Letters to my sons.

Trying to explain the world to two very small children.

Archive for February, 2007

PC vs Mac

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Dear Son,

I use Apple Mac computers because I can’t be bothered to fight with PC’s in the vain hope that I will eventually get them to do what I want them to do.

I am not though, a Mac zealot.

I did laugh when I read this article about why a man hates Mac’s. The man in question has a TV show on BBC4 that is not suitable for one of a tender age such as yourself but I love it.

Written by Administrator

February 6th, 2007 at 8:54 pm

Posted in Technology

Tantie Winnie’s eulogy.

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Dear Son,

below is the eulogy that your mother wrote and read at Tanti Winnie’s funeral. It doesn’t look very long and it only took me a few moments to re-read it. Which is odd, because during the funeral service it seemed to last a lot longer. A lot of what appears here is not obvious and to those who didn’t know your great grandma, it won’t make much sense. When you are older I’m sure your mother will explain the whole story and it will all fit into place.

The Eulogy of Ms Winnifred Theodora Babel
11th January 1920 to 22nd January 2007

Today was the most rehearsed day in my mind ever since I went to live far away from home. I said to myself that one day Tantie Winnie would be gone… Now that that day is here, it is a struggle. I have lost the words because all the words in all the world’s languages would not be able to adequately describe her. Perhaps simplicity is the key and, simply, Tantie Winnie was love and loyalty personified.

The last female offspring of Joseph and Thomasine, Winnifred Theodora / Tantie Winnie / Sister Babel lived a full life. She was the consummate professional in her chosen careers of teaching and nursing. Her notable accomplishments include over 40 years of service to Health in Trinidad as a sister and midwife as well as immortal honour to all whom she knew and looked to her for love and friendship.

The connections you would have had to my grandmother would be to have known her as a sister, mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, great-grandmother, great aunt, and friend. And I hope these words bear some resemblance to those connections. In fact I am confident that the qualities I talk about would resonate with the constancy and gravitas that my grandmother gave to all.

Tantie Winnie, we will miss you so. Especially the way you made us all feel like we were number one. Tantie Winnie left her print on everyone she met and knew. Her qualities of tenderness, dedication, loyalty, respect for other’s confidences, unconditional care and belief in what was right we would NEVER forget.

A major part of Tantie Winnie’s constitution was her attention to the long-term. She placed her loving family in the care of each other whilst she worked relentlessly and resolutely to make their lives fulfilling. Her attention to duty meant that, in spite of the difficulties, she was a strong mother, who did what needed to be done.

No doubt you were loved Tantie Winnie and your last days, in a way, exemplified your fierce independence and self-sacrifice.

I know we all will continue to hear that special laugh and see the little twinkle that was in your eyes when we think of you.

God rest your soul.

Heather Caudle nee Warner
26th January 2007

Written by Administrator

February 6th, 2007 at 8:33 pm

Posted in Family

Bored of London? Not yet!

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“Why, Sir, you find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.” Samuel Johnson.

Dear Son,

I think that I have mentioned this before but it struck me again on the way to the airport last week – I love living in London. I have lived in many places over the years but London is the longest place I have lived any where and the house we live in now is the longest property I have ever lived in.

One of the things I like about London is the endless chatter regarding routes around town. To get to Heathrow I decided to go through the centre of town, the quickest way was down Carpenters Lane, through Hackney, down Essex Road, onto Upper Street and then left at Angel and keep following the road over the West Way until Northolt and then a left which brings you out on the M3 one junction before the Heathrow turn off. I spoke to my best man on the phone at Heathrow and we discussed the different routes and the problems each one has. Learning different routes though London and finding a short cut always gives me joy.

When we went to Trinidad for your Uncle Wendell’s wedding we got stuck when the traffic lights on the West Way became out of sync. Luckily we were able to turn off just after Angel and head for the North Circular. The time before that we were caught on the slip road into Heathrow which was jammed because a car had broken down in the tunnel to terminal 3. So it was nice this time to make really good time to Heathrow without any dramas.

The beauty of London is that almost everything is here. If I want to eat at an Afghan restaurant then go onto a Yemeni music evening before a few swift drinks in a Turkish bar – I can do. The thing is, I never choose to do this. I suppose having the choice is nice to have, something that I couldn’t do if we lived out in the sticks.

