Monthly Archives: August 2015

Carnival time

 As I contemplate writing a blog post, I am looking out of the window and it is raining/pouring and all the leaves are dripping. This is especially unfortunate as it is the main day for Notting Hill Carnival. I am sure that people will still be singing and dancing, but a sunny day would be better.

Fortunately the weather was reasonable yesterday. Sunday is traditionally the day for the children. (Strangely I don’t have many pictures of Notting Hill Carnival, but here are two little girls at the Carnival in Tobago.)

06 Tob. 2 little girls

And a joyful participant

06 Tob. more Rox. carnival

A year ago a meeting was set up by our church and a church in Amersham. It was the turn of the Amersham folk to come to us in Harlesden. We arranged a walking tour around Harlesden. The kind of shops were rather different from those in Amersham. The Amersham folk were very interested to see so many hair and beauty shops.

cornrow plaits








The most exciting visit was when we were invited into a shop where costumes for the Notting Hill Carnival are made. As I remember, I think planning takes a whole year. We were taken aback to witness the creativity, the colour, textures and inventiveness of the costumes. Costumes from previous years were on display throughout the shop. We lingered there a long time and met some of the people who work painstakingly with a variety of interesting materials.

carnival costume

Image courtesy of stockimages at 

“Keep Follow My Dance Steps”

I am thinking of the participants at today’s Carnival.



Black, British and Beautiful

We last left the story of Jah, when we woke up with a sudden realisation that we needed to get on quickly with our dream of adopting another boy – as Sam said “A little brother the same colour as me”.

I have previously described the many hoops we had to go through – the interviews, the visits, the references etc. As you will know by now, if you have been following this blog, we succeeded in the end.

D and I are now retired and the summer is an excellent time to go on holidays. We have just returned from a holiday in Scotland. D. is now off to Berlin with a drama group and I am going back to Scotland, near Edinburgh where Anna currently lives. I leave in the early morning tomorrow. How will I have time to prepare a Monday blog post?

The problem is solved because there is something I would like to impart to as many people as possible.

Last week we heard about an interesting project. It is the production of a calendar of photos featuring black British children. I’ll attach the flyer describing this project.


In case the text does not come out clearly, I’ll quote a few lines.

“Introducing our first calendar for 2016, we seek to build platforms that recognise and commemorate the pioneers, the role models, influential individuals and firsts from our Black British History – musicians, actors, producers, designers, writers, sportsmen, politicians and civil rights activists, using young black British youth to depict and portray our innovators and the significant people from our history  . . . . . 

If you would like more information, like to purchase a calendar or to get involved in future projects, please contact us”


P.S. Sam’s older daughter features on the calendar. Just thought I slip that piece of information in !

The need for a “Little brother the same colour as me”.

This summer – 2015 – when D and I were enjoying a holiday in the Highlands of Scotland, I thought of the times we took all our children to Scotland. This year, D and I stayed in houses but in those long ago days we always camped. I don’t think we ever met any other mixed-race families, although we certainly met many families with lovely red hair.

We enjoyed local Highland Games a few times

Highland dancing           and on one occasion, enjoyed watching a rumbustious raft-race. I remember the great atmosphere of excitement and competition in both kinds of events.

The children usually made friends on the campsites. They were wonderful holidays – as indeed was ours this year.

Our first tent

This is a picture of our first tent. Five of us slept in it. My father lent it to us, although we thought that he had GIVEN it to us. We realised our mistake when we told him we had sold it and bought a bigger tent. Fortunately he was OK about it. Phew!

Sam was always a happy even-tempered little boy. He was adored by his big sisters. I don’t remember any arguments between the three children, but evidently – being normal children – they were quite capable of teasing and annoying each other at times. I suppose D and I had simply not been present at such times.

It was at the end of a holiday in Scotland that we heard Sam utter a heartfelt wish that jet-propelled us into seeking another child to join our family.

As I remember, Lucy and Anna had been paddling and playing in a sparkling brook. Maybe Sam had been trying to build a dam – or a separate activity. Anyway there must have been an argument and we suddenly heard him exclaim.

“When we get our little brother-the-same-colour-as-me, you’ll SEE!”

D and I both sat up. This was a shock. It didn’t sound like our even-tempered Sam. However, he had a point.

We had always intended to get a little brother the same colour as Sam. We both wondered where time had gone. Sam was now aged six. Why had we left this so late?

Three children

We knew that the climate of opinion about interracial adoption had been changing over the intervening years. Many people were against such adoptions, which made us feel a bit strange. We could understand many of the arguments against inter-racial adoption and yet Sam had always seemed happy, had been such an integral part of our family and when he was born, he definitely needed a loving family to adopt him. We also were fully committed to bringing him up to feel proud of who he was, a Black British person.

We did not know whether we had left operation ‘little brother’ too late. We did not know whether we would be approved once again as would-be adoptive parents.  We resolved to look into the situation as a matter of urgency as soon as we returned home.