Sunday 24 January 2010


Our first "normal" week turned out to be decidedly "unnormal" starting with swine flu. I had been feeling gruesome since the Tuesday before the funeral and spent the afternoon in bed thinking that I was maybe suffering from shock. Wednesday I still felt the same but I was execting friends to call in at random times and managed to cooked a huge stew and cottage pie. Aedrenalin got me through Thursday, the day of the funeral. On Friday I still felt the same and went to the doctor who diagnosed swine flu. So,Tamiflu and the weekend in bed was recommended. I still felt decidedly delicate on Monday, but rejoined the world.

On Friday my daughter, colleague and I spent the day in the archives of the city library attempting to verify whether or not a 30MPH speed limit was valid. Reason? Whilst visiting Davy in hospital I was flashed three times doing 40MPH, 38MPH and 36MPH in a 30MPH zone. As my licence is so important, especially when Davy relied on me so much and the road doesn't "feel" like a 30MPH road we asked questions regarding the validity of this limit and sight of the road traffic order changing the original 40MPH to 30MPH. As the council was not very co-operative we asked for this information using the Freedom of Information Act. They said they couldn't find the order hence our visit to the archives where we found quite compelling evidence to suggest that the original speed limit of 40MPH is still in affect.

So, my next question is - what is a "normal" week? And will I recognise it when/if it ever happens?!

Monday 18 January 2010


I apologise for not visiting blogging friends or even replying to comments at the moment. I will return to "normal" when the tempo of life settles down. My drum now beats to a different rhythm. This is what I meant when I said that I now have to walk my path alone. I am not alone as in lonely, far from it. I am surrounded by a loving family, wonderful friends and supportive colleagues but I have entered a different stage in life, I am now a widow. It is an entirely different status and needs adjusting to. As I was once told "It's not the lions and tigers that'll get you, it's the rabbits that kick you to death". I just have to watch out for those rabbits.

And this feeling is not unique to me. The children have lost their loving father, grandfather, great-grandfather and his friends and colleagues have lost their sounding board and mentor. Mix this with the fact that he was completely bonkers, most times wrong, so cringingly un-PC that it would take your breath away and you have some idea of the void that is to be filled. But he trained us to believe that no-one is invincible and that we only succeed if, like removing your hand from a bucket of water, the void is filled automatically. His wisdom, passion and drive must live on through us.

As one of my great-granddaughter said some months ago "Grandad is a very unusual man isn't he?" Out of the mouths of babes?! Yes darling, he was a very unusual man, and we give thanks for that. So, deep breath, we have given lip service to his "unusualness", let that now live on in the successes of our daily lives. Let's fill our days with his spirit, especially not forgetting the crazy fun bits! I stake my claim to the un-PC thing! It could be interesting!!

Saturday 16 January 2010


Well as funerals go, that one was pretty good. I'm not sure how many came, but it must have been well over 200 at the church and standing room only at the crematorium.

This was our order of service, which was very "Davy". He would have loved it. The church was awash with sobs and smiles and we even had a laugh at the end. When I read out the Serenity Prayer the last line was missing and I couldn't remember it! I froze, asked if anyone knew the last line, then realised how fitting it was to foul up right at the end. I just shrugged my shoulders, laughed and said "Ah well! Davy hated long goodbyes".

One weird moment was after the final committal prayer, the curtains closed, the final song "I can see clearly now the rain has gone" started and the funeral director came up to me saying "when you are ready Ann just follow me and we will all file out". I thought, "what about Davy, where's he?" Because up until that point my "trigger" had been to blindly follow the coffin. When Davy moved, I moved. Now I have to walk my path alone.

Wednesday 13 January 2010


On Monday I woke in the night with a major panic. This is the week. Up until now the funeral has been some time in the distant future and now it's this week already. It was the oddest feeling because I thought I was pretty much handling things. It did pass and then I got on with the things of the day, keeping the day in bit sized chunks.

