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Monday, March 06, 2017

Les' Memorial Service

"Grief is not a disorder, a disease or a sign of weakness. It is an emotional, physical and spiritual necessity, the price you pay for love. The only cure for grief is to grieve." —Earl Grollman, American Rabbi, death educator and counselor

    I have spent a month writing, editing and re-writing Les' eulogy, gathering pictures, watching videos he made, getting pictures copied, arranging the order of service, sending out the invitations, getting memorial cards printed, and putting one foot in front of the other when my mind was so beset by grief I could not remember my name or phone number.
   I have been supported and uplifted throughout all of this by a particular group of friends who have done what is essential when someone is struck deaf, dumb and blind by grief: they stepped in to fill the gap, meet a need, and hold back the world for awhile so I could just breathe because some days that is all I could really manage and sometimes even that is hard work. You know who are and each of you have my immense gratitude. The gift or your compassion and understanding, of your being here for me in whatever way I most needed you--even when I did not and do not always understand what way that is; you could see what I could not and with grace you stepped up for me and I will always be thankful.
   Although pouring rain showers were forecast for Saturday, March 4th, the skies cleared and sunshine was the order of the day. I was up after four hours of sleep, having prepared all the food for the luncheon after the service: three different kinds of sandwiches, two salads and brownies--some of Les' favorites. Soon enough our caravan was on its way to Tring Community Centre and once there our amazing friends took over setting everything up and helping me prepare. A few sadly could not make it due to contracting the lurgy (Brit speak for the usual illness making its rounds this time of year) and they were missed. Fifty two people showed up and we journied through tears and laughter together.
   I wish to thank everyone who shared something with the rest of us. You have no idea how comforting it is to hear you all speak so fondly and well of Les. The poems written in his honor were wonderful. The stories shared brought a small measure of healing to my broken heart and for those brief moments Les lived again. One of the things we who grieve experience is the need to look for signs of our loved one everywhere. We look for their faces in a crowd when we know it is simply not possible for them to be there. I especially treasure the stories that provided new information about Les. For example Richard, one half of Jules Fuels, the couple who travel the cut in their narrow boat Towcester and their butty Bideford, shared with us that once when they were filling up NB Valerie Les mentioned casually that he had "found a bit of nice stuff" on the Internet and he was flying over to America to check her out, which resulted in Jules and Richard taking the piss out of Les for his Internet dating! After he returned from the week visiting me, Jules and Richard turned up to service NB Valerie with diesel and they asked Les how his trip went. "Oh she's lovely she is!" I never knew this. Les never gave me one hint that he was checking me out that week!
   Poems were written and read by boater Mac on NB The Griffon and Sue Deveson on NB Cleddau. Each story and poem is a treasure I have tucked away in my heart as are all the comments people made to me afterwards during lunch as I visited with each person there. Andy and Tina Elford had a favorite picture of Les enlarged and framed for me and other photos provided a laminated montage of their time together cruising with Les. The large picture is sitting up on the table now, and Les' smiling eyes follow me around the boat from under the brim of his sun hat.
   Directly below is a transcript version of Les' Eulogy as well as a partial video of it appears at the bottom:

