Up early for the gardener’s arrival but the 07:40 knock at the door was a courier bearing a very large box – the GP cage! Dave the gardener arrived soon after and got to work. I’d looked at the garden recently, seen that it was declining after all the hard work J and I had put into it a few months back, and reasoned that J would have wanted to spend money on sorting it out. As indeed she did when she was alive, she had three divisions for her salary: 1) the holiday fund 2) the garden and house 3) a fund for the girls’ education. She tracked this three-way split in a small notebook in the most ludicrously complicated way possible. If I mentioned a spreadsheet, she got distinctly huffy. Anyway, the funeral and wake are not far away and the garden needs to look good. Dave knew of J’s condition and her determination to get things done pronto. He admired the dinosaur garden. We also had a slightly surreal conversation where he said he wouldn’t be charging me for the half-day’s work but I insisted that J would have wanted to pay, as per the above.
Today’s picture is of an elegant J at Ray and Eavan’s wedding near Dublin on 26 May 2001, so just over ten years ago. (Seems longer to be honest).
I only told Ray by email yesterday – another couple we’ve pretty much lost touch with. It happens to everyone. Similarly, today I at last managed to get in touch with Karen, who started as a probationer teacher with Juliet almost 26 years ago in Yeovil, Somerset. By coincidence, Karen later moved to the same village in West Sussex where J got her next post (we couldn’t remember who moved first) and they continued their friendship there, both of them married to a Simon. I tracked Karen down via the Friends Reunited site (remember that, pre-Facebook?) where it did its job. I had changed my status to “Widowed” so that was how Karen discovered the news. Everyone loses track of people, but it’s still a shame we don’t work just a little harder at maintaining friendships. We’re all guilty. In Juliet’s case, her crippling shyness didn’t help. But de mortuis nihil nisi bonum…
I set up the enormous GP cage (Italian-made y’know) with Alice and we eventually released the piggies into it. They hid.
Then I got on with slogging through the probate application forms. Think of the worst-ever tax return form, except there are several of them, and the main one has a 40-page supplemental book of notes. In fact I adopted my former approach to filling out tax returns: place the figures into different boxes until the end result looks advantageous to me, then sign it.
Lots more admin, including more about getting the photo of J’s tree published, a trip to the post office, a trip to the dump and Dad’s Cabs for Alice. On the latter journey, I played a jazz CD in the car, that set me thinking about piano playing, and something we’re mentioning in the funeral service… and that set me off. I don’t believe I’ve played the piano since J died. I will have to break that duck.
I know what I keep forgetting to write: I was on the phone to Margaret last week and mentioned that I didn’t like the fact that our double bed only has pillows on my side now. When I went to bed that evening, I found a couple of pillows had been placed there by the long-haired pixies of the house. Wasn’t that a kind thought?
Today’s post title is a song by The Wedding Present:-