Monday, 7 May 2012

A good man

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:

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Outside, the garden was blooming in the gloaming:

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The Pigeon, blue in the light, had found a most excellent stick:

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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:

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And the hill is its majestic, hilly self, unmoved by small human regrets:

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  1. I've just read your last ten posts in one big glut and am thinking of you lots at the moment. You are a remarkable woman. I will keep you in my thoughts.

  2. You have given the best description yet of charm; one cannot help but see the wisdom of cultivating it.

    And what a tribute to your cousin. So sorry that you have lost him, as a person like that is, rightly, always missed. I believe in the infinity of life, though, and for such people, must wonder: did they 'get it' so well that they graduated early?


    1. Still can't comment off my own bat. I think the new Blogger doesn't like my browser (Firefox) so I will piggyback on Bird, if I may.

      Your late cousin sounds to be a wonderful life-enhancer, and must be sorely missed by all who were lucky enough to know him, and greatly mourned by all who loved him. Is it his wife whom you visited a while ago who told you she had been diagnosed with breast cancer? I often wonder about her, how her treatment went/is going. Their children have been thrown into the Deep End of life, and no mistake.

      I too treasure a radiator. Readers, I married one. I have learnt more and more about radiating since being with him. Emotional vampires are to be shunned with garlands of garlic wherever possible, trouble is they aren't a drain at first, only over time, as the fangs go deeper. They are the ones whose voice on the phone makes the hearty sink to the boots. We all have one or two in our lives (sometimes they are relations and not easily eased out) but let them serve as a dreadful warning against self-absorption and clinginess, that way there is some benefit to knowing them.

      Glad you had a good dinner. Hope there was a glass or two of rich red to be had as well!

  3. What a lovely post, thank you :)

  4. A lovely tribute to your cousin.

    I think you are having a sad time at the moment - loss and horribleness; a tough combination. I hope you get to enjoy the beauty you show us in your photos today :)

    Take care xxx

  5. As I think I have said before; you need a fourth "box" in that reactions line, something along the lines of "lovely".

  6. dear Tania, i read your blog often and love how and what you write about. most of all, i love your honesty, especially in the face of the howling awfulness of loss. i especially love the fact that you take small pleasures despite great grief and great annoyance (the horrible person you alluded to). i like your style, lady! keep on, keep on!


  7. Good for you, girl. A commemorative meal, ceremony, drink, or ritual of some sort is always the best way to remember those who've gone through the veil before us. A positive thing that I think your cousin would have liked.


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