                                       Flying Without Wings/Westlife



EULOGY
Welcome everyone. This is a memorial service but also a celebration of Life forLes Biggs. Why try and do both simultaneously? "The great children's author E. B. White said that humor can take people to the place where tears and laughter meet and where they fall from one to another. He said it can do that because like poetry it has an added dimension and when it works it takes people close to the big hot fire that is truth…” this was quoted recently on CBC Canada radio about the writer Stuart McLean who also died recently, and I offer my thanks to Bryce Lee in Canada for bringing it to my attention. So this is why we will grieve and laugh together today; to reach that big hot fire called truth—the truth about the life of my husband, lover, and best friend. I believe the most important work we do in our lives takes place in our relationships with others.
   After a disastrous marriage that ended when I was 24, it was clear to me that I did not understand men. I wrote on my blog So This is Love…about the days just prior to Les coming to visit me the first time: “I hoped to offer Dear Sir a lovely visit he might enjoy immensely and remember fondly. My hospitality was a way of saying "thank you" for all the emails he took the time to write and send, the information on narrow boats and canals he generously provided, and for his friendship.
    At lunch in the dining hall with my friend Cheri, she broached the upcoming visit of Dear Sir. Smiling at me over her sandwich, she said, "Wouldn't it be something if the two of you hit if off and fell in love?" She chewed thoughtfully as she considered her suggestion with pleasure.
"Yes, Little Bear that would be something," I nodded my head and smiled, "but you know, he and I are friends and that's enough."
    Cheri comes from a close, loving family. She was wanted and loved as a child, and is still very close to her parents and siblings. She's been married to her college sweetheart for nearly forty years. Cheri believes in happy endings and a soul mate for everyone.
I on the other hand, do not believe in either one. Cynic that I am, while my head is bobbing up and down in agreement with Bear's dreamy query, my mind is laughing sardonically. Dear Sir and I are friends and I am content to leave it at that.
Life has taught me that for whatever reason, it is my fate to be loved dearly by myself, my children, and some very fine friends. I am my own champion and that must be enough. To expect more is to be disappointed. Given the abuse in my past, the terrible male role models with which I grew up and the childhood I narrowly escaped, and my inability to trust men--with very good reason--it was a massive miracle I invited this man to spend a week in my home.”
    So Les and I finding each other across 4000 miles of ocean and another 3000 miles of American continent, meeting and falling deeply in love with one another was nothing short of miraculous and truly meant to be for we are soulmates and unknown to me my heart and soul was waiting for him. Les taught me so much about love that I would never otherwise have known. I have no doubt that Les and I have lived many lives together before this one I also know Les, me and Val have done the same. His soul knew and recognized mine when we met for the first time in the car park of the Travel Lodge in Seattle in 2010.
    My soul? Well it was no doubt slumbering deep inside me, as I lived under the firm conviction at the time that if such a thing as soul mates existed then mine had not incarnated in this life. I wish I could say I recognized our deep connection at that moment but alas when I saw Les standing in the car park of the Travel Lodge in Seattle wearing a huge smile, a pair of blue jeans and a cardigan of wide stripes in pale mint and cream in which he looked a bit fem, my first thought was, “Oh, my gosh he’s gay!”
    Later I discovered that Les viewed clothes as utilitarian objects expressly for the purpose of covering the naughty bits—useful items like a tarpaulin is useful for covering the wood box on the boat. He was happy to wear anyone’s cast off clothing and the mint and cream striped cardigan was just that—not something he chose for himself but a useful bit of kit to keep warm that someone had thrown out and Les had picked up. We revisited our first meeting in the car park many times over the last six years, and Les would laugh hysterically each time I recounted my mistaken first impression. He got a huge kick out it.
   During the six days Les spent as my guest at Cloudhouse in Pullman, I was privileged to get know his authentic self because he didn’t know how to be any other way thankfully. The next morning I experienced the following:

“Sun streamed through the picture windows and lit the sheer curtain panels in my bedroom. I rose quietly, not wanting to wake Les, down the hall in the guest room; I thought he might want to sleep in after all the miles he'd travelled. I walked in to the kitchen to put on the kettle for tea, glancing out the window to the back deck. Dear Sir was leaning on the deck railing, wearing nothing but a pair of jeans.
The morning sun lit his broad shoulders which tapered down to his waist, a very nice posterior, slim, muscular legs, and bare feet. I bit my fingers and grabbed for the counter to steady me. I woke up expecting to start a bit of breakfast before Les rose for the day, and looked out my kitchen window to see a Calvin Klein ad for jeans come to life on my back deck.” The week and my life only got better from there…and the rest as they say is history. So I share with you now some of the things I learned from Les:

