12.51 ~Holding On

12.51 pm ~

that dreadful moment, 4 years ago, today, that ripped apart what was left of our quaint, quiet world.

I am remembering it.

My heart doesn’t want to anymore, but my brain and my body  insist.  12.51, and all the other moments, beginning Sept 4, 2010, are imprinted on my being ~ indelibly. They have leached to my very core. Part of who I am and what I will be, forever.

Four years on and I still stiffen at any unexpected movement in the house, even if it’s only the wind, or a shake caused by a truck rumbling  on the road.   I startle easily. And, then, there are those moments that come, out of the blue, and screech through my head for an intense few seconds, saying, ” Is it going to happen again, NOW?  Is it, is it? What will I do? What will I do? Will I make it? How will I hold on? Can I hold on? ”  I am standing again in the bathroom doorway, holding on to frame and fear. Indescribable fear.

Then it’s over. I survive, and move on. Slowly. On shaky legs.

I set the table, in some trepidation, with my great-grandmother’s china. (Please no shakes, please no shakes.) I remind myself it has survived more than a 100 years. It is chipped, cracked and crazed, but its beauty and value remains.

A friend brings apples.

What would my Bramley ancestors make of these apples http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravenstein in her serving dish?

What would my Bramley ancestor make of these  apples in her serving dish?


She has gathered them from an abandoned, earthquake-damaged property in her neighborhood. She calls them gravestone apples. I like that. They are, in a way. The property on which they grow is like a forlorn graveyard.

I eat the apples. I bake them. They are given new life, new form.

Crostatahttp://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/apple-crostata-recipe.html meets Chintz, Felicity, Vermont and Williamsburg

Crostata meets Chintz, Felicity, Vermont and Williamsburg at my table.


I bake bread, to share.

Bread to share

Bread to share

I want to feast on life, not fear.

Join me. Take a slice,

Take a slice

Take a slice

a spoon, a fork, “dig in”.

For keeps from Kerry. :) featuring Community Plate (Coronation) from my mother's cutlery set.http://www.rubylane.com/item/362270-1936CO-set-modgrille/Oneida-Community-Plate-CORONATION-Art-Deco

For keeps from Kerry. :), featuring Community Plate (Coronation) from my mother’s cutlery set. The tiny teaspoons belonged to my maternal great-grandmother Alice. http://www.rubylane.com/item/362270-1936CO-set-modgrille/Oneida-Community-Plate-CORONATION-Art-Deco

Something to ponder as you digest :

The china used in this post is a metaphor for continuity. The  Flow Blue  semi porcelain plates which belonged to my maternal great-grandmother were produced about 1912. The pattern is Vermont. They were made in England by Burgess and Leigh. The small blue plates, which I purchased just prior to the earthquakes, are also Burgess and Leigh. They are made in the same way and in the same factory as the Vermont china was all those years ago. One pattern is Felicity, the other is Chintz. Felicity is a small, delicate flower pattern reminiscent of elder flowers in a gentle pale blue originating from the 1930s. Burgess Chintz is a delicate blue chintz  pattern dating from the early 1900s, derived from the wild geranium. How any of this china survived the shaking, I will never know.


© silkannthreades


205 thoughts on “12.51 ~Holding On

  1. Karin Van den Bergh

    Touching post and I admire your optimistic spirit. Can imagine it’s not always like that every day. Yummie pictures!

    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Definitely not like that every day. My optimism wavers. 😦 I don’t get to bake like that every day either. 🙂 Glad you enjoyed the pictures.

  2. Pingback: I get by with a little help …from friends, flowers and family | silkannthreades

  3. Aquileana

    Empowering post … such an uplifting message, dear Gallivanta…
    By the way, that apple pie looks delicious… Do you mind sharing a slice?.
    All my best wishes ⭐ Aquileana 🙂

  4. lensandpensbysally

    I revisited your posit, because I was reminded today of the body’s memory vs. the mind’s. There is such a strong inextricable link between all our senses, and your experience is proof. Time does not always heal those memories that rivet through each and every sense. But you wear it well.

    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thanks for asking Jo. Life is a bit haywire; okay, a lot haywire. I have been struggling with multiple family issues which have impacted on my own health. I had a week away at my uncle and aunt’s home to recuperate, but I am not yet back in full swing. I would love to be out striding along on one of your walks. Would do me a world of good. A little trot around the block with my dear dog will have to suffice. 🙂

      1. restlessjo

        So sorry to hear that, Ann. It’s easy to get dragged down when you’re in this sort of situation. You’re strong and will recover but my thoughts are with you in the meantime. Sending gentle hugs 🙂 🙂
        My world is suffused with just the smallest hint of sunshine this morning, and I have 2 beautiful Mother’s Day cards from the young uns. Me and the hyacinths are smiling at you.

        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Oh that’s a lovely image of you and the hyacinths. I had forgotten about Mother’s Day in the UK. We have to wait until May for our Mother’s Day. Gentle hugs are warmly welcomed. 🙂 And lots more sunshine to you.

