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Posts Tagged ‘2012’

Jim looking up.During 2012 I lost several friends and relatives. Each had featured fully, in large parts of my life.

I did think long and hard about whether I should write this blog post and then whether it needed to be published. In the end, I decided that as my various blogs (especially this one) are catalogues of my life, it would be disrespectful not to acknowledge the contribution these five have made to it.

Jim Scott first came to my attention at Deighton Junior School, when he burst into my classroom and cheekily spoke back to the teacher. That was back when the school intake was Jan 1st to December 31st – we were both born in the same year, Jim in January and me in December.  He would have been 62 tomorrow. Mischief could well have been Jim’s middle name and for many of the following 50 years, he was a constant in my life. An ardent trades unionist, Jim was always on hand to offer well informed, well meaning advice and guidance for all aspects of life and he always challenged, channelled and (often) changed my views and my laziness. When John Rousell and I cycled coast to coast in 1999 Jim couldn’t join us for one reason or another – but completed the journey alone at a later date!  Jim died from complications caused by a malignant melanoma he’d contracted whilst pumping a damp proof course into his house. 😦

I didn’t know Shane all that well I’m afraid, he was too young and lived too far away to see often.  Shane Pueschel was Sharon’s nephew; her sister Joanne’s son.  At 18, he was far too young to die.  Shane had collapsed on the dance-floor of a club in Lincoln where he was attending university and until the Coroner’s Inquest is completed later this year, it’s hard to be certain of the cause of death. However, there are questions surrounding the emergency first aid he received (or didn’t).


I wrote about Jim and about Shane previously: https://saturdaywalks.wordpress.com/2012/02/05/red-bull/


Similarly, Sharon’s mum Pat was a more recent part of my life.  She’d visited us a few times over the years and we’d visited her in America, where she lived, Sharon more than me.  Pat had been in remission from cancer for almost five years when it came bounding back last year.  This time though, it was terminal.  The sisters, Joanne, Gail, Sharon and brother Steven had discussed end of life care for Pat and had agreed that Joanne, the nurse, would be better placed to fulfil that function. However, at the time such care was required, her own loss (Shane) made that impossible and Gail moved into the breech. Sharon did what she could too but in the end Pat passed away in May.

Towards the end of the year, I heard that Andrew Triggs had died.  Although Andrew and Ruth had lived next door to Sue and I all the time we lived in Linthwaite, I’d not seen them for many years.  Towards the end of my marriage to Sue (my first life!) we had a fish and chip shop next door to Andrew and Ruth.  We ran this for six years until it was uneconomical and we both took up new careers, eventually separating in 1996. we lived next door to the Triggs for fourteen years. Andrew was a real character, lots of fun to be with and a great supporter of my early attempts at computing.  We often sat outside the back of our house, or in their conservatory until the early hours of the morning: it was Andrew who taught me the correct mix for gin and tonic 😉 and for that, I am ever grateful.

Much closer to home and more recently, my Aunty Dot died.  Aunty Dot was my dad’s sister and would have been 80 next. My first memory of Dot was of her carrying me up the stairs to bed whilst singing ‘Rock Around The Clock’ – I can’t have been very old. I always liked Aunty Dot, she was lively and very pretty – as a child I hoped that my own daughter (should I ever have one) would be ‘as’ pretty, a wish that was delivered in spades – my daughter and both of her girls are exceptionally gorgeous. Aunty Dot always lived close to my grandma and although I  enjoyed visiting both, it was always fun to visit Dot (and Brian).  Their daughter Janet, my cousin, now lives in Jersey, where Dot passed away after falling ill whilst visiting.  Janet has lovingly overseen the last few weeks of Dot’s life and has kept everyone up to speed with developments.  She has been a tower of strength for Uncle Brian and my dad – both of whom will now miss a very important woman in their lives.

Rest in Peace.

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The Australians set off home again today. I will drive them to the airport shortly.

This will be my seventh trip to Manchester Airport in just over a month – I’ll be there again tomorrow too!

My brother Andrew and his partner Debbie have been with us since June 1st. They came direct from Perth via Dubai and were met with rain. They have endured a month of rain, always noting that back home the temperature is still in the 20’s despite it being winter over there.

They accompanied me on my trip to Glasgow at the beginning of the month and whilst I worked [this is what I did] they visited Luss on Loch Lomond. They visited York and Bridlington one weekend with my other bother Peter and his wife Linda. They liked York (even in the rain) but thought that Brid was dire! Seventeen fish and chip shops on one road apparently! I wouldn’t know, it’s years since I went to Brid.

They also spent a great deal of time with our parents, staying with them occasionally, driving them around sometimes and organising family get-togethers.

But the most memorable part of their stay, for me, was our trip to Spain. [I’m not sure I will ever complete that particular journal]. We were only there for five days but what a five days. We had sunshine, sea, sand, views, trips out to Gibraltar and Ronda – all in all a jolly good time.

It will be sad to see them go, Australia is such a long way away and getting to see them depends on Sharon’s ability to get away from the straightjacket that dictates academic holidays. But we have enjoyed having them with us and look forward to seeing them again – whenever.

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Sharon and I have just returned from a short break in Spain. We were accompanied by my brother Andrew and his partner Debbie. We stayed in a small apartment about a mile inland from the Torreblanca coast, a little east of Fuengirola.

What a difference the three hour flight from Manchester to Malaga made!

Since they arrived from Australia, where they live, Andrew and Debbie have had to suffer one of the coldest, wettest springs we have experienced in the UK, so getting off the plane in Malaga to a pleasant 30°C was a real pleasure for them as well as for us.

We’d hired our car from Car Hire 3000, but the actual providers were Centauro who are based some way from the airport, so that necessitated a minibus ride to their depot. Everything went smoothly, so I’ve no complaint with their efficiency but I have to warn anyone who reads this about the fuel scam everyone over here seems to pull. Although we’d paid for everything else in the UK, we still had to pay for a full tank of petrol – €93! Now, that’s top price for fuel, and there’s no option to choose where you fill up, they do it before you pick up the car. I also doubted that the tank was really ‘full’. There’s also an ‘Excess Cover’ insurance to pay (optional), which is not part of the collision waiver (etc.) insurance you pay in the UK. My friend uses Malaga Car Hire when he comes here and they have a ‘full to full’ policy, which means you can refill at the best price you find (which for my friend will probably be Gibraltar @ 96p litre, with a small top up here in Torreblanca, which is only 15 miles from the airport).

We arrived at the apartment in good time to unpack and have a cup of tea before braving ‘the front’ to find a supermarket. The roads around here are narrow and winding, and there is something of a mañana feel to the local driving!We stocked up on basics and then came back to dump the car.

We walked back down to the seafront later for a walk and to find some food. We had had The Royal India restaurant recommended, so as we had no real preference that night, we ate there. It was dire! It seems to be one of those Indian restaurants where they use one base sauce for every dish. My Rogan Josh had very little meat in it and tasted like a red lamb korma – it was SO sweet (which a Rogan Josh shouldn’t be). Debbie’s ‘butter chicken’ and Andrews ‘madras’ seemed to come from the same pot with just a little flavour change en route (and no more meat than I had).

No one was impressed!

The walk back to the apartment was warm and pleasant enough, despite the steepness of the climb. That was day one.

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