   Thanks to Les’ example I understand now that someone who truly loves you will always put you first in all things—in heart and mind because your happiness is their joy. From my husband I learned that a man who loves his wife will never make her suffer jealousy, which is a sign you has been unwillingly entered into a competition for the attentions of your partner, leaving you feeling as though you come last not first. Les always put me first in all things and no one and nothing else ever competed with me for his time, attention, or affection—although he was inordinately fond of Canal World Discussion Forum! Les spent a lot of time on the forum every day, trawling through the new topics and checking in with other boaters across the cut. It was his go-to place for how to do something on the boat with advice from other boaters guiding him. I used to make Les laugh when I teased him saying, “Hey baby, Checking in with your mistress again?” 
Les and I only grew closer as our brief years together passed. It is a mark of the depth of his love for me that despite the fact I am no longer fertile, having had all my reproductive organs removed when ovarian cancer was found in 2008, Les looked into my eyes once and told me he saw our unborn children there. 
It is a mark of my love and devotion to Les that while I didn’t know he was out there in this world and I didn’t realize I was waiting for him, Les and he alone met my soul’s high standards and the needs of my heart, mind and body. Les showed me what it feels like to be truly cherished and he gladly allowed me to lavish him with my loving care and attention, knowing that he is and always will be my one and only. I still feel his love right down to the core of my soul and the depth of my DNA. 
When Les’ head hit his pillow each night he fell instantly into a deep and peaceful sleep. I believe this occurred because Les had an untroubled mind and heart. Les always treated others as he wished to be treated. He loved children and animals and they loved him back—even small babies who laid eyes on Les for the first time would break into smiles for him. When our grandson Connor was born I tried for three months to get him to smile for me. Nah, nothing. The very first time Les held Connor in his arms, their eyes locked upon one another and Connor burst into a HUGE happy smile as though seeing someone he loved dearly for the first time in ages. Perhaps their souls also recognized one another. One of the reasons Les was so good with children and animals is that he had a deeply kind heart and a patient soul, and this also served him well in dealing with the broken suffering people in this world.
   Les taught me about forgiveness—its importance to one’s own peace of mind rather than for any social, moral, or religious compunction. I was by far the more difficult person to love in our marriage; Les knew me inside out and yet he loved me wholly and completely. Due to severe mental, emotional and physical abuse in my childhood—and I use that term loosely--I had to grow up by the age of six and learn to be smarter than my parents and step-parents in order to survive which left me little time to actually experience anything close to childhood. In fact I used to watch other children playing and feel like an alien. I could not relate to them at all ‘nor could they relate to me. I looked like them but I thought like an adult. In surviving such things we get broken. Part of our life’s work is to try and heal the brokenness. We who survive childhood abuse have personalities with very sharp edges. Sometimes we unintentionally cut those we I love with them. Les knew all this about me and he loved me without reservation.
   Les loved me as I am--broken bits and all. He was intimately aware of the dark, shadowy corners of my soul. They didn’t scare him one bit. When I warned Les early on that I had a lot of personal baggage relating to my childhood but that I would do my very best not to unpack it and to leave it sitting around to trip him with, Les gathered me into his arms and said, “Don’t worry about your personal baggage Jaq. I love you and I will help you carry it.” And he did.
   I was nineteen years old before I ever heard or saw my mother laugh. I grew up believing I had no sense of humor. Les brought humor and laughter into my very soul. He used it as a torch to shine into those dark, shadowy corners and light me up inside. So let me share with you now some of the funnier moments of our life together.
   When Les returned to me in February 2011 he proposed to me and we finally got to snog at last! He lived at Cloudhouse—which became our house—for three and half weeks, settling in and making himself at home—which it was. Everything we each owned separately we gave to one another. All things became “ours” not mine or his. I only had the first week of his stay off and then I had to go back to work. Les did dishes, laundry, and cleaned house without being asked and without my expecting it. One day I arrived back home and the following conversation took place:

"I even oovered."
"You what?"
"Oovered--you know--did the oovering."
"I'm sorry darling but I don't know what that is. Say again???" (To me it sounded like he was saying Oeuvre as in the French word for eggs. I was hard pressed to connect eggs with housekeeping!)
"You know with the vacuum--I done the vacuumming."
"OHH! Hoovering. We don't call it hoovering over here; call it that and Yanks will think you mean 'hovering'."
"Huv-a- ring--what's that then?"
"You know--when you hang about over someone."
"OHH! You mean haahvering." We laughed ourselves silly at our cultural differences and it was pointedly brought home to me that I am the one with the accent.

                     Les riding my broomstick at Cloudhouse, July 2011


On another occasion Les was waiting for me to fly over in May of 2011 to spend three weeks to be sure living on a boat was going to work for me before we returned to the States to get married. A friend gave us a lovely wedding gift of some funds with which they wanted me to purchase a trousseau. After thinking it over I called Les and asked about how to spend the money, and the following conversation took place:
 
"I thought perhaps rain gear would be a good thing to buy." Les was quiet for a moment on the other end of the phone. I could see Dear Sir turning his head slightly, staring off into the distance and thinking about what I have just said. 
"Sorry darlin' what was that?"
   "I said I thought rain gear would be a good thing to buy with the money."
   "Say again please? I don't think I'm hearing you correctly."
   "RAIN GEAR--r-a-i-n- g-e-a-r--I thought rain gear would be practical," by now I am wondering what on earth he thinks I said. I mean I know I am the one with the accent but still...Les' booming laughter fills the phone receiver.
   "Oh God I thought you were saying reindeer." We giggle hysterically.
"That's right baby--love me, love my reindeer. We Alaskan women are VERY attached to our reindeer. I'm not sure what we will do with the carcass after we butcher it but we can keep it on the roof of the boat and cross that bridge when we come to it.

