Dear Philip, May 18, 2011
May 18, 2011
Happy Non-Birthday two. I went to the cemetery to visit
today, and kind of wish I hadn't. Your "woodland burial site"
was worse than nature intended. And what made it worse, the rest of
the cemetery had just been mown, so it all looked neat and tidy. I
took some seeds, hoping to sneakily plant them where nobody would
notice, but the weeds were wet and sticky and beyond knee deep.
Outside your enclosure, they are busy expanding the site - maybe
making it twice as big, so there were cranes and tractors and all
sorts going at it. So one advantage is that soon there will be a
proper path that goes closer to your area. It's nice to know that
there is still a call for the service and cremations haven't won
hands down. Your tree, which seemed to be okay when I was last there
a few weeks ago, looked pretty dead. That is two trees you have
killed. I wonder if it is the embombing fluid that is leaking out and
doing the damage. It was a rule that nobody who had been embombed was
to be buried there, but our funeral director (who insisted that you
had to be embombed) said it didn't really matter, but maybe she
didn't know about the trees. Still the weeds are resilient, so maybe
they just chose bum trees.
Since we can't plant things in the cemetery directly for your benefit, we are going to plant a tree in a pot in my new garden, and say it is for you. I think maybe a lilac would be nice. I also bought four growbags today and some bean and sweet pea seeds to trail up my new trellis fence. My garden is still an awful mess, but at least it is original. How many people can describe where they live by saying, "Look for a hedge that is wavy and has a huge hole in the middle." I quite like the hole, even though it was done completely by accident. And as the spring
progresses, I am finding new and exciting plants now revealed since I chopped such a lot of the hedge back. Like lots of fuchsia. And the wild geraniums are about to come into bloom - huge purple flowers. I planted sunflower seeds, so eventually it might actually look fairly decent. The birds seem to like it. I thought maybe they would be mad, as they seemed to have started lots of nests in the hedge which they abandoned when I got out there with my sheers blazing. But now they come and sit on the various sized stumps of branches. And I did leave
two nests, although I haven't peeked to see if they are occupied or not. I put some stale bread crumbs out in the birdhouse - sort of as a substitute birthday cake for you. And the sun is shining at the moment. What more could you want? Maybe, to still be alive. Maybe not.
I think in after life (I don't like to call it heaven for some reason) you are supposed to be at your perfect age, so I am carrying around your first passport picture in my diary. You are maybe 25 or so in it, looking full of enthusiasm for life.
Yesterday, I sort of felt like you were my guardian angel. I went to the library and to buy printer ink - and knowing that my handbag is very heavy, I took only my key, my library card, my credit card and a small plastic bag. I was pleased to find a couple of good books, and happily went on to the computer shop, and then discovered that I had no credit card. I retraced my steps with no luck - and eventually got back to the library. I asked the librarian if anyone had turned in a credit card in the last half an hour, and she checked with her colleagues, but nobody had. She asked me where I had been looking at books, and we checked the floor near the stacks but nothing showed up. But then I was inspired (this is where you come in) to look under the trolley where the returned books are kept, and there it was. Thank you for keeping it safe for me and urging me to look in the right place. I might have done it anyway, but we will never know. I was so pleased that I didn't have to begin the rigmarole of cancelling all my activities that relate to my credit card. And I can remember, just after I left the library the first time, that I had this strong urge to check my pockets. I think that was you too. Unfortunately I misread you and checked only for my key. But no harm done.
I also thought of you when I went on a local history walk with Clare last week - because after we had climbed the big hill, we had the most wonderful sunset. I do sort of think that you specialise in those, and keep them for moments of particular value.
I have started writing again - and am about three chapters into a new book. It isn't really original in content - being based on the 198 letters from 1780 to 1860 that I was sent recently. But it is great fun doing my research and writing again. The letters relate to the family mentioned in the 1851 diary that I already wrote a book or two about, as I am sure you will remember. And interestingly enough, when I was in the library, there was my book on the trolley waiting to be reshelved. It looked pretty well read. And when we were having tea after our local history walk the other day, a woman came up to me and said, "Aren't you the
Jean Day that writes books?" So that was nice too.
The children and grandchildren are well. Andrea and I are venturing to America in September to see Jonathan and she is going to a conference. I'm feeling better and seem more able to cope with stress these days - not that I intend to invite any into my life.
I guess that is enough rambling on for one non-birthday. Have a good one.
Lots of love