Early this morning Jackie, Don and I shopped in Acres Down Farm shop and went on to All Saints Church, first described on 24th December last year. While Jackie diverted to Minstead Village Shop, Don and I wandered around the churchyard in bright sunshine, before we all three explored the inside.
Particularly interesting to our friend was the ‘blasted’ yew, a seven hundred year old tree that fell apart some years ago and regenerated itself. The wild flowers now in evidence include clover , dandelions, daisies, and buttercups.
When we returned, I decided to tackle the problem of a rejected e-mail password. This time I got BT’s representative on the telephone to reset a completely new code. As usual, Jackie being the primary account holder, he needed to speak to her first. Unfortunately he got the wrong end of the stick and changed her password. This required putting right and involved a box filled with ‘funny writing I can’t read’. All this took time and I had to interpret the ‘funny writing’, fortunately getting it right. The man kept having to put us on hold and check with his supervisor. Eventually he returned to me and reset the replacement password. It worked. For about an hour. Then the new one was rejected. I have now come to the conclusion that my BT Yahoo account has been well and truly hacked. I can’t face it any more at the moment. So don’t send me any e-mails.
My head still full of the computer problem, I sat in the garden watching the birds with Don, whilst Jackie prepared the evening’s barbecue. The company and avian interest helped calm me. Don is one of three friends I have who are pretty knowledgable about birds. He helped me distinguish between the various tits who visit the feeder. I observed that it was becoming possible to identify birds some distance away on the lawn by their outline shape, their posture, their gait, and how they hold their tail-feathers. Apart from the pied wagtails, the blackbirds brought me to this conclusion.
Talking birds with Don, it was natural for me to mention my friend bo Beolens, who has written a number of bird books and who, as Fatbirder, runs an international birding website. This turns out to be one of Don’s favourites on his computer. I proudly brought the site up on screen and showed him the Lesser Antillean Bullfinch which illustrates bo’s Barbados page. The photograph was taken by me in Barbados in 2004, when I was there to see Sam arrive at the end of his Atlantic row.
Late in the afternoon Becky, Ian, and Flo arrived with Scooby and Oddie. We then enjoyed the various sausages, chicken tikka masala and array of salads Jackie had produced in the kitchen. That seems to me to be the sensible way of preparing a barbecue.
On 28th March I described how Matthew’s dog, Oddie, always dives into my chair whenever he has the chance. Because Mat and Tess are on their way to visit Sam and Holly and their children in Croatia, Becky is looking after Oddie and therefore brought him with them today. Would you believe it? Even in the garden he nicks my seat.
It was natural that with Becky and Don together, we should tell some Lindum House stories. One of today’s was of the intruder. One balmy evening as we sat in the snug watching television, about twenty years ago, we heard someone coming down the stairs. As usual in the summer, we had left open the double doors at the front of the house. A young man was then seen to walk past the window, making his way to the bottom of the garden. I set off in pursuit. He started running. So did I. After him. He began to climb the fence between us and the Parletts in Lindum Street. I grabbed him, pulled him down, and frogmarched him into the house. Calling out to Jessica to telephone the police, I sat on him at the foot of the stairs.
I soon realised he was drunk. He kept going on about a fishing contest with the Working Men’s Club. After the event, he and his friends from Grimsby had gone off drinking in Newark. He was making his way back to the Club. His team coach was parked outside in the road. It dawned on me that all this had a ring of truth. It would be easy enough for me to take him out to check on the coach. I asked Jessica to cancel the emergency call. She attempted to do so, but it was not possible. It stands to reason, really. The uninvited guest could have been standing with a gun to my head. Actually he was lying between the bottom step and my embrace. For the whole forty five minutes it took for the officers to arrive.
As, after satisfactory explanations, I took him up the drive to the open gates, down the path towards us walked about five of his mates. They had made the same mistake. And sure enough, there, on the road between us and the Club, was a coach. Lindum House, you see, was a Victorian reproduction of the former grand Georgian house next door that now hosted social activities of the town’s working men.