My best friend at school

Sadly Marg took her last breath in November 2015. She fought fiercely to the end against cancer that spread through her body. She didn’t want a funeral. Instead I received this lovely invitation from John, her husband.

DEAR FAMILY & FRIENDS

Please join me for a special afternoon tea to remember Margaret, the love of my life

FROM 2.00PM | SUNDAY 6 DECEMBER 2015 In our garden at 14 Rocke Court, Trentham 3458

Margaret’s wish was for her family and friends, including children, to gather after her passing to support each other and to share memories and stories – with good food and wine and without formalities or tears.

John

Marg and I were room-mates at boarding school MLC. We shared many, many laughs and adventures. We regularly visited each others homes on holidays – hers at Colac, mine at Rushworth. On Saturdays out – thanks to Marg’s sister Judy’s permission! – we had great fun ice-skating and riding the big dipper at Luna Park St Kilda. She lives on in my heart.

The gathering in Trentham was a lovely, memorable day. It was wonderful seeing people I hadn’t seen for many, many moons.

The weekend as a whole though was most eventful.

Friday night was the Ursys Christmas party in Sydney. A great night but no-one wanted to go home. I had arranged to stay with Myles and Jane so I could catch a plane to Melbourne the next morning. I had to wake them up to let me in – a reversal of the ‘parents waiting up for their children syndrome’!

Still I made it to the plane. Everyone was settled by the 9am departure time …then a message …due to early morning fog in Melbourne we are delayed …plane finally left at 10am! Late for lunch with Melbunigirls – but all ended well, lovely lunch with Pam and Pat at Studley park boathouse. Took train later that afternoon to stay with Catriona (another special school friend) at Smythesdale, near Ballarat. Super conversations with Catriona – so good.

On Sunday the memorable gathering for Marg at Trentham. About 10.30 that night, after drinks with neighbours and a little settling TV, I was cleaning my teeth when there was a cry from the kitchen. Catriona had dropped the ceramic plate she took to Trentham on her foot – very dramatic …blood everywhere! John, Catriona’s husband said he had drunk half a bottle of red wine so couldn’t drive. I’d had 2 glasses of champagne – but said I was driving anyway. I felt fine and Catriona was more important than my license. They live about 30mins from Ballarat. John rang an on-line medical help-centre. They were helpful but said we needed to take Catriona to the hospital. …so off we went – made it to emergency where they were expecting her. At 1am John came out to say I should go home and he would come back – but I wanted to make sure Catriona was OK. By 3am I was really ready to go home – so I did….had to catch a train back to Melbourne the next morning. When I woke up Catriona wasn’t back. John arrived and said they were taking her to Geelong for plastic-surgery. Her whole big toe nail had been disconnected.

Caught the train to Melbourne on Monday morning. My sister Coral met me at a station near her home and near Wendy, our second-cousin, who we planned to visit to hear more about our great grandmother’s ‘pearls’ (the baby born on the beach of King island during Netherby shipwreck). We bought flowers, then Coral took us to her home. No-one answered the door-bell …but she had an appointment in the morning and said she might be late back. We waited in the car …but it didn’t feel right. I went around the back of the house – completely open, ipads lying on sofa …but no-one at home. I said we should ring – so we did …and we were at the wrong house! Heather Avenue instead of Heather Grove! Still we finally made it – and had wonderful conversations. Discovered many things about our family we didn’t know. I thought I had left enough time to get to plane …but the queue at Skyline bus was huge – none of us had ever seen such a queue. Made it to the airport after check-in closing time. Fortunately I had checked in on my i-pad (despite adventures previous day) but couldn’t print a boarding pass. I fronted up anyway with my i-pad. Not good enough to get me through – went to desk and the guy said he couldn’t do anything …while he was printing boarding pass under desk! I was so relieved to get to my seat!

Catriona’s foot is OK – she just had to spend the last school week at home with her foot resting!

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