Walking home from my French class today, I took a short detour into Marble Hill Park, where this splendid tree stands on the expanse of green between the Richmond Road and the Palladian gem of a mansion nearer the river.
I had been reflecting on some sad news received this week, of the sudden and most untimely death of a greatly loved and respected local pharmacist. His funeral was yesterday. I had not been able to attend, but was glad (if that can possibly be the word) to hear from a friend who was there that several hundred people had been present to bid him farewell and pay their respects.
While I had known him ever since he took over the pharmacy in the centre of East Twickenham and been impressed by the way he had developed his dispensary and surrounding shop into an invaluable part of the community, it was in relatively recent years that I had got to know him better and come to rely increasingly on his advice. He was the nearest pharmacist to my GP's surgery and it was him that I saw for a review of my regular medications there in the late summer of 2010. He noticed in my records that I had not had a regular blood test for several years and suggested that I consider one. Timely advice, since the test revealed that the fatigue and general malaise I was increasingly experiencing were not inevitable signs of advancing middle age, but indicative of Waldenström's macroglobulinaemia and within a very short space of time I was receiving appropriate treatment and was on my way to the remission I have enjoyed for the last few years. Since then my trips to his shop for prescriptions and general purchases have more often than not included some time for conversation, the last time just a few weeks ago. I owed him so much.
A model of his vital profession, he will be sorely missed by many. Rest in peace.