To Katharine House again, with Margaret. As we went in I observed that previously I’d often come here in shorts and sandals in the summer; now the leaves have fallen. The passage of time marked by the seasons.
We met our counsellor Mandi and the chaplain, Tess. Quite simply we were there to hand over three music books, duplicates of my own copies that I’d brought to KHH because I couldn’t find any music to play other than hymn books. I’d designed and printed a bookplate last night (with help from art and graphics student Alice).
Donating items to KHH is a bit like buying presents for your elderly mum – they’ve got everything they need. But they hadn’t thought of providing music books and I do think it’s an original and memorable donation. There are classical pieces, carols, songs from the musicals and even recent pop songs. And at some point in the future, someone will pick up one of the books, notice the bookplate and wonder who Juliet was, other than someone who died young at 48 and enjoyed listening to the piano being played.
Next we met a few nurses and one of the doctors, not particularly the ones that we knew well or even at all. Steph did come free later to sit with us. I left a card at the nurses’ station with a short note and another photo of J, the one of her in a hat at the hospice. Sorry if I’ve used it before here, I can’t remember.
We had a cup of tea and handed over several cheques that I’ve had for quite some time. To my surprise, Margaret handed over a substantial cheque left by an elderly neighbour of hers, Joe Gartside – he’s mentioned elsewhere in the blog. He had left instructions that if he died before Juliet (he did – throat cancer – but he was 96), some money should be given to J to help her get to Australia once again. J finally accepted early this year that she wouldn’t get to Australia again, for what would have been our third time anyway. And so Margaret thought the best use for the money was the hospice. I was going to reveal the final total of donations in Juliet’s name, but let me just say it’s several thousand pounds.
I also collected a couple of Father Christmas costumes – not what you were expecting, eh? This is for the KHH Santa Fun Run, to be held on Sunday 4th December 2011. Hundreds of runners, dressed in full Santa regalia will run 4km around Spiceball Park in Banbury. Myself and a pal, Graham, will run it, and maybe some more of my pub-going mates if we can persuade them. Last year’s run was opened by Sir Ben Kingsley, no less, and looked like this:
And that was that. Not too emotional – for me, at any rate. Margaret found the visit a considerable ordeal. Next “closure” – the plaque at the school.