Christmas letters from Ruth & Adrian Sharville

Sharville Christmas NewsPoem 2018

Our news this year begins as last year passed,
For we have seen the ending of an era
As Ruth's dear mother's long life ceased, at last;
The lady known to all as simply "Vera".

She left us on the 18th of December.
She watched and smiled as Ruth the tree prepared
With all the decorations. She'd remember
Each one, as childhood memories we shared.

Then "Thank you for the Tree" was all she said
As Ruth wished her good night that Sunday eve.
Then early Monday morning, by her bed,
Ruth found her: she'd at last her wish achieved.

It was a life of love, of honest thought,
Integrity, concern for humankind,
And social conscience, qualities we ought
Each one to practice, bearing her in mind.

Two other matriarchs this year have died -
Ruth's much-loved aunties Pat and Enid, who,
Like Mum, took being awesome in their stride,
Being their families' guiding lights, their glue.

Now to the usual content of this rhyme.
Well, keeping on two houses for the present,
Along with both the gardens takes some time,
And travel, though the journey is most pleasant

As long as we choose wise times to be doing
The M5 down to Devon. So we tend
To leave at ten at night, so there's no queueing.
(Though roadworks detours drive us round the bend!)

We booked ourselves a week away. Madeira
A second time gave us a lovely break.
And gave us time to plan life without Vera,
And contemplate decisions we must make.

The main of these is whether we should sell
Mum's house in South Brent, or our house in Wales.
They're both in lovely places we know well,
And different reasons may just tip the scales.

Like Adrian's knee replacement operation,
Which happened in November, and appears
Successful, thought his rehabilitation
Will take a lot of hard work, sweat and tears.

So April saw us sail on the high seas
To Portugal, Gibraltar and to Spain,
And one day in Morocco, if you please!
We loved it all we'd do it all again!

The sunny summer was a true delight.
So pleased we were that we have both retired,
(Though Adrian still puts in the odd night).
To take the camera out and feel inspired.

We've seen the great and good in concert halls,
Theatres, castle grounds, and one arena.
James Taylor's genius never, ever palls,
Nor Judie Tzuke's delighted to have seen her.

Continuing the roll call: there's Bill Bailey,
The Rutles, Simon Rattle, and Chris Wood
And Blowzabella (sadly not a ceilidh,
But just a gig but boy they're still so good!)

Jess Gillam, young saxophonist, impressed,
And Welsh band Calan sang, and danced to boot.
Angela Hewitt's Bach is just THE best,
And our great Welsh Orchestra we salute!

Ruth stewarded at Chepstow's "Castell Roc",
A festival in lovely Castle grounds,
A mix of different bands saw people flock
From far and wide, enjoying outdoor sounds.

To celebrate our 30 married years,
For several Proms we headed London-bound.
Then, with her old friends, Ruth dispelled her fears
That she'd not sing again relief all round!

By singing tenor Ruth survived the rigour
Of four full days in Southwell Minster, doing
The services, and sampling with great vigour
The ciders and real ales that had been brewing.

We've been on several trips out and about
To Ilfracombe, to Fowey, and the beach
At Bovisand, a bolt hole, which no doubt
We will revisit when we're within reach.

We've churches viewed: St Peter's Staines was one,
Where all the Allens sang last century.
We made it out to Lundy in the sun
Aboard the Paddle Steamer "Waverley".

We've caught up with long-standing friends, and new,
Including some we hadn't seen for years.
We picked up where we left off as you do
When friendship is so strong. To you, friends, cheers!

We watched less cricket than in previous seasons.
But what we saw we loved the women's game
Gives brilliant value one of many reasons
We follow it. The Laws are just the same

As in the men's game, with a smaller ball,
But entertainment-wise it's often better
Than watching men's. But hey! We love it all.
Roll on the Spring (though not the weather wetter!)

So Christmastide this year will be reflective
As we are minded that one year ago
We lost dear Mum. But it was her directive
That we should not our usual joys forego.

So we shall raise a glass, and we'll remember
Her qualities, her foibles and her style.
And we are sure, each year, when comes December,
That we will think of her, and we will smile.