Monday, December 31, 2012
The Last Day of the Year
Physically I've been fighting an off and on iron deficiency which really took a major toll too and was pretty debilitating. Thanks to Mac M. and Juliet W. for pinpointing what was physically wrong. Have yet to use the NHS and really don't intend to unless hit by a bus and it's involuntary. Have had "issues" with various institutions including courts. Did you know so-called magistrates can be so pissy as to not give their name or bank managers so ****ing lazy and incompetent to not cash a crummy check for £120 pounds when you bring ID in person, even though it is drawn on that bank? I'm contemplating picketing along with a formal complaint to whatever board handles that - even if they don't find in my favor, it will cost them £500 pounds in having an investigation on them - so a certain arrogant SOB bank "manager" might get a boot up his buns. "Rags" was such a little weasel trying to take his name off his tie when I demanded to see it. And of course, it's not just Theresa May's Home office that is so messed up -- pretty much the entire UKBA.
I can count a handful of days that were good. I managed to go to the theatre 4 times this year - saw Sweeny Todd, which I'd never seen before (was always waiting for a good production.) Also saw One Man, Two Governors and the Reduced Shakespeare Company's Olympic's special, and The King's Speech. And Juliet W. also took me to the proms one night, so I finally got to experience that. It was my first time in the Albert Hall. All I kept thinking of was the Hitchcock movie...a lot of the nights people go really casually dressed, You can sit up in the Gods for only £5 a lot of the nights. Not much seating area, but people bring blankets and you can bring a stash of food in. So it's all good. All that marble is especially welcome on a warm night.
This is me with Diana D - she and her husband David were good Henley friends of Q and have been really kind to me. This was taken late June on the Wednesday of Henley week, so still uncrowded - I didn't want to go up on the weekend. Too crazy! We were properly dressed (anyone can go, but you can't get into the Steward's Enclosure in just anything. It does make the event fun. The MEN get to be the peacocks at this event. The women get to be peacocks at Ascot. My Qbunny, had that English sense of dressing right for the occasion, and I knew he would have thought the ladies in the next picture's foreground, nicely dressed as they are, OVERDRESSED - which to him was almost as big a sartorial sin as being under dressed.
He would have said: "that's ASCOT dress, not Henley." Straw hats are the thing, and not too fussy. Notice the complete ice-cream suit of the man just over the left of Diana's shoulder in the 1st pic. Also for ladies LOW shoes, with small stacked heel at most, skirt/dress, knee length at least. You *will* be called on it for short skirt and they'd chuck you out of the enclosure. It's dressy SPORTY - but not "dressy/Ascot." It's worth clicking on the picture to see the detail of the men's jackets.
I didn't realize the true impact of "the River[Thames]" until I'd lived here. And yet in English history, legend, story, and life it's all there. It's not just Henley itself - but it's all that Wind in the Willows, "THE" 'boat race' between Oxford and Cambridge, punting on the Thames [thank you Dorothy Sayers for the unforgettable punting scene in Gaudy Night with Peter and Harriet], river pageants, Isaac Walton mystique. IF you've seen the movie "Hope and Glory" there's an idyllic bit at the end of the family going to live with granddad along the river. It represents "peace and tranquility and all being right." It plays a bigger life in the English mind than you'd think. Or certainly amongst "Q's" kind of people. His parents told me one of the proudest days of Q's life was when he qualified to be a judge at boat races. I'm VERY glad he did NOT see the debacle THE 2012 boat race was, whereby one spoilsport thoroughly ruined the race and it effected the outcome of the race too. Had Q seen that I think he would have jumped through the TV set, and had his hands around the perp's throat before the coppers did. As it was, the perp almost had his head decapitated by an oar. Q had asked me early in our relationship which I preferred? Oxford or Cambridge? And I said "Oxford of course." He was glad he finally had an ally. Since he was about 4 he always rooted for Oxford and mom and dad always rooted for Cambridge. Amongst certain people the rivalry is like the Army/Navy game in the US.
Fr. John Boyle was in London briefly, so got to have lunch with him, and finally meet him in person. Also had nice Italian lunch with Stephen F. from Manchester who was in London for the day. Stephen is an old rec.arts.theatre.musicals friend who I've known through the internet for ages - we'd also met a few times before when he was in San Diego. I'd also scored a copy of the libretto from FOLLIES that day when we stopped by Samuel French - it was something I'd long wanted and it had been reissued, unbeknownst to me - so it was a pleasant surprise.
Fr. Tim's 10:30 Saturday Latin Mass be offered for Q on Oct 21st - his one year anniversary of death. The picture here is the elevation at that mass. And I also went over when Mac renewed her vows early December. Fun, but too bad they are WAY over on the other side of London. A crummy 20 miles as crow flies turns into either: 120 mile round trip in car via M-25 (gas 1.39 a liter about 8.50 a US gallon) OR two train changes plus bus and longer to get there. Works out same price either way, roughly. I also had to move, but remain in Feltham and hope in the New Year to get a job locally as a) I like this end of London as it is close to everywhere I'd want to go.
But even some of the good days can get wrecked. Like Dec. 8th - I was finally feeling good enough to get a few things done on the same day - a bank errand (a different one!) and then walked over to Mass -- where I found I had completely forgotten the parish had its 80th anniversary celebration. Really wonderful Mass with different communities contributing, and a great reception afterwards. Then went shopping, home, made dinner and found I had *lost* my wedding ring. Well, temporarily anyway. 4 days later found it in a place I'd checked twice already. But I was just sick with grief in the time it was missing. Fr. Chris V. of St. Lawrence, Feltham has been most kind, as well as has his Anglican priest cousin, Fr. Paul W. And the aforementioned David and Diana D., and I had lunch one afternoon with Q's parents in Fleet.
Richmond Deer Park 3 times this year. Once for lunch at Pembroke Lodge - where David Niven was posted for a spell during WWII when he was in Phantom Regiment. Richmond park sits on the top of a promentory in west London about 8 miles as the crow flies from where I live. One of the few pleasures Q and I had together his last year was going there on the way home after his radiation treatments. I was sorry the "Fenton" episode happened shortly after his death. Oh, how he would have laughed. We always managed to see either an English Springer Spaniel or a Highland Westie, and sometimes both on the same day. We'd had DDDs of those same variety. The deer are incredibly tame. You can drive through the park, but the speed limit is only 20 for good reason. Like cops everywhere, the local constabulary *loves* nailing people going over the limit through the thing. Good reason too - some of those deer will literally graze along the boarder of the road.
My parents-in-law just celebrated their 60th anniversary on the 22nd of this month, and I was able to arrange that they get congratulations from the Queen. I was happy to do that, because I'm sure Q would have remembered to do that. Seems she's the only efficient one with a half-way decent staff. My father in law answered the door at 7:30 in the morning on the day of their anniversary. The letter had to be specially signed for, and it had to be reported back to Her Maj. if it hadn't been delivered by 9 a.m. that day!
I was able to get up to see them for Christmas and they have been very kind and supportive. So I guess that has been the very best thing this year. This photo, as far as I know is one of the few if not THE only photo of Quentin taken with his parents in recent years. I took it almost exactly 2 years ago -- literally days before we found out Q was seriously ill with terminal cancer. I envy his parent's 60 years together. Q and I didn't even get a 1st anniversary. John will be 90 this next Lincoln's Birthday and Lorna is two months younger than her Maj.
Next year? Please God, let it be better - I can't take too many more like this.