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One of my most precious possessions is a 10p coin minted in 1962. It’s not a special coin in itself. It’s just an ordinary 10p coin, but to me, it means the world.

Jim, my hero-worshipped grandfather, and I were walking along Rink Street, probably heading for Lilwills, the bakery that made the best egg sandwiches I have ever had. They also made the best cheese and tomato sandwiches, now that I think about it. I was about 6 then and, as was my habit, was walking with my nose to the ground. I like to think it was so that I could spot coins, but it was probably out of a fear of tripping over a crack in the pavement. I was just that kind of kid. On this occasion, though, I did spot a coin, much bigger than the coins I was familiar with. Pounds and pence had been out of South Africa for some years by then.

Jim told me all about the pence. He was Scottish, you see and knew about these things. To me, that was the most exciting of all… a coin from ‘his world’! The fact that angels leave coins for people to find was even more special. We took the coin home and Jim put it on a chain for me. This chain is very long by my adult standards, so it must have hung at my knees back then, which is probably why I never wore it, but I treasured it. As an adult, I wear it a lot. It reminds me of Jim and makes me feel he’s still watching out for me.

It’s funny that… that I feel he’s watching out for me. Someone mentioned once that I had an angel watching out for me. I was going through a really rough time. It was about then that I had a dream that mixed Jim up with a lion and words of courage. Still, it was, to me, just a dream with a message. I thought no more of it. Not long after, here in Ireland, I found a shiny new 10c piece lying smack dab in the centre of a doorway. Still, I didn’t think much of it, as someone could have dropped the coin. When I found another one, also new and shiny and 10c, I started thinking it was odd, but what made it far more unusual was that this one was smack dab in the centre of the doorway of a chicken shed! Not the sort of place one would usually drop a coin. Ok, I was paying attention by then. I found 4 more coins. All of them, without fail, bright shiny new 10c pieces and all lying in the centre of doorways. This was in the space of a couple of months. Too much coincidence? I’d say. So don’t mind me if I believe my beloved Jim is watching over me and holding my hand when times get a little rough. I still have all those coins. Perhaps one day, I’ll put them on a bracelet to match my necklace.


Posted by on October 23, 2013 in jim, memories


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Everyday angels


I’m not a great believer in the whole white light, fluffy-winged variety of angels who seem insubstantial at best. I do, however, believe firmly that human angels abound. They’re all around us. And yes, there are angels with fur too.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve said a heartfelt "You’re an angel" to someone, usually to a friend. The ‘everyday angels’ have often gone unacknowledged, barring perhaps a quick "Thanks!" and a smile.

Take the bus conductor this morning, who pointed out a seat further back, out of sight. In a crowded, 3-deep, sardine-style packed bus at 6am, her smile and caring were refreshing.

I watched the big, bearded guy concentrating on his piece of paper on the equally crowded Metro, a small frown on his forehead. It lasted the length of the ride. What he was creating was complicated. When he finished her, he gently placed her on the window sill, then looked up to see me staring in wonder. It was an intricately-folded angel. He reached and gave it to me. I’d had this blog in mind for a while now, inspired by a site I found that thanked everyday angels (that was pre-format and I can’t find the link now), so I decided to take her home and photograph her before passing her on.

I like the idea of keeping a journal, as the site I mentioned earlier suggested, concretely acknowledging those who touch our lives, however fleetingly. It’s a bit like a gratitude journal. I suppose they can be combined. A gratitude journal allows us to express our thanks for life’s gifts, however small… an angel journal allows us to mention those who pass those gifts on.

Looking at this angel, she is imperfect, but beautifully crafted. She is fragile, but amazingly strong (still in shape after a few days in my book bag and it gets rough in there!). In that, she reminds me of the amazing people in my life.


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Posted by on May 21, 2010 in inspiration


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