Welcome to the study at Myrtle House where, after over five hours delay due to technical problems, today's blog is finally taking shape. It is, of course Father's Day and one can suppose that everywhere dads have been somewhat reluctantly tucking into burnt offerings and cold cups from their offspring, whilst looking faux-appreciatively at the inevitable ties and socks and cheesy Hallmark products festooned in vintage cars, cricket bats or below-the-belt remarks regarding bodily functions; let no-one ever tell you that being a man is easy! Such events, of course, do not take precedent here in the heart of the Victorian Quarter; Sal assures me that a lack of funds and opposable thumbs, alongside the inability of shopkeepers to understand her requirements, have resulted in the lack of appropriate cardage but personally I think she simply forgot!
More to the forefront of my mind today however, is the fleetingness of time. Mad and impossible though it seems, today is the first anniversary of the death of the Old Duchess; several times, over the past few weeks and cups of tea and cake with Sister Cate, the realisation has struck us quite forcibly that time seems to be increasing in momentum and that we barely have time to grasp today before it is gone; and certainly never with such impact as when considering the fact that it is a full year since May died. In many ways it seems as though she has been gone forever; her house is now lived in by someone else; her belongings which she had collected over a lifetime are scattered - as are her ashes - to the four winds and the seven seas yet, at one and the same time, it seems only yesterday that we last spoke to her.
The fact that she lives on in our memories, as vital and vibrant as ever, helps to blur the distinction between what was and what is. She was a remarkably resilient woman and one I was incredibly proud of and I, personally, find myself reminded of her at the oddest moments. I was re-watching "84 Charring Cross Rd" the other day and remembered sitting watching it for the first time together with her one afternoon and her remarking how much she enjoyed it; like "Brief Encounter" it was the perfect film for May; no violence or suspense, nothing to worry her and perfect for a good weep on your own when no-one else was around. She wasn't a great believer in worrying other people with her troubles, though it has to be said her life wasn't exactly free from such worries and I'm sure I was quite a significant cause of many of them.
It seems almost facile to say I miss her; I had known her every moment of my life and when that presence is suddenly taken away it isn't easy to come to terms with but, in many ways, I am glad she had the death she did, the death she wanted; independent and without being a burden (her greatest fear) and after the shortest of illnesses. She was alone when she died but, then again, we all are; it is the one thing we can guarantee no-one else can share with us. So I hope you'll excuse me taking up so much of our time talking about this; I wanted to mark her anniversary in this way and I know she would be very pleased, though probably not a little embarrassed, to know we were all thinking of her.
Time is up to its old tricks again and I see, with some sense of shock, that it is already past lunchtime, that I have been up and about some seven hours and am quite incredibly hungry; mumbles and grumbles from herself inform me that I am not the only one and surely a walk is in the offing on a quite remarkably dry day? I suppose it is, and with that I shall leave you for this afternoon.
I hope the rest of your weekend astounds you with its sheer wonderfulness and that the week ahead stretches golden-like and full of promise.
'til next time
Be Seeing You !
*Don’t be dismayed at good-byes. A farewell is necessary before you can meet again. And meeting again, after moments or lifetimes, is certain for those who are friends. Illusions, p132, Richard Bach