Robin Herrnfeld was devoted to Poetry and was so much part of our lives at both Every Day Poets, where she was Slush Editor and Writewords, where she was Flash Poetry Host. Such a tragic and sudden loss to all who knew her as a writer and valued her insights as a reader. I wish I had met her — but I am glad to be able to say she was my friend and that she thought of me as hers.
Mary McBride (on the right in the top photo) was my schoolfriend’s mother. I never ever saw that lady frown. I used to stay at the farm weekends when I was in my teens and every time we went back to Ulster we’d visit and it was always as if you’d never been away. Unfailing hospitality. Unfailing faith and optimism. And when I wrote Missy’s Summer, this was the place I had in my mind — my home from home. I spoke to Mary last August on the phone when Jean and Ken visited us. I am glad I did that. Mary was in her late eigties and was predeceased by her husband Jim but they are fondly remembered.
Chris Walmsley was one of the gentlest men I ever met. In this photo taken just over a year ago he looked well but his battle with cancer was just about to begin. This week he lost that battle and our thoughts are with Jennifer and the family back in Wales. For 14 years we lived within 10 miles of Jennifer and Chris but we didn’t know them. It wasn’t until we had moved 400 miles away that Jennifer and I met online through Writewords — so she knew Robin as well. We only got to know Chris briefly but we were so fond of him. He was a lovely man and will be missed.
Life is strange and sometimes sad and this has been a hard month to get through. TS Eliot was wrong — it’s not April… This year it was July. I hope August is kinder.