I nicknamed Clive ‘Mr Original’ in the early days of our relationship.
My husband is truly a unique individual: a guru of pop music – and BBC Radio 2 Popmaster, I might add – a DIY expert, a computer wizard, a savvy traveller, a generous and supportive father and grandfather, and the best friend I could ever ask for.
Most of all, Clive is a sensitive, caring individual. When we met in Sydney, Australia, he told me he was originally from a place in England called Felixstowe. His life story hasn’t always been a happy one; like many people in the world, he has experienced his share of life-changing losses and challenges.
But, unlike many people in the world, Clive always focused on the positive. He got up every day and made the most of his situation and opportunities. And he still does that, every day – just gets on with life and all it has to offer. He has incredible strength of spirit and the most amazing positive attitude of anyone I’ve ever known.
Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would one day live and write blog posts from the British coastal town where Clive grew up.
Several of Clive’s lifelong friends joined us for his birthday celebration earlier this week. Ray – growing up as cousins in the extended family and time spent playing at the Clarendon Hotel; Maddy, whose priceless friendship and aerogrammes to Australia helped sustain Clive in the teenage years following his mother and stepfather’s relocation Down Under; David, a friendship formed in the church youth fellowship – not to forget these two winning trophies as part of their team coming first in the popular Felixstowe Bible Quiz.
[Digression: for those unfamiliar with this precious piece of history, The Children’s Newspaper of 28 February 1959 reported,
‘Every week Sunday-school classes at Felixstowe (Suffolk) prepare for the Annual Bible Quiz. This event attracts over 1000 people to watch teams from all over the town competing for the coveted St. George’s Challenge Cup. Now the idea has spread via the columns of a local newspaper, sent out by a reader to a relative in Canada, and children of Orillia, Ontario, are following their example.’
You can read more about this quiz team and another of life’s full-circle moments in A Sydney-Felixstowe-Darien Circle.]
In more recent years, friends old and new have included us in their own special events and days of celebration. This week we were so happy fifteen of them could help Clive celebrate his birthday. No matter where you call home, friends and family make all the difference.
Happy birthday to my wonderful Mr Original and many more.
Cheers and thanks for reading. Next week’s letter will be from Felixstowe.