The silence is overwhelming…

We’re back at N’s Dad’s. But it’s not N’s Dad’s house now. It’s A’s, his wife’s. His widow’s. Today we planned a funeral. Not the first time I’ve helped plan a funeral (the first was my Grandmother’s. A different sort of affair – neither Mum nor I were particularly upset: she was 92, and while she was always loving to me, she wasn’t so loving to Mum). Won’t be the last. Will be, like these thing should be, a good send off.

The silence is almost oppressive. No snores from the next room. No Radio 2 filling the gaps. He is not here.  He really is not here. All the medical stuff is gone, at last. All the phone numbers on the board. There’s more boxes of tissues in case of need. The house is full of him, and it’s full of people: but he is not here.

If I Should Go – Joyce Grenfell

If I should go before the rest of you
Break not a flower nor inscribe a stone
Nor when I’m gone speak in a Sunday voice
But be the usual selves that I have known
Weep if you must
Parting is hell
But life goes on
So sing as well.

xxx

I am determined to be positive

Possibly in an extremely PollyAnnaish stick-my-head-in-the-sand manner. However, there is diddly-squat that I can do about the fact that N’s Dad has taken a sharp deterioration, and hasn’t been responsive for some days now.  We’re still sitting, working at his dining table (it’s Wednesday), and I’ve been in for a little chatter (his friend Sparrer has got ferrets and had sent a photo! I got very excited about this…). He’s just there. Peacefully lying there. Not snoring anymore, which I rather miss as a sound effect. Just a bit like an empty shell. I think the end is in sight.  Definitely peacefully. Which is a mercy.

So. I’ve been spinning. Look:

Early Attempts

It looks like poo!

Second stab

 After a bit more time

 

I got a bit better when Nikki-On-Facebook told me about staple lengths, and I grasped that I needed to pay attention to how long the fibre is, and how much I pull it out at any one go, and how much crossover you need in the fibre lengths.. I’m getting a bit bored of navy (I have some pale pink, some natural, and a bit of flame red-and-yellow roving to play with. Only the last of these can be described as anything other than desperately pedestrian). I have bought a little of this. I’m still at the park-and-draft stage, but occasionally, I manage to let the spindle spin, and pull fibre out while it’s spinning. I do like this Tour de Fleece malarkey.

I’ve also been knitting. Booties for the WebDev’s baby (which was due on Friday), for my favourite PM’s baby (due in December). Then there’s a cardi for Nikki-On-Facebook’s baby (I have shelved cardigan #1, I hate it. Baby is now over a month old), a toy for N’s sister’s baby (due December), and something for J’s baby (due December). And wristlets for me, in some rather fancy silk-mix stuff bought by the lovely L.  Socks for Eff. I finally finished my wedding shawl. Lookit? N’s seen it…

20140714_231010

 

20140714_231314 20140714_231237 

 

 

Wedding shawl

 

I’ve stopped doing Brownies – I’m now “just” Div Com. I’m hoping that the guidemin will thus remain at a sensible level, rather than threatening to overwhelm as it so frequently has for the past year or so. Between guidemin, and wedmin, it’s often daunting to look at my inbox, and I’ve developed a tendency to run away from it. Must choose a date for the leaders’ weekend away. And book it.

xxx

Good Lord

Is everyone pregnant right now? Two days, and two happy announcements.  There has to be something in the water west of Watford.

My apologies. The ticking noise is probably so loud that you can hear it from where you are…Meanwhile, three baby items to knit due in December and January. And another in about October, and another for next week (and another’s already arrived, but was much bigger than I anticipated, so needs a different garment!).

