remembering …

Today would have been Maurice’s 29th birthday, if he’d lived to see it. I miss him a great deal.

There were many good times (and some pretty grim ones as well) – perhaps none better than when he was exploring new things, out of his normal urban habitat.

Thinking of him, and his family.

Maurice and horses

fishing trip

Monday 8th was over to Peterborough, to stay with Geoff for a fishing trip on Tuesday. It’s a bit of an emotionally fraught trip for me – the first part of the rail journey (Worcester Foregate Street – Birmingham – Leicester) is the route that I took so many times (certainly over a hundred) over to Bedford with, to see, or to sort out Maurice.

I hadn’t realised that it was the end of the Ledbury festival, and the little 2-carriage train was packed. People lying on luggage racks, even. Needless to say, it was standing room only all the way to New Street, and running very late. In fact, there was only three minutes to catch the Cross-country train to Peterborough, so I had to run (as best I can, which is “not very” with a walking stick!). As it turned out, not only was I on the train before the advertised departure time, but it actually left five minutes late.

I arrived in Peterborough on time, and as I emerged from the station saw Geoff’s BMW drawing up, with Sim in the back seat. A trip over to the fishing venue (Lovell’s Lakes) to suss out pegs for the morning, calling in at Morrisons on the way for food for the fishing, then back to Geoff’s. Supper was a rather good chicken and mushroom pie he’d made, with spuds and broccoli. Thoughout the evening,there was much joking and amusement about Alexa, which he’s only just got and is still coming to grips with!

As Geoff has now sorted his spare bedroom, I got a reasonable night on a decent firm mattress (Sim was on the sofa downstairs). Alarm went off at 0445, I was up by 0500, we left at 0545 and were at the lake two minutes after start time of 0600.

A very pleasant day’s fishing ensued, with all of us catching plenty. My biggest carp was only a couple of pounds, though Sim had one probably around 7lb. There was quite a mix of Common Carp, Mirror Carp, and assorted curious hybrids.

The water bailiff came round, and I paid for all three of us – well, I owed Geoff for the Morrisons stuff from the day before, anyway. There was a lot of discussion – new rules had apparently been introduced on April 1st, though the bailiff had not previously mentioned them to Geoff. His partner produced three copies of a printout for us, but neither of them examined either my tackle or Sim’s, which was just as well! Geoff’s largely passed muster, though he was told to have a larger landing net next time …

All of which suggests that I’m going to have to up my game before our next trip! Actually, I’d more-or-less decided that I need to have a set of fishing gear in Worcester, as well as leaving my “main” set with my brother Sim. It all needs to be very portable, as any fishing trip I do in the Worcester area will have to be accessed by e-bike! That means a telescopic rod, short landing net, and so on.

We packed up at Lovells Lakes around quarter to five – largely at my suggestion. Nearly eleven hours of fishing is actually rather past my limits, especially as I currently have a troublesome right wrist and wear a brace on it much of the time. Back to Geoff’s for an hours, then off to catch the 1852 train. Just as well we left in plenty of time: the lift and adjacent staircase at Peterborough station were closed, so it was a detour of several hundred yards to use the ramps. I wasn’t happy that no effort had been made to assist people who find walking / luggage difficult!

So, home, exhausted, at around 2200h.

damp and dismal

It’s been generally vile weather here most of the day, but the rain stopped a couple of hours ago and I managed a scamper round the garden. Quite a lot of things are looking rain-beaten! However, the first of the courgette flowers has opened, which is promising.

I did manage to finish the Green Party newsletters, but something clearly went terribly wrong! My count for the “side one’s” was a couple of hundred copies different from my count for the “side 2’s”! I’ve done extra, so it should end up over rather than under … but I can’t quite understand how it happened, as I’m normally rather careful about keeping track!

I’ve been a bit low, as today’s the first anniversary of Maurice’s funeral, so it’s probable that I mis-counted somewhere just due to brooding.

Remembering Maurice

Today would have been Maurice’s 28th birthday, had he lived to see it. I think of him every day, of course (though that may wear off in time).

This picture is from six weeks after he moved in with me in 2010: a fair at Finsbury Park. It was the first time after being diagnosed with TB that he was allowed to be out and vaguely active.

I suppose I’ve reached an age where there will be a growing list of “absent friends”.

picture of Maurice


Well, that unexpectedly reduced me to tears! I paid for a TV licence for Maurice, back at the end of last year, and he was supposed to be paying me in installments. It was the only way of doing it, after he’d been taken to Court for non-payment – though I did succeed in getting the Magistrates to reduce his fine by over £300 to the bare minimum.

Today, my refund for the “unused” part of the licence arrived – backdated to the date of his death, rather than the time I finally felt strong enough to tell them. It’s the little things that crop up randomly that are *so* bloody painful after the unexpected death of a loved one.

