For many years this has been a special day in the F-S/Hall/Cragg world.
Today would have been John’s 81st birthday. John loved birthdays, as many of you will remember: presents and happy gatherings meant such a lot to him and he was quite charmingly shameless enjoying his own quite as much as anyone else’s.
Sadly, last year, when he would normally have enjoyed celebrating his 80th with a bigger celebration his painful back was already dimming his enthusiasm for jollities and we had instead a very quiet family do in Hay.
Kind messages from family and friends have been coming in since very early this morning. And yes, thank you, I am doing ‘fine’ as I hope Ruthie, Sara and Nick are too. What else can one say? There are moments and days and times when it is very difficult and moments and days and times when one manages better, distracted by work, chores, activities and above all, friends. And in my case, walks and online ‘bridge’ (note the inverted commas). I do not seem to improve at all, but it is nearly always fun.
But what a non-fun time we are all of us ‘enjoying’ now! Thanksgiving Day yesterday, Black Friday today, Trump gradually ‘conceding’ that he just may, possibly, mistakenly, fraudulently, have been thought to have lost the election – but will he leave the White House? The Covid-19 pandemic still waging, Lock Down 2 in force for another week, then – for us in Derbyshire – major Tier 3 restrictions after that.
I missed my much anticipated Thanksgiving evening with my half American Covid bubble last night as there was a possible risk of infection. 29 emails this morning, ALL enticing me to save a fortune buying something I didn’t want in the first place. ‘50% OFF!’ advertised by one shoe company revealed that meant only on a women’s size 2, in one style. All other sizes the normal (over) priced price remained.
My brand new super-duper cordless phone trio, one of many kind presents from Ruthie, appeared to be faulty, refusing to make outgoing calls, and then yesterday refusing incoming too. I rang BT full of indignant complaint, to learn I had not been paying my bill. This was news to me, but after 55 minutes on the (mobile) phone to BT all was resolved. The Direct Debit had been going from John’s account, not our household one, possibly because BT Sport had been thrown in…. So I hope I am now back in telephonic contact. I still wasn’t late last night.
There are slight optimistic glimmers of hope appearing… The Boris Christmas-Five-Day armistice (I hope the virus is going to take heed too) is exciting and I am hoping to join the immediate family in London. The hope that a vaccine may soon be available is another relief, and possibly one very rare occasion when a superior age may be an advantage. Not I imagine because the elderly are thought worth prioritising for themselves but it will hopefully keep us out of hospital beds.
Anyway, to end on a less cynical note, thank you all for your letters, cards and messages, after John died, and now a fresh flood of dear family and friends remembering him on his birthday.
They really have all been a wonderful comfort. I am slowly working my way through a short but heart felt response to each of you, but it is taking longer than I had rather naively hoped.
Meanwhile, keep safe, keep well and thank you for remembering John.