Six word Saturday

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Said goodbye to a dear friend

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Vivienne Frances Blake

1.12.1937- 5.7.2016

We met through Six Word Saturday, and so I thought it would best to say goodbye this way.  I had no idea that, when I returned from the Algarve, the vital force that was Viv Blake had already departed this life.  I posted my six words last week and waited for the response that inevitably came, but this time it didn’t.  I can’t begin to describe the feeling that washed over me when I went to Viv in France to ‘tap her on the shoulder’, and found her daughter Sally’s message.  It was an invitation to the funeral, in Newcastle-on-Tyne, this Wednesday.

I went, with not a little uncertainty.  There I finally met warm and welcoming Jock, whose creativity Viv always celebrated on her blog. Abba played us in with ‘Thank you for the music’ and a very personal service began.  Sally read ‘The poetry of every day’, chosen from the hundreds of poems written by Viv.  I’ll share a snippet :

‘Agenda similar, routine unvaried

until I’m out there,

eyes everywhere

glorying in small shy hedgerow flowers

or exuberance of roses round cottage door… ‘

Just a fragment of the poetry that was Viv’s daily currency.  She could conjure a poem for any given situation, and that included her own epitaph. Not morbid at all, she’d had her health issues and was impatient with the frailties they imposed (especially if ‘that quilt’ wouldn’t turn out quite the way it ought, by Viv’s high standards).  It was read for her by close friend, Linda, who I know best as Tillybud.  Handel’s ‘Let the Bright Seraphim’ and then an emotional performance of ‘Send in the Clouds’ by Judi Dench brought the lump to my throat.  This is her resting place.

I met Viv only once, at Northumberlandia one bleak March day, but it’s a day I’ll never forget.  Those bright eyes twinkled at me with a fierce intelligence, but a love of laughter and of life.

Viv was a constant support and encouragement around my blog. Though she lived the latter part of her life in France, she knew and loved so many of the places I’ve written about in the north east of England.  Places like Hareshaw Linn and Middleton-in-Teesdale recalled fond memories for Viv.

I was in awe of her facility with words, and her desire to go on feeding her brain.  Music, I knew, was one of the loves of her life.  It wasn’t easy to write this but, as I did, what should be on TV last night?  ‘Strictly at the BBC Proms’.  Like myself, Viv was an enormous ‘Strictly’ fan. How Viv would have loved it!  It seemed fitting to watch on her behalf.

God bless, Viv!  RIP.  Six words won’t be the same without you.

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114 comments

  1. I’ll miss her so much. We met on the OU Creative writing course and kept in touch. She gave her enthusiastic support to my efforts at writing a first novel and helped choose its name, ‘Tom Fleck’. She read much of the sequel and was keenly waiting to proof read the remainder. Sadly, I was too late to send it to Viv – it is only now completed. Her passing spurred me on. I do wish that I’d been brisker. I’ve dedicated ‘The Black Caravel’ to Vivienne Blake; it is a small way of paying homage to a lovely lady.

  2. It’s a very sad news. One could have never thought she had this desease. Her blog was very beautiful; her poems like haikus. Please leave her blog on the Internet, so that we may pick up our favorite poems. I knew her as doing a MOOC, and she contacted me as a friend of the Internet. I’m French, please excuse my faults in English.She succeeded in this blog, which is unusual for a person of her generation. Thanks to her for her poems and her snaps.

  3. I have just come across this post through re reading Tilly’s comments on her blog post so apologies for not commenting before. Thank you so much for coming to Mum’s funeral and sharing it on your 6 Word Saturday. The photos of the Crem are lovely – I didn’t have time to appreciate how lovely it was on the day!
    Mum was very proud of her walk up Northumbrelandia the day we met you a few years ago – it was a big achievement for her with her dodgy heart and she also loved to meet blogging friends. Sally

  4. First I saw your latest walk and then this sad news. I did not know your friend, but I am so sorry to hear that she is no longer with us.

  5. An absolutely lovely tribute to Viv, Jo, and well-deserved. Such a wonderful woman, and everyone who knew her thought so – knew so!

    I’m so glad you and I got to meet, however briefly, and thank you for the hug, which I needed.

    xx

    1. Thanks for returning my visit, ‘Tilly’ 🙂 I’m sorry, I still think of you as Tillybud. Our paths don’t cross these days, hon, but I know you’re a busy lady, as I also knew you would be in bits when you heard the news. Your reading was wonderful and Viv would have been proud of you. I wasn’t sure how I would feel surrounded by strangers, but it was great to finally put a face to Jock and everyone was very welcoming. I did it for myself but also partly to share it with the bloggers who weren’t lucky enough to meet her. I know you’ve lost a best friend and you took such delight in each other’s company. Nothing much I can do but send hugs.

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