Today was a profoundly sad day, as we celebrated the life of this beautiful, chic and intelligent friend. A life truncated by cancer, too young, too early, too cruelly. I first met Christine when we were both supply teachers at Ealing Green, in 1985.The first thing I noticed about her was her smile and then her elegance. Quite, quite unusual. We were sort of thrown together as a breed apart together with another supply teacher, whom I will not name as he was particularly creepy. He was also ignored by the rest of the staff so tried to make friends with us. Unfortunately Christine and I didnt want to know him and so we bonded. She left soon after to do great things at the university, and Mr A left too, so I could then settle in. She and I and kept in touch, and saw quite a lot of each other until our children were quite mature teenagers. They then went their separate ways and we continued to meet sporadically – yet when I saw her some time before the pandemic – I don’t know if she was already ill or not, we half arranged to meet. I was still working so we didn’t in the end – and that is a sore regret.
Just before I made my way to the funeral service I found these photos of a fantastic day we had in Easter 1988, when Christine and I decided to go on a picnic to a city farm in Old Street with our children. It was a beautiful day, as you can see, but you cannot imagine how fraught the journey was. We went by tube and bus, there were escalators which were scary, we didn’t know where we were going, or even if the place still existed. Pre internet days – I don’t know how we found out about it.
But Christine was ready for anything. Dressed impeccably for the occasion, as always, she had the picnic ready. Thermos flask full of red wine for us, juices for the kids, kitchen roll aplenty for spillages, and off we went. I seem to remember that I provided the food – but have no idea what.
It was a hot day – and we were certainly hot and bothered when we got there. The farm was smelly and primitive – but there weren’t many people there. But we didn’t go for the social life . We went to see the animals. But being city girls at heart we didn’t know what to expect. We certainly did not expect to be visited by the beasts. I had no idea pigs were so big. Christine,however, knew exactly what to do. She slowly and carefully went up to the pig, stroked her back, exclaiming how bristly and hairy it was, and gently moved her away from our children so we could have the remainder of our pig-nic, as we thereafter named the day.
RIP Christine – you will be missed.