    When I finally did fly over in May of 2011 to be with Les on the boat I was exhausted after a ten hour flight and all the happy crap one goes through at Customs to get into another country. I found myself finally in his arms at 10:45 p.m. A half an hour later Kevin dropped us in the dark at a bus stop on the highway and I was following this British bloke with a torch into the woods! NB Valerie was moored up at Cassiobury Park.
   Now this next story is rather racy so you can cover your children’s ears if you must but I think it is good for children and young people to know that no matter how old someone is they are never too old for romance, passion and sex. All three are and should be a part of a loving relationship.
   Les and I were so enthralled to be together again, and as lovers who have been apart are wont to do we peeled each other’s clothes off and fell into a frenzied bout of passionate love making as the boat rocked in the darkness. Caught up in the moment, Les forgot about the solid oak cupboard at the foot of the bed, and while raising himself up on his arms, the corner of the cupboard buried itself in his forehead.
   Now the head has many tiny blood vessels called capillaries and when ruptured they bleed profusely. It took me a while to staunch the bleeding but it finally stopped. As stood there looking down at him, I said,

   “Wow Les that is a very deep and noticeable cut. People are going to see that and ask how you did it. What are you going to tell them?” His lovely brown eyes twinkled as he replied,
   “Well that depends on how old they are.”

    The next morning we cruised off and headed for Napton so Les could introduce me to two of his dearest friends, Andy and Tina Elford with whom he cruised for three years. We moored up at Napton Marina and that evening the four of us walked up the lane to the pub. Tina and I sat and talked at the table while Les and Andy stepped up to the bar to buy a round. I was watching Les. He had the nicest looking behind in a pair of jeans. Suddenly I saw the back of Les’ neck turn beet red. He turned around and hollered over the din of the crowd:

   “Andy just asked me how I hurt my head!” I hollered right back and said,
   “Do you think he’s old enough to know the truth?”

    The next morning we were headed for Heathrow to fly back to Pullman and be married. As we waited with our luggage for Tina to bring the car around, Andy—who is quite a bit taller than Les—put his arm around Les’ neck, pulled him close in a bear hug and inspected the top of Les’ head, remarking.

    “Oh I see you two behaved yourselves last night; no new gouges in your head!”

I got a tattoo of forget-Me-Nots the day before we were married. Les is doing a bit of Tattoo peeking!

    Months later after we returned from the States and settled in to life aboard NB Valerie, Les decided that the oak cupboard at the foot of the bed needed to go. One head bashing was enough, but before he took it down he got out some yellow tape, a cushion and a few minutes later he took a picture to send to Andy and Tina of a large cushion taped to the bottom of the cabinet!


                         Les' quick fix for the cupboard above the bed!

    In late August of 2012 we were cruising down the Trent & Mersey canal, returning south from having spent six months on the narrow northern canals Les loved dearly as he showed me his favorite places on the LLangollen, the Shroppie, The Bridgewater, the Maccelsfield, Caldon, and Peak Forest Canals. We reached Tixal Wide on the Staff and Worcs canal just past the junction with the Trent & Mersey. It was a gorgeous sunny late summer day. The sky was a brilliant blue and the sun lit the world with warmth. As we pulled in to moor, a hot air balloon began to rise up in the adjacent meadow. Les was beside himself, like a small child at Christmas.

