Friday, 30 July 2010

When It Comes To Push...

30 July 2010

My Darling E

...Tomorrow's the Day.    

After months of planning, serious amounts of training, hours spent chasing sponsors, trailing round to find a venue and lots and lots of admin by Nikki, Adrian will try and break a Guinness World Record tomorrow.

The existing record for pushing a car the furthest distance in 24 hours is somewhere just over 17 miles.  Adrian is hoping to push the record the full marathon distance of 26.2 miles.

All in your memory - and for the benefit of the Stroke Association and the World Cancer Research Fund.

Both organisations have organised lots of good PR on Adrian's behalf.  As a result he has been in lots of newspapers around the country.  He even featured in the Belfast Telegraph.

He and been interviewed on BBC Surrey Radio and other local radio stations, and a BBC reporter is coming along later tomorrow to cover the attempt. 

This is the poster that has appeared all round Woking to stir up interest. 

So far he and Nikki have raised well over £4000 with more still to come we hope.    

The last week has not without its last-minute hiccups however, as this hastily sent e-mail from Adrian earlier this week shows.
'Just when you think that everything might be coming together for the challenge...

On Monday I did my final training session at Barnsbury School with the Smart car and discovered that there is actually a serious slope in the playground.
This will cause all sorts of problems.  (Hills are not kind to us car pushers).
I then had to go home and tell Nikki that all our plans had to change, as I didn’t think it was going to be the best option.
After a gin and tonic (for her, not me) the hunt was on and we have very kindly been given permission by another local school. The only issue is that we can only have access to the school for 12 hours, so the serious pressure is on me to complete the challenge in that time.'

It's going to a Fun Day for everyone who comes to watch, even if it won't be  much of one for Adrian.  

There will of cake and drinks stalls, as well as games and other activities to keep the children entertained. 

All we need now is the right type of weather - dry, not too hot and perhaps a gentle breeze.

Will let you know how it works - and how he gets on.

I'm down as 'offical' photographer so I hope there will be lots of shots to show you.    

As always,

Yours, for ever,



Thursday, 29 July 2010

Bay Watch

29 July

My Darling E

Last time, I mentioned the little things that can stir up a host of memories.

Here's another one - prompted by a recent letter in the travel section of the Daily Telegraph.   

The reader was looking for advice on where to find a quiet, unspoilt little fishing village in Greece for a really laid-back holiday.  Exactly the sort of thing we liked.  

And there among the half dozen or so villages listed in the reply was the name of Yialova - now familiar to us from our holiday there in 2002.

As usual, we had booked the holiday early that year, to get our preferred slot in June, well before the school holidays began. 

Then I had had my right hip replaced at the end of March and was booked in to have the other one done at the beginning of July. 

Should we cancel?  The answer from both of us was a resounding 'no'.  

Lets go and enjoy ourselves we agreed.  And we did.

When we got there our top-floor apartment was big and spacious, with a wide balcony looking out over the Bay.   

It was accessed by a flight of marble steps but with my sticks - and help from the owner in carrying up our bags - that wasn't a problem.

The on-site swimming pool was.  No safe way for me of getting in or, more importantly, getting out.  

But then we never were great swimming pool people.

Let's wait and see what the beach is like we said. 

That's where we lucked in. 

Just a short drive away, down the usual uneven Greek track was the lovely arc  of sand that curls round Voidhokilia Bay.  One of the best breaches in that part of the Peloponnese we had read.  They were right,

The Bay is virtually land-locked so the beach shelves gently.  The water was warm and clear. 

There was a taverna and sun beds with large leafy sunshades. 

What's more the shades were secured to strong metal poles.  Painted blue naturally, this being Greece.

Perfect for me getting up and down.

Was it any wonder we spent every day at the beach, relaxing and soaking up the sun.


 We developed a routine when I wished to go swimming.

I would walk into the water using my sticks until it was deep enough for me to swim away.  You would then take the sticks back and 'plant' them upright in the sand as a marker.  Then join me in the water for a swim. 

Swimming was good exercise for my 'new' hip, of course.  Had to avoid the breast-stroke though.

When it was time to come out, I would head towards the beach, you would bring me my sticks and, using them for support, I would make my way back to the sunbeds. 

Because the sand was so smooth we would go walking together, waist deep in the sea, along the beach and back.  Again, good for my hip. 

