Sunday, 16 May 2021

What to do?

 I have just been reading The Bike Shed's post about whether to stick to one 'hobby' or have many.   It is an interesting idea and I do think a lot depends upon one's personality.   My first husband was a professionally-trained musician (flautist) and also went to Art School as he was deeply interested in Art.   He eventually went into teaching but the two interests he kept as hobbies throughout his life.   In fact they were more than hobbies.   He was a great one for hobbies and throughout his sixty six years was never without a few and all became all-consuming passions.

In our first house after  our marriage - a school which we converted into a house- he decorated it from top to bottom after we had it converted, then he built a lean-to greenhouse against one wall and for the five years we lived there he perfected the art of growing tomatoes.   Somebody gave him an old heating system (which entailed him getting up in the night to stoke it up), he sowed the seeds every Boxing Day and grew the plants, following instructions to the letter.   The cottage was out in the Lincolnshire countryside and everyone for miles around came to buy our 'Moneymaker' tomatoes.  Then he got moved with his job and overnight his interest in tomatoes disappeared.

We moved to Lichfield and our neighbour was a great boating enthusiast.  Overnight he began to be interested in boats - he built a couple of canoes in the garage (as did our neighbour) and we would go off at weekends with our young son, canoeing on the River Trent.   Then he built a sailing boat and moved up a notch.    Our neighbour (we all remained friends up until their deaths - I think about them often and am Godmother to their daughter).   Then he got moved again.   This time to Wolverhampton.

And here music came back to the fore.   As I was also a professionally trained musician (piano) we could join in together.  By this time our son was also in his teens and hoping to go to University to read Music so it was a great family affair.   My husband made recorders - right through to a Great Bass - I bought a virginal (a small harpsichord) and we played early music with a Group - had groups practising at our bungalow on Friday evenings and Sunday mornings - music took over our lives.   My son went off with his Double Bass to University and we stayed in Wolverhampton until we both retired from teaching and moved to The Yorkshire Dales,

Then painting took over.   We only lived here three years before he sadly died but in those three years he painted hundreds of paintings (mostly watercolours), won many prizes in competitions, exhibited widely a nd sold everything he painted.

I can honestly say he had a very full and happy life.  He was on The Death Railway as a young soldier (probably the youngest serving soldier to be captured as he went into the East Surrey Regiment as a Boy Soldier) and was home again before his twenty-first birthday.   He managed to overcome the terrible trauma of it all thank goodness.   And together we enjoyed every moment we had together.

He never let the terrible experiences of his early life colour the forty years which remained.   What made me think of this today?   I watched with  interest the programme about Prince Harry and his father last evening and I thought - in all cases of traumatic experiences we have two choices;  we either give in to them and ruin whatever time we have left or somehow (and it has never applied to me so I don't know how) with gigantic mental strength we rise above them.   Thank goodness for the sake of both me and our son Malcolm chose the latter course.

40 comments:

Rachel Phillips said...

It wouldn't have been much of a life for him either if he hadn't.

coffeeontheporchwithme said...

I enjoyed reading this post very much. He must have been a very focused, interesting individual! Enjoy your Sunday. -Jenn

Anne Brew said...

I watched that programme too last night.
Charles and Harry are both dealing with trauma in their own way.
Someone on it commented that they maybe needed distance to help their relationship.
I'm sure the bond will ultimately survive.

Tom Stephenson said...

H.I. and I have difficulty with the idea of hobbies, because what we do every day is what many people do as a hobby. I like doing absolutely nothing in my time off.

Derek Faulkner said...

Wow, what an amazing person your first husband was and what a privilege it must of been to be married to him and to be able to blend your joint abilities in the way that you did. A truly inspirational posting Pat, thank you.

Heather said...

Your first husband must have been a remarkable man to overcome such awful trauma and pack so much into his sadly shortened life.
I think hobbies are so important, providing interest and solace during difficult times.
I do wish our Royal Family was allowed the privacy to work out their problems in private. How lucky we are to be able to do so.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing such inspirational stories about your husband. Lots of lessons there.