    "Balloons Jaq, come look--quickly, hot air balloons!" I looked out the hatch of NB Valerie and sure enough a large, multicolored hot air balloon was rising slowly above the meadow on the towpath side of our boat. Les dashed inside for his binoculars and I grabbed for my camera. He stood out on the towpath down by the hatch doors and I took up a position standing on the bow locker, arms propped on the boat roof, snapping pictures.
    Ever so slowly the balloon rose with a large basket attached, holding a fair sized group of folks. Les had his binocs glued to his eye sockets, repeating rapturously,

 "Wow! Oh Wow look at that!!!!" Suddenly another balloon rose on the far horizon of the meadow and began a slow ascent. As I snapped pictures Les danced around the towpath in rhapsody, switching his view from one balloon to the other. As the first balloon was almost directly overhead it fired up to gain height and I said, 

 "I wonder if the first balloon will follow this one." With his binoculars glued firmly to his face, Les said with utter amazement in his voice: 

"Jaq did you hear that? That balloon overhead is so close I can hear them talking. There must be an American on board, I'm sure I heard a voice say, 'I wonder if the first balloon will follow this one,'" affecting a flat, nasally American mid-western accent.
Stunned, I looked down at my husband as he danced around the towpath in paroxysms of delight and wonder.
Les at Tixall Wide, binoculars in hand, laughing, 2012
 

Les...Les...Les??? Honey that was me you just heard. I said I wonder if the first balloon will follow this one--and I did not say it like that.” Les looked at me for a moment incredulously and we both burst into hysterical laughter, folded over, holding our sides. For an hour after both balloons disappeared across the cut I would mimic him and we would start laughing afresh.

   "No honey there was no American on board the hot air balloon--it was the American on board our boat!!" (And I don't talk through my nose either!!)
    
Our comic timing with each other was as impeccable as that of Morecambe and Wise. In August of 2015 we moored up at Braunston and walked up to the bus stop to catch the bus into Daventry for groceries. Les turned away from me to stare up the road in the direction the bus would be approaching. Just as he was turning to ask me something I squatted down to tie my shoe. Les turned and I wasn’t there. His voice cried with astonishment,
 “Jaq where are you?” 
 Then he looked down and saw me and we laughed like crazy until tears rolled down our cheeks and our sides ached. He called me affectionately his “short arsed wife.” Les is the only man I know who could lose his wife at the bus stop when she is standing right next to him.
   Les love to laugh and he laughed with his whole body. His laugh started in his chest rolled down to his belly and spread from his lips to his eyes. He never gave a fig about whether or not he appeared ridiculous to anyone. Les would do anything to make me laugh. He was my hero—and he always will be.


Les wearing our grandson Kiernan's Captain America mask, 2011.  

 Les taught me that wives are not born nags—they are made into nags by lazy and self-centered partners. Any time I ever said, 
“Oh the rubbish bin needs emptying,” or “this or that needs fixing,” Les immediately took care of it; big or small, I never had to ask more than once and Les made it clear that addressing things as I brought them to his attention was not a hardship or inconvenience for him because it was his pleasure to help when I asked for his assistance. In this Les demonstrated that we were true partners for he knew that I would do anything for him—he had only to ask and sometimes he didn’t even have to do that! A day did not go by without our finishing each other’s sentences and voicing one another’s thoughts word for word, to our mutual astonishment and delight.
   In an uncertain world Les was literally my refuge and my safe place—something I never experienced before I met him. Even when we argued I could never stay angry at Les longer than a day. I could reheat an argument the next morning, still, the minute we lay down together each night, Les’ arms would reach out and draw me in and all contention would melt away. I fell asleep with a grin on my face because I was tucked safe in my Best Beloved’s arms, next to his chest and it always felt like we were two puzzle pieces so perfectly made for one another—a fit so fine nothing could ever really come between us.
   Distance, time, ‘nor death cannot diminish our love for each other.  
I carry Les’ heart in mine, not just because I love him as a famous poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote, “with the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach…” but because Les trusted me with his heart. He gave his heart to me to carry in my own. And he trusted me with his life. I know this because he told me so in one of audio love letters he sent me attached to emails—all of which I still have.
Les was the most romantic person I have ever known. I think Val’s death had a lot to do with this. Les told me once that Val’s love changed him and made him a better man. Just as Les’ death has irrevocably changed me, Val’s death also changed Les. Between diagnosis and her death were only eleven short weeks and Les said there were so many things they didn’t have a chance to say to one another. He knew that life was short and he understood the great importance of showing and telling everyone we care for how much we love them. He never held back his emotions and my heart will live satiated and full for the rest of my life on the love he gave me. 
Les and I are separated for now but our souls are inextricably linked for eternity by our marriage vows in which we pledged our love to each other beyond this lifetime and by a depth of love that endures all things. Yes I miss him terribly and savagely and the loss of his physical existence daily in my world makes me unbearably sad. But I can and will move forward with life because each day carries me toward my own translation from flesh to spirit. When my time comes Les’ soul will be waiting to help me cross where the veil between the worlds of the living and dead is thinnest; countless times on our walks across this countryside Les would go ahead of me and wait for me at the footpath gates. He called them kissing gates and he would not let me pass even once without giving him a kiss. Les will be waiting for me at the kissing gate and we will be together once again in the joy of pure spirit-for love is truly all there is and that is Les’ most enduring lesson to us all.


