Sadly I have lost loved ones - we are all on this moving path through life. St Bartholomew the Great church was packed to hear Fauré’s Requiem, a piece my father loved, at his memorial service. 30 members of the family gathered from across the world in Gairloch for the weekend when my mother’s ashes were buried in my father’s grave. It was as beautiful day: the mountains and the sea looked spectacular. In the evening we had enough talent in the family to hold a ceilidh. It was marvellous to hear our professional musicians, John on violin and Justin on guitar, jamming together. We got up early to watch the live streaming of Jay’s funeral in an airy Australian crematorium with one of his surf cats as a reminder of his love of the sea. And 200 people attended dear Robert’s funeral last year where many friends from his car industry days made much of his hilarious shaggy dog stories, even though everyone had heard them countless numbers of times! Thank you to Carol for cherishing him over the years and, in fact, to all my lovely sisters-in-law, Nancy in Iowa, Jan and Clare down under.
Over the last 60 years I have had the emotional support and love of Don. He is the most important person in my life and I have been very, very lucky. We walk and we talk and like watching the same thing on television. He does the quick crossword in his head and then hands it over to me! We do our balance exercises together and I prepare the vegetables, whereupon he takes over in the kitchen. He is a keen gardener whether getting Millstone Cottage up to scratch for an Open Garden - we had 324 people through the house one weekend - or creating an ‘orchard’ in our tiny garden at 13 Newland Street. His beloved step-over fruit trees, which always worried me, are now too high for either of us to step over! We have spring flowers and the lovely blossom from the espalier trees against the walls, but in the summer the beds are taken over by plums, pears, peaches, apricots, apples and strawberries. The flowers and vegetables are in pots and the water lilies in two large tubs.
We enjoy days out with the Eynsham Theatre Club and going for twice yearly weekend visits to Chichester Festival Theatre, which we’ve been visiting since it opened half-a-century ago. Don was the theatre critic for the Oxford Mail, and as feature writer could be covering anything from performing fleas to the Pope’s visit to Ireland. He cleverly manages to capture the atmosphere of everything he writes about, and naturally has cast an eye over my picture captions for work, my planning letters and indeed this mini account of my life.