Thursday, 29 April 2010

Very Special Cards

My Dearest, Darling Eileen

Since we first met, fifty years ago this year, you never ever forgot my birthday - or me yours.

Well tomorrow is May 1st, my birthday.   It will be the first one without you - or your cards.  

For the life of me I cannot remember when 'our tradition' started, but birthdays always meant two cards.

Luckily, I've kept many of the ones you gave me in recent years. 

This is one of the cards you gave me on my birthday, two years ago in 2008.

This is the other one ...


As you will recall, 1 May 2008 was not a good day - or a great birthday.

We had agreed to hold off celebrating it until you kept your appointment at the hospital.  

By the time we returned home that evening, you had had your scan and we knew the diagnosis was not a good one.  If the uncertainty before had been bad, the knowing was so much worse.  

Re-reading that message on the front of that first card and the personal messages you wrote inside both, I have questions I know will never be answered.

Knowing you as I did, you will have chosen both cards with infinite care, well before my birthday.  It was so you.  Something you never failed to do.    

Did you have a premonition?  Or, like me, were you just really really scared and frightened.

All I know is that long into the evening we held each other tight. We didn't  say too many words.  What could we say.  Birthdays became unimportant.

By my next birthday, 1 May 2009, you had achieved so much in recovering from your cancer and your stroke.  You had been so determined and brave all the way through.  We hoped we were winning, but we could not be sure.

Charlotte, Caitlin and Reuben came over to help us celebrate on the day.

You were in good spirits, sitting out in the sun, watching the twins.  


You looked really good.

Your speech was improving.  Your walking too.  It really made my day to see you like this.  It was the best present I could have asked for.  But I did love the wallet you gave me.  It will always be precious to me.  

Your birthday card to me was one you picked yourself. 


The message inside you wrote yourself, without any help.

Your birthday cards have always meant a lot to me.

I now treasure all the ones I had the foresight or was lucky enough to keep.

The two you gave me before you became ill are extra special to me, because of the sincere sentiments they contain - and of what happened that day.

If you thought you could not be without me, it is just as difficult for me being without you. 

But it is the one you gave me last year that is closest to my heart.  I cannot imagine the effort it took you to write it.  I could never fail to be touched by that. 

Sadly, I now know it's the last birthday card I will ever receive from you, my Love 

Tomorrow, Saturday, as I said is May the first. 

I am looking forward to being with Charlotte and Ivan, Adrian and Nikki, and Darcy, Caitlin, Reuben and Harriet.

It will be an enjoyable day, but it will be a tough one too.  Not just for me but for everyone else

I know you would wish us to have fun.
I promise we will do our best - but it won't be the same without you.  It never, ever will.
I love and miss you so much.    
Ever Yours,


Three Degrees

My Dearest Eileen 

I was sorting through some old photographs last weekend when I came across one that brought back a host of memories.  

It was this one I took at your 'Leaving Do' on your last day at Lexicon, just before we left Guiseley.

John L used to e-mail us irregularly with news of what was happening up there, and you would keep him in touch with what we were up to down here.

The photograph reminded me of the lovely letter John and Jennifer sent to me the day after you left us.

It was highly complimentary about you naturally, best summed up in his closing comment... 'What a Lady!'

One reminiscence he recalled of your time at Lexicon had me smiling then - and still does. 

During one of your lunch-time conversations with colleagues you had apparently revealed:

'All my family have degrees and I haven't.'


'Do you not find that hard?' you were asked. 

'Oh No', you replied, John recalls, with that wicked grin of  yours, 'because I have all the common sense!' 

I do agree with him. 

When it came to common sense and wise counsel you were always 'first class'.  Just as you were in so many other ways.


Cannot tell you how much I miss your wicked smile - and the vision of you in your 'mini-skirt' days.

Rest easy, my precious.

Love you so much.


Monday, 26 April 2010

A Year Ago Today

My Dearest Eileen

It's the 26 April today.

I thought you would enjoy recalling what we were doing exactly a year ago on 26 April 2009.

We were staying with Adrian and Nikki and these are some of the photographs I captured that day. 

Darcy came in to wake us just after 8 o'clock...

Looks like the makings of 'bad hair' day.

Time to try out my new camera. 

Food for thought.

Let's feed the ducks.

Is that all the bread we've got?

We'll have to bring more next time.

It's nice to sit and have a rest.

Are you enjoyed being in the sun Oma?


Now where has that sun gone?

