Today, Monday the 20th October 2014, I woke up to the news that the actress and author, Lynda Bellingham had sadly lost her battle with cancer. The media is full of well deserved tributes. Right up to the end Lynda never gave up. When being accused of giving up on life by stopping her chemotherapy treatment, she responded by saying that she was choosing life. By this she meant that she wanted the time she had left to be quality time. It seemed that the treatment had reached a point where the side effects where taking more of a toll on her body than the cancer. She expressed a desire to spend one last Christmas with her family, but sadly this wasn’t to be.
But why am I writing this? What has this sad news got to do with me?
Two years ago I was privileged to meet Lynda when she came to Cogges Manor Farm to film an episode of a series that she was doing called, ‘My tasty travels‘. For those of you who may not have seen my blog about it, Lynda was travelling the country recording programmes where she was challenged by someone to cook or bake something. Local people were then called upon to judge to see if they preferred Lynda’s offerings or that of the challenger.
Here at Cogges, Lynda was challenged by Carol, one of the volunteers who cooks on the range in the Victorian kitchen at weekends, to bake a Victorian meat pie, using only authentic Victorian ingredients and cooking it in the oven of the range. I, along with several other volunteers, were filmed tasting the pies and voting on which one we thought tasted the nicest. Lynda’s won and she was really pleased. She reckoned that it was the addition of onion chutney to the meat that did the trick.
In a break during the filming, I asked Lynda if I could take a photograph of her. She responded by asking if I’d like one taken with her. I of course said yes. Lynda then organised Tim, another volunteer at Cogges, to come out into the walled garden and take the photograph. After the photograph was taken, I was chatting to her and told her that I had started writing and had hopes of one day publishing a novel. She then confided in me that she was in fact in the middle of writing her first novel. She told me that she’d been approached by a publishing company, on the strength of her autobiography, to write one. She told me that she was aware that it was because she was famous that she’d been given this opportunity, but that she intended to do it to the best of her ability. A year later, ‘Tell me tomorrow’ was published.
Sadly, unlike Lynda, I haven’t written a novel. I’ve let the fear of failure stop me from even trying. Lynda’s untimely passing has reminded me that life is short and we don’t know what’s around the corner, or indeed how much time we may have left. Lynda encouraged me that ‘Ladies of a certain age’ should make the most of any opportunities that life brings their way. After all, that’s what my blog is all about.
I haven’t been a complete wimp. I have taken other opportunities that have come along, like writing this blog, for example, which I’m pleased to say has been added to three recommended blogger’s lists, But I’ve not been brave enough to start that novel – yet.
The world has lost a very special lady . I’ll never forget the day I met her, or the encouragement she gave me. Rest in peace Lynda, you’ll be sadly missed.
Photo’s of Lynda; Isabel’s own.
Cat photo; photo courtesy Drumully Irish Arts