Friday, 31 January 2014


Friday morning came bleary eyed after a poorly boy had kept us awake until 4am and with it brought a toddler so full of fever he was red as a berry. Temperature plus 39 we stripped him off, dosed him with ibuprofen and his antibiotics and let him lay on the bed as we got ready. Finally dressing him in the lightest of clothes, his fever having thankfully already dropped the high 37s, we had to bundle him into the car and set off to St John's.
Within seconds of moving off George vomited all over himself and his car seat.
Cue mad dash back into the house, stripping him off again and cleaning him and seat as best we could. wrapping him in a blanket in case of further sickness we rushed back out again and to the church. I had already thought it would be better for me to attend alone, but this sickness was the final confirmation I needed that it was the best idea and I told Jon he must go back to the barn and look after George. Very sad as I knew he was desperate to support me at the funeral, but as things worked it it was all for the best.

St John's is a beautiful old church, tucked in amongst housing which has sprung up on all sides and with beautiful flint stonework, it has been 'refurbished' inside to give it multiple uses (aka-pews removed and replaced by plastic chairs) but it still retains it's charm with glorious fresco's, stained glass and a huge chandelier the like of which I've never seen before. I met Paul and Laura outside and we went in and met Margaret the lay preacher who would be conducting the service, then two ladies from the care home arrived and shortly after them, the funeral director. John's coffin was carried in on the shoulders of four immaculately dressed pall bearers from Richard Steele associates. They treated him with such care and respect I was really moved, and thought it was especially nice that they remained for the service. 
Margaret spoke with kindness and humour and Paul read his lesson from Lamentations. We spoke the Lord's prayer together and then with the same silent respect they removed the casket to the hurse. 
From here we went to the cemetery at Magdelen Hill, a short drive in the limo down the Alresford Road, and a real taste of the farmland my Dad must have known as a child, the woods he must have poached in and the lanes he must have walked. 
I've never been to an interment before, but must say I found it to be incredibly peaceful and natural and full of care and respect. Margaret read the words we all know 'earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust...' and the pall bearers lowered the casket into the grave. We were offered a dish of dry earth to throw into the grave and first Paul and the Laura did so. I asked the lovely funeral director John Barton-Rumbold could I cast a flower in, and he chose me a beautiful full bloomed rose from the arrangement. I said goodbye then as I let go the flower and stepped back from the graveside. 
Our journey back in the limo felt like a relief, we'd done the very best we could for Uncle John, worn our best clothes, said our prayers and bid our farewell's to the earth. 

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

To buy or not to buy...

So, I got some money for Christmas and Birthday, and I really need a new bag (the one I use day to day dates back to 2002) and I really love leather satchels. So the question is, do I buy one? I've never spent this much money on a bag before, but then it is handmade and should last for many a year. To buy or not to buy? To satchel or not to satchel? and anyway...what colour...? I like the traditional brown, the red, the green, and the yellow but I keep coming back to this burnt orange.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Meditation monday

We have moved venue from above Innovation to the Yoga Centre where Kath holds her wonderful Gong baths, and I think the change of time and location meant we lost some of our group in the telling, at least for this week. The session was still very valuable to me, especially with the funeral and visit to Newman homeland approaching. This week we considered our deep rooted connection to the earth and our place upon it. Where we sit and what passes between us. How better to continue thinking about it than to take some time to look at the water and the trees on the walk to meet Jon.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Still here

For anyone that occasionally reads this, I am still here,I will backtrack and in-fill the gaps but my hiatus has been due in effect to a pretty disastrous Christmas and not the the best start to the year. Husband Jon was so so so so ill for over a month with a chest infection which became bronchitis. Five lots of antibiotic, steroids, inhalers, chest x-rays and finally a combination antibiotic that made him better. On top of which he had a fevers, colds, gastroenteritis... It was *horrible* and had me very very worried about him and very much at sea. This came on top of my having yet another dose of tonsilitis and, very sadly, having my Uncle admitted to hospital with pneumonia on Christmas eve and being told he probably wouldn't make it through the night. We edged through Christmas, Jon got worse, George went to stay with Sharon for a couple of days to give us a rest, then New Year Eve arrived and brought me another bout of tonsil doom - this time a really chronic one with such pain I was in bed before ten - my only nod to the change of year being when Jon and George came up with drinks (baileys for us, milk for George) and put the countdown on and we all sat up in bed and watched the fireworks. New Years Day and another call from the hospital like Christmas Eve, probably not going to make it, sorry. More days ebbed past, I lost my voice from the tonsilitis and couldn't even ring the hospital for updates anymore. A week went by and I spoke to the consultant, the news for my Uncle was very grave, as despite having survived the pneumonia his health and mind were failing and he could no longer swallow. I was told there was no more they could do for him and asked permission to remove his feeding tube, the weekend passed and they removed it on the Monday, I went to my first meditation class that afternoon, my one resolution being to try and gain some inner peace this year. It helped me feel calmer than I had in weeks, and I'm thankful it did. That night my Uncle passed away, drifting softly into sleep. Delivered from having to be moved to a palliative care hospice and allowed to deteriorate, he died peacefully at 4am. Since then there's been sadness, but also that path of practicality that you have to tread after a death. Paperwork, phone calls, solicitors, bank; In the midst of which I had a birthday, visited my brother for the first time in almost four years and had some doughnuts from krispy kreme. The funeral is a week tomorrow and we leave for Winchester on the Thursday, staying in a little cottage in nearby Twyford. I hope all goes as smoothly as possible and that with the beginning of February we can start 2014 properly.

Newman, Frederick John.

The death announcement for my dear Uncle John in the Hampshire Chronicle - a man I never met but with whom I had a correspondence of almost 30 years. My darling Dad's middle brother and the longest lived and last of the Newman family.

From last Halloween during the pumpkin making at his incredible care home, Old Alresford Cottage. Always smart in his jacket, shirt, tie and jumper.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

At peace

Uncle John passed away this morning at 4am.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Meditation beginning

My first meditation session with Kath this lunchtime was exactly what I needed at a time when my mind is in a real spin. We spent an hour quieting our minds with a focus on loving kindness. A small but friendly group including my old counsellor Kris who it was a real pleasure to see. I left the session feeling lighter of heart than I had in a long time. I know there are difficult things to come but this too shall pass. 

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Guy Martin or In lieu of the Dakar

I usually post about the Dakar at the beginning of January but with everything that's been going on I've only kept a weather eye on it - enough to see that Marc Coma has done it again on his KTM. No Pavey this year, who I always enjoy following, but perhaps he might be back next time. In lieu of all that I've been watching another biker, TT racer, daredevil and mechanic Guy Martin, in his programme Speed, and via YouTube catching up with his series The Boat that Guy built. I love that he's so very very down to earth, has great respect for British engineering and manufacturing (think Fred Dibnah on a motorbike) and cites tea as his favourite drink. Let's also not overlook the obvious, the man is very easy on the eye if you like that kind of thing, which I do. Am I right chief?