Maurice’s funeral

Items in blue added a year later: it was really too painful to post anything much on the day.

I couldn’t face staying in thy normal place (the Tennyson Hotel) in Bedford for the night before the funeral – too many memories, and staff would ask me about Maurice. So it was my usual hovel in Bloomsbury, which should have been convenient for Bedford. However …

Trains on the Thameslink Bedpan line still totally screwed! Fortunately, I left my hotel in Bloomsbury an hour earlier than the timetable suggested was necessary … now on a train, passing through Elstree.

Maurice’s funeral is going to be tough.


Well, Maurice managed to be late for his own funeral!

The hearse got lost on the way to meet us outside Maurice’s flat, so arrived at the Crematorium seven minutes late. By Maurice standards, of course, that’s practically “early”.

It was a good service. Michelle had done an excellent job with covering the important parts of Maurice’s life with the celebrant, and the roles of the important people in his life were made clear. On Michelle’s instructions, strictly close family and me: a bit of pity, as I think there were a couple of people (former social workers, etc) that Maurice also felt close to. A Spurs flag draped the coffin, of course.A meal with Heidi, Triston, Becky, Martine, then back, in a rather vacant fashion to Bloomsbury, where I passed the evening in a bit of a blur. I did manage to post to facebook:

View from my hotel room window. Yes, it’s definitely Bloomsbury!

Continue reading “Maurice’s funeral”

Maurice mental health crisis

Sodding Bedford Mental Health Services! I triggered things by sending Maurice’s key worker an email overnight on Wednesday. Thursday night at A&E. Friday night Crisis Team. Saturday pm placement found, but I cannot take Maurice there as we both have to be collected from Bedford. Transport “confirmed” at 1815. Now 2115 and no signs of transport contacting me …
I’ve booked a fleapit hotel in London, as I clearly will miss last trains, and will have to catch 0830 train home on Sunday to prepare for much-wanted and loved visitors Sunday pm.

This retirement malarkey isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Well, the “transport” turned out to be a full emergency-response-type ambulance. They rang to apologise for missing the four-hour target reponse time for non -urgent stuff, and arrived just after 2330. On our way by midnight, and arrived Newham at 00200h. Ridiculous to pull an emergency vehicle out of operation on a peak-time Saturday night for a trip I had volunteered that we would do ourselves (and we would have arrived five hours earlier).

By the time Maurice was checked in it was 0300h, and by the time I’d caught a cab to the nearest night tube station, and experienced major delays on the Piccadilly line, I arrived at the fleapit just short of 5 am as dawn was breaking. Up at 0815 to catch curious trains (line closed for engineering work between Didcot and Oxford, so it was a train from Marylebone, change Oxford (original Oxford to Worcester train was faulty, so 25 minute delay for them to line up a replacement). I am looking forward to a couple of relaxing days at home with my niece and her fiancé !

Maurice is now safely being asesssed as a voluntary inpatient. We hope that a proper treatment plan can be developed over the next few days, and he can move to somewhere closer to Bedford towards the end of the week. Please God let this be the start of him being properly assessed and treated – something we’ve been trying to have done for six years!

Maurice woes

Just got back from Bedford Hospital, after a four hour meeting with the mental health crisis team about Maurice. A serious multi–agency meeting will be called tomorrow. It’s 0145 and I have to be up at 0730 for hotel breakfast …

the next day …

A second night in Bedford. Very slow progress, but it looks as though there will be a place tomorrow (although it may end up being Newham, London rather than Luton ,Beds !).

not a wonderful day

Yesterday was over to Bedford to see Maurice. I discovered that his last-ever contact with his kids was this morning, so stayed over ( Embankment Hotel: always very pleasant). Hopefully, I managed to provide Maurice with the emotional support he needed today.

I’m now on a train. I wish I could say a train home, but it is stubbornly sitting in one place “due to a fatality at Nuneaton”.

We’ve now all been rounded up and stuck on a train for Derby! I know there is a train from Derby to Brum, but I’ve only ever caught the 0630 version of it (which is moderately horrid).

(still later)
Now on a train which claims to be heading for Cardiff! At least it’s going Southwestwards, rather than further North. I have confidence that most such trains go through Birmingham …

early start tomorrow

Aaargh! I now have to be in Bedford for 0945 tomorrow – which means catching the train around half past five, which means getting up around 0415. Still, hopefully it will get Maurice settled under an appropriate ‘disabilities’ team, with adequate support and care in the community.

The calls telling me about this rather disturbed a pleasant evening of watering biological warfare anti-slug nematodes onto the veg. beds (next door but one house is a hedgehog rescue place: even if it weren’t, I would want to avoid chemicals which might poison wildlife).

Lovely sun this morning, streaming through the first foxglove, and the early oriental poppies.