Friday, 16 March 2012

Nine Months, Real Ale, Gin and Friends

Nine Months, I know it’s not that long since I posted but that’s where we were on Thursday, nine months on from Steve’s passing. A lot has happened, nine months has flown by, as did the nine months from his initial diagnosis to his passing. It’s odd as I don’t feel the hurt any more on thinking about the passage of time. Maybe I have just got to the point of acceptance? Who knows. It’s still tough but memories of Steve make me smile, such happy times but, they also give me hope for happy times to come.

I’ve recently seen and accepted that I have to get on with my life and, whilst I know nobody could ever take Steve’s place, I know I am comfortable being half of a partnership. Lately I’ve noticed people. Not in a bad way but just noticed things.  A lovely smile or just a nice personality. It’s interesting, slightly exciting and scary too. I don’t know what the future holds but I’ll take it a day at a time. I know some will be upset or annoyed about me reclaiming my life but tough, Steve has proved life is too short. It’s too short for me to worry what other people think.

Right, now it’s time to re-wind. My last blog was on the evening of 2nd March, it was uploaded early hours of 3rd March so I didn’t get to tell you about my jaunt. On Saturday 3rd March I was up early again and headed off to town to catch the train, I was off to Hebden Bridge I met with H and we decided to go for a walk along the canal. She’s also looking to move to life afloat at some point in the future so we enjoyed nattering. We wandered through the crafty shops and then stumbled across a pub, well, more like aimed for.... We sat outside and had a beer, it was well earned, (we’d walked a fair way) and it was sunny.
From there we wandered along the canal in search of a waterside pub. To cut a long story short we walked out of town for about 40 minutes and didn’t see a pub. The grey clouds looked ominous but H suggested we walked just a little further. Nothing, no sniff of a pub so we walked back. On our way back it started to rain, nay not rain but pour down! We were soaked through as there was no shelter anywhere. We sloshed back to the town and into the first pub, a warm bar and cool ale which was lovely until a group of locals arrived with a tribe of children wailing and screaming. We went on to the next, this one had an open log fire, the warmth was nice but the smell of the open fire was lovely.

From there we found another bar, possibly Hebden Bridge’s only gay bar judging by the clientele etc but no real ale, so following a swift pint and a bite to eat we headed on to the next. The White Lion was lovely. It was very busy too. Again the distinct waft of an open log fire and the sound of traditional folk music coming from the back of the bar.
We’d inadvertently stumbled upon a sort of folk music jamming session. It was perfect. Real Ale, Good Music and an open log fire. Needless to say we didn’t make it to any other pubs. We spent a fair few hours there and tried all the ales on the bar at least once. We eventually left around 9pm and headed for our trains home.

I later learned H ended up going to a house party of a random person we met on the train platform. I’d taken her for her 3rd pint of the year as she’d been reducing her Ale intake and it seems I was the bad influence she needed to party on.  I don't mind having the blame for her poor resistance to temptation.

On the Sunday I didn't do much but, on Monday I received a visit from some other friends.  It was planned and, as I was home at a reasonable time I cooked dinner.  I set off in the kitchen, chopping, cooking and being creative whilst listening to showtunes and supping Gin & Bitter Lemon.  A refreshing change.  It was nice to sit and eat with friends and natter the night away.  I Think one of my friends had a little too much though as he sent me a text the following day complaining of a hangover.  I was fine.  Maybe he's just the sort to be affected easily... haha.

I dont remember much of the rest of the week.  I passed uneventfully as far as I remember and last weekend came around all too soon.  On Saturday I was up early as had a few things to sort then headed out to meet a friend for coffee and a late lunch.  We walked for a while along the canal and enjoyed putting the world to rights.  I called in to see some other friends on the way home and eventually got to my own house around 8 where I made myself a lovely dinner then sat and watched a film before a reasonably early night. 

Sunday was spent uploading stuff to eBay.  There is still loads I want to get rid of.  Fortunately all the drag stuff has gone, there is a few bits and pieces we had bought for the "shop" Steve was working on and I have loads of fabrics and other stuff to sell so I think this weekend will involve an element of photographing and uploading too.

