Nature is beautiful

For today’s post I am going to share a picture that I did not take that long ago. It is of a sunset and I just thought it was so beautiful, that I had to share it with you all. Hope you appreciate it as much as I did taking the picture.




I have found poetry rather therapeutic when I am thinking too much, or just need to relieve a feeling or an emotion.

This is a poem I wrote a while ago when I struggled to sleep. It is called Through my mind.

 I lie here wide awake

In my bed.

Tossing and turning

A steam rollers through my head.

All is so unclear.

I wish I had clarity.

But I cannot,

As thoughts rage through my mind.

The clock keeps ticking away.

I hope soon I snooze

With a crystal clear mind.




Escapism of the classics

As far as I can remember and was old enough to be able to read, I have always loved classical literature with the likes of Jane Austen, Bronte sisters and even the works of Shakespeare.

As a child I loved the myths and legends of Norse and Greek origins. It is an area of literature that has always fascinated me. So when I knew Marvel were bringing out Thor, of course I was excited as I knew the characters from Norse mythology. I loved it that much that at college I took the subject classical civilisation that concentrated on Roman and Greek roots of history. In this subject I chose Greek literature and specifically speaking Homer’s Iliad. I loved the film Troy because of the fantastic actors in it, that reading the work was exciting for me. I was not disappointed either.

But back to the classical literature of Austen and the Bronte sisters in particular. There work has been reimagined in television and film countless times, that we all have a favourite adaptation. I find my fascination with the worlds they write is because it is a world and a society that no longer exist in modern culture. The elements of social class, gender, the social norms and values of the times are a time forgotten in some ways a good thing, especially with women marrying for advantageous marriages out of financial security and not love. Even though Austen shows us many love marriages in Pride and Prejudice with Jane and Mr Bingley as well as Elizabeth and Mr Darcy. Nowadays they are a good escapism of romance, chivalry and the outfits of corsets and bonnets. As well as pomp and ceremony of how things were done, some may argue how they would still like to be done.

I found the same with the Bronte sisters with Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. Both gothic, dark and yet endearing. For me these novels just give an insight into the mind of the authors as well as the period in time they were set. I adore Jane Eyre with the innocence and the brooding, mysterious Mr Rochester. I did love the film adaptions with Michael Fassbender who for me did the character a justice.

I find that the women in the classical literature are written as strong, yet underestimated and undervalued in the beginning, but as the story evolves they become their own and drive the story forward. But that is just my opinion.

This literature is something that ha always fascinated me and impassioned the imagination of romance, survival and loyalty. Loyalty to oneself and to the family and friends the characters relies on throughout the novel.

On the other hand I do love the adaption that come from the origins of these authors. Best of these and I do recommend is the Jane Austen book club and Austen land. Both very loving and funny films that are inspired by these wonderful writers.

My Drummer boy

In my last post I mentioned my great-grandfather Thomas Alfred Oakes was a private with the 6th Cheshire regiment and how because of him I got my middle name.

Since then that bubble of the story I was told since I was young has been burst.

On the genealogy websites of Ancestry and Find My Past from the 11th to the 13th November there is free access to the military records. So with this opportunity I took my chance in looking for relatives and what other information I could find on them.

Originally I could not find much on Thomas, but looking over the weekend I found a Silver War badge transcription which stated Thomas did NOT serve overseas. I was a little gutted after the story I was told, but in a way relieved as if he had then who knows what would have happened. The favourite words of What if? A scenario which can be ignored as he was home, had other children and therefore cousins of mine who are alive and living life.

The part that fascinated me on the transcript was the part of occupation. I always knew he was a private. The transcript clearly stated he was a drummer. I was very happy. The reason for this happiness is that the musicality passed on from father to son. As Thomas’ father also with the same namesake was a theatre musician. For me to see the fact he was a drummer gave me a glimpse into my great grandfather’s life with questions.

Questions of:

  1. Did his father teach his son instruments?
  2. Was music a key part of Thomas Alfred Oakes childhood?
  3. Was he any good as a drummer?
  4. How many instruments could he or his father play?
  5. What music did they like or dislike?

These are questions that will never be answered of course, as there needs to be someone living to answer these which there is not. However it is nice to see how music passed on from one generation to the other.

Lest we forget

On the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month we pause for a two-minute silence to remember and reflect on the lives of those who fought for the freedom we enjoy today.

From doing my family tree I have come across relatives of mine who fought in the First World War with very different outcomes on both my maternal and paternal sides of the family.

At a young age I knew about my great-grandfather Thomas Alfred Oakes on my father’s side because of my middle name Louvain, as it is a place in Belgium. My spelling is French but the Flemish spelling is Leuven. I recommend you to google it! My grandmother Thomas’ daughter was the first of this name as her father was not present at her birth in November 1914 as he had left for France to fight in the war.