The only times we dragged ourselves away from the beach was on Sundays, when we knew it would get crowded. 

The first Sunday we were there, we drove round the Bay to the quite stylish, little town of Pylos and watched families enjoying lunch in the shade of the large trees that, like the restaurants below, ringed the main square. 

It was too early to eat, so we sat sipping fresh orange juice at a shady bar beside the harbour - and idled the time away people watching. 

Another time we went further along the coast and found yet another small fishing harbour at Finikounda.

This time we did have our 'traditional' lunch - ham omlette for you, cheese for me - and cold beers at the Elena taverna, high on rocks overlooking the harbour.   

Apart from those two days, we stayed at the beach every day late on until the sun had gone, then drove down to Yialova to eat.

Our type of relaxing holiday. 

Summed up in this 'end of the holiday' photograph.

Yialova was special in another way.

It is one of the places where I was able to capture my favourite holiday shot of 'us' together.

Circumstances sometimes meant it didn't always work out.  

At Yialova it did...

A special holiday.  And so very special memories of you and I together.

Thankfully I have lots of those left to live with now - even if I no longer have you.

Miss you so, so much, my Love.

Yours, for ever



Peak Performance

29 July 2010 

My Darling E

You may have wondered why there was no mention of Adrian when the girls were doing their Race for Life in Basildon back at the beginning of June.

That's because he was attempting the Three Peaks Challenge with Tim and Richard.  

To succeed they had to climb the three highest peaks in Britain - Ben Nevis in Scotland; Scafell Pike in the Lake District and Snowden in north Wales - and do it all within 24 hours.

It meant a lot of climbing - and miles of driving.  

This where Rae helped out by being their chauffer, shopper and morale booster.  Between Ben Nevis and Scafell Pike Rae's sister, Ruth, joined them to share these duties.

On the Friday morning they flew to Inverness, picked up a hire car and headed for Ben Nevis.

When they reached the foot ofBen Nevis, they kitted up and started climbing... 

The Challenge Begins @ 16.25

 Top of Ben Nevis @ 18.40 

 One Down; Two to Go @ 20.25  

 Scafell Pike Summit @ 4.11  

Time to Move On @ 5.45

Ready for Snowden @ 10.23

Summit of Snowden @ 12.07

Mission Accomplished @ 13.45

This was the text message Adrian sent me later that Saturday afternoon...

'Am at the bottom of Snowden sipping champagne.  We are down in a total time of 21 hours 18 minutes including 10.5 hours walking time.  Only casualty - my walking boots. A'  

I'm sure you are impressed with their efforts.  I know I was.

So congratulations to the three of them - and to their brilliant back-up team of Ruth and Rae.

The mention of Snowden did, however, bring back memories of a Sunday afternoon at Onslow Gardens, when Uncle Fred was telling us about walking up Snowden - and having to get on his hands and knees when he reached the top.

Not from exhaustion but vertigo.  Luckily he was able to get down by train!

It was a long, long, long time ago, but I remember you didn't enjoy his story much as heights bothered you too.

It's funny how odd little things like that, start the memories flooding back and remind me just how much I miss you.

Do love you so much,

For Ever



Sunday, 25 July 2010

Fear of God

25 July 2010

My Darling E

In her e-mail about the Bradford 'Race for Life', Sarah shared a rather nice memory she has of you with me.

This is what she told me...  

'As you know I did the RFL last weekend up in Bradford.
Well before the Race, Mum and had a busy morning preparing food for the afternoon as my family were all coming round for dinner.
By the time it we were ready to set off I'd not really had much to eat. 
I was so hungry when we arrived at Lister Park.   
Thankfully Lynn was also hungry so the two of us set off to see what we could find.
Hoping for something healthy of course! 
In the end the only thing we could get that wasn't too big was a chip butty!
So the two of us sat there eating chips before doing a 5k!
It reminded both of us of something that happened years ago. 
Eileen once told Lynn that if she ate food outside, the nuns would 'get her'!
Did she say things like that to anyone else? 
As it happens, Lynn and I went to Whitby one Saturday some time later, when we were still working together.
And, as you do at the seaside, we got fish and chips and ate them walking along the sea wall.
To our horror, two nuns appeared!!
Lynn's face was a picture and she hid her food behind her back until the nuns were out of sight!  
We laughed about this on Sunday, and decided not only would Eileen tell us off for eating chips, but for eating them outside too - and before a 5k!!!


