Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Out bright candle

We've dived with Greg, met Anne at church, Barbs had worked on the cattle sale saveloy and sandwich-selling excercise with her - the day that everything went wrong and they spent three hours laughing so much that B came back with stomach muscles that ached for a couple of days. She died suddenly after helping a sheep with lambing out in the top paddocks. She was barely middle-aged by island standards - seventy and still doing a lot of the running of the farm, laughing looking after animals. (At 94 Mary still teaches us Scottish Dancing. I reckon it's the air or the muttonbird oil). Today was her funeral service, and though I hate them, I went for the bloke I've dived with, well, I daresay he wouldn't have noticed as the place was full and yard was full, and the street was full. Friends and her family had come from all over. The eulogies were full of funny warm stories, memories of salty porrige and watery hot chocolate - memories laced with choked voices and tears, and animals, memories of someone who had seen life, love, pain and given more to others than she took. It was enormously sad and she's going to be missed a lot. But as a going out... well you could only say she really had lived and been loved.

I guess I would want to be remembered for no more. I hope to leave people well, possibly relieved the old bastard is dead, but with lives (and stomachs) slightly fuller for having met me. That'll be enough. It also brought home to me just what a team effort this is: I don't think I would have got here - not writing, not to the island, not this far through life, let alone venturing into self-sufficency and living the rural life with its hunter-gatherer and small farmer aspects without Barbs. I was reading how the last wave of back-to-self-sufficency generally flopped... because of 1)loneliness, 2)isolation 3)loneliness... and only really worked where there was a couple (or family) and both of them wanted to do this. Then of course it is not just good, but very good. I reckon a community and friends help a lot too, but it is tough, and five times tougher alone. Tonight I am that, with Barbs away, house and horse sitting, and me with cats and dogs for company. Wednesday got into the main house earlier and took advantage of the dog-food B had set ready for tonight (and the catfood). Labbies will eat until they explode so it's just as well I heard the commotion. I heard her spill one bowl - assumed it was B... and she thought it was me.

Anyway, back to editing in B's changes. I reckon I might just pull an all-nighter and get it done.

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