Saturday, March 23, 2013

A special friend

How a week can change things.  After last week’s happy post about our Peter, I now have a very very sad one about another Peter.

pete 1

Pete Higson our very dear friend for well over thirty years died yesterday after a monumental two and a half year battle with illness.  Just when we all thought he had beaten it.  We were already making plans to take Pete on a celebratory cruise this summer.

pete 2

Pete was one of our closest friends and our companion on some of our most memorable cruises.  Most significantly our first proper cruise taking Herbie home after we had just bought her.  He also was with us for the first days on Bankside, our son Richard’s boat, on part of his homeward cruise.  Pete was the man you would want on such cruises on an unknown boat.  Calm and resourceful, a knowledge of things mechanical with the hand skills to match.  And he was as strong as an ox.  With Pete on board you knew you could get out of any problem. Not only that he shared our love of the canals and our penchant for the odd pint or three of real ale.

At home, I have played music with Pete on most Tuesday nights for a dozen years.  He played a mean rhythm bouzouki and did a fair bit of the singing in our undiscovered supergroup PRANK.  (Pete, Rob And Neil & Kath geddit?).

pete 3

On nights when we couldn’t be joined by our fellow band member Rob, we abandoned our customary Irish jigs, reels and polkas and fooled about with 60s pop like a couple of naughty schoolkids while teacher wasn’t looking. We had a rather fine version of the old 1960 Jimmy Jones hit, Handyman played a la James Taylor but on bouzoukis.

Pete was a master craftsman with wood.  How many of your friends could make a perfect bow fronted oak and glass corner cabinet without a single screw or nail ?  He loved old machinery,  Land Rovers, railways, and has a huge collection of craft tools which he did the odd bit of trading in.

Pete leaves a wife Val, with whom we are very close and three wonderful grown children and a much loved Grand daughter.  They are busy comforting and supporting each other as I write.  They are a strong family.

So long Pete.  Kath and I will miss you more than words can say.


Anonymous said...

What a wonderful piece, not a thing that I am sure you want to hear but I enjoyed it greatly.


Vallypee said...

A very very moving tribute and accolade to your friend. It touches me even more this week because I have been remembering a dear friend who also lost his battle to illness, and who was also a dear companion on the waterways. My deepest sympathies Neil.

Anonymous said...

For a man you clearly cared for and very much admired. So sorry for your loss but how lucky you were to have met such a lovely man!

Anonymous said...

Kath and Neil, I'm sorry.
You made me feel he was someone very special and wish I'd known him too.