Shall we go home, Oma?

That's how well you were doing just a year ago.  Yes there were signs that things were not as they should be.

But you still were lively and full of fun.  Still wanting to make the most of things and enjoy the company of those you loved and who loved you. 

Hope you enjoyed this little look back in time.  There are still a couple of   adventures to come - but we'll talk about them another time.     

Just looking back at these photographs has reminded me of just how much you enjoyed life and how much you put into it.

But that's the way you always were.  

Do miss you and your sense of fun.  Life is so much duller without you and your laughter. 

All my love, as ever.


Wedding Belle

My Special Girl 

I received a surprise packet in the post last week.

When I opened the box I found this lovely invitation ...

Inside it reads ...

The invitation didn't come as a complete surprise as June told me some months ago that Nicola was getting married.  But it was still pleasing to receive it.

I am looking forward to going - but it will be tough, so very tough without you.

And I'm sure June, Geoff and Nicola, particularly, wish that you could have been there too.  But it's not to be.

It will be a real pleasure to be there.  After all we've know Nicola since she was a little tot and watched her grow up to be such a lovely girl.  

It doesn't seem that long ago that she and Andrew were playing in the garden with Charlotte and Adrian.  Or that I was helping Geoff take Nicola down to University in Hull to settle in for first year or Andrew to Huddersfield before that.

And now she's getting married.

My darling, just where have the years gone? 

Talking about time, do you realise it's ten years this year since we left Guiseley. 

Do you remember our last night there? 

We stayed with June and Geoff, after the removal men had packed and gone and we had shut the door of Waldhaus and walked down the drive for the last time...          

How good it was to spend that last evening among such good friends.  And looking back, even better knowing they have remained such good friends ever since.

Surprising in a way really, remembering that one of our removal vans pulled down their telephone wires when we were moving in eighteen years earlier.  

Isn't it odd how such a strong, ever-lasting friendship can grow out of a potential problem like that.  With hindsight it's just as well that we cut them off, even if it was you who had to go and apologise.

Will miss having you by my side on the 20th June, but I promise I will tell you how the day went.

Love and miss you so very much.

Ever Yours




A Marathon of Memories

Mr Darling Eileen

Yesterday was the London Marathon and, as always, I recorded the 'Highlights' so I could view it later in the evening. 

Watching it, this time on my own, I could not help remembering how often we would watch it together, even as recently as this time last year, when you were doing so well.

This year was the thirtieth anniversary of the race.  It took me right back to the memory of following that first race, way back in 1981 when we were living in Holland.

Back in the UK in Guiseley, the race always seemed to coincide with a Sunday when we were working together getting the garden in shape. But we always made a point of catching the highlights later that evening.

Nevertheless, in spite of the buzz and lift we got from seeing all those people pushing themselves running for charity, the London Marathon always seemed to remain at arms length.  Exciting but somehow remote. 

Things changed in 1998.

That was the year Adrian completed the race...

Do you remember that?  We drove down from Yorkshire, met up with Charlotte and made our way to the Embankment.  We watched our for Adrian for ages, got soaked by a shower of rain and then spotted Adrian running towards. Then he was gone with just a backward wave of acknowledgement. 

Sadly we had no arrangements to meet up and so we headed home.  At least we were able to congratulate him by phone later that evening.    

Then in 2003 Ivan entered and completed the marathon, having already run it previously some years before we knew him...

Once again we had someone we knew to cheer on.  It made the race all the more enjoyable.

Seem to remember that when we first moved down here, we travelled up and watch the race even though this time we did not know anybody who was running.  The spectacle and excitement of the race were sufficient reasons still for making the journey.

Then in 2006 as you'll remember, Adrian decided to run the marathon again. 

The evening before the race there was much pressure from him about wanting to know precisely where we would all be on the course.

The next day, the reason became clear to us and particularly to Nikki.  

When he spotted us he stopped running and came over.  On the front of his vest were the words of his proposal asking Nikki to marry him...

His proposal accepted by Nikki, he carried on with the race. 

This time we had arranged to meet up at the finish, a more appropriate place to offer our congratulations to Nikki and Adrian on getting engaged - and to Adrian for completing his second London Marathon.    

I will never forget the buzz of achievement, exhilaration and excitement you always got from completing your own fun runs... 

Who knows, if we had started years ago, we could have helped you complete your own London Marathon - and I would have been so so proud of you.  

You certainly had the steely determination and bravery in abundance - as you proved over and over again, during the last months of your life.