Sarah x'


Now why does this story not surprise me knowing your wicked sense of humour as I do.   Bet there was a twinkle in your eye as you said it - which Lynn obviously missed.

Glad to know your time with the nuns at Manor House was not wasted!
Love and miss you so much - particularly when I hear lovely stories like that from other people.  It was just so typical of you.

Yours, for ever


More Race for Life

25 July 2010

My Darling E

Lots of people who couldn't make it to the Basildon for the Race for Life endeavoured to do it elsewhere, all in your memory.

Thought you would like to hear all about those who did it closer to home.


Christine was the first one to complete it on your behalf, as the Torquay Race for Life was held on the 16 May.

When I spoke to her afterwards, Christine said she had found the day quite emotional, not helped by the fact that it was bitterly cold.  She completed it with a friend and these are the pictures she sent me.

Where's the Start?

A Little Pick-Me-Up



Cheryl completed the Southend 'Race for Life' with several of her friends on Sunday 23rd May.

This is the message she e-mailed me a few days later...

These are the pictures Cheryl sent...
'Just to let you know, I completed the race for life on Sunday, and despite the heat managed to run all the way round. Laura completed it in about 30 mins. I did it in about 35 and Chris about 40 mins.

I've attached a couple of pictures for you. A before and after shot of the event or standing and collapsed as I've renamed it.

After the event lots of the competitors pinned up their pictures and notes on an impromptu wall of remembrance that ran round the athletic track so we added Eileen's picture to the wall.

I think between the 3 of us we will have raised nearly £300.'

Cheryl and Jorja

'Glad that's over'



As I mentioned a little time ago, Sarah had organised a group of her family and friends to run the Bradford 'Race for Life' on the 13 June.

This is what she said in the e-mail she sent me the following week.

'The race went well. I printed out the posters for us to wear. Even though I'd seen them as I printed and cut them out for everyone, to actually see Eileen as I pinned it to my top was really sad.

The good thing was the money we raised - my niece Luna and Caroline have raised about £75, I've managed to get £265 so far, and have been promised more. My Mum got about £50 and Lynn about £100, so over £500 for an afternoon stroll isn't bad.
My mum wrote her sister's name on her back sign, she died a year and a half ago.  It is nice to remember everyone who is no longer with us, and talk about our memories of them.'

These are the photographs they took on the day.

Lynn, Sarah, Luna and Caroline 


Carol ran the Manchester race on Sunday 20 June, the same as Nicola's wedding. She and John had recently completed the Manchester 10k in very good times so the Race for Life was a little easier for her.

Here are the photographs Carol sent me.




Kathy was doing the Race for Life in Basingstoke.  It was held on the 20 June too.   I e-mailed her a copy of the poster for her to wear. 

I haven't heard back fro her about how she did on the day.  As soon as I do I'll add it here as a postscript.


My Lovely Girl

I'm sure you are as touched as I am by all the people who did the Race for Life this year on your behalf. 

Just shows how much you were so loved - and are now so missed by so many.

Sarah has said she hopes to do the Race for Life again nest year and I know this is something Charlotte is thinking about too.  It would be nice if we can repeat it as I know you were so committed to doing the Race over the years.

Miss you so much my love,

For Ever



Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Beautiful Bride

Sunday - 20 June

My Darling E

For most people, 20 June was Father's Day. 

But for those of us who were there in the church in Collingham and at the reception afterwards at Wood Hall it was very much Nicola's Day.

She looked radiant and stunning.   Her dress was absolutely fabulous.

As Liz, who sat next to me at the reception, put it, 'Nicola looked as if she had stepped out of the pages of Vogue magazine'.

It was a lovely warm sunny day.  When Nicola and Geoff entered the church, the bright sunlight streaming through the door behind them added to the magic. 

I know if you had been there you would have had that little catch of emotion in your throat at that moment - as I had.  

Nicola and Geoff 

Could not help thinking back to our early days in Guiseley when Nicola, then just a tiny tot, would come up to the house to play with Charlotte.  

So much has changed since then.

It was a lovely service and soon Nicola and Russell were walking down the aisle and out into the sunshine.

Nicola and Russell

Thought you would like to see some other photos I took...

Nicola and THAT Dress!



Nicola and June

Wedding Group

and finally...

The Bride


This last photo of Nicola was one I took in the gardens at Wood Hall before we went in to the reception.

