Regular readers will have noticed the gradual tailing off of
my lunches with my old friend, Norman. It was not really that long ago that I visited fortnightly and enjoyed his adventurous cooking accompanied by my bottle of wine.
We first found friendship in the early 1970s, and were strong confidants ever since. When Jackie and I were £15,000 short of the purchase price of our house, Norman offered to lend it free of interest.
For the last three years Norman’s multiple ailments had made him increasingly frail. He spent two of his last months in hospital before being transferred three weeks ago to a care home where he died last night.
His death, although bringing a tear to my eye, and a lump in my throat, is not to be mourned. Life had become extremely painful for him and his faith had made him ready for the next life. He and his many friends are predominantly relieved.
A keen paddle steamer enthusiast, Norman gathered together all these friends on both his 70th and his 80th birthdays, and took us on a trip down the Thames.