The Anonymous Widower

The Stairway To Heaven Memorial At Bethnall Green

The memorial to those killed in the Bethnal Green Underground Disaster is now almost complete.

According to the Stairway To Heaven Memorial Trust website, only the staircase needs completing.



June 7, 2013 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

How Not To Deal With Deceased Customers

Virgin Media is called over the coals in this article on the BBC web site, where they messed up over the account of someone who’d died.

When C died, I didn’t have anything similar although dealing with some organisations was more difficult than others. I actually had a letter published in The Times about it.

I was widowed last year, and it is only now that I’m starting to get my life together. The response of the various government and local authority departments in handling all the paperwork involved has been very patchy.
Registrars: excellent, very sympathetic and efficient; Work and Pensions: bereavement allowance came through with a few hiccups, but not too difficult; Premium Bonds: system worked but could have been better; council tax: this was reduced automatically on signing a form by St Edmundsbury — totally painless; DVLA: its online systems worked well; winter fuel payment: found difficult to claim and missed it for last year.
The private sector wasn’t that much better, with some companies having people whose sole job appeared to be to deal with bereavement faring much better than those that didn’t. Some wanted death certificates, some accepted faxed copies and others took my word.
We need a lot more joined-up thinking in this important area, as, with nearly a million deaths in the UK every year, it would surely help the bereavement process for those left behind if every company, organisation, government department and authority were automatically notified. After all, if St Edmundsbury can do it here in supposedly sleepy Suffolk, then surely everyone else can.

The best private company was undoubtedly Carphone Warehouse, who had a dedicated person dealing with the accounts of customers who’d died.  They even sent me a refund, which I spent on a good bottle of wine.

April 24, 2013 Posted by | Computing, World | , , | 1 Comment

Love Is All You Need

I saw Love Is All You Need tonight at the Barbican cinema.

It was I think the first Danish film, I’ve ever seen and it was certainly one of the few films at which I cried at the end.

But then the two main characters were a widower and a woman going through breast cancer.  I am of course the first and C suffered a bought of breast cancer, which she successfully overcame.

On the whole though it is an excellent film and quite uplifting.

April 23, 2013 Posted by | World | , , , | Leave a comment

A Memorial At Southwark Cathedral

I’ve been to Southwark Cathedral many times, but I’ve never seen this memorial.

It is to a Native American chief called Mahomet Weyonomon.

The whole story is a very sad and sorry tale.

April 17, 2013 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

A Place In Times Of Stress

Today, I was going to have lunch with an old business partner in Surrey and getting to Waterloo station took me past Southwark Cathedral.

Southwark Cathedral

Southwark Cathedral

So I dropped by to have a quiet contemplation. As I’ve said in another post this place is special to me and as the sister of one of my friends, has a child near to death, I wanted to add my point fourpennyworth. Also being the day of Margaret Thatcher’s funeral I wanted to show respect privately in the way I do. I remember years ago, when Princess Diana’s funeral took place, I was on holiday in Northumberland with C. She watched it with a friend on the television and I just sat on the coast of Holy Island. I never watch this type of State pageantry on the television.

April 17, 2013 Posted by | News, World | , , , | Leave a comment

Mrs Thatcher: A Professional Woman

I never met Margaret Thatcher, although I should have done, solely because she got her priorities right.

A few months after we won our Queen’s Award, I went to Buckingham Palace to meet the Queen,several politicians and a few others, for a reception, which I described here. Each company incidentally sent three people.

Mrs. Thatcher was supposed to attend, but the Welsh Secretary died that evening and she had other more important things to sort out.

April 9, 2013 Posted by | News, World | , , | 1 Comment

The Selfishness Of Suicide

A good friend of my late wife’s has recently died of cancer.  He had been suffering for some time and having gone through two cancer-related family deaths in recent years, I can understand in some ways, how his wife felt.

