South Leeds Lives: Counting rainbows

I am in competition with my daughter’s partner in regard to sighting rainbows. He lives on the edge of the Peak District, I live off Dewsbury Road. I am losing three – nil at present.

So where are my rainbows?

Well I recently popped into Building Blocks nursery. Whilst there I got into conversation with a group of 3 and 4 year olds. I was asking their names and saying things like I think your name is Freddie or Mary. No, no they said, I’m Hanif, I’m Blessing, I’m Tokumbo. So then I asked what they thought my name was. With one accord they said “Grandma!”

“Out of the mouths of babes.”

Every Thursday morning I wander up Tempest Road and when I reach the junction with Maud Avenue I meet a selection of hijabs, grey curly perms and Romanian head scarves. We are limping and struggling to make our way to various ‘keep well’ classes. We have a catch up on hips, knees headaches and other older people’s afflictions, but are glad of the rest before we press on to our various survival strategies.

“Old age is a many-spleandoured thing.”

Every Friday I do a pop up craft table at Beeston Hill charity shop. The first half is for children, the latter for adults. I have been working with 4 year old Sophia (Iranian? Polish? Hungarian? – I don’t know and it doesn’t matter). Every Friday she runs in, jumps in front of me and presents me with a dandelion. She presents it, and I receive it, as if it is the fairest flower ever grown. “It’s for you!” she says. I hold back a tear and we make a windmill.

“Love, joy, creativity all free in excess.”

So Steve, these are my rainbows and guess what? I wouldn’t swap Beeston – not even for that gorgeous view of Kinder Scout and its rainbows!


This post was written by Barbara Cavell

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Photo: “Dandelion”by notjake is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0