​​​Don't stop reading. I need you to understand what they have done!


By Robert Burns (1759-1796)

Should auld acquaintances be forgot,
And never brought to min?
Should auld acquaintances be forgot,
And auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

Sunday, July 8, 2012 - A leafy suburban street off Banbury Road, Oxford, England

... ‘I'll just go and help Monica get up and catch my first kiss.’
   He smiled then, it was as if Tom’s radiant eyes were in the room. Off he went, allowing Claire a chance to familiarise herself with the surroundings. Tom's picture stood framed on the wall to one small side over the fireplace. The rocky outcrop of Haytor on Dartmoor stood to one side of him as he perched on a plateau rock, posing for the photographer. Claire remembered it well, for she had been behind the camera.

Sunday, September 21, 2003 – Dartmoor, England

The sun had risen just over half an hour ago. The wind was already up, tousling his hair with feisty passion. Tom was starting to doubt the wisdom of the early morning trek, even if it had been his idea.
   ‘Come on Claire, hurry up! My smile's freezing to my face.’
   ‘Patience, Dear Heart! Patience,’ she teased, ‘a virtue you must learn one day and how about now.’
   She changed the aperture down a few ‘F’ stops, wanting to capture his presence in stark sharpness and reflect that with the distant water laden dark cloud behind him.
   ‘Beautiful,’ she said and clicked.

The trouble with memories they can be like a swarm of mosquitoes sometimes, attacking you from all sides, until one gets you, and you feel the pain, too late to catch the one that got away.

Seafront Rock Wall - Author - Philip Oldfield


Haytor, Dartmoor - Author Philip Oldfield
Seafront Telescope - Author Philip Oldfield
Claire Yohanus, Blood Relationships - Author Philip Oldfield

Saturday, December 26, 2009 – Sidmouth, England

Some of the large boulders dotted along the beach beneath the sandstone cliffs were scored with horizontal lines traversing their surface, as if a Giant’s boots had embedded its tread into the rock face. The waves sloshed and pounded the rocks, finding air pockets to burst amongst their number. The turbulent water spun particles of sand into frenzy and turned the sea around the Sidmouth coastline into an angry and sullen brown mass. It matched her mood. The rock islands and groynes standing a few hundred metres into the bay might be an effective protection for the seafront, but their presence did nothing to hold back her tears.
   From the cliff top pathway, near Jacob’s ladder, a winter tourist put 20p into the telescope and initially swept the horizon. As the telescope swung back and forth, the solitary figure of a woman filled the screen. The tourist paused, and momentarily observed the woman and then followed her gaze out to sea.
   The sun’s rays had broken through the cloud canopy spreading two spotlight beams onto the sea’s surface. The resulting reflection unveiled a platinum phosphorous glow across the skyline. As the wind gusted, the gaps in the clouds shifted and the spotlights beamed over the water as if the coast guard were searching for a person lost at sea.
   Claire hailed them, but the light pulled away in the other direction
   ‘Oh Tom, how could you let me go?’
   Claire stood with her back against the seafront railings and gazed almost hypnotised by the endless expanse of water. She cast a lonely figure and was possessed by many internal shadows, no eye could see. Claire dwelt upon the last time she was here with Tom. Moving away from the railings, Claire came to the pathway, which here and there expands into weather beaten alcoves that run along the bottom of the sandstone cliffs. In one, she stopped and searched the names and messages left by numerous passers-by, past and present. Many inscriptions were worn down by the elements, but there, yes, still visible, she found theirs, ‘Tom and Claire, 2005 – true love, our souls know it.’

The gentle mutterings of George and Monica in their bedroom upstairs hummed lightly into Claire’s ears, bringing her back into herself once more...

The trouble with memories they can be like a swarm of mosquitoes sometimes, attacking you from all sides, until one gets you, and you feel the pain, too late to catch the one that got away.