Monday, 29 April 2013

Sing for Life Walk

There is one week to go to the Belfast Marathon Walk and I am in good form and in good heart.
Around 15 members of the choir are walking 9 miles next Monday to raise awareness of the Sing for Life choir and to raise money for Cancer Focus.
Many thanks to those that have donated already.
At present we are a little over halfway to the £500 total we are trying to reach.
Remember, all donations are going to a very good cause - Cancer Focus.
The link to the online donations page for Sing for Life is below.
Every pound you donate will go straight to Cancer Focus.

So please dig deep.

Thank you,


Donating to good causes through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving – they’ll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Online donation saves time and cuts costs for the charity.


Monday, 22 April 2013

Jean Morgan RIP

The natural burial took place on a sapling-covered hilltop near Yealmpton, between Dartmoor and the sea. Skylarks were singing and the sun shone.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Jean Morgan

Jean died in hospital on Tuesday aged 56 following a short illness. After years of being all-clear, in January her cancer came back very aggressively. Jean was given chemotherapy but to no avail. She is survived by husband Phil and son Nathan.

Jean and Phil were married for 35 years. Phil is my oldest friend, we met when we were both eleven and became good mates. As a teenager I spent all of the weekend at his house countless times and made friends with younger brother Terry. We kept in close touch as we moved in different directions to study and for work.

Phil and Jean were living in Poole when Gill and I moved to Southampton. We became very close as couples: spending weekends with each other, going on walking trips and holidays together. Especially memorable were our tours of Normandy and Brittany, where we drove around staying in Logis de France. At lunch and dinner we challenged each other to find the most interesting dishes on the menu. All four of us would chose something different, try each others food and then vote on who had chosen the best dish. Jean was often the winner.

This all came to a halt when Gill was killed in an accident. I couldn't bear to go back to our new house, we had only moved in three weeks previously. So Jean and Phil kindly invited me to stay in their house. I did this for many weeks before I plucked up the courage to turn the key in my door and walk in. Even then I would only go to the new house during the day and then return to Phil and Jean's for the evening and night. It took me several months before I was able to return home and stay overnight.

Not long after, Jean became pregnant with Nathan. I was pleased to be the first visitor the day after he was born. Jean had told Phil she wanted a drink of Guinness and we brought several cans with us to the hospital. Jean eagerly opened the can and a jet of foaming Guinness flew all over her, the bed and the baby. Yes, Nathan was christened in the black stuff. Perhaps this might go some way to explaining his later prowess at rugby.

Jean and Phil had a very good relationship. They were also unconventional: Jean was the breadwinner and Phil the house-husband. This was a very unusual arrangement for the late 1980's but it worked successfully. Indeed, Nathan has grown up to be a very well-balanced young man who has already achieved a great deal: professionally and in sport. After I moved from southern England I would meet them for trips away, or stay with them for long weekends or sometimes meet them at Gloucester rugby games (see below).

Jean was an information systems specialist who worked for banks and big insurance companies both directly employed and as a freelance. She was a very strong swimmer and loved to be in the sea, an affection that had been nurtured from her childhood in Plymouth. Jean was a person of principle. A committed environmentalist and a long-standing member of Greenpeace, she lived a green lifestyle: campaigning, organics only, no flying, etc.

When I became ill with cancer in 2011, Jean was one of the key friends who supported and encouraged me during my treatment and recuperation. I did my best to reciprocate during her illness. We were companions in the fight against the 'Big C'. Jean endured this great struggle with good heart and concern for others.

A small family funeral will take place near Plymouth next Friday. In keeping with her wishes, Jean will be buried in a wicker casket in woodland. May she rest in peace.

Jean, Terry, Nathan and Phil in Gloucester in 2008

Monday, 8 April 2013

The Snows

A couple of weeks back we had a prolonged Easterly blizzard. It was late March and unusually cold with strong Arctic winds. Where I live is 130 feet above sea level and we got about one foot of snow at most. But it was quite different in the low hills behind my house. These hills are 500-800 feet high and were soon very deep in snow. Many hill farms were cut off and much livestock was lost as lambs had only recently been born.

After some days many of the wee roads were opened by snow blower, farmers were able to move around by tractor and some livestock were rescued. On a journey that took me into the hills, I went through snowdrifts that ranged from 5 to 10 feet deep.

Two weeks later, all the snow around me has melted but on the hills and mountains it is still deep. The main road through them has now been closed due to the avalanche risk. Over 8000 farm animals died in the snowstorm.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Sing for Life - online donations

In my last posting I gave my news about entering the Marathon Walk on May 6 to raise funds for Cancer Focus. The Sing for Life walking team might not be the fastest on the route but we should certainly be the most tuneful.
Since then I've received several offers of sponsorship.
That's great, thank you very much.
So I've set up a JustGiving page for online donations.
Donating to good causes through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving – they’ll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they’ll send your money directly to the charity. Online donation saves time and cuts costs for the charity. Every pound you donate will go straight to Cancer Focus.

So please dig deep.

Thank you.