We have thought of Louise a great deal over the past year. In September 2013, this time last year, we went to Africa with a group of great friends and remembered her by launching a little raft of local wild flowers, made by our friend Stretch, from the island on the Zambezi where we had scattered her ashes the year before.
After our week in Zimbabwe we move on to Kenya. We are heading for Lamu, a little island off the coast where Vicky’s mother once had a house and where she spent some of her childhood. We are shaken to find that our arrival in Nairobi coincides with the Westgate siege and as we leave for the coast the next day the smoke is rising from the mall where the Kenyan militia is trying to flush out Somali terrorists.
In 2010 we buried Vicky’s mother’s ashes under a tree on Manda Toto, a little island near Lamu, looking out over the Indian Ocean and the island where she had worked as an archaeologist many years earlier. With our friends we revisit the spot and bury the remainder of Louise’s ashes alongside her grannie.
So we have left reminders of Louise far and wide. In her little garden in the East End of London, in the garden of our family home in North London, in the mountains in Switzerland, the Zambezi river and next to her grannie near Lamu. Lastly we exploded her ashes in rockets above Primrose Hill two years in a row with many of her friends.
Last October the BBC showed a short film about her death (see last post). The Angelus Foundation also made a film about her which you can see here.
In December the Advisory Council for the Misuse of Drugs launched a report on ketamine use and Vicky gave evidence. Angelus made a film on ketamine use presented by Jeff Leach, one of Louise’s friends which you can watch here.
On her birthday in December we were distracted by Vicky’s operation although we managed to get to her bench for a little celebration on her birthday.
Over Christmas and New Year in Switzerland we toasted her and looked forward to Vicky’s recovery. Also at the end of the year our friend Claire gives us a magnificent pictorial memento of Louise – a mixture of painting and collage it captures so many of the great things about her.
In March we were both back in England on the anniversary her death and met up with lots of friends at the bench in Camden for a very jolly, if chilly, reunion. See photos below and more posted on her bench page.
In April my mother, Louise’s other grannie, died and we were back in Golders Green crematorium where we said goodbye to Louise. Sad memories but also a chance to celebrate the life of a 1930s girl from South London who went on to become a successful doctor and inspiration to her children and grandchildren. It is her birthday today.
Back in Singapore while Vicky is getting stronger after her operation a little sunbird comes and visits everyday and sings on our balcony. It could be Louise?
Living and traveling in the Far East we see things that we know that Louise would love, from dressing up in Kyoto to enjoy the cherry blossom to cat cafes in Penang to the strangest fashions that you see people wearing in China and Singapore.
On 1 June Vicky was back in London and had an open house evening for Louise’s friends. A great evening she tells me (I was working). And we continue to get lots of lovely messages on Louise’s Facebook page so many thanks to everyone. Please add your comments and thoughts.