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  • jullietwright 12:53 pm on October 13, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: The Big Day   

    13th October 2017
    It is hard to realise that it is five weeks since Keith’s funeral, arranged for Thursday, 7th September at St. Mark’s Church Shiremoor with cremation at Whitley Bay. At 3 am, I decided that I could not go through with it; at 8 am I felt no better but daughter-in-law Rachel told me I could – and I did, just. St. Mark’s was full and Ed Clark had been keeping the congregation calm with some Chopin (Keith’s favourite composer). Fr. Michael Vine gave the address just I wanted it and the Fellowship of the Services formed an honour guard as we left for Whitley Bay.
    The short service at the crematorium was an ordeal, so final, this really was goodbye, but it was time to meet and greet at the Stonebrook where I had arranged the wake. So many friends and family there – everyone loved Keith – and the staff kept to their promise of looking after us. Not fancy food but plenty of it and large urns of tea and coffee especially important for those who had travelled.
    I shal leave it there for the present. There have been times when I have felt like a cracked vase, ready to come to pieces at any moment. As one of my friends wisely remarked, being a widow is a club no one wants to join but so far life gets a little bit easier each day.

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  • jullietwright 12:30 pm on October 13, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: A diversion - Ocelot and Fiona   

    13 October 2017
    There have been days when Ocelot has has been the only one to stop me spending a day in my dressing gown wallowing in self-pity. He is lying on the back of my chair as I write and he will come down for his nine cat treats and to have his back stroked before I go uo to bed. If I can’t sleep and come down for a mug of tea, he he is usually at hand to comfort me with his warm body – and of course he is the reason I must get up in the mornings.
    If you are wondering why I named him Ocelot, it was after the Cold War submarine berthed at Chatham. Has that made everything clear?
    Fiona (the Bruce) is a handsome spider who has taken up residence in a corner of the downstairs window. I can watch her from my chair and most of the time she sits motionless but if an insect like a daddy long-legs disturbs her extensive web, she is like lightning, dark grey body and banded legs in a blur as the victim is wrapped in silk and taken back to the corner for consumption. about three weeks ago, Fiona appeared to have attracted a mate – similar markings but about one quarter her size. He kept his distance at first but lust must have overcome caution and he has disappeared, perhaps to satisfy Fiona’s need for some extra protein. Since then, she has spun a much more dense web around herself. The weather has turned colder and the nights are drawing in so perhaps it is time for th eggs to hatch and Fiona herself to hibernate. I shallmiss her soothing presence (and I might even clean the window).

     
  • jullietwright 11:43 am on October 13, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Home at last   

    13 October 2017
    Monday morning and once the rest of the passengers had disembarked, the captain raised the flag from half mast ( I have said that Keith was treated with every care and respect) Julie showed Brian into the cabin. The private ambulance had arrived from the Funeral Director in North Shields. The authorities in Scotland had decided that a post-mortem would not be necessary – something to be thankful for – and we did not have to leave Keith in Edinburgh.
    It was not a joyful homecoming. The smoke alarm was blaring for a new battery, the boiler was depressed and refusing to produce any hot water, the overflow from the bathroom loo was weeping copiously on to the front step and the door bell had stopped working in sympathy. Again, Brian took charge and I was more than willing to let him. Who knew there was an App for dealing with low water pressure? The smoke alarm was placated with a new battery; the loo’s insides responded to some random manipulation; the rest wpould have to wait.
    I was escorted round the supermarket and told what to buy and taken to Bill Bremner at Daren Persson, the Funeral Director to plan arrangements. It was such a relief to leave responsibilty in someone else’s hands.
    Brian had to return to his family and work commitments in London and I had to rouse myself to organise the send-off Keith deserverved and contact banks, pension authorities etc. Once again, I was so grateful for the kindness and concern of friends and strangers. If I tried to mention them all, I should certainly leave someone out and that would be so unfair.
    I set a target of three tasks per day (I’m still working on this!). I had pictured widows as sitting in darkened rooms in full weeds wiping away tears with a lace hanky. Not this one!

     
  • jullietwright 10:56 am on October 13, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: That was one I did not see coming (contiued)   

