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Old Speckled Hen and Remembrance

Brown paper bag please. That’s what I needed as we rode perilously into the night. My throat tightened, my loud raspy breathing echoed in my ears, fear soaked my t-shirt and salted my fleece. So this is Panic when it greets me. Hello old friend, long time no see. Anyone who has ever heard the tale of how Pete and I got stranded on a chairlift at the very tip-o-t-toe of South America will know that it’s been top of the list as far as frightening experiences/great tale of adventure goes, but move over buddy, there’s a new kid in town.

No longer my breathing, it’s Micah P. Hinson in my ears as I sit with coffee and reflection. Time is as elastic as ever, stretching out and pinging back with a snap. This time last year we were in Crete with family and new found friends tackling local Raki with gusto, climbing mountains and swimming the warm waters. Two years back I was itching for something more, try and cast my mind back three years but life was a blur. Four years ago, on the 24th of November 2008, as we sat at his side, telling him how much we all loved him, Dad passed away from us and loss overwhelmed me. As it did us all. Time ceased, perspective disintegrated and it seemed to me like the pain and grief that had taken over me could never ease. It was too great a force, a bleak place, and it was a lonely one at that.

Four years has been a long time, four years has been no time at all. As clear as yesterday. But not yesterday at all. A note tucked under my door from Pete’s mum four years ago read ‘Come what come may, time and the hour runs through the roughest day.’ As much as I wanted to, I couldn’t believe in those Shakespearian words she had chosen at the time, but I kept hold of that piece of paper and trusted Marian that one day it might be the case. With a lethargy time began to tick on, quite when it picked up I don’t rightly remember, time can be sneaky like that, but as I sit here now the tick tock is upbeat and the hourly strike is strong. So much has happened since his death, riding just shy of 20,000 kilometres alongside Pete, the sights and experiences have been incredible in so many ways. The roughest days have passed. There are times when I have to navigate carefully, which ironically can be when fantastic things are happening and I wish he could share them with us, but I guess that may always be the case now.

Last week it was randomly hearing the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, the week before that it was the glory of discovering (and swiftly drinking a few) Old Speckled Hen in a tiny Chinese shop. These things can make me smile now, rather than being a sad reminder of his absence. I know that if he were here today he’d be taking great pleasure in our tales of adventure, even greater pleasure I’m sure in re-telling our tales proudly over a pint or two, embellishing them where he saw fit, and I know that if I could hear him at the bar now I’d be groaning like I always would saying ‘not this one again Dad’…

Much missed and never far from my thoughts, my Dad, John ‘Thommo’ Thompson xxx


10 Responses to “Old Speckled Hen and Remembrance”

  1. Really beautiful writing, M.

    Lots of love Xx


    Uncle Skip Reply:

    There I was with A.Lizzie on the 24th believe it or not, we were sat in the upper stands of Thomps & me’s beloved Twickenham watching England v South Africa. Raised a glass to my dear freind & of course all the Thompson Tidy’s & all the memories came flooding back. Our memories are always with us they are rock solid. Go well dear Mouse & Pete


    Posted by Bean | November 28, 2012, 11:42 am
  2. Very moving Mary – thinking of you x


    Posted by Ed | November 28, 2012, 7:41 pm
  3. Mary – you have a wonderful way with words and I’m sitting here in tears – wasnt he wonderful. Love to you both and thinking of you xx


    Posted by Sara | November 28, 2012, 8:43 pm
  4. Lovely words, Maz. Thinking of you xxx


    Posted by Lucy | November 28, 2012, 11:17 pm
  5. Dearest Mouse…. love you, xxx


    Posted by Mum - Jen | November 29, 2012, 9:38 am
  6. Xxxx


    Posted by Marian/Mum | December 1, 2012, 6:03 pm
  7. I just logged on to tell you that my mum and I have just had a cup of tea at the new Vazon cafe with both your mums. It was so good to meet Jen after all these years! And then I read your wonderful words Mary – keep special memories of your dad. When mine died a friend said that I should try always to remember him with a smile on his face – it helps. Keep peddling.
    YELG xx


    Posted by Marguerite | December 11, 2012, 7:52 pm
  8. I love you Mary mouse, and John would have new stories to tell at the bar now…about his truly amazing daughter and her travels xxxxx


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