Sunday, 15 June 2014

From Clare Walker

My name is Clare, and I was a girlfriend of your brother Christian before he left to travel to the Caribbean for the second time, researching for the book he was writing.

We met when we both worked at Ticehurst Hospital - a summer working on the acute adolescent unit pulled us together somewhat! I always remember the 12 hour shifts when I worked with Chris went much faster than when he wasn't working! Chris wooed me with his handstands and cartwheels and relaxed reggae approach to life... Ha! Funny, I still have a heart he and a really wild teenage patient made out of beads, hanging in my kitchen! Chris has such a relaxing effect on those kids

I remember feeling so very nervous whilst also feeling so chuffed when Chris decided to invite me to meet his family. He loved you and his family very much, I recall. I remember feeling so lucky to be allowed in for a weekend, and treasured being allowed into his life like that; seeing his home, meeting home friends, and him sharing things like his CD collection, and photos that meant so much to him. Despite being so laid back on appearance, I also found him quite hard to work out emotionally - honestly, I was totally smitten with Chris and was ever so heartbroken when he left to go travelling. But that was part of the attraction, really... His love of travelling, the commitment to his project (he came even more alive when he was talking flowers, fauna and animals), as well as his steadfast determinedness to finish what he'd started. I admired him so much and felt so sad to see him go.

When I think back to those days there are some funny memories which might make you smile:

1) His long shorts that used to hang off his backside!

2) His reggae hair - he made me a tape of his favourite reggae music and I still have it!

3) The fact that he was far too old, but travelled everywhere by a battered old bike

4) Broccoli. I always think of him with a smile when I cook it. For Chris always cooked it completely whole! Still makes me chuckle.

It's probably over ten years ago now that our lives crossed, and my memory isn't what it was! But when I think of Chris it is always, always with a smile….

… I saw my best friend last night – Liz – who knew Chris well from our uni days. Liz reminded me of another Chris fact - that he used to love Opal Fruits (Star Bursts now!) and would eat them one at a time, still fully wrapped in their waxy paper. It made us giggle to remember so I promised to share it with you!

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