On the plus side, I have finished my wedding shawl. Pictures when it’s not dark, and I’ve got the camera out. I did take some on the phone for Ravelry. They are godawful pictures. The shawl itself is quite impressive.

xxx

If anyone wants me, I’m reading

Specifically, I’m reading “Rabbit at Rest”, “The Virgin in the Garden”, and what appears to be Frankie Howerd’s copy of “Professor Branestawm’s Perilous Pudding”. No. Really. It’s got a dedication in the front, and reads “To Frankie Howerd, with best wishes for a speedy recovery, Norman Hunter”. I’ve a second signed Professor Branestawm book (yes, I have two – I was trying to verify the signature, and it was cheap), so I know the Norman Hunter bit really is the real deal. However, I have no idea what the connection between the two gentlemen was. Other than that both made people laugh.  Titter ye not.

The Branestawm book, incidentally, is the only book that has literally made me laugh out loud this year. Happiness is silliness.

I was going to write a Saturday List yesterday, which is now somewhat uncharacteristic of me. Instead I merely got on with it all. Casualties of the dyeing-the-old-guide-skirt process (skirt came out very well, as did the pyjamas) were the white sheets that were on the bed. These are now splattered with dye dustings, and a bit polka dot. Very fashionable. However, since one generally has one’s eyes shut in bed, or it’s dim light time, or first thing in the morning and a tearing hurry to get out of the bed and get to work, I’ve concluded that I don’t need to worry too much. I’ll be buying some more dye and turning the sheets a shade of blue at some point. This will be very weird. I haven’t had coloured sheets on my bed since I moved out of P. Street.

Otherwise, the last of the wedding invitations are going out this week. N is finally on anti-biotics for what has to be the longest bout of gastroenteritis (caused by campylobacter – a sample was dropped off, and it took about a week to get the result) ever, and looks much perkier but has next to no physical energy.

I did a half marathon last week, in my slowest time ever, but, in my defence, stopped to deal with a collapsed fellow runner en route at 12.88 miles. I didn’t do much dealing. Got him down flat, and then into the recovery position, and left him with the paramedics. I gather he was probably OK after it all – much anxious scanning of the news pages suggests that no-one died as a result of running the Hackney Half! It was extremely warm. My aim was to get round without stopping, without walking, and without having an asthma attack. I more-or-less (apart from the collapsed runner) did that, so I was fairly pleased with myself. There was no point in flogging myself. I felt pretty dire for the rest of the day anyhow, with the traditional post-half-marathon-headache. It was also the very first race where I’ve not had someone to come and watch, or run with me, ever, and the one race where I could really have done with more than text message support (N was superb at that). I found out after that Long Tall Chris that I shared a flat with was also running the race – had I known, I’d have arranged to meet up, and that would have helped with the adrenaline from the stopping to help the runner. As it was, I had solo tea, a lovely conversation with a lass in the Macmillan Tent (they are always lovely in the Macmillan Tent), who supplied me with water and a Mars Bar, and a trip home on the slightly overly air-conditioned overground.  I feel I really deserved this particular medal.

I’ve finished a pair of socks for me, and started some for Eff. I’ve also got some for L on my list, but cannot for the life of me remember the shade of wool she’d like, so need to ask again. I also need to sort out some Pay It Forward packages. I now have books for the recipients, but I feel the need to put something hand made in. Or maybe just chocolate to enjoy with the books (is it every “just” chocolate?!). However, more pondering is required, I think.

I do like that WordPress auto-saves drafts. I accidentally closed the window on this thing part way through the longest paragraph. And I only lost hlaf a sentence.

Here. Have a photo of an alpaca with a rad haircut, and the latest socks:

2014-06-26 12.58.04 2014-06-29 13.37.21

xxx

We went to The Palace

It was fabulous. K invited me to be her plus one for a Buckingham Palace Garden party, so of course I said yes within about three nanoseconds of being asked. I’ve wanted to go to a Buckingham Palace Garden party since I was about fourteen, just because. I’ve been round the Palace gardens on a tour with the Carlton Club, I’ve been to the Royal Warrant Holders’ party event with my parents’, so I feel that I know the gardens themselves well. However, a proper Garden Party, with a Stiff White Invitation with Raised Printing (yes, just like my wedding invitations) hadn’t happened. And N no longer has access to the system that he built to organise the invitations for such events, so we couldn’t jemmy me in. Not that we would. But oh, the temptation!

