Category: Personal


“Ittekimasu”  is typically used by a Japanese when they are about to leave somewhere, mainly from home or the office. The closest literal translation would be “I’ll go and I’ll come back” but a more natural translation would be “see you later” (or “I’ll be back!” as the Terminator would say). 

At this moment I am ready to leave for my trip to South Africa. It is going to be a loooooong day. 1 bus,  1 train trip, 2 tube rides, another train and finally an aeroplane. I do not look forward to it at all as there is a lot of hanging around too. At any rate, I doubt if I will be doing any updating here till I get back, but you never know. 

So, your next Japanese word to learn is…



Updated: 16/10/2019 — 07:28

Rest in Peace

Last night my mother passed on. And at the moment I am still processing it all but want to add some thoughts before I head off to work. I have been mulling over this post for a long time though, and now that the time has come to write it I don’t know what to say. 

Mum and her parents

She was born in 1928,  the fifth child of six in the family, and the 3rd daughter. As a child she lived in Bethlehem with her family and was educated there and had her formative years there. Bethlehem was a railway town and they all lived in railway houses close to the station (aka The Railway Camp) . She had a hard life as money was scarce, jobs were poorly paid and to crown it all  and the world was preparing itself for another world wide cataclysm. I do not know the circumstances behind how she met my father, but they married in Port Elizabeth in 1954 and my brother was born there in 1955. They moved to Johannesburg a few years later and I was born in that city in 1961. 

A lifetime passed, punctuated by the death of her husband on 7 November 1981, which unfortunately was also her birthday.  By 1985 the 3 of us had all gone in different directions, although we were generally in visiting distance and my brother and I spent Sunday mornings with her right up till I left for the UK in 2013. She moved into a small council run complex many years ago and stayed there for 23 years until ill health and her increasing inability to take care of herself resulted in us having to put her into frail care in 2017. I saw her in 2017 and again in February of 2019 and to be honest knew that the inevitable was close. Sadly she was a prisoner in her own body by 2017 and had become increasingly belligerent and bitter. Putting her in frail care was not an easy decision to make, but we had no other choice. She was unable to live on her own anymore. She was a widower for longer than she was married.

Naturally all manner of questions go through your mind when you have an elderly parent who ends up in her situation, and there is an element of guilt involved. Did we make the right choice? it was our only choice, there were no other options. Was she happy there? she admitted that she hated it, but then she did not want to be there in the first place and had been angry since before we had her taken into frail care. The guilt will remain I am afraid. 

However, her life has passed, and she was the last of her siblings to pass on. I hope that she is re-united with her family and husband and that she finds peace away from the suffering and never ending days trapped in her body. The strange thing is that my brother and I have known that it was inevitable, it was just a question of when. Now that it is over I think we both need closure.

A service will be held for her on either the 18th of this month and I will be flying down for the service. I said my goodbyes in February already and I knew I would never see her alive again. My brother says she died peacefully of natural causes, and was taken care of until it was no longer needed. 

Rest in Peace Mum. The pair of us left behind will carry on until our turn comes and then we will join you I hope, although I expect you will have a few words to say about us being late. And if you see Dad tell him that we missed him, just like you did. 

DRW © 2019. Created 02/10/2019. 

Updated: 04/10/2019 — 16:57

Visiting the Bard: Stratford-upon-Avon (2)

Continuing where we left off in Stratford-upon-Avon.

I was ready to leave the area of the Holy Trinity Church, and was very impressed with the church. The churchyard was quite a nice one too and I would have liked to have spent more time in it. 

The one guide at the church  had advised me to look for the Guild Chapel in town as it was an interesting place, so with vague directions I retraced my steps to Bancroft Gardens. It was a hot day and there was a lot of activity on the Avon.

and there was even a chain drawn ferry…

I crossed over back into the craziness of streets and headed down a picturesque street, randomly taking photographs of the buildings.

And then I spotted a likely candidate and headed across to it. 

The Guild Chapel was light and airy but there was a small party of people in the middle of the aisle talking to a guide and I was not able photograph the interior the way I wanted to.

I poked around, hoping to find a leaflet or pamphlet to understand the context but did not find one. However, the internet has come to my rescue:

Founded by the Guild of the Holy Cross before 1269, it passed into the control of the town corporation in 1553, when the Guild was suppressed by Edward VI. The chapel stands on Church Street, opposite the site of William Shakespeare’s home, New Place, and has historic connections to Shakespeare’s family. The chapel was gifted an extensive series of wall-paintings by Hugh Clopton, an earlier owner of New Place, and John Shakespeare, Shakespeare’s father, undertook their defacement in the later 1500s. The paintings have recently been conserved.” (

“The painting above is Doom’ – a large ornate scene which can be seen above the Chancel arch. To medieval worshippers its imagery would have been immensely powerful, and it remains a striking  centrepiece today.

Doom is the Old English word for judgement and the Doom painting depicts the Last Judgement – Christ deciding the eternal destination of human lives. Doom paintings were commonplace in churches and chapels pre-Reformation; there to ensure people reflected on how they were living their lives. In the Guild Chapel’s Doom, Jesus sits on a rainbow in the centre, surrounded by four angels. Mary and St John the Baptist flank him on either side. On the left is the Kingdom of Heaven and all the good souls rising from their graves. On the right are all the sinners being tortured by demons and fed into the Mouth of Hell (depicted literally as a fanged serpentine creature which you can still clearly make out).” (Information from the Guild Chapel Website).  There was a similar painting in St Thomas and St Edmunds Church in Salisbury

It would have been interesting to hear the stories behind the paintings but it did not seem like that would be possible. Besides, it was starting to get late and I really needed to find that bus stop. 

Leaving the chapel I decided to continue with Chapel Street until I hit Bridge Street which was where the bus would stop (theoretically). Looking at Google Earth after the fact reveals that there was a lot more to see in this area so it may warrant a return trip one day.

The Falcon Inn

The Falcon Inn opened around 1655 although the building dates from 1624 and no other building in the town has had a longer continuous history as licensed premises. 

Bridge Street becomes Wood Street and I was now in the right place. It was just a matter of finding the bus stop.

And naturally at that moment the X18 Bus trundled into view and I followed it to where I had bailed out this morning. But, I was 30 seconds too slow as the bus pulled away before I reached the stop. The next bus was 13H05 and that was 30 minutes away. I decided that the time had come to hunt down a loo and take a further look around Henley Street and try solve the mystery of Shakespeare’s birthplace.

If anything the area was even more crowded and that image of the house evaded me. The building below is the Shakespeare Centre, and there did not seem to be a way to find out what went on in it without forking over at least £17.50. I gave it a miss, maybe next time.

It was time to hit the bus stop. If all went well I would only just be able to make my bus in Evesham without a long wait. However, the bus was 8 minutes late and then we got stuck in a traffic jam in Evesham for 10 minutes. By the time I got to my bus stop the bus had left 18 minutes ago and I was stuck till the next bus which left 45 minutes later. Such are the vagaries of of public transport.

Stratford-upon-Avon was in the bag and it had been an interesting morning. Return trip? maybe; there are quite a few other places in the town that I would like to look at, and of course there is that War Memorial in Bidford. It is do-able so one day there may be a “Return to” post.  Total image count was 336, and some more are reproduced in the random image collection below.

DRW © 2019. Created 14/09/2019

Updated: 14/10/2019 — 20:03
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