At 7-30 am , on the 11th of October, the day immediately following Cornwall Motor Speedway’s Fall Showdown Weekend, I was woken early by a phone call from my brother Chris in the UK.
He had some sad news, that our loving mother had passed away earlier that morning.
Mum was just a few weeks away from her 93rd birthday. The news came as a great shock, as I always considered her to be quite healthy for her age, and fitter in some ways than me.
She was the one that got me hooked on all things related to cars, especially stock car racing.
Although I’ve been living in Canada for over 25 years , I spoke to her on the phone every week. On our Thursday morning chats, she would up date me with the latest news, and remind me of the up and coming F1 Grand Prix. She enjoyed watching televised races on her TV in England.
Chris and my Sister Anne, took care of the funeral arrangements , while me and my daughter Carla figured out our plans to attend.
The COVID situation meant there were all sorts of ‘hoops to jump through’ in order to travel. Most of these include doing ‘apps’ and various things through personal phones. I’m ‘old school’ , and don’t have a clue how all that stuff works, so Carla had to help me.
Luckily I’m fully vaccinated, and in fact I went for my third booster shot a day before leaving Canada. I’m eligible for that because of my auto immune disease (Myasthenia Gravis).
In order to travel in to the UK , you have to be fully vaccinated and take a mandatory PCR COVID TEST on arrival.
So on Friday the 22nd of October ,I left home in Cornwall, Ontario bound for Montreal and the PARK N FLY in Dorval.
Carla now lives in Raleigh , North Carolina, so I met her at the Montreal Airport . In stead of her flying direct from the USA to the UK, we arranged to meet there so she could help me through all the ‘Aps’ and COVID regulations.
We departed at around 7-15 pm on an Air Canada Air Bus for the night flight to London Heathrow.
We landed around 6-30 am (GMT) and after customs and immigration, we set off to find the airport based location EXPRESS TESTS where our pre booked COVID Tests would take place. They promise the results the same day.
The next job, was to pick up the rental car from SIXT who were based at a Hotel close to the Airport , We had a nice Volvo Estate Car and Carla did all the driving.
From London she drove to the Premier Inn , in Witney, Oxfordshire where we would be based for four days.
Witney is a small town in the Cotswolds , where I lived for a few years as a child. My first school was there.
Our first task was to visit the local phone store to get my UK phone set up.
Sunday , we’d been invited to my sister Anne’s place for lunch in Milton Under Wychwood , which is the same little village where my mother lived. Mum has her own flat (apartment) at ‘The Paddocks’ which is s special complex for seniors.
Monday was the day before the funeral so I met up with my racing buddy Robert Sellar for a chat in the morning before some of the long distance travelers arrived in the area.
Carla’s mother Pat and step father , Steve arrived from Lincolnshire, while my long time friend Lynn , drove up from Hampshire. I’ve known Lynn since we were teenagers, and she fondly remembers how mum cared for her during some difficult times in her life.
So, Carla spent the day with her mum, while Lynn and I went into Chipping Norton for a few hours.
On Tuesday the 25th of October, at 11-00 am at the North Oxfordshire Creamatorium near Kidlington family and friends gathered to say their final goodbye to my mum.
It was beautiful service for a lovely lady.
Refreshments followed at the Village Hall in Milton Under Wychwood.
Carla and I remained in the UK until the weekend until our flights back to North America . Another PCR COVID test was taken in Milton Keynes on Thursday, in order for me to return to Canada.