    As we left Tromso, the sea in which the Marco Polo had purred along so smoothly,became huge waves – up and down, side to side we went and “Do not Disturb” appeared on many of the cabin doors. Keith began to complain of feeling sick and I did not feel too good myself so asked for tablets at reception. Judging from the long list of signatures, we weren’t the only ones. Keith could not keep his tablet down and I suggested waiting an hour before taking another. In the meantime, he had begun to sweat profusely but felt more comfortable after a shower and a clean tee shirt. He also said he had pain in his left shoulder, but we still were not worried – just a pulled muscle from holding on to to the shower rail – as we thought. We settled down as the sedative effects of the sea sickness tablets kicked in and in the morning, Keith looked peacefully asleep. I went for breakfast but when I returned to the cabin and tried to rouse him, he did not respond and felt very cold.
    My call to reception triggered an “alpha”, signal of a medical emergency. a team led by the ship’s doctor arrived to try CPR but I knew it was too late – my life had changed for ever. Julie Thompson, the took me to her own room for the universal panacea i.e. a cup of tea, and then up to one of the luxury suites where I spent the next four days until we reached Rosyth. The crew of the Marco Polo did everything possible – sending up food I could not keep down and sleeping tablets – while Brian liaised with agents and port authorities to repatriate Keith from Scotland to North Shields. I should have been useless – unable to make the smallest decision. Joyce and Molly were kindness itself, insisting I join them for breakfast and eat a little luxury museli. On the last night, we had two double brandies each in one of the ship’s loungues. Warning: don’t try this at home as a cure for stress. I woke at 3 am feeling unbelievably awful.
    At least I did not have to feel any guilt. The young Serbian doctor told me that there had been no trauma and the helicopter wounld not have been able to land because of the rough seas.

     
  • jullietwright 10:18 am on October 13, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: This was one I did not see coming   

    13 October 2017

    On 12th August 2017, my beloved husband Keith died suddenly. Photos from two days before show us having a great holiday on our cruise up the west coast of Norway and on to Spitzbergen above the Arctic circle. Keith was 78 but had no untreated or apparent health problems and the previous day had enjoyed going up in the cable car at Tromso and a long walk to admire the spectacular views. As usual, Keith had been charming the ladies – this time two elegant Scottish widows. Joyce and Molly.

     
  • jullietwright 2:14 pm on April 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Tempus fugit   

    30 April 2017

    Getting down isn’t a problem;getting up is,especially in the garden where it involves crawling to the nearest support and heaving myself up. K. sent away for a kneeler with metal handles at each end, and it has been very useful, except for a tendency to tip me into the flower bed if I lean too far forward.

    When the kneeler was delivered, it came with a stack of leaflets which I read. Big Mistake. What joys we pensioners have to look forward to – bunion pads, long-handled toenail clippers, walking aids, incontinence pads – the list seemed endless – Add depression to all the diseases old age is heir to and there is only one answer, give up reading.
    You Have Been Warned!

     
  • jullietwright 2:05 pm on April 29, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Back again   

    Back again 

    Getting into my blog was never a problem with the old computer but when K won the pools (yes, people still do the pools) and we decided to invest in a new computer, the problems started. Not before time, we asked our computer angel, Ken to call and I’m up and running again

     
  • jullietwright 2:02 pm on April 29, 2017 Permalink | Reply  

    29 Apr 17 

     
  • jullietwright 4:30 pm on June 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Roman artefacts   

    20 June 2016

    We had a good holiday in Rome. Riviera took us to all the usual tourist sites, and we looked and listened attentively, so came home overflowing with culture.
    The sculpture of Pauline, Napoleon’s sister, in the Borghese Gallery is beautiful but we wondered if Canova had “photo-shopped” it a little bit. No one has a body that beach-ready. The equestrian statue of King Umberto the Good in the grounds is also impressive but obviously not everyone agreed with the description as the king was assassinated in 1900.
    NB It is always advisable to take reading glasses on excursions. One of our party, bewildered by the huge choice of gelati on offer, picked what she thought was Brazil (nut) flavour. It was actually basil and, she reported, horrible.
    One small triumph was finding a souvenir for which we had been searching for a number of years, following a discussion about the ultimate item of tourist tat. The general consensus was that it would be the Pope in a snow globe. Outside the Church of St. John Lateran is a barrow with the usual stuff attempting to part visitors from their euros – and a display of glass globes each with a tiny plaster figure dressed in white inside. Never can a badly-moulded lump of plaster of Paris been pounced on with such excitement.
    Our friend, Mary, who was part of the original discussion, is delighted to have a conversation piece when clergy visit to bring her Communion.

     
  • jullietwright 1:35 pm on June 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Fur wars   

    20 June 2016

    Murton Village has a new resident. Milo was found wandering in Westerhope with a broken jaw, but he has been re-homed with Jane and has really fallen on his paws. Every luxury that money can buy, including castration, has been lavished on him by his fond and doting carer, and Milo has blossomed.
    Like most cats, Milo has a curious nature but in his case, nebbiness is extremely well-developed; an open door is an invitation to explore the possibility of finding some left-over cat food or a soft bed for a nap. Everyone is charmed by Milo’s cute little face except for Ocelot who unleashes banshee-like screeches through the windows.
    Stop Press: Ocelot caught Milo in the house, chased him into the bedroom and beat him up. There was a covering of fur on the carpet, deep gouges in the walls and evidence of the accuracy of the expression “sh*t scared”.

     
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