It’s all turned to custard….. remix

From Time by Ursula Bethell

“……….

Those that come after me will gather these roses,
And watch, as I do now, the white wistaria
Burst, in the sunshine, from its pale green sheath.

Planned. Planted. Established. Then neglected,
Till at last the loiterer by the gate will wonder
At the old, old cottage, the old wooden cottage,
And say ‘One might build here, the view is glorious;
This must have been a pretty garden once.”

[Warning! Post 301: some maudlin thoughts involved.]

Some months back, Seth of  Sethsnap asked this question, What “sound”(i.e. legacy) do you hope to leave?

It’s an intriguing question but certainly not new, for it belongs to the ages.  It is also not an easy one to answer. One of the hardest, I am guessing. Yet, assuredly, it will call to each of us, at some stage, in our life’s journey.  Will you be ready to reply? I have only the merest tinkle of a response running through my mind.

Here is  what I am hearing ~

For some, like Seth, their legacy may be in their  photography. For others, like   Sophia (teamgloria) or Juliet or  Vickie or  Helen (Tiny), their legacy may reside in their books; in their written/spoken words. Yet others, like Lynley and Kerry, may leave us, and their families, the richness of heirloom garments and quilting. Still others, like Lisa, may bequeath us their creative art and special ‘thank you’ smiles. Legacies exist in a myriad different forms.

Just as each of us has our own instantly recognisable swish of sound ( the one the dog hears, the cat knows and your loved ones sense  as you try to creep upstairs in the dark of night), so, too, do we each have a legacy that is only ours to give. It may be intended and specifically chosen, or it may be accidental and unplanned, but we all have our unique envoys/legacies that will carry us forward into the millennia in some form or other.

Since I am unlikely to leave a legacy of beautiful poems, as did  Ursula Bethell, or a treasured  Writer’s Residency  in my name,  I may have to settle for something more modest  ( though, potentially,  equally valid ); something like Everyday Kindness; the kind espoused by  Stephanie Dowrick , in her book of that name.Everyday Giving

Wouldn’t that be a lovely legacy? ” Here lies Gallivanta~ known for her everyday kindness, (especially to caterpillars 😉 ). “  Mmmmmm…. though carved in stone,  a little ephemeral, perhaps? But I like it.

I also like the slightly more tangible legacy opportunities given to us by archives. In November 2013 Ruth mentioned, in this  post ,  her Deed of Gift to the Canterbury CEISMIC  project.   I thought this was a wonderful idea and, after making some enquiries, discovered that some of my blog posts were suitable for gifting too.  Just prior to Christmas, and after much hard work by CEISMIC staff, my work was uploaded to the digital archives. And I received this letter

Legacy in a letter

Legacy in a letter

from the University of Canterbury CEISMIC Co-ordinator.

To say that I was thrilled barely scratches the surface of my feelings. I was moved to tears, and beyond tears, that my experiences, my life mattered; that someday it might, just possibly might, matter to someone else. And not because I did anything great and famous, but simply because I existed, and I let my existence be heard.

Now, although, I was lachrymose in the extreme, on account of  this one small legacy of mine, I did have to laugh, once I had wiped away my tears.  Because one unintentional legacy from my digital whisper, (not footprint, please, my imprint is  more delicate than that ), is that if,  in years to come, someone looks more closely in to my archives they will find that, of all my posts , the one which receives the most views, on a regular basis, is this one, “It’s all turned to custard”.

I find that very funny. And, as a legacy, even funnier; ” Here lies Gallivanta whose life all turned to custard.”  Considering how much I love custard that could be a good thing. Or not. But to return to  Seth’s question, “What sound (i.e. legacy ) do you hope to leave?”. Perhaps part of the answer, in my case, will have to be  ‘Custard’.[ Just for fun…google “It’s all turned to custard” and see what you find…..bet I am near the top of the page! ]

By the way, what sound does custard make? ;).

creamy

Favourite creamy custard

Envoy
Vitae summa brevis spem nos vetat incohare longam 

They are not long, the weeping and the laughter,  
    Love and desire and hate:  
I think they have no portion in us after  
    We pass the gate.  

They are not long, the days of wine and roses:  
    Out of a misty dream  
Our path emerges for a while, then closes  
    Within a dream.  