  5. The Twisted Yarn

    Gosh, I can’t believe it’s a whole four years since that dreadful earthquake. Wishing you and those close to you who experienced its horror strength and courage to keep on with your lives. A friend of our family has been out there helping planning the rebuilding for a year or two, and I know he has fallen in love with the area and the people. Enjoy that apple pie.

    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Yes, four years. Sometimes it seems like it was 4 decades ago, sometimes like 4 weeks ago. The rebuild is progressing reasonably well. We are lucky that so many from overseas have been eager to assist with the rebuild. It gets cold here so have you sent your family friend some knitted merino socks? And a beanie?

  6. Zambian Lady

    Can I have a slice? It looks moist and delicious. Regarding fear – it takes work to overcome it but it is worth the effort. I have only experienced a small earth tremor. I was not afraid – just confused since I did not understand what was going on at the time. We do not have earthquakes in Zambia.

    Here’s to wishing you ‘stable earth’. 🙂

  7. Dina

    May I have a second helping, please, – it was just as delicious as it appeared! 🙂
    What a touching post, Gallivanta – and a fine way to deal with the fear. The old China is precious!

  8. Shakti Ghosal

    What a great post!

    What jumped out at me are these lines of yours, and I quote,

    “I want to feast on life, not fear.
    Join me. Take a slice…..”

    But can we succeed on this path merely by wanting? I am not sure. To succeed, we need to bring up what is that which exists at the core of our fear, for our examination. Is it an attachment? Or is it the need to show up in a particular manner….. even to our own self?


  9. Marylin Warner

    This is a touching and real reminder that our worst fears do not have to prevent us from reaching for future joys with open hands and hopeful hearts. Beautiful writing, stunningly vivid and delicious pictures…a wonderful combination. Thank you for sharing this important reminder.

    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you Marylin. It was only after writing this post that I realised how much I am still affected by the earthquakes, and how much my actions actually lag behind my words. I have booked a small retreat in June which will hopefully help me bolster much needed resilience

  10. Sheryl

    It’s so much better to enjoy life rather than live in fear. The china is beautiful. It looks like it is in amazingly good condition. It’s so wonderful that you use it and enjoy it.

    1. Gallivanta Post author

      It’s good enough for décor but I wouldn’t want to use it except for display. The glaze is probably not good enough anymore to withstand proper use for food.

  11. anotherday2paradise

    Your grandmother’s china is so lovely. What a miracle it was spared from breakage. It’s good that you use your family heirlooms, and it must give you such pleasure to be able to bake those apples and make something really delicious to share. I’ve never experienced an earthquake. It must be a really petrifying experience, which I pray you and your father may never have to go through again. xx

    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you Sylvia. I had experienced a few small earthquakes in different countries but I doubt that anything can prepare one for the shock of a big earthquake. I wonder if people in Japan would have a different opinion. Their earthquake preparedness physically and emotionally may be better than ours.

  12. Robbie

    I have to say first, beautiful blue china- my favorite! Your setting everything-so lovely…..
    I was not aware of earthquakes until I read about Wendy( Quarteracrelifestyle) from NZ when she posted pictures of her china after an earthquake-WOW.
    I guess, I never thought about it but now I read about what you all go through. I would be shaky ,too. We have tornadoes and they land in different places. They may leave one house and flatten another!We had a strong wind that whipped through here about 5 years ago + our street was covered in old trees. No one could walk or drive down it. My elderly neighbor had a tree on her roof and her entire yard was a downed tree. All our aged trees were gone, but that is nothing compared to when they flatten towns.
    I have to admit after that, I am nervous when I see the winds and storms. I pay attention now.
    I can’t imagine an earthquake-scary! I was stunned by the damage to her dishes and home after the quake…
    You are right- to feast on life and not fear…easier said than done but one step at a time:-)

    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Certainly easier said than done; to feast on life not fear. Fear is awful stuff; like food poisoning. 😦 Tornadoes would scare me but then a lot of things scare me.

      1. Robbie

        I know what you mean:-) I believe the older you get the more fearful you can become especially when it comes to your family members. When we are young-we are fearless-I see it in my kids that are young adults!

        1. Gallivanta Post author

          You are right Robbie. Increasing age often makes us more susceptible to fear. Perhaps that is a natural process, although I don’t see my old old cat being more fearful. She is more cautious and more sedate but she managed to outsmart a husky that attacked her the other day and she gave it a bloodied nose.

  13. melodylowes

    I absolutely am charmed by those lovely plates and that yummy baking! I am so sorry that your experiences 4 years ago were so imprinted upon your heart – going through a scary situation definitely has a way of worming its way into our deepest places. We have friends who were in NZ for a few months and they spent some time in your area – I got to see some photos and they only served to underline and double-star my travelling bucket list!

    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Ugh, yes,it’s absolutely amazing to realize how many places those nasty scary things have to hide. But I am glad our shaky earth hasn’t put you off coming to see all the wonderful sights we have to offer. If you come at the right time of the year we can even make you feel at home with some snow. 😀


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