Thursday, January 09, 2014

Getting going again

This is a sluggish time of year and after the break I find it difficult to do anything other than necessary chores.  The end of my grieving year – January 27th seems to be clouding the issue.  Our French son wanted to join me then but I didn’t want to waste his visit on a sad time so he’s coming a few days later.  It has always been a landmark as in ‘Don’t make any serious decision until the year is up’ and apart from getting rid of the car, I haven’t.  And by golly was that a relief?

Christmas Eve I got the breath taking news that a dear old pal – George – had been knocked down by a car just by his home and didn’t regain consciousness.  He and I were born within days of each other and when I discovered this - many years ago, I completely ignored the rather serious persona he presented to the world and we became firm chums – inclined to giggle, especially on stage.  We have kept up a correspondence in spite of the fact that George’s copper plate hand writing is very difficult to read and I had to resort to typing in order to be able to read my own.

I had just written a long spiel – which I’m told he received but he usually waited until he was in the Welsh cottage to reply.  I’m so glad he met Alastair and they liked each other and also glad – when I didn’t see an opening door whilst driving - that I made the decision to stop.  It is heart breaking for his family but – like Alastair he was spared a long drawn out end.

On the 27th I plan to try to play some camcorder films I made in Scotland and Canada which I haven’t seen in ages – in the hope that I can hear his voice again.  My B.I.L. in the States still has his late wife’s voice on the answering machine.  I wish I’d thought of that but it would have been difficult to get him to do it.

Christmas went by in a flash with the Wiltshire family coming with a car full of food on Christmas Eve.  On Christmas Day I was banished from the kitchen and told to play with my computer, then we had a bracing sunny walk, champers and then the best turkey dinner I’ve had for ages.  Full marks!  Boxing Day was more of the same and after they left – the next day having got rid of all my rubbish- bless’em - there was just time to regroup and pack for a New Year visit to the Hertfordshire family- complete with Alice and Tom.

The journey was interesting:  my favourite taxi to Taunton and then Nat; Express to Victoria which I hadn’t done for years.  I find boarding a train with luggage and trying to find one’s seat daunting.  On the bus they take care of your luggage and I don’t mind just sitting for a few hours.  However there were two men sitting behind me, one of whom sounded completely off his head with either drink or drugs and the other not far behind.  The all too audible conversation was just appalling and weirdly – like something out of 39 steps - I kept hearing a shrill whistling of just five notes.
You had to be there.  Don’t write buses off- I shan’t.  On the way back the driver made a big point of saying the police would be involved if there was any alcohol on board.

I had already determined to sit nearer to the driver on the way home and discovered that the two front seats – with a fantastic view, can be booked.  I had a charming widower as companion on the way home; he had been an evacuee in the war and was a year younger so we had lots to talk about.  His grand-daughter – aged 17 played football for Watford Ladies and had been spotted by an American team and (I think I remembered correctly) was playing and training with a team in North Carolina, coming home twice a year.  The drivers are very skilful; there had been a bad accident on the M4 and we had to come off and divert but were only 10 minutes late in Taunton.
They ask you to comment on line and I suggested they could be more vigilant re alcohol.  You may not believe me but I swear it is true -on the return journey I did – just once, hear those same piercing five notes.

There had been a lot of catching up to do since I got back and I was tempted to miss the Bereavement Group on Tuesday.  So glad I didn’t – Joy was there and two of the members really seemed to have turned the corner in their grief which is heartening for us all.  V gave us an exercise where we were asked to draw the mask we put on our faces to present to the world and card and crayons were provided.  This flummoxed some and I noticed that Chris (M) had managed to cover his nose and the side of his face with bright pink crayon. I found myself regressing fifty odd years - asked him for his handkerchief – remembered not to spit myself but got him to and wiped him clean.
This caused much hilarity but Chris was as good as new apart from flattened hair where my vice like grip had been.

I forgot to say I had a super time with the Hertfords – lovely to catch up with the grand-children and old Buster- the ancient Staffie recognised me and played his game of ‘Let’s trip Grandma up’.

 Would you like another coffee?





Exile on Pain Street said...

Wow. So sorry to hear about George. I think about incidents like this all the time. You get out of bed in the morning and you just don't know what's ahead. It's your nature to find something to be thankful for in a horrific accident. I hope my daughters turn out like you.

