2007 — 25 November: Sunday's soul-soothing march

Peter and I will shortly be joining Mike P on another soul-soothing "walk in the New Forest". The game plan is Mike drives over, and then we pile into the car1 with the "L"-plates, and whizz gently down to the Forest, park somewhere not too tricky (I got in quite a lot more reversing into bay parking slots practice yesterday with Peter ahead of tomorrow's next official lesson on manoeuvring), set off on well-booted foot, and hopefully get to take in a pub lunch that may yet dissolve the taste of the cooked breakfasts I've just prepared and we've just consumed in readiness for this great adventure.

Having rudely mentioned in the third footnote here the venerable Mounce family tradition of Christa burning the fried egg, honesty compels me to report that I have just proved myself well capable of keeping up this grand tradition with surprising (indeed, unconscious) ease. Sorry, Christa! I truly never appreciated just how tricky timing things in the kitchen can be. (However, you'll be relieved to learn that Peter wisely went with the scrambled eggs I'd offered which, as you know, I developed a surprising knack of getting right. Of course, had he not been in the shower at the time, he could even have enjoyed his eggs2 at their peak.)

Hah! He's just told me they were a little bit underdone for his taste. Ungrateful wretch. I hope at least he does the dishes while I get dressed. Or at some time before we next need them. Or before he returns to London! Or before he next posts to his blog.

Home again, home again

We got back safely just after 3 p.m. when, to my utter delight (and surprise), I received an email from Christa's brother Georg. Unknown to me, Christa had asked Georg and Karl to arrange the publication of a notice3 in the local German newspaper...

Notice of death

... and for a lovely little plaque to be placed at her parent's headstone in the Becker family area of the Meisenheim graveyard. He attached a couple of pictures that immediately reduced me to helpless tears, but they were very good tears, I assure you. Very good. I've added the pictures (if not the tears) below the picture of Christa here. Thank you, my brothers.

The thought of having this little plaque alongside that of her parents is a very pleasing one. She loved her parents, and I occasionally felt more than somewhat guilty at having stolen her away to England. (Whenever I mentioned it, however, she always brushed it aside, saying this was where she wanted to be, because it was where I was. That's My Girl!)



1  You know... the one with over 1,550 miles on the clock already. My magnificent final birthday present from my lovely Christa.
2  Perhaps you recall the classic exchange?
He: How do you like your eggs in the morning? Boiled? Scrambled? Fried?
She: Unfertilised, please!
3  As near as I can manage, and with thanks to Heidi for her considerable assistance, this reads something along the lines of
"Death is powerful,
We belong to him with smiling faces.
When we believe [ourselves] to be in the middle of life,
he dares to weep among us."

I presume the sentiment is that Death is a bit of a deceptive character but, as I said at the service, death gave us a precious and unique final gift. Anyway, the notice continues:
"We mourn our sister, Christel Mounce, maiden name Becker, who had to leave us much too early after a grave illness" which is certainly also exactly the way I feel about this personal tragedy.