Monday, March 18, 2013

Rolling with the punches

Sometimes you are never going to achieve what you set out to,  and have to accept that it will never be the reality you once hoped. Its not about giving up,  but more about compromising for the sake of sanity.

I have a few recent examples of this in my own life right now and am slowly starting to realise the right thing to do is let them go, or deal with them another way.

I like to think that I don't set out to make things awkward and complex,  but it often turns out that my expectations of others involved were far too high.

Right now, this very second I am flailing like a drowning man, so close to shore,  but just out of reach, and my cries to throw a rope go unheard or ignored.

Rising above the matters dragging me down are the only way I will stay afloat,  so that is what I am trying to do. Such simple things as the decorating of the bathroom, a clerical error on a recent bill, and keeping up to date with bills is killing me from the inside now.

So at times like this I turn to yoga, p90x and any other distractions I can find.

Im so close to the finish line right now, just a few more metres.  Must stay strong!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Don't worry, I will do it myself!

So fed up have I become with the work of some of the contractors L&Q use
that I resigned myself to just accepting whatever came next.

And quite frankly that's probably a good thing. I have just spent another
day at home for a contractor to finish decorating the bathroom. Some minor
repairs and some painting, walls, skirting and window frame.

As usual the pictures are included in the blog. Needless to say, once you
have seen them you will understand that I am just going to do it myself now.

It was booked as a 4 hour job, 3 has been spent on it. Colour had to be
changed as could not be matched, but I can live with that part. As for the
rest of the job. Quite frankly SHITE! To think it was done by a
'professional ' is quite worrying to be honest.

Window frame still a mess from the plasterer skirting behind the sink still
totally unpainted, cracked chunks of plaster painted over, damage to the
wall painted over, paint on the white ceiling, sealant painted over leaving
a nasty effect, patchy coverage of new colour, and moisture bubbles already
starting to show.

So its simple, I will get the job done myself!
I previously raised the issue of compensation with L&Q and it now seems all
the more likely I will be pursuing this.

Yours sincerely
Pissed Off

Thursday, March 14, 2013

A truly sad day

As this week has gone on, the end of the trip has seemed more and more daunting, until finally now the moment has arrived.
After quite a few years of trips to Wales to see relatives at different houses for many a different occasion, by train, coach and car, today sees the final return journey from a family residence. Once I board the train for London this evening I know that I will never return to Wales again to see a close relative in their home. Today marks a very sad day for me, as I walk away from 14 Willow Close, I know I will never return to it as a home ever again, and instead I will return to a vacant house to collect what remains of the families possessions, and to remove the last personal touches from the house.

Over the years, leaving the house in Florida has become harder and harder, calling an end to a holiday, and returning to the UK to the normality of day to day life is never easy, especially when the house has become almost like a second home over the years. Each time we load the car up for the last time, my heart sinks, and sadness waves over me.

But that is nothing in comparison to what I am feeling right now. I actually dont want to walk out of that door right now. I am sitting at the dining table writing this entry, with my aunts lounge behind me. Knowing that for years she would be sitting here with me, and now she is gone. Saying goodbye to someone is hard enough at the best of times, but this is a whole different level. I have spent the past 24 hours going through the house, digging out keepsakes, heirlooms, and finding some amazing memories. Deciding what I will take back to London with me, and what I can give a good honest home to, rather than keeping it for the sake of being sentimental.

As I look around the room, I can almost hear distant echos of the conversations I have had during numerous visits. Bringing various guests with me, all who added a little spice to the conversation, and kept the visits different, in the best possible way. Laughter, discussion, debate, and even deep emotional conversation, like the visit when I first broke the news to Joan that mum had cancer. The same visit where Joan told me SHE had cancer also. Tough times, but I would live them all again to not have to be doing what I am doing right now.

I can never treasure every possession that Joan and Glyn had, and look after it in the way which Joan has over the years. Nor can I take every item. Yes my home is bigger than this one, but being practical has its place. Common sense has to prevail over sentiment at times, and this is one of those times.

So Joan, I hope that my decisions meet your approval, and that I cause no offence to you or the family legacy in the decisions I have made here this week. It was my pleasure to have played such a role in the recent years of your life, and will miss you every day. As I have grown older, losing mum, other friends, and now Joan, I have slowly begun to appreciate relationships, and the time we all have together. The time we are gifted to make a difference in peoples lives before we leave. I stand tall with pride knowing that my aunt was a popular and well loved woman, who had a great live, changed the lives of many around her, and leaves a void in her passing. I hope that one day I can be one tenth the person she was, and have a similar effect when I depart.

So the clock is ticking, and the time for my train is fast approaching. The final walk of the house is done, arrangements made for the articles I will be taking to be kept until I return for them. The house has fallen silent now, and the only sound is my breathing, and each keystroke. So it feels like it is the right time to call it a day. Say farewell, and take my last glimpses at a home that holds so many dear memories for me.

