Friday, 6 September 2013

WordPress Daily Prompt: Regrets, I've had a Few

What’s your biggest regret? How would your life have been different if you’d made another decision?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us TURNING POINT.

Cows, Field in Solothurn

Regrets are not something I do in life. I just get on with things. Do I regret leaving London to live in a country where the cows and farmers say good night to each other? Look at the photo and do I still have to give an answer. Of course I did not leave England for the cows, I discovered them after living in Switzerland. My first two years were in Zürich and there are not many cows living there, just bankers and gnomes to keep the Swiss bank accounts alive and prosperous.

I moved into the countryside of Switzerland, near Bern and then I realised this is it. This is what I had been looking for all my life. To arise in the morning to the smell of country and not the smell of the last two ton truck that had just driven along the main road. Mr. Swiss was included in the bargain, although I did not realise this until some years later and then my fate was sealed. Did I have regrets?

I might have written my first novel if I had not been busy feeding my children, sending them off to school, washing, ironing and cooking for the family, but that was my choice. It was either becoming famous as a writer, perhaps even an undiscovered film star (what does Sophia Loren have that I have not?) or prolonging my family branch hoping that I might have time for my fame later. I now have the time perhaps, but no longer the energy.

I know if I had not made this decision I would have stayed in the East End of London, met Mr. Right, had a family and been busy feeding my kids, sending them off to school, washing, ironing and cooking for the family. The difference being that this was in a London I do not know any more. A London of traffic, markets, streets smelling of dust after the rain. I now smell streets with the scent of cow manure after the rain, especially if the farmer has fertilised his fields.

There is not so much to write for me on this subject – I do not have any regrets.

There is something that hangs a little in my mind. I remember my grandparents. There was a time when I was quite into genealogy, tracing my family to find who was who, perhaps hoping that I was related somehow to royalty and could claim my rightful heritage in the shape of jewels, a nice little palace, a lovely numbered bank account in Zürich (back to Zürich again). However this was not to be. I found a group of French refugees, Huguenots, living in London who had fled from their country of France due to religious persecution. This was some time in the 17th century and all belongs to history. Some of them were actually rich, but not my direct branch. Mine were shoe menders, furniture makers, nothing special and definitely not rich. There were even a couple that died in the workhouse.

My grandmother, on the paternal side, had eleven brothers. I delved into this and found there were a few more that died at birth or quite young. I asked my father if he knew them. The answer was I remember …., he liked his drink, then there was ….. he liked a good gamble and so the story of my famous remarkable ancestors continued. I gave up, it seemed they were not remembered for their brave deeds in war or special honours for their work. They were a group of drunkards, gamblers and who knows what else. I just wish I could have asked gran what they were really like. I also wish I could have asked my grandfather on my maternal side about his family. I discovered he had a few sisters and brothers when examining his family background. No-one in the family ever mentioned them. Did they really exist as people; I only found their names in the records. They remained faceless for me.

Granddad liked his drink, a gamble and smoked like a trooper, so I think it is perhaps better when I do not discover more about this branch of the family. Or perhaps the secret of who actually was Jack the Ripper may be surfaced. His murders occurred in the same area of London where I grew up. Granddad might even have known him, perhaps granddad was ……no, he would have been too young at the time.

And so I can only say “Je ne regrette rien” – would be a good name for a song. Of course, if I would win a Pulitzer prize or Nobel prize for blog, I would not be unhappy. Perhaps that is my biggest regret or?

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1 comment:

  1. I can think of several important turning points in my life and I have sometimes wondered how my life would have turned out if I had taken a different path at each of these points, but none of them do I regret. Each has made me the person I am today, and I am happy with that person. Possibly I may have been less happy having gone down one of those other roads.