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!