Today would have been Norman’s 104’th birthday!
He joked in his memoir that only one person came on his 101st and 2 to his 102nd, but again for his 103rd he had local friends and family but also family from Australia. That was just two months before he passed away and the photo of him looks as if ‘his cup runneth over.’ What a picture to remember him by!
So this week I took my parents down to Surbiton. I wanted to pop a copy of his book into the Kingston Archives to thank them. The car park was packed but just as we thought of giving up there was just one space for us.
Our next ‘port of call’ was the banks of the River Thames along the Portsmouth Road towards Surbiton. Norman had asked for a bench to be placed where he used to sit and watch the world go by, not far from Kingston Bridge. Thinking it would be like ‘finding a needle in a haystack’ we started peering at the inscriptions, concentrating on the newest looking benches. Within five minutes we had found it and duly sat on it, cheeful to know that he still had a place there.
When Norman couldn’t walk anymore he used to ride his electric buggy but, since Kingston was quite a long way for him and the battery ran out a couple of time prompting him to flag down a taxi, he used to take a spare battery and change it in the park! That was just a few months before he died. Never one to give up his independence was our Norman.
Out last visit was Ditton where he lived. We met his family at the local pub, which he used to frequent, and enjoyed a meal together, celbrating a long and fulfilled life, Norman’s life. We certainly shared a few amusing memories too.
At the end of the afternoon we visited the memorial garden in St Mary’s Church where he was married and his ashes were scattered and we said our final goodbye.