Sunday, December 26, 2010

Upside-down-under

I have only now had time with a computer at Suzanne Ingleton's (Roxi's Mum) in Castlemaine, to actually post these photos that I took before Christmas when I went for 3 glorious days to my favourite place in the world...Wilson's Promontory National Park.
I went with my wonderful sister and my sisters in all but biology, Mardi and Sally and their extended and very precious families. Here is Mard, leading the way for me with her beautiful liquorice allsort towelling back pack on that she made.
Blue sky anyone?
Here we are walking on a cool morning to Tidal overlook.
THE GIRLS
It's been wonderful to be surrounded by people who all sew and are as obsessed by fabric as much as me. One of the reasons I snapped Richard up so swiftly was that he could sew.
These guys are seasoned campers and even brought.......the Christmas decorations.
It was quite cold though for the first night or two and I wore every piece of clothing I brought with me, including my showerproof coat to bed each night. (Thanks Clarribelle for the lend of your MOST beautiful soft, warm and comforting scarf)
How's this for camping perfection?



Tuesday, December 14, 2010

From 3 to 28

For those of you who haven't seen me for a while I just thought I'd update you on where on earth I am. I'm struggling actually, (slightly dazed, jet lagged and hot) to know WHERE on earth I am.
For weeks I've been freezing my bum off in Norfolk with ice and snow (not that I'm complaining as ice and snow at this time of year still seems so exotic to me). Now I'm perspiring copiously in Singapore, staying with my friends Mary and Andrew on my way back to Melbourne for Christmas.
This is the walk we went on this morning through the jungle.



After the walk it was time for lunch. Tofu that tasted like fragrant citrus, slender eggplant in an aromatic chilli dressing and those most wonderful salty fish, ikan bilis washed down with a glass of iced lime drink.
Then off to the beauty parlour for a pedicure...
Still need the wax....

Monday, November 29, 2010

Holy night

For weeks now, Clarissa and I have wanted to go to visit Richard's grave; to take something there; to make a small ceremony; to reconnect with him somehow. We'd had a few ideas but neither of us seemed to have time; life kept getting in the way and I guess we were both a bit scared of being even sadder.
A few weeks ago we'd had a wonderful day in the woods collecting pine cones; reminiscing; crying and laughing. It was one of the loveliest days so far. We came home and made a wreath from the pinecones and it's been sitting outside Clarissa's house making us both feel guilty for ages now.
Finally tonight we managed some time together and a more perfect night couldn't have been imagined. It's been snowing heavily here for a couple of days now so it was a quiet white world that we stepped out into. We'd searched high and low at Clarissa's house for a torch but couldn't find one so we ended up with lanterns throwing swinging lights ahead of us. We walked down to the Church and through the lychgate, past the bell tower and down the slippery slope that leads to the grave yard. We stumbled over the bumps in the snow and found Richard's grave. We placed the wreath at his head and cried, and then laughed and then cried some more, did a bit of shouting at God and various other people, laughed and cried some more and then lit two sky lanterns that drifted up quite fast past the church spire and on toward Bridgham.
And now after searching and searching for the things that makes me feel a tiny bit better, I know what they are. It's tears and then laughter and then more tears with a truly great friend. That's all it takes.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Out and about with the Zebedoodle

After the last very sad post posted from bed with a cold (or as Richard would say "in bed with the wog that's going round"), I thought we could all do with a bit of fun. Without further ado, I bring you a very small person who knows how to have fun even all by himself in a puddle...




And a beautiful poem from Roxi's Mum Suzanne......

Pueblo Blessing

Hold onto what is good

even if it is a handful of earth.

Hold onto what you believe

even if it is a tree which stands by itself.

Hold onto what you must do

even if it is along way from here.

Hold onto life

even when it is easier letting go.

