At Whistler

Yesterday I had a fine time.

Friends from Wales were at Whistler BC for a ski holiday. I decided to visit them.

Tony Cavaciuti, his wife Marie, their son Andrew, his wife Nikki and their kids Florence and Oliver have been skiing at Whistler each year for many years.

Tony and I have been friends since about 11 years old. He went to a neighbour school and we met on opposing teams. We also enjoyed rugby together too. Also, Tony’s Dad Andrew, a wonderful first generation Italian owned and ran a small cafe in our home town. He made the best ice-cream and served wonderful food too.

The family made me feel so welcome at their apartment at Whistler. We had lunch together at the pub and even had time for a coffee afterwards back at the apartment.

It was so good to see all of them at what might be their last visit to Whistler after over twenty years of visiting.

Safe trip home folks. God bless.

Advertisements

A Day To Remember.

It’s about 03.10 as I begin to write this and I’ve been awake for a while. Outside the wind is whistling through the fir trees on the neighbour’s property. Fir cones from the trees on that land are peppering my roof and tumbling down to the yard below, one of the reasons for me being awake. Another reason, the main one, is that it is the day of our wedding anniversary and I was thinking about Cynthia. The words of that Sinatra song, One For My Baby, kept going through my head:

It’s quarter to three
There’s no one in the place ‘cept you and me
So set ’em’ up Joe
I got a little story I think you oughtta know
We’re drinking my friend
To the end of a brief episode
So make it one for my baby
And one more for the road
Cynthia loved listening to Frank Sinatra sing.

Well it was quarter to three, there is no one in the place ‘cept me, I got a little story I think you might like to know, I’m drinking tea my friends, to the memory of a great episode in my life, and this is one for my baby but I don’t know if there will be any more of these epistles for the road.

Today would have been the 53rd anniversary of our marriage. Maybe you’re doing the math now to work out the wedding date.  Yes you got it right, it was Jan.03 1966. I didn’t write anything on this day in 2018 or 2017 but today for some reason it feels good to be writing.

Dear Fr. Bowden, the curate who married us.

Our wedding day was a great day. It was remarkable for us in many ways. We had decided to get married in the previous October during a half term school break back in the UK. We’d motored down to Wales from Camberley in Surrey, about thirty miles west of London. We asked for our parents’ permission to marry even though we were determined to go ahead anyway. What was remarkable was not that they agreed, for they all knew we would one day be wed, but that Cynthia’s mother told us we would have to make all the arrangements ourselves as she was too ill to help with that.

Cynthia receives a call from a college friend in Australia

Cynthia never hesitated, but gave her mum a hug and got on with things immediately. She basically dragged me around in her slipstream as we booked the church with Fr. Bowden the curate at her local church. We booked the local hotel for the reception. We organized wedding cars and drivers etc. etc. By the time our weekend at home was done and we were heading back to Camberley, most of the organizing had been completed. Just a little later Cynthia went to London and hired all her wedding apparel…gown, shoes, veil and so on. It was a remarkable feat on her part.

L_R. cuz Brian Davies, Alan Jones, Geoff Tibbs, John Rees rear, Garath Hill, Lyndon Lewis, Bruce Davies, Howard Shurn, Barrie (Sammy)Davies in front.

The wedding day itself went beautifully, at least from my perspective. However, I know there wasn’t a great start to it for Cynthia as her lovely, but ailing Mum had a fall on the morning of the wedding. Nothing was going to deter her from getting to the wedding. In the end Cynth’s mum recovered and all was well.

Cynthia chats with little cousins Kieron, Sian, Elizabeth

The wedding went beautifully, the reception was great, with family and friends in attendance. After the speeches and the luncheon we  had some singing. One of my friends named John decided to give us his version of Where Have All The Flowers Gone That would have been great except John couldn’t carry a tune even if you gave him a bucket! Nevertheless, we all had a good laugh and other friends even started tossing pennies and other coins at John.  It was a really good time.

Cynthia tosses her bouquet. Elizabeth looks quite bored.

Soon it was time for us to leave as we had to get back to our little apartment in Camberley as school was starting on the Monday. We spent our wedding night, Saturday, in a posh hotel in Bristol. There was no honeymoon because of the imminent start of school the following Monday and also because we could not afford one.

Yup, we had a cake!

Our little apartment, supported by the local school district as housing costs were beyond our means, was a simple but efficient place. It was one of six in a block of apartments, all housing teachers who worked in the Camberley School district., and all in the same financial situation as us. We had no cooker, stove, range whatever you wish to call it. That came months later in the form of a belated gift from dear friends Michael and Janet. Until then, we managed with a hot plate. We even managed to cook kippers in a plastic bag in the electric kettle! We had each other and life was good.

