Wednesday, September 27, 2006

I need a little TLC!

I shall be away for a few days tomorrow; away from the pain of 26 years ago.
I'm going to try and enjoy the break in the company of a very dear friend who can always cheer me up. She's one in a million and yes, the old champers will, no doubt, be flowing!
The only bad thing about the trip is the drive down there. I can enjoy driving 300 miles to Scotland for a holiday but the Brighton run, especially the M25/M23, is so very tiring. I think that every idiot who has ever owned a car is out on those roads!!!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

A sad time

It was on this day on September 20th 1980, that Iris went into hospital in a vain attempt to halt the tumour on her brain. There was no need to operate; there was no point.
The doctors told me that Iris had only a very short time to live. Every day I went to the hospital. Sometimes, I stayed there all night, just being there for her; sitting by her bedside holding her close to me. She stayed there for just a few days until her death on October 3rd when she died in my arms.
Every year, I feel a terrible anguish around this time and I re-live the nightmare over and over again. I can’t help it; I have to suffer the pain and heartache that I suffered all those years ago. I have never really got over her death. I still can’t come to terms with the fact that I will never see her again. I keep her memory alive in my poetry and in this blog. When I talk about her, when I write about her, it eases the sorrow. It is my way of keeping her immortal; it is my way of still being there with her. Iris was in love with me for eight years; I have been in love with her for over thirty!
I envy religious people at times like these. They can take comfort in a belief that loved ones will meet again. As an atheist, I am denied that comfort. This is just as well, for if I were a believer, I would curse God for being the bastard who took her away from me!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


I’m back from a few days away in Scotland.
I went to a part of the country I hadn’t seen for almost 30 years. Some of the places brought back happy memories. I by-passed Gretna though, I couldn’t go there again, it would have been too much!
I stayed at a couple of decent pubs, the food was excellent and the local company very friendly. Weather was warm and sunny for the most part and no rain.
On the way up to Girvan, I came across a very interesting place in Creetown. It was an archaeological museum with a collection of various precious and semi-precious stones from around the world.. I got a few souvenirs for a couple of friends, one of whom collects stuff like this. I got some samples of haematite ore, tiger-eye, amethyst, jade and amber.
Amber is a fossilized resin that has been secreted from pine trees. In some pieces, there are the preserved remains of insects and tiny leaves thousands of years old.
Amethyst is reputed to have magical properties and can cure homesickness, evil spirits and drunkenness. The crystals are formed within a hollow rock and look very colourful.
I didn’t forget another old friend. He shares with me an all-consuming passion for good single-malt whisky. I brought some back for both of us!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Off again!

Once more, the call of the haggis and the scent of the heather beckons me to return to Scotland for a few days. It’s only a flying visit but I’m going to an area I haven’t been to since 1978.
There’s a plethora of places to see and to enjoy and I reckon that it will mean another trip in the near future as there won’t be nearly as much time to spend there as I would have preferred.
I’m going to Girvan in south Ayrshire, a place I know absolutely nothing about. I just picked up a map a few days ago and for no reason at all, decided to go there!
There is, I suppose, an ulterior motive for returning to Scotland; I appear to be running low on decent malt whiskies. It’s a good excuse to stock up!
I shall be back next Thursday with a few pics and a yarn or two. Until then, dear readers, t.t.f.n.!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

A hiccup in the system...

I went to my blog yesterday to post the latest comment and to my horror found that it had gone!
Disappeared, vanished, vamoosed, sodded off, absquatulated, completely absent, etc!
I wondered what the hell was wrong; I re-booted but no go. I tried a different search engine; again, no luck. I used 'System Restore' to no avail. I cussed and swore but that didn’t do much good either.
I contacted my personal “PC sorter” who offered some advice. She went to my blog and found it without any difficulty. This was, indeed, good news; all was not lost! She suggested I download Mozilla and make that my preferred search engine.
Nope, Mozilla couldn’t find the url. Before today, I thought that Mozilla was a brand of cheese!
Finally, by swapping and changing, I managed to locate the blog but it was in a different format than before. The font size was much smaller. Later, I managed to access the blog from I.E. and got it in its original form. I saved it to ‘Favourites’ and it seems to have worked.
Thanks anyway S, for your patience with me when I was just about ready for defenestrating the PC!
I owe you a big one!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Her favourite poem

I wrote this poem for Iris a few days after we were ‘married’ in Scotland. I’m so glad that it survived because it was her favourite. It epitomises her as she was then and, in my heart, as she is now and always will be.

To my darling Iris; I love you so very much! July 1974.

If I should chance to live for a thousand years,
No love like yours would ever be so tender sweet.
No other passion would bring forth the tears
Of joy; would make my every waking day complete.

The gentlest rain that falls upon the land
Does not compare with kisses from your angel face.
No zephyr breeze caresses softer than your hand,
Nor radiant sun be warmer than your soft embrace.

