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by Viv

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I'm here because it's a place where I want to be.

What do I do with my life - still pondering that, keep exploring the possibilities I suppose...

I do have another more personal moblog Vivupclose

Take a look at my daughter Beth's website...

food for thought...

Everyone, in some small sacred sanctuary of the self, is nuts. -Leo Rosten, author (1908-1997)

We think caged birds sing, when indeed they cry. -John Webster, playwright (c. 1580-1634)

There are two kinds of light -- the glow that illuminates, and the glare that obscures. -James Thurber, writer and cartoonist (1894-1961)

The artist brings something into the world that didn't exist before, and he does it without destroying something else. -John Updike, writer (1932-2009)

Some people become so expert at reading between the lines they don't read the lines. -Margaret Millar, novelist (1915-1994)

There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest. -Elie Wiesel, writer, Nobel laureate (b. 1928)

from A.Word.A.Day with Anu Garg

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Up the Gill with the Tippings 19th Jan

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10th Feb 2013, 16:32   comments (0)

Dan, Benji and Meg

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10th Feb 2013, 16:18   comments (1)

14 Jan 2013

10th Feb 2013, 16:11   comments (0)

Pics from Christmas visit to Nottingham

The robot was a great hit - number five is moving like the robot.
10th Feb 2013, 15:55   comments (0)

Alan's Goodbye - Viv's final words

(viewed 1089 times)
Viv’s final thoughts
I started going out with Alan when I was 16. Nov 12th I think 1961.
We had been friend’s for some time. Walking back from youth club as an ever dwindling group, by the time we got to my house there was just Alan, Noel and I. We would chat outside for ages. He did ask me out to see Anthony Newley’s ‘Stop the World I want to get off.’ I said yes if I could pay my half - he wasn’t having that so it didn’t happen. I didn’t want to go out with him and end up losing him as a friend, but when he asked me to go to see ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ with him I accepted. I knew this was a long term thing - I remember asking when I would next see him and he looked shocked - poor thing he didn’t have a clue! Our relationship has had it’s ups and downs like any other - but we were always rooted in our friendship - those roots have shown so clearly in the last month of his life. Nothing needed to be discussed, we agreed about everything except for him making his current account joint - he wasn’t ready for that!

So it is time to let him go...
On the 15th not realising at the time that it was our last day, I spent in all, 4 hours sitting by his bed. We were calm and sad. He was not afraid. He just desperately wanted to sleep. I was glad it was just us because for anyone else he would have made that bit of effort, as he did whenever a nurse or doctor appeared. I’m sure we both thought many things, but we just spoke occasionally. I told him how proud I was of all of us and how we had coped. There was a peace and understanding.

We have all lost a man we loved - the first time I sobbed before he died was when I thought of looking through all our old holiday videos and photos and thinking that he wouldn’t be there to answer my questions. I’ve lost great chunks out of my life, have memories I won’t be able to confirm, although we were just as likely to disagree about them. I have lost my partner in life of 52 years but that means I was lucky enough to share my life with him for 52 years. I am grateful that we had notice that he was dying and were able to share that notice and feel the warmth of friendship from all around us. It was a time when we as a family took nothing for granted and totally appreciated each other. We were always conscious of goodbyes even when I walked the dogs. So both Helen and Beth felt they had said proper goodbyes and he got up and walked to the door to see them off. Our last goodbye was from me ‘ I love you’ and from Alan ‘I love you too and thanks again’ There was a long look and a slow release of hands - cinematic - I can see it in my mind. Bless you Alan - maybe some of you feel that is a strange expression for a non secular funeral - but when someone thinks with love of you or touches you with love nothing can be more blessed. Please bless Alan in your own way during this short silence.

Alan's Goodbye - Beth's words

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Do you ever find that there are certain words that you hardly ever hear used that you’ll come across one day only to hear again and again within the space of a week?

Well since dad has gone, the unusual word of the week has been ‘raconteur.’

Dad really was a storyteller. Each tale considered carefully – the pre-amble, the sequence of events and timing all exacted in such a way to deliver the best punchline..the final act.

Dad was a slick story engine, always raring to go and once he’d found the suitable story for the occasion there was no stopping him, even if you’d said you’d heard it before.

When dad got sick this final time, to people who asked me how he was doing, I quipped that he’d stopped repeating the same old anecdotes as if this was a symptom of his illness.

But his stories did return before we said goodbye and I spent a wonderful day listening to dad tell all his stories about winding Ken and Ian up with the help of his friends. I didn’t leave his side all day.

Dad was a hoarder. Our house is full of objects and props for an impromptu story.

