Oh, something was needed to kickstart a slacker-blogger out of inertia. Thank goodness for Sticky Fingers' weekly photo Gallery from the lovely Tara. It's now Week 23 and the theme for this week is A Memory. Beautiful. So simple and yet so challenging. I've had a difficult couple of months and still trying to find my feet again, but things seem to be on the up. I was driving home from work on Monday and thinking about my poor barren blog when the light went on and my 'memory' was there. I couldn't wait to get back home and post - it's been weeks since I felt like that.
So - the memory. The photo is of (from left to right) Track, me, Wee and M, on 4 August 1996, up at Loch Lomond watching Oasis in concert. The photo is old and a bit blurry as I was holding the camera and M looks a bit distracted, but the joy of that weekend all floods back for me when I see it.
A wonderful two days, filled with friendship, drinking (but not too much as poor Wee was recovering from salmonella) and the joy of seeing Oasis live and lairy and full of Mancunian swagger. We danced and sang ourselves hoarse, I swooned at Liam's ape-like charms and we marvelled at the amazing fireworks at the end of the concert. Sod Knebworth - this was where it was at...
But the trip up to Scotland wasn't just about the Oasis concert, although that was the main reason for going. My mum's side of the family used to live not far away from Loch Lomond up in Gourock and I'd spent happy summer holidays up there staying with the family at my great-grandad's house.
They were such happy holidays. Great Grandad was gruff and old, funny and sarcastic and often a bit scary, but how I loved visiting him and playing in his garden where the wild raspberrries grew. The last time we were leaving after another holiday, I remember waving goodbye to him through the car back window and suddenly my gran was crying and saying "I'll not see my dad again" and I felt a grip of terror. Such a vivid memory - it is as clear as a bell. She was right too - he died in July 1981.
So, a pilgrimage to Gourock seemed like the right thing to do whilst we were up there in 1996 and so on the Saturday before the concert, M & I drove through Port Glasgow, through Greenock and along to Gourock, following the River Clyde all the way.
Memory - such a powerful thing. In all my life I have never felt the rush of buried memories returning like I did as we drove through the main road through Gourock. It had been 16 years since I'd been there and the torrent of emotion and remembrance took my breath away. It was visceral and strange, but somehow exhilarating at the same time. I have never experienced anything remotely like it since.
Mum and Dad used to take me and my little sister for ice cream drinks when we were up visiting Great Grandad in the summer. I never had such luxurious delights at home and the glamour and magical taste of fizzy lemonade mixed with vanilla ice cream was something to be savoured (come on, it was the late seventies - times were hard!).
So when M and I were in Skipton with O last week on our wet caravan week in the Dales, I was delighted to see that the cafe we had picked for much needed refreshments served ice cream sodas. Hurray - ice cream drinks! It was O's first time.
The look on his face in this picture is priceless and I can feel the passing down of a special tradition has begun. The memory of the fabulous ice cream drink of my childhood is something shared and special and I can confirm that the Skipton 2010 is just as good as the Gourock 1979 vintage...