There is quite a lot of wild life in London if you know where to look – and you do! All the time you are telling me that you can see a bird, a doggie, a cat and sometimes even an elephant. You haven’t quite got the gist of squirrels yet although they are moving into the street and you don’t stay up late enough to see the urban foxes or hedgehogs that frequent our back garden.

In Trinidad we saw loads of animal that we don’t see here. Bats, parrots, hummingbirds and a great big lizard in Grandpa Warners garden. We also saw a heron in one of the drainage ditches and heard the frogs and crickets that call out all night only for the dawn chorus to kick in with first light. I watched a video shot in Trinidad and the big thing I noticed was the sound of the birds singing – something you don’t really hear in London.

I think I could live in Trinidad but I would miss the hustle and bustle of London, the finding of a cabbie route and the opportunity not to eat Mongolian curry. I am nor tired of life just yet.

Written by Administrator

February 6th, 2007 at 7:31 pm

Posted in Culture,Family

Another death in the family.

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Dear Son,

on Tuesday 23rd January 2007 we recieved the sad news that your Great Grandmother, Tantie Winnie, had died. Her death certificate says that she died around 9pm on the 22nd January – the difference being down to the 4 hour time difference between here and Trindad.

You mother was very upset and spent Tuesday organising flights to Trinidad for the three of us. We dropped her off at Stratford in the snow on Wednesday morning as she made her way to Trinidad and we followed on Thursday. The flight was split into two parts, London to Barbados and then Barbados to Trinidad. The first part was 8 hours although you fell asleep just before take off as we were taxing up the runway. When you woke up about an hours of the flight was over and you spent the next 30 minutes eating. That left 6 and a half hours of me entertaining you with books, walks around the plane, songs and watching bits of the inflight film.

We waited what seemed an age at Barbados before boarding the plane to Piarco International and by that time you were asleep. Your mother was waiting for us in Trinidad as was Uncle Wayne who gave us a lift to Tantie Winnies house where the wake was in full swing. Out the front people where playing cards and drinking, whilst around the back people where just drinking. The atmosphere was quite jolly and I found this a little odd at the time. While it was only coming up to 10pm Trinidad time it was coming up to 2am English time so you and I departed for our beds.

Around 4am Trinidad time you and I were both wide awake so we had a quick change and then went back to the wake that was still going on but with reduced numbers. I decided that you and I should stay on English time so we had our breakfast in the dark, you had your morning milk at 6.30am, lunch at 8am and afternoon sleep at 9am.

The funeral was a very emotional affair. The coffin was palced at the entrance to the church and opened so that the mourners could pass. When the service was ready to begin the coffin was closed and brought into church. Your mother read the eulogy she had written for your great grnadma, hymns were sung and prayers said. The coffin was then wheeled to the entrance of the church and opened again for the mourners not attending the burial to say good bye. We then moved off to the grave yard, the coffin was opened again and more songs and prayers were said. Finally the coffin was lowered into the grave and before the coffin could be covered with soil all the male great grand children were passed over hole, Uncle Wendel on one side passing you over to Garth. As the youngest great grand child you went last. Uncle Wendel is Winnies eldest grandson and Garth is her youngest – the symbolism to me was the unbreaking line of familly that goes back through the generations.

After the sadness of the funeral we went back to Winnie’s house for another party and the jovial mood returned. It was at this point that I realised that the whole funeral event; the wake, the funeral and the after party, were all about celebrating the life of the person, letting ones emotions out and then celebrating the life that continues, life shaped and improved for knowing and loving the deceased.

I sobbed like a good ‘un throughout most of the funeral – some of it was down to my anger and frustration at knowing my own death is unstopable and also because I never grieved properly for my own mother. The way the funeral was done in Trinidad was much better than in England, at my mothers funeral (your Grandma Audrey) I didn’t cry that much because it was hard to image the woman I knew as being so full of life was in the wooden box being paraded around. By opening the coffin in Trinidad it forces home the death of the person is a real way that unleashes (for me anyway) the grief. I now feel better about the death of my mother – I still miss her and i wish she was still here to see you walking and learning to talk – but I think my acceptance of her death is closer than it was before. And for that Tantie Winnie I am enternaly greatful.

Winnifred Theodora Babel  11th January 1920 - 22nd January 2007

Written by Administrator

February 1st, 2007 at 9:20 pm

Posted in Family