Coup de Cœur – Part Nine: And don’t be afraid of the dark
An occasional series chronicling the tale of the restoration of a former medieval watch-tower in southern France …..
It is Monday and the observant among you will note that I have missed two Monday’s in my quest to populate each start of the week day with posts about Marcolès. The gloaters will be congratulating themselves that I had entirely misjudged the calendar. In my world there are no excuses but I do allow reasons. Simply put, the first of the missed Mondays was Christmas Day and, to be entirely frank, I rather thought that you might be otherwise occupied in your own frenzy of something or other. It happens I was engaged with my own Christmas thing and if you behave reasonably decorously, I might even share the detail. I fully intended, however, to start the year with a zip bang boom and publish Part Nine on New Year’s Day. Things, however, reasons indeed can occur with quite breathtaking force and this year, last year as it is now, that is exactly what happened.
My friend John let me know. Our mutual friend, who some of you will have known as ‘Pan’ was found dead on 30th December where she had been lying for two full days with her faithful dog Stewie next to her in a motel room in Maine. I broke down in selfish, desperate, angry tears. I cannot do better than John’s tribute to her, nor the words later written by my friend Embeecee so I am not going to write a tribute to one of the smartest, sweetest, kindest, most genuine, faithful, loyal friends I will ever have. I was humbled by her lifestyle. She drove a huge truck wherein her company had modified the tractor so that she had a tiny weeny kitchen in which she created real food and she lived, when not in the cab of her lorry off-grid in the farthest reaches of Maine and was building what she dubbed her ‘She Shed’ with her own bare hands. She was nothing short of inspirational and should have been a mascot for the millennial trendies who, rightly tout all sorts of ways that we can improve the impact we have on this increasingly throttled and tattered planet of ours. The fact that her footprint or at least her tyre-tracks were mighty was a result of delivering all the stuff that those same entitled, possibly deluded but at least affecting responsible folks needed, wanted, in all weathers, in all conditions and mostly not kind, spoke volumes to me of whom she was. We can and should have feminist icons but the real heroines are just quietly getting on with what is needed and topping it off with a smile. That was Linda. So I will not write a tribute, no. Instead I dedicate not just this episode but every single one in the series past and future to the memory of a woman gone wholly too soon, who had no idea just how rare a mind she was, who was generous to beyond a fault, who was modest and self-depracating who was wise and who gently councelled me as the big sister I never had. Ridiculously and genuinely modest, she was far more concerned with the welfare of those she cared for than for herself. We met over a blackberry cream scone that she had invented. Blackberry will always be my go-to taste of all that is good in humankind hereafter. She had set herself to help with another project I have upcoming. Her reason for offering was so that my husband and I would have more time together. Selfless? She defined it. We fully intended to surpise her with a visit to Marcolès when it is finished. Her life finished too soon … sometimes I get pretty damned fed up and find it ridiculously difficult if not impossible to find the purpose in the way things are.
One of the last comments she left on this series (Part Seven actually) contained the words ‘you know your photos are art, right?’ They actually aren’t – I come from the little lauded myopic point and shoot school of photography. But. She had an idea that I could produce a book of my pictures and words which the tourist industry of Cantal could use to promote the area. There she was again – always thinking of the other person, people, never considering herself. So I think that a walk round the village and it’s surrounds is the best homage I could pay to her memory.
Here is Linda’s Marcolèsian walk crafted with great love and an aching heart. There are no pictures of our house and there is no commentary – you can make it up yourself as she would have, rather let’s just stroll the place that she would have seen when she graced Marcolès with her extraordinarily unassuming presence.
PS – because there is always a PS and Linda would be disappinted if I omitted it …. the title is from a song. A song that was written by Rodgers and Hammerstein for their œuvre ‘Carousel’. But the relevance is that Gerry and The Pacemakers recorded ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ in the early sixties. Gerry and his P’s were from Liverpool, the song became the anthem of Liverpool through thick and thin – it is sung jubilantly at football matches and desperately in times of strife. HB² (my husband) is Scouse (from Liverpool) and Linda, a woman who researched and upturned every fact that she could about just about anything, was delighted that he came from the land of the Merseybeat. She got to know what he does for a living through our friendship and her own independent research and was questioning of articles she found in the press as a result. That was the way she was. Intelligent and inquiring, she instinctively researched and in fact held many theories that my husband adheres to. She would tell you she was not particularly bright. I would argue she was among the most brilliant stars that have graced my galaxy. And that of my fêted husband. And, here’s the thing, he agrees. This song, written to illustrate the moment of moving on from this earth to another place seems highly appropriate. Walk on, Linda, walk on, with hope in your heart – I know I will never walk alone because you were, and are my friend, my true true friend.
The featured image for this post, was her favourite of all I ever posted about this place that would have adored her and I wish she was here to make it so.
