5 July 2012


How grim the English summer weather this year. They say that June was the wettest on record. July seems no better so far. This morning I flung back the bedroom curtains to see more greyness and a couple of wood pigeons scouring the lawn for crumbs as Beau and Peep looked on regardless.

Bad weather drives you indoors. Today I felt like a caged beast, stomping around the house. So I drove to the leafy suburb of Broomhill where John Betjeman once lived and had a new battery fitted in my "Fossil" wristwatch. At the travel agents, where they have the best exchange rates in the city, they told me they had run out of euros. At "Oxfam", I left a bag containing a handful of paperbacks and then I came out of the cobblers with some new laces for my "Regatta" walking shoes.

Back home I made a chicken fajita dish with kidney beans, onion, chopped red pepper, tomatoes and chilli sauce and left it bubbling on the hob. Then I watched Andy Murray, the extremely dull Scottish tennis player, grinding out a victory against David Ferrer at Wimbledon.

Ian is temporarily back home now, still working in the men's clothing store in Nottingham but soon to move down to London to be with his lovely girlfriend - Ruby - who has just started working for "L'Oreal" - the French body products and cosmetics company.
Sunflowers at Coussa in 2005
Tonight, as my day had seemed so uneventful, I wandered down to the local to drink some beer with Gibby, Leeds Mick, Richard and Steve. There I received the awful news that Dimitri had died. He was only forty nine. He had been a regular at my local for nigh on eighteen years and came to England after meeting Joanna on the Greek island of Paros many summers ago. He was a real character and by trade a jeweller. Just before Shirley's fortieth, I got him to make her a ring with bands of silver and gold melded together and embedded in it a pale ruby that my father had acquired in Ceylon during the second world war. I recall how passionate Dimitri was about this little project. How sad that five years ago he contracted throat cancer. It was driven away by chemotherapy but in recent weeks it came back to inhabit his lungs.

So there's somebody else who has gone - left the party, walked off the stage. Just like Richard and Madeleine - the ninety three year old mother of my friend Mick. Death calls. Of course, it comes to us all one day. With recent events - Blogland included - I have felt it getting closer. More and more I sense the true significance of platitudes about the briefness of life - "We're only here for a short while". What can you do? As Robin - my brother in southern France said on the phone - today he saw the sunflower heads opening in the field but you never know - it could be for the very last time and that realisation is really quite salutary. Cheers Dimitri!


  1. It's a salutory reminder that we should make the most of our time. I have noticed that, as one gets older, time seems to hurtle by so much more quickly. Sad news about someone so young.

  2. How right your brother is and when things are a bit difficult it is hard to remember to grab each moment. Those sunflowers are beautiful and the sunset last night was amazing and as I looked at it I remembered this.

  3. all of us are getting to that age YP where friends are leaving us, albeit way too early.... v sad me old son

  4. sad times indeed, and this weather really does not help matters.... Fred, my mum's significant other half, says "if it's raining I want a burial and if it's red hot and sunny I want cremating" just to make us poor buggers suffer!

  5. JENNY Trouble is, how do you make the most of each day when it's always bloody raining?
    MUMASU Thanks for dropping by and leaving a thoughtful comment but with regard to grabbing each moment see what I said to Jenny above.
    EARL GRAY It certainly seems that way. When you're younfg the idea of Death is faraway and very abstract.
    ARCTIC FOX When the day of Fred's funeral arrives you could get your own back by having "The Birdy Song" piped through the sound system.

  6. I was at a memorial yesterday for one of my few surviving aunts. One aunt remains before I'm the matriarch of my family. The services yesterday prompted me to decide I'm going to write my own eulogy. My aunt's was written by her grandchildren, who didn't really have a clue what her life was like. Mine will be read by a civilian instead of a clergyman, to avoid the religious advertisements they throw in. I'm also going to do my own slide show to be sure it includes most of the people who might actually see it and to make sure there are no pictures of me when I had a big butt. The music will mostly be ABBA, but will end with Roy Rogers and Dale Evans' version of Happy Trails. As you see, I have also been thinking about the consequences of death, and these are the things I've decided are important.

  7. JAN Perhaps one of your Abba songs could be "The Winner Takes it All". It is so disappointing when a stranger delivers a eulogy - someone who may not have even known the deceased. One of my proudest moments was when I delivered the eulogy at my mother's funeral. I did it for her, not for me and I believe I did her proud.


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