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My name is Helen and I am a Photographer living in England. I started this Blog on the day that my Grandma died, three months after my Father died and several weeks before a third funeral. Initially it was a very personal way to stay connected to the people I'd lost and it helped, it really did. But writing and taking pictures everyday has opened back up a creative side that I had lost during the everyday. A big thank you to my followers, to those who take the time to comment and to new visitors, I hope we will become Blog friends too...

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

a warm welcome

I brought the Bird Bath and Bird Feeders home to put in my garden and remind me. I had given the Bird Bath to Nan for her birthday and she obviously loved it. Until now I had mixed feelings about it.

I met her on her birthday at my Auntie's house and laid the carefully wrapped present (which was bloomin heavy) on my Auntie's pine kitchen table so Nan didn't have to bend down to open it. Nan pulled it towards her to unwrap and the stone gouged a cavernous deep scratch through the wrapping paper into the soft wooden table. My Auntie's face was pure horror and mine pure guilt. It was one of those slow motion moments that cannot be undone and it marred the rest of the day for me and my Auntie too I suspect!

Each time I visited Nan I would revisit the guilt when I looked at the Bird Bath but I somehow knew that it belonged in my garden when she had gone so I brought it home and Millie Moo and I lifted the top of it out of the car (the bottom being a 'man job' for later) and placed it in the position where it would eventually live.

Millie is a timid little girl. I had her as a very tiny kitten, my daughter and I went to fetch her when she was 7 weeks old, much too young for her to be leaving her mummy.

I had been 'broody' for a few weeks, a niggling naggling feeling that wouldn't go away even though I defiantly didn't want anymore pets but my instincts were jangling off the hook, so I looked in the paper.

There it was 'kittens for sale' and I found myself concocting a reason to have one to anyone who would listen, trying to convince myself. But it was already a done deal, Millie's little soul had been calling across the countryside to me from the minute she was born. She knew she was to be ours.

My daughter was still quite small (around 10) and I told her we were going shopping but for something that was very delicate and breakable so she must be careful when we got there. When she was even younger still I had looked into the conservatory to see her gripping tightly onto our hamster, which she had dressed in a Barbie outfit, bouncing the poor thing along the window cill, singing. It was 'going shopping'. I've never moved so fast.

With the hamster safely and unscarredly back in its cage (well physically anyway, do they do hamster counselling?) I have hence forth carried with me a certain nervousness whenever my daughter is around small things.

We pulled into the driveway of a beautiful country house with cats roaming in every possible space and her little face lit up, she was in tiny pink person heaven but she still didn't twig why we were there.

It was thrilling and terrifying all in one go!

Prizing a startled looking moggy out of my daughters arms, squeezed a little too tightly for my liking, we were escorted into the house by the lovely country cat women who came to great us with a "go in very carefully" warning. Yes misses I thought, you've clocked the fear in my eyes and devil behind my daughters, this was going to need heavy restraint procedures.

We were shown into a side room where the contents that came tumbling out of the door were enough to melt even the very hardest of hearts, hundreds (it seemed) tiny little balls of absolute cuteness bouncing towards us on mass, making it look like the floor was moving. Choking back tears at the moment and my daughters beaming face I asked her "which one do you want darling?"

Stupid question, we had absolutely no say in the matter! Utterly mesmerized and overwhelmed, my daughter staggered backwards into a shabby arm chair, and was instantly covered in wriggling balls of fluff. Rendered motionless with delight she was as good as gold and eventually one by one they became bored with their new playmate and scrabbled off to find new adventures. It was time to choose as a tiny little bundle who'd been hiding clawed its way up her jeans and curled up and went to sleep on her lap. The deed was done.

Millie came home and I carried her everywhere with me for 3 days, her tiny little body gently rising and falling as she slept on my chest while I worked on my laptop. We bonded, I was her mummy now, for life.

She helps me clean the house, she helps me put the washing out,
she drives me crazy with her chattering and gives me painful massages when she wakes me up in the mornings. I love her utterly.

So it was completely fitting that it should be Millie who should help put out the Bird Bath in the garden that is hers and mine.

As I said Millie is a timid little girl, afraid of anyone that doesn't belong in her house and most definitely afraid of anything new that wasn't there before. But her reaction to the Bird Bath was beautifully unusual for her. She cuddled it, rubbed around it, played with and baffed it. Millie had never met my Nan but she was here now in my garden and Millie welcomed her with open paws.

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