Monday, 31 October 2011



I saw a child skipping down the street in her pyjamas and I thought of you.

I did not shed a tear at the time, though often they fall.

I just smiled at her merry joy, and heard you witness the same.

And I remembered a thousand joys.

How you loved to sing, and how so often we shared the perfection of laughter: your inherent teaching that humour and music cleanse the soul.

The simple fare done to perfection: Mince & Dumpling… American Fluff… Bread Sauce (and the year we all rebelled the Christmas you changed it).

Piquant aromatics: A dab of Nivea… Lavender… Youth Dew… how washing always smelt better when you’d done it… and not to exclude the zest for ever-cleansing Zoflora.

Simonburn: Grannie and Grandpa (a whole list of its own there)… the pre-arrival clean-up… how I always had to give the directions before we took the turn towards Rebecca’s Bridge… Choir Holidays… The River, Forest and Totem Pole at Stonehaugh…

Hadrian’s Wall: Picnics and swimming at Corbridge… when “I was a Roman”… when, grown up, you told me to climb the wall at a closed Vindolana… and the painting you gave me.

Camping in Killin, Scotland: The Loch… Vicky & Keilidh… ‘Flesh’ Soup… Emma and Rachel singing ‘Millie Molly Mandy’… SUE 484M.

A thousand joys were there to remember. And when I was done with those there would be a thousand more.

I thought of how you were never short on hugs and kind words. How you were always there for each of us, no matter what – nothing was too much trouble or insurmountable. We are so different but your words were always “I love you each the same.”

Of all the friends you made, and how they always became family: Josie, Iris, Sandra to name a very special three, though there are many more.

When Dad was ‘Buster’ and when you both ran a dog training club. Even then, when you did not see it, you were inspiring people. Then you became a Samaritan, and in a different way to your nursing days, again saved lives.

How you took yourself to college to learn about computers, and after forty years picked up the artists paint brush.

Your never-ending praise and belief, which was so encompassing it even embraced a needed moment of chastisement or correction and made it all good.

A thousand joys are there to remember. And when I am done with those there will be a thousand more.

Those who are fortunate get a Mother who is an angel, and so then for sure we were the most fortunate of all, for you knocked socks off Gabriel.

You were a Lady. You were our Queen. We joked of your blue blood, but you were truly the most royal of all: No ‘Mrs.Bouquet’ (for only those without true class are snobs) just the humble (and rightfully) ‘Lady B’.

I’ve spoken in past tense. And in a way that is not right. For my words must show that you will live on in every one who has had the honour to be touched by your love.

We have now no new memories to fill our days, and that brings us all such sorrow in knowing it is so.

But we can never forget all those we have, and that is why you are eternal. Mum. Mummy. Grannie. Great-Grannie. Bridget. Lady B.

A thousand joys are here to remember. And when we are done with those there will be a thousand more.


  1. 8th February 1941 - 25th October 2011.

    A wonderful daughter to Moira and Benedict and sister to Martin. A Nurse at Great Ormond Street, Choir Mistress, Director of the Samaritans and volunteer at Dove House Hospice. A woman who healed and touched the lives of so many, always a fighter and believer for those in need, done with grace, love and the joy of laughter; truly living the essence of piety only sitting well with humility. You were, and always will be for so many, a Lady and a Queen.

    But most of all, you were our Mother and Best Friend. Now I truly understand where angels come from. We will forever be at a loss, but know too your guidance always. Courageous and selfless to the end - at last you can be at peace and suffer no more.

    As were your last words: "I Love You."

  2. My voyage was great because of you. You were my harbour, be I caught in storms brought by the winds of change or simply because I had chosen to drift into treacherous waters. No judgement was given, only the abundant healing power of your unshakable faith in my spirit and care of my heart.

    I can see you have left me with many lighthouses to help me journey on through yet unchartered oceans. Ever guided by such in our lives, we all sail on.

  3. From: My Sister Rachel.

    Sent: Tue, 1 Nov 2011 2:12

    Subject: read your blog wrote this but couldnt post so sharing this way thank you xx

    Giles or better know GX, thank you as the tears of wonderful memory lane run down my face, my false eyelashes slip... I couldn't sleep last night @ 3am read her texts so I could feel her words. Then found this to greet me. I could say beautifully written but its not a story its not a dream it was how it was... memories that fill each of our hearts, and for that I feel blessed as many never have that. Our mum truly touched all she met, with laughter, a smile, her warmth, honesty, and forgiveness and acceptance. Her zest for life and fear of leaving us even when her fight was near the end; she will never leave us cos she is in our hearts forever. My tears are selfish I know because nothing will be the same without her visits, texts and warmth - but her love is her legacy and that remains with us always. The memories will keep popping into our daily lives, always all good, all positive and all full of the most wonderful unconditional love. Our Mum: love you ooodles n to the moon and back - always in our hearts - rest in peace, thank you for the memories x

  4. And from my sister Rebecca: Beautiful Giles, so well written and such lovely memories. Thank You x