Saturday, 25 September 2010

Lucky Boy

Saturday, 25 September 2010

My Darling E

It was a quiet and laid-back morning that Saturday, forty-five years ago today.

I had stayed at Maggi's overnight and slept very well.

No nerves at all, considering we were getting married at one o'clock that afternoon.

My 'tails' and top hat were there ready, hanging behind the bedroom door.  

I read Claudia a couple of stories, then shaved and showered before going down to breakfast.

Later in the morning, I popped up to Barnet to send 'that' telegram.

At mid-day I dressed and was driven to the church.

As one o'clock approached, I took up my position in the front pew, my best man, Leslie beside me. 

A few minutes later, my mother, sitting in the pew behind, reached forward tapped me on the shoulder and whispered, 'Eileen's arrived.'

I knew you were in the church and getting ready for the walk up that long aisle. 

I didn't look around. 

I wanted my first sight of you in your wedding dress to be really special.

Again my mother tapped me on the shoulder.

'You're a very lucky boy,' she said.

Just then the organ started. 

This time I did look around.

What I saw took my breath away.

You looked so beautiful and so radiant.  

The nearer you came up the aisle, the more your eyes locked on mine, as mine did on yours. 

The smile on your face mirrored the one on mine.

Those smiles and the those looks said what we both realised since the moment we met.

We were meant for each other.



That was then.  This is now.

It's our forty-fifth wedding anniversary today. 

And, for the first time ever, we will not be together to celebrate it.

But let's not be sad; let's be glad we shared the years we did. 

The fun, the laughter, the ups and downs, the highs and the odd tear - particularly at the end.

Over the years, I have never forgotten what my mother said to me on my wedding day, as I waited for you to walk up the aisle to be by my side. 

Or how right she was.

Lucky to met you the way I did. 

Lucky we realised instantly there was something there between us.

And lucky we were able to work so hard together to turn it into something really special.

We meant everything to each other.   

Husband and wife obviously. 

But so much more than that.

Friends, soul-mates, partners in everything we did.  Trusted confidants for all our secret thoughts, ambitions, fears and pleasures.

You were such a part of my life.  How could I not miss you now the way I do.

As the song - 'our' song - says:     
When I fall in love
It will be forever,
Or I'll never fall
In love. 
Well, we did fall in love all those years ago.

And it will be forever, my lovely girl.

Do love you so.

For Ever



Friday, 24 September 2010

A Little Detour...

24 September 2010

My Lovely Girl

It's late on a dull and windy Friday afternoon. 

Looking through the television listings for tonight I spotted something that took my mind racing back to another Friday afternoon. 

One exactly 45 years ago today - almost to the minute.

Back then, on that long-ago Friday, you and I were busy with final preparations for our wedding the following day.  

Everything was pretty well under control - for the wedding and our honeymoon abroad. 

Wedding dress and outfits ready, car and flowers ordered, suitcases packed, travellers cheques and foreign currency bought, and your 'new' passport with the registrar, ready for handing over after the ceremony.  

All the last minute things were nicely in place. 

Or so it seemed.

W and P were bringing my mother over with them.  They had said they would be with us in Muswell Hill around three to three-thirty.

All I had to do then was follow W and P up to town, get them checked into their hotel, and then run W round to Moss Bros to pick up his suit.

After that, it was back to your place to pick up my mother and take her down to Chislehurst, where she was staying with B and T. 

Then it was back to Barnet where I was to spend the night.

No chance of seeing my lovely bride-to-be until we met at the alter.

Neither of us would ever forgot that afternoon.

Three o'clock came and went.  As did three-thirty.  Then four o'clock.. and four thirty.  It was fast approaching five when they eventually turned up.

Knowing that Moss Bros closed at six, I raced W and P up to town and got there just as they were shutting the doors.  

On the way driving down to Chislehurst, I quietly queried my mother on why they were so late arriving.  

Was it traffic or a breakdown?  Or did they get lost somewhere?

It turned out to be none of these things.

On the way down they had seen signs for the then, newly-opened Coventry Cathedral and just thought it would be nice to go and see it as they were passing.

By then it was dark.  She never got to see the reaction on my face. 

Well, as you know, I got her to Chislehurst and made my way back to Barnet, much later than expected.

Still, everything turned out fine the next day.

And the programme tonight?

It's called 'Climbing Great Buildings'.  

It involves someone climbing the outside of well-known buildings and talking about their architecture.

Tonight it features - you've guessed it - Coventry Cathedral.

I doubt it's something we would have watched together. 

And I won't either.

Too many memories to think about tonight, from the last wonderful forty-five years.

Miss you so, my love.

Yours, for ever.


Been Here Before

23 September 2010

Mr Darling Eileen

Ultrasound scans don't always deliver the best of news - as we both well know.

This one was different though.