Thomas Alfred Oakes was part a private in the 6th Cheshire regiment. He survived the war after being discharged in April 1916. Unfortunately I have no exact details on the discharging of his service as many records were burnt in a fire in the Second World War. Thomas went onto to have four more children with his wife. One died in infancy and the other three made it to adulthood. Thomas lived his life and died in 1937 in Stockport where he settled after being born in Scotland and moving around in his childhood due to his father’s occupation as a theatre musician and his name was also Thomas and an Englishman.

Looking onto my maternal side there are two stories in one family that have woe and happiness.

My cousin twice removed Tom Speak was born in Stockport, Cheshire and joined service for the First World War as part of the 13th Cheshire regiment. There is not much information on his service apart from the one major event that Tom was part of, the Battle of the Somme. At the age of 19 he died on the 7th July 1916. His body was never found. His name is on the Thiepval memorial in France.

His particular story of war was rather upsetting because of the horrific nature of that battle, but also his tender age with so much life left in him.

On the other hand Tom’s uncle John Markham also volunteered for service and ended up as a gunner in the Machine Gun Corps. This particular regiment is difficult to research. But from my family research I came across his military record. From this I found out that he was promoted up to a Corporal and travelled all over the place as part of his regiment. John was injured during his service and did make a full recovery. He did survive the war and lived his life till his death in 1944 in Stockport, Cheshire from where he was born.

The correlation of Uncle and Nephew both went to war with very different outcomes shows the perils of the war. Also a situation that happened in many families where two or more members went to fight for King and country and some never returned home.

On Armistice day we remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. But for me I pay my respects to those who fought and were forever changed by the events they participated in. For that I know we all be forever grateful.


Transplant anniversary

Today is my 11th anniversary since I had a kidney transplant.

The reason for the post is because it is something that inspires me everyday because it is something I have to live with everyday.

I was diagnosed with kidney failure in 2004 at the age of 12. I then went onto dialysis at home for six days a week, nine hours a night. I had this for 13 months until I got the phone call on the 7th November. On the 9th November I went down to surgery to have the transplant. I was very nervous, excited and scared at the new life I would have of not being ill and making a road to recovery.

That was 11 years ago. Since then I finished school, went to college and graduated university in 2013. For me to keep going and to keep surviving I have to take medication everyday and night for the rest of my life. I have to go to hospital appointments a few times a year as well as for check ups. In all honesty it does get me down but I am so grateful to the donor and their family. As their kindness in making such a tough decision in a difficult time has helped me live my life so far and I will continue to do so. If it was not for their decision I would not have had the transplant and achieved as much as I had without the kind thought.

With that in the kindness of a stranger with a life changing decision, think about it! Are you an organ donor? Has it ever crossed your mind? Yes or no? Either way let your family or friends know if you do and if you do not, but I hope you do register and become an organ donor, no matter where you are in the world.

The fast paced lifestyle

The majority of people nowadays owns a smart phone of some kind. With these smart phones there are many apps to choose from that cater to every aspect of life. From what we eat to help us to sleep. Every social media app at our fingertips.

With all this information just at our fingertips on a fast paced, click your fingers basis, sometimes that does not transpire into reality of everyday life. But that is the problem isn’t it? There becomes an expectation moreover a requirement of life is that it should be just as quick as a phone. We all know this is not how things perspire.

I would like to point out that I do love having all different apps for different things in my life, especially the social media aspects. But my issue is not the actual phones or apps, but more the attitude that transfers.

I find today as a bigger issue that people only look after number one, that common decency, kindness and courteous behaviour seems to lack. That the attitude of I can do what I want, when I want the attitude of me, me, me. For me this fits into the fast paced lifestyle because the single wants of I want and I need follow from the point of information being at the click of our fingers.

People want to do something all the time, be somewhere all the time and do something all the time. Firstly there is not enough hours in the day. Secondly there is also the problem of always doing, which can lead to stress and even sleepless nights in the extremities. But the point I am making is overall we do not know how to relax anymore.

We as a society do not know how to switch off, we are always tweeting a thought, sharing a picture of where we are in that second onto Instagram and tagging what restaurant we are at on Facebook. It never ends does it? Life is that fast paced that people take a holiday where there is no internet connection, like seriously people are that addicted they have to take a holiday in the middle of nowhere? Verging on the ridiculous if you ask me. It is a problem that the only way people zone out is having no connection. Then it says a lot about the society and world we live in.

We put too much emphasis onto an app on a phone. Instead read a book. Play a game. Have a laugh. Without your fingers being glued to a small object that makes life faster and faster and there are only 24 hours in a day. Just learn to switch off, relax and enjoy the moment and more importantly slow down!