Travelling around 1

Catching up with friends

My first trip back to the U.K. in over two years.

The journey through the airports and flight went smoothly as fast as pre-pandemic. I had test results and certificate proving I’d had my vaccinations. No one checked anything.

Day two test negative so all ok
Celebrating Halloween.

Being entertained by and entertaining my granddaughter Poppy. She’s eight and I’ve missed seeing her for two years! All of us share that pandemic experience.

What’s the game?

Exploring Hebden Bridge with Liz, the mum of my boys, big ex or as Manjula would say: wife number one. We remain close and dear friends of over thirty years.

Cherishable

Today’s cherishable sad and sweet memories are the times Manjula and I spent together.

Here

The writer Didion coined the term ‘vortex’ in her book ‘a year of magical thinking’ about the year after her husband died.

It helpfully describes when one is ambushed by trigger memories of good times spent together.

But I wasn’t ambushed, as I fully expected it.

These are sad and tearful yet happy treasured moments in central London. I know it so well yet it now has an other dimension.

grief gravy

I have swam in it, swallowed it, fought it, opened my arms to it, shrivelled from it, tolerated it, hated it,.. It’s hit me like a personal tsunami, been wishy washy, sticky beyond treacle, invaded my brain to make it fuzzy and cracked open my tentative comfort zones. I know it’s a lifelong friend I have to accept it. It’s equal with and probably surpasses the combined effect of all the worse times in my life and for the first time uncovered real solid regrets.

It’s a gravy train that doesn’t bring benefits or maybe it does.

My heart was broken by losing Manjula, I covered it up and held it close but now I’m beginning to feel able to open my heart again. So there are positives to discover and learning to reveal.

I now love Manjula even more and in ways that I couldn’t imagine. I’m tentatively beginning to be kind to myself.

Thank you for your support during this horrendous journey.

I love you Manjula

Adopted

More young people aged from seven through to twenty-nine are befriending me.

The latest are the excitable cycling duo of Yashodhar and Srivaastav.

Who saw me walking Lucie and asked me to wait while they rushed home and brought me these pictures.

Complete with carefully designed envelope.

How nice.

Manjula gives again

Vanshika and her younger sister Samiksha with their gifts from Manjula

Vanshika was the first to borrow books from the library. She was worried that her English wasn’t perfect, well it’s much better than this Yorkshireman’s.

Her mum thinks she’ll love the books but she’s uncertain about that man.

Reflective Space

I enjoy meeting new people for enlightening conversations. We cover an incredible range of subjects.

I’m regularly contacted by young people who arrange to drop in and talk and often borrow books from Manjula’s library.

Thank you, from happy old man

Manjula’s library.

Latest delivery to the children’s section.

The board books in the centre use more appropriate local images for the traditional English rhymes still shared with ‘early years’ children in India.

What do you think?

I’ve ordered extra as gifts from Manjula to some of the children in the immediate locality.

Found them

Today’s panic was that I’d misplaced shirts, shorts and especially trousers.

I fly to the U.K. next week, my first trip for over two years. Here I wear shorts and T shirts unless I’m formal when I wear kurta and pyjama.

As it will be variable weather and much cooler moving to really cold in the U.K. I need shirts and trousers but I couldn’t find them. We’ll know I have.

Next shoes.