Sunday, 19 December
My Darling E
In spite of everything, we still managed to have a traditional 'Linehan Family' get together this year.
Thought you would be pleased - and gratified - to know that we haven't allowed the tradition to lapse.
We had left it quite late and it wasn't really until the 'girls' got together when they all met up here on the '25th' that plans began to be put in place.
Sunday, the 5th December, your 'birthday', seemed a most appropriate day and so it turned out.
Thanks to Andy P, those of us who could make it met up for lunch at the Bakers Arms on the road out of Stock.
Not everyone could be there. Like last year, winter now seems to have got into the habit of turning up before Christmas and it was quite snowy. Others had prior engagements.
Nevertheless, there were well over twenty of us: Maggi and Peter; Claudia, Andy, Chloe and Thomas; Alex, Ellen, Robert and Andrew; Matt, Liz, Isobel and Yvie; and us of course.
Food was good and the service was excellent. We had the restaurant section pretty well to ourselves. Only slight problem was that we had to be out by three or so to let another party in.
By this time the main part of the pub was in full session so there was nowhere to sit and chat, or let the little ones run around.
And with the weather closing in again, most people wished to be on their way.
It was pleasant, if a little low key.
But I suppose that was always going to be inevitable this year.
And a far cry from the early days of getting together at '74', or the later sequence of high-spirited annual 'house' parties that moved each year from Barnet to Bury, Norwich to Newbury, Hindlesham to Guiseley to Henstridge, then back to Barnet again, before finding a more or less regular 'home' somewhere in and around Billericay.
But at least we have kept the tradition going.
Know you will be pleased with that, as keeping it alive meant so much to you when you were here.
Wasn't quite the same without you. But things are never going to be the same ever again.
And that's something we are all having to adapt to.
Do wish we didn't have to as we miss you so much.
Will love you