17th October

Although I didn’t go to bed till late I still had to get up early to take Lissi over to Consett to catch the bus to Newcastle. It’s getting darker every time I do this but as I was driving back the sun was rising. Almost every morning I see a sight that makes me want to stop and take a photograph and today was no exception. Looking across the hills I could see the sun rising with the wind turbines in silhouette and looking like they were floating on a sea of mist – beautiful!

My car had to go into have it’s MoT test done this morning – I dread this every year! The last two years it has needed work doing to it that has cost us around £400 each time. Luckily for me I had the money put aside this year so I was hoping that there wouldn’t be too much to be done and I’d be able to cover it with the £350 I had in my deposit account without having to dip into my current account. I wandered round the house for an hour after walking back from the garage dreading the phonecall. The longer I waited the more convinced I was that there would be a huge (expensive) problem. When the phone call finally came I was informed that the car had passed and apart from the £45 test fee the only thing to pay was £5 for a brake light bulb – phew!

It was my former mother-in-law’s funeral today and it was right down almost to the last minute before I decided to go. It wasn’t because I didn’t want to go and pay tribute to someone who was in my life for the best part of a quarter of a century but because I was unsure how my ex-wife, who can be unpredictable, would react. It was only after I double checked with my daughter that I decided to go.

I got to the crematorium early and waited outside – there wasn’t anyone I recognised although there were several people who were obviously there for the funeral. The cars were nearly 15 minutes late arriving, a fact noted by one of the people standing next to me to which another replied “It’s Margaret, of course they’re late!” – this made me smile because my former Mother-in-Law was never known for her timekeeping (something her daughter inherited!)

Anyway the funeral turned out to be far more emotional than I had anticipated with a lot of memories being stirred. There was one point during the (non religious) service that really touched me. They asked us to spend a few moments contemplating our memories of Margaret and while we did they played Spandau Ballet’s True which meant I could only remember the time when Margaret and her husband danced to it at their eldest daughter’s wedding. I stayed and talked until the cars drove away and then headed back to my car. I didn’t go back to the do afterwards as I had other things to do.

I went into Durham to meet up with Lissi and had about half an hour to kill. As I walked through the shopping centre I was stopped by a chugger (Charity mugger!).

“Excuse me sir, how’s your day been today”

“Well I’ve just come back from a funeral”

This didn’t seem to deter her in the slightest and she continued saying she wouldn’t take up too much of my time. Her next question was

“Do you know anyone who suffers from heart disease? It is one of the countries biggest killers!”

You couldn’t make it up – needless to say she didn’t get much further.

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