[The title translates, from the Latin, as  
'The brief sum of life forbids us the hope of enduring long' 
and is from a work by Horace] 
Ernest Dowson 1867 -1900 http://worlds-poetry.com/ernest_dowson/vitae_summa_brevis_spem_nos_vetat_in
```````

© silkannthreades
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106 thoughts on “It’s all turned to custard….. remix

  1. Cynthia Reyes

    What a thoughtful, funny, moving post. Thanks for it.
    You might have titled it “Custards and Caterpillars” – kindness to caterpillars is important.
    And you gave a legacy to the archives of the earthquake while you’re still alive – how moving.
    It’s no small thing you did.

    So many writers have died without knowing that their work mattered. I think of Keats, who felt that he’d produced nothing of worth, had nothing to leave behind and even asked for his tombstone to be nameless. But his “Ode to Autumn” became one of the most loved poems in the English language.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you for your kind comments. You think of Keats and I think of Van Gogh. What is it in our human nature that makes us so harsh and critical? If as Denis Dutton says… “beauty … It’s deep in our minds, it’s a gift handed down from the intelligent skills and rich emotional lives of our most ancient ancestors. Our powerful reaction to images, to the expression of emotion in art, to the beauty of music, to the night sky, will be with us and our descendants for as long as the human race exists.”, (and I love his ideas http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2010/11/17/denis-dutton-darwinian-theory-of-beauty/) why do we continue to be so mean spirited in our judgement of art? Sigh!

      Reply
  2. shoreacres

    My recent immersion into American Western history brought a funny thought to mind – we need fewer General Custers, and generally more custard! This is such a wonderful post, and such delightful news it brings, that your memories and reflections will be archived for those seeking wisdom and sustenance in the future.

    I’ve not had custard for years. It was a staple in our family – as you say, especially when someone wasn’t feeling well. And always, there was a bit of nutmeg sprinkled on top. Perhaps that’s the kindness you speak of – just a little something extra, sprinkled about on life, to make it even more enjoyable, right down to the last spoonful!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Definitely more custard required. With your reference to Custer you reminded me to check the etymology of custard. I was surprised to find that it has its origins in an open pie “late Middle English crustarde, custarde (denoting an open pie containing meat or fruit in a spiced or sweetened sauce thickened with eggs), from Old French crouste (see crust).”
      And my grandmother always added a sprinkle nutmeg on her baked custards.Custard wasn’t custard without the nutmeg 🙂

      Reply
  3. BEAUTYCALYPSE

    I just opened this post in my WP reader, and then jumped here via TeamGloria’s post (of course, stalking the comments)…

    This is the most lighthearted, wise, and sweetest thing I’ve e v e r read on legacy. No thoughts right now. Only feelings. Love it!

    Reply
  4. Leya

    You deserve all the honour given and more! Legacy? i love the idea of caterpillars and butterflies, and everyday kindness. The line I use in my Lagottocattleya: “To see a World in a Grain of Sand” is also very much You. Your home in the blogosphere always feels warm and welcoming. Your way with words and your contemplating.makes life easier and the soul lighter.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      You know, of course, that we share exactly the same source for our blog words, which is rather special….and eerie……the source of your quote “To see the world in a grain of sand” is the opening of the Auguries of Innocence and the philosophy of my blog comes from lines 56 to 62 in the same poem. Line 56 begins Man was made for Joy and Woe….So when you say ‘To see a World in a Grain of Sand’ is me, you couldn’t be more accurate. We are actually on the same page. How about that?

      Reply
  5. ordinarygood

    I was tickled pink with your news. You deserve to be recorded for posterity. I remember Valerie Davies saying on her interview with Kim Hill that our blogging makes up part of the great fabric of human experience and we all have a thread to include – paraphrasing here but that was the essence of her message on blogs and bloggers.
    As a genealogist I look with envy on people who have a diary from past days recording the minute details of everyday life. They are finding diaries written by WW1 and WW11 service people to be so rich in detailing how it really was rather than some stiff official report.

    And as for remixed custard – well that works doesn’t it? Just add a little milk or water to thin it slightly, gently heat and serve. Does that apply to life when it goes to custard I wonder? Just add some extra “ingredients/options/help”, process in a positive and with care way and look for a hopeful outcome/direction.
    Enjoy your letter from Ceismic and read it often!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Yes, daily diaries (and I don’t do one) are wonderful sources of information. One of my ancestors wrote a daily diary on his trip out to New Zealand from the UK. A thoughtful descendant has placed it in a community archive ( can’t think where, at the moment,) but it’s a wonderful document to have. I also have a copy of a great aunt’s diary which has intriguing references to Mama feeling poorly and taking to her bed, fairly often. (Depression, perhaps, over the death of a much loved son?
