I’ve been to Tim’s house in Reading over the past few days. I needed to have the gas boiler and burglar alarm’s annual services and I aim to spend a few days there every month anyway, just to pick up the post, check meters and make sure everything is okay. Which it was this time, fortunately, though that didn’t stop me rather dreading it. I’ve been moving Tim’s stuff out over the past few months and took away anything that would clutter up photos, for when it was being marketed, but that really just removed his presence without removing the hardship of being there without him. It’s more of an ordeal every time, but I still need to keep doing it.
In the end, there were positives, though, including an unexpected one. I took 3 dozen eggs with me and emailed around local friends to offer them. So I spread bantam goodwill and largesse around Reading, which was nice. I had tea with two of the friends and that was good too. I got some more low-key sorting out done, but it was a bit frustrating that I couldn’t fit a small piece of furniture into Tim’s car. It’s not its purpose, but it was so near.
The unexpected pleasure was the really nice woman, Alison, who did the boiler/gas check. We chatted, I explained I wanted a full check because the house was being sold and we talked about that too. I said I didn’t have room for much of Tim’s stuff and some of his books would have to go to a charity shop, especially as we’d got a lot of overlap. She said she’d noticed all the books, and her enthusiasm led me to invite her to help herself. And she recognised that I meant it, so after she’d finished work she took me at my word and took quite a lot. I was so pleased, she was happy and we liked each other. A brief encounter, i don’t suppose we’ll meet again, but we were, briefly, friends.
I looked at one of Tim’s bookcases, because his copies of the Patrick O’Brien’s books are a nicer edition than mine, so I wanted to take them and I’ll give mine away. I’d noticed that the bookcase had mostly children’s books otherwise, there were also poetry and plays. Checking a few of them, my thought that they’d been his late wife Viv’s was correct, her name was in some of them. She and her little sister Linda had written extensively in Heidi, I suspect that they were away from home and that Viv, a born teacher, needed paper to give Linda lessons in sums and drawing, so they’d used any blank space in this book. I’ve emailed Linda to invite her to check out the books, she might like to have them and I’m sure she’d like Heidi. I read it that evening, I hadn’t done so for several decades and it was charming, though taking a surprisingly strong religious bent from halfway through.
So a visit I’d dreaded turned out okay. It’s all very hard, though and I’m not pretending it isn’t. I’ve had enough of pretending to myself, it all has to be faced at some time.
The journey back was not too bad, though there were holdups on my preferred route, so I thought I’d go on the M11 and then there’d been an accident there, so I kept on the M25 to the A12, my least favourite road. But no problems there, so it’ll go up a notch. I arrived home for a late lunch and was greeted by Wink and Eloise cat.
Norwich tomorrow and Thursday, then Kent on Friday, so i need to up my organising game..