A sequential number day – I am not looking forward to the next one, as it will be 234; only 234 days of hope left.
Well we saw DA and do you know, it was really strange – I was really nervous about meeting him! But he spoke to me, smiled, shook my hand and even posed for a photo with me. What a gentleman; he is absolutely charming. He stayed for some time and, as I suspected, all the children were spellbound, as was everyone of course. A little girl beside me suddenly said to her Mum "The voice! I recognise his voice!" and she was so excited. Whether that is what brought the lump to my throat and tears to my eyes, or whether it was because he had been kind to me, I don’t know.
He has been my hero all my life, right from his earliest Zoo Quest days, and have all his books. There he was, in his 30s, climbing trees in his shorts and summer shirt, finding broken pieces of eggshell and fitting them together, trekking across the Australian interior, searching for Komodo Dragons – I have read those books many times. I told him that he was lucky that I hadn’t brought all my books for him to sign – I’d certainly thought about it! – and he laughed.
Then we went to our allotment show and were pleased to see that we’d even won a couple of prizes, one for my jam, a dried flower arrangement, H’s sweet corn and two matching marrows. We’d entered several other things that didn’t win a prize but it didn’t matter as we all had fun. The rain was torrential but it didn’t stop our families coming along for the walk around the marquee and then tea and cakes in the Big Shed afterwards. This time last year H’s Dad was with us, but sadly he died at the end of last year. I won’t go into details but he had gone into hospital early in December for one thing, and developed something else while he was there and died suddenly on 30th December. We had a phone call at 4am and at least we all managed to see him before he died 2 hours later. It was a terrible shock and I don’t think that any of us have really recovered. We miss him so much and for so many reasons; one comfort is that he knew he had three granddaughters, and he loved them very much. He knew that he would live on in them, and we can see him still in H and his sisters and their children.
For me, he is still always with me at the allotment, because he helped us put up the shed, and he loved his garden and was very knowledgeable, so whenever I am there he is there too. But that is not much comfort when events happen that he used to enjoy and he should still be with us to enjoy them again, and is not.
As we were coming home at the end of today, we passed a man who was asking his daughter why she was crying. "Because I don’t want it to end!" she sobbed. She’d enjoyed herself so much at the show and he had to reassure her that it had all finished now, but that they would be back next year.
"Next year", the words echoed in my head as we carried our baskets of produce back to the car. What will next year be like for me? The next time I see the big marquee on our site, I shall either be a Mum, be pregnant or have had to accept that I shall be barren for ever.