What a week it’s been…
The phone call from the hospital came last Sunday afternoon and we knew that a long and difficult saga was drawing to a close. My dear old mum-in-law’s health had been deteriorating both mentally and physically for the last couple of years, so it wasn’t unexpected. We saw her for the final time on Sunday evening, short of breath and unresponsive, but there was a peacefulness about her too and I like to think she was still somehow aware of the familiar voices and comforting touch, and perhaps they helped her to just let go. Still, feisty to the last, she hung on for one more night and then finally went on Monday afternoon.
Well, my mum-in-law has made an appearance on this blog before and now seems a good time to remind myself of that. I mean, she was the mother of an anarcho-punk guitarist with an occasional penchant for black nail varnish, whose girlfriend used to turn up at their home from the bus in a pink velvet jacket and leopard spot trousers… she was bound to pick up on some rock’n’roll trivia! Proof came many years later, when she was in her 80s, and Mr SDS spotted her filling in a crossword puzzle with the letters: M O T O R H E A D . The clue was simply ‘Lemmy’s rock band’…
We naturally started to harbour secret suspicions that, tucked away amid the kitten ornaments and well-thumbed copies of the TV Times, there might be a copy of ‘No Sleep ‘Til Hammersmith’. Not only that we thought but, perhaps carefully disguised within a Tom Jones album cover, there would also be an original issue of ‘Piper At The Gates Of Dawn’, after we noticed this completed puzzle page:
(It's not very clear but the box on the right has the clue ‘Pink Floyd founder, ____ Barrett’)
Anyway, here’s to my mum-in-law Eileen, who lived a long and happy life in the same little village where she’d spent her childhood. She loved her crosswords and her fish’n’chips, and was so generous with the bulging bags of crisps, chocolates and biscuits that she gave us every Christmas that we probably still have a few packets of Jammy Dodgers and onion rings left in the back of the cupboard from 2006… I fondly remember the early days of getting to know her when she’d feed us with Findus Crispy Pancakes (the cheesy ones) and the best home-made date cake I’ve ever tasted. RIP Eileen.
Unfortunately, therefore, it wasn’t the best timing that the morning after she died I was due to be travelling 400 miles and staying away in Edinburgh until the Friday, but it was for a brief yet exciting adventure that had been 2 years in the waiting, and Mr SDS wouldn’t have wanted me to miss it. It felt strange to leave him home alone at such a time, but at least we could communicate by phone and it was only for a few days. And what a few days! From thinking and talking so much about death at that moment, I was lucky enough to go off for a fantastic new experience in the loveliest of company (which you may soon, if not already, be reading about elsewhere) and it was at the opposite end of the spectrum: positively life-affirming.
More on that in part two!
In the meantime, what’s it gonna be? Motörhead or Tom Jones? Oh, go on, let’s have a bit of both…
Motörhead: Live To Win (1980)