A final goodbye, the new front line

I’ve been away from my blog for a few days saying a final goodbye to my 102-year-old uncle. He was indomitable, subversively funny, and energetic beyond imagining – for instance he celebrated his eightieth birthday by climbing eight Munros (Scottish mountains over 3000 feet). He was the last living close family member of my parent’s generation, and with his death we are now the front line. So be it.

We travelled up to the Highlands of Scotland, through a beautiful autumnal England and said goodbye in brilliant sunshine. I meant to take photos, but was too involved talking to the family. As we left yesterday it rained and I took one photo. This road leads up a steep hill to the house that he and my aunt built in the 1970s, and where we spent many happy holidays walking in the CairngormsDSCN8583

Here, instead, are some images of autumn from further south. DSCN8536 DSCN8538DSCN8550DSCN8570DSCN8578DSCN8607DSCN8604

 

43 thoughts on “A final goodbye, the new front line

  1. Glad to hear autumn is so beautiful in England. Here the tulips have long gone and summmer’s heat is knocking. Glad to hear our Andrew is still here. Your uncle at 102 years? Was it the haggis during those Munros climbs?.

  2. Moving to the front lines, I guess that’s what we all have to do sooner or later. I really like the impression. 102 is an impressive age. The autumn pictures are great, thank you for sharing. I am sorry for your loss.

  3. I remember, in my era of going to one family funeral after another, that sudden recognition of being “the front line.” How good that you were too involved with family to take photos…no worry, my very romantic inner image maker can imagine “a beautiful autumnal England,”and my ever curious self is going to follow up on those cairngorms.

    • The Cairgorms are brilliant, but can be bleak. Christmas day with this part of the family was something of a shock. It was spent walking and climbing for many hours in freezing conditions over soggy moorland and rocky crags, with only a sandwich and some chocolate (if you were lucky). The upside was the sense of achievement and the miracle of Christmas dinner at the end. Eating when you are genuinely hungry is one of the greatest pleasures on earth.

  4. I agree. Hilary, about the true hunger.
    And I pass on what a fellow blogger brought back to memory this week, some lines from the American poet e.e.cummings:
    …..”This is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
    I carry your heart (I carry it in my heart)”.

  5. Beautiful pictures and memories. He sounds like he was a lovely person. You’ve just reminded me that soon I will be at the front line! Oh well, time for an adventure!

  6. Beautiful photos. 102 is a fine age. Our front line is 82 and not in good health. In my direct family I am the front line at 58. It’s quite sobering. The clock ticks on.

  7. I’m sorry to hear about your bereavement, but your uncle sounds a remarkable chap. Eight Munros would be impressive at any age, but at 80? Quite amazing. Beautiful photos, all of them, although I especially like the clouds. It must feel strange to be at the front line, but I hope it makes you feel strong and capable, which I believe you are in any case.

    • I think the eightieth birthday eight Munros were more of a test for the son who accompanied him – they had to have three tries, because of bad weather. My uncle completed to whole set way back in the 1970s. I shall concentrate on feeling strong and capable – thanks.

  8. That’s quite a drive! such an upsetting reason too! Sorry for your loss.
    We did have some unseasonally good weather up here, you can always tell when bonfire night approaches though, it goes very cold and quite wet.

    • We didn’t drive it, Charlotte. It wasn’t too bad by train and I got much reading done. We stayed in Kingussie, but the funeral was at Inverness, so we saw a lot of the Highlands and we had beautiful weather until our last morning. Hope you have a good DRY bonfire night.

  9. 102! Yes the last of his great generation. My parents and others are gone, but we have one stoic aunt (97 years old) we all esteem. What I’m really having trouble with is losing cousins and friends of my own generation. Now that is sobering.

    • I agree. While sad, saying goodbye to someone who has lived well and longer than most of us expect to is a natural event. We too are finding that many of the goodbyes are now for our contemporaries and yes, this is sobering and feels wrong if they are still enjoying life.

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