Wednesday, April 25, 2012

ANCHORS - A "LET'S BLOG OFF" POST


Every two weeks, the blogosphere comes alive with something called a Blog Off. A Blog Off is an event where bloggers of every stripe weigh in on the same topic on the same day. The topic for this round of the Blog Off is "The Edge of your World".

When we are children, the edge of the world is represented by the limits of the world we know - the comforting scent of a mother,  the bars of a play pen or cot,  a garden wall, familiar rooms - and  perhaps this is why so many of us scream at our first children's party at another house or on our first day of school. 

For most of us, there is always a loving adult policing our surroundings when we move from that edge



and if we feel we are alone, even for a moment, we become pretty miserable:



However, I think I wanted to test the waters from an early age



and go off on the big ships



but always come back:



As a member of Churchill's "island race" it is not surprising that I am drawn to islands

Me, Elba-bound in 1977


and one day, more than half a century after the black and white photos above were taken, I flew to the biggest island in the Mediterranean and knew that I would not turn back:

In Donnalucata, Sicily - 2005

Sampieri, Sicily


I've written before about how, even then, leaving the comfort zone of my house in Britain was scary but tonight I want to think about one of the things you lose when, having stepped off the edge of your world, you arrive in your new one:  you lose what Alexander McCall Smith calls your "anchor-points".  He puts it thus:

"Just as Freddie de la Hay was missing him, so too was he experiencing that sense of incompleteness when a familiar presence is suddenly no longer there. Such feelings can be profound and long-lived..... or they may be less substantial, more transient, as when a shop or coffee bar we like closes down, or a favourite office colleague is transferred. These may seem little things, but they constitute the anchor-points of our lives and are often more important than we imagine."
- Alexander McCall Smith:  The Dog Who Came in from the Cold

If this is the case even in a city where you have lived all your life, imagine how important such "anchors" are when you change not only your city but your country.  You find new ones, as I wrote here, and you have to cultivate them but when you in turn lose one of these, you can feel quite disorientated for a while. Perhaps that was why I was so upset when Mr T shut up shop.  Yet this regret, for the loss of landmarks in an unfamiliar place, also means that you have integrated, so can be celebrated in a way. These days, though I still miss Mr T, I have become used to the new folk in what used to be his shop, and the butcher who occupies part of it has turned out to be a treasure - an "anchor", in fact.

So for me, stepping beyond the edge of what was my world has meant finding new anchors and it is still an adventure!

I couldn't find a suitable picture of an anchor, so here is my paternal grandfather in naval uniform, complete with anchor on his cap:




Below is the full list of bloggers participating in this week's theme:
Note: This is my last "Let's Blog Off" post as the project has now been wound up. I have enjoyed participating and would like to express particular thanks to Paul for inviting me to do so and for his unfailing support and courtesy. I've made some new friends along the way and I hope we can keep in touch. The "Let's Blog Off" archive can be viewed here.

5 comments:

Paul Anater said...

Great post Pat. I struck off for a part of the US as far from Wales as Sicily is. However, it shared the same culture and language so you get all kids of points for striking out the way you have. I dream about relocating the way you have and every post you write gives me a vicarious thrill. Thank you.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Thanks, Paul. It's always hard for me to imagine the vastness of the US but that must have been quite an adventure too. You are very kind.

Scintilla said...

I really enjoyed reading this. Your photos and memories are precious!

LindyLouMac in Italy said...

Oh Pat I really enjoued this post, you are right Life is an adventure.

Thanks for your recent comment, I hope you are Ok now. You may have noticed I am not online or blogging much at the moment, please forgive me.

Last weekend we were away celebrating a special Wedding Anniversary, post to follow about the beautiful place we visited. Since our return on Monday evening I have been with out my main computer, problems with the hard drive. It is back now but like a new one, so I am having to get it all adjusted for me all over again!

I will not be around much in the weeks to come either as we have more celebrating to do and friends coming to stay. It will be a case of blog less and live more. However I promise I am not deserting you and will still be posting and reading blogs, just maybe not commenting or posting as often as you have been used to seeing.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Thank you, Scintilla. Thank you, LindyLouMac. You are always very kind. Yes, I had noticed that you were not online so much and was going to contact you on fb, just to make sure everything was all right. I'm glad it is and look forward to reading about your celebrations. x

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