Jeff Muse drowned in Whitby harbour last night. He was a really nice friendly chap, early thirties. Byronesque looks, you know, very romantic looking and quite a romantic character all round; a little enigmatic, a little misunderstood. I always considered him very well suited to his surname. He was rarely fine and dandy when I asked, but then he was always fairly cheerful and concerned about me. He was one of these people who seemed genuinely interested in you.
The last time I saw him to speak to, I was going through a period where I had almost given up on my book and when he asked me about it, I felt embarrassed about the length of time it was taking. But he said something along the lines that it would be all the better for the time and effort and just what he said picked me up and got me going again.
He was a jet carver and a bit of a whizz. Our friend H thought he was talented, and Hal dose not give such praise lightly at all. H came round for dinner tonight but arrived with his news. I was in lots of pain, drunk too much and said all the wrong things.
Apparently his death was an accident, high spirits plus water. Jeff was a strong swimmer and was often in the river or in the sea. He lived on a boat for goodness sake, I saw him pretty much every day on the other side of the river. His health hadn’t been great lately though. I kind of hope that in the cold of the water his heart gave up or something like that such that it was quick. I am trying hard not to think about him drowning.
Here is the BBC News story such as it is just now.
I am afraid that [...] is going to take this very badly. He’s been kind of low lately and this is the last thing he needs. They weren’t close friends, but they saw and spoke very often. Jeff was involved in the sword-fighting and stuff. I told him he must go to the funeral without me, because then he can just go and not have to worry about transport and access and so on.
So this, the pain, having said the wrong thing to H (I don’t think he was terribly offended and I did say “Sorry, I said the wrong thing” but still) leaves me feeling pretty wretched just now.
This isn't someone I was close to, so I feel a bit of a fraud having a cry about it. But it is one of those shocks which you can't see any positive side to, except the guy having been here in the first place. Unless of course there is a heaven, in which case the guy is sorted.