Lighting a Tribute Candle to Diddley.

Posted on 20/08/2017 By


Tribute to Diddley.

Dear friends of Bobby and Diddley.

Some old. Some new. Some who never even knew her outside of this blog. The 23rd August will always be a date that Bobby and others will never forget. In 2015 it was the saddest news of all that we had lost her. Now in 2017 this story is from the heart. We can look back at two years of memories that have all kinds of emotions. Some sad but, in general, happy. Many times with a smile. Quite often laughter at the antics of one of life’s true characters.

“Grief” and “bereavement” are words that we are wary of. Until you experience true grief at losing a close loved one, you can have no idea how you will react. Bobby liked that book… Grief works.

Diddley Tribute: "Grief Works" by Julia Samuel.

“Grief Works” by Julia Samuel.

That rang a few bells. Just as Leonard Cohen does at the foot of this story.

Bobby’s choice of writing a blog through a bear is his choice alone. Encouraged by others at the start. It suits his chatty, affable nature and creative need to share the joys of life, whilst never forgetting how it started. Asked recently how well the blog was doing in viewing figures, he didn’t even know where that information came from! But, he would be fibbing if he didn’t get a little boost to his ego from the comments that have been made so far on what is, more or less, the first anniversary of Mindfully Bertie. So keep those comments coming. It helps to know some people enjoy reading the stories.

Bobby and Diddley married at 55 and 49 respectively. Both second time round. And they married themselves on nineteen, nine, ninety nine. At Wintershall. Her wish fell outside the exigencies of law. Bobby was still married. So, in September there will be a blog entitled “Wintershall”. To tell the story of 19/9/99, with the help of granddaughter, Layla.

And that is also what this blog is about. Born to ageing parents, Bobby never knew his grandparents. Fortunately Granny Di’s grandchildren will have many happy memories of her. Young great grandson Jay, born in 2016, already has her favourite teddy and a box of memorabilia for when he gets older. When grandchildren come to stay, they call Laurel Cottage “Granny’s house”. Always have! They sleep in “Granny’s room”. Completely refurbished in 2014, it will be kept exactly as she liked it. Even down to Tracey Emin! The drawers in that room are full of memorabilia, including all her scarves. Layla talks about liking photography. So, her next assignment is to shut herself in that room and produce a portfolio of selfies modelling those scarves. Watch this space. An example of one of her selfies below:

Diddley Tribute: Layla, by Layla.

Layla, by Layla.

A drawer of letters and cards will provide future material for stories, especially those letters from Bobby on Skomer Island.

Diddley Tribute: Letter from Skomer. Note the envelope. Ahahaha!

Letter from Skomer. Note the envelope. Ahahaha!

So this is, I feel, all positive management of grief. The tears still come at extreme moments, but that’s OK. Just remember those happy times. As I sat on Bobby2, watching them every day. Fun, laughter, arguments, voices raised, cuddles, kisses. Always remembering the tender times, when they danced to Elvis, who died 16 August 1977, but is still “The King”.

She looked at him and said “Bobby, if it all ended tomorrow, nobody can take away the fun we have had.” And no one ever will.

But one thing Bobby has never shied away from is dying too young from alcoholism. When full of life.

Walking around Britain and abroad with a bear under your arm does create “interest” on occasions. Sometimes people have wanted to know more. On some of those occasions the full story of alcoholism has come out. Not often, but when the person concerned seems open to such information. It did in Joe’s Story.

So, once again, this is an appropriate reminder of Bobby’s faith in Al Anon.

As shown here:

Diddley Tribute: Al-Anon website screenprint.

Al-Anon website screenprint.

Diddley Tribute: Al-Anon Poster.

Al-Anon Poster.

Diddley Tribute: Al-Anon Poster.

Al-Anon Poster.

“Acceptance” is an easy word to say. For some it is a difficult route to follow. We hope in this blog that if we have helped one single person to smile again, then it’s all been worthwhile.

We were there for those memorable Leonard Cohen concerts at the O2 in 2008, when Diddley’s favourite charmed the London audience with his humility and talent.

Below are some photographs in celebration and memory. This is our tribute. Taken at random, and apologies to all those missed.

Diddley Tribute: Bobby, Diddley and Amber.

Bobby, Diddley and Amber.

Diddley Tribute: With Jasmine.

With Jasmine.

Diddley Tribute: With Maxine.

With Maxine.

Diddley Tribute: With Layla.

With Layla.

Diddley Tribute: With Tony (Bobby's brother).

With Tony (Bobby’s brother).

Diddley Tribute: With Jessie, Jasmine and Layla.

With Jessie, Jasmine and Layla.

Diddley Tribute: Isle of Wight. Celebrating her 64th birthday, with Layla, Sonny, Kyla.

Isle of Wight. Celebrating her 64th birthday, with Layla, Sonny, Kyla.

Diddley Tribute: Contentment.


Diddley Tribute: Celebrating the birth of granddaughter Giselle.

Celebrating the birth of granddaughter Giselle.

Diddley Tribute: With Jarvis Cocker, in words.

With Jarvis Cocker, in words.

Diddley Tribute: With Anne.

With Anne.

Diddley Tribute:

Diddley Tribute:

“There is a crack, a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” Leonard Cohen.

Diddley Tribute: Lighting a Candle for Diddley.– – – – – – – – – – – –

DiddleyGood Grief    

  1. Felicity Drewett says:

    What can I say but “gone far too soon.” Di was unique. Creative, very funny, extremely talented and exceedingly naughty. She was one in many millions. We are poorer for losing her but so much richer for knowing her. We miss you Di xxx

  2. Jennifer says:

    Very moving indeed. I work on my grateful list every day. Xx

  3. katherine says:

    Dear Bob, your blog is beautiful, always interesting, poignant and hopeful. I like your phrase, positively managing grief. I want to remember my loved ones in a similar way. I reflect today on how lucky you both were to find each other, you enriched each other’s lives in such a powerful way, and that love and power seems to be going strong still.
    Thank you for so bravely and generously sharing your story with Di and and your journey without her… it’s an inspiration.

  4. Mmarla says:

    So moving, Bob, your stories of your Diddley. Glad to hear you’re doing well. Hope to catch up soon Xmarla

  5. Baby Ball says:

    Thinking of you Dad. A (and M, G and D-M) x

  6. Tim Clarke says:

    I don’t normally comment, being the “Technical Director”. However, I love Bertie’s style. This tribute is, I feel, is the best he has ever written. Beautifully poignant. From the heart.

    It brought back memories of my parents who have recently passed away. The sense that there are things we want to share – but can’t.

    • bob says:

      Your comments are very welcome as is your expertise. Hardly a day goes by when I dont miss that sharing. Hunter Davies on Radio London expressed the same feeling of emptiness going home to an empty house and wanting to talk about the day just gone
      to his late wife. In a way I do it in the blog.

  7. Nicky says:

    A sad day, 2 years on but in a happy reflective way.
    Still miss you BMB.
    LMW xxx

    • Bertie says:

      Miss you too Nicky. And Di. Had to pay for lamination! But you were both far more than that x

  8. Bernard says:

    2 years but still much alive in your blogs, what a wonderful tribute.

  9. David Cooper says:

    Thanks Bertie. The pics remind me of when Solly and I worked together. I always thought she had a sort of regal presence of being on top of everything and yet strangely above it, whilst maintaining a warm inward smile. A beautiful and life enhancing lady. As Cohen says, there is a crack in everything, but I guess he is also challenging us to be brave enough to look through the crack. Bobby, you are brave.

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