Week 97

24th October, 2010

A wet day, I spent it reading the papers and writing my funeral speech. Nice to see United & Liverpool win and City lose.

25th October, 2010

Gloriously sunny day after heavy frost first thing. We were up early and drove to Pauline’s Mum’s Doctor’s surgery to deliver a thank you letter for thirty years of service. Dr Kelso is retiring himself in a few months time. He always greeted Mum with, How are you Lady Jane? and she loved it.

We then drove Phyllis & Colin over the Pennines to Huddersfield. I forced them to stop on the moors to get out and have their photographs taken:

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We then took them on a tour of Huddersfield before going to Ciao Bella for lunch.

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We had a lovely meal of Greek Salad, Italian Salad, Calamari Fritte, Spicy Meatballs in tomato and garlic, Chicken in cream and tarragon sauce all with roasted vegetables and a couple of bottles of wine.

After lunch, I took them on to meet my friend, Chris Woods at Honda. Colin needs a new car and quite fancies a Honda. I found an advert for special offers on Jazz 1.4 SE models. They are incredibly cheap at the moment.Effectively, he was paying £8.000.00 for a brand new, four door car that will last him ten years.

26th October, 2010

Miserable, wet, grey day today. Didn’t go out. Completed my Tribute for tomorrow. I was told I couldn’t speak for more than 5 mins but I can’t cut it down to less than 8mins. This notice appeared in the Oldham Chronicle.

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27th October, 2010

Up at 6.00 am. Shower and breakfast of tea and toast with raspberry conserve. By 7.00 am, the sun is starting to show and, by 8.00 am, it is obviously going to be a beautiful day. By 9.00 am, I am off in the car to the other side of town to pick up Florence. Florence had been the cleaner of the Anchor Housing flats. She had befriended Mum over the years and done her washing once a week. A few months ago, Florence retired from her job but had continued to visit Mum each week to take her washing and to have a chat. Tragically, just as Florence was retiring, she was diagnosed with bowel cancer. Mum had been trying to raise her morale and to persuade her to fight.

I picked Florence up and delivered her to the common room in Mum’s flats where all the others had gathered. I then went down to meet the three cars and to get mourners in to them. Mum’s coffin looked wonderful with lots of her favourite white lillies. We drove down to the Hollinwood Crematorium – a journey of twenty minutes – through beautiful, autumnal sunshine. Alongside a photo of the Crematorium, below, is a copy of the Order of Service and a copy of my tribute.

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28th October, 2010

Got up later today. We both felt very tired after yesterday. It was a long day and very stressful. Now we have the clear up. Phyllis & Colin will leave on Saturday. We have to book removals to clear Mum’s flat of everything nobody else wants. It probably won’t happen for another week. I took this picture of some of the family as they were saying goodbye in Mum’s flat and setting off for the South. Phyllis will kill me when she realises that I have put this photo of her saying goodbye to her youngest grandson, Daniel, aged 6 who is being trialled by Fulham Football Club.

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29th October, 2010

We have been living in the warden assisted accommodation for month now. We have spent the past two weeks of Mum’s death with Pauline’s sister and her husband Colin. They are retired – in fact considerably older than us at 73 & 74 years old. They have been sleeping in the Guest Room (£5.00 per night) and we have been sleeping in the Hairdressing Room (£2.00 per night) which is much bigger but we have to move out each Wednesday morning so that it can fulfil its function. This week, the hairdresser came to the funeral even though it was Wednesday. She had her own special relationship with Mum. Mum used to make her two toasted currant tea cakes and a mug of tea every Wednesday at 9.00 am.

Phyllis and Colin are going back to Surrey tomorrow. We have booked the removal firm to deliver our goods from store and then to clear Mum’s flat. Unfortunately, that can’t happen until November 11th which means we will have been here six weeks but we have quite a few loose ends to tidy up. Pauline & I are going to The Garden of Remembrance at the Crematorium to scatter Mum’s ashes. Quite remarkably, her Dad’s ashes were scattered there in 1961 and the Crematorium still has a record of where. Pauline will be able to scatter her Mum’s ashes over the patch where her Dad was scattered. It will be a poignant but meaningful moment for Pauline. As executor, Pauline has to distribute Mum’s fortune. She has spoken to Pensions and made sure her rent was up to date. We have been inviting in all Mum’s many helpers to see if there are any mementos, photographs, clothes or trinkets that they would like and most have left with something. Cath had a photograph that she talks to every day and isn’t at all surprised when it shouts back at her. She also had a lot of Mum’s blouses. Florence had the boxed set of Daniel o’Donnell cds. It’s her favourite singer. Joyce had skirts and the warden, Margaret, had coats. We also donated two motability trolleys to the warden for distribution. The most moving thing about this has been the people and how upset they have been at losing Mum.

30th October, 2010

A lovely day today. We were up at 6.00 am as Phyllis & Colin were driving back to Surrey. It was very hard for Phyllis leaving her Mum’s flat for the last time. She said she cried all the way down the motorway. We’ve got that to come in ten days time. Later in  the morning, Cath, the Maltese Falcon, who used to clean my office in school and who I persuaded to clean for Mum because she only lived over the field, called and we let her choose clothes & shoes that Mum had never worn. She was pleased to. Pauline spent the rest of the day bagging up the remaining personal possessions to go to Dr Kershaw’s Hospice in Oldham.

At the same time, we are trying to look ahead. We have completed the paperwork for our six month let. We can see the finished apartment on Monday just before the white goods go in. We’ve set up our insurances and booked the removal firm. As soon as we’ve moved in, we will go down to stay with Phyllis and Colin for a few days and start to search in earnest for a property to buy. Actually, it won’t be in earnest. It will be in Surrey or Kent.

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