      I do love your suggestions for re-mixing the custard. I have had to sieve it on occasions too! To get rid of the lumps 🙂

      Reply
      1. ordinarygood

        I think our blogs are “diaries ” of a sort. Digital archives both community and official are another useful repository….as long as the internet survives in its free form.

        Lumpy custard….I remember that and lumpy gravy! If only a sieve would remove the lumps that happen in our lives:-)

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Wouldn’t that be lovely? Excuse me, life, just wait a minute while I push myself through a sieve and see if I come out any better on the other side!!!!

        2. ordinarygood

          Well I may come out as a slimmer version of myself once through the sieve. I was thinking of putting the lumpy bits in life through a sieve to reduce their impact on us!

  6. teamgloria

    OH! we love this piece!

    especially this –

    “To say that I was thrilled barely scratches the surface of my feelings. I was moved to tears, and beyond tears, that my experiences, my life mattered; that someday it might, just possibly might, matter to someone else. And not because I did anything great and famous, but simply because I existed, and I let my existence be heard.”

    your digital whisper has sustained us more than you can imagine.

    and it will be an important chime in the mechanism of the eternal clock that records how People Lived Then.

    we have no idea what we’re creating here – all of us – talking to one another – across continents and oceans and women in silk dresses sharing with those who wear veils in cultures where they cannot speak openly.

    “What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life?
    The world would split open.”

    ― Muriel Rukeyser

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Split open and may be impossible to stitch back together again, even if we wanted to! By the way, Amazon UK now tells me that How to Stay Sane in a Crazy World will be sent to me on March 13th which is great, but also sad. Because the later date they originally gave me coincided with my birthday. And I won’t be able to hide the book until my birthday! I will have to give myself something else as a present. 🙂 How about a kindness kit ?

      Reply
      1. teamgloria

        a Kindness Kit is always a good idea.

        just for You – here’s the text from That Page of the actual book to inspire you.

        Take-to-Your-Bed Kindness Kit
        nice china teacup and saucer; creams for face, hands, and feet; tea lights for candlelit baths; essential oil burner; crisp cotton pillowcases; soft socks; soothing blue brushed-cotton robe; piles of clean white T-shirts; comfy knickers; bubble bath and oils and Epsom salts; cashmere scarf (I carried mine around like a blanket from room to room); lots of boxes of tissues (for tears and sniffles, and good with lavender oil drops to put over your eyes while napping); tea—English breakfast, afternoon Earl Grey, late-night herbal types; art supplies—canvas, paints, brushes, Mod Podge découpage glaze, stick-on pearls, lots of magazines, scis- sors, glue, sticky tape; lots of playlist CDs; books-books-books; mov- ies that make you smile, movies that make you weep, foreign films that make you want to travel; lots of notebooks and pencils; candles for every mood (rose for healing, lavender for sleep-inducing—but blow them out
        105
        before you do sleep!); fan (hand one from a Chinatown supply store and a vintage one for the bedroom to keep the air moving); telephone (call people from your boudoir to catch up); soft fruits like peaches and rasp- berries; Greek yogurt (soothing to the throat, kind to sore stomachs); Italian mineral water (to be served in blue glasses with ice and lemon).

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Ah, so lovely, especially the candles. And a big Yes to the white T shirts because last month I managed to dye my one and only white T-shirt, pink. In an early morning stupor, I put the white shirt in the wash with the pink, bright pink, trousers. Not good, not good at all, except that I now own a pretty pink T-shirt.

  7. Letizia

    How wonderful – to be part of the archives! And I love what you say about everyday kindness as well- in the end, I sometimes think that those are somehow the most important legacies of all….

    Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          I am just editing a comment I made to you, in reply to your Ha! because it indicated that I was on completely the wrong page! 😀

    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you Ellen. I am so happy to have my blog preserved. Perhaps one day someone will honour my efforts by using them in useful research. There is a lot to be studied and learned from a disaster scenario that began with a once in 16,000 year event.

      Reply
      1. tableofcolors

        I love a good custard and will occasionally make some…but quite rarely! I like to make my custard with milk and egg yolks, vanilla bean, cornstarch and sugar. Simple and still delicious. Then if there is some left when cooled it can be mixed with whipped cream turning into a Bavarian cream or creme patissiere. 🙂

        Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank GP. It’s wonderful that our words can be shared across the world and enjoyed. Just shows that there is more that joins people together than separates them.

      Reply
  8. utesmile

    I think it is a good thing to be associated with custard, additional to kindness 🙂 Love that letter from the university for your contributions. Thank you for all your contributions you made to us blog readers. Always great to read!

