Thursday 25 August 2011


Once, there used to be a wide old footpath at the top of the embankment running the entire length of that side of town. It was known as the ‘old railway line’. Though the last remnants were removed when I was a child, you could still, walking the length, cross a couple of stone bridges to remind you of the past. The embankment has long since gone, flattened and brought down to our level to accommodate housing, business and a bypass to the small industrial estate. It stays the ‘old railway line’, though all that remains is a thin tarmacked path between old and new.

It’s still used for the walk to the shops, and the bridges are still there, though barely noticeable; where there were fields on one side there are now estates and an office. On one occasion my mother, having noticed the rubbish over several such walks, the small plastic cups and empty sweet wrappers from vending machines, took action with a large bin bag and deposited the results in reception. I used to think that mildly embarrassing, now I cheer; that’s mums for you.

Poor eyesight, not nearly as fast as she used to be - I no longer have to run to keep up – and a catholic; I figure religious enough to make up for those in the family who aren’t. In mass last week she stopped to appreciate a stylish top. At the end of the service, a young member of the congregation sitting behind, put their arms around my mother and gave her a kiss on the cheek before leaving. It was only when my mother stood up that she realised she had a new cardigan draped around her shoulders.


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