Do miss you so.  Am pretty lost at times without you.

Yours for ever,



Friday, 23 April 2010

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

Mr Dearest Eileen

Meant to tell you I received this lovely card from Derek and Janet just before Easter.

It shows the Bettys Cafe on the Grove in Ilkley.

Inside the card they wished me and the family a Happy Easter.  They hoped I was keeping well and said they often think about me.  Adrian had been in touch with them and they said it was lovely to hear from him.

The card brought back memories of times in Guiseley when Alistair and Adrian were very good friends and went many places together - including lots of visits to different Bettys I can imagine.  Also remember Adrian being invited to eat with them on Sundays fairly regularly.  And Alistair being with us for Sunday dinner just as regularly.

If the joints from 'Tony the Butcher' were always good, your Yorkshires, when the omens were right, were never less than spectacular.... 


I showed the card to Adrian and Charlotte.  

When she saw it Charlotte remembered the Sunday when Alistair was with us, and we lit the fire in the lounge about a hour before we were to sit down and eat.

Can't remember the cause but by the time we came to eat the lounge and the dining room were thick with smoke.  So it was a quick run round to open all the windows and the patio doors.

Unfortunately as the smoke went out the windows, the chill of a late-autumn Yorkshire evening raced in.  

By the time the meal was on the table the dining room was freezing. 

However the meal was not and we tucked in, even if we had - Alistair included - to put on coats and scarves to enjoy it.    

Talk about 'dressing for dinner.'

Charlotte is sure there is a photograph somewhere showing of all of us sitting round the dining-room table, well wrapped up to keep warm.

I remember it too, but have been unable to lay my hands on the negative yet.  As soon as I do - and  I will - I'll drop the photograph in here....  

Thought you would like to see Derek and Janette's card.  It was kind of them to remember and I sent them a long e-mail in reply.  

Miss you so much, my love.  Aunt Bessie's Yorkshires are not a patch on yours.  

All my love


Monday, 19 April 2010

Hat Trick

My Lovely E

Remember this cap?

It's the Chicago Cubs baseball cap Charlotte brought me back from her stay in the States back in '92.   She remembered me telling her I had been to some of their games when I was over there in '68.  So thought I would like one.  I still do. 

It's seen some wear and tear during the years but still comes in useful.  And how can I let it go until the Cubs have won a World Series. 

I took it with me on that Sunday recently when I went to help C and I with the garden.  The forecast for the weekend was good and I thought I would need some protection for my head.

Well I got sunburned!

Reuben is seriously into hats.  Seem to remember Adrian was like that at a similar age.  Well Reuben spied my Cubs cap and that was it for me getting to wear it...


Caitlin is equally keen on hats - when she can get her hands on one ...

She finds it difficult though once Reuben has got it on his head.

I'm sure you have noticed they both favour the modern 'yoof' way of wearing it back to front.

Reuben sometimes wears it the proper way - but he does seem a mite sheepish with it this way round!

Mind you, it's not the first time someone took it away from me.

I can remember some years ago on holiday in Sesimba, a certain lady very close to me borrowred it to protect her head from the sun...    

It did look a lot better on you, I admit. 

Brings back memories of a special time - and a wonderful lady.

Miss you lots my lovely.

Love you,

Trevor xxx  

Ground Force

My Dearest E

You will be pleased to know that my recent gardening labours have not been restricted solely to number '28'.

The Sunday before last I went across to Charlotte and Ivan's to help them start to get their garden in order for the summer.

Spent the afternoon cutting the grass.  As usual with the 'first cut' it was a bit of an effort but eventully got it finished.  Lawn is not in too bad condition but could do with a little attention. 

Next morning I started by scarifying the lawn with a metal rake, as Charlotte and Ivan planned to apply some more grass seed.

Meanwhile Reuben had decided the lawn could do with another cut...

Soon, however he decided Opa's scarifying looked much more fun and that  help was needed...


Reuben then decided it was better fun taking the grass rakings out of the bag and spreading them all over the lawn.  Caitlin quickly saw the fun in this and raced to join in...


The well-timed appearance of 'treats' soon drew them off meaning the tidying up could be completed...



I know you would have loved seeing them and playing with them when they are having such fun.

I know you miss them and they miss you. Every night they kiss your picture in their nursery and say 'goodnight' to their lovely Oma.

We all love you and I'll make sure the grandchildren never forget you.

Nor will I.

All my love

Trevor xxx