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Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Everything is changed

In the Highlands. Four months since Mum died. Her terriers, ever my companions on endless walks, are gone to their new home thanks to the kindness of Christina and James at Farr Mains. Brin Croft has the familiar furnishings. All seem poised to move. tho' nothing can go until Confirmation - Scottish version of Probate - is approved. We must empty the house in readiness to sell it. We've sorted and lined up several hundred books to be valued, hopefully sold. Mum had many more reference books than I, more reliant on the internet feel I need. It's old children's books and other old books with lovely illustrations I'm hesitant to sell. Mum had so much the same taste as me in subjects or vice versa that much of her collection I've read and have already, so saying farewell to these will hardly be a wrench.
Sorting books in the log cabin
Helen from Logie Steading Bookshop will come for tea and look the books over on Thursday. I've been trying to find places to sell or donate Mum's collection of invalid kit. It's tricky because of strict health and safety rules on second hand electrical goods. Then there's furniture with more rules about fireproofing. These things matter less in private sales but they make donation to charities near impossible.
Liz has been looking after Brin Croft. She has Amy's dog Cookie up here and Lin and I have brought Oscar from England. For the last week Amy has been with Liz, in part to help with repainting parts of Brin Croft, and part to give her best friend companionship as she goes official - included on Facebook - with news of her pregnancy, just back from a 13 week scan at Raigmore Hospital yesterday morning to circulate photos. How Mum would have delighted in this, especially as our grandson Oliver is also here.
Liz's ultrasound image
I went into Macandrew and Jenkins in Inverness this morning, up the old stone stairs and wide mahogany banisters. Stroll some of what used to be the core streets of Inverness and you get a picture of how out of town retailing and autodependency - autodependencia - has comprehensively blighted the place I've know for fifty years - few people strolling amid charity shops, Poundland, a plethora of 'for sale, lease and rent' signs, boarded windows, and pawnbrokers with euphemistic names...
Drummond Street, Inverness

I was seeing Sharon Leckie, para-legal working for James Wotherspoon, to sign a sheaf of Confirmation documents that must now be mailed to my sister, Bay, in New York for her signature. Then the real work begins - clearing and selling the house, distributing contents. Phew! We've arranged visits by estate agents to get an idea of how the market may behave and how the house should be described and should the lochan be included. Thank goodness for family. Even though I've been executor for three other wills, this seems the hardest even with the support I have.
A lovely message from Aftab Rahman this evening:
Hello Simon - I am sorry for your loss. I lost my dad nearly six years ago. Every now and then, I still cry - and wish he was hear to share in my success and failures. But, he is buried in Bangladesh - my brothers and I took him back one last time. We reached the last leg of our trip to my dad's village at night on a boat - I still recall, the night sky full of stars. I like to think that I have taken him back to his beloved land where the stars shine on him at night and the remains of his body nourishes the land he so loved. I have not been back to see his grave for some five years - I want to visit and take my daughters with me and share my joy by his grave side. I hope you happiness in this tough time. That void will never be filled - but time will heal and you will find ways to cope my friend.
*** ***
From Chris R:
Hi Simon. All is great here in Asia I have today taken the night train from old British Penang island to KL in Malaysia. 
Night train from Penang
My back has eventually recovered from the garden repair project. I don’t know why I have been so driven to so injure myself but must be that childhood on a farm and a desire to be surrounded by green growth; as the development has destroyed lots of green space.
I am sorry I will miss you in  March we both seem to have such a drive to travel and understand our world!  I shall look forward to news of strawberry’s harvested by you and not the slugs like last year!
Chani, Chris and Aftab at our 'Cultivation to Consuption' event on a rainy 19 July last year
Cultivation to Consumption - Chani uses some of my cabbage to cook delectable pakorah 
It would indeed be great to have another share your plot plus there is also much room to share at Antrobus Road, as after a constant battle to get the City’s Development to cooperate with not damaging the former gardens too much I have decided to keep a larger amount of my adversely possessed land; which is more fertile than the bit they have already given back. They have not exactly played by the rules as developers but their land transfer department has been most truthful with me and has recognised my rights over the land I have looked after for some time. Will be glad when its all settled however; (possessions possess the possessor) then I can concentrate on just growing! How great that you have sailed by Antikythera.
Sailing in Danica near Thumb island near Antikithera in 1962
I stopped by the British Museum with a friend before I flew in Feb and looked at their collection of early Victorian drawings of the ‘discovered’ great ancient Greek ruins settled by goat herding people living in low level settlement at the foot of the great ruins. It does seem that we have done very little more to advance in last 2000 years but keep repeating history. I would be very interested in discussing your living in Greece. I have tried to get redundancy unsuccessfully this year but keep hoping that soon I will get the opportunity to seriously think about another investment project eventually!
Hope you have been enjoying travels to Bari and Naples. It has been raining unseasonably in Thailand and Malaysia but not too much as yet it does have the advantage of keeping it cooler!
After a few days in Malaysia with Teo we are off to Laos via Thailand as he has an amazing four weeks off work.
Looking forward to catching up soon with our respective news of travel-happy UK landings!
Much love to you both
Yours Chris
Plot 14 - still messy but now shared with Chris

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Simon Baddeley