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Blog 97 - Bonfires & Icecream

Today is the anniversary of my husband’s birthday so I have saved my last Hermes scarf to wear today. He seemed to like these scarves above all others and was so generous with gifts of them to me. This one is named LE MORS A LA CONTETABLE, showing the First Officer’s Halter and Bit. Let’s just say it is, gold and grey, another horsey one, designed by Henri d’Origny in 1970.

You know by now that my husband was generous, so what to give him in return as a birthday present? My daughters decided to give him what he loved to do most.....have a bonfire.  Living in an urban area with a small garden, he had not been able to indulge in his passion for some years, so a bonfire was built in a daughter’s country garden and he was allowed to light it and then poke away to his heart’s delight. I was pleased to see it was built in a large open space in their orchard. Only too well did I remember the day I was called home from work by a neighbour to say the family rabbit was running loose in his garden and our fence was gone. Gone? Gone where? Burnt down. We had an extra concrete parking place shielded by tall fir trees, well away from the house, where he had his weekly bonfire. I don’t know what he found to burn each week, but on this occasion he had chopped up an old wooden bed, and this had smouldered away for the entire weekend. By Monday he had left for his office in Paris, a wind blew up, ignited the embers again, the fire took off, singeing the trees and catching the fence alight. I am glad to say the rabbit evaded the dog next door, was unharmed and the trees eventually recovered, brown for years after on one side, verdant green the other. A change of job and we moved from this home to live in a flat in fires there. From there to California where we lived in a tree house built on a very steep slope, no garden as such. Imagine my horror when I found him making a fire in a metal garbage can! Banned again. So now you see how this gift of a bonfire was very special indeed.

His other passion was icecream, one not particularly shared by me, but in his memory if there are grandchildren around, we remember his birthday by having a special Danieli one to enjoy sitting on his memorial bench overlooking the herons’ island on the Thames. I am not sure how safe it is to sit on a public bench yet. I have missed running my hand along the carved inscription in his and the beloved dog’s memory as I walk past his bench. I have a feeling today may just be a little more special than usual and I will have that icecream.

Busy Bee, Scarf Face!

Blog 97.

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Jul 01, 2020

Happy Birthday Godfrey. Thought about you all day. Went for a walk in your honour - not the same as the Hyde Park marches you took me but then I am 30 years older and it is summer. Miss you.


Michael Shiffman
Jul 01, 2020

Happy Birthday to Godfrey my dear departed friend. You’d be 89 and still enjoying your ice cream and a walk along the Thames. Hazel dear, if this damn virus hadnt descended on us we would have had a sit on his bench with you and remembered old times. Next year god wiling we can celebrate my 80th with you! As it’s morning in California I’ll lift a glass to GFJ in a few hours. Lots of love

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