“Where did you get the scary priest carving dad?“

“What is the Adnams 72 club?”

“Tell me again about the crest above the fireplace”

All these objects imbued with a bit of magic, an important time and place.

And many of you were the cast of dad’s legends, some people I’ve hardly ever met all so real through the power of the stories dad told about you. Dad was loyal of course and would speak as fondly of people he hadn’t seen for many years as those he saw on a regular basis. So some of you who have phoned over the past few weeks, might have been surprised I greeted you so warmly when you thought I might not know you. Not true, you were the stars of dad’s biography.

Oh dad. When I got home, all the clocks had stopped.

It was too quiet, no you in the chair by the fire. So I took on your clock-winding responsibility. It took me 6 attempts to find the correct key out of the collection in the bottom of the clock, a spirit level iphone app and at least a couple of glasses of beer to start it ticking. But the bongs were all in the wrong place, the hour hand slipped and worse still, a really ugly clack just before each strike of the bong. I’d have been in such trouble for messing with the clock.

But it’s ok now, I’ve fixed it Dad. And I think in the end you’d have seen the funny side of things.

He was good at seeing the funny side of things. I think he’d have approved of me playing a game of snap with his sympathy cards. He’d have relished the red roses for Lancashire encroaching on Yorkshire’s turf and he’d have wanted us all to remember him fondly without taking all this formality too seriously. Helen and I recalled the fake fingers dad used to have trapped in the carboot of his mini, remember those? we joked that he would have liked the idea of having them put on his coffin.

I’m told I look like mum and have always thought that I took after her and Helen took after dad… well, after all, Helen did take up a career in probate and me in education. I thought I got my creativity from mum too, but having thought about it more after finishing my masters where I spent time studying storytelling through objects, it’s clear there’s a lot more of dad in me than I once thought.

Thank you dad, for bringing me up right and I hope in time I will come to discover more of your special qualities within me. I will always miss you.

Alan's Goodbye - Helen's words

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I was moving some clothes recently and I told you I was putting them out of the way of the cats. Then I caught myself and corrected it to cat, because we had just lost Mog. You said that was something you could never get used to.

I can’t say goodbye to you; you are everywhere. In the house, there’s your chair, your copy of Tristram and Coote’s by its side. The clocks you chose and wound, the furniture you stripped, the stone walls you painstakingly uncovered.

You’re there in my stubbornness, my reluctance to be told what to do. My need to compulsively double-check everything. In my love of solving problems and helping people out with my knowledge.

You taught me so much. How to tease a cat, whilst maintaining its absolute adoration. You could certainly turn the same trick with people. You taught me that a good true story doesn’t have to be at all accurate and grows with each telling.

You showed me the world from a VW camper van. Starting tentatively in France – Brittany, the Dordogne, moving into the mountains of the Pyrenees and Picos de Europa. Edging on into the beautiful green Basque countryside with its shaggy haystacks and rolling hills. We found Mutriku together, a harbour town full of narrow cobbled streets and lashed by the most enormous ocean waves.

Then on to Galicia, passing through towns built of mud and straw, where some people live in tunnels like Hobbit Holes. Making firm friends with Spanish families, including those of Marie-Lo, Marie-Teresa and Marie-Carmen.

With those families we danced (well mum and Beth danced), shared cauldrons of mussels and participated in the ritual of Queimada (which was extremely exciting as it involved flaming pots of alcohol). You even went out night-fishing with Manolo and his Neptune fork, to spear and net weird and wonderful sea creatures.

It was hard to drag ourselves away from Galicia, but on we went until eventually we reached Porto and Nazaré. There was even talk of crossing the Mediterranean to Africa, but we never quite made it that far.

Those holidays, some of which we shared with Chris, Jean, Caroline, Richard and Helen, make the best memories. You taught us what adventure is. It’s about taking a chance on some of the green roads, discovering your own special places and making the very most of the people you meet along the way.
8th Feb 2013, 09:46   | tags:comments (2)


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We’ve been in Yorkshire now for over 27 years. Alan checked out the pub before he looked at the house and once we had moved in became a late night regular. He played some darts and we ended up joining the domino team. We were obsessed for a while. He loved the cricket when he could still play - the madness of incidents like playing in balaclavas to fend off the midges really appealed to him. In latter years he has got up there less and less the last really happy occasion was at the end of August when Andrew Hodge’s returned home to celebrate the winning of his second olympic gold. Alan made his claim to fame having an olympic gold medallist grow up next door - made him just as happy as City winning the league. I hope to hear lots of stories later from his friends here - he was special to a lot of people.
7th Feb 2013, 18:17   | tags:,comments (0)