Tuesday, 5 April 2011


I first must make an apology! I had said that Clive and I had been to the cinema to watch ‘The Bucket List’. When it came on the television last night in the holiday apartment I was in with my family in the Lake District, my Mum corrected my mistake! In fact I had seen it initially with her and Dad, Dom and his Dad. Mum had won tickets to see it in Manchester, after which we had vouchers for a meal in the Hilton hotel.

However, it is true that Clive and I watched it together. Last year we had a couple of months of free films from Lovefilm.com. We had ordered many of our favourites to watch together. This was one. We had both cried buckets – pun intended! I actually was pleased with myself watching it last night as I didn’t cry, apart from the scenes taken at the pyramids – a place where Clive and I had visited last September. The shots at the Taj Mahal were also tough as he had wanted to take me to India show me it. Perhaps that should go on my ‘bucket list’ of things to do before I die?

I slept reasonably well, with a soft pillow loaned by a certain young man, who had suggested I might sleep better with it. It dawned on me that I hadn’t brought any sleeping tablets with me – I hadn’t even thought of them. That is good. I was woken with happy shouts from baby Sophie who had been throwing z’s for over 11 hours! Wow! What an amazing child. She entertained us all by crawling and playing on the lounge area floor, whilst Dad made us breakfast. Dressing gowns all around. Bliss.

It was pouring down outside and as some may say, lovely weather for ducks. Sophie was fascinated by those in the duck pond at the front of our apartment and we tempted them to come and call on us! Oh the simple pleasures in life.


We then went for a family swim. The weekend before Clive died I had been away with my family for my brother’s 50th birthday party, at a hotel. I had taken Sophie for a 10 second swim there as the water was far too cold for her and she just screamed! Today she was a proper water baby. We had a very pleasant hour or so in the pool. I briefly went in the steam room where I thought I’d find ‘Clive’ as I had done at Oulton Hall. It was too bright and not steamy enough!!!

As we walked past reception, the receptionist who had given us an upgrade on Saturday and even sought us out to give us the key earlier than expected, was back on duty. I ‘did a Clive’ and thanked her for her outstanding service. If feels so good to give credit where it is due.

I wanted to be home by late afternoon, so I packed up and we drove a few miles towards Penrith to the Rheged centre. I have often seen signs for this but never been in. A great place for a wet day in the Lakes! There are shops, a cinema, cafe, soft play, conference centre and exhibitions, all undercover. We had a very tasty lunch and I chatted to Mum and Dad about my plans for the next couple of weeks. They are naturally concerned and worried about me. No parent likes to see their child suffering at any age. They feel I am simply too young to be going through the bereavement of a partner. They also know how much I was besotted with Clive and how very much he meant to me. They have supported me incredibly, and continue to do so. I appreciate, love and value them so much. I explained that I had hopefully made today ‘easier’ for leaving them by arranging for a friend to stay with me tonight.

We had our goodbyes and I did feel okay about parting today. In the car park instead of tormenting myself about leaving them I let my mind wander over the possibility of me speaking at the Rheged centre. I made a mental note to send them my details for when they need an inspirational speaker! I was interested in my route too as I have never left the Lake District before to come back to Yorkshire. It was easy – an A road over ‘the top’, then straight down the A1. It took me two hours. Instead of soppy music I put a CD on of the USA Speakers Association, the NSA. It had some useful tips, including ideas about personal branding. This is something I need to do with my name change – I shall have to get new business cards made; review and update my website, etc. I felt positivity and energy return a little.

As I drove the rain began to stop and some incredible rainbows appeared. They were so close I wanted to touch them. It reminded me of this beautiful song.

I thought of the many journeys Clive and I had done and rainbows was something we had commented on. Today I smiled at those memories.

As I drove through Boston Spa and back into Tadcaster I felt calm. I called at Sainsbury’s to get a meal for my friend Nic and I. Then came home. A neighbour or Rod must have cut the front grass. How thoughtful and much appreciated! That made me smile too. Also the daffodils which had taken a battering in the wind last week were all looking straight again. I smiled at that as well as I thought how Clive would have commented on that!

It felt good to be home. No tears at all today! Having the photos of Clive on the hall table are very welcoming and I focus on those instead of the empty stairs where he would wait to give me a kiss if Peeka was home, as she got fussed first. If not he would push me gently against the wall by the front door and snog me senseless! He made me feel like a teenager with a crush. I adored coming home to him.

I knew Nic’s arrival was imminent so I busied myself with unpacking food and unloading the car. She arrived soon after and the whole evening has simply flown by! We have chatted non-stop. We have cried. We have laughed. We have shared. I met Nic through Clive’s speaking and we became close friends with her and her partner Bob. Although our friendship hasn’t been all that long all four of us gelled as individuals and as a foursome and it felt like we had been friends for years. We had many events planned together this year and we intend to do them. I do find it comforting to spend time with people who knew us both.

When I checked my phone I was shocked to see how many messages were there from people checking I was okay as I haven’t been online for hours. That was really good of you all!

So what have I learned today?
  • Re-emphasised what a wonderful family I have
  • That to plan another pleasurable visit as you leave one makes it easier to go forward
  • That I can exist without checking my Blackberry every few minutes and the urge to blog!
  • That something smells stale in the kitchen and I don’t know what it is!!
  • Sharing my plans for my home with others make them real
  • Confirmed I have people all around prepared to help me, even if it is just to say they are thinking of me.
So tonight I am back home from a few days away with my family. I do feel refreshed, well fed both physically and emotionally.

I feel ready to take on tomorrow – I may even write a list!

Elaine x


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