Beginning, End, Middle.
On Monday evening I did a quick check of my email and saw the message I’d been waiting for sitting in my inbox. I immediately went all butterfingered and almost sent it winging into space instead of opening it. Keep calm, Chris, don’t get your hopes up, it’s probably bad news… but it wasn’t. Tom was outside in the studio, putting the final touches to a frame.
‘The publishers want to see the rest of the book!’
Much hugging, jumping around, another look at the email just to make sure I hadn’t been seeing things and a glass of wine. Then the phone rang.
It’s strange how hearing my cousin’s voice didn’t ring any alarm bells. But then Auntie Joanie had been doing so well and most of the recent news had been positive. I suppose I’d started to think that she would just go on despite being so terribly ill. And it was such a shock to hear that she wasn’t there any more. The end had come quite suddenly and had happened just at the moment Tom and I had been celebrating. Life gives, life takes away, an ever-spinning wheel.
Yesterday there was work to do reading my typescript for the umpteenth time before emailing it to the publishers. I’d also been asked to say something about myself and it was so hard trying to make myself sound vaguely marketable with an aching heart and hurt that was almost physical. Still, it was probably good to have to concentrate on something other than grief. I’ve done the best I can and now all I have to do is wait.
November is my birthday month and some folks, ie my sister – look away now, Kid – think I make far too much fuss of my birthday. A big fat fuss, in fact. But, hey, I’ll never be this young again! On Friday I’m going to see John Martyn in Cardiff which I’m really, really looking forwards to. I love John Martyn; if I was ever stuck on a desert island I could easily take at least eight of his records… except that wouldn’t leave any room for Nick Cave and I could just as easily take eight of his… but what about Nick Drake and Prince’s ‘Purple Rain’? Oh, well, hopefully I won’t ever be stuck on a desert island in which case I can just listen to what I like at home. On Saturday we’re going to see Wales v All Blacks which will be an experience too. A couple of celebrations before the funeral next week and then my lovely daughters and their boyfriends are coming to stay. Life goes on.
And finally…Thank you to everyone for your very kind messages. And thank you, Edith Mary Joan, my lovely Auntie Joanie for everything you gave me.
The painting is 'Oily Dawn' by Tom Tomos