Every cloud has a silver lining – oh yes it does


Last week, dear readers, I nearly killed my Mum.

Don’t worry – I haven’t started some peculiar matricide pursuit; it was an accident – but unforgivable never the less.

I took my family to Rome for a break & the temperature last Wednesday in the square in front of St Peter’s Basilica was a scorchio 44 degrees C.  Poor Mum collapsed with heat stroke inside St Peter’s & I eventually had to send for the doctor.  All’s well that ends well & she’s fine since returning to Donegal where our Irish summer temperatures are a good 30 degrees lower.  It didn’t half give me a scare & the stuff that went through my head in that hour & a half I’ve pushed away somewhere so I won’t have to think about it again.

The outcome was that Mum couldn’t go back out in that heat for the next few days – so my sister & I (that’s all of us in the photo) took it in turns to stay in our apartment with her.  No internet, no books apart from Rome guides in English, no English speaking programmes on the tv – how on earth would we pass the time?  Guess what – we resorted to conversation & I have to tell you it really wasn’t that bad.

I spent hours lying on the sofa listening to Mum telling me stories about things that happened in her lifetime & stuff she’d heard about when she was a child.  Some of it I’d heard before but a lot of it was brand new.  I heard about:

·         the Donegal friend of my grandmother who’d gone to see someone off to America and got on the boat herself, taking her mother’s elastic sided boots that she’d borrowed with her – my grandmother had to go back & break the news to the girl’s mother (I remember the same woman returning to Donegal for the first time in all those years when she was an old person when I was a child)

·         the day the soot fell down the chimney covering my sister who was in her cot beside the fire – moments before my grandmother was due to arrive to visit us in Yorkshire

·         all the jobs my father did as a teenager between leaving school & moving to England

·         the details of my parents wedding which had a guest list of 6 people plus the priest – my Mum is the only one of that group still alive

·         an escaped prisoner that my grandmother had given sanctuary to whilst my grandfather was in hospital in the early 1960s

·         stories from Mum’s working life as a clippie on the buses of South Yorkshire Transport between Doncaster & Barnsley in the 1950s

and loads of other interesting stuff.  We covered a lot of ground & it was thoroughly enjoyable.  So it’s true – every cloud has a silver lining & being offline for a few days really isn’t that bad.  Tell me some of your silver lining stories please.


  1. Lovely pic, Mary. Can tell you’re all related! Your mum sounds like a very interesting person. We went camping recently and got rained in. With the sound of the rain pounding on the tent (we were still in Donegal) we resorted to playing games (ispy is hard in a tent after a while) & chatting. Waking up all together next day was lovely too. When you’ve no electricity to charge things or distractions to, well, distract you, it’s nice to have that conversation time together.


  2. That’s a beautiful photo and your mum just looks fab. We’re all busy and there’s so many distractions and it’s lovely just to talk. One vivid memory I have is when I was little, the electricity went out. Other than a few candles burning, the only light was the cars as they turned their corners.I remember Mum putting the (battery) radio on and Bruce Springsteen’s Dancing in the Dark blasting out. Aptly named, I know, but to this day every time I hear that song it brings me back to that moment – and I always smile.


  3. I was lucky to have the entire reenactment of the 1970’s electric strikes. how mum and dad used the “Tilley lamps” that we thought were just ornaments. we were the best lit house in our street.All the different homes they and we have lived in,.how our uncle almost emigrated to Australia. all about travelling from scotland to Ireland on the ferry with 2 elderly family members at the age of 10. (days before war broke out) and having to guide and manouver them as neither could read nor write.it was great to see her eyes twinkle as she re lived her life.. we are very lucky to have her …..at 82yrs.if we are as fortunate to inherit a grain of her drive and fortitude ,, well id be happy..xx


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