Sitting in the garden, the brief memory of your voice echoes through trees, carried on happy breezes that cool the spirit. Recollections come flooding back like it was yesterday.
How thrilled you were mum when passing your driving test, that look of elation as you ripped your L Plates in half. I think it was about 1974, as I passed my driving test on April 2nd 1973, and I'm sure it wasn't long after that you passed yours.
Dad was so proud of you, especially knowing how nervous you'd been before hand. “This is cause for celebration!” He declared. Then proceeded to book a table for the following Saturday at our favourite restaurant.
Mum and Dad you loved going to The Dog at Over in Gloucester and knew Ruth and John Chase who ran the place at the time, they would always give us the best table and have a chat when they weren't too busy, which was quite rare, but we always stayed till closing time, so it would be a very late night.
Anyway on the following Saturday afternoon, here you were Mrs Independent driving herself into Bristol to buy a new outfit from Lewis's store, where you worked at the time up in the offices. Then driving up Whiteladies Road, parking the car and going for your regular trim and set.
You were always so elegant, I never recollect a time when your hair was out of place, due to your weekly visits to your favourite hairdressers, the one where you could have a chat and talk about your week with your stylist, catching up with all the gossip.
Sadly the only time your hair appeared a disaster, was when I went to see you laid out after your death. They'd straightened your hair and given you a parting, it was so wrong in every respect, I felt like I was gazing at a stranger. I know it's not their fault, but I'd always known you with short, set curls.
That Saturday evening as we sipped our Cinzano and lemonade and dad with his whiskey or gin...of course back in the early 1970s there wasn't any law stopping you from drinking and driving, it was just the done thing that we'd have a drink before leaving the house.
We'd be starving and getting excited talking about what we'd have to eat. Normally we'd have the usual, that we'd get at a Berni Inn, I'd have pate, mum you'd have prawn cocktail and dad you would have soup of the day. Then we'd have a main course of sirloin steak, chips, peas or salad, followed by those yummy meringues with ice cream and fresh raspberries and thick cream with a raspberry sauce over the top...what a special treat they were...you couldn't get that dessert at a Berni Inn.
With dad at the helm, we'd set off in the car for the long drive, dad smacking of old spice, his favourite aftershave. Me sat in the back relaying my escapades of the week, to which you mum would always say, “Jenny! Really, I don't want to hear that,” as you tut, tutted.
When it wasn't me getting the disgusted look, it would be you dad. Remember how mum would say, “Peter!” and reprimand you for drinking too much, because your tongue got too loose, you would start getting louder and louder and drawing attention to yourself. It never bothered me, but I can now understand how mum felt embarrassed.
At the end of this day it's good to think that the place where I live now even though it's so faraway from the place where I grew up, that your memory lives on.