    Reply
  9. valeriedavies

    Amanda I think this is quite the loveliest post you’ve written – charming, funny, moving, imaginative, warm, and utterly Beautiful -as was the poem and Mario Lanza singing – gosh that took me back… thank you – I’m bookjmatking it so I can read it again and again…

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you Valerie; such a lovely compliment from someone’s whose writing I admire so much. Wasn’t it fun listening to Mario Lanza? I didn’t ever see the film The Student Prince. Did you? Apparently it was a hit in its day.

      Reply
  10. Clanmother

    I’m so very excited for you – jumping up and down with delight! Enjoyed every one of the comments and your life-affirming responses.

    “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

    You have made a difference!

    Reply
  11. Mrs. P

    Oh Silkie…can I call you that? I am so happy for you! I know that the earthquake affected you tremendously and your writings have been your solace on the way to recover. To hear that others will also hear your thoughts and images is just thrilling!

    Now…I am really dying to try some of that custard! 🙂 🙂

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Did you enjoy the custard? 🙂 And, yes, it is thrilling/satisfying to know that my words have a good chance of survival now.
      Yours Silkie (that’s a cute name; makes me feel I need some ribbons in my hair 🙂 )

      Reply
  12. Tiny

    What a wonderful thing you have contributed to! Priceless! I also think that your blog demonstrates “everyday kindness” and also “finding beauty in everyday things” in a very touching and inspiring way. I always feel happier and inspired after visiting 🙂

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I am so pleased that we have this wonderful archival resource, available to all. And I love my visits to your happy, inspiring blog too. I am still trying to catch hold of my son to ask him to download Bumble’s story. It might be easier to go buy my own Kindle ;).

      Reply
  13. YellowCable

    That was great that your voice was heard and it will be useful future generation to come. Congratulations!

    For me this “” Here lies Gallivanta~ known for her everyday kindness, (especially to caterpillars 😉 ). “ is the loudest 🙂

    Reply
  14. Travelling Kiwi

    I am so glad that the University of Canterbury has the wisdom to preserve your blog posts. I am sure that future researchers will find the same solace and inspiration in your posts that your current readers and followers do. That’s why we keep coming back – you offer something unique that speaks to our hearts.
    Now I’m off to sample the charms of custard. I must say I like mine hot, not cold. I’m looking forward to seeing what you make of it.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I will take my custard hot or cold. I will even tolerate a few lumps; I love it that much! Not so keen on the bought variety though 😦 And thank you for your kind words about my blog. It means a lot.

      Reply
  15. Ralph

    Hi Gallivanta 😀 If your life has turned to custard, then, no matter. Most people love custard, the colour blending with your fruits; texture, sometimes soft or lumpy; a skin to die for; so sweet to taste; blend it the way you want or spoon it straight from your can. You see ? You have everything going for you. Ralph xox 😀

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Ralph, you are right! Custard can be elegant and sensuous or plain, frumpy and lumpy; it can be a great comfort and beloved by many. Not so bad to be custard, at all! A lot nicer, in all ways, than that stuff that often hits the fan and which some people use to describe their life. 😀

      Reply
  16. dadirri7

    congratulations Gallivanta, it is no small thing to contribute your blog posts to the archive, and receive such an appreciative letter from them! even better if there is some little wonder to be discovered, as in ‘It all turned to Custard’… which I am off to read immediately!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I thought the letter was wonderful. It may be a standard letter, for all I know, but it is very thoughtful and reminds me of the graciousness and politeness that we once used to associate with all formal letters from business or government officials.

      Reply
  17. Juliet

    What a delightful, thoughtful post Gallivanta. I can understand your thrill at being able to contribute to the archive. Your words about turning to custard made me smile, and when I saw the picture of your little pot of custard, I remembered my mother’s egg custards, made like yours with great love. Then I thought, well everyday kindness and making custard are not so very different.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Indeed they are not, Juliet. Custards were often a sign of care and love. I am thinking here about the custards prepared for the invalid in the family, or the custards that were sometimes an early food for the baby in the family. Custards were nurturing and nourishing and wholesome food.

      Reply
  18. Mike Howe

    Congratulations twice, once for your recognition from the University of Canterbury for your contribution to the Quakestudies archive, and once for such a beautifully written post. You should submit that to a national newspaper, it’s as good as anything that I’ve read for a long time.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      What a lovely comment, Mike. Thank you. I wish national newspapers would take a lot more notice of all of us. Notice what really moves our minds and hearts 🙂 Politicians could wake up too!

