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Reform Magazine | December 5, 2023

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On the pilgrim way: ‘She keeps my zest for life alive’

Sheila Maxey gives thanks for a friend

I have put away the photo of Kees and me, taken last summer on our diamond wedding anniversary. Our son took it and gave us a large copy, which had pride of place, but I no longer want to look at Kees in his frailty of body and mind. Instead I have a photo of him taken a few years ago. He is sitting with a mug of coffee, smiling a little, looking at me and listening. I often talk to him, tell him things. No response, of course.

I have a newish friend, A, with whom I am walking the London Jubilee canalside walk from Paddington to Canary Wharf. We do a section, about four miles, every few weeks. It is so interesting. There are the exciting developments around Kings Cross, transforming the old coal yards and stables, and building a block of flats on the footprint of the old gas containers. Then there are all the moored canal boats forming a little community with bikes and sculptures and plants on board. And then all those using the tow path, bikes and buggies, runners and dog-walkers, so glad to get away from the traffic. And, of course, the ducks and swans, the coots and more exotic water birds. My friend notices much more than I and it is so good for me to try to be more awake to the styles of building, the kinds of dogs and birds…

Sheila Maxey is a member of Brentwood United Reformed Church, Essex


This is an extract from an article published in the April 2023 edition of Reform

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