Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Pipe Dreams

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

My Darling E

When I was over in Ireland at the end of June, I was given lots of family photographs which people thought might be useful to me for the family 'memoir'.

Among them was this one, which my cousin M pulled out of her archives...

It dates back to our first year or so together and I suppose, as the eldest grandson, it somehow found its way into my grandmother's possession and then it was passed on down. 

Since it has come to light, there have been a few sharp comments that 'somebody' looks as if he is posing for the cover of a knitting pattern.

How little they know.

The sweater was from a knitting pattern we had chosen together, when you said you would like to knit a sweater for me.   The sweater was wonderful and I enjoyed wearing it for a very long time.

Don't think you repeated the effort of this labour of love, though.  We had much better things to do.

And the pipe?

Well that cherrywood one and several others were something I affected at the time.  Could never get on with them and, in those unenlightened days, they soon made way for the rare celebratory cigar and, for awhile, the pungent pleasure for both of us, of 'Disque Blue' cigarettes. 

Your pregnancies put an end to these, for good and all.

And the photograph?

Well that was taken by Phil M-L, a work colleague of mine in those far-off days in Finsbury Circus.

Phil and his wife (and I cannot recall her name) lived in a flat in Crouch End, just down the bottom from Muswell Hill.

They had a young baby and we were only too happy to volunteer for baby-sitting duties.

Like us, they were on a tight budget, so the question of payment never arose.

We were more than happy just to be able to spend time on our own.

Phil, a keen photographer, wanted to pay us back in some way so offered to take this 'portrait' for us to have. 

Phil was one of my then colleagues who had elected not to be relocated to Chesterfield in early 1964.  I unfortunately didn't as relocation was a condition of my getting the job in the first place.  We lost touch when I moved.

My 'exile' in the depths of Derbyshire didn't last more that six months, though.

As you will remember, neither of us could bear being apart, just seeing each other every other weekend.  

So I dumped the job and moved back to London - and to you.

It was one of the best decisions I ever made, apart from what I said to you that first night we met and, later, asking you to marry me.

The move opened up an entirely new career for me and a very different life that we were able to enjoy together for all the years since then.

It's funny how a long-forgotten photograph can stir up such pleasant and poignant memories from the past 

But then that's what I suppose I am doing every time I write to you. 

Photographs and memories are what I have to hang on to.

Miss you so.

And will do, For Ever



Sunday, 29 August 2010

Summer of '61

Sunday, 29 August 2010 

My Darling E

At the beginning of the week I went down to Somerset and stayed with M for a couple of days.

I have talked to her frequently on the phone since she was up here at the end of January.

It was good to see her and there was much to talk about - what has happened in the last couple of years and how we are learning to cope. 

B's passing has left a big gap in her life, just as yours has in mine.

Naturally, we talked lots about the past and looked at some of the photos I had taken down with me.

She had gone through some of her own for me to see.

Including these two from a long time ago...

They were taken at their then house in St Albans, when we had gone out there to see them one day, along with your mother and father.

The date on the back says 'September 61'.   
We had know each other just over a year by then - and were more than a little keen on each other.   

The evidence?

Can I remind you of these three small photographs, which you had held onto and which I came across again only recently.

They were from a small strip of photographs and on the back you have written, 'Taken at E Finchley 11.7.61'  

Know obviously what we were doing in that photo-booth at East Finchely tube station that day - but cannot for the life of me remember why we were there.

Clearly, your mother and father were not around on that occasion!

Miss you so - and those lovely kisses too.

Alway my love, for ever.


The Write Lines

Sunday, 29 August 2010 

My Darling E

As I mentioned last time, I'm looking forward to getting down to doing a lot more writing over the coming months. 

Not just the family memoir but also these letters to you, which I find so comforting.  And so good for stirring up lots of lovely memories. 

You will remember when we lived in Yorkshire, I created my own little 'writing space' on the return on the landing at the top of the stairs.  It was a good place to write. 

These are a couple of the photographs you took of that 'space' just before we moved down south - and my writing became sidelined by the new experiences that were ahead of us.

I was reminded of that old 'writing space' of mine when I stayed over at A and N's the weekend Adrian was doing his car-push attempt. 

As P and F were staying over as well I had the sofa bed in their office.  And there was my old office chair from Yorkshire, still in use.

So I thought it was time to out the finishing touches to having a dedicated 'writing space' for myself here at '28'.

The den looks a little different now.

The bookcases, computer desk and filing cabinet have all been 'freecycled' off to willing recipients.  In their place is a simple modern desk, wide enough to take everything I need.  

It has freed up lots more floorspace - for blow-up sleeping bags when the little ones come to stay.

This is how my desk space looks now...

It's clean and simple - and easy to keep tidy. Thought you'd appreciate that!  

I'm still surrounded by photographs as before; but much more precious ones now.

Would much prefer to have you here in person.  

In your absence, your photographs will motivate and inspire me - just as you always did during the years we were together.

Do miss you so much.

Yours, for ever,

Trevor xxx

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Moments from the Past

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

My Dearest Eileen

Came across these words recently.  They're from John Mortimer's memoir Clinging to the Wreckage'.
'The past is like a collection of photographs; some are familiar and on constant display, others need searching for in dusty drawers.'
Well, as you know, over the years we have accumulated a large collection of photographs from our time together.  As I go through them, sorting them out over the coming months, they will prompt lots of memories and reminiscences for me to share with you.  And I will.

But it's the ones I have rediscovered since you went away - not in a dusty drawer but in a battered old brown case - that I now I need to deal with as well.

They're the ones that came to me when my mother died. They have been sitting there, largely unopened and unexplored ever since.

Kane family photographs, lots of them, that go back to the long-ago time before we ever met - or I was born.

It will be fifty years ago next year since my father died   And over thirty five years since my mother passed away.

For their sakes - and for the sakes of Charlotte and Adrian, the grandchildren they never or barely knew - I want to put together a family 'memoir', filling in the background to the photographs and other memories, as best I can. 

This is why, after Nicola's wedding, I headed on up to Stranraer and crossed to Belfast on the ferry, to spend a couple of weeks over there, talking to people and tracking back over once familiar territory.

On the whole it was a good trip.  I collected some interesting recollections and stories about my father and I was able to borrow several albums with photographs.    

I stirred up some memories and learned some new things.  It would have been good to have you to share these with.  But of course that's no longer possible.  

Cannot tell you how much I really miss being able to talk to you at times like these.

I had taken my father's cups with me, the ones he won when he was the leading athlete of his day at school.  After Leslie and I had cleaned them up I took them back to the school and presented them to the Museum.  

The Curator was really pleased to receive them and has already made a special display of them - including some photographs of him that I took back as well - recording his athletic record while at the school.      

We are all really pleased he will be seen and remembered in this way.

There were some low moments.  Macosquin looked grey and dreary in the rain and the house looked unkempt and uncared for.

'Peruna' was even worse.  It's now hemmed by in the worst kind of 'cowboy' development and the quiet sand dunes and beach where, as boys, we  played long ago, have disappeared under an eyesore of holiday apartments.

The worst moment of all was going up to the graveyard on my last afternoon there.  

As I sat there in the sunshine, close to the graves of my parents and grandparents, and uncles and aunts, I could not help but be upset by all the people - and now especially you, my lovely Eileen - who have enriched my life and are now no longer part of it.

I was very glad I was completely alone for a while. 

There was, however, a little moment that did bring a smile through the tears.

Before heading up to the graveyard I had looked in vain for a flower shop in Portrush.

All I could find was a filling station with a very limited display.  I wanted something colourful and picked the one bright bunch they had.

As I was paying for them the lady on the till said, in her strong accent,  'Oh, I can see you have some really nice 'Orange' lilies there.'  

It was too late to change them as she had already rung them up.  And there wasn't much else.  So I took them. 

After I had laid them on their grave, feeling just a mite uncomfortable, I could see you beside me - a wistful smile on your face, that ever understanding twinkle in your eyes - and hear you saying:

'It doesn't matter any more - and it hasn't for a very long time.' 

All that mattered was that we had each other.   

Cannot tell you how much I miss having you with me.   

Will love you, for ever




Monday, 2 August 2010

Record Breaker

My Darling Eileen

You won't be surprised to learn that Adrian did what he set out to do in his attempt on the Guinness World Record for 'Pushing a Car' on Saturday.

He broke the existing record of 17.06 miles after 5 hours 45 minutes.

The first few meters  

After a short break and a small swig of champagne, he then went on and finished up pushing the car the full marathon distance of 26.2 miles.

His total time for that was an amazing 9 hours 20 minutes.

The course at St. John the Baptist School in Woking was perfect and big enough to lay out a circuit

With everything set up and the judges in position with stopwatches and log sheets Adrian started clocking off the laps starting at 09.26am

He set a nice steady pace which he was able to maintain right through the day, broken only by stops to change drivers and for rest breaks.  He needed to use a number of drivers as no driver was allowed to exceed a maximum of four hours.

Passing the judges at the end of Lap 8 

 A change of driver

Still going strong

There goes the record @ 15.32

255 laps (17.06 miles) completed


After breaking the record he pushed on to try and reach the marathon distance of 26.2 miles which he completed at 18.46.

Company on the last few laps

The Finish

Glad that's over 

Now back to a normal life 

A distance of 26.2 miles in 9 hours 20 minutes - a truly Marathon effort.

Now Adrian has to collect all the witness statements and other evidence and sent it off to Guinness World Records for it to be ratified.

He was tired after his efforts on Saturday night but was not too sore or aching.

No question of taking an extra day off.

He has gone back to work today after conducting a telephone interview on BBC Radio this morning at 7.25am!

I'm sure you would approve. 

So far he has raised well over £5000 and I'm sure there is more to come.

I am enormously proud of his efforts on your behalf and also the Stroke Association and World Cancer Research Fund.

I know you will be too.

Just to make sure everyone was aware of why we there and why Adrian was doing it, this poster was displayed around the course.

We all wish you could have been there.

Missed you so much.

Love you,

For ever