scribbles tagged ‘family’

ginger’s dresses

Saturday, December 29th, 2012 | tags: , ,  |

finding images of Ginger Rogersmumsie: have you got some books on film with pictures of Ginger Rogers’ dresses in them?

wendy: Um, possibly, but there’ll be lots of pictures on the internet that are easier to find

I put my laptop and mouse on the dining room table in front of mum. She pulled out her glasses and watched me type in search terms then helped me to change them. Mum learned about searching images while focussed on the actual images. She got very excited about how quick and easy it was to find the sort of thing she wanted. Her natural description of navigating the page focussed on the movement of the images, the focus of her interest, rather than the movement of the generic tool component (browser scroll bar):

mum “make the pictures go up” = wendy “scroll down the page

Later that evening dad put mum’s own, ne’er used, laptop on his personal laptop table.  Mum put on her glasses and sat next to him. They both searched for images of Ginger Rogers dancing. Mum didn’t touch the laptop but she effectively controlled it through conversation with Dad. Her language had changed. Mum had shifted to using directional language that mapped to the movement of the scroll-bar rather than the images. During our conversation she’d picked up a little of how I speak about things and incorporated it into her instructions to dad:

mum “move it down” = wendy “scroll down the page

Mum and Dad were terribly cute discussing the dress design and it’s properties for dancing. They both love to research things….

ginger’s dresses
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nothing electronic

Thursday, December 27th, 2012 | tags: , , ,  |

tinsel treeDad told me of his cunning Christmas present for mumsie

Mumsie said not to get her anything electronic for Christmas so I’ve got her an e-book for her kindle, and I’ve already put it on her kindle so I can show it to her on Christmas day

Indeed, mum was really pleased with her present once she’d made sure that the new book on her kindle hadn’t replaced the book she was currently reading. Once she’d grasped that 2 books could co-exist on the Kindle an earnest enthusiasm for last year’s present (the kindle) began to show.

The book? A biography of George, Duke of Clarence  (1449-1478).

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mumsie’s murderous streak

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012 | tags: , ,  |

Remember wendums, your mother grew up in the 1950s – when they invented invisible germs. Evil things that must be killed. Sometimes we should clean things that don’t need cleaning because the thought of germs can really upset mumsie


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wearing dad’s jumper

Friday, June 29th, 2012 | tags: , , , , , , ,  |

Mumsie: what would you like us to get you for your 18th Birthday present?

Wendy: A motorbike

Mumsie: No

Wendy: I’ll save to buy the protective clothing – Helmet, jacket, trousers, boots

Mumsie: No, nothing electrical for your 18th

Wendy: The Gibson Les Paul you got Bros 62 is an electric guitar

Mumsie: That’s different

Wendy: What if I buy the bike and you can give me a full set of leather gear and a helmet for my 18th?

Mumsie: No

Wendy: Why not?

Mumsie: No clothes for your 18th

Wendy: What can I have?

Mumsie: I thought a nice Diamond and Topaz ring

Wendy: If that’s what I’m allowed, I’ll take it… … can I pawn it for money towards a motorcycle?

Honda CB100N

Mum and Dad rarely rowed. Later that year they rowed about my getting a motorbike. Dad sided with me, placating mumsie with a promise to make sure that I looked after the bike properly. The morning before Dad took this photograph he carried a comfy chair into the garage while I laid out the large tent groundsheet on the garage floor between my bike and his comfy chair. Dad opened the Haynes manual.

Gradually I deconstructed the engine and lay each piece out in neat chronological order on the groundsheet. When the engine was in pieces we took a break to clean up and eat Sunday lunch.  Then, slowly, peace by piece, I rebuilt the engine. When I got confused, Dad showed me the relevant Haynes manual picture and pushed me to make a decision. He helped listen to the sound quality when adjusting the timer.

I felt so proud of myself once I’d finished.  Dad let me wear my favourite of his jumpers for this celebratory photograph.

The bike lasted just over a year before I sold it on for a profit.

My diamond and topaz ring, worn less than 6 times in 30 years,  reminds me that mum and dad love me and the responsibility and freedom of motorcycling…

 

 

wearing dad’s jumper
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deconstructing Dr Who’s equipment

Thursday, April 12th, 2012 | tags: , , , ,  |

My mother’s elder brother-in-law, a 94 year old ballroom dancing Mason, brings a collection of origami animals to a House family meal:

Niece 92’s boyfriend: I can work out how it’s made,  if I take it apart

Bros 57: Will you use a MaSonic screwdriver to take it apart?

