Posts filed under 'Friends and family'

Family Moves – and new visions

Add comment March 17th, 2013

It’s been a rather busy week – the culmination of a busy few months. After two days in Carlisle tidying up the loose ends of my aunt Jean’s estate, we got back in time to send dad up to the hospital to have his cataract operation which we hope will restore clear sight in at least one eye and allow him to read and drive again in safety. At the same time he completed his move to Lanark where he’ll be staying from now on, and we cleared the last of his stuff from his old house prior to it being rented out.

His house now looks infinitely more inviting than it did prior to the extensive improvements we’ve been making to it over the last few months. The new kitchen is brighter and far more modern, the lowered ceiling giving it better proportions and the new units producing a much more pleasing effect. White walls and new lighting in a number of the rooms give them a much more spacious feel and the new carpets finish off the effect. I could almost imagine living there – something I could never have considered previously. It must feel strange for dad – leaving after supervising all the improvements to a home he’s lived in for over 25 years, but his new home is very comfortable and I’m certain he’ll be happy there.

The contrast with auntie Jean’s old house was interesting; while a nice enough house, though the rooms are on the small side, it didn’t really feel like a home to me and being empty now didn’t change that feeling. I could never imagine living there and will be glad when it’s sold.

All being well dad’s vision should be good in 4 weeks and stable in 6. He’s already planning his next trip to London for a Normandy Veteran’s council meeting in 5 weeks. If I have half his energy at 89 I’ll be happy. They don’t make them like that anymore!


Videos of a Life in Music

Add comment May 13th, 2011

This last week, in between my SEO work, I’ve been converting and editing some wonderful videos from the career of my dear friend John Sampson. John has spent his whole life playing virtuoso early woodwind instruments and trumpets, and acting in mostly comic theatre. His performances at Cafe Graffiti and with the Natural Theatre Company are legendary.

John has a great collection of photos from his musical and theatrical work and we’ve added many of them since I first built a site for him about 8 years ago but only recently have I had the facility to edit some of his videos to a quality I thought acceptable.

Most of these videos also feature Pat O’Connell, either with the Naturals or as a duo. We’ve now got five of them in place on my Youtube channel and embedded in the Video page on John’s site. If you know John or like brilliantly played music then go take a look.

A Difficult Week

2 comments October 22nd, 2010

On Wednesday last week my mum died at the age of 85, and a week later the funeral was held at Warriston Crematorium. The time in between was, as you may imagine, difficult.

On behalf of Dad and I I’d like to thank all the friends who contacted us to offer condolences and support, my clients who were universally understanding and patient, and all those people who came along to the funeral.

A special mention must also go to the carers – both at the care home where mum had been for the last couple of years, and those who used to come into the house to assist her while she was at home.

March Already?

1 comment March 15th, 2009

A mild Edinburgh day – I was able to wash the windows today without freezing to death – has made me realise that Spring is finally here. And yet is seems the last three months have flown by. My last post was in December and it seems I’ve had no time whatever to do any of the routine things that I would expect. The SpiderWriting SEO blog was last updated in August, the Dunnett blog in November; people I care about I’ve hardly been in touch with. What is it about Winter that seems to soak up the available hours? In some ways I feel as if I’ve hibernated since returning from Madeira and yet in other ways I’ve never stopped dashing about solving problems.

Madeiran review

The week I spent in that delightfully mild climate was a ideal rest that was badly needed. I’d intended to do some walking in the highland areas using the astonishing range of Levadas – the irrigation channels that bring the water from the cloud-covered hills to the farming areas and villages of the coast. In the event I found the whole atmosphere of the island so relaxed that I just leant back and enjoyed the unaccustomed lack of stress. I can see why so many people from stressed out Britain love this island so much. Nearly everyone from the UK that I spoke to was on at least their 8th visit and some had made arrangements to retire there. With an average temperature of between 18 and 24 degrees all year round it’s an ideal environment for anyone who can’t take the extremes of heat that are liable to be found in Spain or the Mediterranean. If I didn’t have my eyes on retiring to Slovenia I might well consider it.

I was particularly looking forward to the food and wine, and it didn’t disappoint. The seafood in particular was excellent and the restaurants wonderfully friendly. The Madeiran and Portuguese wine went down very well indeed – quite different from my normal preferences but matching the food very well.

Sadly the friend I referred to in the last posting succumbed to the cancer she’d fought for so long in the early hours of New Years Day. It made a sombre start to the year, the only blessing being that she was no longer suffering. The only other downer of the week was the return home. The plane we were due to be on had apparently been in an accident with a ground vehicle and a new plane had to be summoned. A long delay meant that instead of arriving in Glasgow at tea-time I only just got back in time to get the last train back to Edinburgh at 11.30pm. Not the return I’d hoped for.

By the time I’d become re-accustomed to the freezing Scottish conditions I had realised how empty the flat seemed without my flatmate, particularly when it proved impossible for her to come back for our friend’s funeral. In fact it she has still not returned but is due back next week. In the meantime I’ve been knocking the flat into shape – styling it to my own preferences while keeping an eye on what she might prefer. It still needs some painting in the living room and that will have to be done now that the light is improving but
it’s a lot more like a home than it was. Though she’s only back for a short time I’m hoping it’ll meet with her approval.

Have some Madeira M’Dear…

2 comments December 30th, 2008

Am starting this blog entry on the way to Glasgow for the flight to Madeira. I’m greatly looking forward to it but in other ways I’m leaving with a heavy heart.

We’ve only been in the new flat for three weeks but already it has become home, a place I’m delighted to be and where I can relax in a way I haven’t been able to do for a long time. My flatmate is also away, but for her it’s three and a half weeks of new experiences and hard work, and a lot of uncertainty, with the possibility that she will be away for 4 weeks out of every 6 for some time. She was hyper for the last few days, yet still looking after me before herself. She is looking forward as she always does but hates to leave her new home so soon. I pray she’ll be ok and be back safe and sound; the flat will be very empty without her.

I’m also going away at a time when a friend is seriously ill and I fear for her and for her husband. I wish I could be there for them but have to remember to look after myself, and this holiday is badly needed. Thankfully they have many other good friends to support them.

So, what will Madeira be like I wonder? From the guidebooks it seems much more green than Malta was last year, and that has to be good. Here’s hoping for a comfortable hotel, good food, good light and no storms. And the odd bottle of Madeiran wine should be interesting too!

New Beginnings

Add comment December 18th, 2008

It’s been an eventful couple of weeks to put it mildly. A move of house, a change of habit, perhaps even a change of lifestyle. A second and this time final separation to end a marriage of 26 years. A chance to live a little again after 3 years of virtual hibernation in a work-centred existence.

It all happened a bit suddenly in the end. Only a couple of weeks after the idea was first mooted, payments rushed through, keys collected, and van organised, we were moving vast quantities of stuff out of my new flatmate’s old place and rather less out of mine. My not-quite as youthful as they were muscles complaining bitterly the next morning. Though ostensibly a furnished flat there were various things missing that were deemed essential by my new companion and we spent a tidy sum in the second-hand shops rectifying the omissions. Of course that meant endless rearrangements once we’d finally squeezed it all in. A massive shop on Sunday morning while we still had the van and then a dash across town to return it. Such was our state of exhaustion that we both slept for 4 hours in the afternoon before attacking the furniture arrangements one last time to get the place the way we wanted.

Routines are now altered, a different time to wake up, a different kitchen, a longer trip to a different railway station to go to work. Initially it was hard to break the automatic return to the old marital home, especially when so much of my books and music is still there for now until I can arrange storage. But already that life has gone, replaced by a more relaxed evening environment and a new style of cooking which my flatmate insists on doing for me. She’s been a revelation and a delight, and has really made our place into a home in a very short time. I can’t thank her enough for suggesting the move and her energy in making it happen. If the next year is as good as the first two weeks then it’ll be a very good move indeed.

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