On Monday, I went with Charlotte and Ivan to Hillingdon Hospital.  Caitlin and Reuben came too.

It was the first chance the two of them had to see their new baby sister or brother.

Thought you would like to know that Charlotte is now just over 20 weeks pregnant - with 'our' fifth grandchild - and she and the baby are doing fine.

She told me back in June, just before I went to Ireland.

But, as you would have been, I have holding back the good news until I was sure everything was going well.

So say 'hello' to your new grandchild...

Caitlin and Reuben both want a baby brother.

Charlotte and Ivan don't mind which, as long as the baby is healthy.

That's what I feel too.

Amid all this excitement there is just one tiny regret.  That's that the new arrival will never ever get to meet its wonderful Oma.

But I promise I will tell him, or her, all about you.

Sad that you won't be around to share in the excitement and joy of a new arrival, as you were with Darcy, Caitlin, Reuben and, more recently, Harriett. 

I would like to think that you are aware - and watching over us to make sure  everything works out just fine.

Your sense of knowing what is the right thing to do, and when to do it, is one of the legacies you have left us - and me, in particular.

So often now, I find I am asking myself what would Eileen have said or done.

You may no longer be around but you have never left us - or ever will.

Love you so much.

For ever, 


Sunday, 19 September 2010


Saturday, 18 September 2010

My Darling E

This what I now sit and look at when I'm writing to you.

It's that bit easier having these three special photos of you in front of me for company when I do.

I had been trying to think which of the many photographs I have of you to use. 

Then I found the inspiration I was looking for when I was at Charlotte and Ivan's a couple of months ago. 

That was when I spotted this lovely image of you in their lounge...

When I returned home I made contact with Lawrence, the photographer who covered Nikki and Adrian's wedding.

When I explained what I was looking for - and why - he put the wedding album back up on the internet, so that I could look at it again.

These are the three photos I chose...

Naturally, I took them along to Daniel to have them framed.

Hadn't been in touch with him for a while.  Not since he made those frames for us when we were doing those exhibitions.

When I explained about the photographs he was very sympathetic and understanding.

He told me he had lost the young lady who was his business partner at Terra Firma.

Same symptoms, same diagnosis and sadly, the same outcome.

So he knew what we both had been through.

He has done a really good job on them and they look lovely, hanging on the wall above me as I write. 

Like now. 

I love them all but particularly the one were you are looking up and laughing. 

You look so natural and so full of life.  Just as you always were.

Cannot tell you how much I miss that.

Love you so.

For ever,



Birthday Girl

Sunday, 5 September 2010  

My Lovely Eileen

Adrian and Nikki left today on holiday with Darcy and Harriet.  They are all flying out to Portugal and have taken a villa there for two weeks. 

Hope they have a good time and that the girls enjoyed their first trip on an aeroplane.  Cannot wait to hear about it when they get back.

As it is Darcy's birthday while they are away, they had a party for her last Thursday.  There was no way they could have taken all her many presents with her.  

Darcy looked really special in her party dress...

The kids had a terrific time and the weather was warm enough for them to be outside most of the time.

The people next door to A&N have moved to the US.  As they could not take all their children's toys with them, A&N now have a super 'Bouncy Castle'.  

It went down a treat as you can imagine...

Here are just some of the photographs that Charlotte and I took that day...

Darcy tries on one of her presents 

Caitlin in party mood

Harriet joins in the fun

Where did all these balls come from? 

Cake Time

Many Happy Returns

Reuben likes cake

Where's my cake?

Piggy-back time

It's been a lovely party!


After the party was over and all the guests had gone, I stayed behind for a little while before heading home.

It gave me a chance to see Darcy on her own and read her a story once she was in bed.

As Nikki was getting her into her PJs, Darcy looked at us and said very seriously 'I'm Darcy and...I'm whingy'.

'That's good to know,' I said, like Nikki trying very hard not to laugh.


As you can see she is growing up so fast.

It is difficult to think she is now three.  Difficult, too, not to look back to the day she was born...

 ...and what has happened since then.

Darcy really misses her lovely Oma.  But then we all do.

On days like that it is especially difficult not having you around.

For me - make that every day.

Love and miss you so much.

For ever


Friday, 3 September 2010

Bath Time

Friday, 3 September 2010 

My Darling E

Every time I visit Adrian and Nikki's, as I did yesterday, I never fail to look out for a photograph that's pinned on their noticeboard in the kitchen.

It's this one...

It was taken in Bath during Nikki's 'Hen' Weekend, almost four years ago to the day.

These other photographs capture the enjoyment you had that weekend.

So here's to you my love...

I'm glad you enjoyed that weekend so much.

Delighted, too, that your efforts in tracking down those pheasant feathers achieved the desired results.

It's lovely to look back - but it remind me how much we miss you, your smile and your laughter.     

Love you.

For ever,