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4th Jan 2018
10th january

​i have always loved hogmanay, and the new year celebrations, because, to me, they seemed optimistic, and i suppose hedonistic...leave all the old rubbish behind and lets just begin anew. look forward, not back. and given that the weather is totally crap, and we still have about 4 months of darkness and cold, lets have a bit of a hooley to cheer us up. 

​last year was just great...its the first time ive been in edinburgh for hogmanay for 3 years, the year before in las vegas, one before that on a plane, and finally before that in australia, so i called rose and arranged with her to go to see the fireworks on the bridge near where i live. (bill calls it 'the cuddy walk', as there is a very striking bronze sculpture of a man on a horse just on the other side of the bridge,  and it has a really good view of the castle that only locals know). rose and i hadnt really spent that much time together after she came out of was hard because we were drinking buddies, but well, she told me  that she was just going to drink, and maybe i should have arranged not to meet her...but i did, and i am so fucking glad i did, because we had such a lovely time. rose said that the fireworks were the best she had ever seen....we came back here and ate a deliciously ripe stilton that i had bought reduced to £1.50 from £15 because it was going out of date, and we spoke...we really spoke, for probably the first time properly in ages. i cant really express this properly, as i dont really know what its like in rehab...but whatever they do, they crushed rose, and made her feel like she was the worst scum on the earth. she had gone to meetings with drug addicts who had pushed their pregnant girlfriends down stairs because they wouldnt give them money, men who had stolen money from their children to buy booze, and then punched them when they complained, people of both sexes who had either stolen from, or abused, or both, everyone in their family and group of friends and rose thought she was like this. 

​at first when i pushed it, she was really pissed off with me...she didnt want to talk about it, but then again, rose never talked about anything like this ever, and i was i just kept on at her to tell me what she had ever done that was that bad. and eventually...after about 40 minutes of me hectoring her, 'rose all you have ever done is get drunk, all you have ever done is get drunk' etc...she finally admitted that, actually...apart from standing people up, and being too drunk to cook meals she had arranged to make for people, and drinking all bills whisky,  she had never done anything to hurt anyone, except herself. it was like a bolt from the blue, something she had never considered, and i let her sleep in my fantastic bed with the smith mattress when she got tired.

in the morning she was ecstatic.....she had had a fantastic dream about christmas sparkle....not really sure what happened in it, you know what its like listening to other people's dreams...but she was just so happy and actually said to me that for the first time in ages, she really thought that everything might be ok. we went up to bills and had a fab meal, she was still buoyed by this dream, and it was just a really great day, meal and time. she was meeting her oldest friend alison, who she met on the first day of primary school, 2 days later and spending a few days with her and she seemed really alive and just luminous. she was looking forward to the new year...ordered new shoes and dresses on the internet, and spoke to me about what she wanted to do for her fiftieth  which was in july. 

​i saw her the next week on the sunday...she had been on a bender, and was so ill she couldnt eat or sit still. we had been going to meet on the saturday for lunch, as i had a rare saturday off, but she had stood me up and was just so apologetic....when i left to go home, i told her that i it was ok, and that i still loved her, despite the fact that she had, yet again let me down. we hugged and kissed....and, obviously, i didnt realise at the time, but that was the last time i was ever able to do that. 

​on the tuesday morning bill called me at about 7.30 as i was starting work late....but i was really asleep, and i couldnt answer in time. when i saw it was bill who had called...i kinda knew what he was going to say. the return call will stay in my memory forever. 

​and the point of all just so glad that i spent that time with rose, it was just such a lovely hogmanay and im thankful i got to spend it with her. but im also glad that its this january and not last year. 

but one of the really strange things about rose dying is that it has made me feel so much more alive. i know this probably sounds mad....but when i walk to work in the dark, i am so aware that im here, and she isnt, that i can see all this, and she cant, though it still sometimes surprises me that she cant, as i feel like i spoke to her yesterday. being alive feels like a miracle...

so thats why i thought i better fly to ukraine in about 5 hours,. and visit chernobyl!

Next: inside the zone.
Previous: oh, yes, you best did!

Diary Photos

'blue' passport with a handwritten name (in biro)

Another picture of my fabulous kitchen

The only decoration in the house...bills chest1

Christmas dinner chez coventry

VR possibly the best present in the world....

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