As you can see it was still warm and sunny as we all stood and talked, a trio playing in the background.

At the reception I was among friends - Richard and Susan, Norman and Trudy; and Bill and Liz from Scarborough - which made it a lot easier being there on my own.

The speeches from Geoff and Russell were good.  Geoff did brilliantly, only displaying a little emotion when he was well into his speech.  Not bad, considering the significance of the day and how beautiful Nicola looked.

The best man got the biggest laugh. 

As he rose a little nervously to speak, he held up his notes and said...

'You know, this is not the first time I have stood up from a hot seat today with a piece of paper in my hand.'
Know you would have thoroughly enjoyed that if you had been there.

Really miss that lovely laugh of yours, those sparkling eyes and that 'wicked' smile of yours so much.

Just have to rely on memory now, as I do for so many other things about you.

Love you so,

Trevor xxx


Saturday, 10 July 2010

Lonesome Road

Saturday - 19 June

My Darling E

Drove up to Yorkshire this morning for Nicola’s wedding and stayed last night at Wood Hall Hotel in Linton, where the reception will be held tomorrow.

The wedding is at 1.30pm. Didn’t feel it was worth chancing coming up tomorrow morning in case of traffic problems. It would also have meant driving up 'suited and booted'.  Remember how I hated that.

As I set off I was trying to remember the last time we made the journey north on the A1.

Think it must have been that weekend back in April 2007 when we went up to spend the weekend with June and Geoff.


Just as we were about to set off we heard the M25 was shut both ways around J28 following a serious accident.

So we cut across country to join the M11 at Harlow.  The only problem was that thousands of other drivers were doing the same thing. 

When we reached the M11 junction at Harlow we spent over an hour and a half edging our way around the roundabout over the motorway before we could get on our way.

This morning there were hold-ups on the M25 again.  So I gambled going the Harlow route again. This time I breezed through and on to the M11 without a problem. 

After that is was straight ahead.

And when I say straight ahead I mean straight head.  All the way until I turned off at Boston Spa.

Since that last trip together up the A1, they have bypassed all the roundabouts we used to have to negotiate.

As I drove - on my own on a long journey for the first time in several years - I could not help thinking about how it used to be with you there beside me.

The moments shared; the private thoughts voiced; the caress of your hand on my arm; or the soft touch of your fingers stroking the back of my neck.

Sadly all gone now.  Never to be repeated ever again; but never ever forgotten either.

When we were living in Guiseley, the A1 was always our preferred route up and down when heading to London, Norwich, later Hindlesham, or London and the south.  

Among those dozens of journeys, two stand out clearly in the memory.

The first was that Saturday morning - now ten years ago - when we left Guiseley to begin a new life down south again.  The car packed full of 'bits and bats', as they say in Yorkshire and both of us heavy with emotion. 

No home to go to and only the prospect of rented accommodation lay ahead.

But how well it all turned out - just as you were confident it would all along.

The other journey?

It's a sunny Friday morning in early February.  We were on our way up to Lincoln for Charlotte's wedding.   

We were making good progress up the M11 when your phone rang.

It was Charlotte, on her way to Lincoln with Ivan.

'Mum, you did pick up the dress, didn't you?
'Yes we went and got it this morning. It's behind me in its box on the back seat. Just relax.'   
A few more miles passed before your phone rang again.

'Mum. You're sure it's the right dress?
'Yes.  They showed it to me before they put it in the  box.  It's your dress.'
We drove on in silence, the radio turned right down.

I sized the moment to go over my speech which I had pretty well memorised.

I was nearly at the end of it, at the place where I was quoting from the lyrics from 'The Way You Look Tonight' when you decided to the radio up.

And there, right on cue, was Sinatra singing 'The Way You Look Tonight' and he was at the exact point I had reached in the lyrics.

We both looked at each other, laughed and you said, 'That's spooky.'

After that we knew the next day was going to be all right. 

Which it was.  But there were a few twists and turns still to come.

The song lyrics were of course for Charlotte on her special day.

But they apply now just as much to you, my love, as I think back over our life together. 

'Some day when I’m awfully low
And the world is cold
I will feel a glow just thinking of you
And the way you look tonight'

And, yes, I do get low at times.  But I also get the glow thinking about you and all the glorious precious moments we had together.

Will never ever stop loving you.

Miss you,