Sunday, 16 December 2007

Family Photos and the shortness of life

We've just been down to Bristol to visit my mum and she fished out a load of old family photos. One she showed us was of my older brother's wedding. Looking at it, I think it must have been taken in 1976 because I was in it, but my then wife Diane, wasn't. We'd split the previous summer and it wasn't until the following year that I met Jenny. I've scanned it in and cropped it, and the reason I post it is because we realised, while looking at it, that only half the people on it are definitely still alive. Which makes you think.

The 2 on the left are not immediate family, and I think they've both gone. He was George Unwin, but I'm not sure who she was. Next is my father, Edi, who died four years ago, next to my mother in the hat.

The groom is Peter, with first bride Heather. They had five children god help us! Next is my mother's younger brother Ralph, with his wife Jean, who died last year. I think next is Pam Unwin, wife of George, and I'm pretty sure she's gone. And finally me, with my hair the longest it's ever been.

So to cheer myself up, here's a photo of Jenny and me in 1981 when she was doing her PhD at Newcastle and we were living near Seaham Harbour in a rented farm cottage within sight of the sea.

We had a lovely, if chilly, time there. In winter the wind whistled in from Siberia (OK, I exaggerate!), directly over the sea and under our front door, depositing snow inside. We couldn't afford to have the storage radiators on more then the minimum, so friends tended not to visit us in winter!

I'd cut my hair a year or 2 previously to increase my chances of getting a job, and it's stayed relatively short ever since. Now it's short because it's so thin it'd look stupid long. Sigh. I seem to have made my way back to old age and how many people I know have died.

To get myself out of that loop I'm going to prepare my dinner. Jenny took some fossils down to Bristol and will be scanning them with a CT scanner tomorrow, so she's staying with my mum and I'm on my own here. I have a chunky rib-eye steak in the fridge and I think I'm going down to the cellar now to find myself something nice to drink with it.

One of the lovely things about the friends we have here is that when they know I'm on my own, they look after me. After dinner, I'm going with Lorna and Richard over to Jane's house to help decorate her Christmas tree. Well, I think I'll probably supervise, but you know what I mean. It's so nice when people so obviously care.


DJ Kirkby said...

I love that pic of you and Jenny, you both look so happy!

Polgara said...

Great pictures and a nice way for us all to remember people who arent here this christmas.
You and Jenny look really happy!
Pol x

Rob Clack said...

Ah, to be young and in love!

Elsie Button said...

i love looking back at old photos, but often it does make me feel weird/sad etc. Lovely photo of the two of you - you look so relaxed and happy!

Rob Clack said...

I like old photos too, though it doesn't generally make me sad. Thoughtful sometimes, of course.

And I'm delighted to be able to report that we're still very relaxed and happy. We realised this evening that we'd completely missed the 30th anniversary of the day we met, but we don't feel bad about it. We just carry on enjoying living together. Not as 'hot' as it used to be, but just as intense.