In the intervening time I’ve been back home in the UK (21st October –
1st November) to visit my family, but mainly to celebrate my Grandma’s
80th. I really had to be there as I really do love my Grandma, a special
person who is so full of life.
It was nice to see a few friends too – especially as I only get over to
the UK roughly every year to 18 months, in some cases I’ve found myself catching up with people I’ve not seen for years and years. In fact just round the corner from where my Mum is now living, in a bungalow for retired people, a friend of my Dad’s lived. Of course I’m talking about 15 years ago here, when he lived there as my Dad died in 1990.
Well I was passing by on the way to my Mums, having thought as on other occasions, that’d he’d have moved house by now. Then I heard a familar voice and called my Dad’s friends name (would have been silly if I was mistaken). He turned round and low and behold it was him.
Of course 15 years is a long time – so we’ve both changed. But we
managed to recognise each other all the same. Funny what age does to
people. In fact I seem to remember we saw each other briefly in WHSmiths
once about 11 years ago or thereabouts. Even so, since then I’ve put on
quite a lot of weight and lost some hair. In his case he used
to have a big beard and long hair and now he has a crewcut, no beard and his hair has gone grey. So I wouldn’t have recognised him had he passed me in the street.
We chatted a while about old times, about my Dad too, as he was such a
close friend of his. In fact when he passed away I don’t think I would
have coped without his help – he was really a brilliant bloke during
that period. It’s very odd living memories like that, but I have always
kept the memory of my Dad in my head – as there is no physical memorial
Anyway, I hope that Nigel and his wife Helen will come and see us in
France sometime. That would be really nice.
Aside from bumping into Nigel, I saw two friends from my college days,
which was back in 1988-90, really good drinking pals. As I no longer go
down the pub, as life in France isn’t really orientated around that as
we are in the UK, we just went to a bar in Leicester and chatted about college and the weird and funny times we had. In fact I drank more than I’ve done for quite a long time and of course I’ve lost the habit – maybe a
good thing. In the end we were standing there chatting in beery
camaraderie. Was sad to say goodbye, hopefully we’ll keep in touch.
I also saw my friend Colin, who I’m in touch with online – as usual
we went for a drink. Great to see him anyway, as it’s not quite the same
The biggest news of the visit was me proposing to Thumpah. She
came over for the last weekend, so she could be there for my Grandma’s
80th on the 29th. I had a frantic week beforehand first of all getting
the ring resized, as it had been given to me by my Grandma, and of course I didn’t want to ruin it. As Isa has very small fingers, and that I didn’t know the size – I had to do a bit of guess work.
I also wondered where I could propose too, the weather over there was very rainy so I had to rule out my preferred spot in Bradgate Park where I
took her when we first met.
So I settled for Abbey Park in town.
So on the Saturday I discretely dragged her over to there after getting off the bus – of course she smelled a rat, but I just carried on walking her there, even so… she didn’t know the reason of course.
The sun was out, the Park was very empty and I found a nice spot on the
Chinese bridge there, peaceful apart from the noise made by the ducks
and swans. Went down on one knee and asked for her hand in marriage.
I didn’t know what to expect, but the answer was “Yes… but not just yet.”
She cried too – but it was a special moment when we felt closer than
ever before. It’s a step in the right direction for us, after our 9
years together, 8 living under the same roof.
For the moment the priority is getting a job and building on what we
already have. Easier said than done, although I did have a job interview
on Monday – a step in the right direction…