#snippet 4

Back in prehistoric times when the world relied upon snail mail, we developed overseas friendships by correspondence. Before computers, email, etc we actually wrote letters by hand; addressed an envelope and stuck stamps on it to communicate, yes I am a relic. My Uncle Dick, an interesting character in himself so more about him later, returned to UK after Maude won the lottery. They returned with a penfriend for me, a young girl also about 8 yo.

So we started a correspondence that eventually culminated in a meeting when I arrived in UK. Meanwhile she had married Gary a concert pianist and lived in Southampton, some small distance from her home village of Leigh-on-sea. Due to Kerry’s epilepsy, frequent grand mal seizures, Gary had become a music teacher from home and they had both become keen photographers and bird watchers.

They had won quite a few national and also international competitions. This was well before digital cameras and the majority of their prizes included updated photography gear … better cameras, lens, tripods, printing paper, etc. They had their own darkroom to develop their films and thus inspired me to try a bit harder.

Needless to say as their fame rose they got more requests and we enjoyed some joint adventures writing up the steam trains of Wales. Which included climbing Mount Cader Idris, and plenty of bird watching. Being photogenic, I quickly became their photographic model for hairdressing and millinery advertising. No payment as they really needed the funds to keep his family home running.

We had a great time together and the friendship was cemented. She was one of five children from a very talented family. Growing up by the sea they were all keen sailors. Her elder sister did a lot a sailing in the tall ships. Her father in the tiny sailboats and her twin brothers competed in the wind surfing competitions in dry suits … a completely new phenomena for an aussie.

Walking beside the river one day I spotted a serene scene of a cockle man carrying the baskets across his shoulders. I called K to look and soon after she took me to her father’s current art exhibition. He was a well-known local artist in watercolours and there was the ‘picture’ I’d spotted. He’d apparently painted it from K’s photo … so all three of us had been drawn to this ‘typical’ photo of their home village. I gifted his artwork to my parents.

Salutations and respect to Thich Nhat Hanh, a fascinating writer, meditator, a truly enlightened man … you made our world a better place!

Between the Tonga explosion and high seas my beach walks have been fascinating … masses of sea foam right up the entire 3km of beach. Most of it knee-high but some waist high, with a width of 1-3 metres … looked amazing. Plus plenty of coconuts in their husks from Tonga no doubt; loads of shells rocks and squeegies with heavy rain and wild winds. Been getting a good workout and there is nobody about when the weather is wild … maybe a few surfers daring to catch the huge waves.


  1. Oh, kate those were the days….i remembered having to write letters myself too..and i can’t forget the first letter i sent to my dad on my first year in the university. He sent me a reply letter attached my original “corrected”

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    • lol in my entire life I got two sentences on the bottom of mothers letter from my father … considering all the years I lied abroad and travelled! I often wonder how she got him to write those 🙂

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  2. This is such a wonderful memory recollected. So amazing that you got to meet your pen friend and also gift them your company in ways they could use most, lovely to know you modeled 🙂
    Thich Nhat Hanh – A deep bow for him and all he left for us _()_

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  3. What a lovely memory and friendship. I had a penfriend too, but we didn’t last as long as your friendship did. I am rubbish that way.

    It was sad to hear about Thich Nhat Hanh. His glow at the age of 95.

    A lovely heart warming post Kate.

    I am a relic too, to be loved and treasured just like you Kate..🥰🙏🌸

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  4. Oh, how wonderful, SweetKate! And what great memories! I got a bit joy-teary-eyed. 🙂 And smiled a lot while reading! 🙂
    I grew up with pen-pals…some I’d met at summer camps and we kept in touch after camp ended.
    Then when e-mail became popular I had e-mail pen-pals. 🙂 For example, I’d meet a woman in an airport or in another place while on a trip for work, or a work conference, or on a vacation, and we’d start chatting…when we had to part we’d exchange e-mail addresses and write to each other. It was fun! 🙂
    Last year we went through boxes of old letters. It was a joy to read some of them. The most poignant were the letters I had from my oldest brother who got drafted to Vietnam when he was 18 years old. I was just a little girl, but I wrote letters to him and some of his soldier friends and they wrote me back.
    (((HUGS))) 🙂

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  5. You recall me, Kate, the old time of my youth when the way to communicate was the letter. I wrote to my parents every week ,to my fiancee Janine , every day! No phone at home . We got it only in in 1972!
    I still have many letters I sent or I received . Where are the e.mails sent from 1994? Lost for the most part.What you describe about photo recalls also my youth and also the lab my oldest son made at our home to get by himself his photos black and white on paper.
    Love ❤

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    • so glad it brought such fond memories back Michel … so many will miss that treasure of handwritten letters and interesting stamps! And the fun of developing their own films 🙂

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      • In the past we kept carefully the beloved ones ‘ s letters . I re-read some of them recently, Kate , but I had to stop because the emotion envading me . They were letters of the years 1950’s : there was the writing , the paper and its scent, the colors ,the enveloppes , the addresses etc….and of course the words always present.

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    • only in black and white print … nothing that would transfer to digital 😦 I so loved TNH in many ways, I hadn’t realised he was so elderly.
      Too wet to cart a camera on the beach, I do manage to keep my hybrid ‘electronic’ key safe in a plastic bag!

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    • me also Robbie but I was young and it was a new adventure … now we struggle to keep in contact on WP and I’ve no idea how many more you published authors need to keep in contact with!

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