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
As it turned out, by the end of yesterday evening it wasn’t Cat’s life and death I was thinking about, but my Aunt Ella’s. I got the call around 10.30 to say she had died earlier in the evening. An expected death, but not expected quite this soon. Tonight I spoke to her husband, my Uncle Bill, Mother’s favourite sibling and the last one surviving. He’ll be 97 in the autumn. I don’t know how old Aunt Ella was, but I’m guessing around the same.
We spoke the other night after I had spent some time over the weekend with his daughter-in-law who was in London for a few days. It was she who told me Ella had widespread cancer and the doctors were talking about weeks, at the most, months. Yesterday afternoon I sent this picture to her of her then infant husband with his mother Ella.
Mother and Son
Yesterday marked the twenty-fourth anniversary of my father’s death. I remember it as though it were yesterday.
Today marks the fourth anniversary of MasterB becoming my cat.
Death and life march hand in hand. Or maybe that should be hand in paw.
MasterB doesn’t seem too interested in having any celebrations. He has refused to sit beside me on the sofa and has commandeered the chair.
I was at work all day, and when I got home, after a quick cuddle he just wanted to go out.
I imagine he’ll want to go out again before he’s ready to settle for the night. This is just a pause for supper, a wash and to catch up on himself. I am wondering when it’ll dawn on him that the garden is now a Cookie free zone. She went to her new home last night. Apparently she was a bit unnerved by the unfamiliar surroundings, but it was no great surprise to hear that within a couple of hours she recovered enough bounce to emerge from behind the sofa and to play with her new family.
That cat has nerves of steel.
Despite MasterB’s lack of enthusiasm for a champagne supper, I felt sufficiently moved by the memory to check back via this blog to see if I had the date right. I had.
This is how it began.
And here are some photographs from the last four years.