Within a couple of hours, I knew I would be free.

Napoleon at Saint Helena.

Napoleon at Saint Helena. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have two books on the go at the moment.

The first, and surely the most impressive, is my ‘serious’ read about Napoleon’s incarceration on St Helena (fascinating peeps – did you know Boney’s balls were pickled post-mortem and are now on display in a museum in France?)

The second is my ‘bathroom’ book – Chris Evans’ memoir about being utterly alcohol-soused in his early career, and how he came through it.

The chapters in the latter are scientifically word-counted to the length of time it takes to excavate a turd. But in terms of cracking reads (see what I did there?), it’s on the button. I started off hating the guy and now I want his ginger babies.

What is it about the narrative that appeals? His raw and boundless honesty, that’s what. He’s done some crass things in his time, but he’s totally up front about them. No holds barred. It’s a Catholic confessional wrapped up in 200 pages.

It is hard to be full-frontal about things that general society considers to be distasteful, particularly if you are in the public eye. I am very much out of the public eye, yet some of the things I have done since my husband’s death have confounded those I am closest to. Myself included.

I’m only halfway through his book, but already Evans has done some toe-curling stuff. As a listener to his morning show I know how the story ends, but there could have been so many other ways for it to go.

But I have found unexpected wisdom and comfort in his words. Whilst he doesn’t deal in grief directly, his reflections resonate with me at this moment in my life. Take this one on alcohol for example:

“I remember taking several drinks on board and waiting for the periods of cerebral protection to kick in. With the thought of this safety blanket wrapped around me I could look forward to forgetting about the growing muddle of things in life I didn’t want to face. Within a couple of hours I knew I would be free.”

If my husband’s death has taught me anything, it is that you can’t guarantee your reactions to anything.

When it comes to the crunch, you’re a stranger. Even unto yourself.


Peaceful Easy Feeling

Peaceful Easy Feeling (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I think He’s trying to contact me via the medium of Radio Two.

It could be worse I guess – Smooth FM or the jazz channel. But the point is, I’ve listened to the radio just three times since He’s been gone, and each time it seems to talk directly to me.

I tuned into Chris Evans a few months back and what was he about to play? Heart of Gold by Neil Young. The song played at M’s funeral and one of His all time favourite tracks.

A month ago, I was driving to work and forgot to bring a CD for the car. Cue Steve Wright in the Afternoon (I know, I know, but even he’s preferable to silence, in which Bad Thoughts might pervade.)

Every single tune (there were six in a row) was significant – from Peaceful Easy Feeling by The Eagles (one of ‘our’ songs) to Hurt by Johnny Cash. I was so freaked out I ‘listened again’ when I got home to see if I knew the person who had chosen the songs – and that’s akin to torture when it’s Steve Wright.

Yesterday, I caught Jeremy Vine just in time for the debate on bodies in morgues – the process of ‘collecting them from the community’ to preparing them for the funeral home. I nearly vomited up my lunch.

M loved music, so I guess it wouldn’t be entirely out of the realms of possibility that He would try to communicate over the airwaves. I want so desperately to have a ‘sign’ from Him, I’m prepared to believe anything. Even in the psychic powers of Steve Wright.