Posted by Tania Kindersley.
On this day, one year ago, my funny, clever, tall, handsome, kind cousin died at the stupid age of 57.
He did lots of interesting and rather impressive things in his life: he made olive oil, he designed gardens, he spoke perfect Italian. But what I really remember him for was his ability to make your heart lift, when you walked into a room and saw him standing there.
He had that kind of easy charm that is so bone-deep that it’s not like charm at all. It’s a lovely human facility to make other humans feel comfortable and happy and as if they are suddenly a little bit more brilliant and amusing than they thought themselves five minutes before.
One of my other relations says that you can divide people into drainers and radiators. There are those ones that suck the very will to live out of you, with their insistence on looking on the bleak side, or their dedicated neediness, or their dramatic sense of self, which means that every single thing that ever happens is all about them. Then there are the radiators, who radiate laughter and good times and general approval and a clever sense of their own essential absurdity, which allows you to be absurd too, and not to worry about it.
Well, the cousin was a radiator. I remember him always laughing. I remember him wry and teasing and dry as a bone. It’s idiotic that he is not here. He is the one I am thinking of today, and those who loved him, and whom he loved right back.
For some reason, in a kind of living well, seize the day kind of manner, I decided to make a really proper dinner. Delightful baked Portobello mushrooms, which I put in dish, scattered with marjoram from the garden, crushed garlic, lots of Maldon salt and black pepper and a huge knob of butter, and am now cooking for about twenty minutes. I'm going to eat them with a very bloody sirloin steak, and that is that:
Outside, the garden was blooming in the gloaming:
The Pigeon, blue in the light, had found a most excellent stick:
Up in her field, Red the Mare would be gazing out to the west, which is what she has been doing most of the day, as if there is something there of infinite fascination:
And the hill is its majestic, hilly self, unmoved by small human regrets: