Sunday, 30 August 2015
Today was the close annual BBQ.
Today it did what it has been doing seemingly for ever, it rained.
I took my taxi to church in drizzle this morning, came home in even lighter drizzle.
So far so good.
After a cup of tea and feet up for 20 minutes I looked out to see what stage the 'setter-uppers' had reached.
The long tent/marquee whatever it is called was in place in the road, tables set up along one of the inside 'walls' and some goodies were being brought out.
The massive barbeque was being set up at one end under its own giant umbrella.
Good, I thought, I'll just take the few odds and ends out of the oven, cover them in cling-film and add my wine to the collection.
A few of the stalwarts were setting out chairs etc and all looked good.
The sky was grey but it was dry, so the children set up their face-painting paraphernalia (a regular feature of this event) and the first 3 year old was rapidly acquiring a pale green face, courtesy of a five year old budding Picasso.
Someone brought out the gadget (don't know what it is called) which plays music as a background to our noisy chatter.
A dozen or so of us sat, glasses in hand, and started our tower of Babel catchup.
One hour later, having eaten some of the food and chat getting louder down came the first heavy drops, and two of the taller men started attaching the sides to the hitherto open tent. Just in time.
It rained and it rained and it rained. Two hours later it was still tanking down and the temperature was down several notches. It was now about 3.30pm.
That was when my inner wimp, cringing from the chill forced me to my frozen feet and with a "sorry, I am too cold to stay out, bye, see you next year" I fled.
Two hours later the noise from the tent was twice what it had been and I thought, shall I put something really warm on and go back out? Opening the door to test the temperature a blast of icy
gale-driven water made my mind up for me.
It is now nearly 10.30 and for the first time I can remember, the road is empty of people, lights, noise etc .
It would appear that I am not the only wimp in the close.
There is comfort in numbers :-)
Posted by Ray Barnes at 11:24:00 pm
Tuesday, 25 August 2015
Monday it rained.
Today, Tuesday it poured. Torrents, oceans, millions of gallons.
Many of us in this South Eastern, middle bit of England have been praying (literally) for rain. The ground has been like concrete for months so little of the wet stuff have we seen.
I am as guilty of provoking the deluge as the rest. My so-called garden has been slowly drying and crisping week-by-week.
Did we have to have a lifetimes prayers for rain answered in three days?
As well as getting wet several times a day. Seeing the army of snails increasing by the dozen even as I watched. Hearing the doleful autumn song of the robin. (It's still summer!), the weeds are turning into trees.
This coming Sunday we have the annual Close BBQ. It must stop by then surely?
You could be forgiven for thinking I ought to be used to rain, after all, I am Welsh, but I have lived away from Wales for a very long time and since living here in Aylesbury have become used to a smaller share of the wet stuff.
This summer has been largely grey chilly interspersed with occasional sunny, and on two occasions very hot days. Not a good summer by any stretch of the imagination.
Wimbledon's second week was too hot but it has been largely downhill from there.
I had hoped August and September might make up for the deficit but the time is whizzing by and there is less hope of that daily.
Can't remember what it was doing on St Swithun's day but have my suspicions.
Next week I am taking a week off in order to try out my bus pass for once out of Aylesbury. I shall go to various towns nearby just so I know they are still there.
It has been some time since I ventured further than 3 or 4 miles and need to expand my horizons while i still have the courage.
One trip will be to Milton Keynes that great Mecca for shopaholics. (sorry can't spell it)
What will I buy?
A mac of course.
Posted by Ray Barnes at 10:51:00 pm
Tuesday, 11 August 2015
After my morning with the 'SPACE' drop-in I attended the lunchtime Eucharist and headed down to the market square to buy flowers for John.
Of course I know he will not see them but it is the one day I can still physically buy something for him.
Sentimental tosh some people would say, but as I cleaned up his headstone so the blue granite sparkled and filled up the water container for the flowers, I had a few 'words'.
I sometimes glance at his photo in the sitting room and make some comment in response to a particular piece of TV, knowing that he would have said much the same, but my visit to the cemetery is different. It is a chance to have a different kind of communion.
No-one would have been more amazed than John by my decision to be baptised and confirmed. He used to call me his old Welsh heathen. (that was when he was feeling affectionate). The rest of the time he just accepted my lack of religious belief as a part and parcel of my upbringing.
The past 6 years have passed in a flash and I sometimes feel that the present 'me' is so far removed from the old one that I must have gone to sleep as one person and woken as another.
It is for this reason that I am amazed when other people remember the day's significance .
This morning my friend the parish administrator handed me a small bouquet of blue freesias (my favourite flower and John's favourite colour).
This afternoon, dead-heading my front garden flowers one of my dear friends in the close cane up and gave me a hug and said "I know this is a difficult time for you".
Small gestures of love, but huge on my radar and very welcome.
My church life gives me a lot of things I would never have experienced in the old life and sometimes it feels as though I have never lived any other way.
The much quoted "Time is a great healer" has some truth, but I think what the passage of time really does is to distance you from the deluge of feeling which accompanies bereavement and allows other influences to reach you so that you do not forget, but the sadness runs parallel with your new life until eventually it recedes.
Much of the time these days I don't think about John at all and when I do it is affectionately, much as one does of happy incidents in the past. Just now and then there is a sharp piercing reminder and the sense of loss is keen for a while.
Today was such a day.
Posted by Ray Barnes at 8:13:00 pm