Posts tagged with “friend”

October 26

A shock and a sadness

I am still slightly reeling emotionally after sending an email copied to all the members of the reading group I can remember (or have addresses for) talking about Christmas and next year's reading list possibilities (hoping for J.P.Donleavy).

Then I heard from a fellow member that one of the most lovely members of the library staff died in August.  She had been ill for a little while apparently beforehand and although this must have overlapped with, maybe, some of the time she was there I had no inkling.  Nor had I heard anything of it from anyone else at the library or at the reading group...

But none of that matters really, it feels like nervous chatter.

What matters is that she was a lovely librarian, a sensitive and kind lady, someone who added a lot to my life with the library and I am certain for many others.  She will be missed and I do not know her personally enough to have much insight, but I sincerely hope it was peaceful at the end.  When I find out the condition or hospital/hospice which may have been involved then in absence of any instruction she may have left I shall make donation in her memory.

Normally, as you may be aware, I keep a limit on the personal nature of what features on this blog.  But since the theme is highly literary it does not seem I can ignore this and since the death has passed I am not sure what more I can do than recognise her absence and celebrate what she gave to mine and others lives - to the world.  At least she will not have to witness the cuts to the library service that seem imminent, cuts of some considerable severity no doubt .

Over the previous weekend I attended my first ever Quaker Meeting for marriage too - it was very special and I baked cake (along with five others!), breakfasted with everyone, worshipped, and witnessed along with perhaps sixty or seventy others (the certificate was HUGE!)... I say all of this because it makes the death a very stark contrast and at the same time brings into focus the Quaker advice to celebrate the life as you mourn the absence of a person.

And to top it off I have stopped smoking.  It is not so bad, I am confident of not relapsing to smoke again, but at the same time I am very conscious of how fragile life is, how easily we take our good health and lives for granted.

If I knew it would be appreciated at all I would dedicate this entry to the memory of the said Librarian.  But I think she would not like that.  Condolences to the comments would be most welcomed by myself though - that is just the sort of thing blogs are good for.  I shall even lay one in tribute myself, when I find a suitable poem (she liked poetry... I feel really sad about this.... but also hopeful that, so long as it was anonymous, she may have felt it was a good thing).

She will be missed and remembered by me and by others, she touched our lives and left them better for that.

07:22 AM | 2 Comments | Tags: , , , , , , , ,
October 08

Work, friends, and charity.

Today was undeniably a good day.  After taking my daughter to school and almost being late on account of a missing school jumper which was discovered at the eleventh hour to have been discarded under the hand brake the previous afternoon I meandered along to do a little work.  When I say work, this is not what you could call employment.  Once a week or so I help out a retired gentleman who is coming to grips with a laptop, email, and the internet.  He has made great strides and when I arrived was grappling with the BBC's radio "listen again" service.  I had thought this would be of interest to him earlier, so it was nice to see he had found the facility for himself.  A shame only one of the programs he wanted seemed to be available, we had to report the other missing.

On getting home I was getting ready to cycle over to Islington for a lunch with Marmite Lover, when I took a 'phone call.  I thought it would be a friend calling me back, but it turned out to be a telephone fund raising canvasser for the Childrens Society, whom I used to donate to in the past (when I was working).  I'm not ex-directory, but I had moved so I was mildly impressed they were organised enough to follow up on that.  I explained my circumstances, but at the same time the lady was most persuasive and told me that every five minutes a child "runs away".  I did say that I was not sure about statistics and that perhaps some of these children were not runaways, but returned home.  In any event, when there is no money coming in there is no money to give out, but I said I would give what I could as and when I could.  It occurred to me that something I could do was invite others to give though, so I promised her I would put a button and a link on my blog. So I have. It is there now.

It was a glorious day for cycling, bright sun but not too warm.  So the ride across London was a real pleasure.  I always try to vary my route and crossed Waterloo Bridge heading out and Blackfriars on my return.  Thanks to a mislaid Oyster card I had some time to kill around Chapel Street Market and managed to find a few things I needed going cheap.  Retail therapy always works best for me in charity shops and the like.  On this occasion I acquired some specs to keep the dust out when I cycle, a DVD for my daughter, some bargain teaspoons I can use for her packed lunches, and believe it or not my first Christmas present purchase!  I felt quite bad about that, it used to be a golden rule for me not to buy any presents or much else Christmas related until my birthday had passed on the twelth.  In any case, my daughters mum will be getting a bright pink labelling gizmo, which is brand new in a blister pack and was going for a fiver in a charity shop.  I always check out the charity shops in the more affluent areas, usually they have rich pickings.  An ex acquired me a leather jacket that way for five or ten pounds in Kensington and it's still going strong ten years on.

Sunshine and a half of beer and the prospect of lunch meant I was in a good mood when Marmite Lover turned up.  It's the first time I have met a fellow denizen of the blogosphere and it was great fun. Lunch was a pleasant Chinese buffet with some green tea.  We had plenty to talk about and a lot of shared memories.  I think she is the first person I have met who also saw The Rocky Horror Picture Show in the Kings Road with Tim Curry and Meatloaf.  My uncle took me when I was fourteen and I'm not sure I appreciated it at the time, but I do now.  We had even both had an American Burger nearby, back then such things were a novelty in London, perhaps simply from being similar ages and having parents who let us do pretty much what we wanted to.  We talked about all sorts of things, I found myself telling stories about my youth which I thought were fairly hum drum.  I'm not sure if that was just because to me they are old tales, things I have told friends and people before.  Perhaps to me these memories have become dulled by time.  She was quick to point out to me though that this would make really good subject matter for blog postings.  I cannot help but agree, there is no substitute for hearing from a reader, and another blogger probably gives you some real ideas.  I tend to regard her own blog as a pretty good role model for any aspiring blogger.

I have offered my technical assistance for adding buttons or widgets to her blog.  Of course the setup for is probably more restrictive than my own arrangement with the site hosted on my own server, but I can try out things and see what works.  I like it when I can offer to help people in return for their feedback.  The world would go around a lot more smoothly with a little more cooperation and a little less competition I think.  I keep draft posts pinned on my blog with lists of things it occurs to me to poat about.  These lists seem to get longer and longer though!  Immediately I got back from lunch I dashed off a list of some eight ideas, all of which had come up in conversation over lunch.  So I shall be aiming to make a few nostalgic posts in the future, to ge out of the rut of the hum drum accounts of another day.  Today was a good day and I wanted to just write about it.  It's really nice when you think you've found a new friend.  It's really nice when the sun shines on you.  And it's nice when you feel that your efforts are actually getting you somewhere.

Tomorrow I have to sign on.... I have been wondering what they would say at the job centre in November if I told them I was writing a novel when they asked how my job hunt was going?  I am still not receiving my full benefits despite sending a statement to Belfast THREE times... this is since July, so I am hoping they will backdate it whenever they finally deal with my revised circumstances.

10:27 PM | 0 Comments | Tags: , ,