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….
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…
‘Bye Mark. Love you bro.
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.
I’ve had a lovely couple of days with my fab grandsons but other than that it’s been a trying week to be honest. I’ll spare you the details. But last night after watching some of the MoTD stuff and dozing a bit I headed off to bed. I took one look at the digital clock on the cooker before heading to the bedroom and it read 23.23. Now don’t you think that’s the most unnotable time register of all time? Surely something must have happened at this time in history……
This is just a short piece to celebrate two things really; firstly it’s my 800th posting as Pasta Paulie. I never thought it would continue for so long when I started it to keep folks updated following our move to Italy. I certainly never imagined it would attract nearly 275,000 visits. Thanks to everyone who’s come by and those who continue to do so. It’s very much appreciated. Not least because today it’s one year since I had surgery to remove the cancer I hadn’t planned on getting. It’s been an eventful 12 months, probably the longest in my life but all seems well for the moment. I’m deeply grateful to all my family and friends who have been incredibly supportive and who helped and encouraged me through this. So double thanks folks. I hope there’ll be a lot more amusing, compelling, ranting postings to come! Well any would be nice.
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.
Well our very good friend S is over from the States on business and spending a few hours with us in between his breathless gambols around the commercial centres of W Europe. I’ve written about S several times; we met when I joined the Post Office’s Telecommunications section after leaving university, back in the Middle Ages. He was a smart lad and I was a dopey herbert if truth be told. An unlikely pairing, we became firm friends and remained so even after he and wife M and the boys emigrated to America quite a few years ago now. I’m fairly sure he didn’t leave to escape me if that’s what you’re thinking. He’s still involved in high level telecomms stuff and these trips are a welcome way for us to keep in touch even though he’s always on a manic schedule and of course we do miss seeing M and the lads (nay men).