Yes, all three are important parts of life and as we get older we seem to move automatically from the first to the last. But in the past week or two I have had cause to think of all three.
This morning my cleaning lady tells me of twins born over the week-end to a young couple in the village. They already have a son who is not yet quite two and now, the day before yesterday, they have added twin girls to their little family. Taken into hospital on Friday the two girls were born naturally, mother and babies are doing well and twenty eight hours later (after eleven o'clock at night) they were discharged for Dad to ferry them the forty five miles from hospital to home. How times change - sixty years ago my son and I spent ten days in hospital after an easy birth and were then discharged to travel the two miles down the road. We didn't realise how lucky we were did we?
As to Matches - not many these days as more and more couples seem not to bother about tying the knot but a wedding coming up where my little friend Sophie to be bridesmaid and
is so looking forward to it makes a lovely change.
As to Despatches - I have had cause to think about these as I do every year when the Wensleydale Show field begins to transform from just an ordinary silage field into a sea of marquees, trailers and the like. Several of the big marquees for things like fruit and vegetables, handicrafts, baking are going up today. The tent for show cattle is already up and they are erecting all the sheep pens for the show sheep. I pass in the car and I think of the leading lights who worked for days on end to make the Show such a success and who are no longer with us. A, who - in her white smock - would be there organising things in the produce tents and who on the morning of the Show would arrive with entry after entry in the cakes, buns, eggs, handcrafts, floral arrangements, house plant sections - often she would bake half a dozen Swiss Rolls before she was satisfied enough to enter her offering in the Show.
And then there was C,a farmer who had a lot of sadness in his life but always put on a cheerful face. He was always around this week, the week when the placing of the tents and the nitty gritty was taking place. He never chose the limelight but always worked hard in the background to make sure it all went off smoothly.
And then there was the Announcer whose voice had come over the sound system year after year and who had got it off to a fine art so that there was never a hiccup. A farmer himself he was just good at keeping things going.
All these are gone now and others have taken their place. And it will always be thus - none of us are indispensible but that doesn't mean we are not thought about, not missed.
So I remember them all in the run up to the Show. I hope there will be fine weather for Saturday, the big day. I am sorry I am no longer mobile enough to walk round, and I am sad that my own dear farmer is no longer here to walk round but I am sure they are all here in the spirit of the Show and in the minds of all those who have been going for years.