Wednesday, 14 September 2011

This is why

I scrapbook. For the uninitiated among you, you may be wondering what on earth that is. It's a mix of diary, photo album and art/design. It's a way of capturing everyday and high day moments and memories so that you, and your family and friends, can look back at them, laugh and remember. And for those generations yet to come, it's providing a legacy for them, so they understand where they come from and get a peek into what life was like 'in the old days'.

I didn't scrapbook until Chloe was born. When she came into my life, I knew I wanted to to be able to remember all her quirks and the moments in her journey to adulthood. Photos are all very well, but they have a difficult time telling the full story. As I've been scrapbooking our lives, it's made me more curious about the lives of my parents and grandparents and great grandparents. Most of my grandparents died when I was a child, so they're not around to ask now. None of them were very good at keeping photo albums and in some cases they took very few photographs. My mum and aunts have given me their boxes of photos, some of their own and some that had been passed down. And I've really enjoyed rifling through those (the scanning into the pc was a labour-intensive but so worthwhile exercise) and catching a glimpse of what their lives were like.

But it's been sad too. I recognise some of the people and places in the photos, as do my mum and aunts, but we don't know them all. It's like a jigsaw with pieces missing - I can't see the full picture. Hardly anyone wrote on the back of the photos who was in them, where it was, when it was, so it's not easy to make sense of some of them. It would have been so much richer a story and so much more fascinating to have had all this info.

So this is why I scrapbook. Whether it's full on page design, or just jotting the essential details and quotes from an occasion into the notes section of a photo album, I'm making sure that the memory is captured along with the photo. So when Chloe, or her children or grandchildren, look at these books and albums, they will be able to get the full picture.

Some of my fave pictures from the boxes I've scanned in so far....

My grandfather (in the middle of the back row) and extended family. The two girls sitting on the ground at the front - the one on the left is my Aunt Jeanette and the one on the right is my Mum.

This is a great picture with the old style tv etc but I have no idea who these people are...

My mum and dad in their courting days.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Flowers, friends and freedom

It's taken me a few days to get round to writing this blog after the event. I think I was waiting for reality to sink in, but it seems that's going to take longer than a few days.

I've left work. And not for a holiday; for good. After 13 years (minus those lost 6 weeks back in the day), several changes of role, so many friends and countless moments of hysteria, chaos and crises; it somehow seemed, to both me and those around me, that I was part of the furniture and that I'd never leave. In many ways, I was quite happy with that. Having spent so much of my life there, it felt like home, and I was comfortable there. It made me so emotional saying goodbye to people that have meant so much to me, and knowing I will no longer be seeing them every day, and I was even more emotional when I got the flowers, gifts and especially the cards with lovely messages. (Hurrah for the joined up world of social media, which means goodbye doesn't mean losing touch.) But things change. Things have to change. I had to change.

This is my new beginning. And it's amazing.There is a whole world of possibility out there. I can do anything that makes me happy and that challenges and inspires me. I'm excited to find out what I can be and what I can offer to the world. But before I start that search for my new life, a break. I'm taking some time out to unwind, let go of the old life and remember who I am.  Oh and go to New York of course.

So, for now, I'm saying a huge thank you to everyone who has supported me and laughed with me over the past 13 years - it wouldn't have been the same without you. You may no longer be colleagues, but you're still friends, and I'm looking forward to sharing my new adventures with you.