Three Things Thursday

…three things that make me smile: an exercise in gratitude – feel free to steal this idea with wild abandon and fill your blog with the happy…

This Thursday I’m not feeling very happy. I heard yesterday about the death of someone who was an important part of my adult life – Dr Peter Wathern.

I’m trying to focus on the fact that his presence in my life made it better, so here are three things that I am grateful for:

I’m grateful that Peter saw my potential at the age of 21 and supported me in gaining a personal scholarship so that I could study any subject that I wanted for my PhD. As my supervisor, he saw me through three years of research. He helped me plant trees (he considered it a good way to have a day out of the department!), set up and plan experiments and slog my way through the writing-up.

I’m grateful that later in life, when I was at a loose end job-wise, Peter arranged a temporary lectureship for me. We shared an office for a year and he provided yet more support. He was a great teacher.

And third, I’m grateful that throughout the time we knew knew each other, he welcomed me into his family – even as undergraduates, we used to be invited round to the Wathern’s for an evening of laughter and great food. And although we gradually saw less of each other over the years, Mr Snail and I had a fine evening there not all that long ago, as always characterised by lovely food and much laughter.

My life is diminished by the death of Peter, but was greatly enhanced by knowing him.



Leave a comment


  1. I’m so sorry for your loss. ❤

  2. One of those lights in the world that stays shining, even when the body has gone. He will live on in your memory, and his legacy still works through you and all his other students.

  3. It’s Thanksgiving Day in the US. You’ve covered it very well. You are so fortunate to have had someone like that in your life. Sorry for your loss.

  4. Jane Miller

     /  November 26, 2015

    I’m sad for you…but glad for you, too. You were fortunate to have someone that inspiring in your life, but gosh, hard to say goodbye. Maybe you should plant something in his honor?

  5. What a lovely obituary for a man who sounds very special. When I was an undergraduate there was a senior academic who was very kind to a group of us and, like Peter, welcomed us into his life. When I commented that I could not repay his kindness he shared with us something said to him by an older friend when he was young – “Don’t pay it back, Pass it on” He is one of several people to whom I owe gratitude, sometimes not realising how important they were until much later. So that’s a whole lot of passing on to do! And as fast as I pass it on I get more things to be grateful for coming my way so….

  6. Ann Pole

     /  November 26, 2015

    I know it sounds wrong, but what a lovely blog. He was a special man in your lives and you have captured some good memories to keep dear to you. Thinking about you both. XXX

    • I wanted to write something to pay tribute and was struggling until I remembered the ‘Three Things Thursday’ idea, which gave me a framework upon which to ‘hang’ my memories. I do seem to write the occasional ‘obituary’ here, and they are nice to re-read… particularly the one about my dad.

  7. What a lovely obituary Jan! What a wonderful mentor to have had in your life! The value of a life is found in the hearts of those who gather in his memory…….. and I know the gifts and the memories are made sharper for his going. Plant something for him, make something for him, remember him with love, affection, laughter and gratitude. Know that the tears are for your loss, not his. It was a life well lived, honour that in your own way. xoxo

  8. Sorry for the loss of someone who seems to have been your mentor.

  9. What a wonderful man Peter Wathern must have been. And he saw you and all the potential you had and helped and guided you along the way. You too must have enriched his life. It was just one of those special, once in a lifetime bonds. I love the fact that you shared an office together too. That must have been so good.
    It’s awfully hard to be thankful for having someone in your live when they have just died. The love and loss causes so much pain.
    I am so, so sorry for your loss and can sense how special a person this wonderful man was to both you and Mr Snail too.

    • Thank you for your kind words… I am trying really hard to focus on the positive. I think the funeral next week is going to be quite hard.

      • When my parents divorced, when I was 4, I lost my Father. Later on in life, in my 40’s and when running a business an elderly customer of mine stepped in and fulfilled some of the parental roles that I lost when I lost my Father. When he died, I experienced all the loss which I had been too young to express as a child. Peter guided you like a Father too. He really played such an important role in your life. It is going to be hard….

  10. I’m sorry for the loss you’ve incurred but to have met someone who has inspired you so much in your life is lovely. Those positive memories will remain with you for many years. Positive thoughts and smiles are on their way to you first class.

  11. I’m very sorry for your loss Jan. I think that you feel diminished by his death and your life was enhanced by knowing him is probably the biggest tribute you could pay to this special man.If he helped make you the wonderful person you are then I owe him a vote of thanks also.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

  12. This is a wonderful tribute–Peter lives on thru all the students he shaped . . . but knowing that doesn’t change the grief you feel in this moment.

  13. Sorry for your loss but sounds like a wonderful life to celebrate and be thankful for!

  1. Of words and wool | The Snail of Happiness

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