Whilst Jackie went off to buy a stepladder this morning, I wrestled with my Apple computer. The ladder was needed because of the height of the ceilings in Castle Malwood Lodge. Even with this, standing on the platform at the top of the steps, and putting my phobia out of my mind, I could only just reach up, arms outstretched, to unscrew the smoke alarm which was emitting regular beeps crying out for a new battery. I felt like giving it a battering.
The Apple Mac problem was how to recover each page of my current Listener crossword puzzle, when neither I nor the kindly relative who decided several years ago to clean up my desktop, knew where they were. And I couldn’t remember much about clues written six years ago. I managed it.
After lunch we returned to the flat to unpack what we had carried in last night and to check the inventory. A very thorough job had been done on the inventory on behalf of the agents. Everything was in good order except that the closer on our front door had dropped and was preventing entry unless someone my height could reach up and push it upwards. I telephoned the agent who immediately contacted a repair man. Just as we had got in the car to return to London, I received a call from the Morden landlord tying up details about our departure from Links Avenue. She had been ill and there had been a miscommunication between her and the agent. Whilst I was speaking to her I received a voicemail from the maintenance man who wanted to come there and then to mend the door. We waited for him and he fixed the problem. He thought someone had been swinging from the bent bar. Given that he had to stand on the recently purchased stepladder to reach it that seemed rather unlikely. But you never know.
The garden to Castle Malwood Lodge is entered across a cattle grid designed to keep out the various New Forest fauna. On either side of the road leading to this you are in The New Forest. The house itself was built in 1880 for Sir W. Harcourt, the then Chancellor of the Exchequer. Now divided into flats it is a grade 2 listed building. This means the exterior cannot be changed. It was built on the site of an Iron Age Hill Fort, with the fascinating consequence that the row of modern garages is situated on top of one of the walls. There remains a considerable amount of sloping to the lawns that probably reflects the original use of this piece of land. We will enjoy looking further into the history.
We returned to London and dined at Le Chardon in Abbeyville Road, Clapham, with our friends Wolf and Luci. Jackie ate haddock, I had rump of lamb, and Wolf and Luci each had dover sole. Tarte tatin and chocolate cake were the sweets. Luci and I shared a bottle of excellent Chilean merlot, which the waiter informed me was what I always had there; Wolf drank apple juice and Jackie Stella.
Rump of lamb was a meal which, in Cafe Rouge in Clifton Road in Little Venice a few years ago was the vehicle for my favourite unwitting spoonerism. When I ordered a lump of ram the waiter, a Croatian who was here to learn English, fell about laughing.