Wendy's life

This blog has been created as a celebration of the life of Wendy Margaret Cronin (born 16 October 1944 and died 10 October 2007). The blog owner (me) is Steve McRobb (aka Macro) - I was Wendy's partner and then husband for almost 30 years. To add comments or a post, you must be an invited friend or family member - email me if you knew Wendy and would like to join.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Still more wit and wisdom

Even after nearly three years without Wendy, still every now and then I think of more nuggets of her very particular take on life.  I've mentioned in previous posts some of her thoughts about wildlife, but here are a few more.
  • She had various issues with the wildlife about who owned our garden. When the blackbirds and bluetits scolded her for working in the garden while they were trying to feed, she'd say crossly "this is my garden too!" 
  • She complained that you had "to be careful not to get a bluetit in your ear" as you passed their nesting box, when the chicks were getting big and the parents were constantly darting in and out of the box all day long. 
  • She wrote in her diary rather indignantly about "being told off by a thrush for sitting in my own living room" (the thrush was at the water feature just outside the patio doors). 
  • It wasn't only the birds that wouldn't behave. Some plants just wouldn't stay where she put them from one year to the next, they just kept "marching around the garden."
But Wendy could also sympathise with the birds.
  • She said once: "it must be really annoying for pigeons, having to move their heads back and forth like that when they walk."  
  • Watching a nature programme once on TV, there was some footage of a new emperor penguin chick emerging into the depths of the Antartic winter.  Wendy said you could see exactly what it was thinking from the expression on its little face when it first poked out of the broken egg and realised where it had been born. "It's thinking 'Oh no, I'm a penguin! I'm a bloody penguin!' - that's clear proof of reincarnation", she said...
On the other hand, she had no illusions about what life was really like for wild animals.
  • Most nature programmes were just "bonking and biting." 
  • And those beautiful songs of the robins and blackbirds? They could all be rendered simply in English as "I'll pull your feathers out!"   
Following the model of perma-frost, Wendy coined a number of useful terms.
  • Perma-fat describes those deep layers that can never be shifted by dieting or exercise. One reason that perma-fat is so persistent is that in restaurants, as Wendy said, "it's funny how you open your mouth to say 'salad' and the word 'chips' comes out." 
  • Perma-grot refers to all that stuff that stays at the bottom of a woman's handbag and is never used.  
  • Anyone with a desk job probably has perma-work: those bits of paper that represent tasks you never get round to doing. If you have an in-tray, it's probably full of perma-work.  So is your email in-box.
Wendy had some quite unique perceptions about lots of things. A few weeks before she died, she wondered aloud if she would make it to Christmas. Steven the gardener heard this and planted a shrub in the front garden. He said it was a Christmas box, and he hoped she might see it flower. Wendy told me that if she wasn't still around at Christmas, I should cut it to a square box shape and tie it up with red ribbons like a present. I'm still waiting for it to get big enough, but one day I mean to carry out her wish.

On holiday in Corsica one year, we drove over a high pass into a vast deep valley.  Far off on the slopes of the various mountains were little towns and villages wherever there was enough flat ground to build and to farm, some of them quite high above the valley floor.  Wendy said: "I like the way they put their towns on shelves here." Just like ornaments on the mantelpiece...

For 10 years or more after we moved to Craven St, we kept the old, rather ugly, brown carpet the previous owners left in our bedroom.  Eventually we decorated the room and a new carpet was planned.  We decided on a pale off-white.  For weeks before it came, Wendy insisted that all drinks going up to the bedroom had to be carried on a tray to avoid drips on the new carpet.  "Carpet training," she called this.

When we put the Craven St house on the market, Wendy thought little details would help sell it, like fresh flowers in the living room or the smell of fresh coffee or newly baked bread.  She decided to brighten up the rather dark hall with the white durry rug from the bathroom, and bought another identical rug so we could wash them in turn and one would always be clean.  Whenever a prospective buyer was due to view the house, she put the clean rug in the hall.  She called it "the show mat."


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