Best man Garath. He now lives in Powell River, B.C. Canada, a ferry ride from me.

Cousin Rosaleen far right. College friends Janet, Margaret, Babs, Judy.

Bridesmaids. My cousin Angela (right) and Cynthia’s cousin Elizabeth

Outside the church

We were so happy.

Cynthia with her dad.

I could write more but I feel this is enough to satisfy what was driving me to write in the first place. I should get back to bed and try to sleep. This has been one post for my baby!

‘Bye for now and God bless.

Popcorn For Christmas

Hello family and friends,
Volunteers from the British Columbia Transplant Society delivered popcorn to the North Island Hospital, Comox Valley this morning. The popcorn is a gift to staff in the ER and ICU departments to thank them for their involvement in the retrieval of organs to be used in transplants.

Below you see pictures of the volunteers with the ER staff and below that, the ICU staff.

With the Emergency Department Staff

With the Intensive care unit staff.

The volunteers can be seen in the top picture. Sid Popham, a heart recipient 20 years ago  is standing extreme left. Kneeling we have (right) myself, representing son Tim who was working. Tim is a double heart recipient (1999 & 2014). Kneeling (middle and left) are Doug and Jacquie Martin, parents of Cieran who was tragically injured in a car accident at age 16. His organs were donated.

The visit was especially significant for Doug and Jacquie as they met a nurse who had been involved with Cieran at the time his organs were donated. The nurse was the first staff member the Martins had met who had been involved with Cieran.

Many of the staffs were reduced to tears as they never see the result of their efforts. Big hugs and high fives were in abundance. It was a wonderful time. Goodbye for now and God bless.

Please consider giving the gift of life by registering on the organ donor registry in your own country.
Here in British Columbia Canada, register on BC’s organ donor registry atransplant.bc.ca

What A Beautiful Day!

Dear family and friends…this is an unusual post for me. It contains no pictures and very little text. However, I hope it conveys the joy I feel in my heart right now.

Yesterday I attended a wedding…a very special wedding, and witnessed what I consider to be a miracle. For security reasons there are no pictures and  I won’t mention any names. Let me give you some background.

About four years ago, Cynthia and I became involved with a group trying to bring a young woman to Canada …let’s call her A. She had escaped from her homeland where she and her family were being persecuted because of their religious beliefs. At the same time, her fiancé…we’ll call him B, escaped  for the same reasons. He’d already been imprisoned because he would not deny his faith, but had been removed and put to work outside the prison as he had some special skills, useful to the local army or police. He bided his time and escaped.  During their escape, and subsequent travels in search of a country where they could be safe, they became separated. He went south, she traveled north. They were separated by thousands of miles.

After a while, A found refuge in a foreign country and also found out she was pregnant. She gave birth to a daughter C. She managed to support herself and her baby by cleaning homes and working at a day-care. Eventually A met a young Canadian woman who lives close to where I live. She was traveling abroad  and ended up working in the same daycare as A. They became friends and shared stories. The young Canadian came home and with her parents began to look for ways to bring A and C to Canada. This is where Cynthia and I became involved as part of the group helping to bring A and C here. Eventually, after more than two years, A and daughter C came to the valley. After one year of support by the group, A is now self supporting. After much searching on-line and through the media, A eventually found B and they managed to stay in contact. .

Fiancé B was working to stay alive in a very difficult situation in a different foreign country. Another church group here in the valley was looking to sponsor a refugee. Members of our group contacted the other church and suggested they try to bring over B.  The other church group agreed. They too began the long process of filling out forms and attending endless meetings. Members of our group helped where they could, though I had withdrawn somewhat after Cynthia died.

Finally, B arrived earlier this year and has rejoiced in joining A and meeting the daughter who for years he didn’t know he had. C loves her daddy.  C and he had learned a little of each , bit by bit, through Face-time and Skype after contact  had been made. B is now already working hard as a cleaner at a hospital . He also helps out with a landscaping company in the summer. He is well on the way to becoming independent of the support group.

Yesterday they were married at our local church. They were surrounded by the two groups who brought them. The atmosphere was electric, filled with love and joy. They danced their way out of the church and into the reception in the church hall, with C dancing behind them. It was a spectacle I will never forget.

My heart was filled with joy and love at seeing their happiness. These three people have been given a chance to start a new life in an amazing country. Cynthia and I did our little bit in this process, but I feel that our reward has been so much more.

Thanks be to God!

A +B +C= LOVE

‘Bye for now and God bless.