Shelling peas

Shelling peas with Alma Peters
From Wales, look you
On the terrace at 195 Woolton Road
Childwall in suburban Liverpool
Listening to her life in service
Swansea decades earlier
Faithful to her beloved mistress
Peggy my mother

An afternoon in the 50s
A ritual
Preparing the Friday night dinner
Roast succulent chicken
But not kosher
Roast crispy potatoes
Fresh garden peas tossed in butter
Homemade bread sauce
Fresh fruit salad in a pale blue opaque Lalique swirling fish bowl

How I loved traditional Friday nights
The Georgian silver Mathew Bolton candlesticks
On the dining table
Silent flickering candle flames
The brochas chanted by my father
Head of the family
The usual family suspects forever present
Watching and waiting to be fed
No Alma at the table
No Samson our doleful beagle

Alma knew her place in life
Below stairs
Never forgotten
Her faded overalls
Her long apron
Her wispy thinning grey hair tied in a bun
Her rosy cheeks
Her sunny smile
Her missing teeth

Alma was a loved member of our family
Never forgotten

Written in Colin Willcox’s ‘Quiet Writing’ group in Lewes. 12.9.19