This morning we went driveabout. At New Milton we paid the car tax for a year, bought me some new sandals, and some curry spices; then at Ringwood I examined a magnetic picture frame at Wessex photographic, and placed an order for a larger one, and Jackie bought a keep for the recently fitted door to the master suite.


After lunch Jackie continued transforming our garden whilst I wrote a story. These unusual aquilegias were not visible last year because they were completely overgrown.

WordPress awards, it seems, are like buses. None come along for ages, then two or three arrive together. Having just received two awards in two days, the third has dropped into my mailbox. When Robin of Robin’s Real Life invited me to participate in Five Photos – Five Stories and described me as one of her favourite storytellers, this was my third bus.

Robin’s own delightfully romantic story prompted me to begin my daily quintet with a tale, snippets of which will have been gleaned by readers who have followed me for a while. It is now time to put it all together, and add relevant detail. I hope I can live up to the billing.

In March 1968, two and a half years after the death of Vivien, my first wife, Jackie and I were married. Nine months later, our son Matthew was born. This second marriage was to last a little less than four years. So distressing was the ending that it took each of us seven years to wed other spouses. Jessica, whom I married in 1980, was herself to die in July 2007.

Tess then came into the picture. Tess is Matthew’s lovely wife. In December 2008 she held a surprise 40th Birthday Party for the son Jackie and I shared. On other such special occasions a choice had clearly been made about which of us, who had not met for years, to invite. This time we were both to be at the event in The Plough at Upper Dicker.

With some trepidation I travelled down on the train, walked from the station, duly arrived, and surprised our son. Jackie, however, was absent. I circulated, chatting among the other guests, most of whom I knew well. My wandering through the bars took me past the door to the car park. It was then I did a double take.

The solid door was lit by a small, head height, window, perhaps 50 cm. square. There, neatly framed, in three-quarters profile, was my previous father-in-law, Don Rivett. But, this could not be. Don had died many years earlier.

The door opened, and in walked Jackie.

We conversed a little, then joined separate groups, but somehow or other, often found the groups merging. When Sam was the last to leave one particular table and we found ourselves alone, what now seems obvious began to dawn on me.

By the summer of 2010 Jackie and I had moved into a flat together, the proceeds of sale of our first marital home providing most of the funds necessary to buy our current house.

Jackie 8.10 004

For the requested photograph, I have chosen one from a set of negatives I took in August 2010, and scanned today. To borrow the words William Shakespeare put into the mouth of Dimitius Enobarbus when describing Cleopatra: ‘Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale her infinite variety’. Jackie is not the reincarnation of Don, but she is of the muse of my youth.

After that it seems a bit mundane to return to the starling family, but we did spend some time watching as both parents, now more courageous, combined to cater for clamouring chicks.Starling 1Starling 2Starling 3Starling 4Starling 5

The trot along the roof top became more urgent; the drop from the corner, and dash into the cave, less hesitant.

Meat and vegetable samosas and a paratha were added to Jackie’s delicious chicken jalfrezi and pilau rice for our evening meal. We both drank Kingfisher.




59 responses to “Reincarnation”

  1. There is so much I could say about this post, but what I need to know is whether there are things growing out of your roof or it only looks that way. Sometimes a picture can take me completely out of a riveting story…

  2. Thanks for stringing our gleanings together. It should be made into a movie 🙂 The aquilegias are unusual in form and colour; so unlike the ‘granny’s bonnets’ we’re used to.

  3. Great story – you two were obviously made for each other even if it took a lifetime to work it out!
    We’ve got a family of starlings just above our gutter – they make an horrendous noise – will be plugging the hole once they’ve flown!

  4. As usual, I am captivated by your your photo library and familial vignettes. We learn a wee bit more, another layer unwrapped, as you share with each post. Eagerly awaiting the next chapter.

  5. I love the story about you and Jackie! How wonderful for both of you. And thank you for sharing such a lovely photo of her!

    I was trying to capture a bird with my phone’s camera on my evening walk today. I don’t know what kind of bird it is, but it sings every night from the rooftops. Unfortunately, my phone could not zoom in close enough to get a good photo. I must learn to always carry my camera.

  6. Your story reminds me of a quote that goes something like this: the world is round, and that place that seems like the end might just be the beginning… Wishing you & Jackie many more delightful years.

  7. Derrick. It strikes me as something that I feel I ‘know’ elements of you but there is so much I do not know, thus i was very grateful to read this. I had no idea your first wife died, I’m very sorry because i cannot imagine that at all and how hard it must have been for you. I knew you and Jackie met when you were younger, what I didn’t know is after Mathew you split up for a time and both re-married and then got back together. I see why you pointed to this story, because it echos in a positive way, the poem I wrote about the past. This is EXACTLY why I believe it’s possible and why I secretly hungered for such a romantic reunion in the recesses of my romantic notions. Because sometimes the time isn’t right but the person is.
    I can only say I’m so glad you met on that auspicious day, that you renewed the love you had before, and time didn’t tear you asunder.
    On a side note it is very sad your second wife also passed in 07, too many people dying young is a tragedy.
    On a happy note, I expect Mathew was over-the-moon at your reconsiliation, what a dream for any child!
    I didn’t want my parents to reconcile but that was because they were never good together. I did used to wish my father would marry Kate Bush but that’s another story! 😉
    I think for myself I had an early wish to meet the love of my life, and if it didn’t work at 16 which likely it never would, then years later it would reunite. What appeals to me about this idea is the idea of the right person and the wrong time and fate intervening. How could it not have been fate in you and Jackie’s case? What other reason could explain the circumstance leading to you reuniting? Whether holding faith or not, one must think this is ordained and not simply coincidence, no I do not believe coincidence can explain that.
    You were quite obviously ‘meant to be’ and I think it is this – the destiny factor, that is most alluring, inexplicable and probably ‘dead romantic’ in my notions of things!
    What a lovely, lovely story. Yes some tragedy for sure, but maybe all of life has some tragedy and some defeats and some successes. I am simply glad the success was you finding Jackie again and her finding you again. This story makes me quite simply smile and feel that there is hope for all of us throughout the chapters of our lives.
    I confess, the more personal the story, the more beloved the storyteller, I do hope you will dip into some of your secrets again, they are very powerful and this has really given me much to think on the subject.
    Jackie is a lucky lady and that smile says she knows it 🙂 You are a lucky man. Yet, I truly believe, luck is made by ourselves as much as by fate.

  8. On another note .. the man in my story, whilst single and having never had a long relationship since ours, has become a friend of sorts, which healed much of the trauma or pain of the past, because by being friends it meant it wasn’t all in vain but equally, it was not all meant to mean we were together again, as we were plainly unsuited. I find that we must make some reconciliation if we can, of things that hurt us when young, and if so, then we cease to regret or feel the pain of the past quite as accutely as we should if nothing could be repaired. I feel lucky to have been able to do this, as many times you cannot due to being on such bad terms you do not speak any longer or indeed, one of you dies. I felt I was given a second-chance to make peace with a painful period in my early youth, and that allowed me to let go of any baggage I might have held onto from that time. such is the power of reconciliation in its many forms.

  9. You are a wonderful teller of stories, Derrick. Thanks for bringing this one to my attention. I love how love has no timelines or boundaries. It often has a life of its own.

  10. I’m swooning! I loved the Cleopatra quote about your Jackie. What an amazing story, and I’m so happy you two found each other again! Your life has been filled with heartaches, dear Derrick, but you’ve recuperated with much heartbliss, as well. Thank you for directing me to you and Jackie’s sweet story. xo

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