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It’s been a while…

6 March 2012

I know it will come as a shock to some of you, but I haven’t had anything to say for a while – hence no new posts.

It’s been a funny few months but things are (hopefully) back on track.

For me it’s been a time of highs and lows. The high-point is I’m now back in contact with one of my oldest friends. The lows are as to be expected – good days and bad. Music seems to be my killer at the moment – turn on the radio or put the iPod on shuffle and every song seems to have some memory of the time I shared with Cat. It’s only been 5 months so I shouldn’t expect to be my old self for a long while yet.

The biggest problem I’ve had to deal with has been Nathaniel and school. Just before the half-term break Nathaniel decided to not bother at school at all. He couldn’t tell me why exactly but I must have missed the signs. There was something playing on his mind and his schoolwork just went to hell. Unfortunately, this wasn’t reported to me by his teachers and they took the drastic action to move him down from the top group. In hindsight this may have been the kick-up-the-backside he needed and he’s back on track to being moved back up later this term – if he carries on the way he is. He enjoys school again and we do extra work each night together – maybe he just wanted more time with me rather than sharing me with a laptop/work.

I finally got my arse into gear and got back into the garden. The sight of the weeds and dead plants was depressing so I ignored it as best I could. Once the sun returned and the temperature picked up I knew I had no excuse so I got to work cutting back the old Wisteria and grape vine ready for this year – we might even get some more grapes and may be this year they won’t taste like battery acid. I was given a shrub back in October last year by Caz, Debs, Sharon, Lisa, Mel, Elaine, Jane, Lorne, Jennifer, Anne and Tracey (if I’ve forgotten anyone then please let me know) to plant in the garden as a memory of Cat. After resting it over the winter, it is now planted in the flower bed next to the swing seat where Cat spent many an hour with her book/laptop/phone (delete as applicable). So far it seems to be thriving and I promise to do my best and not kill it.

The blue tits have returned to the box they used last year and a new blue tit is in the other box – both are CCTV’d up so pictures will follow as before. There been no sign yet of the Hedgehog but it may still be too early.

I promised Cat I would sort out her things as quickly as possible rather than leave it to fester and I did sort all her clothes into many bags which have remained in the garage for the past four months. I suppose I didn’t do anything else with them as I didn’t want to seem like I was just ‘getting rid’. Last week I made the decision that they must go and I sold them through ‘Cash4Clothes’ with the proceeds going to Nathaniel’s piggy bank.

Nathaniel and I discussed doing something for Mummy and raising money for Breast Cancer Care. So, I’ve signed up for the London to Brighton cycle ride in June this year – more on that to follow.

So, onwards and upwards.



Spam. Spam. Spam. Spam.

6 January 2012

As you know, I keep an eye on Cat’s email addresses just in case one arrives from anyone who doesn’t know – it has happened recently so I’m not completely barking.

This morning in the junk mail folder were over 5,000 mail delivery failure reports from Cat’s email address. Oh crap, I was thinking. Her laptop has been infected with some virus/malware etc. and I’ve just spent the morning combing her laptop and checking our main router logs to see what’s been going on. Luckily, all the machines in the house are clear and none of them are spamming the hell out of the Internet.

So what’s going on? Closer inspection shows that the email originated from what looks like Cat’s email address except the letter ‘case’s are all wrong – she used that format of her email address over 5 years ago. Someone has harvested her email address from somewhere and is sending fake email through an unprotected email server purporting to have come from her. When the email fails to be delivered the failure report is sent back to the sender, i.e. Cat’s email.

Upshot is there’s nothing I can do about this except report the unprotected email server for being an open relay – at least we’re in the clear.


Back to normal. Or as near to normal as can be.

5 January 2012

I haven’t written much over the Christmas period not because I had nothing to say but because I just didn’t have the will. I suppose I just wanted it over and done with so life could get back to as normal as possible and if I could have spent the whole time in bed with my head under a pillow I would have.

The whole Christmas/New Year thing wasn’t my favorite time. Nathaniel was fine and enjoyed himself with all the activities we did – lots of father-son bonding time – but to me it just wasn’t the same. At least it is all done and I know I can manage it next year. A baptism of fire, if you like.

I do feel guilty though as at one point over the holiday I went out in the evening with some of my oldest friends and had a great time. I actually enjoyed myself, forgot that all this had happened and tried to rewind the clock twenty years. For the first time in months, I ceased to be Cat’s widow and reverted to being James – the James that makes jokes, has a laugh (and in this case, gets well and truly smashed).

Was it wrong of me? No. Cat wouldn’t want me to closet myself away. She always believed that life was for living and that’s what I intend to do.


Bench Monday – What is that?