You’ll Never Walk Alone
When you walk through a storm
Hold your head up high
And don’t be afraid of the dark
At the end of the storm
Is a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of a lark
Walk on through the wind
Walk on through the rain
Though your dreams be tossed and blown
Walk on walk on with hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone
You’ll never walk alone
Walk on walk on with hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone
You’ll never walk alone
Oscar Hammerstein/Richard Rodgers
Big sigh….that was first…..then tears as my heart breaks that you both have lost a wonderful friend to soon, well to soon in our eyes, there must of been a need somewhere in the ethereal where she was need post hast ! I am pretty sure, more than pretty sure she is standing with you no matter where you are….when your in France next, just say her name and invite her for a walk…you can still show her your beautiful city..I would bet she will show herself to you there….I am very sorry for your pain in your loss, its the worst pain that I have ever sensed, the pain of loss…..moon beam dancing, it may not take the pain away, but it will make you feel better…take the Bean with you….lots of hugs…….moon sister…………xxxx
I have felt her presence very strongly here this past week. She wont ever leave me, I’m certain – those that affect us strongly in life are always with us. The Bean is my solace, stoic little trooper that she is and she doesn’t let me forget that life is for living and dancing in the moonlight is such an essential part of that life xxx
My belief as well…..good or Bean, her young 70 can be blessed on moon beams I am sure!!!
And there better be no one gloating on here!!! If you don’t post, you don’t post…no issues ever….
Hi Osyth…You write of your friend Linda’s ‘moving on.’ Sad—beautiful—touched me—with both tears and with smiles—memories of friends— ‘going but never gone.’ A sentence I love; “We can and should have feminist icons but the real heroines are just quietly getting on with what is needed and topping it off with a smile.” Your writing—you are creative spirit. Thank you so much!
Of course I wish I hadn’t needed to write it. But I did because that’s how it is. Lest we forget, you see …. the ordinary hero’s and heroines that patchwork our lives. They are the hope.
I am so sorry for your loss and the untimely passing of your friend. Although our friends who pass live on in the hearts of those who loved them, the loss remains immense. I do hope that a kind companion and home was found for her beloved dog.
Broken hearts stitch back together as the person one mourns finds their place within it. I feel her presence often now but it isn’t the same – it never can be. One of the things that can bind humanity, if we allow it, is the common pain of grief. If only humankind grasped that simple fact so much pain could be avoided. Thank you so much for your kind words. Her dog is in foster care being softly readjusted to the things he can’t tolerate (men mostly) before being appropriately re-homed. That at least is a blessing.
It would be of comfort if her dog can readjust and find a new home. Take care.
Such a moving tribute Osyth.
Thank you Andrew. The pictures, she would love, the words she would deny emphatically. But I stand by them 🙂
So very sorry for your loss Osyth, such a sad yet beautifully written post and lovely pictures x
She has left a big hole and far too soon. Death is part of life, of course but it is never easy for those left behind. She would have loved the pictures and denied every word I wrote. Thank you for your kindness ❤️ x
I’m responding late to this but I would like to add how sorry I am for your loss – a loss of someone who was clearly very special and very important to you. Your words are moving and heart-felt. She will always be by your side, I think.
I believe she is. I believe that those we care for find their way into our hearts and nestle there throughout our days. Their wisdom, their influence is always there guiding us in some sense. It was a senseless loss and that is the only sense I can make of it. Thank you so much for your kindness – I so appreciate it. ❤️
Linda was your Angel, your big sister and very dear friend.
The walk through your town, into the countryside and the natural details were precious. Hugs for you and may she send you a sign, one which you will know she made it to the other side and is thinking of you, Fiona. ❤
My ps. Who will take care of her dog? I feel bad the dog stayed there with her for two days. I’m sure the dog grieves, too. . .You all will miss her but as you know she is within your heart and soul. This was quite a tribute and memorial. 💐 ✨
I wish you lived nearby so I could give you my middle school 45 record of “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” I have always loved this record and the rendition with Gerry and the Pacemakers. 🎼 🎶
Yes, I love it very much …. I would love to hear your middle school 45!
I’ll say it may be scratchy, since it’s vinyl, and I was young. . . but those elements “add” to the character of the music, right? Ha ha! (Not really!) 😉
I’m truly sorry that your friend has left this world too soon. Linda sounds like a beautiful person who will be sorely missed by many x
You are very kind – I truly appreciate it x
I can imagine just how much love and care went into the creation of this photogallery in honour of your friend. It’s a beautiful tribute to her.
Thank you …. I’m touched that you took the time to comment – I know Linda would have loved the place. She is missed. We all have to miss people as we take our journey through life but one of the wonderful things about this blogging community is the connections we make. I hope ours will be a long and happy connection too. Happy Monday to you – a day filled with sunshine and some warmth, I hope 🙂
…and to you.