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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Yes Noah

It’s been an interesting last few days for my family. My lovely daughter E started her new course at Oxford University as a mature student which made us all very proud. On Thursday my super grandson G had to have some important tests on a little condition he’s developed. Whilst concerning, the outcome was reassuringly very manageable, which was a huge relief. Then I had my 6 month review with my lovely oncologist which despite some recent niggles (see later posting!) went very well and, thankfully, I got another 6 month pass.

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Miss you little E

Now just in case I get a barrowload of complaints and tuts from my legion of female readers following my last posting, I thought I’d show that I’m not 100% porcine and do have a caring sensitive side too. You see for the last 15 months we have been looking after the youngest of our 3 fab grandsons, much-loved E, rather than him go to nursery. He was just 7 months old when he started spending Mon-Fri with us. It has been great fun, tiring at times, but we’ve loved every minute. And now he’s a couple of weeks away from having a little brother as our lovely daughter S starts her maternity leave.  So he’s back with mum now full-time (and dad of course post work) and they’re going to have a ball.

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Friends and their kids

Yesterday we had our old friends J and G over and their lovely kids E and J. It was a super day, just great to catch up and J is as madly generous as ever. I can’t believe it’s 18 months since we last saw G. But almost the nicest thing was the realisation that all of our oldest friends’ children have turned out to be really decent people in their own right; well-adjusted, good company, fun, engaging and the sort of people you’d like to be friends with too. Just like our own kids. And in almost all cases there’s more than 40 years age difference between them and us old buggers. Delightfully they even forgive my occasional slips into industrial language without resorting to it themselves. Great kids; I love ’em.

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O lucky man

Yesterday was such a great day – my fabulous youngest grandson E had his naming/thanksgiving ceremony (so much more welcoming than all that ‘I renounce the devil’ nonsense) and my lovely daughter S and great son-in-law E threw a top party for him in Chiswick where we caught up with our family, S&E’s oldest friends (love ’em all) and lots of great kids. Super, super day. Oh and it was father’s day too which I’d quite forgotten about until my girls got me some lovely cards and pressies. I wasn’t able to try and get hold of my dad until later in the evening by which time I’d missed him, though I did catch up this morning and he was well and looking forward to his first break-away since my mum left us some 16 months ago. So I had a big smile on my face until I read that the actor Sam Kelly, who featured in Porridge and Allo’ Allo’, had died. I wasn’t a fan of the shows but Sam went through chemotherapy at the same time as me and we were on nodding terms in Ward 6 at the CX hospital when our treatment schedules co-incided. I guess somebody up there must have thought it was my turn to get the week-end pass. It made me realise I’m a lucky fella in so many ways.

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