Dear Ma



Ma n Freddie in the porch

Dear Ma,

our first Christmas without you is almost upon us, and you’ll be happy to know we’re prepared, albeit in a last minute kind of way. The dec’s went up yesterday, me and Ant put them up, (he’s moved in with us now by the way), while being overseen by Squire and Freddie, and the cards were all written out and sent in time as you would have liked. As usual there were a few dramas, the tree plug proved elusive initially, and when Ant did find it,  it had a loose connection, suddenly I remembered I’d intended to get that fixed during this year, thought that might amuse you.

The nativity set you loved so much is back in position, with an added Viking from your Norwegian trip, your present to Ant, so we have one each side guarding all the festive dolphins, elephants, Bassett Hound, and the rest of the traditional characters. We haven’t got any red berries on it yet, but I’m sure Allen next door will provide as he has done in Christmas’s past.

Our Nativity Scene


Ma and April with their Sewing Sister buddies.

We still haven’t cleared your conservatory or porch completely, and little reminders of you are scattered here and there, like your small bags of wool ends which you saved for the birds nests, or tins of buttons which you insisted were like gold dust, as buttons, “are so expensive”. Don’t worry, I’ll hang on to them, because you never know, but in reality I pick them up and smile as they remind me of you straight away, along with so many other little things of yours we’ll never get rid of. Dao keeps your orchids watered along with your other plants in the porch, and those lovely pink flowers you planted in the front flower pots are still in bloom amazingly. Ann and Hels have been the main beneficiaries of your craft work tools and materials, and what they didn’t have need or room for, the charity shops were very happy to receive, I hadn’t realised just how much stuff you had Ma, but then as you’d say, “you just never know when such and such might come in handy”.

Ma crocheting in the garden

I know you’ll be happy the Monday night Trough has carried on, with Pa now at the head of the table in your chair. I’m on Trough duty tonight actually, last one of the year, Lizbet and Hannah come along most weeks, joining David, Simon, Ant, me n Pa, and the table banter is up to the usual standard. The food disappears as if a plague of locusts descended upon our kitchen, which hopefully points to a meal enjoyed, and then sit in front of the box to compete in University Challenge with a cup of tea. So as you see, things haven’t changed too much, only the significant absence of a certain special someone.

There have been lots of cards with lovely messages saying how much you are missed, which have brought a tear or three to Pa’s eyes. So many people came to your seeing off do, I think you’d have been quite chuffed, and with Christmas here, they’re still sending you love. Quite the popular thing you were!

Christmas dinner is going to be at David’s this year, the first time we haven’t had it here, so I’m excused boots from cooking duties.  I know it will be great, but a big part of us will be thinking about you and wishing you were with us once more. Even though you know we’re not religious, God Bless You Ma, and if it’s at all possible, I hope you’re with April, David, Peter, Jim, Pip and Co now, all with a celestial fag in your hands, heads back and laughing together. Miss you, love BB.

Left to right:- April, Peter, Jim, David, Lavender (Ma). Cousin Gerard with the camera. At the Sackville Hotel, circa 1987?

Ma, (front left) with April, (Front right), Tisha in between, David, (Back right) Peter, (Back left) and Jim, (Centre left), plus two nuns. Taken at St Martha’s, Rottingdean, circa 1938

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