Rod the Brit
Posted May 28, 2016
Sad to say Rod passed away a few months ago after a short illness.
As his Son in Law I had the pleasure of his company for close to twenty years.
Thank you Rod for your inspiration and the red wine.
A Good Day for Doglet, Less So for Rod
Posted Sep 19, 2014
September. Springtime. This morning, a bit before eight, cooler than cool but not as far as chilly - call it bracing. Thin cloud with sun shining through. A light breeze wafting leaves and twigs of the shelter belt along the back of the park.
Recently, Doglet has shown stronger signs of Not Liking It when I carry her cast-outs home, for the bin, in a little blue nappysack. Perhaps she thinks I'm going to lay it out on the living-room carpet as a showpiece for guests... anyway, today she seems to have perfected her prevention technique.
Normally she squirms her way into those big patches of clumps of spiky plants and tall spiky grass, just to see who else has been in there - and recently has graduated from occasionally seeing to her business while in there, to seeing to it there more often.
Third consecutive day with no sign, for a minute or so, of where she might be...
I think she has me beaten.
The Trip of a Lifetime? - Yeah, Right
Posted Sep 1, 2014
Self-inflicted? Yes, if you insist - but ever so sad.
Neighbours have saved up for years for a trip to their roots in UK and a look around Europe.
- Talk to the insurance people eh?
- OK, telephoning done.
"Did you tell them everything?" - "Yes, did you?" "Yes. What did they say?" "OK - you?" "OK"
"Right then, let's make the payment before something else happens that requires Money"
"Right. - - - Done." [about $30k worth (15klbs)]
A few days later, Insurance calls - "Mr L can't be insured"
What he'd forgotten to tell them on the 'phone was that he'd had two strokes.
They're getting some back from the airline but so far it's looking as though they've lost by far the greater part of their money.
Another Life - Snipped
Posted Aug 13, 2014
Barbara Ann Edwards, née Fairbairn part 2 - final
Ann was found to have Ovarian cancer, which her mother had died of.
Our son Stephen, who had been in less than good health for a couple of years, living in Edinburgh and busily trying to make arrangements to move permanently to New Zealand, died in a diabetic coma on 18 July 2014.
Our daughter Andrea flew to UK to attend to the formalities, as Ann wasn't near well enough for me to leave her.
The news of Stephen's death seemed to hasten Ann's decline and she died a few minutes before 7am on 29 July 2014, at Nurse Maude Hospice, Merivale, Christchurch.
I arrived to visit her at 7am.
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Another Life in Snippets
Posted Aug 13, 2014
Barbara Ann Edwards, née Fairbairn
Born 25 September 1940, in Alnmouth, Northumberland, UK.
. First memories: living in Waterside Farm cottages, south over the Estuary from Alnmouth:
Occasional enemy bombers getting rid of their remaining loads before returning home after raids on Newcastle docklands.
Father and farm workers being shot at in the fields by enemy escort fighters returning with the bombers.
Polish POWs (Prisoners Of War), working on the farm and, missing their own families, making wooden toys for us.
. Moving farms, to Lesbury and into the farmhouse in the village, father having obtained the tenancy from the Duke of Northumberland.
Fishing for tiddlers in the stream and bringing them home in jam-jars.
Snow so deep we felt as if we were walking on the top of mountains
The school 'bus did the rounds, collecting from a wide area, as all the larger schools were in the same town, Alnwick (- and meeting Rod on the 'bus).
1957 Exams passed, onwards to London – at the Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts, before my 17th birthday – a complete change of pace - student life, long hours.
1959 Re-meeting Rod, a school & Fellowship Club chum from earlier days, then marrying him Dec 5th after months of deliberation – we were very young. Rod had joined the RN and was preparing to sail away for a year while I stayed on at college.
We got together again, exams under my belt, ready to set out together.
1962 Our son Stephen was born, Rod having been sent out to Bahrain - no ifs no buts as we were under Naval Command - we joined him shortly afterwards.
