This is my original blog for all our non-caravanning trips since 2009 and more recently posts about coming to terms with being single again having been widowed in 2018. And anything else too really!

My caravanning blog is (Get Your) Legs Down and all our trips in the caravan are there. My grog blog is The Ale Archive where I list every beer I’ve ever tried.

Thursday, 11 October 2018

A Single Life | A busy weekend

Welcome back. I hope you’re all good. As another weekend approaches I thought it was about time I recalled the important and exciting events of last weekend whilst they’re still reasonably fresh.20181005_141454
The weekend started, for me anyway, on Friday afternoon which was of course Trev’s Memorial service at our workplace; Brighton College. My afternoon sports run and home run to Eastbourne had been kindly covered so I could make the most of the occasion. And yes, have a beer or two. At 3:15pm I took my place after entering the chapel accompanied by many of my colleagues in Transport. Some of course had work to do and simply couldn’t be there. The opportunity to wear my trusty leather jeans to school for once was too good a one to pass up and I was extremely proud to wear Trev’s badges and lanyard from his time at Pre-Prep, Security & Transport.
Proceedings were opened with and conducted superbly by our Chaplain Father Robert and there were readings of poems by friends and colleagues.
The first address was by Steve Marshall-Taylor, one of the Deputy Heads here at the college and someone with whom Trev worked very closely on Open Mornings. It was a wonderful speech, humorous yet heartfelt and showed very clearly in what high regard Trev was held by someone very close to the top of the tree. You’ll find a copy of his speech HERE.
The second address was given by Stephen Sparshatt, a member of the security team and also someone that Trev worked alongside many times. Entertaining and again it demonstrated Trev’s popularity amongst his colleagues. I thought both speeches were superb and summed up Trev very well indeed. Stephen’s speech is HERE.
Order of Service:
Trev - Memorial Order of Service-page-001Trev - Memorial Order of Service-page-002Trev - Memorial Order of Service-page-003
Trev - Memorial Order of Service-page-004Trev - Memorial Order of Service-page-005Trev - Memorial Order of Service-page-006
There was a gathering afterwards with drinks and sandwiches and a fine example of talking to the right people was evident in the bottles of real ale lined up on the counter. It was nice to have the opportunity to catch up with those at the service including several caravanners, friends in Brighton, parents from the Pre-Prep where Trev was Caretaker and some colleagues too.
I would like at this point to thank the college and all involved for putting on such a lovely service. It means an awful lot to know that Trev was held in such high regard.
The erm, research continued for another hour or so at a nearby pub before heading back to a friends for some sustenance because during all the chin wagging I’d completely forgotten to eat anything.
Probably not surprisingly another tidal wave of grief hit that night, fuelled no doubt by the events of the day, ale and some music. It passed quickly though and I felt better by the time I headed for bed.
Saturday saw me - after a couple of hours work - or as I call it, Patsy time vouchers - head to Colchester for the night ready for the christening of cousin Andy’s youngest grandson on Sunday. the journey was pretty miserable to be honest but only because of the appalling weather and traffic. Rosie, our - sorry, my - trusty red Honda, for once unencumbered by a tonne and a half of caravan on the back - was unable to show what she was capable of. 
Having checked in at the nearby Premier Andy picked me up and enjoyed a very pleasant few hours at their places, Janet serving up a superb roast beef dinner later on, before settling down to guess - mostly wrongly it has to be said - the judges scores on Strictly.
Sunday morning was the christening and it was at the church at Stratford St Mary, just across the border in Suffolk. Andy & Janet got married there, as did their eldest Sarah and her son Braydon.
Most who know me will know that I don’t do religion in any form - and never have. So I’ll be honest that I found some of the time in church just a little uncomfortable, hearing the prayers and words of praise was difficult to reconcile with recent events. But, this wasn’t about me and I was delighted to be there with Sarah & Derek on what was an important and happy occasion for them and all concerned.
I am also happy to report that the two piece suit I wore for the funeral became three as thanks to shifting a few pounds the waistcoat now fitted. Yes, the suit was black but the shirt and tie wasn’t!
With the service over there was another important event that required our attendance - myself and Andy’s anyway. Young Braydon’s football team  - the er, mighty Colchester Villa were playing in a county cup game against opposition that they’d previously struggled against.
Andy and mine’s attire raised a few eyebrows and comments amongst the gathered Mum & Dads and we must have stuck out like sore thumbs but it certainly did the team no harm as they won 7-2.
The final event of the weekend was back on the south coast and after saying goodbyes it was back on the road to head for home. With the sun shining and the traffic light the journey was much better and Rosie got a chance to show what she can do without Patsy bouncing around on the back whilst still returning over 45mpg. Bless her, I hope she lasts for a long while yet.
The suit was ditched for the leathers again for the second roast dinner in as many days at dear friends - and former neighbours Tony & Jane. As always, lovely grub surrounded by great friends and a fitting end to an exciting if tiring weekend.
Another tidal wave had the last say Sunday night and was perhaps the most vicious for some weeks, although mercifully short. A reminder - as if I were to need one - that it’s a long old road yet to be travelled.

