Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Catching up

Sorry I haven't been on for a while. We're on half term this week and I'm chilling out at my brothers in Suffolk - so a chance to catch up whilst I look after 6 kids...

The funeral of my fave teacher took place on Monday. I took the kids along as we were going to set off straight afterwards for Suffolk. They also promised they'd look after me if I cried, which I did, but 'not as much as I thought you would, mum,' said the 9 year old.

The church was packed out - probably over 200 people, and the service was really nice. Afterwards, I was grabbed by a small group of people...more old teachers! Mrs. Skinner, Miss Harvey, Dr. Gillis, Mr MacFaul and Mr Lomas. Its funny how even at the age of 42 I can't call them anything but Miss this and Mr that! Mrs Skinner was the other games teacher, and I havent seen her for about 25 years. She gave me a cuddle for about 20 minutes then asked me if I still had her recipe for liver and bacon. 'No way!' I laughed (I HATE liver!), 'but I know Jill's mum still uses it.' Her face beamed, 'Ohhhh Jill! How is she?' etc etc.....

It was really lovely to catch up with them all briefly, but we yakked so much that we missed the crem. Instead I drove the kids to see the school. I showed them the 'wall of death' that Liz used to drive the minibus towards at a hundred miles an hour then brake, I showed them the hockey pitches, the cloakroom, the dining hall etc. and I was flooded by lovely memories of great school days.

We then met up at Liz's recent school for refreshments and a chance to catch up with some of the people I knew amongst the crowds that were there. They showed a lovely dvd of photos of Liz with her son, her friends, her family, before the stroke. I still can't believe someone so fit and healthy could have suffered so much in the last 4 years, but I like to think that wherever she is now, she's running around, chatting and laughing once again.

And so, here we are in Suffolk. Its peeing down outside, but the cousins are happy being together doing 'stuff' inside. Oh - and check out the latest new blog. The 9 year old has created it and he rambles on about stuff I have no idea about! (Club Penguin!) However, he does do the occasional youtube review which you may want to chuck your comments on every now and then. He'd be so chuffed to see someone other than his mum leave a comment!

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

How Do You Keep The Music Playing

My favourite teacher, who was also my dear friend died this afternoon.

I last saw her just after Christmas. She was frail and weak, but she still looked lovely, and when I cuddled her to say goodbye, I had a feeling that maybe that would be my last cuddle and my last goodbye. I spent a lovely couple of hours there that afternoon. Her mum was there, her best friend, her best friend's mum, the gorgeous carer, and her son - upstairs with his pal. We chatted, we laughed, I told stories and reminisced. She listened, she smiled and she nodded.

She was my PE teacher at school. Only 10 years older than us. I adored her. She was an inspiration, and she was my hero. We used to swap records, and she introduced me to the world of 'soul.' Some great singers - Patti Labelle, James Ingram, Quincy Jones and...Patti Austin. Patti Austin was her favourite, and when she left our school after 5 years for another job, I presented her with a picture of Patti that I'd drawn in coloured pencils. She presented me with a tape that she'd made - just for me, with all our favourite singers on there. It was called 'Somethin' Special' after the first Patti Austin. I've still got it, but the writing's a bit faded now.

When we were reunited last year after 20+ years, I learned that she'd had a major stroke and was also suffering from cancer. When I first visited her, she was eager to show me something upstairs. She had a stair lift, and I followed her up, wondering what she was so keen for me to see. It was, of course, the picture of Patti that I'd done for her - on the wall - pride of place. She couldn't talk because of the damned stroke, but boy she could smile - and she really did grin as she saw me recognise the picture.

Visiting her in the last few months, I would talk to her about all sorts of stuff. It was sometimes difficult to keep thinking of things to say, because she couldn't speak. I do, however, remember a wonderful moment where I said 'Ahhh, Patti. Isn't she great.' She smiled and nodded, and I started to sing 'How do you keep the music playing...' She closed her eyes and hummed along, perfectly in tune. I can picture her now.

Her best friend was distraught when she phoned me this afternoon. I can't put into words how amazing this friend has been over the last few years. She has made an incredible difference to the life of my lovely teacher and her son since their world collapsed, and will, no doubt continue to give unconditionally to ensure that her friend's son is ok...

Despite the fact that my eyes are swollen with tears, I am determined to celebrate the life of my lovely teacher. I will remember her fondly, I will talk about her often, and I shall stay in touch with her family and her best friend so that we can talk about old times, smile and laugh.
Somehow, we will find a way to keep the music playing...

I have written a couple of other posts about my favourite teacher on the other blog. 'Heroes' and 'Mother's Love.'

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Why Walk When You Can Fly

I've recently been told that my first mammagram since treatment finished was OK. Its a huge relief, to say the least.

This is a song by Mary Chapin-Carpenter. Mary who? Mary Chapin-Carpenter. We have seen her umpteen times live, and she is a fabulous songwriter and artist.
Listen out for

'In this world there's a whole lot of golden,
in this world there's a whole lot of plain,
in this world you've a soul for a compass and a heart for a pair of wings...'

Just another one of my 'make the most of life' songs....