Easter Sunday. Cold. Grey. Windy.
The occasional teardrop falling. Not mine. They dripped, now and then, from the eyes of the Rain God, lurking in his lair in the dismal clouds above.
But I wasn’t surprised. Or disappointed. I’m used to Easter’s vagaries. And customs. And I don’t mean just the eggs. Or bonnets.
There was a tradition, in my family, of giving ‘Easter fairings’ – small gifts. In the days when fairs came to town at Easter, as they did in my home town, the custom was to buy these small gifts at the fair – hence the name.
And I have happy memories of very-young-me riding the ‘little wheel’ at the annual fair in our marketplace. Clutching a cardboard ‘clock’ whose numbers were all tiny eggs. Ah, happy days!
But my abiding memory of long-gone Eastertides is not of the fairground, nor eggs, nor chocolate, but of shivering. Because Easter was also when my mother bought me a new outfit.
A new summer outfit.
Wearing my new summer clothes I would sit hunched on the bench, or fidget on aching knees for the long hour of Mass in our unheated (as of Easter) church. Father Hickey waving his glasses as he spoke to us ‘dear brethren’ from the pulpit. The organ itself probably wincing each time the organist missed random keys as we plodded through
‘Christ the Lord is ris’n today-ay,
Apparently, it brings good luck, wearing an item of new clothing at Easter. So perhaps a fair bit of luck has been my lot, in compensation for the chills.
And last Sunday, although it was pretty bleak outside, I wasn’t too downcast.
Yes, the weather was far from spring-like – but then, what is spring like?
March winds? April showers?
Hmmm. English weather, I’m not so foolish as to trust to a rhyme.
Anyway, we had our (rather large) hot cross buns to start the day. Admittedly one day late.
We’d bought them on our way home from a short break. From a real bakery in a real Lancashire village.
Here in old Lancashire, many proper local bakeries still make hot cross buns for Holy Saturday (the day before Easter Sunday). Indeed, in the bakery near our last house, we had to order them or be disappointed – and still join queues on Holy Saturday morning.
Supermarkets sell them most of the year, now. Packed in plastic. In various flavours.
But not for me the chocolate abominations of hot cross buns.
I love the tradition, the once-a-year-iness of them. The currants and raisins and cinnamon of them – and the ‘what is the cross made of’ of them.
They cost a bit more now than the ‘One a penny two a penny hot cross buns.’ But still cheap enough to ‘Give them to your daughters, give them to your sons.’
But even a large hot cross bun can’t cheer you all day. And the downside to grey weather is, of course, that a lowering sky can also cause the mood to darken.
A walk on the beach, the usual preferred antidote to gloom, wasn’t on. Too cold. Too windy. Too spitty (thank you, Rain God).
Nor the bird walk (as we call it). Too wet on the marshy mosses leading to the sea. Meaning wellies would be essential. And we didn’t feel wellington boot-y.
The pier? No, no, no! Gusty in the extreme. And the pier train would defeat the object of walking.
Then came the brainwave.
We live in a resort. A seaside resort with a marine (don’t mention Le Pen) lake.
In all our three years here, we have never, ever, walked around the lake.
So, off we set.
And along with the sights and sounds of Easter. Of families and fairgrounds and seagulls and motorbikes – and did I mention wind? – came a surprising reason to smile.
And not just the sun struggling through …
As you may have noticed, I like to look at the labels on benches. There’s usually some poignant, loving, remark about a dear departed relative, a passionate fan of the park, the view, or the nature reserve. A tribute to a generous volunteer.
Well, our local resort has its own, rather lovely benches and – yes – many of them are sad, heart-warming, caring little tributes. In silver. With teardrops, in the rain.
But. Hang on. Wait a minute.
This isn’t the post I wanted to write today. I still have some ranty, angsty, possibly gloomy, despondent-y things to post – from politics and the state of the world to – well, politics and the state of the world.
But since all around me bloggers and readers alike are tearing their hair out and fretting and worrying and despairing at the state of the world, I’ll wait a little while longer.
Instead, I’m going to let some images speak for themselves.
And here’s a message from me. Imagine it as an overlong message on this metaphorical-bench-of-a-post.
“Dear friends, relatives, fellow-bloggers and all readers who pass this way,
The last few weeks have shown me what a lovely community you can be. We can be. So, in an attempt to cheer your day, in return for consolations you have given me, please, have these little gems, on me.
With my very best wishes.”