Dear FrienKarends and Neighbours,

Well I thought Summer was really coming a few days ago as it was really sunny, but yesterday we returned to those grey skies and today is sunny again! The silver lining is that the rain meant I didn’t have to struggle to water my plants for at least one night. Perhaps the weather is as confused as I sometimes feel!

There have been so many news stories – true or false – about politics and politicians in so many countries, that the sense of change and uncertainty seems to have permeated everywhere. I read pamphlets from all the candidates and still don’t feel I have all my questions answered. Then the cynic in me feels like giving up with the lot of them.

‘Shame on you girl’: I hear my great Aunt Clara scold. Aunt Clara was a character even in her latter years. She kept Pekinese dogs which were her constant companions. As I remember her daily walks were quite slow because of her age and also these dogs have very tiny legs, breathing problems – well hers did anyway! – and she had also been through a very hard time in her earlier years which had left their mark on her both physically and emotionally. I only knew her as a very elderly lady to be respected and almost feared – she did not suffer fools at all, let alone gladly.

In her younger years she was what was then considered to be a rebel; she marched for women’s votes. She was of independent means – as far as was possible in those days and was fearless when fighting for what she believed in. She believed in democracy and that meant woman’s suffrage. This led her to a spell in prison fighting for those rights, she could still sing their song just before she died.

Shout, shout, up with your song!
Cry with the wind for the dawn is breaking.
March, march, swing you along,
Wide blows our banner and hope is waking.
Song with its story, dreams with their glory,
.Lo! They call and glad is their word.
Forward! Hark how it swells
Thunder of freedom, the voice of the Lord.

Aunt Clara’s lungs were never the same after she had been force fed – (badly) whilst in prison, hence her slow walking pace. The Pekinese dogs also seemed to have the same sort of problems – perhaps that is why she loved them so much. She used the suffragettes’ purple, green and white tea service to her dying day. So when the time comes – please vote as your conscience dictates – remember all those women who fought so hard for us today. Aunt Clara, (and many, many more) suffered for this right, please don’t take it for granted.

May God Bless us all,