That was an interesting period. The Middle East / Persian Gulf was a far cry from the West that we'd been used to but, living in a Naval Hiring a few miles from HMS Jufair, in a block of four flats – three westerners and the owner, a local, and among locals' homes, we met quite a few Bahrainis and some people from the mainland. Stephen was the darling of all – having fair hair, he attracted lots of attention and sweeties...
Of course, we learned something about customs, culture and religion – very different - and look back on that time with smiles.
Not too long after we left, strife struck Bahrain – some people seem intent on spoiling what used to be good places, good times...
Back in UK, six months in one of my parents' farm cottages then to Portsmouth for a couple of years before Rod decided to leave the navy and spread his wings in a large company in Staffordshire, for three years.
Stephen being now at school allowed me to find a part-time job, starting in the photo-lab, working on gold-work designs for laying on fine china. I loved the work but after 2 ½ years gave it up because of another of Rod's career changes and, reluctantly, followed.
Jan 1970 We moved into a new house – the first one of our very own – in a 'retired' mining village (the pit had closed). Rod worked at Newcastle University, looking after their main computer.
July 1973 We were lucky enough to have a second child – a fine daughter, Andrea Joanne.
1977 Rod's work at the university having been a success, 'his' computer was overtaken by a shiny new model and Rod found himself out of work in a time of cutbacks. I found part-time work and odd jobs to keep us going, as did Rod.
Eventually he found work if we moved south to Bracknell. With a lot of hard work and overtime, the bank balance eventually went back into black and we started looking forward again.
We had some good years, with the children in steady schooling … Rod, however, often away elsewhere in England, in Scotland, Australia or USA. I and Andrea were later able to go to Florida with him, while Stephen was in his first job in UK – he got to visit us and loved the warmth and freedom, with nature everywhere around us – and I passed my driving test so could go solo...
Meeting Americans from so many different States while at Cape Canaveral … fascination on both sides, ours as well as theirs - and many friends made.
A hit-and-miss decade. One contract in Scotland took Rod away from the family – however, he made good friends with an American couple from Washington State and when they were eventually recalled, we visited them on three occasions over the years – once in Florida and twice at their home in Seattle, which was a spectacular place to live and for us to visit.
Back in the UK, we moved to a larger house and garden, got ourselves a dog Tamara (Tammy) and acquired two stray cats, Polo and Trebor, the latter making Rod his top priority (or was it the other way around?).
Many jobs came and went. Short contracts for Rod then a dry period. I picked up, becoming a sales leader in a small Ladies' store then secretarial work … travel agent … then receptionist with a small, growing company in microelectronics and working up to the Managing Director's private PA.
I retired from traveling to London, becoming on call at home. Rod was retired and we felt that a move from the busy South of England to the North East (my roots and Rod's early-ish years), would be a good idea.
We moved into a 2-bedroom bungalow, within an easy walk of the sea, in the village of Amble, Northumberland. We often walked down to the little Port (now mainly for pleasure craft). A friendlier place we could not have found. I quickly made friends ... swimming and craft evenings …
We found life good. The house had a conservatory built on the back (Eastish) which gave us an extra, big, room. In fact the house was a delight, main bathroom plus en-suite … well appointed when Rod had finished.
Two years in and decidedly happy with our lot, Andrea's husband had arranged to take 18 months' work in New Zealand. We had their dog Plum who seemed to enjoy her time with us.
That 18 months soon turned into a permanent stay and a couple of years or so later, citizenship.
Talking it over with Rod's parents (both 94), we formed the idea of eventually going over, too.
Later, having made two, 3-month, visits and with more to come, we fell in love with the idea of the new culture and lots of space. A big plus was the warm welcome we received from every New Zealander we met.
2009 - 2014
A couple more annual visits to NZ and the decision was made for us.
After Rod's parents' denouement, we found that Andrea was carrying our eldest grandchild...
Five-and-a-half years (and two grandsons) later -
Here we are, ever so glad we made the decision.
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