Sunday, 18 April 2010


In our little village we have a table tennis club that I help to run with two friends at the Community Centre. This started up a couple of years before R died and, as he was away during the week for much of the year, he very much encouraged me to get involved.

We run the club from September through to Easter. It all started as something for the village kids to do on a Wednesday evening. Then a few adults turned up for a bit of a knockabout after the children went home, and it has gone from strength to strength to the extent that we started playing in the local league this season.

It was probably the first social thing I did after R died - the club started up again no more than about 5 weeks after his death. I don't know why I felt I could do it. Possibly because I realised that I was now on my own, and needed to get back out into the world, even though I really didn't feel like it. Or possibly because the kids didn't ask any difficult questions, so it was a non-threatening way to ease myself back into the world of people. It certainly wasn't for the table tennis at first as I had all the concentration of a demented butterfly at that time; my game was shot to pieces and remained that way for months.

But whatever the reason, it quickly became the bright spot in my otherwise grey week. It got me out of the house and forced me to think of something other than my grief. I think that that the kids taught me to laugh again.
And the adults who came along to play have formed the core of my unofficial, but unswervingly loyal support group within the village.

Take Brian, our coach, for example. He and his wife Janet are blow-ins to the village like R and I. He is now in his early 70s, while his wife is a few years younger. For some reason, they 'adopted' R and I as surrogate children (despite already having four of their own). Janet, in particular, was devastated to learn about R's death, and they have been so sweet in the way they have unobtrusively looked after me ever since, both emotionally and with practical support.

The latest example of this came this weekend.
When we moved to this house, I built myself a set of compost bays behind the barn. This was a rather Heath Robinson affair, created out of old fence posts and pallets. It didn't look too good, but nevertheless served its purpose well for 6 years. This year, however, it had started to rot and totally fall apart, and some serious repairs were needed.

Sad, isn't it?

I can't remember exactly why I came to show Brian the parlous state of my composting facilities, but when I did, he said that he had exactly the solution to my problem.

And so this morning we built this:

Amazing what you can do with a couple of pieces of rebar and some old corrugated sheet!


  1. Very nice. Though I do like the old fencing bit.

  2. Anonymous19:03

    Nice. It would seem the compost is to the garden what the table is to the kitchen, really the heart of it all, and your new set up looks fantastic.

  3. That's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. Wow!