Farewell Christine my Dear Friend

Each day this year I have been tearing off a page of my calendar and writing a few words to go in a gratitude jar. On June 9th I wrote that I was grateful for spending two wonderful days with Christine and Stuart. Today, through my tears, I wrote that I was grateful to have walked beside this beautiful lady.
I’ve known Christine for three years and in that time she has been the loveliest, most supportive blogging sister I could wish for. At the end of last year she emailed me to say that she was planning to be in Paris this summer and would I be available if she and Stuart made the trip across the channel. Would I? Too right I would, it was a dream come true and I wrote back happily saying so.
In the week leading up to their arrival I lost quite a bit of sleep as, like a child at Christmas, I was so excited. Where could I take them? Would Christine actually like me once we met? Even little things like would they be comfortable enough squeezed into my tiny car. And then the day arrived. We met at a pub car park just outside Exeter and she was amused by its name, the George and Dragon. I was amused by her accent, not as Aussie as I’d expected, instead her voice was like an English lady with a touch of Australian, apparently from her grandfather.
I whisked them off for lunch at a riverside café where Stuart drew the garden where we ate, laughed and shared stories. They both loved the food and the stroll along the quayside, it was wonderful to have such appreciative visitors! Next a promised trip to Dartmoor, with Christine taking photos through the car window. We stopped at Chagford and explored the ancient church with its rood screen before driving high up the narrow winding lanes to Scorhill.
I chose Scorhill because I knew she would love both the stone circle and the hole stone in the North Teign river with its links to the feminine spirit. She was so at home in the big sky landscape where sheep and lambs nibbled at the sparse moorland grass, and oh how the sun shone for us as we walked. I dropped them back to their car, tired and happy – they had after all climbed Glastonbury Tor before reaching me that morning, with a plan to collect them bright and early on Sunday.
Stuart had half planned to do his own thing, so I was touched that he had enjoyed our day so much that he decided not to, despite it being partly day of garden visits! Our first stop was especially for him, to satisfy his passion for sustainable agriculture, we went to Riverford Farm where he was able to chat to someone and learn how Devon does it. We stopped to buy some local chilli chocolate which she was still eating a week later! Next, a quick stop at Dartington hall to see one of my favourite gardens,

At Dartington Hall garden
At Dartington Hall garden

 

and then a nice lunch in Totnes, with local food and cider.
A drive through the South Hams led us to Coleton Fishacre and the rain, never mind there was the house to explore and then tea and cake. By the time we’d devoured it the showers had passed so we strolled through the garden where they both found plants and trees native to Australia as well as many surprises that were new to them.

Christine and Stuart at Coleton Fishacre
Christine and Stuart at Coleton Fishacre

Not wanting the day to end I drove the scenic way home along the coast. Stuart was hilarious when we reached Torquay, ‘I can’t believe I’m actually at Torquay, he said before launching into a Fawlty Towers sketch. These special places of mine are even more precious now, a wonderful layer of memories have been added. When I left them at their B&B that evening I cried. ‘Now you must come to Australia’ they said, ‘you’re welcome any time’.
This is from an email I received soon after,
‘We had such an amazing time with you, it was really special, and just meeting was so wonderful … I feel we are heart sisters dear one!’

I do indeed feel like I’ve lost a heart sister, I am overwhelmed with sadness. Who would have imagined that less than a month later I would be writing this? My thoughts and prayers are with Stuart and their children and grandchildren at this time, I know I’m not alone.
We have lost a very special lady, an intuitive healer, a wise and loving soul. Christine sweet planet walker, you will be missed by so many, travel well.

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33 thoughts on “Farewell Christine my Dear Friend

  1. Big fat bear hug for you … I’m glad she was such a bright star in your universe X

  2. A lovely tribute to a lovely lady who will be sadly missed I know from your story. So glad you have some photos to go with your memories xxx

  3. Such a beautiful photo of the two of you Gilly. And a heartfelt tribute. I am glad too that you got the opportunity to spend time with her. Like you said, WP will not be the same without her.

