If this is later than intended it's because I've been wrestling with how to express my thoughts in the aftermath of a visit with my brother and sister to the Scottish Borders in late June . We had assembled in Melrose to perform a small act of remembrance on behalf of our parents. At the same time I introduced my partner for the first time to the delights of the place where I grew up. Portentous stuff, eh? Potentially fraught with emotion, but fun times as well, all in the Scottish sun. And in the end, a simple family affair.
And then something happened on Sunday:
Two pieces of news arrived from my niece Flora, from Denmark. The first, now reported here on the Tri247.com website:
"Flora Colledge (F30-34) was the fastest British Age-Group female athlete – and the second fastest across all nations – to add ITU Long Distance Gold to ETU Powerman Middle Distance Duathlon Gold (also in Denmark) earlier this year, and the same at the Zofingen ITU Powerman World Champs last year. Now, given that Flora also won the SWISSMAN Xtreme Triathlon (overall) just three weeks ago, quite a talent. Being called ‘Flora’ in triathlon currently carries some value, clearly!"
The second, a couple of hours later, in Flora's own words on Facebook. It is this that pushed the June experience into its proper context.
To Flora, I offer congratulations for her dedication and perspective and achievement; and condolences for this simple expression of her family's loss. Leave a comment for her on Facebook if you like.
So here's the message -
The passing of the Colledge name from the Borders with the death of my mother in March doesn't change a thing. Here we are dedicating a favourite flowering crab apple tree at the Borders Crematorium in the lee of the Eildons, in memory of Jim and Margaret. And in the lead photo, a reminder that family life in Scotland continues: there are cousins to visit and partners to travel with - and things to see. Only the sunshine is a bit misleading!
Flora's message reminds me of friends and their families too: To Doug and Brenda, to Claire and Colin and to Barrie, all of whom have personal experience of the trials and rewards of family life in the past little while, and for all of whom family life goes on.
See you all here or there sometime soon.
And on another note:
Resting places of the slightly better known :
The Borders abbeys are one of the delights of the region. Impressive as historical monuments, evocative of the scale and power of the Church in the case of Melrose, introspective and imbued with a sense of the cloistered life at Dryburgh. They have also served as the burial grounds for the famous and influential.