This week at work has been pretty hectic really.  Quite a few offsite meetings too but I've enjoyed it.  Maybe it's spring in the air or just the sunny weather but I've enjoyed being so busy and have enjoyed getting out and meeting new people.  Today has been a busy day too resulting in me not leaving the office until after 7.  I'm in again tomorrow as have a few things to sort but, I'm not complaining as I rarely work weekends now.

Last night I visited Granny, really it's Steve's Granny but she's lovely and as she put it last night, "We have a special bond".  Obviously this "bond" is Steve but I think she actually likes that I am open and honest with her.  If you have read Steve's blog for a while you'll recall it was me that had to tell her about Steve's illness.  The immediate family had tried to shield her from it but she's not daft, (even at 88), she had put 2+2 together and got 4.5, she was close but not quite right. 

She had correctly guessed Steve had cancer but had imagined a far worse picture because she was being kept in the dark.  When Steve found out he got upset and he asked me to tell her the truth, obviously I didn't tell her the prognosis as Steve didn't accept it would be true and she had no need to worry when it was just a guide but she appreciated my honesty when she asked me, "Is my Stephen going to die soon?" I told her I didn't know, I told her how well he was and how positive he was and how determined we all were, and the Doctors were, for him to get better.  I know it's not really an answer but she was relieved I think that someone was being open and honest with her.

Granny was the first person I went to see after Steve died.  I'd spent all of the previous day in the hospital and all through the night but when I left the hospital around 8am it was her I wanted to go and see.  The nurses had removed Steve's jewellery when he took a turn for the worse and gave it all to me.  In there was his Grandads wedding ring which Granny had given to him.  He had never taken it off, even when we performed and Granny knew this.  I felt it right to return it to her.  I was pleased I did and I think she was too.

Anyway, as it's Mothers day this Sunday (I know for readers outside the UK it falls on a different date), I went to visit Granny and take her a gift. I gave Steve's Mum her gift earlier in the week but, as expected, she opened it early. She wouldn't open it here as she was going to "save it". One thing I learnt early on in Steve and My relationship is that she has very little will power so despite best intentions it would have been opened the same night, no way would she have waited till Sunday. She liked it anyway which is good I suppose.

It's going to be difficult and different for her this year and I suppose for my Mum too as she saw Steve as another Son. Unfortunately I cant change that. It's difficult having to give those gifts with that in mind but, I can't change that either. One thing is for sure though, being 9 months on it is not as difficult dealing with these events. The tears may be less but the thoughts aren't. I may be looking forward but I still look back over my shoulder and think of the good times but it's easier to do now.

I saw a quote a few weeks ago, "The past is a great place to look at but not to live in". I know this is true. Moving on doesn't mean forgetting, it means accepting and learning and growing in to the new you. Steve will always be permanently etched in my memory and entwined in my past but my future is a blank page. My immediate past has put a few scribbles on that page, people, places and experiences. My jaunts and adventures but the story continues and this whiff of spring in the air, the daffodils and sunny days is making me excited for the future.

Have a great weekend, I will, I'm sure of it. xxx

Mark x


  1. I'm so happy and glad to hear that you have been holding alright on your own. Even more happy to hear you've been able to have some good new memories and moments with your friends and mums.
    Thinking happy thoughts of you from far away.
    Tashi & Wash

  2. I just watched the wonderful "Mummy's Boys," Part II!! Today I noticed that on March 1st, you had so kindly~~(thank you!!)~~posted the link for me, (i.e., within your February 19th blogpost Comments); and now I've subscribed to your blog, so as not to MISS things!!

    Steve said, (at the 8:04 point in the video), "The first number is really choreographed. It took us hours to do. I thought they would have done it the same." When you then replied, "It took us minutes to forget!!"............ I simply laughed-out-loud, (hahahahaha)!! So, I certainly can see HOW memories of happy times with Steve make you *smile*~~~and also give you hope, too, Mark, for happy times to come!!

    I think fully and joyfully reclaiming your own life is ............ The Very BEST Way to honor the true *e.s.s.e.n.c.e.*............ of what your dear Steve really was, you know.