I'm interested in your implication (or perhaps I misinterpreted?) that you have not had the experience of overcoming trauma? Surely your bad fall and your subsequent adjustments to your life are an example of overcoming trauma? Sorry this is such a personal comment, but I do think of you as an inspiration when I am procrastinating about going for.a walk.

ceci

Ellen D. said...

Thanks for sharing these wonderful memories of your past. Sounds like you and your first husband got the most out of life and enjoyed exploring and sharing your talents. That is still something you do now when you share your writing talent and memories with us in your blog!

Barbara Anne said...

How interesting and inspiring, Pat! Thank you for sharing.

Hugs!

Sansthing said...

Thank you for such a positive and heart-warming post, it is so nice to read something uplifting in these depressing days.

Marcia LaRue said...

If anyone were to write their memoir, it should most definitely be you!
You write some of the most interesting blog posts ... after you comes Ms. Moon in Florida ... such wonderful reads!
Love you!

Anonymous said...

Such an inspiring post, this was absolutely wonderful to read.
Julie B

Bovey Belle said...

What a wonderfully talented man your first husband was, and clearly dedicated to his interests but able to move on and discover another passion. He clearly dealt with his early trauma with integrity and dignity and overcame it. I am fed up to the back teeth with Harry's "poor me" attitude which I feel has been encouraged by his shrink and his avaricious celebrity-seeking wife. I wonder if he would be so keen to criticise his family were he not be paying big bucks to do it in public?

I hope you start writing your biography soon Pat - what wonderful reading it would make.

angryparsnip said...

I so enjoyed reading this today. You have lead the most interesting life and enjoyed it. I think that is what is missing today in so many today.

Jennyff said...

What an inspiration your husband must have been, no surprise you are such a positive person, My thoughts had turned to Harry before I started to read yours. It’s awful and destructive that he keeps complaining when he needs to just get on with his life and let his family do the same, I really don’t know what he wants to achieve.

CharlotteP said...

What a wonderful life! You're certainly right about giving in to trauma , or rising above it. The outcome probably depends a lot on the support (or otherwise) you have from your family.
I played recorder in an early music group, too. It was great fun. In more recent years I have been learning to play the harp. Also great fun and very sociable. Our harp group have had 'Harps in the Wild' meetings on Kinver Edge when rules permitted!
Lots of hobbies is good, I think. Keeps your mind (and body) active, and if something stops you doing one, there are other things to occupy you. My husband and I were members of a cycling club. Eventually, a back problem prevented me from continuing, and we began walking. It was wonderful to get into even more remote places than we had been on the bikes (and tandem trike!), and as the roads had become much busier, being forced to change our way of life was really a blessing in disguise.

Sue in Suffolk said...

What a lovely post and so many wonderful memories.

Susan said...

You are so right about letting trauma take over. Finding strength and rising above it makes for a much happier and balanced life. I wonder why some people choose otherwise and even know people that have done so. The result: Sad, unhappy individuals. You are blessed to be surrounded by strong, talented very interesting people. They also seemed to have lived good lives. There is a lesson to be learned there. Thanks for sharing.

the veg artist said...

I agree with Susan, but would go further and say that we have a choice in how we respond to what life throws at us. Your husband, very wisely, chose to be happy, and he was. Some, sadly, do not.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Charlotte P Kinver Edge -Know it well - many happy memories there

Sally said...

Thanks for sharing about this Weaver - so interesting

Debby said...

I would say that Ceci's comment is very valid. Trauma is trauma. You can't compare yours against someone else's and decide that you haven't had trauma in your life. Your husband sounds as if he was a practical soul who dealt with what life handed him and then moved on to what life handed him next. Some people get 'stuck' so to speak, so unable to deal with what life handed them that they cannot move on.

You are just as practical as your Malcolm even though life has handed you a serious challenge. I'd say you and Malcolm were two peas in a pod.

Hugs from across the pond.

Beverley said...

I agree with rising above it and getting on with life. You do get flashbacks but as Winston Churchill said, "Keep buggering on " !
Weave and Charlotte, I work at Kinver Edge. A smashing place.
Bev

Bonnie said...