We made a day of it, in our smart Guiding uniforms. We had lunch at Claridges, and, I will say, this was hands down the best gluten-free dining experience I have ever had. “What on the menu is gluten free, please?” “Oh, just choose anything, and we will make it gluten-free, madam.” We may have had the fixed price lunch (three courses, £35, then coffee and wine), but they treated us like everyone else, and, indeed, just made everything gluten-free for me. I’m going back there. I may range round the menu a bit more next time. It may become expensive.ImageImageImageImage

(they have a long rope of marshmallow from which they cut slices. Four different flavours. Yum)

And then, we went to the Palace. Selfie outside to go on the Division Twitter Feed, photo with a Jolly Guardsman, in his Jolly Coat, with his Jolly Buttons to his Jolly Throat. The heavens opened. We opened our brollies and sheltered people nearby. Simon Hughes introduced me to Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall (a surprisingly deep voice, and you would not have thought she could be any more horsey in person than she comes across on the telly, but she is. Her lovely silk suit was soaked, and she can’t have been comfortable. It didn’t show at all). We met some Guides, and recruited a new leader, we met some scouts, mayors, holders of the Empire Medal. It’s lovely how a Guide Uniform makes you approachable. As someone entirely socially inept, I like the help it gives me, although I’m always conscious that I must be on my best possible behaviour in it.

ImageImage

 

(hours later, the button exploded off my left shoe. I’ve had those shoes since I was 17, and I’m determined to get them mended!)

Quite frankly, it’s the most exciting event of the year so far. It would be the most exciting event of the year, but for my wedding, which I anticipate is going to be even more exciting. Particularly since two of my Canadian Cousins are now coming over. They had a trip planned for October, then J’s third husband got carried off by Lymphoma three weeks ago (boo. Sodding Cancer), and they brought it forward. They’ve changed the dates again to come to my wedding, and this means I have an unprecedented eight members of my family (including myself) at the wedding. This is the biggest family reunion since my christening! There’s only the cousins in Norfolk, who don’t talk to us (we don’t know why, we tried) plus my Aunt and Cousin (insert whole can of worms which will be left firmly shut) who don’t really talk to my Mum and vice versa, left. All those on Dad’s side… I do send cards to my Aunt at Christmas. Mostly because I don’t want to be the impolite one.

I’m sitting in slightly lonely state at N’s Dad’s – who is rather perkier than he’s been recently, and was actually awake when I got here, which was rather nice. Poor N has gastroenteritis. I bought a thermometer yesterday, and then wished I hadn’t. A temeperature of 39.9C is, well, scary. It came down with paracetamol. He thinks he might try eating something today. Maybe. He’s got lucozade, rehydration drinks, ice lollies and the complete Sandman to read, and he’s staying put in bed until he’s better. I believe that once you’ve made your way through all the Sandman books, you’re better. Mostly because my re-reading them seems to coincide with my being ill, and it always takes longer to read them than it does to be ill.

I think I’ve avoided it. I do hope so. He started being ill on Sunday, and it’s now Wednesday, so I think I’m in with a fairly good chance here. Plus there’s been lots of handwashing and loo-cleaning going on. All hail the Dettol Loo Wipe, which makes one feel fairly secure. All hail plain old soap too. And, all hail the fact that for the first time in weeks, I’ve had enough time to paint my finger nails. I had a moment of epic selfishness last night, and did them after having run two DBS checks, collected stuff from Boots for N, and looked after him a bit (which involved another trip out to the supermarket for Lucozade). There was a point on Saturday where I was just totally fed up with being Div Com and I wanted my life back. It passed over OK. I was just a bit over-Guided. I had some B-vitamins and some iron tablets, and they seem to have helped.

xxx