Walking from St George’s.
Pt 2 of a trilogy.
For over four months we travelled twice a week to St George’s Hospital in Tooting. 32 times maybe. Many incorporated the previous walk to or from Morden Hall Park. Tuesdays always start at Al-Anon in Islington and then the Northern line from the Angel to Tooting Broadway. On just one occasion Bobby bought a ticket for an evening Concert by Candlelight in St Martins In the Fields .
On that afternoon, he decided to walk back from St Georges along Tooting High Street northwards towards central London for aerobic exercises. Knowing that he was following the line of the Northern line below the street and could declare when he got tired and get the tube into Charing Cross for the concert.
Walking north, passing Tooting Broadway station. Past shops from all over the world. (more…)
Lost in a Dream.
It’s the morning after New Year’s Eve. Bobby is sitting bolt upright in bed. He has had a shocking dream.
1960, when they were the greatest.
It wasn’t a nightmare, because most of it seemed OK. Just the end when he woke up. So, he had a cup of hot orange and a hot cross bun and went back to bed and dreamt a bit more. Finally waking up and frantically typing out The Dream on his phone, so that he could save me. But how? Well he has just been declared “local author of the month” at Reigate and Banstead Writes group and now thinks he is bleedin Charles Dickens. Fame at last… quite forgetting who actually writes the stories and he can only rescue me awake. In a story. Awake! (more…)
St Botolph without Aldgate
When we began writing Mindfully Bertie in August 2016, we started with a clean slate. A void in our lives had been created by the loss of Diddley the year before. A void that could provide opportunity for creativity, whilst never forgetting the love and affection for the person we missed so much. A clean slate on which the plan was – there wasn’t one. In particular, there were no traditions at all. Four years later, we now do have one tradition. The Christmas journey away from Laurel Cottage to East London for a few days in a Premier Inn. A trip for just Bobby and I, in which we indulge in whatever comes to mind and ends with his son Andrew’s family travelling to London for a West End Musical.
There is no public transport in London on Christmas Day. It gives a strange air of freedom from responsibility for all those fertile brains wishing to squeeze adventures out of every second. For us, it also gives a wish to go to a church service. But not just any church. It has to be a voyage of discovery in itself. This year our sights were set much closer to where we were staying.
Just a few minutes walk away is St Botolph without Aldgate, and that is the subject of today’s story. (more…)
Finding Peace at Christmas
People like Bobby see life as a series of adventures. Big ones. Medium ones. Small and tiny ones. Even a shopping trip to Waitrose can be turned into a little adventure.
To be an adventurer you need certain things. Finance, of course. Ideas, which he has in abundance. Energy. The last was never lacking in his younger days but plays a much bigger part now in old age. And now post the ‘very serious event‘ is of indeterminate supply. He never really knows now when he will suddenly become tired out. Knackered. Cream Crackered. He also acknowledges the role that ‘acceptance’ can play. While this situation exists, to ensure that adventures for the present have escape routes just in case the energy levels drop. (more…)
Wishing you a Peaceful Christmas
from Mindfully Bertie
Standing by my Christmas Tree
(or sitting on a sledge)
Standing by my Christmas tree.
Wishing you were here with me.
The snow is falling everywhere
But it’s not okay that you’re not there.
Lonely footprints in the snow
And where they lead, nobody knows.
I feel the frost beneath my feet.
The angel’s breath upon my cheek.
“Silent night, holy night’.
Can you hear the carollers singing in the night?
They sing “Silent night, holy night”.
`Let their voices guide you from the darkness to the light.
Walking down St. Michael’s Street.
Where once you swept me off my feet.
I’ve traced these steps a thousand times.
I’m always hoping for a sign.
So Christmas Eve is here again.
Glad tidings and good will to men.
I’ll always keep you in my heart.
You’ve been there from the very start.
“Silent night, holy night”.
Can you hear the carollers singing in the night?
They sing, “Silent night, holy night”.
Let their voices guide you you from darkness to the light.
– – – – – – – – – –
Lighting a Candle for Diddley at Christmas
– – – – – – – –
Walking to St Georges
“Everything in Life is an Opportunity” said Bobby.
“Even snuffing it, for an undertaker” he added.
Well, it seems that he now views the ‘very serious event‘ as an opportunity to live life in a more healthy way. It wasn’t unhealthy before, but did include quite a few cakes and fry-ups. So if I tell you he told me that it was one of the best things that’s happened to him, you might think he has lost the plot. I understand. Totally. In the first place, it’s now over four months since that fateful day and he is still here. Battered a bit. Knackered a bit. Philosophical a bit. But still here. Still laughing. Still wanting to write stories. And now he has even more scope.
The last few weeks have seen him travelling twice a week to St George’s Hospital for von Willebrand’s treatment. And then once a week for cardiac rehabilitation exercises at Epsom General. Treadmills, rowing machines and so on.
Part of rehabilitation is the need to consolidate it with lots of aerobic walking. Ten minutes warm up. Ten minutes cool down. In between, however much you can do without discomfort. (more…)
‘Appy Bleedin Krismus
Here he goes again, I hear some groan. But Bobby has a mission. When someone you love dies too young from alcoholism there are those like Bobby who try to redress the balance with honesty. You may feel he is being disloyal to Diddley telling you her secrets. But, of course, they were not secrets but carried out in full view of her admiring audience. The audience that assumed she ‘liked a drink’ . Laughed their heads off at her antics. Her total disregard for other people horrified that a grown middle aged woman could carry on like that. Oblivious to the humiliation she heaped on her husband. And then bought her another drink despite her husband’s exhortations not to. Totally in control of her destiny, she maintained she lived in a fantasy world where alcohol was fine. But really she didn’t believe herself deep down inside but was unable (or unwilling) to try to even reduce her drinking. She told her Middlesbrough aunt that she had never been so happy in all her life. Couldn’t believe she had found someone to adore her like Bobby. And yet she knew she would die young. From drink. Like aunts from her family in the past. It was a family trait she maintained. (more…)
Feeling a bit Wordsworth.
Bertie: “You OK, Bobby?”
Bobby: “Not really, Bertie. I feel quite discombobulated. Certainly a little pensive. Maybe a bit vacant at times.”
Tim: “I hope you’re not feeling at all maudlin, Bobby. I felt you were quite chipper when we met up just a few weeks ago. You really seemed to enjoy yourself at that show.”
Bertie: “Do you think you are feeling a bit Wordsworth, brought on by all those hospital visits?” (more…)
Three Lions, the Lionesses and some Cubs
This is a story of hope, excitement, thrills, disappointment and reflection. It is told through the medium of three football matches. But don’t worry. The football is incidental to the stories and all the games were lost. What we gain from team sport in terms of winning and losing is far more than just that. As team sports go, football is the world’s game. And now the women and the children have a much larger impact than they ever did in wanting to be an equal part of it.
Three football matches. One in 1996, narrated by Bobby. One a week ago, narrated by “Ellen” (a new member of our team). And one the day after – narrated by me. (more…)
One Picture … 500 Words
We were staying with Chris and Angie down in the Cotswolds last February, when Chris showed us a picture that really caught our imagination. We remembered how successful BBC Radio 2’s “500 Words” competition for children had become. And thought how about “One Picture… 500 Words” for Mindfully Bertie? Not a competition, but a chance for our readers to share a special picture and 500(ish) words about it. If you fancy joining in, just send your picture and story to for consideration. The picture that inspired the idea follows, together with Chris’s story. (more…)