Yesterday one of the sales ladies showed me some of OG's sayings that she has collected over the last 12 years. Amazing! One of them was "what would you do if you had £86,400? Would you waste it or would you take care of it? OK, there are 86,400 seconds in the day. Think about it!". This is pretty much how he lived his life, full on, but carefully. Tanya said maybe we should gather all his saying together in a book. Now there's a thought!

We are now as ready as we can be for tomorrow. People start arriving from afar today and are billeted at various houses and hotels. Some will no doubt pop in to see me so I'm cooking up a stew and a shepherds pie just in case anyone is hungry. It won't go to waste.

Kimberley has been working like a trojan, and he is going to have an amazing send off. The village church is just perfect and the vicar could not be more caring or supportive. He has arranged the best organist in the county to play and we have asked an old friend and collegue who is now a professional singer with the Drifters to sing Amazing Grace. We had a soloist sing Amazing Grace at our wedding too. A

The order of service booklet is joyful and just him. We didn't want anything sombre, it wouldn't have worked for us. Maybe I should do a blog about the service, the readings and the songs because everyone has such wonderful memories and is going to say wonderful things that we shouldn't ever forget.

Thursday 7 January 2010


So, the village church it is then. The vicar said that he felt privileged to have been asked to hold the service and spent a good session with us helping to plan things. We are preparing to give OG a really good send off. Last year I went to the funeral of a very good friend and her family had prepared a booklet of the whole service including the prayers, bible readings, eulogy, family memories, poems, hymns and songs. It worked so well because even when emotion overtook the speaker the congregation followed the words being said. We decided that is something we would like to do.

On the black humour side of things everytime OG went away, as sure as God made little green apples, we would have a power cut. He knew how scared I would get and became obsessed with us having more torches to add to our multitude of torches in case of cuts this winter. He sent Kimberley on a mission to buy more. She came back with a couple but he said that wasn't enough. Off she went again and, to satisfy his compulsion, bought more torches plus three massive halogen torches. Tanya also bought two boxes of candles and some matches. Now we have a torch for every occasion in every room of the house.

So far power cuts have not been the problem but the electricity and appliances have been acting up big time. To start with the gas fire smelt fumey, we had it checked out but it's fine, then the 'fridge stopped working. It needed a new sensor. The lights were the next thing to play up, they tripped out, then the underfloor heating contactor melted. We were told that these contactors are virtaully indistructable. Wrong. Then the electronic garage door wouldn't shut, the hot water pump hiccuped, stopped and started again a few hours later, and finally lights that John was working on in the new bedroom wouldn't turn on although they were wired up and lights that weren't wired up turned on ! That totally freaked him out.

BUT, on the upside a laptop keyboard that we ordered months ago and were told was unavailable suddenly turned up unannounced!

Oh! and add to that list - the vacuum cleaner just broke!

Monday 4 January 2010


So here we go again, another year, only this year we don't have OG to pick us up when we are down or put us back on the right track when we go astray. He was mentor to so many people, including me, and it is now our opportunity to prove that his loving efforts were not in vane.

Today the office is fully functional again for the first time since he died and it will be a very, very strange place for a while. Although he hadn't been well enough to go in since early October he kept abreast of things and sent messages through his emissaries! Everyone was fully aware of what was expected of them. Now we have to pick up the baton and run the good race ourselves.

I have a personal dilemma. A great friend of mine, who was a fountain of wisdom, had a metaphor for most situations, including problem solving which went "if the door keeps closing maybe you need for find another solution". Well the door has been closing on the church where we were going to have the funeral service. I have never been to this church, although I have heard great things about it and for two Sundays running I have been trying to attend the service. Each time I have been thwarted. Also the vicar was supposed to get in touch with me and he hasn't.

OG was not a religious man, but he had a true belief in God and although he had expressed no desire to have a church service I'm sure he would be made up to think it would help us get through. Yesterday I suddenly thought, given that we have chosen to have this service would OG actually have preferred for it to be held in our lovely village church as opposed to the grandiose church in the town? Is this why the doors keeps closing? Is this what it’s all about? I'm not sure, but I will keep an open mind, ask the questions and see what happens.