They came, to gather in a covey. Around the bed - no, sorry, not around the bed.. away from the bed. In the room next-door-but-one, around the papers.
Similar to the tale of Sleeping Beauty.. but not quite the same.
It was a gathering of Section A Welsh Pony Studs.. well, not the entire studs.. just the owners.
Keith and Sandy Goodwin of Tame Valley Stud - Section A Welsh Ponies.. all the way from Leicestershire - Packington's a long way off - nearly into Leicester.. just to see Ralph before he died..well, not quite. They did stick their heads round the door though..well I'm sure one of them must have done.
I wonder if they're related to Jonathan? Sweet little Jonathan Goodwin, who won't talk about the 'will. Well I say 'will', but you understand, I use the term 'will' very loosely. I wonder if they're related? Same surname, afer all. Now obviously Jonathan solicits. Does Keith? No. I'm told they're not related, Keith's an estate agent. Sandy said they weren't related.. and she should know.
Brian and Mary Shields.. Ringstead Stud, Section A Welsh Ponies. Good friends of Ralph's..well you'd think so. Brian seems to appear as an Executor of Ralph's 'will'. They came all the way from South Lincolnshire, leaving their Ringstead Stud for the day, to see Ralph. Not too keen to go into the room where he was dying though. Rather keener, it would seem, on helping to sort through the paperwork, which possibly was nothing to do with them. Pity, that. Such a long way to come, as the man was dying. Perhaps they were shy and couldn't bear to see him? Perhaps they realised that he thought he was being helped to live?
Gordon Denton, now he did come into the room. Having arrived from Soldanella Stud in Crowle. He sat there.. Perhaps he was weighing up his job? The job, so my sister and I were told by Nina, (early grieving widow), was to drive the specially shod pony, (shod on Tuesday, ready for the death), Rhys (Reece? Rees?) to the funeral - though what the poor benighted pony had done to deserve this, I am not quite sure.
Anyway, at least Gordon came into the room... and sat awhile. It was a comfort to my sister and I to know that our father might have had a friend.. if Gordon was a friend? Was he? Did he know how our father was dying? Did he approve of what was happening?
Certainly, when I rang him, he refused to speak to me. I do wonder why?
It was just like a gathering of fairy godmothers.. more or less.
But the piece de resistance, after my father died, was the Thanksgiving. Now, I was told that it was organised by Ifor. Sorry, let me introduce you.
Ifor Williams, of Randan, Section A Welsh Pony Stud, right down in Huntington, Herefordshire.
He thought so much about our father, Ralph, that - so I was told - he organised a 'religious' ceremony - which would have been very much against our aetheist father's wishes, with follower of the hunt, the Reverend Eve Atherfold, who was so keen to collect his soul - or at least the wealth of his soul - that she continued with the saddle and pink ceremony, very much against his own family's wishes.
Still it suited the grieving widow. Her hair was specially done.
Pity the photographer had such a rough time. Shouldn't live in the Wild West, I suppose.
No. Ifor told me that he didn't organise the Thanksgiving. I believe him. So, who's telling porkies then?
Now the interesting thing to wonder is, why did they all gather, as my father was dying? Let alone, after he died.
What were they doing? Certainly they were all going through a lot of paperwork, in the room where all of Ralph's paperwork was kept. That is the paperwork which he had given to his younger daughter to sort out for him. She, of course was too concerned about his dying to sort it out then.
It vanished on that day. (Thursday 22nd April, 2004). Just like magic. I wonder what happened to it? Did Ralph's 'friends' come to take a piece of it away? Perhaps a small amount of paperwork each? Something like a part of the Berlin Wall?
You remember how people came, from all over the world to remove (buy?) a piece of the wall, when it came down? Perhaps it was like that?
If not, what else were they doing? I do wonder.
They were certainly not rushing in to see a dying man.. with the minor exception of Gordon.
Thank goodness for Gordon. Though he wouldn't speak to me, when I telephoned him recently. And I still wonder why. If he was a friend of my father, shouldn't he have wished him well?
Gordon Denton, so I'm told, didn't go in for 'kissee, kissee'. He objected to it. So what does he think he knows? Does he feel deprived because he couldn't drive the horse to the funeral? Does he care that the man was dead?
More to the point, dear Gordon, does he care how the man died? Or if it was his time to die?
Perhaps Gordon might like to let me know?
Charlotte Peters Rock
(Elder daughter of Ralph Winstanley - who only had two daughters. My sister, Linda is the other. Of course he also had two sons.)
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Protest songs and poems - coming shortly
- A Full Index
- Abide With Me (mine)
- Dead An Buried? Ardly!
- Director of Public Health - Dr Tony Baxter
- If - (not by Rudyard Kipling)
- Jayne Brown - The Cover-Up Woman
- Practice - Field Road Made
- Quack Quack Dr Lee
- St John's Hospice - My Father Was Not Dying
- Thanksgivin? Thanksgivin? Ah'll be Waitin On
- The NHS/PCT Thinks You Should Go
- The Palliative Gillian
- The Power behind the Patient Dr Brown
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