Happy New Year, son. My thoughts were with you at 15:00 GMT yesterday when the year turned in Japan. Every good wish for 2018. I mailed you a New Year card, below along with receipt, a couple of days’ ago so it should be with you soon. New Year is not as big in the UK as Japan and the store did not have a New Year card as such; the best I could find was a card of a cat peering at a fish in a fish tank.
Also below is a photo of the family lunch in Hythe on 10 September last year to mark your Grandad’s 89th birthday, about which I posted last summer. Also below is a photo taken just after Christmas on 27 December just gone showing Dad/Grandad, my brother and sister and I. It is very rare that we meet up alone together and I cannot remember when we last did so but it must have been when I was a very young adult – I don’t think that there has been a photo like this of just the four of us since I was a teenager. We were only able to catch a few hours together but it was very pleasant.
I saw the news a couple of days back that Japan proposes to change the age of majority from 20 to 18 from 2022 so that will cover you as you will turn 18 in 2026, which doesn’t feel all that far off now. I hope that this reform will help in a small way to embolden you to contact your family in the UK that much sooner. You are welcome to do so of course at any time as you are hugely missed here. You will be standing on your own two feet before you know it and will be able to make decisions for yourself. In the meantime, however, I wish you every happiness and success in year 2018.
Dad’s first wife, Jean, died a year ago today (9th October 2012), exactly 1 month before what would have been her 85th birthday (9th November 2012). My siblings and I, from Dad’s second marriage, always got on well with her. I always found her to be very straightforward and an easy to relate to person. She passed away just over a month before this blog was set up which is why I am only writing about it now.
For as long as I can remember she lived in the Totton district of Southampton in England. She died of cancer and was cared for in her final weeks by my half sister who lives in Brighton on the south coast of England. Jean’s funeral was held at a Catholic church right opposite to Barbara’s house. Dad did the eulogy (he gave me a copy afterwards – I must find it and post it here) and I was asked to do one of the Bible readings which I did.
Dad told me that he and Jean’s 50th wedding anniversary, had they stayed married and had she lived, would have been on 14 February 2013. They married 50 years ago at this Catholic church in London.
I met up with my brother and father in London yesterday, 8 October 2013. We met for a late lunch at an Indian restaurant near King’s Cross. I don’t think that the three of us have met up alone since the early to mid 1990s. It was a nice and very overdue get-together. I am sure that you would have liked the food: I always remember that the first English word that I heard you utter was ‘spicy’. According to my mother my first words were ‘order order’, copying the Speaker of the House of Commons (at that time, back in the 1970s, parliamentary proceedings were not televised but were featured extensively on radio which is how I picked the phrase up). I found out that yesterday, the day we met, would have been my father’s brother’s 90th birthday and, 4 days before that, my father’s father’s 115th birthday – were they still alive.
My father/your paternal grandfather turned 85 years old today, a great milestone by any reckoning. He was born in Calcutta (as it was then known) in India, then part of the British Empire. It was a very different world when he was born on 10 September 1928, exactly a week after Alexander Fleming discovered Penicillin at St Mary’s Hospital in London – I remember learning about that in history at school.
A celebratory lunch had been arranged for the weekend just gone but it had to be postponed; it will hopefully be rescheduled for the near future. My maternal grandmother turned 83 the day before yesterday so it will be her turn in 2 years’ time.
Below is a photograph taken 5 years ago on the occasion of the gathering for his 80th birthday:
The Waterloo Arms Pub, Pikes Hill, Lyndhurst, Hampshire, England – September 2008, just over 2 months before you were born
Left to right: partner of longstanding client of Dad; Andrew, longstanding client of Dad; my brother, Eddy; Uncle Bill from Guernsey; Nick, my sister’s (then) partner; Jean (Dad’s first wife who sadly died in October 2012); me; Dad; and my sister, Liz