In December we lost a really good friend in Clarice Maes. Clarice and husband Raymond joined our Church a good few years ago. A lovely couple, Raymond having a wonderful sense of humour. He was a Master Craftsman in the craft of painting and decorating. He was a tutor to our son Chris during his apprenticeship, three years training at Southfields College and Chris was in awe of him, says not one person on the planet can paint a door like Mr Maes, a claim to fame indeed.
Clarice being a down to earth northern girl was a friend to everyone. She organised an annual trip to the panto held at the Theatre Royal, Nottingham, every year, included in the cost of transport and tickets was always a bag of sweets handed round on the coach on the way. Unfortunately Clarice didn’t carry on after she lost Raymond but we were all so grateful for the wonderful times we’d spent, laughing and shouting out.
Clarice suffered some bad health over the past few years, but a couple of times recently she’d come along to Church to support events. The World War 1 celebration concert and the Brigades Christmas Tree Festival found her chatting away, just like the old days so imagine our shock when we heard she’d passed away. Our love and prayers to go to the family on the loss of such a wonderful lady, who we’ll miss very much.
I know you all like reading the articles by Jess, our little dog but I’m not sure you all know or remember our Heidi, the dog before Archie, who was the dog before Jess. Heidi had a thing about writing articles in the Church magazine and we made a book of them after we lost her in 2002.
I hope we have room in this edition of the magazine as I have copied an article I think you may find interesting:-
I’m going to stay with Auntie Clarice and Uncle Raymond while mum and dad are away on expedition. Alison is going to a wedding and staying over so I’m going to stay “up Kelmarsh” to see if I like it. It’s a rehearsal for my ‘wedding’ stay in October, when mum, dad and Alison will be away overnight and it’s too long for me to be left on my own, so Auntie Clarice and Uncle Raymond have offered to look after me.
Mum primed me before she went, behave yourself’ she said, Ino nipping ankles, no nicking food’. I bristled at that, I only nicked dad’s cold chicken supper once, but I still say he shouldn’t have left it on his chair, level with my nose! ‘Keep off the furniture, say please and thank you, walk nicely on your lead, don’t pull, it doesn’t really matter if it’s not you out in front’. I got fed up then, sat on her foot, yawned and scratched my ear. She took the hint and giving me a big kiss said bye then sweetheart’. ‘Bye’ said dad, not looking up from the paper, ‘not you’ said mum. ‘I was taking to Heidi’.
Although I listened very carefully to all mum told me, I did take it all in and I did try my best, but Auntie Clarice insisted I sat on the settee with her, she encouraged me up! Uncle Raymond took a photo and I had to grin when he said he’d get a copy for mum and dad.
Auntie Clarice and uncle Raymond enjoyed having me and said they were looking forward to having me while my lot were at Chris and Teresa’s wedding in Mansfield, although I was a bit put out that they didn’t want me for a bridesmaid!
When October came I enjoyed myself no end when I went to stay ‘up Kelmarsh’. I sniffed round the big garden, and left a few little gifts. I took auntie Clarice out and tried my best not to pull although I didn’t let her get in front of me.
I snuggled on the settee and watched TV and I let Auntie Clarice have at least one quarter of the bed at night! Uncle Raymond was decorating and I nearly helped him, but he didn’t need me.
It was home from home, I followed auntie Clarice round just like I do mum, you have to keep a close eye on the one who feeds you! I was even brave enough to bark when visitors came to the door, but I retrained myself very well and didn’t make any attempt to nip any ankles, ooh, I was so good. I went to sleep instead and dreamed my very most favourite dream, the one where I am chasing rabbits and one of them, a big one, turns into uncle Ray Green and I do nip him. It’s nearly as good as the real thing.
I said a fond farewell to Auntie Clarice and Uncle Raymond and left with my tail held high.
PS: Heidi died on the morning of 16th September 2002 in her 13th year and just one week before Alison came home from Australia. Teresa drove “up Kelmarsh” and broke the news to Clarice and Raymond. It really upset her that she left them in tears. On the arrival of Archie in November 2002, Clarice and Raymond were the first ones round with a little present and a card. We still have that card in a frame over our lounge door, it made us laugh so much, but is now so much more precious.