Thursday, 4 October 2018

A Single Life | Unanswered Questions

Ok, this is not directly related to my new status as a single person but the reason for that new status - Trev’s death of course - has thrown up some questions that I find myself asking at various times.

Firstly though, not ‘why did he die?’ The coroners report made that clear. Secondly they are not questions that I find upsetting or that keep me from returning to the land of nod after the inevitable nocturnal visit - there’s plenty of largely inconsequential things vying for that honour. Thirdly, I’ll never have the answers to them - not definitive ones anyway. But that doesn’t stop me pondering.

The first one to crop up is this - was Trev in any pain or discomfort in the days, weeks and months prior to his death? If the answer is no, the questions stop there but given the very state of his heart and arteries as reported by the coroner, as a layman I find that a tad hard to believe. Of course this may be a prime example of a little knowledge being a dangerous thing and he may well have been totally pain free. We all know now that heart problems don’t always manifest themselves as a pain in the chest or left arm as once thought.

So, if he was in some discomfort or pain, my next question is - why didn’t he say something, or more importantly do something? And this one is key because an intervention may well have extended his life further. Or may not, again who knows?

It may be that he had been suffering but simply put it down to old age and being - let’s be honest - overweight and not particularly fit. Symptoms such as tiredness and joint pain would not have been unexpected, but where they an indicator or a more serious problem? Again, who knows?

Branching off again perhaps he did know his ticker was playing up and again I ask myself why he didn’t do something, given his obvious zest for life  - never more apparent than in the years after Papworth Hospital saved his life in 2003.

This throws up a number of answers - in my head anyway - some more palatable than others.

One that is perhaps the hardest to accept is that he believed his time was up. Even I know that 14 years with out intervention after such major surgery is pretty good going, so it seems the tablets were doing their job. It may have been in the back of his mind too that his own father died at 64 - the same age - as did his elder brother Malcolm, while his eldest sister only made 62. I think this played on his mind somewhat as when he was discussing getting his pension he often used to say ‘If I make it that far’. I assumed he was joking. This I think is the least likely scenario given, as I mentioned above, his enthusiasm for life but it is a possibility - in the large open spaces in my skull anyway.

Perhaps he didn’t want to risk going through any more surgery. He’d said a number of times what a great life he’d had and that if he went tomorrow he’d have no regrets. Maybe the possibility of a less active and maybe fulfilling life was not one he relished and preferred to continue as per for as long as he could?

It may be that he recognised any discomfort as symptoms of something serious but was putting off doing anything about it. Maybe he’d planned to go to the GP at the end of our trip, not wanting to disrupt what was a wonderful time. Caravanning, sun, grog, grub and some serious chinwagging. He was in his element it has to be said and it was turning out to be one of our best summer trips ever. He perhaps just didn’t want it to stop. But stop it did, quite tragically on August the 1st.

So, unanswered questions. As I said , they don’t keep me awake, neither do I get upset when pondering them as knowing the answers will not bring him back but I guess it’s inevitable that we want to look for answers - and it’s probably good that we do.

Generally though things are going ok. Practically I feel I’ve adapted pretty well. The house is clean, the washing is up to date, I’m keeping myself fed with something other than ready meals and takeaways.

Sleep is still an issue - whilst I’ve been dropping off ok, its returning to sleep in the early hours that’s been a problem. Although saying that I did manage seven hours unbroken one night this week so maybe things are looking up.

It’s the memorial service at the school tomorrow which I’m both looking forward to and slightly nervous about. More on how that went next time. Then the day after I’m heading to Colchester for the Christening on Sunday. It will be good to catch up with the family again under happier circumstances.

Right, thanks as ever for your comments on last weeks blog post. I do really appreciate them.

Until next time,

Cheers & Beers


Monday, 1 October 2018

2 Months

100_3778Here's his lordship from 2004 I think in Australia. Looks like he'd had a few!

Note the Papworth Hospital T-shirt. He’s not long finished cardiac rehab and as soon as they gave him the all clear to fly, we booked the flights.