A friend of mine died on Friday.
I accept that isn’t the opening line you have come to expect from the nonsense that is my blog.
But she did.
Friendships take many forms, be they equal, unequal, intense, slowburners, social media based or real.
She was a real friend .
When I first met my friend she was staying somewhere I worked, her son came out for a chat and he enthralled me with his positivity and knowledge of Thomas The Tank Engine.
They rented a house locally and then bought a house and employed me as their gardener. They were one of that very special and quite small group that treat everyone the same: with respect and decency. When your job involves going to people’s houses and gardens regularly, it is amazing what you don’t see and hear. There is a relationship and the merest enquiry as to your health can make one’s day. Add a coffee, cake or sausage roll and you have loyalty for life. Yep, you can call me shallow, but rarely hungry.
Lady Q (a nickname, she didn’t need a title, she was a Lady) loved her garden and last year she asked me to redesign it, we brought in year round colour, we brought in symmetry and we brought in wallflowers and dahlias, sweet peas and gladioli because they reminded her of her parents garden.
When we got to her garden to work she would invariably be sitting at the kitchen table and she would call out to me to come inside and look at the latest plant porn on her computer.
“Mark, how many Dahlias shall we get”
“1,3 or 5, the choice is yours”
“I’ll order 15”.
She was generous and she was kind.
Invariably we got to chatting about educational needs for people with learning difficulties which she was passionate about and gave me so much advice. I also talked about life at home, particularly when I was struggling to fulfil my role as a step-father to our children who didn’t always do as expected. She was kind and never judged.
I will miss Lady Q deeply.
But not even minutely as much as her devoted husband and good friend of mine, The Lord Chancellor (yes, another nickname) and her two darling boys who will need a lot of love, help and support.
There will be tears but there will be smiles: the sweet peas were delivered on Saturday. I had asked for 12, I received 36.
2018 – the year of Kindness, Friendship and sweet peas, loads of sweet peas.