Letter 12

28/12/2012 17:19

        24th December 2012

        Dear Catherine,

Today is Christmas Day in the Czech Republic.  I am still here by myself, which I am enjoying as it lets me clear my head, in the peace and quiet, although I am looking forward to company, whenever it comes.  Brendan and his wife Iveta and two children Amadea & Chloe are planning to come here tomorrow.  Vlada & Vlasta have invited me to have Christmas dinner with them later on this afternoon.  They do not have turkey & ham here as in England.  Rather they have carp fish soup, then the fish in batter & breadcrumbs with potato salad and Christmas cake, called here vanocka which is more like a sponge cake/bread, but is very nice.

Looking back over the last few months, the biggest event was the sale of 35 Northwick Avenue.  I first moved there 30 years ago with my first wife Marie and Mark, Brendan & Veronica.  It was a happy time as the children were growing up until in 1991, Marie fell ill and died, which was a desperately sad time for me.  Then I met your mum and we married in 1994 and moved back to no 35, bringing happy times again, made even better when you were born in 1996.  Sad times arrived again in 2009 when your mum & I separated and I decided to move out of the house.  So selling the house this September was the end of a long association for me with the street and house and I thought I would be upset.  When I finally got back into the house to collect my belongings, I went from room to room, bring back memories, mostly happy of the times I had spent there.  When I moved in to the house, there wasn’t a room in the loft.  That was built in summer 1990 during a period Veronica was on holiday.  I collected her from the airport and brought her home and she was amazed there was a stair up, where previously there wasn’t one and a bedroom & bathroom upstairs as well.  I looked in your bedroom and it was bare but I think of the time spent decorating it and building the furniture with your help.  I think we did a good job. I walked in the garden where we had lots of barbeques and paellas and played table tennis.  It was overgrown, like my vegetable patch, as if no one cared.  There was the spot where Wanda was buried.  Remember you helped me to bury her when I brought her back from the vet.  She fell out of the black plastic bag he had put her in and you wondered why her eyes were open.  And I looked at the apple trees that I used to pick apples from, with your help sometimes.  The garden missed me and I missed it. 

But as I walked away from the house and closed the door for the last time, I wasn’t regretful or sad at leaving the house, as I thought I would be.  I was just sad that you no longer lived there in the house that I developed.  Obviously I have no idea where you are.  But you are a big girl now at 15 and a half, able to make decisions for yourself.  You were only eleven and a half when I separated from your mum and you decided you didn’t want to see me again.  But I saw you a month ago and how you have grown.  I saw your school report and I must congratulate you at how well you are doing.  You now have to make your own decisions and make your own way in life and by the sounds of it you will make a good job of it.  I would encourage you in every way I could to achieve want you can in your future life.

        All my love for now,


        dad  xxx                                                                            in Vysoke, Czech Republic