Today’s walk was the Football Green, Shave Wood, London Minstead loop. The younger Saunders woman waved and greeted me gleefully as I reached Orchard Gate. She said they were all delighted with the photographs and her brother was going to have a copy made. She called her mother who was equally pleased to see me, and said she would like me to photograph her other horses so she could have the pictures framed and put on the wall. One of the horses is ‘out in the forest somewhere’, so Audrey is not sure where it is. I said I would be happy to take more photographs and would make other copies of the first ones for her son. The daughter had told me that the woman I had given the pictures to was her aunt, presumably Audrey’s sister. Primrose and Champion had not been removed when the rain was really heavy. They had taken to the hedges. Before I moved on the son drove up. He was the man who had been laying down the sawdust on 9th.
Becky and Florence told me about a visitation they had witnessed late last night. At about 11 p.m. Becky had taken Scooby out to empty him and found about eight deer on the lawn. They all looked up at her, held their gaze for a short time, then, in unison, continued grazing. Flo came out to see them and they only moved off when someone in the car parking area leant on their horn.
Ali and Steve had lent their house in Clutton in Somerset to our family for a Christmas sibling gathering. Mat was ill this morning so he and Tess couldn’t come. His symptoms sound very similar to those suffered by Jessica who was just getting over some sort of virus and Imogen who was coming down with it. Becky and Ian went to visit one of Ian’s relatives whilst Jackie, Flo and I travelled by car to Clutton. Already there were Sam and Holly and Malachi and Orlaith; Holly’s mother Gay; Louisa and Errol with their two girls; and Michael, Heidi, Emily, Oliver and Alice. The younger grandchildren were very patient as we ate before present opening. This was an hour late because we had been subject to severe hold-ups going through Salisbury. We had choices of either or both Michael’s or Errol’s chicken curry, or Holly’s vegetable lasagna, with various wines. Presents were then opened before pudding. After all, you can’t keep children contained forever. There followed an excited distribution of gifts by the three ambulant younger members who enjoyed giving to others as much as opening their own. Orlaith wasn’t quite up to it yet. Give her a year or two. Puddings were trifle, squidgy chocolate log made by Louisa to her mother’s recipe, Christmas pudding and Christmas cake. After this Alice read to Malachi and Imogen. Poor Jessica had flaked out as she was running a high temperature again. Then came the business of getting excited children to bed, flopping on sofas, and drinking coffee; after which we three returned to Minstead. Jamaica patties were being served up as we left, but we were unable to eat anything more.
Jackie had her second long drive which meant Flo had her second bout of car sickness, I had to travel in the back to ease our granddaughter’s discomfort, and Jackie had a headache by the time we got home. Cuprofen did the job for the headache. Flo should sleep hers off. We had all had a very enjoyable time.
Thank you, dear Ali and Steve, for the use of your home; and Sam for organising everything.