bars, and as we peer inside we can hear AC/DC coming from speakers. On a Monday afternoon. Back then all the boys had long hair, denim and leather jackets were the uniform. We go inside, nothing has changed at all. The bar is exactly the same, and all the men, for it is mostly all men there, still have long hair, except those who are bald. Everyone of them is at least my age. I am struck for a moment with the thought that they have been here all the time. The twenty five years I have been away, they have been at the bar, drinking Newcastle Brown, and getting older. It is amazing and in truth a little disconcerting. We take our seats at the bar and I am able to tell my girl that I am sitting in exactly the spot I was in when I first met her Dad. Somehow this feels really good, my girl is laughing a lot, saying she knows now why she loves dodgy back street pubs. She takes lots of photos, and is Snapchatting them all to her mates, we half drink our beer and take our leave. I think we are both glad we called in to this piece of our past, that was actually the beginning of her future.
This has been a good day, it has been great to connect again with family, and is always lovely to spend time with my girl. She is off on her travels again this week, and for the first time ever, she won’t have our home to come back to, this is odd and difficult for me, but somehow today, it feels better.
I think in going back I have remembered how it is possible to go forwards. That we have no control over what this universe throws our way, but we have absolute control about how we deal with it. It all seems a little easier tonight, we can do this, and we shall do it. All will be well.