Down south with Dee and all

Two weeks ago tomorrow I drove to Inverness and took a plane 'down south. I had with me the second half of Delia's ashes, the first half having been consigned to Loch Ewe as per her wishes.

So, impressions of a travelling man ...
  • five beds in ten days
  • Manchester airport (had to change flights for Southampton) as close to that which lies between here and hell as I for one can imagine
  • Big welcome from my sister and brother in law in Totton - good whisky, good craic, lots of laughs
  • south of England wet wet wet, now an overcrowded multiculture
  • On to Fareham, to our son and his family and our lovely granddaughter from Spain temporarily staying there in search of a job, probably in retail, probably in fashion
  • With son and granddaughter took Dee's ashes to the appointed place ... afterwards walked to the Angelsey Hotel where, not so long ago, we held her Memorial Gathering. Several pints of the black stuff.


On Browndown Beach

And so at last the last of her is gone
borne out upon a creeping Solent tide
where once she’d lain, bikini’d in the sun
before we walked together side by side
Before in body and in soul she was
my wife. And more, before she was my life.

I tip the urn, her airborne ash floats free
as free as she; grey sea, unlovely day
and seabirds cry; what has to be will be:
but me? I cannot take my mind away.
Just leave her here, the swirling water says,
no tears for all those loving, lovely days.

I think of things of which no man can write
bright memories flash before my inner eye
so Delia Mary will forever be in sight
so there’s no end, no need for this goodbye.
White particles of heavier dust, her bones
drop down to mix forever with the stones

On Browndown Beach.


Bryan Islip
March 2014

  • On to visit with friends in Surrey and Kent. Wonderful hospitality from two ultra busy brothers who loved Delia near as much as did / do I, and from their families. Green leafy countryside.Wonderful homes / villages / pubs. Wealth and comfort all around.
  • Into London: frantic mill of blank-faced folk at London Bridge rail and underground stations all presumably seeking more and more said wealth and comfort for themselves. Otherwise why on earth would they be here / want to live like this?
  • Three great days in North London with our daughter and family; visits to the RA for the high imagination architecture exhibits and the British Museum for the marvellous but ridiculously overcrowded Vikings exhibition. 
  • Visits to Greenwich for the Turner exhibition - a wonderful reminder of that which this human soul of ours is really all about.
  • First experience other than on TV of Premiership football; Arsenal v Manchester City. Carried aloft on a tide of high emotion, overwhelmed by the noise of 70,000  close packed people expressing the heights of joy when the Gunners scored and anguish when Man City did likewise. (Final score 1:1)
  • A walk in the park that turned into nine holes of pitch and putt golf and another walk in another park followed by Mother's Day dinner.
  • Entrain for Norfolk to stay for three more days with daughter number two and son-in Law down on the farm. 
  • Space and peace and quiet apart from the jet figbhters doing circuits and bumps from nearby USAAF base.
  • Animals: long horn and Charollais and other breeds of cattle, lots of snuffling piggies and three lovely horses. Many cats and two dogs










  • Visit to Norfolk coast in claggy-cold fog. Coffee in Holksham Hall pub with strange antlers on the wall. Three of four times larges / heavier than our Highlands red deer stags. Was told they had been dug up locally and had belonged to prehistoric elk, then native in UK.
  • And so home first class rail Peterborough - Inverness (rare and much enjoyed treat ) then the night ride across the hill and home again.
  • Normal service now resumed - or at least as far as possible now solo. All unpacking/clothes washing and provision shopping done. Writing and painting, once more enjoying the Highlands all now to come.


1 comment:

  1. A wonderful, heartfelt, beautiful poem. Love never ends.

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