I’ve spent the last couple of days working on the auction catalogue. Weeza used to prepare it for Russell and, since she was really too busy but couldn’t say no to her father, after the first year, Tim used to do it for me. Luckily, Publisher became unworkable (really, Microsoft products are disgracefully poor), he transferred, with much difficulty, to Word, which meant I have been able to take it on (Publisher isn’t licensed for Macs). The formatting was a pig. It took me ages to start to understand it, but I found workarounds and solved problems. So, after a difficult time yesterday, it finally came together today. Taking a photograph for the front cover was another problem, because there were some pieces I wanted there that didn’t go that well together, but no problem of that sort is insurmountable. Plenty of problems are, but this is one of the trivial ones.
Over the weekend, I must go carefully through the lot descriptions and the estimates. Otherwise, I think I’m done and I can send a PDF to the printers.
In addition, I have to listen to a lot of music. I don’t want to listen to music, especially Tim’s, I’m not ready. But it’s necessary. I also have to write something for the ‘celebrant’ – I’d prefer officiant, it’s more neutral – who’s taking Tim’s funeral.
Think of me and Tim and our families on the 4th October, please. 1 o’clock at Reading crematorium. I have arranged for people to be here all day, and at Tim’s house – never left unoccupied, as I’ve said – and I’m not ready to think about it, yet I must. I will go down to Reading again next week and I will visit Tim and see him for the last time. Not because I want to see him that way, but from love, respect and a great grief that I wasn’t with him when he died.
As an aside, when did “passing away” become ‘passing”? I don’t object to either term, not in the least, but the one seems to have superseded the other.
I must have told you about when my mother’s dog Khan died. I was in India at the time, with Wink. I was, with great difficulty, sending emails to the family regularly – it was before the days of wifi and I had to go to internet cafés, searching them out on our tours. I never had any replies and it was really quite hurtful and upsetting. Finally, once we were back at the MCC (Madras Cricket Club, it’s as prestigious as it sounds), Wink suggested using her mobile to phone home. I didn’t yet have a mobile. I rang Russell and asked how everyone was? “We’ve lost Khan,” he said, dolefully. “Oh no, did you find him?” Yes. Is he all right. No, we’ve lost him. You get the picture. Khan had gone missing with Tilly, who eventually turned up, afraid and distressed. They found Khan the greyhound next day. The dogs never normally wandered and we thought he must have been looking for me. He’d been hit by a car and dragged into the hedge – no one phoned, he had our number on his collar and it wasn’t the driver’s fault, we were responsible. Still. I explained to Russell, a lost dog is a lost dog. If the dog has died, you need to say so. We lost Auntie Mary, you understand what has happened, as long as she isn’t in the habit of wandering, but a domestic pet can get out and vanish. Anyway, I never was inclined to euphemisms and this sealed it. So die, pass, pass away or on, whatever feels right to you, but only lost if it’s unambiguous.
Jill the celebrant is phoning on Monday afternoon and I have to have something ready by then. Friends and family are joining in with memories. There. I can’t write more tonight. Thanks for lovely messages and emails. I’ll reply when I can.