Hold onto my hand

even when I have gone away from you.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Grief

In these last days back from France, I've plummeted up and down. It was both hard and good to be in La Fosse de Tigne. Liz was a complete star though and surfed on the waves right alongside of me. But all things come to an end and now it's back to Norfolk and reality for me and it's been a really hard time.
I have been greatly comforted lately though by my beautiful friend Mardi who lost her wonderful Dad "Biggy" a while ago and has been a model of grace in grief if I ever needed one. Mard is the most wonderful photographer and also sent this photo of her Step-neice which has a perfect sense of peace about it.
Mardi wrote to me about her experience of grief and I couldn't put it more eloquently so after receiving more of Mard's gracious permission, I bring you her amazing words......
I'm not sure that any words will help at this stage but I was  
reading an article in 'The Age' Good Weekend that Stephanie Dowrick
wrote titled 'Grief and Consolation' and I thought of you. And having
experienced loss myself I felt her words were ringing true for me
too...
She wrote : "Grief is extremely difficult for most of us to think or
talk about. It is also excruciating to bear. That makes it hard for
many of us to know how to give comfort to others when they are
grieving. It may also make it difficult to receive comfort, even when
it is sorely needed."
Stephanie goes on to explain that she has been reading a memoir by Virginia
Lloyd called 'The young widow's book of home improvement'. A woman
who
at age 32 met a lovely man, married him the following year then was a
widow at age 34 !!
She writes : "I have been transfixed by how skillfully Virginia
captures the complex and sometimes wildly varying emotions that we
lump together and call grief. There is nothing predictable about this
state of mind and heart. Even from one day to the next, but especially
in the earliest weeks and months, devastating grief can display itself
in many different ways.
Virginia writes
'At unexpected moments I found myself overpowered by
a wave of grief that swamped without warning... On occasion these waves
felled me: I dropped to the ground, slumped as if the puppet strings
I had been relying on to hold me up had failed.'
The physicality of grief is shocking for many people.
I've heard people say that it is as though their vital organs are wailing...
Your body might hurt as much as your emotional heart. Food tastes
like chalk. Your sleep is chaotic, and so are your dreams and thoughts.
It is difficult to concentrate and you may feel simultaneously
highly sensitive to other people and weirdly indifferent'.
Stephanie Dowrick goes on to talk about a unique pattern of reaction
as each of us will grieve in our
own way. She says that rage and outrage
at loss is often part of the
process and can include a sense of injustice.
Her final paragraph :
"At any stage there is no right way to grieve, nor any one right way to
console. Treating yourself compassionately and gently, and especially
accepting the unpredictability of grief's demands, helps a little.
So does accepting the consolation and concern of others, even when
their efforts are far from perfect."
Now back to Mardi's words.
In my own experience of grief I found those overpowering waves to be
exhausting, unpredictable, debilitating, shocking and strangely
calming afterwards. I had a strong image in my head of floating in the
ocean, far out to sea, the waves appearing out of nowhere and crashing
over my head. They were frequent and almost anything could trigger the
next wave... but as the weeks passed the big waves started to come
less often, still with the same amount of ferocity but more time would
pass in between. I felt it as a kind of madness. I was equally sad and
angry, furious really, that someone who meant so much to me could be
gone. And it was incredibly physical, racked my body. It also made
perfect sense that I could feel so sad but I was alone in it, felt
that no-one really understood how I was feeling, even the people who
were also grieving for the same loved one. We all have our own unique
experience of that person and will grieve for them in our own way.
What really helped me accept my Dad's passing was to take him with
me.
I had the idea that I ought to be able to let go, get over it, move
on, blah blah, but I really didn't want to let him go... I was also
judging myself in it, thinking I shouldn't be this sad or that it was
going on quite a long time... So, instead of trying to let him go I
started to imagine him with me, in the car or out somewhere I would
imagine him enjoying the day as much as I was or think of him being
around, close by. I carry him in my heart and he lives for me, in my
memories and in my dreams. I miss him but still feel strongly
connected. I'm comforted by that.
The pain is something that you incorporate into a new
life that is different from before. And from my experience, the
sharpness of that pain softens as time goes by ; the experience of the
loss doesn't disappear it just changes.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