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Oh, I am glad you didn’t find my post maudlin. I thought I needed a warning because some people find the subject of headstones and epitaphs rather maudlin. You are right about artists, but what I love about the archives is that even our ordinary, non-artistic, lives can be cherished and valued.

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      That is a humbling thought, Lisa. That if we learn to live in the fullness of our being, we can make a difference just by”being”. And may I say the same ” my life is better because of knowing you.’ I am still smiling over the magnificent flower drop. 🙂

      Reply
  19. Su Leslie

    Wonderful post. I had no idea that UC had created a digital archive of the earthquakes. I have been to the 9/11 digital archive as part of the M. Information Studies degree I did a few years ago and found that incredibly moving. Congratulations! 🙂

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      And I had no idea there was a 9/11 archive but it makes sense that there should be one. The CEISMIC archive will be fascinating for researchers. I haven’t actually explored the material that is already there; it’s all a bit too raw for me at the moment. But I am glad it’s there.

      Reply
  20. cindy knoke

    Lovely post! Particularly love the poem by Horace. You have your blog too, which can last for an indefinitely long time, which is why my name is on mine.
    I wrote a post for our bank’s newsletter on peverserving one’s digital estate. Interesting concept, no? I guess ultimately we remain in the thoughts of those who love us and family members who pull up an (online) photo, and say isn’t that our distant relative who used to make custard? What was her name?
    Didn’t she have a blog? Let’s google her and find out.
    Laughing……
    I am in google, therefore I am……

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Cindy, I am loving your ideas about googling the distant cousin who used to make custard. I would be so amused to be that distant cousin. That’s half the fun of ancestry searches; the mystery of it all. Would you be able to reproduce your post on the digital estate on your blog? It’s an incredibly important subject and one that we often overlook.

      Reply
      1. cindy knoke

        That is a really good idea! Thank you for it! I just saw my mispelling……erggggggg! I am amazed you could dicipher it! I love this post of yours and maybe I could link the posts together and people could read your post with it as it perfectly sets up the reasons one might do this…….Besides it is a great post and deserves it. You are one smart cup of custard!! 🙂

        Reply
  21. Lavinia Ross

    Nothing is small about small kindnesses. They are great things, and the world needs more of them. Life is a long succession of forks in the road. Small kindnesses by others, and to others, influences which forks we take, and ultimately, where we end up. The legacy is far greater than one might think.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Lavinia, I do so agree. Even the smallest kindness has my highest esteem and is of great value. The world does need much more kindness. I think one of the reasons that kindness is lacking is that acts of kindness and thoughts of kindness actually require conscious effort and hard work. And sometimes people are too tired or too lazy or too stressed to be bothered.

      Reply
  22. KerryCan

    It seems like all of your posts move me in some way but this one really pushed all my buttons. This business of a legacy, of leaving a mark, seems to niggle at me. I think a lot of people see their legacy through their children but, not having children, I have to rely on my own actions. Thanks for suggesting that the handwork I do might reflect well on my life. I also like to think that many years as a teacher might have made some difference.

    But I also like your idea that everyday kindness counts for a lot. And I think it is so absolutely wonderful that your writing has been archived and will stand as a testament to surviving, and rebounding, after the earthquake! Great post!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you Kerry for your kind comment. Although I am a mother, I think there are pitfalls in relying on our own children to be our legacy. It seems prudent to me to have a legacy that is independent of offspring, lovely, or as successful, as they may be (or not 😉 ). There is something to be said for a teacher’s legacy though. I thought about yours when I was writing my post, because of my mother’s experience as a kindergarten teacher. I am tremendously proud of her influence on several generations of young ones. One of her pupils, now a lawyer and student of theology, will be visiting me next month. We have been friends for about 55 years.

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Sally, thank you for mentioning passion. It’s very important and something which I have not quite found. Perhaps when I find my passion I will have found my true legacy.

      Reply
  23. Vickie Lester

    How perfectly glorious, your tender imprint a poem, a luscious custard, an archive, a kindness extended the world round. Thank you so much for the seat at your table, for I feel every time I read your posts that you’ve invited me into your home. xox, V

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      And you are invited 🙂 and most welcome too. I have a big table that seats 8 quite comfortably, and 10 at a pinch, and these days it doesn’t get used enough :(. So when you are ready, come on over! We will eat custard 🙂 .

      Reply

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