As those blessed with a classical education know, January is named after Janus the two faced God. The Roman god of beginning, transition, change, doorways and passages.
We are blessed to live in the house where David McKee the cartoonist lived when he created his famous Mr Benn series. A few years ago I organised a paving stone to be laid in the street to commemorate his connection and we got to know each other. Every year he send us a hand drawn New Year card which echoes the Janus theme.
This year had a large face with one side beaten and bruised and the other bright and breezy. Last year had Mr Benn in his bowler hat, fingers crossed coming to the door and pressing the bell marked 2015. Lovely guy,it maybe the bruises of 2015 represent the illness I know he has suffered. Get well soon.
As we have all enjoyed the festivities, the parties, the carols the sweats, the more parties, the country walks so our next door neighbour Lila Tate has slept. Sometimes she wakes, sometimes she cries, but mostly she sleeps. She was born on the 19th December so she will have a life time of problems with her birthday/Christmas presents-but that’s all in the future, now she looks like and angel, sleeps a dream,has her nappy changed and represents hope eternal. The bright and breezy face of the New Year.
But Janus has two faces and yesterday we went to Ipswich. There to celebrate Diana’s,the mother of Vivien’s favourite cousin,life. A week before Lila was born 90 year old Diana “slipped as all golden lads girls must,as chimney sweepers into dust”.
Two marriages, four children, a variety of businesses run and homes moved to and from. Here was a no nonsense, strong woman who got on with it and had a life. As a young woman just after the War she had followed her lover to Holland ,as an old woman she had kept in touch through social media. Her first husband died after nine years,her second suffered from a stroke for many years, she hardly broke step. She lived long enough to see the first of her great grand children walk.
When I started writing this I thought of the baby in the crib as being the life enhancing note. But now I realise that a life where the contract of humanity is nobly honoured and rewarded is the illuminating star.
There is always something very poignant as we bury the finest generation who were brought up in the depression, fought the War and built peace and prosperity for us all.
By brooks too wide for leaping,the light footed lads are laid
The rose lip maidens lie sleeping in fields where roses fade