One way or another today has included a lot of death. I spent much of it in Guildford, the town where I was born, and where I lived throughout my teenage years.
Looking down the High Street to The Mount
The main purpose of my visit was to see the dentist for my six month check up (all good). I was early and looked at my ‘phone. There was a message that made me gasp, notification of the death of Ernie, a really lovely man I used to see often during the course of my work. I made a note of the funeral arrangements in my diary. His partner Paul must be devastated. They were together for nearly sixty years. Throughout my appointment I was remembering his kindness, the way he used to call me Mate.
As I was leaving the dental practice an elderly gentlemen was making a follow up appointment. When I heard his name my ears pricked up and I turned to look at him. It was an unusual name and one I recognised, though I did not recognise the man. He was our family GP for some years. More grist to the memories mill.
Then it was a trip to the museum, a place where I spent some time almost every Saturday until I was around twelve. I walked there via the Castle Grounds where I used to walk my grandparents’ dog. I’m sure some of my DNA has entered the soil there.
The Castle Keep
Given the main purpose of the journey was see the dentist, you might not think it was that good a day.
Celia had said she’d come to Guildford with me. I only learned later that her main experience of it prior to yesterday had been the one way system, a system which has probably caused more mental anguish and geographical confusion than is fair.
It’s a quick journey from Waterloo, and soon we were walking through the town. For those of you unfamiliar with Guildford, hills feature quite strongly. The railway station is at the bottom of the town, near the river, and my dentist is at the top, not far from a rather lovely sculpture recalling the Olympic Torch Relay.
Olympic torch relay sculpture
I am writing this offline, on the train back from Guildford where I have been to see the dentist. There is no signal so I can’t tell if WordPress has recovered from whatever was affecting it on the journey down. First it spammed all my replies to comments on my own blog. I take Internet and blogging security as seriously as anyone, but this seems the paranoid side of safety to me. Then I noticed there were some games going in with the gravitars: a bit of identity swapping. Jo had taken over the Scroobious Pip, Pix had succumbed to Cobbies69, and Julia was masquerading as TBM. It’s like a fancy dress party. I expect a murder mystery weekend on WordPress any time now.
I grew up in Guildford, and although my parents moved away to Suffolk when they retired, I still had relatives in the area I liked to see, especially my Aunt Kath, so my dental appointments were usually combined with visits to see her. Aunt Madeleine lived the other side of Godalming and I saw less of her. Then both up and moved to Gozo, which is a bit far to go for a dental check up. I suppose when my lovely dentist retires I might move to a London practice, but for the moment I still enjoy having a foot in Surrey.
Mother was born in 1919, so this was her thirtieth year. My parents married in 1948.
Mother was working at the Jarvis Maternity Hospital as a midwife. In those days you had to be a State Registered Nurse before training as a State Certified Midwife. However, qualifications didn’t mean nurses didn’t have to deal with the laundry. Mother’s the one on the right in a sister’s uniform.
My parents lived in the centre of Guildford, at an address since demolished, near the castle. They enjoyed walking, especially once they got Snibby, their Cairn terrier. This photograph is at Racks Close where Snibby had her twice daily walks. Continue reading