Wednesday, 31 August 2011
Unwrapping my husband
On Sunday evening I unwrapped my husband.
He’d been in a green cardboard box and I’ve kept him beside my bed (on his side) since 7th January. But now it was time to decant him and scatter some of his ashes on the Carrick Roads. For those of you unused to Cornish ways, this is actually a river where he used to fish for oysters.
I have to say I hadn’t been looking forward to this outing, but after a delicious lunch provided by two friends, Molls and I went with them on their boat, up the river. The sky was a deep dark blue, there was just enough wind for a sail, and so many other boats out there also enjoying the Bank Holiday weather.
We halted just near the boundary between Truro Harbour and Falmouth Harbour (marked by a granite post) and Michael read Masefield’s “Sea Fever” as well as Brian Patten’s “How long does a man live?” (I knew I couldn’t speak I’d be gulping too much.) Then, checking the direction of the wind, I said, “Goodbye darling,” and emptied a tin full of Pip into the river. Andrea had bought two bunches of flowers which we threw onto the water, and with each one I shouted one of Pip’s favourite sayings – including “shoot the bastards” and his made-up German swear words.
Just then a wind caught the sails and the boat sped forwards. It was as if Pip was saying, “Come on, enough of that. Let’s go for a sail for God’s sake!”
I laughed then – it was so typical him. And as the boat gathered speed, I felt the wind in my hair, the salt on my lips and a thrill ran through me. “I see what you mean, darling,” I thought. “This is what sailing’s all about!”
So two unexpectedly good things came from that day. One – my Pip is where he should be – out on the water. And two – I can now really understand his passion for sailing. And maybe, one day, do more of it myself?
Wherever I go, it seems, Pip will be there, somewhere. Just keeping an eye on me.