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Saturday, 10 December 2016

for what it is worth

December sucks good style...
Far too many posts pretending bonhomie. 

December 10th happens to be the birthday of my neighbour and the brother of my long-time best friend's husband.

Another anniversary is not as welcome as it's 10 years since my friend's mother gave up the ghost. Making December 18th a decade since Mrs H's funeral. It was a grey day and I headed north to meet up. The part I remember most clearly was by the graveside and the memory haunts me still.

You know someone is your long-term friend when both of you attended your respective parents' funerals.

Being there for the significant events in other's lives is a sign of long-term friendship.

So whilst those that have 'n' number of folk to share the celebrations; others have almost nil, nada. 

My memory cherishes the time when I spent part of December in a small Derbyshire village; accompanying Auntie Doris to St. Matthew's Carol Service.

Now Christmas is tarnished yet again...

A brief comment to the effect that Fred might be suffering from dementia.

Fred a rock upon which almost 50 years has stood.

The guy that has always been so ebullient, so full of life writ large...now brought low.

He achieved so much...Ribblesdale Secondary Modern basically let him use his practical skills and that was all.
ICI taught him and employed him as Apprentice Welder; only to dismiss him once he qualified.
Next, he went to Israel on VSO Voluntary Service Overseas; returning as a shadow of his former self (welding in those relentless temperatures).

Then there was a curate's wife who encouraged him to try nursing (mental health). He worked and accrued qualifications at Calderstones. There he used his compassion and his talent for everything artistic.

Next, he raised funds and helped a boy with cystic fibrosis.

Then he bought and refitted a coach to take disadvantaged youngsters on short breaks.

The next venture was to buy and remodel an old cottage. At the time I was at college only returning home for holidays. A must do was to spend time with Fred. He happily showed off the cottage and how homely he'd made it. That was when he rediscovered education along with literacy and numeracy skills.

An old 4 or 5 storey warehouse across the road was his next ambitious target. I remember visiting when he'd discovered an old well there. One side of the building was open to the elements. He'd taken it all back to the original stone walls. Access was only by stepladder as he'd taken it all back to scratch.

Another lasting memory is the house warming party. He'd created a 'granny' apartment using the first floor for his elderly parents.

To think that everything knowledge-wise that was Fred is being eaten away is soul-destroying. 

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