Dear John, 4 years on

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Dear John

Went to the Cemetery today and took flowers to your grave and the flower room.  Put a card saying I miss you and think about you.  Feel very sad that there’s no-one else to visit or care, so no-one will even see the flowers or the card but me.

What’s news here?  My (our) house is under offer and I’ve been househunting, but am still very confused and undecided about where to go and what to do with my future.

I’ve just come back from Pembroke, John, where I looked at 6 beautiful houses.  I can see myself starting a new life there, but it’s not going to happen.  Nothing feels right.

Little John – your proxy – came to Wales with me.  I even took him out as I drove over the Severn bridge to show him the view – dangerous and silly in many ways; you’d’ve been annoyed with me.

I keep seeing things I want to tell you about.

There’s one particular house down a path which I often drive past, that we looked at years ago when we were househunting, and I just saw it’s been extended hugely.  It was shared history, something I would’ve wanted to update you on.

The weirdest thing is that on the site of the Pizzaland opposite East Croydon Station, where we actually first met all those years ago, they are building a giant building – there are two ‘cores’ that keep getting higher and higher.  I want to tell you – hey, can you believe what they’re doing at our special spot?  All the people who might live or work in that building will never know that there used to be a Pizzaland there where a couple once met, and stayed together 29 years, til he d….  Every time I see those two tall cores, it’s like they are a (secret/private) memorial to our relationship.

It’s very weird that you missed the whole Brexit thing.  I think you would have been so interested cos you were into politics and it’s all ‘history in the making’ – which is why you said you liked watching live football matches!  It’s bothered me a bit that whilst I think I know what your position/opinion on Brexit would have been (same as mine) – I can’t be 100% sure.  I’ll never know.

I went to Italy for Christmas, John, and left a copy of A Widow’s Words in the hotel library/bookshelf.  I noticed the next day it was gone already, so someone at least has perhaps been reading about you.  I’ve also done the legal deposit thing, so at least there are six copies lying in libraries for posterity.  Maybe someone will read about you in 100 years time.

My plan for the rest of today is to start packing our 4000 books.  Everyone tells me I can’t keep so many, but they (most of them) are your property, things you acquired and wanted over the years.  It will be painful to be putting them in boxes and thinking how you should still be here to enjoy them.  But I’ve been so ‘stuck’.  I haven’t touched the nice ones in the front room for 4 years, they are still as you arranged them.  Probably if you were here you would be amazed I hadn’t moved house sooner.

So, still struggling on with my own problems, pretty depressed, John, and realising how much of it is still grief.  Have stopped adding to this site cos of crushing bad feeling that no-one looks at it anyway, so I guess it’s just a private diary.

Missing you.  xx

(Little John sends his love.)

(He says he’s trying to look after me but it’s a big job.)

PS The cuddly red dragon in the photo is called Henry because Henry VII was born in Pembroke Castle, which fact the probability of your having known I would estimate at about 70%.

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Trapalanda

The Wild Heart my version

I picked up an old children’s book I found amongst my stuff, to re-read.  The Wild Heart, by Helen Griffiths.  Published 1953.  I reckon it’s around, or at least, 40 years since I read it.  I was so hit with familiarity as I read the first couple of sentences, and saw a word that had not been in my mind all that time, that I burst into tears.

“The gauchos say that there is a heaven for horses.  They call it Trapalanda.”

I wonder how many other people know or have heard that magical word.

It is a very beautifully written book telling the story of a wild horse, and all she suffers as various men try to capture her, for her speed.  It creates such an atmosphere and is in the end so sad; I have really enjoyed reading it again.

Last night, before I’d finished it, a phrase came into my head, which turns out to be the last phrase of the book.  I am beyond astonished that this has been buried in the depths of my mind, un-accessed, for 40 years, and yet it has leapt into my brain whilst reading the book, and now feels so, so familiar – it’s a phrase that must have had a profound effect on me all that time ago.

“… for surely in Trapalanda, La Bruja deserved to be.”

Weepy!

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.

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!

You can see some more on the bottom of this page:

http://flamingophotos.weebly.com/animals-2.html

 

Valentine

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I thought the world should know about this amazing fish I bought, with markings on its side that look like a heart!

It caught my eye in a big tank of Comets in an aquarium shop.  You should have seen me trying to point out this one (as opposed to all the others) as the one I particularly wanted.  No-one seemed to see the heart, or care that it was anything special.

He is alive and well, and the heart is keeping its shape as he grows.

His name is Valentine.

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