About a year after me and Mrs P got together, we bought our first house. We weren’t Mr and Mrs then, just singletons leaping on the then (and now) soaring housing market. We were really lucky as a friend of mine who lived nearby alerted to it before it had even gone onto the market.
It was on a quiet cul-de-sac, built around the time of WWI. Not exactly a two-up-two-down — more a three-up (one converted into a bathroom) and two down with a bit tagged on the back as a kitchen. It had the traditional backyard and a yard or two of right-of-way separated us from a long, narrowish garden, and beyond that a square of trees that had once been an orchard.
We loved that house, not just because it our first; not just because it was Miss and Master Ps’ first home; but because of the neighbours.
On one side was a young family (well younger than us anyway) and they have remained good friends — Miss P and their daughter, Nic the Noodle, have been the best of mates ever since.
And on the other side was Cath, a retired nurse. She was one of the loveliest people you could meet and was a sort of surrogate grandma to all the kids on the street including our two. She had endless patience with them and they loved playing on an old-fashioned rocking horse that she had upstairs.
We still kept in touch after we moved and often saw her at school, fairs etc as our kids were at the same junior school as her grand-daughter.
Sadly, we’ve heard that she died on Sunday, peacefully and unexpectedly at home in her favourite chair. She always said that she would prefer that to a long drawn out illness, so in that respect, I’m pleased for her. But it does feel there suddenly a hole in our lives and one that will be hard to fill.
God bless you Cath.