An ex-neighbour, Doug, died recently. I knew him for almost thirty years and he was a great neighbour.
Doug had been in a nursing home for about three years. Joe used to visit him there but I didn’t go. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to see Doug but I felt they needed some man talk and so I didn’t get to see much of him. Sadly, Doug died a few weeks back. He had suffered with dementia for some time and eventually it took his life.
He was a man on his own. He had been married once but it only lasted a short time, and his parents had long since died. He had cousins but no close siblings or children, so his life was a trifle lonely. He made up for being on his own by helping neighbours, particularly those with animals that he could look after. He was an animal lover through and through and always looked after our dogs when we went on holidays or days out. He did the same for all neighbouring pet-owners.
My Joe, Doug and another of Joe's friends were keen on trains and along would travel the country to see some of the old engines that were brought out specially to please the train spotters.
I was invited to go to the funeral, along with other neighbours, and to attend the Wake afterwards. At first I thought I wouldn’t be able to go because of lack of transport but a neighbour offered to take me so I was able to accept the invitation. I was pleasantly surprised to see so many neighbours there. Even the sisters who took over Doug’s house were there, though they only knew of him from neighbours.
The Wake was held in a local pub and someone had done a photo display of Doug and others. Imagine my surprise to see photographs of my Joe on display. The photographs had been taken on some of the outings Joe and Doug had, mostly at railway events. At the end of the occasion I was given some of those with Joe on. How wonderful is that?
(Left to right - Doug and Joe)