Equal time on the planet

Today is a significant day/date which I have sort of been waiting for for six and a half years.

Up until today I have been able to say, John still outlived me, he still had longer on the planet than me (because he was older).

But today the day has come when I have been alive the same amount of time that he had in total (59 years, 131 days). So today is the equivalent day for me, to the one where his life ended. So after today, if I’m still here (unless he ‘comes to get me’), I will be living with the awareness that I’ve actually lived longer than him. I think that will add to my grief.

I am scared for myself, because he died aged 59 – why should I not also? I don’t deserve to be the one who survived longer.

So how to pass this horrible day without being too profound, and too scared, and too sad?

At least one of the two of us is still here to have these thoughts, and make these comments.

Poor, dear John, I wish you were still here to enjoy life with me. xxx

Reflections on a view


I’m looking to move house and am having great difficult deciding where to go.

One of many factors is what the immediate area is like, and might there be a better view from the windows, or at least a view nearby you could go and look at repeatedly. For example, should I go to a seaside town so that I can sit and look at a view of the sea?

The above photo shows a view from my hotel balcony, on a little trip I went on last year.  (I’ll leave you to guess where it is.)

This view taught me something about views!  Namely, they may be nice and impressive and interesting the first time, or the first few times.  But after you’ve been looking at the same view for a week, it just becomes boring, like a looking at a picture – doesn’t it?

So if I buy a house by the sea, for the view – won’t I quickly get bored with it?  I don’t know the answer.


Walking and talking

I’ve been trying to walk more, to get exercise for my own health, and have been regularly walking up and down a long straight path which I call my ‘exercise path’.  It is in a rather deserted place, by a playing field.  Occasionally there are other people there walking dogs, but generally it is a lonely and dismal place.

I prefer it when it is sunny – I have got rather hooked on walking in winter sunshine, on cold days. Quite often though, when the weather is just dull and overcast, I find it depressing – countered only by the fact that by exercising I know I’m doing something positive for myself.

I can’t help feeling very reflective when I walk on this path.  I find myself sometimes talking as if to John, telling him what’s been happening and what my current state of mind is like.  Oddly I don’t think I ever walked there with him, so it’s not a place he would have known.

It’s three years now and I do feel very very lonely, and miss so much having someone intelligent and caring and supportive to talk to every day.

It’s true that some things get easier, that things aren’t so raw, but it’s also true that it never goes away – the loss is always there.  I will never be able to speak to him again, listen to him again. Every time I walk on the path is another memory made without him.  Every sunny, or dull, day is a day he hasn’t seen – every leaf, every cloud, every bird, something he’ll never see.

I never expected to be feeling loneliness like this again.


Winter Wonderland

Well I’ve got seriously hooked on Winter Wonderland (a giant funfair and christmas market) in London’s Hyde Park this year.

I’ve been four times.

The first time I went alone and was so aware of everyone around me being in couples and groups, I don’t think I saw one other person on their own.  So I contrived to go back a couple of times with people I didn’t know very well, which was better in a way but didn’t feel great.  (I guess what you really want is to be there with the person you loved and enjoyed the company of and who you knew so well, but that’s no longer possible.)  I went back again yesterday on my own and felt a bit better.  Clinging onto my idea that although he’s no longer here, there’s still ‘me and the world’, and why can’t I enjoy what the world has to offer even though I’m on my own.

I had another profound revelation, that I’ll have to ‘compartmentalise’ my life more now.  Whereas he, my dear life partner, covered several aspects, maybe now I’ll just have to separate things.  Not expect ‘intellectual stimulation’ along with ‘companionship’.  Find ‘humour’ in one place and ‘emotional support’ in another.

I’ve just written a page long list of all the rides and attractions I can remember at Winter Wonderland – there is so much to look at and to do.  I went on the observation tower and to the ice show, and would really have loved to go on one of the fast things, like the main roller coaster that goes upside down five times.  But I can’t judge whether I’d like it or hate it – maybe next year I’ll pluck up courage.

I listened to live music in six different places, and also drank mulled wine and ate bratwurst, spit roast chicken, sweedish meatballs, and waffles (not all on the same day!)

One feature of Winter Wonderland is my favourite – I fell in love with the giant christmas tree children’s ride, where you sit in a spherical ‘bauble’ that goes round and up and down gently.  I just loved watching the various coloured lights at night – it’s programmed to run through so many options and is just a beautiful thing.  First it’s all red lights, then flashing white, then maybe green and purple (various combinations of two colours), then it’s all blue, then twinkling yellow and pink, then every branch a different colour…  Mesmerising, and so pretty.

