Back to the book

I have at last returned to book and it’s all but finished.

Given the circumstances, I want it to be a tribute to my son Rupert.

After my loss

I recently returned from a short visit to Amalfi.   It was so hard.   Someone remarked to me ‘well, when you’re in England you’re used to not seeing him near, so coming down here without him makes it so much more difficult’.    She was right.   I felt totally isolated, walking along that stradone with so many memories of him, sitting at those tables, chatting and laughing his own inimitable laugh;    drawing up on his vespa and waving to a friend.    Now I was walking with such a heavy weight of sadness inside me, somehow not meeting anyone I know and unable to cry out all the tears that have built up inside.    Nearly two years have now passed and I’m aware that I can never put this to one side, but in order to go on I have to learn to deal with it and return to a positive world.

Rupert’s Trail

11 DIVEMBRE 2016 Amalfi Rupert’s Trail seconda edizione

Il Rupert Trail è una manifestazione sportiva che nasce per ricordare il nostro amico Rupert, scomparso prematuramente, un anno e mezzo fa, a causa di una terribile malattia.
Rupert era una guida turistica, e percorreva da decenni la Valle delle Ferriere, i vicoli e le stradine di Amalfi per far rivivere ai turisti la storia della nostra cittadina e mostrarne le bellezze nascoste.
Gli abbiamo voluto dedicare una gara Trail su un percorso che lui faceva spesso, cercando di coinvolgere atleti professionisti e non, per una giornata di sport, di divertimento, di aggregazione e di raccolta fondi. Tutti i proventi di questa manifestazione, infatti, vengono devoluti all’AIRC (Associazione Italiana di Ricerca sul Cancro).

Dealing with grief

When someone you know suffers a bereavement you might find you’re one of those people who ‘doesn’t know what to say’.      If you know them very well, they may not need your words, it’s enough to give the lightest touch of your hand, against theirs, on their shoulders, their knees if they’re sitting and simply add the words ‘I’m sorry’;   that’s all it takes.   As someone who has recently experienced bereavement, I have felt surprised and sometimes upset by occasional glib reactions which lead me to want to convey as best I can, what those of us in this position would prefer to hear. For example, we would ask you not to say ‘give me a ring, anytime’ – that will be interpreted as ‘I really can’t be bothered’ and from my experience it comes from those who tell everyone else – ‘well, I said to give me a ring any time – but haven’t heard a word’, perhaps followed by – ‘I’m so worried.   She/he must be feeling so awful’.   Of course, it may be well meant, but I can assure you that the person concerned will not find it easy to knock on your door, looking sad and in need of company.    More likely they will be looking for the expression on your face that says ‘Oh no, not now.   I’m really not in the mood’.    If you sincerely want to help, make contact, telephone and chat about the one they’ve lost.   Instead of ‘ring any time’ it’s so much better to say ‘why don’t you come round for a cup of tea, a drink, a meal, this afternoon, next Tuesday, tomorrow evening?’.   That way you make someone feel that their company is wanted because they’ve been specifically invited.    

Do not ring with the pretext of wanting to give your condolences if you then suddenly ‘must go, my other ‘phone’s ringing’ or ‘must go, my husband’s just come in’. I’ve had those calls from one-time very close friends, who made unfulfilled promises to ring back. Certainly, they will never hear from me again. Instead of such calls, I fortunately have other friends who invited me to join them on a walk, simply knocked on my door and spent an hour or so with me, or those who are not close by, at least phone regularly.   Equally, taking a drive somewhere can be distracting and helps take the mind  off other things.   Again, if you also knew the person who had died, any photographs or videos, perhaps their favourite piece of music, are wonderful things to receive, in an envelope, or more likely, on the Internet.

