Howard’s passing

Chris called me, just yesterday, though he had warned me to expect such news. I presume Shirley will handle the arrangements. I’ve encouraged Neil to offer his help because, otherwise, I fear anything of Sheila’s, and hence Gran’s, may be lost to our family.

Jane was very kind to say we are important to her. I have always felt a friendship to her, in particular, and would very much like to keep in touch. It would have been wonderful to have her close by but I understand why that’s not possible. Still, I’m sure we’ll see her again reasonably soon. I’m already starting to plan a holiday in Australia when I’ve built the barn, probably in a couple of years’ time.

Monica is in Bristol tonight, showing the flat to potential renters. She thinks we struck lucky just now so she’ll be home a day early. This is good because she recently had her gall bladder removed and isn’t 100% fit, though her weight is increasing now that she can eat a little fat again.

I’ve been out shifting logs for some of our tree-planting friends who are tidying up the local park’s woodlands in return for the timber. After moving twenty tons, I’ve decided to let them use the truck without me: I don’t want to injure myself before I get to the farm’s projects. Still, I was paid with a ton of firewood. Woohoo. I’m also knackered from a week of cross-country skiing; straight out of the door to the tow path or up to the Pennine Way.

It’s been a time for family crises: Howard; Monica’s brother just told us his wife left; Neil’s pissed with me because I questioned Rowan’s diet and Genave’s shyness; and we’re keeping secrets for a few others. We were rewarded this last weekend, though, when a couple of Monica’s long-lost cousins came to stay with their families. They were all lovely and want to be friends. Plus, two of them are electricians and we need their skills. A fortnight ago, I introduced Monica to our half-sister Jill and we found friends there, too.

Which reminds me: we have a secret as well. We’re telling everyone! Chris alerted us to the fact that silly old England has antiquated family laws and, if we remain unmarried, Monica or I could find ourselves paying big tax bills if her health or my stupidity cut one of us short. So, we’re going to get married! Huzzay! I have to build the outdoor entertaining area in the pigsty, first, so don’t panic about buying the gift. Ha ha.

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