2009-09-25 @ 08:17:38 by ashtonboatm
A sad day.
Thursday is normally my day for earning a crust by working in peoples gardens. At the moment I'm doing a lot for an elderly Austrian lady called Elsa who lives in Denton. I like Elsa, but I'm not so keen on the work as she wants all the trees and shrubs taking out of her garden. I'm finding good homes for as many as I can.
At about 11 AM I got a message from the shop to tell me that my friend John Taylor had died on Wednesday. John was about the same age as me and was taken by a sudden heart attack. As far as I know he'd not had any heart trouble before.
John was an excellent man. One of the most quietly helpful people around. I first met him when we were slipping "Forget me Not" for her rebuild in 1987. Things had gone wrong and everything had jammed up with the boat half out of the water. John just turned up, got stuck in and, with a combination of strength and practicality, helped us to get things moving again. Since then he's frequently done the same trick, turning up and helping out with just what's needed.
One day I was having a problem with teenagers who were causing havoc with an old car on the car park at Portland Basin. The police claimed to be powerless to do anything ( odd, if I had such an unroadworthy vehicle I'd be for the high jump). John turned up while the kids were away at Asda stocking up on cheap alcohol. We discussed the situation, scratched our heads, then exchanged mischievous grins as we both came up with the same solution. I found a length of line and we connected the troublesome car to Johns car, then we towed it, in the fading light of a late autumn evening, up to the police station. We pushed it into the compound at the back, next to a parked patrol car, then went to the front to hand it in as lost/stolen property. The police and civilians at the front desk were flummaxed. They had no paperwork for such an eventuality. Soon they were having quite a heated argument and treating me and John as suspects. After we had sat wondering what awaited us for 10 minutes or so they suddenly told us that we could go.
John will be sadly missed by a lot of people. He was one of the best.
On a lighter note. Later in the day I went to do some work in the wildlife friendly garden that I've created at the Ashton Chiropractic Centre. I was accused by a neighbour of polluting her garden! WITH FROGS!!!!
She's always hated the chiropractors and has been a thorn in their side ever since they started. She particularly dislikes my water feature made from old baths. We've had a big problem of vandalism . In the first year 4 of the 6 baths were smashed.
I was delighted to have frog spawn, then tadpoles and now frogs. She is obviously phobic about wildlife and is now claiming that her grandaughter won't visit her because she is scared of the frogs. Now, if I had a grandchild with frogophobia I would try to help them overcome it, but not this lady. She's demanding that I destroy the ponds to save her and her grandchild from the terrors of nature. As I won't co-operate she says she's going to take it further. That will be an interesting case for the environmental health department.