26 December 2011

Cat was an avid photographer and used daily – as part of this she joined two groups, Bench Monday and Face-down Tuesday.

Nathaniel and I went to see Cat today, on the three month anniversary to plant seeds and spring bulbs, and were pleased to see the bench we had ordered had arrived exactly as we wanted.

The inscription reads:

“cat_moonstone – Bench Monday –

Wear something nice. Stand on me.

Take a picture. Post it to the group.”

It’s a bench. It’s Monday. We had to follow her request!

Bench Monday  - Cat's Bench

Click the picture to see the larger version


A hard day is over…

26 December 2011

I didn’t bother posting yesterday as I didn’t want to put a cloud over everyone’s enjoyment of Christmas Day.

Jehovah’s Witnesses. What is their problem? Saturday morning, Christmas Eve, ding-dong on the door and there they are with their smug smiles trying to foist a copy of their magazine onto the unsuspecting. There was lots of raised voices (well, just mine really) and lots of finger-pointing (again just mine). As they believe they’re the only ones to get a free pass into Heaven they were most uncomfortable when I asked, in front of Nathaniel “Exactly where is his mother right now?”. I think they knew a wrong answer would result in a trip to A&E. I didn’t bother telling them that Cat was Taoist and for her heaven didn’t exist. Managed to make the lady cry with the line “To leave a child motherless means your God is a vindictive and evil bastard – Looking at those facts I would say that he really is The Devil and, by extension, you are actually Devil worshippers and should be burnt at the stake. If you hold on for a moment I’m sure I have some wood and petrol in the garage”.

Anyway, on to Christmas. The day itself went well. We opened presents and Nathaniel was over the moon with what he got. Christmas lunch went well too – nothing got burnt and it tasted really good. Nathaniel said it was 100% as good as Mummy’s cooking but I think he was just being nice. He was so good all day – no arguments, no tears, no shouting. Can’t ask for more really.

I didn’t realise how much I relied on contact with other people. Yes, the day was good but I missed talking with other people. I know they were all there for me on the end of the telephone and I was told in no uncertain terms to call if I was feeling down but who wants to intrude on other people’s family days? And it’s not like you’re ringing up to say Merry Christmas. There is a lot to be said for going away for Christmas.

Today, Boxing Day, is the toughest day of the holiday – It is 3 months to the day since Cat left which whilst it’s not a yearly anniversary as such is enough to take the shine off the whole Christmas thing for me. We are going up to see her later this morning with a basket full of spring bulbs to plant around the grave. Nathaniel wants to make it look pretty for Mummy all year round. Cat prepared him so well – my advice to anyone else in a similar position is to involve the children from the start. He knew everything that was going on for the past three years and so when it came there was no big shock, no tears, no catatonic child withdrawn into his own world – just a sense of being resigned to one’s own fate and to keep going on as best he could as that’s what Mummy wanted.

When we’re at Olney I’m sure he’ll have a chat with Cat but I know there will be no tears or anger. I’m very good at covering my emotions so I’ll be ok in front of him too – For me it is anger pure and simple so I can save that rage up for later on the Wii. I still want someone to shout at, to blame – but that’s not very Christmassy is it?


Christmas spirit is alive and kicking

24 December 2011

Somewhere in the boxes of decorations there should be a little gold Reindeer bell that one of Santa’s sleigh team leaves behind when eating the carrots we leave out in the garden for them. Unfortunately I have been unable to find it anywhere. I also mentioned it to two of Nathaniel’s friends (the mother was not impressed).

So where do you find three sleigh bells on Christmas Eve? My first stop was a great shop we have in Higham Ferrers called The Cranberry House. After explaining my dilemma, the lovely lady found one bell and brimming with Christmas spirit removed (with scissors) two other identical bells from display boxes in one of the cabinets. To top it off, they gave the three bells to me as a Christmas gift.

Merry Christmas to you all.


Do I do things to challenge me or my son?

22 December 2011

I decided to take Nathaniel out for tea last night and gave him a choice of either Thai or Italian. I think my subconscious was having a laugh as the Thai restaurant was a favorite of Cat’s and mine and the Italian was where my parents, Nathaniel and I went to get a quick meal in the evening on the day that Cat died.

Nathaniel picked Italian as he loves all Pasta. It was probably a mistake – surprisingly, not because Nathaniel found it difficult. He remembered going there with Grandma and Grandpa and why we went there but it didn’t bother him at all. For me however, it was one of the most uncomfortable meals I’ve had in a long time – the food was its usual high standard but tasted like cardboard to me.

Would I do it again? No. Even now, in the cold light of day, I feel sick thinking about it. It’s not a day I really want to remember so I think that restaurant is now off my list. Sorry.


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