America

Hello again blogosphere….it’s been quite a while since I last did a posting. I kind of lost my writing mojo after my youngest brother passed away. Trying to produce some amusing and opinionated pieces just didn’t seem important for a while.  But time heals as they say, my brother’s children are getting on with life brilliantly and several kind folks have asked me to get back on the ranting horse. So here I am back in the saddle with some fantastic news for a change….

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Closure

So yesterday we finally got to say goodbye to my youngest brother Mark. It’s been a long wait but he was laid to rest not so far from my  mum and sister. And despite a couple of glitches it was a lovely service and committal. I was especially proud to see so many people turn up for the service and to talk to so many folk who knew him and just loved his kind gentle character. It was great to catch up with so many old friends and family, some of whom I haven’t seen in absolute years. Several family members had travelled half the length of the country (and I mean Britain) to say goodbye to the most decent chap I’ve ever known. But on a day which started out thoroughly miserable but brightened up beautifully for the interment, my fondest memory will be of my father Bob who delivered a stunning few closing words at the service. He chided those of us who had criticised Mark over the years for his ‘softness’ by declaring his utter pride for a son who had demonstrated nothing but goodness and selflessness to all throughout his life. He wanted nothing more than to be in that bloody heavy coffin rather than his beautiful boy. Poor Bob. We all felt wretched at losing a brother but heaven knows how he must have felt yesterday and these last few weeks. I can’t imagine his hurt and never want to experience it.

But life moves on. His kids were sad, of course, but full of life and his grandson, who we saw for the first time, was just beautiful. And you could see Mark’s lovely features in him. Here’s one of the shots of Mark selected for the service sheet. He was around 2 years old at the time and I must have been about 9 and my younger brother Dave around 5/6. I remember the day the photographer came round like it was yesterday and he must have taken 100 pictures of us. But this was the one and only shot that everyone remembers…

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‘Bye Mark. Love you bro.

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Cruel world

Last week in August we headed down to Italy for a week’s break to get some hard work done on the house before the winter. Regular readers will know there’s usually a bloody drama with our visits but this time there was no sense of looking back afterwards and smiling wistfully.

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Franco Manca

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We’ve found a fantastic Italian food place called Franco Manca. They have places across London and fortunately there’s one in Chiswick where our daughter S lives and one up on Ealing Broadway near where we live. And both are great.

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Desk people; the good, the bad and the ugly (plus a trip to Italy)

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Well we had another couple of weeks over in Italy recently to get some more work done on the place. I mean on our house there, of course, not us fixing up the parlous state of the sunny peninsular in the Med. Though I must confess it sometimes feels like you’re having to do the two things, particularly when it comes to resolving issues with the Italian utility companies. But this time we were fortunate to not have any such problems. Our only difficulties arose when confronting desk and reception staff at various stops along the journey…

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Memories

Now you know you’re getting old when your children hit middle age, right? Well tomorrow we’re having a party for our lovely, beautiful, eldest daughter Rebecca who had her 40th birthday earlier this week. It’s a cliche but it really does seem like yesterday when we were waiting to take her home from the hospital after her birth. Where do the years go eh? I’ll stop with the well-worn phrases now.

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Tree fellers

Tree fellers? It could be how the 60’s Irish brothers singing group The Batchelors described themselves but I’m not sure I could write a decent blog about them. Having said that I did see one of these cast-your-mind-back tv programmes recently on young Lena Savaroni who won fame on the original tv talent show Opportunity Knocks. She was probably only about 10 or 11 and a regular performer on Saturday night tv at the time. This evening she elected to sing a duet with one of the Batchelors – the one with the moustache who looked a bit like one of the perm-haired Liverpool footballers from the 70’s, ie a bit seedy. He clutched the young short skirt-clad Lena in his arms whilst she had her legs around his waist as they sang this cheesey love song to each other. It made for some very awkward viewing especially as it was introduced by one of those creepy DJ presenters. Let’s just say it was a more innocent time. Well that’s my Batchelors story and as blogs go it’s a stinker so ‘tree fellers’ must refer to something else eh….

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