Remembering the neighbours who didn’t share a wall.

Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say, rejoice.

Philippians 4: 4

An elderly couple probably well into their eighties lived in a red- brick semi detached home next to our cottage. They were rarely in the garden but both worked well into their late 70’s . He was an account and a portly person. One afternoon I can’t remember how I heard but I got the message he had died. I remember quickly baking a Victoria sponge, letting it cool, sieving some white icing sugar on top, placing it on a paper doilie like Mum used to and thinking how I was going to find words to say. This was new to me.

I knocked and she opened the door very calmly, took the simple cake thankfully and invited me to sit down. All she wanted to do was tell me what exactly had happened. I can’t remember the exact words but it went something like this:

” There, he was sitting there, his favourite big chair. He had told me the funniest joke and I was laughing and laughing, he was too… then … he put his head back with one last big laugh and… he was gone. Just like that.”

She was silent and I was silent.

I felt confused. What a lovely way to go. He had died laughing. She was sad but I could see there was no distress rather a stunned acceptance. (Is there such a thing?) I believe she went to live with her son.

Who is old and doesn’t believe it , will trip into his grave without seeing it.


Sympathy is a little medicine to soothe the ache in another’s heart.

Hadrian’s Wall is a World Heritage Site in the beautiful Northumberland National Park. Popular with walkers along the Hadrian’s Wall Path and Pennine Way. (Thank you Google fir this picture. )

Our neighbours two houses away had two children in the same classes at school as ours. I think the older children were doing something about the Romans at school and so we decided to join up with them and walk Hadrian’s wall in the north of England. It is so much more fun to walk in groups with the added advantage of at least two cars as Roy often organises a car at each end for one direction walks. Dad Brian in his 80’s, a great walker also joined us. There were 9 of us.

We walked on and along the wall for three days covering the most interesting parts. The boys often ran ahead and we would regroup when we got to high bits as the wall sometimes takes advantage of the cliff like features of the land..

It was at one of these groupings that we couldn’t see Brian. He was way back talking to a group of people. They were laughing with him. He had asked them if they had seen any Romans and when they wondered what was coming next he said: ” Well I have a letter for them!” He always carried a pocket Bible and happily read a short passage to them from Paul’s book to the Romans. It was so natural for Dad Brian to talk to anyone and everyone about the war, painting, what was in the news and the Bible. He was a natural story teller and joker. He sadly had become very deaf even when using his hearing aids so he did sometimes hold the floor too long.

A picture which epitomised the weekend was of Roy holding our friends foot down, as she pretended to fly away off Hadrian’s wall, in the wind. Yes, it was a windy, all types of weather, long weekend, just the sort Britain is known for.

Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine.

Lord Byron.

A smile is a curve that sets everything straight.

Phyllis Diller

Sandy 🙂

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