Bros 62 and I laughed outselves off our chairs. The waiters hovered like vultures. We lost our Masonic uncle a couple of times that night, physically, mentally and metaphorically

Later that night I dreamt that Alan Bennet dropped by to sort us all out

That helped

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family traits

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012 | tags: , , , , , ,  |

KnucklesMy 90 year aunt rubs her distorted, arthritic, hands.  Despite this distortion I find her hands beautiful. Her gently winkled skin doesn’t betray her grand age

Knarled and dapper

Mumsie and her elder sister try to remember the names and professions of their long-past elderly relatives who were mainly females:

Even the married female relatives lived as-if they were unmarried – without their husbands, running thier own businesses:

  • a Milliner – HATS!!!
  • a sweetshop owner

family traits
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living ghosts

Friday, February 24th, 2012 | tags: , ,  |

mumsie: this morning I heard mam talking in the room next door. I heard her clear as day, even though I know she died in 78.   I was listening to you 

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Vieno Tuulikki Kolehmainen

Thursday, November 17th, 2011 | tags: , , , ,  |

Vieno Tuulikki KolehmainenI recently checked out a few details with my Dad, about his mother – Vieno Tuulikki (born) Kolehmainen. I met my her only once in 1968, when she visited our family in England for a couple of weeks. I was 4 years old. She was a quiet, affectionate, frail old lady

This is what I’ve found out about Vieno Tuulikki Kolehmainen:

  • Studied Medieval English (probably at the University of Helsinki)
  • First son, dad,  born when she was 24 in Viipuri – 1933
  • Arrived in England 1934 aged 25 when her Lutheran minister husband was posted to Hull
  • Daughter born in 1937, died less than a year later in 1938
  • Vieno’s home in Hull bombed in 1941
  • Russia attacked Finland in 1939
  • Finland attacked Russia in 1941. England was an ally to Russia. Russia declared war on Finland and Vieno was included in the exchange of diplomats. Pressumably returning to Helsinki
  • Dad evacuated to safety with a family in neutral Sweden – Linkoping
  • Helsinki home was bombed one month after the birth of her second son – 1944
  • Returned to England 1947 – suffered from clinical depression
  • Returned to Finland 1948 – without her children – divorced 1950
  • Visited England in 1968 – stayed with dad and met her grandchildren – but never met her second son who refused to visit out of loyalty to his father – Vieno’s ex-husband
  • Died from a heart attack following slipping on doorstep ice in 1969

I see so many unanswered questions in this storyine….

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Po

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011 | tags: , , ,  |

In the 1940s mumsie’s family moved into a 3 bedroomed rented red-brick terrace house

Three of the children shared one room, one bed. They slept sideways across the double-bed.  The only married son, a Naval rating, lived with his wife in the 3rd bedroom. The first time my aunt had lived somewhere other than an orphanage, sleeping in a dormatory

The 1890’s house had a luxury modern convenience, a flushing toilet in a brick outbuilding. One of mum’s jobs was to tear the Sunday newspaper into squares, thread the squares onto  string and hang them in the outhouse. Newsprint rubbed off on her hands. The damp air in the outhouse made the paper soggy

Even in this household of 7, there was never a queue to use the one toilet. Every bedroom contained porcelain chamber pots. Mumsie calls a chamber pot a ‘po’. You could do your business in the bedroom, leave the po under the bed then carry it to the toilet to be emptied. Mum and Dad agreed that it was important that no-one saw you carrying the Po to be emptied

Even though toilets were designed to be sat on and peed into, it sounds as if,  that’s not how they were first commonly used. I remember in the 1980’s that my grandparents kept chamber pots, a commode in their bedroom

Po
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devour and dodge

Friday, June 3rd, 2011 | tags: , , , ,  |

Last night I succumbed to a hedonistic Roquefort cheese devouring session, accompanied by a cheeky little Fitou ….mmmMMMmmmm…….

This helped produce a lovely dream, a relaxed family outing.

The dream turned lucid when I realised that my parents had driven my car without permission, into several walls, dodgem bumper car style. They blamed the car for poor usability.

Lucidity enabled me to fix the car promptly.

My parents are still the same.

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run wendy run

Saturday, May 28th, 2011 | tags: , , , , ,  |

4yr tricycleOnce the joy of the tinkling bells had worn off I looked towards the end of the isle. Mum and dad weren’t there

It wasn’t fair, they could walk fast or slow. Slow was the only speed I could walk. Slow or running.  They always walked fast, I had to run, whizzing passed so many fascinating things. I’d only taken a moment to listen to the bells while mum and dad wandered off.

