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New Year’s Day

January 2, 2023

Every New Year’s Day Mike and I used to go for a walk at our favourite spot on the island. It is a tradition I maintained for several years after he died (including one very short walk in a gale). I don’t remember the last time I did, but yesterday I was determined to get back there.

That one gale notwithstanding, New Year’s Day is often bright and sunny here. Not so much today.

This is the place where Mike’s ashes were scattered. (And where I’d always intended mine to be until I started thinking about green burials.) 

As I strolled the path past our old picnic spot and the actual place here the ashes were deposited, I couldn’t help wondering what I’d be doing if he hadn’t died suddenly of a massive heart attack in March 2011. 

We would have gone to the 2011 panto, but I would not have had a small role in it. Would I have ever become involved in the local theatre group which has become such a huge part of my life? Ever directed the “best panto ever”? Maybe, maybe not. My suspicion is not.

But maybe I’d still be writing novels.

When we first came to look at the place there was a semifinished basement.

Not sure you can call it a “basement”, as it’s full height. It was actually the unfinished room underneath the large room built as an extension on the original house.

Anyway, we said from the very beginning that eventually that space could be converted into a place for me to write. Ten years later, after we re-mortgaged to pay for some renovations, the “basement” had been converted into a laundry/bathroom and guest room… 

… with a corner set aside for the desk at which I sat whilst writing Rum Do. That, ten years ago, was the last novel completed in this house. I was expecting more. I was expecting an entire Tilly/Roger series. I have started some, but most haven’t made it past the first couple of chapters. 

Back to yesterday.

There’s a bench at one end of the path, built in memory of a woman who died.

When we first discovered this place and that bench, Joan’s was the only name on it. Ron’s name was added a few years later. 

We could sit on that bench for ages, watching the birds and seals and otters, enjoying the view.

No seals or otters spotted yesterday, but on the way back to the car park something really rather amazing happened.

There’s a woman on the island, a retired professional actress, whom I thought would be perfect for Violet in Ruby Red Lipstick. She normally doesn’t do community theatre, so I wasn’t sure if she would be insulted if I approached here. Only yesterday morning I’d been wondering how I might do this. And suddenly, there she was – out for a walk with her husband and a friend. She actually sent them on ahead so she could talk to me. First she told me how very much she’d enjoyed the panto, then she said she’d love to work with me some time – Equity be damned. Oh, my god. So I told her about my little play and how much I’d love her to be in it as Violet. And she immediately asked to read it. Well, I’m pretty sure she’ll like it – and be great in the role. Oh, my god.

So, thank you, Mike. Thank you, sweetie, for prompting me to go for a walk to our favourite place today. A very good start to a new year.

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