  4. Oh, dear, this is so tragic. I wish I had known this friend and fellow blogger. What a lovely tribute. I’m so sorry for you loss and the loss of Christine’s family!

    Hugs from Ecuador,
    Kathy

  5. What beautiful memories of your time together, Gilly. So lucky to have had that opportunity, though I know it just adds to the hurt at present.
    We had a tentative plan to meet in the Algarve but our dates didn’t quite coincide. Who would have thought that after all that joy, she would be gone in a flash. Poor Stuart. What comfort can you give? He will need his friends and family. I was awed that he posted for her. How amazing was that? Live well, Gilly- for Christine.

  6. A wonderful tribute to a lovely lady! I was stunned to receive Stuart’s email yesterday to know that no longer would I be privileged to read Christine’s thoughts and see her wonderful photography. She will be sadly missed

  7. I’m so sorry, Gilly. I hesitated to click the ‘Like’ button as I do not like the sad news but your story of your visit with Christine is touching. I’m happy you were able to get that opportunity. It is amazing the way our connection in this invisible yet visible world binds us with people who can become a precious memory.
    Blessings to you during this sad time. ❤ hugs ❤

  8. It has been a sad day. I keep welling up reading the comments from people who knew Christine. And her family must be totally devastated. This is such a beautiful tribute to a very special lady. I am so glad you posted it to share with us and you are so lucky to have spent time with her and Stuart. We will all miss her warmth.
    Jude xx

  9. As you said, the places you visited together have a new layer of meaning and memories now. Her death, so sudden, is shocking for so many of us, flung far and wide across the world, and powerless to ease Stuart’s appalling loss.

  10. The photo of the two of you is filled with joy, Gilly. A treasure .
    Your post is a wonderful tribute to Christine . Your telling of your time together is lovely to envision but amplifies the depth of loss. Thanks for sharing with all of us who are bereft of her presence now. Xxoo Ruth in Pittsburgh

  11. Gilly my heartfelt sympathies on the death of your dear friend Christine. Sometimes we meet people and they become so dear, even more than blood relations. Take consolation in the fact that you two had a wonderful time together; indeed precious memories that will stay with you forever. 🙂

    May the soul of Christine rest peacefully.

  12. A lovely tribute to a very special lady, Gilly. How lovely that you got to meet this darling couple. I’m also really shocked by the news of her passing, as although I never met her, I felt a close affinity to her, through her wonderful sharing with us all on WordPress.

  13. My dear Gilly, I am so sorry for your loss. I heard about this sad sad news from Madhu and although I had only recently had started following her, it was apparent immediately what a beautiful person she was. She has left an empty space but I’m sure her star will shine on.

  14. Hi Gilly,
    wet keyboards are not so good.
    That was such a special 2 days and meant so much to me as well.
    Little things like how you both wore the same coloured top! I’ll never forget you whisking us up to Scorhill, the mirrors of the small car (actually hers at home is the same size) touching the hedges each side. Sitting down to sketch the stone circle as the two sisters headed off into the moor.
    I will photograph and post the sketches from the trip in a few weeks- at stuartwhitelaw.com. Christine keeps giving me jobs. I have also been reminded by restlessjo that I have a blog that I started years ago called southcoastliving.
    Maybe I will have the strength to start doing something there in her honour.

  15. Thanks for sharing some more about your visit from Christine and Stuart. I still cannot believe her little bird will no longer appear on the bottom of our posts. Her sincere comments will be missed. I’m glad of my two months of being in her blogging world. ❤

  16. Oh Gilly, i am just in the process of catching up with blogs that i missed while on my hiatus, and this evening i finally headed over to dadirridreaming, and i could not believe what i was reading. what a shock!
     
    from your comments to Stuart’s post, i assumed that you must have posted about their visit to your corner of the planet, and it was so good to read these words. how nice that you were able to meet. the photo of the two of you is lovely. sounds like you had a great visit.
     
    in any case, i need to be calling it a day but i did want to thank you for sharing this story and these moments you had together. my heart goes out to you, too.

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