La Fosse de Tigne

After a long drive with Clarry and Zebby (thank you so much for a stress free travel experience) I arrived at London City airport.
The airport was full of businessmen and I was the ONLY person in an outfit that wasn't black or grey. As I sat numbly on the plane I felt that my whole life was black or grey and I had one of those moments when you feel that you really wouldn't care if the plane crashed into the Channel as long as it was quick.
However my darling Liz picked me up from Nantes airport and drove us home to her place and THIS is what I woke to this morning!
La Fosse is one of the most precious places in the Universe and Richard's soul hovers very close here.
We have stayed here year after year for the last 3 years helping Liz build it up to be a fabulous B&B.
And the main reason we loved it is because of Liz.
It's so good to be away from a million zillion pieces of paper that all have my life hanging in their balance. It's so good to be with a sympathetic friend and it's so good to have a little bit of sun on your head.
It's so beautiful and I'm so lucky that Richard left me the legacy of Liz and La Fosse.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The soul would have no rainbow if the eyes had no tears

They say it takes a village to raise a child, and I think it also takes a village to look after a widow. Through the last few weeks and months I have had more grief and pain than I ever thought I could bear but I have also had more warmth, generosity and support than I ever expected or thought it possible to receive. I have felt bereft and alone at the same time as feeling loved and protected.
Here are a few of the wonderful people who have helped me in the last few days sort out bank accounts.....cancel passports,
massage my poor aching heart,
sing to me,
and feed me...

All when they had their own busy lives to lead. Thank you my darling friends of East Harling and the wider world. Here is Tony and Marianne Backhouse singing outside our house before leaving for their next workshop in Bath. (I'm so sorry that it ends sooner than it should.)
video

Friday, October 22, 2010

Sleep sleep sleep.

Thanks to our lovely friend Peter Muhleisen I bring you a clip made in 1977 of Ricardo the Magnificent singing with Matchbox.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

A moving, wonderful and appalling day.

If this terrible thing had to happen in the world of Ricardo and Jo Ludbrook, it could not have happened in a better place. The good people of East Harling and Bridgham have provided the most supportive network one could ever wish for. Roxi and I have been hugged and kissed, cooked and cared for better than I ever thought possible in this day and age of disconnection and drift. My heart still hurts terribly and will for a good while to come, but it is also buoyed by all the friends we have surrounding us.
Here is a small record of the funeral that happened here on Friday the 8th October 2010 for Richard Kenley Ludbrook.
(There is audio of the complete service here when you click on the link (you will need to view/listen in internet explorer)).
It started at 3.30 at our house when Owen came with his horse and trolley. He apologised because the trolley was a little "rustic". I thought it perfect.The funeral directors loaded the coffin onto the trolley. Richard's brother Ray here added a last bunch of flowers.

Richard's favourite flowers were dahlias and luckily they were in abundance because of the time of year.
The sartorial Ricardo would have loved Annette's shoes
Two hemispheres collided here when Dylan in his wedding suit met Sally & John in their choir robes.
My darlings Clarissa and Yusuf.I think about 60 people walked behind the coffin to the Church
If you listen to the service you will hear what an amazing send off it was. How many people are lucky enough to have two vicars that knew them incredibly well to take their funeral?
After the service everyone was invited to join us at the side of the grave. I had no idea there were so many people attending, they poured down the ramp from the Church to the graveside.

Goodbye my beautiful boy.
Then there was a celebration of Richard's life at our friend William's place. All the baking mafia of Harling and Bridgham had made food for the event and the Church marquee was up to contain it all.
There were smiles then. And singing by Roxi
and Clarissa and even me as I gathered all my strength to sing Richard's favourite sing "Nobody like you". Backed the wonderful Paul, Janie and friends.
A truly wonderful and appaling day, can a heart be breaking and singing at the same time?It will be a long time before Harling sees another funeral quite so wonderful.