Those of us still on the planet should cling onto and enjoy places like this – as they are so full of LIFE.


Casablanca Steps


These are the Casablanca Steps, which I have written about in A Widow’s Words.

A jazz band that plays cheerful, humorous songs at the country shows – I have seen them often.  It was horribly difficult the first time I saw them after my loss – knowing that the person I had watched them with before would never see them again.

They can’t know how poignant they have become for me.


Royal Windsor Horseshow

I continue to amuse and console myself by going to all sorts of events – I’ve never been to as many as in this last year.

Crawling round some show or other, or attending a sporting event, or going to an antique market, or a new shopping centre, all serve to distract me and generally make me feel better than when I’m sitting at home alone feeling depressed.

This has been a year of ‘reckless leisure’ for me.  It cannot, of course, go on.

Decided to go to Windsor for this horse show on a complete whim, the day after I saw it mentioned on TV.  Went by train, found it was a long walk to the venue.  Absolutely loved the view of ranks of flowering chestnut trees around Windsor Castle, so beautiful.  Lots of pretty horses and perfect people riding them – another world!

It was so hot!  Especially trudging back to the train station laden down with horsey purchases.

Lovely day though.

News update

Dear John

It will be three years soon, and I’m still living in the same house, the same area.

I need to move and am working towards ‘letting go’.  I don’t want to be faced with difficult spots, painful memories wherever I go.  I think a fresh start would be a good idea now.

But I’ve lived in the same house for 20 years.  I’ve spent 2 years tidying and sorting and now know every corner and where everything is.

I’m attached to it, I’m comforted by the familiarity, and I don’t fancy the disruption of a move.

Nevertheless, it has to be done.

In other news –

I keep seeing things in my local area that I want to tell you about, that you would have been interested in.

That new school has opened already, by the station, which you thought was in such a bad spot because it would add to already ridiculous traffic.

They have added more ‘street furniture’ everywhere in the form of benches, which promptly become used by large groups of vagrants drinking beer all day.  (I remember your opinions on street furniture!)

Yet another place we knew well has closed – the Indian takeaway ‘Depa’ which we used for so many years for deliveries.   I don’t like things that provided me with comfort not being available any more (!!!)

You would hardly recognise the area around Victoria station – so much new building, huge new office blocks and new bars and restaurants (which we could have explored).

And finally –

I saw a small dead black and white bird on the pavement right in front of me today, in the town centre.  Must have been a pied wagtail, hit by a car.

Unusual.  Not nice.  I refuse to give it any significance.

Chelsea Flower Show

I went to the Chelsea Flower Show this year.  I think I’ve only ever been once before, a long time ago.  I did enjoy it, though it was very busy and noticeably expensive to get in.

I wandered round for hours, looking at stuff, eating, buying things – most notably a little picture of seven sparrows from the ‘Moorcroft’ stall.  (John would have liked it – see Sparrows.)

The main thing that struck me about the show was how different it actually feels to be there, compared to how it appears on the television programmes.  Of course they film when it’s quiet, but I think a lot of close ups and careful angles are employed to give an impression that the show gardens are bigger, there are far more flowers and beautiful vistas in general, and far fewer people!

Very pleased to find there was a shuttle bus right outside the exit which went to Victoria station, though, as it was an exhausting day.


Wet monkeys in Gibraltar

(Aha!  I seem to have accidentally – belatedly – found a way to present photos a bit smaller, good.)

So one of my urges has been to go on safari and animal-themed holidays – to enjoy the natural world and go back to one of my early interests (having studied Biology).

Since I didn’t feel ready to go on a ‘proper’ safari on my own, I thought I’d start with the only wild monkeys in Europe and booked a few days in Gibraltar, earlier this year.

I reckoned, as a British place, it would be a safe location to travel to alone.  I chose a decent (famous) hotel and anticipated that I might meet and chat to some interesting people.

Well, the reality was that the weather was awful – very wet and very windy – everywhere was deserted and the hotel was virtually empty.  I ended up wandering around windswept streets alone in the rain, having done what there was to do (the whole place was much smaller than I’d expected, and none of the tourist excursions were running,  eg to Morocco, because it was out of season) – feeling lonely and miserable.  So it wasn’t a great success.

A few nice photos of monkeys, though!

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