Isn’t it strange that despite Christmas being such a cheerful time some of us, me included, still spend time thinking about loved ones who have passed away and who we still miss!
I moved to the South Coast shortly after my mother died. In the last few years of her life I had really become her carer. It was never discussed it just happened and continued until she went into hospital for a routine operation and came out in a coffin! The following weekend we came down to Heaven Farm in our camper van just catch our breath and experienced the most wonderful sunsets.
Creativity saved me from despair. When I wrote this blog and my poems, I didn’t really care if either attracted an audience, but gradually they did.
Coming from a family of puppeteers means I have had to be resourceful, it also meant we were rich or poor depending on the sun and the season and often the latter!
So when we prepare to raise a glass to ‘absent friends and family’ this Christmas, I’ll be thinking of my impossible but creative parents, as well as other loved ones no longer with us.
A change of mood, with Frosty once again. This was the film I made on the spur of the moment that first winter here on the South Coast!
Here is he is again a re-construction of one of the numbers he did for Christmas Party Shows in the late 50s. Very dated of course and before widespread TV.
Our shows performed for works parties (firms often put on a children’s party for the children of their employees) There were parties too for the children of film stars and parties for the aristocracy.
Finally scenes from ‘Alice in Wonderland will have to suffice as a Panto although we have Cinderella on youtube somewhere!
This film was reconstructed with my dear mother before she was up and down with poor health and into her 70s. We shot most of it in the loft of my tiny house in south London. Just the two of us doing everything with the camera running. As a result the editing took forever! Not a masterpiece just recapturing a few memories for her with the puppets as they were in the 50s and early 60s.
The Puppeteer’s Daughter
The Mad Hatter’s eyes
in rubber sockets,
no longer rolling, and minus
his mad mutinous expression
greet mine. His stout top hat,
crimson jacket, silk cravat
and tough rubber boots
challenge my decision.
Come on he pleads.
I’m old and homeless:
Am I really to be abandoned
to a Yellow box storage unit?
‘Give them bread and circuses’
But now I bury the circus in boxes.
Charlie the clown
with his bumptious greeting,
Nicky with gentle manner
always one step behind the logic,
his butterfly net never actually
trapping the colourful wings.
Popov based on a real Russian
clown, walked a tight-rope,
his antics created a common
No sense left in the caterpillar now
his scales have disintegrated.
How I choked when for the last
time, I took an unfamiliar drag
breathed smoke down the tiny tube
“So who are you” he groaned.
He may well ask.
lost in the
My people were
in the rag trade
a fruit shop
a black cash box
and constant cough.
An ancient uncle
for Windsor and Newton
and studied the great masters.
Gran’s folk came
from gypsy stock
Dad had a dance band
during the war
and played for radio Milan.
My mother lived
by her needle
the lightest ever
Notes – The rag trade in the 40s and 50s was anything to with fabric, buying and selling it, dressmaking etc.
This last poem was written at Arvon on a course run by Ann and Peter Sansom.
2016 was about trying to polish up a few more poems, the Postman’s park residencency and getting the collection out into the world even if in the end not many of the poems were actually about being a puppeteer’s daughter!
2016 there will me more time on the allotment, at the beach hut, a lot trips in that camper van and who knows!
Happy Christmas to everyone x
Well done Ann. It is good to look back and see these masterpieces.
Have a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year.