I wish I could express myself a little better right now, but at this moment my thoughts are choked up.

Thank you Joan Hughes for the great memories, and the knowledge you have given me over the years.
Farewell Willow Close.....

The end of an era :(

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A eulogy to Joan Hughes

So I thought now that the moment has passed, and the whole episode has been finished, I decided I would share my eulogy which read at the funeral today.

I tried for two weeks to find the right words, many attempts just seemed fake.. then this just came to me. I know very few of you will understand much of the content, but I wanted to put this online for my reference for the future.

Joan Hughes

I want to start by thanking everyone here for joining us today to remember the life of an amazing woman.

We will all have our own memories of Joan in so many different capacities, from a close and dear friend, aunty, neighbour and maybe even to her role as a civil servant of which she was so proud. A role that would go on to truly structure her life, and make Joan without a doubt one of the most organised and structured people I have had the pleasure of knowing. Sadly this wasn’t a quality that rubbed off on me.

Memories time spent with Joan go back as far as I can remember, our times at Northop Hall when mum, Joans sister would bring me and MY sister up for the summer holidays and Christmas. It was during these holiday visits that I first experienced something that anyone who dined with Joan would have known of her ability to cut bread almost paper thin, a sight that has stuck with me throughout life, and a feat I am yet to be able to replicate.

Each trip to Wales would always be an adventure for us, seeing exciting places, going for drives, and most memorable, time spent in Chester. Travelling to meet Joan with mum was an adventure in itself, and would always end by leaping off the train at the station and running to see Joan, always waiting with that big beautiful smile across her face standing by what ever pride and joy car she was driving at the time. Fun awaited, but it was always a surprise.

Summer holidays would see Joan take us to the city centre, and one thing was for certain lunch would be courtesy of Marks and Spencers, and would usually be taken by the canal. There we would all sit, making an awful mess of our hands faces and clothes. Maybe I should be a little clearer, by we I mean my sister and I, and not the always immaculate Joan, nor her equally proud sister, mum.

Visits to the house were memorable also, with so many things to see and do. Without a doubt, any visitor to any of Joans houses would have known one character, the little feathered friend better known as Cheeky. Always so full of song, and happy to have a flutter around the lounge while you sat there. Cheeky was another stone in Joan’s life, and brought so much companionship, joy and of course interaction with the line of ‘whos a cheeky boy then’ delivered by Joan in the hope of a reaction. Cheeky would usually oblige without

In later years, our trips to Wales became less frequent, and for a while the attachment and association was lost. But with the arrival of a driving licence, something I had wanted as far back as my memory serves, thanks to long drives with Joan and Peggy, I was able to rekindle the relationship.

My occasional trips to Wales would always result in a visit to see Joan, and usually unannounced. As I am sure Chris can testify, the welcome would always be so full of joy and happiness. Maybe I imagined that part, but im sure within the sarcasm of the welcome, Joans feelings were the same as mine. Connected, at one with someone I cared deeply about.

As an adult, conversations in later years were very varied, with curiosity and interests in things as far afield as nature and current affairs, conversations, discussions and indeed some time debates could run on for hours. Often starting out by reminiscing about distant memories of paddling in streams, running along beaches, or as I was frequently reminded, of my temper tantrums as a child. Not that I recall being anything other than angelic.

In the past few years Joan has reminded us all im sure, of who she really was. So organised and caring, making sure all around her were in good health, and taken care of. Never for a moment thinking of herself while there were still others to care for. Even over the past year or so, while trying to make a fuss of Joan, it would end up with roles being reversed, and the carer would become the cared for before you realised what was going on.

I have only touched on the very surface of who Joan Hughes was, to me at least. One thing I do know for certain is Joan was the kind of person you cant just simply forget, and I am sure her memories and stories will live on for generations yet. I am sure others here today also have some great stories to tell, and I look forwards to hearing some of those.

For now though, I rest peacefully knowing that Joan is back with her family, her two dear sisters Mary and Ann, and her mother and father Mary and John Lunt. The 3 sisters from Tan Lan are finally reunited, but their memories will live on with us all for many years to come.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

This time next week

In short, this time next week it will all be over. The planning has come to an end right now, so it's just waiting on Tues 12th to come around.

I am of course talking about the funeral of my late aunt Joan Hughes. With so much already planned by her, it seemed there was very little to do, but looks can be deceiving to say the least.

But with everything from timing to flowers planned now, it's just travel and legalities left, as well as the eulogy which I am still left to do. I have drafted it a few times now but nothing I am happy has come out of my head yet. Plenty of time yet, I think 

I travel up on the train on Monday then meet with the solicitor, then off to pick up a hire car. Oh a hire car, it's been a while since I had one of those haha.

After the service there are some formalities of course, but then it's time to relax for a day or two, much needed I might add.

Looking forwards to the train journey there though, well priced and faster than a car, so makes sense to me. I think it works out cheaper to get a train then hire a car, than it does to pay for petrol on the drive up.

Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone on the EE network.