Those of you who have followed my blog, will know about our neighbour Hans, and how he befriended us, irritated us, got us drunk, stuck his nose in, criticised all our home additions, but was always pleased to see us.He had had a stroke and so couldn’t use one hand and was also diabetic. He spent a lot of time frustrated that he could no longer go shooting and hunting.
In our strongest memory of him, was when we had our friends John and Liz here, who he also got so plastered that John still can’t remember coming home and eating trout with us. Then on a later visit he had Liz and me making plum jam, (which never set because he wouldn’t let us put enough sugar in due to the diabetes) while the men were eating pigs trotters he had boiled especially for them!
In the past couple of years, he’d had falls, and I forget how many times we had to get a ladder to his bedroom as he was locked in and was laying on the floor, having fallen or was in a diabetic coma. He was taken into the care system and had carers, all of whom he slagged off and accused of stealing things – we often wondered what he said about us! He couldn’t handle it when we didn’t want paying for doing jobs for him, but we did accept a beer now and then.
On his birthday last year he wouldn’t accept a drink and we could see he was losing weight. He was eventually admitted and it was cancer, and the rest is history. Always a difficult man, he alienated most who knew him and he had rifts with the neighbours. I often wonder what had so damaged him in childhood to make him so. We just saw a grumpy old git, not the real troublemaker he once was. He was often very rude to me and took the mickey constantly. There were tales in the village he had beaten his wife too. But that is past, who am I to judge hearsay.
Shortly before we left for the UK, he seemed to be slipping away and we expected the worse, but three days later, he was sat up in bed, he pointed to the crucifix on the wall and said ‘HE healed me’: From that point we had no worries about where he would be, it’ll be great to have a chat with him on the other side. The last time we saw him he was not so good and as we got on the ferry home for England, he passed away. He has a brother,to whom he was always been horrible to who will inherit everything. We’ve been asked to carry a cross and a lantern at his memorial service which is an honour. I must admit, I’m breaking a commandment in thinking of what we could do with his flat as a holiday let. It’s said that death brings out the worst in us all.
So RIP Paggy, life wont be the same here without you bellowing out of the window and asking us if we want a beer.