Sept 23rd. Pat died five years ago today:


This photo was taken at Sue's wedding (19th May, 2001). It's one of the few that I have of Pat and me together. Behind us, you can see Brian and Uncle Bernard engaged in a heated discussion on parking options in Totteridge Drive.


Although Pat had never enjoyed good health, her sudden death caught us all by surprise; especially poor Dave, of course, who was with her at the time in their holiday home in Minehead.


As the sad news filtered down through distraught family and friends, I was oblivious to everything for a few happy hours, immersed as I was in our town’s fiestas.

As we sat on the square, a lovely rainbow appeared out of nowhere, screaming to be looked at:

Rainbow in Aretxabaleta (23rd September, 2006). I took this photo with my old mobile; I’ve always been a sucker for rainbows, and even more so since this one. The building is the primary school, in front of which stands a makeshift stage for whoever was performing that evening.

A couple of minutes later, Dad rang with the news and— well, you can imagine the rest. Suffice to say, Pat was a wonderful wife, a magnificent mother, a dutiful daughter, a superb sister, a faithful friend, a caring colleague and a nosey neighbour (Sorry, Pat, I couldn’t think of any positive two-syllable adjectives beginning with N.) Yes, I know, all the clichés, but what do you expect her brother to say?


Exactly three weeks later – on 14th October – my favourite father-in-law died. Like Pat, Vicente had a heart of gold . . . and a heart too old:


Vicente. When he smiled, you smiled with him; when he laughed, you laughed with him; and when he lost his temper, you simply shut up, and waited for the storm to pass.


Benita, my mother-in-law, followed Vicente everywhere, every single day, lunch and dinner of their married life: 49 years and 4 months. That was cruel not letting them make their golden anniversary, and it’s not hard to imagine the massive hole that Vicente’s death left in Benita’s life; in our lives too, of course.


Well, that was a cheerful post, wasn’t it? To mark the occasion I chose Five Years, a cheery song about death and so on. Pat’s favourite Bowie songs were The Laughing Gnome – sorry, Pat, no chance! Well, OK, just a quick link– and Sorrow, which, in retrospect, might have been a more suitable title for this post.