My cousin, Tasha.
Natasha Elizabeth Bland
December 30 1987 – December 27 2016
I can’t talk about all the laughs I got from Natasha, or the lessons I learnt from her, but I can give one example. I was going through a horrible time with my health and hospital trips. Tasha and Emily did what they always do, and gave. They came to Newcastle immediately, I didn’t have to ask – and gave me a comedy show for their entire stay. They made sandcastles on the Quayside (which is not a beach) but Tasha’s highlight was waving frantically to a passing boat on the River Tyne. The recipient was baffled at Tasha’s pure joy at spotting a stranger, as was I, until I realised that she was actually waving at the toy minion on the boat’s dashboard.
Before her frequent visits I would tell people “Wait until you meet my cousin Tasha; she is something else” – and she never let me down. She would send cards just to say hello, so I looked through countless messages, trying to find one that summed her up. There were plenty that reflected her spirit, her courage, her love or her generosity, but maybe she’s best summed up by this mystifying message she sent me three years ago today, as I write this. I still have no idea what she meant, but that was the fun of Tasha. She told me:
“YOU’RE AN ABSOLUTE YOGHURT POT
A CARPET GLOVE
A HAMSTER NOODLE
A DOVE BOX”.
Your guess is as good as mine. But show me anyone else who could say that (other than Emily or Tasha) and make it sound like perfect sense.