Wild and Wonderful


“Out on the wiley, windy moors, we’d roll and fall in green”

From Wuthering Heights by Kate Bush

Just printed off my boarding passes for a holiday to Skiathos. Burst into tears. Vanessa and I travelled a lot. The best of times. Got to get out of the house.

Take a load of clothes to the charity shop. “Were not taking any more in, we’ve got too much stock at the moment.” Miserable sod, good quality stuff that is, first time I have heard of charity shops turning down clothes. I’ll take them into the YMCA. Hmmm…Village People. Signed up for Gift Aid.

My loyalty card at Abbey Road Coffee is full. Are they open on a Monday?

I take my book back to the library and see what else they have got. Good grief, Ben Elton has actually written a new book! Identity Crisis! Guess what that’s about. Fabulous.

Got my “free” coffee, rather good, sat down, read a few pages of Identity Crisis. And couldn’t stop chuckling to myself. The man is a genius. Taking the piss is a sure-fire way of defusing the insanity that is currently gripping the uncivilised world.

Right, that’s got rid of half an hour. Back home. Oh, my car is low on fuel, might as well fill it up. And I pass the cemetery. I’ll have a look at Anne’s grave. Vanessa’s dad is buried here but I know she is no subscriber to gravestones. And her father passed in upsetting circumstances. Vanessa is not going to have a gravestone. Anne’s grave needs a bit of attention. The grass needs cutting.

My feet are getting wet from just standing here, so I’m off. I can read Ben Elton when I get home. My God the hills are covered in mist. Yep, it’s Heathcliff all right, wiley (no idea what that means, probably a spelling mistake) and windy. Bleak, a good day for a funeral.

A stone’s throw from the garage a very good friend of ours used to live, Bee. Fought cancer for 30 years, helped dozens of people, and had an infectious optimism. It got her in the end. It wasn’t pleasant, but she would never tell you that. Doing a wonderful job on the “other side” no doubt. And not much further afield is another woman, Jayne. Diagnosed with cancer a few years earlier, different mind-set to Bee, but she’s held on. Been told it might not be for much longer, but we heard that two years ago. A bit depressing.

When I get home I can either do a blog post (this one), read Ben Elton, prepare my evening meal or watch some Scandi Noir on BBC iPlayer. Surprisingly I can sit and “go inside”. One very close friend, a lorry driver, Dave, committed suicide some years ago, out of the blue. Remember him once saying that he couldn’t live with his own company, couldn’t be on his own for too long. Lived with his ageing mum. Had to be distracted. My thoughts are under some control and I don’t need total distraction. Interesting isn’t it? Vanessa loved the rather dark novels of Philip Kerr during the time she was in the Hospice. And we both enjoyed crime dramas on the television. I’m not sure what reading about or watching gruesome murders, especially connected to Nazi Germany (Kerr), does for the mind. For me it’s an escape, I don’t think Vanessa ever needed reminding of her mortality.

Soon I will be eating a home-made mushroom curry. One thing I used to love to do, until Vanessa’s taste buds went walkabout was to prepare meals for her. Cooking for myself just doesn’t cut it and it upsets me, despite the fact I’m a reasonable cook. Vanessa was very discerning and loved food. We ate very well. An organic diet, mainly plant-based with the occasional fish.

After I’ve eaten, I’m off to see one of my inner circle of close friends. Without being able to spend time with spiritually aware, awake and intelligent people my occasional plunges into depression would probably become permanent. In the world but not effing of it.

When I come back I’m due another reading from Jonathan Brown. Vanessa and I never abused our friendship with Jonathan and he wouldn’t do a reading on demand. We had gone around 12 months between readings a couple of years ago. But now because my beautiful Vanessa is in spirit with Anne, I have to have my reassurance, to hear from loved ones. There’s no doubt, just a knowing. Not in the spirit world, but of it.

What age do we get to when, excluding sons and daughters, most of our family and friends are in spirit? Does the pull get stronger?

A text. From Jonathan. He can’t do tonight, he’s worn out. Totally understandable but disappointing. Not his fault, no blame whatsoever.

Might stay a bit longer with my friend then…Or I could watch some other drama on the television… Can’t listen to music yet, presses too many buttons. God help me on Thursday. Vanessa’s chosen music for the service:

  • Deborah’s Theme (Ennio Morricone) played at our wedding. Can I survive this?
  • Nature Boy by Nat King Cole. “The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.” Oh dear me, I never knew. Vanessa’s mantra, her mum’s mantra.
  • These Are the Days Of Our Lives by Queen. I feel myself going under.
  • What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong. At the moment? It’s a f****** shit world.

Got a wonderful woman who does my ironing, expertly and far too cheaply. But she will never accept more than she charges. Her husband is coming round to pick it up in 20 minutes (he did). She will eventually notice there are no dresses or women’s clothes in the basket. Haven’t got the courage to tell her what’s happened. Genuine, decent people.

Couldn’t finish my curry, tasted okay, but your appetite goes up and down doesn’t it?

Got another text. On the front of my phone are a series of about a dozen pictures of friends and family that rotate. I’m not at the stage where I can’t look at Vanessa in her wedding outfit. Gave her dress, which she adored, to the charity shop which is part of the hospice organisation where she had been. Felt good about that. For about 10 minutes.

Another wonderful day in hell. Ups and downs, highs and lows. I’ll be okay in an hour when I see my friend, he won’t know about all this nonsense. He deals with life’s occasional shit rather well. Like me, he’s usually got a smile on his face. Things tend not to get him down.

The nights are closing in; it’s 10° warmer in Greece. Biskit and Holly haven’t come for their meat yet. Time to open a tin. They are such a blessing my beautiful cats and seeing them happy is a very, very small but essential crumb of comfort in a world temporarily devoid of any.

Life goes on, it will get better. Friday beckons.

Blessings to you all.

Jack Stewart, again, September 9, 2019.

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