As I said I forgot all about my blog's anniversary - a trivial enough thing in the wider scheme of things.
On Tuesday morning I received two emails telling me that someone I had been close to many, many years ago had died, in his early sixties, from a heart attack. I'd only recently resumed contact (through Facebook) with his daughter and his first wife and had sent him an email hoping to hear how he was doing. I knew he was retired and, according to his daughter, was living the bohemian life in Spain.
Later that same day Matty told me that one of my many second cousins, Peter Cassidy, had been murdered in Zimbabwe. I'd never met him, not that I recall, but Matty remembered him with fondness as a small boy, during the war years, when he'd been evacuated from Belfast to the Randalstown area. She was quite upset about it. Peter Cassidy was a journalist and, according to African newspaper reports, met a truly horrible end.
It was Mervyn's death that was most on my mind even though it must be nearly thirty years since I last spoke to him. I was eighteen and straight off the farm when I met him, his then wife and their little daughter. We were all student nurses together in Holywell Hospital. I was as green as a goosegog and thought they were two of the most worldly and experienced people I'd ever encountered and consequently was madly attracted to them both. They'd met John Peel! He'd stayed in their flat in Bristol. This was before I knew that John Peel stayed in millions of people's flats. They were hippies, they drank cider, ate different and interesting food out of wooden bowls, had a great music collection, were Bohemians! Mervyn wasn't conventionally handsome but he was funny and intelligent and I sort of hero-worshipped him. Such passion usually ends in tears and we did eventually grow apart.
I still credit the both of them with helping to open my little country mind and introducing me to an alternative world. It was their relationship with their adored daughter that inspired me and got me longing to become a mother. And they even introduced me to my children's father.
I'm just so sorry that Mervyn didn't have longer to enjoy his retirement.