I ran to the end of the isle, glancing both ways then looked down every isle. From a safe distance, I even checked the escalators. No mum, dad or brothers. I hadn’t got lost. I know where I am. They are lost.  Welling tears were barely held by remembering mums’ instructions

‘what to do when you are lost’

  1. stay in the last place that you saw mum, dad, your brothers or school teacher
  2. do not talk to strangers
  3. talk to a policeman and they will help you find mum and dad

Standing by the silent bells, soggy red-faced, I wondered if mum and dad were also staying in the last place they saw me, not talking to strangers. People were watching me and talking to each other. A lady bent down and asked if I was alright. I tried so very hard to follow rule 2, not talking to this stranger. It tooks seconds for me to fail. Mucus spluttered

I’ve lost my mummy!

Why did everyone seem so calm? Why weren’t they crying too? My friends and I always cried together. Maybe these strangers were going to take me away to an orphanage and I’d never see mum and dad again. The lady leant forward to grab me.  I scrambled out of her reach towards the bells, crying louder in the hope that someone would join in.

Wearing her angry face, Mum appeared at the end of the isle to rescue me. When angry, she walks faster. I ran all the way home trying to slow mum by singing  I want to hold your hand.

scribble inspired by Nick’s recent musings on lost children
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Guerilla graffiti

Thursday, May 5th, 2011 | tags: , , ,  |

Graffitti off of Princes Avenue in HullEnthusiastically immersed in socialist discourses and lengthy walking tours of the Hull Avenues. Our spirits raised by all sorts of street art. Sunshine uncovering unexpected family similarities in manner, attitude and humour

good company

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Trucking Hull

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011 | tags: , , , ,  |

Truck Theatre The Socialist Republic of Hull hosted a clan gathering of the “Avenue’s” branch of the House family

This all female branch successfully avoided Royalist pre-procreation ceremonial fervour while plotting the overthrow of several magnificent vegetarian feasts (and swapping gardening tips)

Hull Truck Theatre entertained us with not one, but two Alan Bennetts in an autobiographical play featuring an outstanding yellow Bedford Van and a colourful unconventional lady

Topical

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little my

Monday, March 28th, 2011 | tags: , , , , , ,  |

If you were at a Swedish speaking school you would swear in Finnish or German. Often the language at school was different from the language at home. At home you could have a conversation where one sentence would switch between languages, Finnish, Swedish German (Dad)

Dad had a multilingual upbringing in Finland, Sweden and  Hull (England). I had a monolingual upbringing, English was the only language spoken at home.

Dad did make sure we had many connections with his family history through music (Sibelius), decorations such as Dalacarlian horses, personal and published stories. Dad arranged the weekly trip to the Library to swap our story books. A big family event, such fun. Noggin the Nog and Tove Jannsen‘s Moomin’s (Muumi in original Finnish) were fond favourites of my early life. Like Dad, Tove was a Swedish speaking Finn. Little my is an occassional character in the Moomins, based on Tove.

The soundtrack for the TV series sounds almost Cajun….

Watch and listen to a Moomin episode in original musical Finnish

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settled

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011 | tags: , , ,  |

His father

They’ve been together for 4 years. He’s only 21, it doesn‘t feel right. When I was his age I’d wake up in the morning, call my mates and we’d be in Athens by noon. We weren’t rich, we would find ourselves work there, stay all summer, make it up as we went along, We could get by. Don’t get me wrong, I love my wife, we’ve been together for 20 years, but I wouldn’t do it again. Wouldn’t get married again.

A bee bumbled between us

At 21 he should be seeing the world, not settling down, there’s plenty of time to settle down later.

Her mother

He‘s got no money, he doesn‘t go out, he just sits in front of the TV and eats junk food. He can‘t cook. He’s doing a computer games degree course. He’s written one game and even she thinks its crap. She’s insecure and he’s a safe bet, she doesn’t love him so he can’t hurt her. His mother visits every week to deliver the folded, bagged, fresh laundry and pick up the stuff that needs washing. He doesn’t even take the laundry out of the bag. His mother does my daughters laundry too. They’ve got no life in them

candlelight flickers across her damp eyes

He’s a couch potato and he’s making her into one.


PS thank you to Ben and Alison. Love you. 223 word post before the PS
settled
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enough

Thursday, March 10th, 2011 | tags: ,  |

Pair of benches overlooking the English channelMy first thought was whether it had been lonely. To live where your death goes unnoticed ’til the neighbours complain about the stench

I hadn’t known you well, but liked you well enough. The mild mannered clever man that helped dad with the Times cryptic crossword and talked knowledgeably, with entertaining passion, about literature and science. You always looked contented, I enjoyed your company, your stories

Your evenings were full of conversations with Chomsky, Darwin, Einstein, Galileo, Heisenberg, Watson, and Wittgenstein. You liked the boys. With such good company there is little room for loneliness, no call for mundane conversations. Those lifetimes of literature can be enough

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unregistered Finnish citizen

Friday, January 28th, 2011 | tags: , , ,  |

While wandering around the internets I stumbled upon the fabulous Finnish Immigration services website

As you do

Helsinki CathedralI am eligible for Finnish citizenship because my father is a Finnish citizen and was married to my mother at the time of my birth. It looks like the only formality is for Dad to register my birth with a Finnish registry office, at the moment Finland doesn’t officially know that I exist. Dad explained that he didn’t register any of his children in Finland because that made them eligible for Finnish military service and he didn’t want us to be obliged to go through that, despite his fond memories of being stationed on the Åland Islands during his own National service

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classical conditioning

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011 | tags: , , , ,  |

Bathroom floorAs a pre-school child one of my absolute favourite games was Wednesday’s washing the bathroom floor. Mumsie would fill up a beach-bucket with warm foamy water, give me a smallhand-size brush and leave me in the bathroom. I was allowed to slop the hot foamy water all over the floor. What FUN! When I’d finished I told mum and she’d come in and finish off the details with her own BIG bucket of soapy water and a towel. I’d help with the towel

During my first week at school, when I got home on Wednesday I asked for my bucket to help wash the bathroom floor, but mum had already done it. I cried

Psychologists call this ‘Classical‘, as oppose to ‘Operant’ conditioning, where a person (originally tested with dogs) learns to associate the co-occurence of an event (bell ringing) with a rewarding experience (enjoyment of food) such that when the event contiunes without the reward the dog behaives as-if the reward is coming.

For me this was associating ‘fun’ with washing the floor, the association still exists to this day. As soon as the hot soapy water hits the bathroom floor, I’m thinking ‘YAY Bubbles, SWISH!

Thanks to mumzie for having the insight to let this happy association happen

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ambitous

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010 | tags: , ,  |

As Christmas approaches the House family excitement is ramping up. Tonight we are working on developing an integrated, complimentary, achievable set of new years resolutions. I’m always impressed by my young niece’s exhuberant ambitions and I do try to encourage her as much as I can:
ambitious

Apparantly she ‘takes after’ me.  A singular vision and healthy disrespect for social conformity mixed with a deep affection for people, and creative spelling.  She is such a sweetie. Hoorah!

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after some chafing Finland awakes

Monday, December 6th, 2010 | tags: , , , , ,  |

During the BBC Proms the family House made a trip to see the Ulster Symphony Orchestra perform the Karelia suite in prom 68. It was very touching to see mum and dad, a Karelian, look so happy. Dad once again reminded me that he has a signed photograph of Colonel Mannerheim that was given to his mum.

Sibelius wrote Finlandia

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garage banned

Monday, September 13th, 2010 | tags: , , , ,  |

Talking Heads sang Electric Guitar

Come and look at my garage,  look at my workbench and tools

My brother proudly shows me his work bench, chisel sets and other thoughtfully organised tools.  He’s recently cleared a space in the garage so he can make things. He’s always liked making things.  This hobby was temporarily interrupted by having a job selling electronic stuff in Asian countries to make big money.  Now he’s changed jobs, downgraded his income in favour of having time to do stuff he loves. On a budget.

This is my first guitar, it’s English Oak, its not common to use Oak to make Guitars, it is a bit heavy

I’m now in full audience mode. Something my father and brother have taught me to do well.  I’m mainly here to make appreciative noises and ask questions that help them tell their stories. I like the role, its fun to watch people talk about the things they love, dad and his Pylons, Bros and his making things.

English Oak Electric Guitar    English Oak Electric Guitar   Guitar at christmas   some guitars above a gutted pianola

This is the first Guitar he’s made from scratch.  He looked less happy when he realised he wouldn’t be able to make a living by making guitars because it was so time consuming. I remember the first (Bass) guitar he renovated in his teens and sold for a profit over the purchase price and materials. Not profit on the labour.

His home has always been full of guitars he’s bought, renovated or upgraded.  His garden shed is a production studio for local bands, often full of people playing his instruments.

Drum KitThe environmental health are investigating him,

the shed,

for noise pollution….  …my Brother may get an ASBO….

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Pylon passion

Monday, August 9th, 2010 | tags: , , , ,  |

 OMD sang Electricity

OMD quickly earned a favoured position in my teenage heart when I first heard Electricity. This song reminds me of home, of warmth and comfort. Most of all reminds me of Dad getting excited about Pylons, happily ethusing.  His excitement is contagious.

Dad started work for an electricity supply company in the early 1950’s.  Exciting times for an Engineer specialising in supplying electricity to the UK.  Building infrastructure, planning routes to lay cables and overhead lines. Dad is still passionate about the details of the tools of his trade.  He has photograph albums dedicated to Pylons.

He’s recently returned from a trip to China. He treated us to the holiday photo’s on the family TV. Amongst the photographs of temples, rivers, mountains, village streets were numerous photographs of pylons. 

Whenever I see a Pylon, transformer, dam, or insulator I think fondly of Dad.  How his face lights up and he starts talking about what’s interesting about this particular thing, its age, its construction process, its location or ability to withstand high winds.

Not only is his excitment contagious,

I now find myself taking photographs of Pylons whenever I go on holiday.

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turn off tap

Thursday, June 10th, 2010 | tags: , ,  |

Every visit to my parents’ home brings new suprises

Each suprise like a crumb on a trail leading into a the blackest forest.  

My parents are gently walking into thier story of old age, fumbling into darkness and deafness.  Holding each others hands, quibbling like children, I watch them waddle away. 

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cold hearth

Friday, April 2nd, 2010 | tags: ,  |

Hailstones on the hearth.   Straight down my parents chimney the hailstones  bounce across the floor where the cats catch them before they melt.   But nothing interrupts the family Dr. Who Festival.   Dr. Who is on the Edge of Destruction.   Breaths are bated.

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baby goats

Thursday, March 4th, 2010 | tags:  |

cousin: are you planning to settle down, get married and have kids?

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loud skunk skin

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010 | tags:  |

cousin: you all look the same. Except, well, perhaps, wendy.   Wendy was always the quiet one.
wendy: I’m not quiet now
cousin: I can see

I was wearing  a pair of  beautifully embroidered 2-tone cowboy boots, black leather jeans, and my favourite fluffball of an artificial skunk-skin jacket.  I like to think of it  as pret-a-road-kill.

Aunty (87yrs) shouts:   I wanted you to wear those lovely red leather trousers
wendy shouts back: Oh Aunty!   I wanted to wear my favurite red leather trousers too, but I thought they might be just a bit too loud for some of the youngsters here.

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cake as story

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010 | tags: ,  |

Every cake should tell a story

This cake tells of  the busy 90 years of my uncle Albert (pronounced  Awe-burr).   Busy ballroom dancing, cruising, fiddling on the computer  and his favourite motorcycle.  A great grandchild reads the pictures.  The cake is edged by the tools he used to build things and was delivered in a Mason’s hall.  

What does your cake say?

the cake

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sleeping beauty

Saturday, January 2nd, 2010 | tags: , , ,  |

Bath Theatre RoyalMy parents, brothers and nieces all turned up at  the Theatre Royal Bath production of sleeping beauty.   3 generations laughing together at topical bad jokes involving duck houses, MP’s expenses and discrimination against ginger people.  

I was a little confused by the principle boy being an actual boy.   No girls dressing-up as boys in this production.   The songs were excellent and included perky famous dittys like  ‘Could it be magic’.   Lots of children dancing around, some slapstick and shouting and chanting.   Much fun for everyone.  

Family pantomime outings are THE BESTEST!

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precision time memories

Saturday, October 31st, 2009 | tags: , , , , ,  |

Bros 1957: Wendy, do you remember what we were doing at this time on September 11th 1979?

Wendy: Errr…..um…   …not really,   what were we doing Bros 1957?

Bros 1957:   Oh!   You don’t remember!

Bros can produce an ‘Oh’ packed with emotional messages.   It’s a family trait.   He was genuinely very suprised that I didn’t remember what we were doing at a specific time on a specific day nearly 10 years earlier

Wendy: Nope.   I can guess but it would be based on probablities that things I remeber happened at that time.   What were we doing then?

Bros 1957:  We were having a family sauna  at a ski resort in Inari, Finland  

Wendy:   I remember the Sauna.   How do you remember the exact date and time?

Bros 1957: because it  was exactly 10,000* days ago (huge smile)

Helsinki's Sibelius monumentBros 1957 has a fantastic ability to remember time and events together,  he’s published an eponymous  moon-based calendar.

* dates have been changed because I can’t remember them
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bread winner

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009 | tags: , , , , , ,  |

Shopping For DadMumzie drives to another town to pick-up the only Rye crisp-bread that Dad considers to be like real Finnish Rye bread.

The myriad of  quirky little things my parents do for each other shows they are still in love, 52 years after getting married.

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