Today would have been our 23rd wedding anniversary.
After breakfast, with a strong cup of tea beside me, I opened a second envelope from J entitled: “happy memories, open when you are alone , anytime you like“. It was dated 28 January 2010. Yes they were happy memories, but upsetting of course, all the romantic private stuff that people feel for each other. At the end, in a different colour pen and poorer writing (see Flowers for Algernon), J mentioned an incident from a few years ago when we were in a park in Warwick. A squirrel was jumping from tree to tree – and fell out of the tree with a thump and eek! rather like in Blackadder. So it doesn’t have to all be romantic stuff, just things that made us laugh together.
The bank sent me a new cheque book, with just my name on the cheques. Hadn’t considered that. The Post Office sent a letter addressed to “JULIET” which was a bit weird, a Returned Item. It was a letter from J to the gardener in April this year with a detailed list of instructions which he’d never received. Detective Lucy worked it out. We’d re-used an old but unfranked stamp – well you do, if you haven’t got one spare. Someone at the PO had peeled back one corner, noticed that it had originally been stuck on a red envelope and slapped a £1.36 “Revenue Protection Handling Fee” on it. The gardener hadn’t collected it and so it had sat in the system for eight months.
Alice returned from her sleepover via the bus, before Lucy was up. I got on with the garden gate, which I failed to complete before J died, but in mitigation I had purposely delayed while the gardener was working in the back garden. One of the gateposts had warped, so that required a trip to Banbury to get a new one. Then while constructing the gate – not trivial – I found that the hinge post itself had also warped. This is what comes of leaving soft wood pieces in a garage for several months I suppose. Spent all afternoon on it, and will do more next week.
Neighbour Sue brought a treacle tart over, which was delicious. This is a good point to mention that I have lost 5 pounds in the last few weeks – my weight is normally extremely constant, kept in precise balance by running and beer. I’ve been drinking less, Lucy hides biscuits and crisps from me and I don’t have too much appetite anyway. Simples.
Played the piano at last. Didn’t enjoy it very much. Too upsetting. Have just received another e-mail – this time from Gill, a former colleague of J’s that I had tracked down (and again with whom we had inevitably lost touch). Let me quote from it, otherwise it’s lost forever: “I also remember a great card she wrote the Christmas following Lucy’s birth where she wrote something along the lines of…’ Lucy is of course the prettiest, cleverest, funniest, cutest baby ever ………how do I know? Simon keeps telling me’ “.
In the evening we watched a rental film “The Truman Show” – very good, even if I did fall asleep in the middle of it. Just the sort of film J would enjoy – we think she had watched it.
After the film I did something I had said I would do after J’s death. I took my wedding ring off – for the first time in 23 years – and put it on my other hand. With great difficulty in both cases, lots of washing-up liquid needed. And tissues for the tears.