What a wonderful post you have written here! I loved hearing about your life with your first husband and all the hobbies and talents he enjoyed. I can just imagine the many happy musical evenings in your home!

Country Cottage said...

Lovely post, thank you for sharing.

Traveller said...

As others have said, what a great post

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

Such an interesting read. I don't think I've ever done much that wasn't a hobby, that's how it seems anyway.

Librarian said...

It was lovely to learn a bit more about your first husband and the wonderful life you had together! Thank you for sharing it with us.

Rae said...

I don't think I knew your husband played flute professionally. I learned to play flute when I was about 12 years old and continued to play in our Jr High Band and eventually in our Senior High Band. I can still see the instructor drawing out pie charts to explain how to keep time, in the early years. I eventually became 1st Chair and occasionally had the chance to play a piccolo and, as you probably know, a piccolo can either enhance a song or become an annoyance. The girl next to me was playing a bit more annoying and at one point stopped to sneeze. The instructor stopped us and told her to just listen and started us up again. Played a few bars and he stopped us again and asked her if she heard how I was playing. She said yes and he told her, play like her - not your way. I had been worrying if I should have been playing a bit louder - turns out, no. He was a bit coarse, but got his point across. I would have loved to have heard all of you play. This is a bit long - you can delete, if you want. I won't be offended. I just wanted to let you know that your post stirred up a few memories. Thank you. Ranee (MN) USA

neena maiya (guyana gyal) said...

Oh how I enjoyed this post.

It's full of life and enthusiasm.

I've been so consumed by writing, I haven't had time for hobbies recently. I'm going to have a good think about it.

wherethejourneytakesme2 said...

Such a lovely and thought provoking post - I watched the program about Harry too and felt extremely sad for the family especially as Harry had really come into his own with the Invicticus games and life looked set to go on a better course - what a shame it did not last. Luckily because of your husbands determination not to let the past overshadow his future both he and you and your son lead a much happier life.

Chris said...

I did have one hobby that took over my life for a while, genealogy, but there came a time when I had exhausted all the resources and I barely ever return to it! Now I have several different ones just as you and your husband did and have moved on.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thank you to you all.

The bike shed said...

You are so right about that choice we have in the face of difficulties - to over come or let ourselves be overcome!
It is often I sense too easy to blame our parents for our misfortunes - and believe me, few could do so more than me! But I've learned that parents are never perfect and that we all make mistakes. That's not to excuse abuse of any sort, but it is to say that we can't expect a perfect childhood We must instead try to make the best of what we have been given even if that is not as would wish it to be. I for one refuse to be a victim!

Your first husband sounds like an exceptional man - and from what you write that you made a happy partnership of equals. I love the way that your interests varied over the years but were held in a common bond. So good for him, and good for you too.
A nice post to end my day.

sparklingmerlot said...

What a lovely post and comments to wake up to this miserable Melbourne Monday morning.
I tend to avoid reading/watching too much with Harry involved. Like so many have said, I think it's a shame that he has taken the course he has. Not to say support and counselling are bad but he doesn't need to air all his dirty linen. If he is genuine about growing and healing he should be doing it behind closed doors with those who are directly involved.
Your first husband sounds like a gem. How blessed you both were.
Now to go and read the post that started you on the theme of hobbies!!

Cro Magnon said...

I can understand your husbands fascination with Tomato growing. It's also one of my passions, as is all vegetable growing. I'd not really thought of it as a 'hobby', but I suppose it is.

thelma said...

A lovely thoughtful blog on your first husband. It makes one think on what hobbies we all have, one of mine for years was a dolls house, and even now can't get rid of it.

Rachel said...

A lovely heartwarming post Pat and just what I needed to read today. Thank you

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thelma - I have always wanted a doll's house to decorate and furnish - still want one now and am often tempted to buy one.
Thank you Rachel.

My luck was to find two wonderful men - so different that there literally was no comparison. My second husband was a country man through and through - knew every bird, every wild flower, every breed of animal - could talk about the country for hours and would waych for the first signs of Spring - and for the first swallow.

Thanks to all of you.

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