Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Everyday life

I spent yesterday afternoon with my new baby granddaughter and the lovely Jaine. Ms X is 3 months old this week, and spending time with her is like a little holiday. 

I played with her, danced with her, talked to her, sang to her, fed her, burped her and took her for a walk in the pram in the bright spring sunshine. When I am with her my worries float away, the world and its horrors recede. All I am aware of is her. Her name for me is 'Gran' whereas the other four grandchildren know me as 'Sue.' I feel like a Gran now: when Tate was born, 18 plus years ago, I didn't. I discussed this different name thing with Lux and Cece and they said it was fine.

Now I know what fun it is to be a Gran, and how much easier it is than being a mother. And I also know how quickly time passes and how every moment of their development should be savoured. Babies are everyday miracles: I see that now. 

I am not allowed to share her picture on here so here's me as a toddler.

Meanwhile, back at Hepworth Towers, Dave's energy circuits have been on overdrive. He's always got twice as much get up and go as me, but lately it's as if someone has wound him up tight. He never stops...whether it's whittling about the noisy freezer at 6 a.m. and wanting me to drag myself out of bed to come and listen to it while I'm still drinking my first Yorkshire tea (WHAT?) or vacuuming behind the radiators at 8 in the evening. What's going on? 

I've just cut his hair so maybe that will calm him down a bit. (Remember Samson?)

As for me, I've been wrestling with this painting of my breakfast tray.


I'm happy with the tray and everything on it, though the sweet peas need more attention. But I am very dissatisfied with the quilt beyond the tray and I'm not sure about the background. It needs more work. It doesn't help that the quilt is my least favourite one - the sunset quilt - 

Oand there is not much joy in painting it. And when a painting gets to this stage and I still don't think it's right, it becomes a chore and a bore. Because of this, I've started another one (of my pandemic quilt that I would marry if I could) and I work on it in-between times to cheer myself up.

This whole riff about painting the quilt is ridiculous - it’s as if I don’t think I have any choice about what to paint under and behind the tray. 🙄

It was 8 years ago yesterday that Mary died, and before I went to visit Ms X I left some flowers on Mary's bench. 

Fortunately this time there was no-one around who wanted to talk to me.

Here's a poem I like that I have shared with you before. I love the last verse.


When my mother died,
one of her honey cakes remained in the freezer.
I couldn’t bear to see it vanish,
so it waited, pardoned,
in its ice cave behind the metal trays
for two more years.

On my forty-first birthday
I chipped it out,
a rectangular resurrection,
hefted the dead weight in my palm.

Before it thawed,
I sawed, with serrated knife,
the thinnest of slices —
Jewish Eucharist.

The amber squares
with their translucent panes of walnuts
tasted — even toasted — of freezer,
of frost,
a raisined delicacy delivered up
from a deli in the underworld.

I yearned to recall life, not death —
the still body in her pink nightgown on the bed,
how I lay in the shallow cradle of the scattered sheets
after they took it away,
inhaling her scent one last time.

I close my eyes, savor a wafer of
sacred cake on my tongue and
try to taste my mother, to discern
the message she baked in these loaves
when she was too ill to eat them:

I love you.
It will end.
Leave something of sweetness
and substance
in the mouth of the world.

Anna Belle Kaufman

(I have been unable to contact the poet for permission to share it.)


marmee said...

Before I forget ....you are off to visit your Colorado family soon I think? Go well and happy visiting! And all I have on my mind gosh, you two at Hepworth towers have such great overalls and dungarees!

Sue Hepworth said...

Yes, Marmee, I am going in two weeks time. Hooray!
And thank you for the comps on the clothing. We both like our dungarees and boiler suits, it’s true.

Anonymous said...

You look like trouble in that photo! Wonder how much will show up in Ms X…

And such a beautiful poem - interesting that the penultimate line could easily have been left out, but gains particular emphasis: sweetness AND substance.

Like your blog.

Thea xx

Sue Hepworth said...

Thank you, Thea.

I thought I looked cute and angelic!

Susan D said...

Oh, I love the picture of the breakfast tray. The plate feels 1930s vintage, similar to some of mine. Fret not about the quilt in the picture; it's the tray and its contents that shine.

Sue Hepworth said...

What a lovely thing to say, Susan D. Thank you.

I love this china. I have plates and teacups and saucers. It’s called Sunburst.

I have adjusted the quilt and the background now and am content to leave it. It’s not perfect in my eyes - only 1 out of my 40 paintings is - but there you go.