When you are grieving, you do not know what to expect;  apart from the obvious emotions,  you might also feel exceptionally angry and that heavy emptiness inside will certainly mean everyday tasks and problems can become impossible to handle.  Perhaps you simply want to sit and cry;   perhaps you cannot cry.    But some form of normality has to be observed.   You still need to eat, which involves leaving the house to buy food, possibly bumping into people who do not yet know and might cheerily call out ‘Lovely day isn’t it.   How are you? Off somewhere nice?’.    Should you say ‘No, I’m going home to cook something that I really don’t fancy eating, then I’ll probably sit on my own and cry’ ?   No, of course not;  you probably will do your best to give a smile, perhaps make an effort to ‘be in control’ and answer ‘Well no, I’m afraid not.   You see I lost my husband, (wife, child, best friend, whoever it may be) and I actually don’t feel too good.   Never mind, life goes on’.    Once the news is out, the ball is in the other court and then you know whether or not you’re speaking to a friend.   If they say they’re sorry, followed by ‘must rush, give  me a ring some time’ they’re certainly not a close one.   Happily, most people will manage to stop with you for a few moments and perhaps say something that will be helpful in some way, but although we must make allowances for those who really do not know what to say, overall, that attitude leads me to feel they just can’t get away fast enough and are far too ‘busy’ to give a second thought to another’s near despair.When a true friend makes a point of ‘phoning, popping in to see you whenever they can, perhaps invites you to eat and generally manages to truly care, that is such a great help.    

Neverthless, despite it’s being difficult not to feel bad about some of these attitudes, it has to be admitted that none of us can know how we might react to losing a loved one, so how can those who’ve not had that experience easily find the right way to act?


The Latin Lover

This evening I’ve found something I wrote a long time ago – and just for fun decided to put it on my blog –

Yes, he is special.  You cannot fail to blossom in his presence;   at last here is a man who appreciates your womanhood, the real you that none of your English boyfriends ever seemed to have discovered.   Never mind if you are ‘Miss Fatty of Newcastle’, or ‘Skinny of Cheam’, but it does help if you are not ‘Miss Anybody’s’. He has a line to sell that he works  on lovingly through the long Winter months and it would be a pity if you were to acquiesce before he had the chance to reveal all the little tricks he has up his sleeve (and elsewhere).

When you reject him (as you must at first), he will assume the appearance of a Spaniel pup who has been unjustly punished, deprived of his food and kicked into the rain.   He will haunt your doorway, your telephone, your peace of mind, until you wearily (though probably quite eagerly) give in, pat him on the head and give him the comfort he so longs for.   He will do anything to win you.   Be warned though, he can never grow up.  You are the prize in the shop window.  Once he has won you , he will promptly put you on the shelf alongside his other trophies and rush off to the shop around the corner, where there is another prize to be won.

Do not marry him.   Have a wonderful holiday.   Give yourself some unforgettable romantic memories.  Then go home and find yourself a tall, handsome Englishman who will be your companion and friend (and with some luck, a great lover too).



Hallo again

Glad to say that for the first time in over a year, I’ve been writing again.   Think my Amalfi book is finished, although editing is always necessary.   All I have to do now is decide whether to self-publish or really get down to agent hunting.   Really don’t know at the moment.

Feel relieved to have got this far but now need honest criticism and some directions re the publishing problem.

Wish me well!


A Pause

Anyone who has looked at my Blog will by now have realised I haven’t written anything for a while;   that’s because I spent over three months in Amalfi at the end of 2014 until February of 2015, during which time I lost my very beloved son, Rupert.

I cannot say enough about the wonderful support that he and I were given by his numerous friends during that time.   So many came and I do mean many, every single day;   they chatted and joked with him, brought food, drinks, anything they thought he would particularly like.   When he didn’t want to eat, there were the girls who gave him a kiss and asked him to eat something to please them and he always did.    His men friends shaved him, washed him, shared the task of lifting him – in fact all his friends did everything they could to show how much he was loved and how much they cared for him.    I was not allowed to say ‘thank you’ because every time I did, and there were many, their response would be – ‘You don’t have to thank us, we do it because we all love him’.

When we had to say goodbye to him Amalfi’s beautiful cathedral was absolutely crammed with colleagues, children who had come to him to learn English, ex-school companions, his brother Vincenzo, his cousins in Italy and English step-brothers and sisters, all who could manage to be there.   I have printed here two of the newspaper tributes that were written about him.    It has been some help to me to see the proof of this great feeling for my first-born and to know that he saw it as well.    It means so very much because it came only from friendship, no other form of interest since he was not a wealthy businessman or of any apparent importance, only that of being a great friend to so many.

This means that my book will now take on a different aspect and I need to rewrite certain chapters, which  in due course I can talk about.