Quite a weekend! On Friday we established a skype link with South Africa and 'met' Jozanne and her family for the first time. Wow! That was a moment. Jozanne still has her lovely smile. The link didn't work quite so well when we tried it at Cornerstone on Saturday at the book launch, as we could hear them but not vice versa. However that didn't spoil their enjoyment or the excitement of having their virtual company for the afternoon.
Mary, the manager at Cornerstone, did an amazing job decorating the whole place with bunting. Katrina and the caterers produced cakes - all with an orange theme. I missed the carrot cake, but enjoyed a cup-cake with an orange jelly baby on top at the end - which was yummy. It was a real party. Thanks to everyone who made it happen.
And also thank you to everyone who came. People came from near and far for it. Sheffield, Nottingham, Rugby, Sidmouth, Bristol and London - as well of course friends from Stanford, Grove, Wantage and Didcot.
Here is Lesley Ogden, the ubiquitous and tireless branch secretary of our local MNDA branch, who brought a display; and on the right is my promotions' manager, Bryan, who, for example, is responsible for the I Choose Everything Facebook site.
Here I am talking to Joanne Warren, who is going to do the Great North Run in aid of the MNDA, in memory of her father, John, our friend who died last November. In the background is the lovely Mary, who manages Cornerstone.
Even some readers of this blog were there, and it was so nice to meet them. Afterwards, the family of Tim Berner came and chilled out with us at home. Tim is a dedicatee of the book. His life-asserting attitude to MND inspired and encouraged me. As you'll have gathered, I don't believe terminal illness is an unmitigated tragedy, and that thinking of sufferers as 'victims' is profoundly unhelpful. And that's true whether or not you believe that death is the final full stop. Sadly I never met Tim, but his family tell me we would have got on well together.
Fortunately there was a lot of sport on TV the rest of the weekend, as that seemed to be all I was good for! The play-off game for 3rd place in the World Cup, between Germany and Uruguay, turned out to be one of the best matches of the tournament - and then on Sunday after church we had it wall-to-wall: British Grand Prix from Silverstone, with poetic justice among the Red Bulls, and Grove's own Williams F1 got their best result so far with Barichello in 5th and Hulkenberg 10th. Yes. And then there was the Tour de France climbing the Alps. A friend of mine is concerned that Alberto Contador might win. What with Rafael Nadal winning Wimbledon and later that night Spain winning the World Cup, after a bruising encounter with the Dutch, he reckons the Spanish would be insufferable! A good thing Alonso doesn't look set to win F1! Between the Tour and the World Cup, I could nod off to the quiet swish/click of the Scottish Open Golf. Last time I looked one of the Molinari brothers was romping away with it.
But that wasn't all this weekend...