"Thank you all for being here. Some of you have travelled from
far...Australia, Italy Germany and Wales...no matter how far.. thank
you... and there are people right now in America Australia Italy
France Belgium South Africa New Zealand and here in the UK sharing
this moment with us.
I now want to share with you some thoughts about this Loving,
Courageous, feet firmly on the ground, Intelligent, Generous, Sexy,
British Broad I called the “Wench”
Frances wanted me to spell out her achievements...letters after her
name... Dip COT, Lic AC, PGDip JP... in 1975 she qualified as an
Occupational Therapist. In 84 as an Antenatal Teacher and later as an
advanced NCT Teacher. In 1990 she got her acupuncture licensate and 3
years ago a diploma in Public Service management...with an invitation
to do that as a Phd. Most recently...she got a certificate in Method
Acting, she was planning to take that further.
She served as a Justice of the Peace for the past 22 years
When looking through her recent diary of good memories she wrote right
at the beginning
And did you get what you wanted from this Life even so?
And what did you want ?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself beloved on this earth
. ...and I think she was loved, from when she was a child...and it is
obvious to me that if you are loved... especially as a child so you
love back... I used to say to her that she was easy to love ....
nearly all who contacted us have said how they loved her
So Now I want to tell you about the things she loved..
She loved being British...she loved that she was born and raised in
this green and pleasant land ...the country...the people, that had
invented the NHS and the WI.... the tolerant striving way they welcome
people to join in this idea that that they call Britain....recently
she was an Olympic games maker at Gatwick Airport, and I cant think of
a more joyous welcome than one received from her ....come and see and
join us...she came home after her first day asking me to translate a
range of welcoming sentences in 4 or 5 languages to make sure people
got the best welcome.
She loved that British preoccupation with fairness and was a JP ...not
because she was interested in justice as retribution but in fairness
She loved the books, the language, the words...& liked to say words
like serendipity and autumnal... and the occasional expletive.
But being British didn’t mean she wasn’t going to be interested in
other cultures...she trained as an acupuncturist...travelling with the
greatest of ease between scientific western ideas of medicine and
those of china born out of tradition ...and she couldn’t really
understand all my doubts and machinations about my Italian
identity....for her it was simple...just be it.. enjoy it...and one
night having imbibed an above average intake of whiskeys with our dear
friends Paul and Juliet in despair, she called me a pseudo Italian
On Remembrance Sunday she would sit herself to watch the event on TV
...no fuss...we could join in if we wanted ...it was a time she could
grieve the lost uncle she never met and reconnect with her mother’s
As a child in the Girl Guides she learnt the names of all British
birds and wild flowers and loved pointing them out
She Loved being a woman....she thought that penis envy was a simple
minded idea from a silly little Austrian....the uterus...now there’s
something to be envious about.
She loved that she could share the company of women in that intimate
way we men often seem to struggle with.
She liked to feed her friends and family...by planning and tasting, by
creating feasts...sometimes for over 70 people ... and having us sit
down to enjoy them.
She loved the making of clothes, feeling the cloth, the softness,
stroking it, the cut...she made her own wedding dress...and looked
stunning in it......she wasn’t high maintenance but she liked the
choices women had...and of course she liked shoes...she was the Imelda
Marcus of Ardingly
She loved to do what traditionally men do...and her beloved father had
taught her....she loved to drive, wanted to be a Rally car driver and
her favourite cars were British...a clapped out Morris Traveler and
She loved to feel the extent of her body, to feel stroked, the
coolness or the heat of water...she swam in every river lake and sea
in Australia when we visited two years ago...once ignoring a sign
warning of crocodiles sharks and sting rays...she was going in... and
in spite of all the shoes she loved walking barefoot...we recently had
an invitation to a tea party at Buckingham Palace...with all that lawn
no way was she going to miss the opportunity to walk barefoot....queen
or no queen.
...and as a woman she liked men... not only George Clooney but always
happy for a little flirt ...sometimes with my male friends...and
recently even the good looks of the consultant Oncologist was
something she remarked on.
And she loved being a woman because then she would be like her mum, a
woman she adored, a loving tough little woman who taught her that not
only love but also courage is something women do.
