End of an era

Black bin bags full of the things that are no longer needed or wanted. The accumulations of a life. Odd socks. A jacket the moths have been busy with. Broken light bulbs. Pens that no longer work. Worn sandals.

Watched the postie drive away your 24 year old Rover. A gift for his son. Another generation learning to drive as we four did with you all those decades ago.

Couldn’t quite let go of a few of your clothes to the charity shop so back to London they come with me for a while. Remind me of all those days I saw you potter down the corridor ready for breakfast, our favourite time of the day.

Your flat is now empty, almost. Those things that made it so much yours are no longer there. It’s an empty space, an echo of your home but no longer that. Painters come in tomorrow. Fresh white and new carpets. A blank canvas for those who’ll live there next and like we did they will enjoy the view over the boats and the early morning sun streaming in.

A rushed practical sorting things couple of days overlaid with so much emotion. Memories aplenty. Thoughts of things that will never be again. The end of an era. Dad doesn’t live here any more.


Getting used to it…

So now it’s getting used to:

living without you there

not worrying about you

not hearing your voice

not phoning you when I arrive somewhere

not buying little things I think you’d like or that would make your life easier ( though Amazon doesn’t yet know you’re no longer around and keeps on making recommendations)

planning my time around Devon visits

not needing to have my phone with me always just in case you call and want a chat

not being able to share happy experiences with you

It’s just getting used to the start of a life without you. I knew it was coming but it’s still been such a shock. Life with a hole in the middle. Starting to get used to that.

And for the first time today since you died I felt happy. Sunshine on my face, eating fish and chips on Lyme Regis Beach watching the walkers, the waves, the light. Just for a little while I was completely present and was just there on the beach, your loss wasn’t there and I felt happy. It was good to feel happy again. Sadness and grief crept back in soon enough and wrapped themselves around me again but that’s ok. More simple happy times will come and will continue to catch me by surprise for a while yet until one day they just come and go and it’s not surprising any more.

Another farewell

Today a call to say our much loved friend Martin had died in the early hours this morning. 75, his birthday just celebrated in style at one of his favourite spots in Edinburgh, live jazz playing as people ate fine food, drank too much wine and told tall tales.

We knew all of him – his light and his shade. He hid nothing. He was exasperating, rude, combative and thoughtless. He was a tremendously loyal friend, wonderfully charming, funny, quick witted, irreverent, generous, full of life and mischief, a man who seized life and got the most out of every last drop of it.

A brickie to trade from a Scottish working class family he got involved in the communist party and then trade unions and through that got an education finally at university. He loved the arts, theatre, dance, music and generously took us all to see shows with him. He wore outrageous red suits, purple suits with dragon flies on them, suits with alternating blacks and whites on jacket and trousers. He loved being the centre of attention. Everyone in Edinburgh knew M and those that didn’t often found him introducing himself.

He had such a zest for life, for company, for fun.

Everyone has a tale to tell about M that makes them laugh.

And he came to stay in China with me for two weeks at the end of my marriage – he came to show support. Amazing loyalty and caring.

So this morning his heart finally gave out and my friend of 30 years, this larger than life,unique, incredibly brilliant man ended his 75 years on earth. What a life he led and how he will be missed by many.

I mourn my friend and feel keenly the loss of all he was.

Bye pal.


A farewell

And so the day started. Sunshine over Sutton Harbour. Dad always liked such days as the sun rose over the boats and poured in through the window.

He would have enjoyed his farewell. Lots of people came to mark his long life and to say goodbye. His military service recognised by a standard bearer who followed him in to the church and stood respectfully by his side throughout. My sisters poem and words reminding all of his passions. My brother’s eulogy, beautifully crafted to bring to life Dads humour, his spirit of adventure and zest for life, his hard work and his love for and support of his family and friends. The vicar got tangled in overcomplicated analogies about departures, airports and prisons but that was but a small blip really – surprisingly some others seemed to find it helpful. Wine, sandwiches and stories about Dad were shared.

I cried at almost everything of course. One of Dad’s pressed white handkerchiefs came in handy. John held my hand tight at my most wobbly moments. Following Dad in and out of the church was incredibly emotional. My Dad, my much loved Dad. We four so very different individuals said farewell and he would have been proud of our combined efforts to make a fitting farewell for him, such a very fine man, our father.

The sun held til our return back to Dad’s flat. Perhaps appropriate that the earlier bright scene was replaced by rolling clouds and later rain.

Bye Dad. I shall miss you always.

It’s the little things

It’s the little things I miss:

Hearing you potter down the corridor to the loo in the night

Listening to you say you didn’t sleep a wink when enthusiastic snoring was there to be heard loud and clear that night

Breakfast with the sun’s rays pouring in – the red table cloth I bought you for Christmas one year that you so loved, grapefruit always, bacon sometimes, an egg boiled just the right amount of time mostly, sliced brown warburton bread a must

Watching you consult your diary for what was coming up and to check you had the right day and time for my next visit

Coming in to say goodnight at the end of the day and a last sleepy conversation

Watching you put your favourite checked cap on as we left the house and making sure you had your keys in your back pocket

Chatting in the Rover as we headed out for yet another medical thing or much better a drive up to park on the Hooe for a coffee with a view, a meal out at some of your favourite haunts, a visit to see Nick or Geoff, a trip out over Dartmoor.

Watching you tuck into a Moules dish – complete silence and ultimate concentration

Listening to some of the same familiar stories and being surprised now and then by a new one

Watching you open the morning’s post with your silver letter opener

Looking up from the sofa to see you there

Trying to see how many Mastermind questions we could answer between us

Our mutual teasing over the differing versions of the news of the day as shown in your Telegraph and my Guardian

Hearing you say ” it’s been a good day”

I miss all those little things and more

Lots of tears but that’s ok because I’m missing you


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