In your online comment, I hope you also mentioned that the drivers are skillful!

Pat said...

Exile: I shall treasure that remark:)

Ms Scarlet said...

I hope I turn out like you!
This is the downside of public transport - other people not being respectful of others. Generally I try to stick my nose in a book and try to ignore what's going on around me... not always possible.
Sorry to hear about George.

kenju said...

It was a good trip for you, it seems, despite the weird guys and whistles.

Kim Ayres said...

Glad you had a good festive season with the family. Do pass on my regards to French Son when he arrives :)

Z said...

Thank you for such a lovely newsy post, despite the sad news about George.

The end of January was a similar time for my mother - my father died on the 24th in 1970 and my stepfather on the 27th in 1986, a week before their 10th wedding anniversary.

i shall never travel to Heathrow or Gatwick by train again, after many miserable journeys home which ruined the good work of a lovely holiday. I've never had a bad experience on a bus and it's so lovely to have your luggage taken and looked after and to be dropped close to your destination.

I'm dreadful I know, such a spoilsport, but I couldn't have been bothered to do the mask thing. It would have felt trite - words, however hard they are to find, are how I communicate.

Pat said...

Scarlet: I'm no role model - quite flawed but don't go on about it:)
At least I didn't turn round and lecture them so I am getting better.

Judy: as always seeing the family did me a power of good and the travelling made me feel braver about the cruise in May.

Kim: I certainly will and the son you haven't met says I have to get the shower adjusted:)

Z: re the mask - it was very untypical of what we normally do and a few looked askance but as we are so fond of her and trust V we went along with it and the morning ended in laughter which is no bad thing.

OldLady Of The Hills said...

I'm glad your Holiday withe the Grands was so good....This was a wonderful post Pat....I feel brought up to date on so very much of what you have been going through----A very tough year, my dear, and you, as always, so full of grace---YOU are amazing!

So very sorry to read about George. I feel like every time I turn around, someone dear to me has 'shuffled off this mortal coil'......Sending ((((HUGS))))) my dear.....

LL Cool Joe said...

I remember you mentioning George on my blog and it did put my concerns into perspective. Very sad news.

It sounds like you had a lovely Christmas anyway, full of family and friends, the best kind.

When travelling I always take my ipod. That way I don't have to listen to anyone at all. :D

angryparsnip said...

Wonderful news filled post.
I am so happy that you have made it through this year and can only hope the next year is filled with much happiness.
hahahahahaha love the gud or bad dug story.

cheers, parsnip

Pat said...

Naomi: between us we should have a magnificent welcoming committee when we do the shuffling. There's some comfort there.

Joey: difficult for me to remember anything I did before Christmas:)
BTW my very clever grandson suggested the piercing whistling could be a ring tone, and I'm sure he's right. Never occurred to me.

lom said...

So sorry to hear about George but really pleased to hear you had a lovely Christmas

Granny Annie said...

Ever onward:)

sablonneuse said...

So pleased you had a lovely Christmas and were thoroughly (and deservedly) spoiled.
Hope the time will soon come when you won't have to rely on that mask so much.

Mage said...

You have been gloriously busy. Well loved. Thanks to you, I was able to suggest a bereavement group to my friend Bobbie after her husband's death. Thank you.

Keith said...

My partner died 10 years ago on Jan 1st 2004.I still grieve after all this time. I know I should try to be as brave as you, and live as she would have wanted, but I just can't.

She was a very popular singer in Northern Ireland and made a lot of cassettes and later, CD's. I have them all and a video of one of her concerts in Belfast, but sad to sad I have never got around to watching it since she died.

I admire your spirit Pat, and I hope you will "pick up the ball-of-life and run with it" from now on (Irish proverb).

Pat said...

Parsnip: fingers crossed:)

Lom, Granny Annie and Sablonneuse: thank you:)

Mage: that's great to hear. I hope it helps her as much as it has helped me.

Keith: I wonder if it would help you if did you did listen to it.
I'll see how the camcorders affect me.
I'll do my best to pick up the ball of life...'
Nothing worthwhile is easy.

Kevin Musgrove said...

Sad to hear about George.

Good that you had a good Christmas and New Year.

Pat said...

Kevin: I hope you did too.