Jackie, for the second time in two days, drove us to Southampton Parkway to collect Alison who had come for a brief visit. The M27/A31 going west was almost at a standstill with people pouring in from other parts of the country to take advantage of what seemed to be the first real day of summer. Deciding to avoid the motorway on our return, our driver took a different route that was still busy enough to turn a twenty minute journey into one lasting an hour.
Eleanor and Henry are a couple of resourceful young folk who occupy different parts of the Lodge. Two days ago they developed a car cleaning project. As there are seventeen flats, all of which often also have visitors, this could be quite lucrative for our ten and nine year old neighbours. We had actually been asked for the names and numbers of the most likely punters. This afternoon they sought Jackie’s advice on how they could expand their empire. I was invited to join in the discussion. It had occured to them that some people might like their shopping done at the village shop, but as this was a good twenty minutes walk away it needed careful co-ordination. They offered the opinion that most residents of the building, ‘not you of course’, were quite old and therefore likely to require such a service. Given that there is only one couple who are marginally older, I suppose we should have been flattered.
It was Eleanor who had tolerated the attention of Jessica and Imogen who had been so smitten on their recent visit (see 12th May post). I told the children that Jessica and Imogen’s Mum had, when she was not much older than Eleanor, gone into business with her friend Matthew. They had made and sold candles. Eleanor wasn’t really into candle making.
Louisa and Matthew Colbourne, great friends still, had been very like Eleanor and Henry. Ever resourceful, inseparable, and immensely loyal, what began as a sale of refreshments in the garage developed into an established company, with a bank account, producing hand-crafted candles. Their parents had to dragoon their friends into the garden to purchase curled up sandwiches and luke-warm orange squash, but the candles sold themselves. They really were quite good. It was a proud Dad who took Louisa and her business partner, in their very early teens, into the bank in Newark to open their official company account. Like all candles, it eventually fizzled out, but it was very exciting while it lasted.
It was quite late in the afternoon today when I set off to walk the two fords Q. Starting with the back lawn of the Lodge garden, the early evening sun lent a gorgeous light to the landscape. Midges appeared to be floating on the beams, and long shadows produced dramatic affects. Hedgerows chirruped and sang, for all the world as if they were flocks of joyful birds.
For the first time this year my sandals came out and my feet went into them.
On my return we were joined by Eleanor’s parents, David and Nicky. We had a drink together before they repaired to their barbecue and we came inside to consume Jackie’s chicken jalfrezi (recipe) with her savoury rice which has really taken off. I drank Blason des Papes Chateuneuf du Pape 2011 with this.
I had met Nicky before when I had had the temerity to offer her running tips as our paths had crossed twice when I was on a walk and she was on a run. She had told me later that I had been very helpful, which was a relief, but I hadn’t connected her with her daughter.