Some doctors were worried I might be suicidal, but I wasn’t, partly because, my wife had prepared me for the future and also because I had strong support from my son and of course, lots of others.

Sadly though, in my late wife’s friend’s case, his wife thought the best thing to do was commit suicide. I don’t think she had any idea of the number of devastated people she would leave behind her. I wish that someone had told me of the cancer, as I might have been able to say something of value. On the other hand, I probably couldn’t have done! But I have been rather down for the last few days!

Life may be very bad at times, but there is no excuse for suicide, unless possibly it is totally in agreement with all those around you.

April 1, 2013 Posted by | World | , , , | 1 Comment

How To Put Down A Dog

Most of our dogs have lived a long life, with one basset and a couple of setters getting to past thirteen, which is not a bad age for a dog.

But one incident of the end of a dog’s life stands out. Charlotte, our English Setter, who is pictured here, was probably about fifteen and for several days, she’d hardly touched her food or ventured outside her bed in the kitchen. Our amazing horse vet, Philip, who’d passed through in his usual hurry, a couple of days before, had told us that she didn’t have long and to call him, when we thought the time was near. So that evening I’d called him about six and he said he was busy and would turn up later.

I was writing software and eventually Philip turned up just after midnight. He ascertained that Charlotte hadn’t probably more than a few hours and then did what he had to do.

Normally, Philip didn’t have time to stop, but I asked him if he’d like a drink, suggesting tea or something stronger.

He had probably had a bad day, so asked for the latter.

Between us we finished off the greater part of a bottle of Irish whiskey!

I would like to think, that when my time is up, that I could go in the same dignified way that Charlotte did, with the pain for those present helped in an appropriate manner, by either alcohol, coffee or cake!

March 10, 2013 Posted by | Health, World | , | 6 Comments

Charles Everett Coop And Richard Doll

Charles Everett Coop, who was Surgeon General by Ronald Reagan has just died.

He seems to have really thought about his job and didn’t allow his religious beliefs get in the way of good health. But like our own Richard Doll,l who proved the link between smoking and cancer, he let the facts and the statistics do the talking.

Interestingly, both were recipients of the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement.

Both though have a health lesson for us all, as Doll died at 92 and Koop did even better dying at 96.

So perhaps they not only looked at the facts and the statistics, but they acted upon them to prolong their own lives.

I always like this quote from Richard Doll.

Death in old age is inevitable, but death before old age is not.

I would put one up from Charles Everett Koop, but I can’t find something pithy and direct.

March 5, 2013 Posted by | Health, World | , | Leave a comment

Children In Trouble

I’m just watching a recording of the BBC documentary; The Railway.

In one section, they have to go and tell a mother, that her son has been hit by a train and killed.

I might not have been a saint, but one incident in my life made my mother think the worst.

I’d been driving back to Liverpool University in my faithful Morris Minor; VKX 156, when just before Peterborough, a guy in the slow lane of the northbound A1, decided he needed to turn right.  But he missed the turn and was hit fair and square by the car in front of me.  I would have gone right into him, but for the quick thinking of another driver in an Austin 1800 in the slow lane, who slowed and waved me through in front of him.  I then pulled directly on to the verge as I thought things would now go seriously wrong.  They did, but not around me, as the car that caused the accident bounced across the central reservation of the dual carriageway and then hit someone going south.

The Police turned up some minutes later and I gave a detailed statement about what had happened.

Nothing further happened until that summer, when I was on a boating holiday on the Thames, when a Police Sergeant turned up at our house around midnight and said I was wanted in Court in the  morning to give evidence about the accident.

Seeing him there, had given her an awful fright, as she thought I’d fallen in the Thames or a lot worse.

Obviously, that hadn’t happened, but it does show the sort of reaction expected, when something serious happens.

I know the heartbreak of losing a child, so we should all take care.

I certainly do, as best as I can, after all I’ve been through in the last few years.

February 22, 2013 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment