Uncle Fred, Paras and Badgers

It’s all been a bit of a whirlwind of a week in one way or another. My Uncle died last Saturday and it will be his funeral tomorrow. There has been lots of to-ing and fro-ing and telephone calls and a lot of sadness. He would have been 85 this week and in March he and my Aunt would have been married 60 years. It feels like they were cheated out of that milestone. The Paras are sending a standard bearer, which my Uncle would have been immensely proud of and which is going to prove a choker on the day.

Lots of memories have been coming to the surface for me and a very comforting feeling that my Dad has been shining through me for my Aunt’s sake and for mine. For a man I knew for less than a third of my life he seems to be exerting a big influence right now. I feel like I’m there for my Aunt on his behalf and acting for him in this troubled time. He was their best man at their wedding and he’s present now too.

I keep remembering other things in my life too. It’s funny how one set of memories can set off a train of others.

Some things from about 1985/86:

–       Being stung all over my head and round my ears while mowing grass in the churchyard at Stow Maries with a petrol mower. I think the bees in the hives at the bottom end of the churchyard took exception to the petrol fumes or to the noise and came out to protest. I fell over as I ran away flapping my arms to get them off me.

–       Lying on my side and on my back painting in the names of the fallen on the War Memorial in Wickham Bishops because they had worn away over the years. I was using black enamel modeller’s paint, probably Airfix, and had trouble deciphering some of the names. I was on a back to work programme with the Job Centre at the time and got paid extra for attending community work. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I remember people stopping to talk to me about what I was doing, including a woman on a horse who showed interest too. It struck me at the time that I was doing something that meant a lot to people in the village and that there would be people who remembered some of the names on the memorial.

On our way home from Mum’s last night we made out a small animal in the headlights ahead of us in the road. At first we both thought it was a rather corpulent cat waddling along in the road. It turned out to be a badger running lazily down the middle of the road. We braked sharply and it carried on running, looking over its shoulder at us and used our lights to find its way into the verge a little way further on. Apart from being bitten by a badger some years ago, I’ve never seen one so close. It was also a first for Stephen.

Rambling Discourse

I don’t know what I want to write, so here goes ….

Stephen moved in on December 14th and brought a Luton van full of boxes and bags. After the removal men had gone we were left standing amongst the mountains of his belongings wondering where on earth we were going to put it all. A small 19th century cottage wasn’t built to accommodate a department store sized delivery. Needless to say, 3 weeks later, we now have room to move.

It’s been quite amazing how these Victorian walls have soaked up vast quantities of accumulated personal property. The cathartic act of removing unnecessary and duplicated goods has been … cathartic. There is still a goodly amount of tweaking to do but the old house is starting to feel comfortable and habitable. At least Stephen is here and the wonderful realities of living together are sinking in. The dream has changed; what was once a dream is now real and the new dreams now begin.

As I write, we have a fire in the grate, a cat curled up on the sofa, a glass of rum in hand and a curry on the go … almost – Stephen is about to put that together. Homely and comfortable is how I would describe it. In fact, things are starting to feel so together that I’m feeling the urge to write again; surely a sign of feeling settled.

I do love using the semi-colon, I’m just not always sure whether I’m using it in the right place. A quick check on Writing Forward reveals that I’m pretty much headed in the right direction. You will have spotted the abrupt change of direction there; the swerving, tyre screeching leap from one topic to another. That’s because I’m writing what comes into my head rather than a flowing discourse that is designed to be story telling. This is a rambling narrative, much like the posts contained herein.

And now … wouldn’t you know it? … it’s the next morning. We’ve eaten our parsnip curry and dahl, fallen asleep on the sofa (that was me not him) and had a lazy lay-in before getting up near midday.

It’s a grey old day outside and we need to think about what we’re doing today. Literary discourse is not on the agenda methinks, not today anyway. Sorting the recycling, making breakfast cereal and bread are though.