Saturday 18 February 2023

A Life full of Animals - the final part


A Life full of Animals – the final part

I cannot leave this theme without paying tribute to the other animals in my life, the two-legged variety. I have chosen to use photographs of them as little beings, when they begin to resemble human beings, not the very smallest, newborn ones, when only the most besotted and closely-related  can truly say, 'Oh, how beautiful' and sound as though they mean it!

Naturally, my children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren were stunning from the moment they were born, but they were the exception.

First. always and forever, is my husband. Here he is, at three years old, in India, where he lived for three years, He came back to the UK on a troop ship when he was six, better able to converse in Urdu than English. 

I debated whether I should include a photograph of myself, but I am another animal in my life. As the youngest of three, the novelty had rather worn off for my parents, so there aren't many snaps of me. However, here I am at the Festival of Britain in 1951, aged seven. I'm the one sitting on the well-fed pony.

Gillian appears next. A blue-eyed, corn-gold blonde, after the Cooke fashion, she looked nothing like me, a hazel-brown-eyed brunette, and for a while I wondered if I had actually had anything to do with her as everybody remarked on how much she looked like Barry. She grew up to be a very pretty girl, but not particularly tall (the Cooke influence) and is now a loving mother to two blonde blue-eyed daughters and a brown-haired blue-eyed son, and a grandmother to 4, soon to be 5, all with blue eyes and blonde hair.



So delighted were we with Gillian that we embarked on a second child and Gareth was born twenty months later. Some people marvelled that a brown-eyed boy should be born to a blue-eyed father. Once again, where was I in the equation? Gareth grew into a handsome strong young man of 6’3” (the Mayne genes asserting themselves here) and is now a devoted father to three, two sons taller than him and a beautiful daughter, taller than her mother. All of them have wonderful deep brown eyes, and very dark brown hair.



Third in line came Susannah, a striking green-eyed ash blonde. Like her brother, she grew tall and is a loving mother to a blue-eyed dark blond boy.


After a nine-year delay, when we had forgotten what caused it, Bethan was born, a quietly beautiful brown-eyed blonde. She has two dark-eyed brown-haired sons.

                                                           Hobby horse
Then we move onto the second generation. 

Marnie, Gillian’s eldest

                                                          Birthday cake  

Her sister, Shakira (Kiri)

                                                        In the garden
Their brother, Callum

On holiday

Elliot, Gareth’s eldest child

Full of mischief

His sister, Eve


Their brother, Louis

                                                            At the helm

Susannah’s son, Frankie


Bethan’s elder son, Charlie

On the'phone

His younger brother, Jack 

A life on the ocean wave

Then comes the beginning of the third generation.

 Isla, Marnie’s elder child

                                                          Aye,aye, Cap'n

Fergus, her younger brother

                                                        Steering a course

Then there are  Shakira’s daughter and son, Ariella and Luca, but we have no individual photographs of them.

Finally, for the moment, there is Callum's daughter, Melia, still incubating and due to join the world in March . . .  and there will be others in the future, no doubt

What sort of world will these little people grow up into? Each generation faces problems which seem insurmountable but thus far, we have overcome them or adapted to them. Perhaps there is a kernel of truth in the saw, 'Where there's life there's hope.'

I see the formatting has gone awry in parts. It's a good thing I'm not possessed of the demons that demand perfection.


  1. Oh my goodness what a legacy you have left this world. They are all gorgeous. I laughed out loud at your comment about forgetting what caused it after a nine year lapse of births, I love your comment, Where there is life there's hope. So enjoyed this post!

  2. Thank you so much, Linda. I found it a little dispiriting, facing my mortality, but no doubt I'll bounce back.

  3. Lovely photos. I laughed at "After a nine-year delay, when we had forgotten what caused it,". It is quite a tribe you have brought into being. The future world? Humans are very good and clever at reactive behaviour. We can fix things.

    1. We can fix things, if we react quickly enough.

  4. Such a beautiful family. My own is a mix of brown and blue eyes with more blondes than brunettes. I am also expecting a great grandson in March, wondering if he will be brunette and brown eyed like his father or blonde and blue eyed like his mother, my grand daughter.

    1. I look forward to hearing more of your great grandson. It would be quite a coincidence if your great and mine arrived on the same date.

  5. Hi Janice - all I can say is that was a delight to wander through the eras with you ... such fun. Sadly - none here ... but so be it - tis life - cheers Hilary

  6. Thank you, Kyra. You can go to the top of the class ;-)

  7. Geez you hardly worked to increase the English population ! I Just have two son and grandson and that's it.

  8. Wait until Toby gets married . . .


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