Andrew, a friend from our student days, died unexpectedly in May 2011. A few weeks later, we gathered together with our friends for a wake in Andrew's garden together with his wife Jan and their children Susie and Charlie, all still stunned by his untimely and unexpected death.
We were all back there again in Reading yesterday but, I'm pleased to say, in very different circumstances: a party to celebrate a newly created garden incorporating many of Andrew's "treasures" (often salvaged from skips or found in the street) in the design. And jolly wonderful it looks too!
There were other things to celebrate too. Andrew and Jan's daughter Susie is expecting her first child; their son Charlie had married since Andrew's death and was there with his wife; there was even a new baby to enliven the proceedings, the latest grandchild of our friends Bob and Gill. Not to mention the superb tea laid on by Jan, washed down by prosecco....and the sun shone. Who could ask for anything more?
It was a lovely way to finish a very busy week spent helping to lay more floor tiles in our son's kitchen in Bristol and getting plastered at home in Oxford, where the soon-to-be guest room's skim coat of new plaster has now dried out ready for painting. No guesses as to what we've been doing today and what will probably keep us busy for the rest of the week, in between other commitments.
Less than a week to the start of September and less than a fortnight to Steve's next hospital assessment. Hopefully, the distraction of decorating, carpeting and furnishing the spare room will keep our mind's off the outcome of the assessment which, as usual, will shape our lives for the next three months at least.