I’m late with this entry and I know why, I’ve been putting it off because I find part of it hard to write.
My Journal is a true record of the events of my life that have caused some sort of emotion, be it happy or sad, during the week. I don’t write about everything but the bits that stick in my mind.
Last Sunday I went to the Malvern Autumn Show at the Three Counties Showground. In my opinion the best of their three Big Shows. It’s mostly about what people have produced during the year and is like a giant Harvest Festival.
I met friends Sue & John there and had a pleasant time wandering around with them, drinking some delicious Wood’s ‘Shopshire Lad’ Bitter. We Ohh’d & Ahh’d and laughed at some of the exhibits in the Harvest Marquee.
Mike was working all day in the Food Theatre and did two cooking sessions with Anthony Worrall Thompson. I watched the first session and was surprised (or not) how little he actually did, his Home Economist did most of it. It was an entertaining hour and he did well to not lose his temper, as the microphone kept cutting out for the first 20 minutes, due to a lightning strike earlier in the morning. I’ve met and dined with celebrities and VIP’s over the years, many of whomhave been much nicer than I expected, having now met Mr WT all I’m prepared to say is, I haven’t changed my opinion of him.
Mike waiting to be of assistance .
The lovely Lisa does all the work. AWT keeps his hands clean.
Mike doing a bit of fiddling with AWT's
rear end, hence the surprised look, Mike
was trying to sort out the microphone.
AWT beats a hasty retreat when he adds
too much Calvados to the Pears.
Mike's just been told he gets to take
some of this home!!
After I left Sue and John to do their own thing I went to see the son of friends of ours.
I knew he was working on one of the stands and that he wanted to see me.
I hadn’t seen him for four years, the last time was at his 21st Birthday. His parents were still together then.
Rewind 20 years. We became great friends with this couple who had two sons, one James, the same age as my Simon and Richard, who was two years younger. We spent so many weekends with them and even met up on holiday. The children played together and Catherine learnt to ride on one of their ponies. They were known as James the First and Richard the Second because Mike always got their names muddled, although they were like chalk & cheese. James, tall, blonde, cautious and dreamy, while Richard was short, dark, cheeky and dare devil.
Then the family moved to a farm in Devon and we moved to Cardiff. But we still went to stay with them in Devon. Then they moved to Eire to another farm where they wanted to breed horses and continue their horse transport business. We moved back to Worcester.
One February morning I was just making the toast for breakfast, when the phone rang. It was James’s grandmother to say that James hadbeen killed the day before ,when a car hit him as he crossed the road from behind the school bus. He was 14 years old. His body was hit 70 metres up the road. His dad ran out from the farm and cradled him in his arms but knew from his injuries that if he weren’t already, he very soon would be dead.
I’d like to say our friendship stood up through this difficult time and I suppose it did through the early days but then there was brittleness to the relationship. James would be mentioned but not really talked about and that wonderful, easy, friendship was gone. I think there were too many memories of the four children together, we just couldn’t work through there being three and of course my Simon was there constantly being the age that James would have been. Richard felt he had to try to be both sons to his parents and the toll on a 12-year-old boy was terrible. We all grew apart.
Eventually their marriage became another casualty to that fateful day.
And now Richard wanted me to go and see him, which I would but I didn’t want us to be seeing James in the back of each other’s eyes, in a look, the acknowledgement of the pain, the guilt that he is the survivor, and I still have my son, I just didn’t want it to be like that.
I approached a group of salesmen on his stand andone asked if he could help. I said, “Yes, I’m looking for a young man” and the one nearest turned round and said “Hello Beautiful”. We kissed and then it turned into a rib-breaking hug, it was as if those seconds of contact put it all to rest. There was no awkwardness now, in that hug was the silent agreement that there was no need for sadness, we’d put that behind us. We then laughed and chatted and caught up with all the family gossip, James slipped in and out of our conversation just as easily as all the other family names. I’m so glad I saw Richard but dear god, how like his father he looks and he always used to call me Beautiful.
There is a strange and even worse twist to this tale and I can’t think of James without remembering Mike.
Almost a year to the day after James’s death a party of friends went from Wales to watch a Rugby International in Ireland. They were returning to the Rosslare Ferry in the early hours of the morning when their minibus skidded on ice and overturned. No one was hurt except Mike who was killed, instantly, on the same stretch of road where James had been killed a year earlier. Mike had been a very dear friend, who I worked with in Cardiff. He was a loveable clown and his claim to fame was once being on the Krypton Factor. I couldn’t go to his funeral, as my father was taken ill and died the day before.
All of this was a very difficult time to get through and I think it does me good from time to time, to open up the wound and have a good poke around. Sorry if there is anyone reading this and they’ve been depressed by it. Don’t be,I had enough depression for everyone.
But, back to the Autumn Show.I had a lovely day and I think the photos capture some of the colour.
During the day you can buy displays in the Flower Tent, which you can collect at 5pm. I saw this lovely Michaelmas Daisy display that I wanted, it was £10. Unfortunately it had already been sold and they only had the £15 size left. Only by now I had my heart set on some flowers. So I paid for a £15 one.
At 5pm I realised just how many flowers it contained and there was no way I’d get the display in the car. So I, along with others, had to have it dismantled and put into bunches. The stallholders were so busy that I offered to break down my own. A couple of ladies walked up and mistaking me for the stallholder asked if they could buy some. The stallholder heard and said, “Sorry, they were all sold earlier”.They were obviously disappointed and walked away saying they had wanted some for some graves. Well, I now realised I have neither the house nor number of vases to accommodate all these flowers, So I quickly wrapped a huge bunch and ran after them and said it was a present. They were so pleased they came back a few minutes later to thank me again.
Then I decided we would call in on Sue on the way home and give her a bunch ,as a memento of the Show. Then we got home and my next thought was Rachel, who lives nearby and was widowed earlier in the summer. She was out, so I pushed a note through her door saying to come round when she got home. I then set too getting the rest into vases.
After I’d finished Rachel called round, saying she was intrigued as to what I had got for her. She was thrilled with the flowers but the really nice thing was, she stayed and shared a bottle of wine with us and didn’t go home until 10.30. We had a lovely chat and I’m sure it did her good as she is finding life very lonely without her beloved John.
So how much happiness can £15 buy? Well, as it turns out……lots.
School has been manic and we had the official opening of our new school. A conjoined Primary rather than separate Infant & Junior. The Mayor came to plant a tree, it rained, we got wet, but what the hell.
A Year 5 boy went and asked the Mayor for his autograph and handed him a sheet of paper and a pencil. The boy had just been picking his nose and the paper was attractively decorated with a green bogey!!!!!
I was marking some Reading tests yesterday, in which the children have to select a word from a list and put it into a sentence. This shows their understanding of similar looking words, or ones you would connect with the subject of the sentence. I don’t laugh AT the children but I really can’t help laughing at some of the sentences they make.
The children were asked not to trinket in their seats.
Michael got a job dealing newspapers.
He had dinner left after his wallet was stolen.
She played the medal on the flute.
The shop sold vicious flavours of ice cream.
Another word for a time of rest and play is childhood.
A partly rounded shape like the new moon is called a convalescent.
The puppets were laminated with great skill.
The fancy dress pencil drew a large crowd. (I think this is my favourite.)
The shop sold varicose flavours of ice cream.
People who think only of themselves are said to be shellfish.
And on that happy note………….