For Albert

ForAlbertTheBigForestAll summer long Albert, our neighbour, has been painting his house. At 79 his ladder climbing seemed slightly reckless but the job was done just a fortnight ago.

Last Thursday we realised we hadn’t seem Albert for a couple of days, others hadn’t either and after knocking on the front door and discussions – what should we do next – we peered through the front windows. Albert was lying on the floor his body skewed at an awkward angle against the wall. The ambulance and police were called and whilst we waited we broke down the low fence between our houses. He was still moving although clearly very ill. After the door was rammed and the lock forced the ambulance men did their work and he was taken away. The policeman handed us the keys to his house.

Drama, then silence and normality.

Later his son came – Albert had suffered a massive stroke, he was unconscious in hospital and on a morphine pump.

Albert told us stories of his life as a Policeman and before that his time in the army. Tales of bringing up his kids, the move back to where his wife had lived during the war and later her death, his Mum who kept her money in her bra when he was a kid in Middlesbrough. Once or twice he passed a bag of veg over the fence when he had over shopped at the market, or a clump of mint for the Sunday potatoes, he cut our grass because we were busy and looked over our house when we were away. Others have similar stories to tell and the days passed with folks asking if they had heard any news and telling their own stories of Albert – he was a one-off someone said, cantankerous, sweary, politically incorrect, gruff, but we were all were very fond of him.

On Tuesday we heard he had died.

We realise his quick passing – one moment poised on a ladder painting and then gone is definitely the best for him but we are already missing him.

About TheBigForest

TheBigForest. A silly artist maker creating in felt and paper construction. Like us on Facebook: TheBigForest. Find us at Twitter : twitter/TheBigForestuk


  1. Pingback: A time of change | TheBigForest

  2. Poor Albert… I hope he’s in a better place now… K.

  3. How nice that you have such fond memories of him and appreciate to have known him. It sure sounds as if he had “personality” and was one-of-a-kind. And I like it a lot that you seem to live in a neighbourhood where the people do take care of one another , that sure is something special and not at all that common.

    • Some of the neighbours moved here when the houses were built and have raised their kids here. There is a sense of community but with each house sale our neighbours worry that it will be lost. So far, thankfully that hasn’t happened:)

  4. Lovely tribute. Albert sounds like he was great fun.

  5. Lovely

    Just a lovely tribute, how our lives cross paths with others: experience, thoughts and memories.

    • Its interesting to think of those who have touched our lives and made an impact – teachers who were brilliant at their job, work colleagues, folks you pass in the street everyday and create the pattern of life.

  6. That is brilliant someone I would miss too, but so lovely you were good neighbours and the end was short. Lovey tribute ann

  7. Susan Bruce

    He lived his life to almost the last moment . So glad you found him and that he didn’t die alone in the house .x

  8. What a lovely homage. Thanks for sharing your experience with Albert, this way his memories go on with other people…

  9. What a lovely tribute to Albert. I hope his family gets to read it.

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