Friday, 6 January 2012

In honour of Pete Bursnall

What a shock to learn of the passing of Pete Bursnall, a great guy I’d become friends with over a couple of years, back in ’06 and ’07. We were both students at the CAT in Wales, both in that middle point in life, loads behind us, loads in front; both fanatical about dangerous things in the great outdoors – the difference being that he actually organised his time well so that he could actually do most of them. He’d already written a guide book to mountain-biking an array of Welsh mountains (which he gave me! Seemingly hand bound and printed too).  Then he was off sea-kayaking; I saw a mad picture of him naked on some deserted island god-knows where, his sea-vehicle parked up on a rocky beach.  A moment of bliss was that?  

For a while we seemed to be comparing injuries. He broke his collar-bone or something falling out of his paraglider (or flying into a rock I think it was). I failed to notice a massive hole in the ground while careering down a hillside on a mountainboard, breaking my elbow and wrecking my wrist. He then sprained something serious mountainbiking on the ice while I snapped a little bone in my foot in a pathetically small skatepark in Spain. 

Enough of this he stuff; this letter’s to you Pete, wherever you are.  In fact what’s this you posted on facebook to say you’re “I've gone flying.... Catch you later x” ? When exactly did you get to fit in that last post? Positive till the end.  In fact it was your positive energy that always got me there in Wales.  Always so much to do, to debate and to fix, always an inspiration.  You told me about blogging and persuaded me to get one going, which I did.  In fact truth is I’ve been slacking for the past, er, year or two, but now I’ll definately put more up there again, as you would have harassed me to.  I remember you telling me how you would put the kids to bed and type up your days post, while they lulled to sleep at your tapping.  How you’d started kick-boxing at your kid’s club. Nice one. Again, I’m going to take up on that with my kids too. See: you’re still inspiring us here.  In fact they say someone’s not really gone while their memory remains from those left behind.   

Talking of memory, Monica and I decided to dedicate this years’ tree planting to you. Couldn’t decide which one, so we just went for all of them on a certain terrace, right behind our little bothy we live in for now, on our spit of land in Portugal.  So here’s what you get: a redcurrant, two raspberries, a blueberry and a lemon tree.  Nikita (now 16 with hands like iron, taller than me, quite a craftsman and builder and a flow-master on deep fresh snow. You’d like him). Anyway, he suggested we look at what’s happened to the old part of the compost loo, now 3 and a half years old.  We bust open the wee door Paulo built into the bottom and behold – compost of joy! No smell either.  Bizarre, impossible you might say, amazing we all said.  Anyway, you’ll be thrilled (or horrified) to learn that this power-mix went in with your berries to give them a good head start in life.  Good bit o’ muclh on top and I’ll keep watering them for a few days as we seem to be experiencing a bizarrely late Indian summer over here. 

Yer lemon tree.

Pete's berry terrace

the two raspberries
Thinking of my family I ache when I think of yours, the enormous emptiness that you must have left behind. Words can’t express the pain and torture that they must be experiencing.

As Simon rightly said today, it reminds us of our mortality, the passing of a friend. So true; soon enough we’ll all be there with you. Will we remember? Will we think and feel anything?  Nikita and I were just talking about this the other night: what part of us stays on? Can we bring our memories with us? How painful will that be? Do we participate in some future part of the universe somewhere? Too many questions and unknowns; shouldn’t dwell on it I reckon, just get on with life and make the most of it we can.  Every day, every hour (Nikita says we only have 600,000 hours more or less in life). Given that we sleep through half of those, that leaves about 300,000 hours. Jeez.. what percentage of mine have I burned already? How many have I wasted watching some rubbish on telly or sitting around late at night wasting time… What really matters? Family, friends, adventure, adrenaline, Fun (of course), love (well that kind of comes with the former 5), making a difference on our time here for those less fortunate. I think this is a major one, given that this “here” we’ve landed on is both a heaven and a hell for people, and the vast majority of our earthling cousins seem to have such a hard time of it.  The energy we generate from the 5 things-that-matter should, I think, be used to power ourselves forward to make life a little better out there (or a little less crap, whichever way you see it). 

So this is my own humble send-off to you Pete – in reflection of your amazing life I prepare (in advance) a multi-berry blast to power you on your way – red, blue, yellow, pink and green – all the colours of the fruits from your new berry terrace.  I hope you enjoy them somewhere, somehow…

1 comment:

Mandy Meikle said...

Hey Magnus - see, I did have a look! So sorry to hear you lost a friend this year too. It does suck, eh? Re updating blogs more, I think your problem is once you start, you can't stop! Try putting a word count on them - it may help you post more. That said, I can't advise anyone... on anything really!!

Love to the family & the land you're on