She loved finding herself ...forever seeking new meaning and ways of
expressing herself...and we go back to words...she loved the word
curious...stay doubting a little more, wonder about it.... think!
Recently she did an intense top London method acting course and had
been offered a place on an advanced course she wanted to attend.
She once thought she would want to be a Quaker as it fitted with her
free thinking mind and she also took an interest in Daoism and
Buddhism. She was she told me very happy.... fortunate... to have met
Marcus here today a few days before she died.
She loved People... working with people.... in her words : to maximise
their potential, be it family, friends, colleagues and service users
in all areas I’ve worked in: NCT, acupuncture, OT and seeing them move
forward without me
She loved meeting people...Italians, Greeks, Belgians, French and she
so wanted to speak with them in their language...she loved her Italian
family, understood Italian and on our Holidays we would sing O Sole
Mio as a family in the car with Pavarotti
She loved being an OT....now you should not mistake OT with
Occupational Therapists...OTs are something between a band of sisters
(with an occasional brother) and a Masonic Lodge....no secret hand
shake, but a shared language, a way of sharing of knowing what its
like to live in a relatively oppressed state. No matter how thoroughly
and better educated you might be you’re still under some Social Work
shadow...Frances’ answer to this dilemma of course was to marry a
social worker ...but I don’t know how much that helped. ...and she was
quite pleased when our eldest son then aged three was asked what does
your dad do, and he said a “So-called worker”
OT was something she had immense pride in and here she would get most
despairing if she felt anyone might let the side down... in her own
words - it was once said that I didnt suffer fools gladly, I’d like to
put that straight, what I cant suffer is people who should know better
and dont !
The Para Olympics brought together for her what is best in being
British and her pride in her profession... what Britain achieved was
nothing short of a miracle...the get up and walk Lazarus miracle ...a
truly made in Britain OT miracle...she was so excited at the closing
ceremony by the achievement, the celebration, the heroism, that she
stood up in our lounge for the national anthem at the closing
ceremony...I asked her what she was doing....Ive got to !! she said
She loved children because I think she understood...she knew how
wonderful it is to be loved as a child...and maybe in every child she
saw she wanted to remember that feeling...she would point new born
babies to me like they were another unique miracle.. She loved being
an NCT teacher and have our house fill with young women and their
bumps and the chap they tagged along...and that special moment when
the first child was born and was brought to pay a special visit.
She Loved me
Mostly, and above all else, Julian Adam and Petr, she loved you....
which she thought of as her greatest achievement, all else that Ive
said pales into insignificance.
She loved choosing your names like she was sculpting your identity.
She loved her bumps and before you were born loved to fall asleep in
her private embrace... she wanted to pass on that unconditional
feeling of being loved she had from her parents.
She loved your achievements, your successes, your diligence, and the
passion..... that feisty unwillingness to surrender that you got from
her. She loved your independence yet couldn’t wait to see you
again....and she loved to compete with you and to win.
She Loved your embrace , to feel held and hugged by any one or all of
you was her greatest joy, to have you snuggle in her lap and fall
asleep, to hold you in those very private and personal moments of
intense conversation...when I remember I was shood away, she could see
herself in you, she felt such pride in the legacy of the beliefs and
values she left in you...take everything away just leave me with my
boys...when she was told of the gravity of her illness her first words
were...what will I tell my boys?
But there were red lines...don’t cross them...she never smacked
them...you don’t hit children you love them unconditionally...but if
they had transgressed they dreaded the moment when she might deliver a
punch that Mohamed Ali would be proud of...that second of hesitation
before she would clearly say......Well.... I’m disappointed in you!
And just when she thought there was no love space left in her heart
for any other child, she was blessed with the birth of her niece Grace
Frances...a girl! A feisty, determined, intelligent and loving girl
just like her which made her feel even a little more fulfilled.
Frances kept little poems ...expressions she found...in her
diary...one from Dr Zeuss is in your order of services... I will now
close with another
Life isn’t about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain
Frances...... thank you for sharing your love and your life with me.
On behalf of my sons and myself thank you, and thank you for loving my wife.