Dear blog followers Stewart Trainor here:
Many of you will know, but some may not, that my wonderful wife has left us. She died in the evening of July 4th, the day they put a statue up to Ronald Reagan. The irony of it would not have been lost on her. She departed this world, the lifelong champion of human rights and dignity that she had always been. She, however, bore the mantle of champion with a lightness and grace that entirely escaped those who sit in high places and end up on plinths.
Jean has shared her musings with you over these months, and I’m sure you will miss them. She would have thought of them as ‘musings’, nothing dogmatic, nothing didactic in the obvious sense. “I hate those pompous buggers on Front Row discussing how many levels of textual analysis are possible in Middlemarch” she would say, “I bet George Elliot is rotating in her grave”. Her comments came from the heart, and a pretty prodigious processor in the head never weighed them down with pomposity or cant. She was a devoted and courageous campaigner, but never sought prominence. She loved the simple act of sharing, and that’s what she’s been doing with you.
I’ve shared my life with her since she was 15 years old (not even in the sixth form yet – shocking eh?). I can’t wake up to share our tea and toast now. And, like you, I can no longer share her whimsical sideways on look at a barmy world, but I’m not going to weigh down her lightness with heavy clichés about her remaining always with me; she wouldn’t like that. I’ll leave you instead with one of my many fond memories, which of course will remain. It’s one that shows her totally unpretentious nature, alongside her simple joy at a complex task well done.
We were going for a well-earned weekend break in Paris. On the way into the aircraft cabin she picked up a free copy of The Times. We found our seats, sat down, and in the time that it took the plane to taxi out to the take of runway, some 10 – 12 minutes she had completed the Times Crossword. She merely lent across and said “I think I’ll have a bit of a doze now darlin”, and by the time we lifted off she was asleep.
The Funeral will take place at Robin Hood Crematorium, Streetsbrook Road, Solihull, on 15th July at 1pm, with a reception afterwards at Kings Heath Cricket Club.