11 Jul 2011

Hestia and Tartarus say goodbye to Jim....

Gooseneck - The Venue
And so we set off for our hols on the Isle of Man....with Jim carefully stashed in the boot of the car.

We were having an overnight at The Mill Inn at Condor Green, just outside Lancaster (very nice it was too - on the banks of a little canal with walks along the tow-path where bad-tempered swans could nip your calves and ducks could quack their distain at your rubbish bread-throwing skills).

On opening the boot on our arrival, I was perturbed to see that the box side featuring Jim's name was on prominent display.  After much eye-rolling and animated hissing on my part, Tartarus twigged what the problem was and he turned Jim's name into the depths of the car so that Sonshine couldn't catch sight of it.

And there Jim remained for the entire holiday.

He came with us absolutely everywhere, albeit in the bowels of the car and eventually Thursday rolled around.  It was deemed The Night to do The Thing With The Ashes.

The Manx accommodation was very nice, with a little square of decking affording us an evening perch on which to relax with a glass of *cough* ginger beer until the sun dipped beneath the treetops and the chill of evening drove us back indoors.

So, we're sitting on Thursday evening with a tin of cider and a ginger beer, talking about our favourite Jim stories as Sonshine played Minecraft on the laptop in the lounge, blissfully out of earshot.

There was much giggling from Tartarus and I as we recalled various memories of our slightly unhinged friend (our favourite one I shall retell for you here in full in a couple of days for your edification and delight).

Suddenly, the empty cider can started rattling on its base on the table.  Tartarus and I looked at each other.
'Do you think that's him?' asked hubby, sipping his glass of Magners.

I nodded.  'Course it is - we've provided the light by talking about him and so he's here, having a listen.  And probably a spliff. Or it might just be the wind.  Probably the wind, eh?'

And so we chatted a bit more.  Jim's name was mentioned and the cider can shivered again.  We shot each other a slightly more unnerved glance.

'Right,' I announced,' Jim - we know you're here and we get the message - tonight's the night, my friend.  Now, if it's REALLY you, can you stop piddling around by rattling the can and just make it bloody fall over?'

Tartarus tittered and headed off to the kitchen to bring me another Crabbies Ginger Beer.

The cider can rattled and fell tinnily onto the table.

'Taaaaartaruuuuuuus!' I called, the hairs starting to stand up on the back of my neck....

'Did that can just fall over?' he called from the kitchen.


I stood the can back up and spoke to the ether.  'How are you doing, old friend?'

In my mind's eye, I conjured Jim up at the end of the table, smoking a fag and nodding.

'It's ok,' I called back to Tartarus who was emerging with a new tray of drinks and nibbles,' he seems quite mellow.'

Now, let me assure you, reader, I am not in the habit of striking up conversation with the dead and you must believe me when I tell you that Tartarus is even less prone to chatting with the departed.

'OK' said Tartarus to the evening breeze, 'Let's go, Jim.'

Sonshine and I stayed behind (in the end we thought it might freak him out to think that Jim had been in the boot the whole holiday, so Tartarus went alone. I'd already been out to the Venue and taken some nice pix for a memento for his friends of the view).

An hour later, Tartarus returned.

'All OK?' I asked cryptically over the top of the laptop as I facebooked.

'Yep.  Went for a lap of the TT circuit,  then on for a pint and then did The Thing at the Venue.

We'd spotted a hawthorne tree at the Venue earlier in the week, with a wild honeysuckle growing through it.  I had suggested it as a sprinkling spot.  And lo, that was exactly what Tartarus did.

We settled down on the sofa to watch an episode of Blackadder Goes Forth with a still-totally-unawares Sonshine and as I breathed in the slightly sweaty scent of my son's head I thanked whatever powers that be that I was still here, still breathing and still throwing the winning dice that meant I woke up every morning.

And that, dear reader, is how we said goodbye to Jim.


  1. What an adoreable post - IoM sounds wonderful and I love that Jim was able to join you for a last booze-up before being laid to rest. Look forward to hearing the story about him.

    I know what you mean about children's night-time smells (my obsessively washed, scented and hairsprayed grown-up daughter's room still smells of her old smell when I bring her coffee in the morning) and feeling quietly glad to be alive - how lovely! xxx

  2. That sounds lovely. What a fantastic sedn off.

  3. Jim was very lucky to have you as a friend Ali. This just made me cry, what an utterly lovely post. xxx

  4. I was rather confused at first as to who you were talking so cruelly about sticking them in the boot... It did cross my mind ..imaginary friend but .. at last all became clear.. great post Ali xx

  5. I'm sure Jim appreciated it

  6. And to think of the famed Ms Hestia passing through my near-local (well, 6 miles away local) The Stork! Those people nudging each other and doing little nods in your direction while you were staying there were in awe of a famous blogger passing though. Not being a bit suspicious because we don't get many people from further south than Garstang.

  7. Looby - where is The Stork? Are you Isle of Man-based or Lancaster-based?! I'm afraid the being a World Famous Blogger didn't even net me some extra chips at Wotherspoons in Morcambe. But perhaps when I write my Best-Selling Novel and start raking in the shekels it might be a different story :-)

    Legend - he'd better appreciate it! How are you faring after job loss? You alright?

    Wilderness gorgeousness - Yet another gorgeous picture as an avatar! Jim (friend) died quite suddenly a couple of months ago. And now he is sprinkled on the Isle of Man. But not where people eat their sandwiches.

    LM - oooooh didn't mean to make you cry!!! But it's nice that you did. I appreciate it!

    Siobhan - I would LOVE to have seen the bar staff's faces when Tartarus appeared with the red jar containing Jim's ashes as her ordered a pint!

    Mrs E - It's good to know that I'll still be able to catch the little boy scent amongst the big boy hormonal stench when he's a teenager! I'm not really looking forward to him growing up and not wanting to hold my hand or snuggle up to watch movies any more....

    Ali x

  8. I'm in Lancaster, six miles or so from the Stork.

    As to the lack of recognition, ah well, pearls before swine Alison. One day you'll get bashful middleaged men sidling up to you in Wetherspoons asking for your autograph. Or maybe they do that already, but with something else in mind.

  9. Looby - I was once propositioned for sex in Paris. I was loitering outside a sex shop, so it wasn't surprising really. I immediately dashed into the sex shop to hide from said potential punter and decided to have a bit of a look around.

    It started off fairly normal, but I didn't realise that as I wandered around, getting closer to the till, the sex stuff got progressivley weirder. Eventually, I got to a point where every single thing that my gaze alighted upon caused an involuntary burst of Touretty 'Fucks SAKES'. The man behind the till had to come out into the shop and gently guide me back out into the street. My eyes. They burned.

    Would have been much better off just having the sex up an alley. At least I would have earned a few francs.


  10. brilliant...I believe.....there's nothing like a friendly moment from out-there-somewhere.....I just recently wrote about my oldest friend who has died of cancer and I had 3 or 4 days of smelling her perfume ...... everywhere!! We used to watch Randle & Hopkirk when we were kids and always promised who ever went first would come back to haunt the other.......xx

  11. I love that he took him for a pint! The tin thing is spooky, not that I mind that sort of stuff. What a lovely post Ali xx


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