Les waits for me at the kissing gate on the footpath to Crack Hill, Leicestershire, July 2014.

 
    I have two files to share today. The first one is a video Les took of Braunston for me in late October of 2010 shortly after he returned from his first visit as my guest. You need a bit of back story first. 
At the end of that first week Les stayed as my guest, he wanted to shop for a toy for each of his eight grandchildren. I drove him to Hodgkins Drug store in Moscow, Idaho because they have shelve and shelves of old fashioned toys. We spent two and half hours choosing just the right toy for each child. For Lena May, Les bought a rubber squeezy lamb. When you squeezed it, its eyes popped out on stalks and it went Baaaaaah. As we carried the bag of toys along, each time we stepped off a curb the lamb went Baaaaah! The bag sat on tehback seat on the way home and every small bump in the road caused it to Baaaaah again, making Les and I crack up.
   Later that final evening, it was time for Les to pack his suitcase--it was HUGE! And it was stuffed to the gills. The children's toys were sandwiched in the middle and we spent thirty minutes yanking the sides together to try and close the zipper. We tossed the suitcase around, and I sat on it, bouncing up and down as Les struggled to close it. Not once did we hear a peep out of the squeezy lamb. After we finally managed to et it all sipped up, Les hoiked the bag into the corner, we shut off the light and as we left the room we heard, faintly from inside the case a very weak, ba-a-a-a-ah! Okay here is the video of Les showing me the delights of Braunston:

I also shared an audio love letter Les sent me in late December 2010 but I cannot get it to load on Blogger without spending days reformatting it so sadly I must leave it out.  Finally, here is the video of me delivering part of Les' eulogy if you wish to view it and listen to me as I give it. My deepest thanks to Carol Palin for this.

9 comments:

antinady said...

So glad we could all be there with you to remember the man that was Les - not that we will ever forget him.
Take care on your journey back to the States and let your loved ones take care of you. Return with renewed energy ready to take the next stage of your journey.
We will be waiting for you as will many others.
Love n hugs always
Andy & Tina
Xxx

Jaqueline Biggs said...

It is a balm to my heart Tina to know you and Andy are there and I will be cruising towards you when I return. I know thanks are not necessary but still you both lit up Les;' life with such great fun, laughter and friendship and you've folded me in and done the same with me. My life is more because I know and love you both.
Jaq xxx (and Les too)

Elsie said...

Thank you Jaq for sharing your beautiful eulogy to Les. Sorry I couldn't be there, my thoughts are with you. x

Anonymous said...

Safe journey Jaq, Your family will be waiting to help you through the next few weeks. Take care Sandra X

Anonymous said...

I'm still crying for you, Jaq, but you are absolutely correct; you will be together again. You mentioned that you plan to travel north this year. I live in the north, and will look out for you and drop by to say hi if I see you. Take care. xx

Lesley.

Jaqueline Biggs said...

Thank you Elsie. He was larger than life' filled with joy for living and so much love. I will be cruising up the LLangollen at some point and we will see each other. Happy belated birthday to Eric.
Love Jaq xxx

Jaqueline Biggs said...

Thank you Sandra for coming to the memorial and for those divine cheese scones! No wonder Les and Andy love them so.
Jaq xxx

Jaqueline Biggs said...

Lesley,
That would lovely. Thanks for your kind words.
Jaq xxx

Anonymous said...

I just found a link to your blog on a " top ten narrow boat blog " list....just reading your story I thought I can not wait to read this one as you both sound so lovely and so in love ... for the first post I read to be this one and to be sat here in buckets of tears for two people I don't even know shows me already what an amazing blog this is.... I wish you nothing but luck and love Jacqueline x I'm going to read it from the beginning and one day ...who knows I might meet you on the cut to give you the hug I so desperately want to give you right now ...love Andrea x