Sunday, 12 February 2017

An anniversary

Twenty-five years ago today, my husband died. We have marked it by sending flowers to his grave (sadly, too far for us to travel), and by thinking about him.

One of the many hard things about losing a partner is that there is only one of you left to hold all those memories that were once shared. Here, just for him, are just a few of the things I remember:

The way you wooed me with a heart-shaped Valentine arrangement of fresh snowdrops, sent through the post.
How soon afterwards we spent Easter in the Yorkshire Dales, and you wrote me a poem afterwards.
How we married just five months to the day after our first date, which shocked my poor grandmother.
Our 2000 mile honeymoon round Europe in your leaky MG.
The hours we spent gazing in sheer astonishment at our first baby, because we simply couldn't believe we had produced this perfect, home-made human being.
The way you put up with my moods.
That catastrophic elderflower wine (what was that dark cloud that formed in the middle of the jar? In the end, we had to mix it with lemonade to make it drinkable).
The way I put up with your insatiable need to create things, from an observatory (which took months and even nights to complete) to a completely new school (which took years, and which is now flourishing).
Your passion for teashops and curries (not necessarily together).
And perhaps most of all, your utter kindness and generosity.

Thank you. For everything.

Friday, 20 January 2017

La la la la la...

😡Are we the only people on the planet to think this awful film is just a load of tosh? We sat through it last nigh, dreaming of our fish and chips (we only have fish and chips after the cinema - house rule) and of paint drying. Hardly any dialogue, ditto storyline, a lot of half-hearted dancing - please tell me we're not alone.(This post is mainly because I want to try out my new computer, which terrifies me.)

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Don't say it with flowers...

....say it with words. This came to me the other day, as I approach the 25th anniversary of my husband's death;  the realisation that "saying it with flowers" can be a cop out. Flowers are lovely, but they can also be used as an alternative to words people don't know how to say (I've done it myself).

When my husband died, we were inundated with flowers, and they were beautiful. But I can't remember who sent them. What I do remember is the brave people who came to our house, not knowing what state we were in (terrible), and listened, and hugged us and wept with us.

I remember in particular one couple I didn't really know well, and didn't especially count as friends. But they came straight away, and I remember how courageous and thoughtful I thought they were. Because it does take courage to confront someone else's tragedy; it is hard to know what to say. But say it anyway. That's what I've learnt. Say it with words.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Some useful information about bears

I found this just now while clearing out my old computer prior to getting a new one. I may have posted it before, but I think it bears (ha!) repeating. You might thank me one day.

Monday, 2 January 2017

My theory of the last chocolate biscuit

John and I were discussing the nature of selfishness ( as you do), and I realised something. The selfish person isn't the one who takes the last chocolate biscuit*, because no one takes the last chocolate biscuit. No. The really selfish person is the one who takes the last but one chocolate biscuit in the knowledge that since nobody will be bold enough to take the very last chocolate biscuit, this is, in effect, the last one. Thus the wily selfish person has done a selfish thing, but leaves without a stain on his character (but with a delicious chocolate biscuit), because what he's done is fine, isn't it? Meanwhile, the last chocolate biscuit remains in splendid isolation on its crummy plate, safe in the knowledge that no one will be greedy enough to eat it (at least, in public).

Well, that's my theory, anyway. Happy new year!

*This also applies to the last smoked salmon sandwich.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

RIP Lionel Blue

As you probably know, Rabbi Lionel Blue died yesterday. I loved this gentle, humble, funny man as he did his many "thoughts for the day" on BBC Radio 4. Do watch this clip if you have the time.

In the meantime, a very happy, peaceful Christmas to everyone reading this.

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Horses (but not me) for courses

Yesterday, I received a phone call from Colin*. Colin works for the agency for which I volunteer, and he does a good job, but he wants me to go on a course. Another course. The same course I did three years ago. The course which ( as far as interest is concerned)  is equal to an afternoon of paint-drying-watching. Colin knows I don't need to go on this course, but it's his job to make sure I do. Poor Colin. He too has to go on courses. We all have to go on courses, don't we? All the time. Hands up anyone who's never had to go on a course?

Once again, I shall have to learn (among other things) about fired extinguishers; that there are four kinds, and you have to pick the right one for the right kind of fire.

Picture the scene, if you will. A burning building, panic, people to be evacuated, 999 to be dialled, and you (or in this case, me) thinking: now, let's see. What kind of fire was this? Oil? Cigarettes? Electrical? Ah, I've got it! Now let's go and fine the right coloured extinguisher ("no, I'm afraid I can't help you jump out of the window. I have to find the blue fire extinguisher"). It just wouldn't happen, would it? Not least because I've only ever seen a red one.

Then there is food hygiene. In vain do I whimper that in all the years I've been cooking, I've never poisoned anyone. That in this job I don't even  have any contact with food. Colin is insistent. As a last resort ( I can see him putting a red warning sticker by my name on his file) Colin suggests I might like meeting some of the other volunteers. Yes. I might. But I don't need to. If I want to meet a bunch of nice strangers, I can trot down the road to the library; even Sainsburys can be interesting.

Colin and I part on good terms, and he agrees that since my time isn't Up until April, he will let me off until then.

Anything can happen by the time April comes. Here's hoping.

*Not his real name