No artist’s brush can capture all your charm,
Nor can it paint the magic in your sparkling eyes.
No taste of wine can match those lips so warm,
So warm, my love as they meet mine, ‘tis paradise.

And sleeping, do I dream of you each night,
Such visions of your beauty through my thoughts do run.
But dreams will fade and vanish with the early light,
Not you, my love, you’re there beside me in the morning sun.

Monday, September 04, 2006

"Will you take this woman...?"

I mentioned a couple of times in the past that one day, Iris and I got married. This caused quite a bit of comment and I have had several e-mails and ‘phone-calls about it. I was saving the story for a special occasion and I was going to publish it for my 100th blog posting.
However, I find that I have gone past the hundred mark and this one is no.112. Nevertheless, in order to put readers out of their suspense, I am going to post it without further delay.
Here then, is the story of: .......

The Wishbone Ring

Iris and I spent most of our holidays in Scotland. We would travel up the A1 to Berwick-on-Tweed and from there, we would explore the surrounding Borders Country in southern Scotland.
One year, we decided to stay in Scotland for a couple of days before going to Berwick. We went a different route that time and we had booked in overnight at a pub in Dumfries. Our route took us through Gretna Green. Iris had never been there before but she had heard about the old Blacksmith’s Forge and she wanted to see if it was still there, where eloping couples were married over the anvil. Until 1940, couples could be instantly and legally married without having to wait for banns to be called and by the time that any irate parents caught up with the eloping couple, it was usually too late! In recent years, the old forge has become a tourist attraction and couples can be “married” there in a mock wedding.
As we approached the place, there was a ‘wedding’ taking place and Iris wanted to see it. As she watched, I saw a tiny tear trickle down her cheek. I knew what she was thinking!
Iris wanted to have a look round a couple of gift-shops for presents to take home. While she was busy doing that, I popped into a nearby jewellers and bought a very distinctive wishbone ring. Fortunately I knew her finger size! I picked Iris up about half an hour later and went into a pub for a mid-day meal. After the meal, I asked her if she would ‘marry’ me. She was laughing and weeping at the same time and said she’d been waiting for me to ask her ever since we arrived here!
Yes, we went for it! Iris was given a lace veil to cover her head and I was given a top hat! During the ceremony, I slipped the ring on her finger. Iris was absolutely thrilled to bits by this and we continued our journey that evening to the pub where we were staying, covered in confetti! The people at the pub thought that we had got married for real and they presented us with a free bottle of champagne. Needless to say, we didn’t let on!
Later that evening, she said that it had been the happiest day she could ever remember. Iris wore that ring every day for the rest of her life.
A couple of days later in Berwick, I wrote what was to become her favourite poem.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

That chair again...

Regular readers will know of my favourite Derbyshire pub, The Scotsman’s Pack in Hathersage. The village church graveyard is where Little John of Robin Hood fame is reputed to be buried.
In the 'Pack', there is a chair supposedly used by him and over the years, several of my friends have sat in it. Looking through the blog, there are photographs of three friends who have already sat in the chair and the other evening, it was the turn of my granddaughter to grace it! Her mom first sat in the chair nearly 30 years ago when Iris and I took her there one lunchtime. She would have been of a similar age as her daughter is now.
the other day, Wednesday, we held a dinner party there for my wife, Barbara, daughter Frances and granddaughter, Emma. It was to commemorate both Barbara’s and Emma’s birthday (they are only a few days apart) and what better place could we have gone to but the Pack?
Top pic is of Barbara and Frances. Right
is a pic of Fran and Emma. Below is a shot of my ugly mug with Emma and the last two pics are of Emma and Fran sitting in the chair!
I must apologise for showing my battered fizzog on these pics but Emma said I looked very distinguished and she wanted a pic of the two of us!
I'm a lying bugger... I paid Emma £20 to say that! Well, after all, it was her birthday!

Emma on her 15th birthday

Posin' Fran aged xxxxx? (Daren't say!)

Friday, September 01, 2006

A big 'Thank you'!

I was very disappointed in the apparent lack of interest in my blog lately and was in two minds whether to carry on with it.
Although it was a somewhat delayed action, several readers posted comments as requested. Some contacted me via ‘phone and e-mail.
I am greatly indebted to these readers, some of whom are personal friends. All the same, it has been very reassuring to me that some of my efforts are appreciated. One reader pointed out that I would be utterly lost without the blog. A slight exaggeration but I can see what she meant.
Another reader, a good friend, Snow fairy, has sent in a lot of encouragement and one of her comments in particular almost brought me to tears! (see 'Feeling so low today') She was, incidentally, the very first to leave a comment way back in early January shortly after starting the blog.
Thanks to all who posted and to those who sent e-mails as well. The blog will continue and I shall seriously consider writing a full-length biography dedicated to Iris. She will live on!