Remembering friends we had while the children were young…

The phone was ringing downstairs. I scooped up my baby and tried to get there before it stopped.

“Hello, Sandy speaking.”

Really is that you Tessa!… Where are you? ….When did you arrive? …Yes we would love to meet Kevin…

It had been about twelve years since I had heard that distinctive voice. She was a mermaid in looks with a Rhodesian accent. We had spent three years in high school together. Working long hot Wednesday afternoons in the chemistry lab doing titrations, comparing answers or trying to get the right colours on tests.

Tessa then chose to spend Sabbaths with us and our friends. We all got on well, after about a year she asked to follow Jesus completely by being baptised. We were all happy for her.

She was now living in England and once again we spent Sabbaths together. The intervening years had been full for her. She had been taking her pilot’s license when she met, fell in love with and married her engineer husband.

In an ocean full of fish, be a mermaid. (At that time Tessa was not the only girl on her pilot’s course but certainly a rarity.)

Be a mermaid and make waves. (I remember she said that she was once brought down for making loops. She had gone flying while feeling cross!)

Dive deep for the treasure that you seek. (Tessa had chosen baptism in Rhodesia and Kevin chose it here in England.)

You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the ocean in a drop. ( Kevin was very much in love with Tessa)

These quotes all have unknown authors but they suited the girl I knew and the woman she became.

The other couple who visited each week were both health visitors. She was particularly gifted at water colour painting her favourite flowers being roses and sweet peas which she painted with delicate brush strokes.

Her lovely roses a reminder of her.

Then there was an Australian couple with two young children. He was very tall and completing his doctorate in Psychology. She was short with sparkling mischievous eyes. A dynamic person, sharp and funny but you had to be careful because she could catch you out and the laugh would be on you.

She is a mermaid, but approach her with caution. Her mind swims at a depth most would drown in.


“I must be a mermaid; therefore I have no fear of depths and a greater fear of shallow living. ” These words were said by Anais Nin . She was a French- born American diarist, essayist, novelist and the daughter of the composer Joaquin Nin and the classically trained singer Rosa Culmell.

Every second week I would meet up with Angela a nurse. She had shoulder length dark hair, a slim build, tanned from digging her allotment. Together her four children and my two were a happy group of six. Water, sand and sun in the garden were a lot of fun.

Angela amazed me with her allotment. It was a good walk from her house and a little further from the river, water was carried ftom the river, so she grew potatoes and swapped them for greens grown by others closer to the river. Her family lived well on this food. It was difficult not to feel a lot of admiration for her. Her practical helpful way of seeing things was so valuable to me.

You are also far less likely to waste food when you have nurtured it from seed into a plant.

Darina Allen. Irish Chef , food writer, TV personality. She is known for leading the Slow Food movement in Ireland. The eldest of nine children her brother is the renowned Chef Rory O’ Connell.

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant.

Robert Louis Stevenson

Anyone who has time for drama is not gardening enough.


It has been good for me to remember these people who were so much part of our lives a long time ago. Thank you for reading this.

Sandy 🙂

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