Fred

This morning I made a start on reading Voltaire’s ‘Micromegas’.

The later plan was that I would walk for the first hour and a quarter of the trip to Shelly and Ron’s at Walkford where we were to lunch with them and Helen and Bill.  As I donned my walking shoes and opened the back door, a deluge poured from the skies and did not desist until we arrived at our destination.  It is one thing to walk in the rain when you can come home afterwards and dry off.  It is quite another to flop into the passenger seat dripping all over your patient driver and arrive soaking for a family afternoon elsewhere.  I sat down and got on with my book.

The spectacular rainfall reported throughout last winter and spring was again upon us.  Roadside guttering was swollen, and pools throwing up waves from all the familiar spots were spreading across the tarmac and gravelled roads.  At lunchtime all the car headlights were switched on.

After a leisurely drink and pleasant talk whilst Shelly prepared the meal, we dined on tender roast lamb with a multitude of vegetables including roast potatoes and parsnips all crisp and cooked to perfection.  Helen provided two desserts: a delicate sponge containing sultanas served with custard, and an exotic Charlotte Royale with cream.  A variety of red and white wines were consumed.

Afterwards we were entertained by Ron’s video recording of the wedding of John and Stephanie on 6th October.  There must be a curse on Ron and his son Neil who was best man.  Just as Neil had been thwarted by his overhead projection from his laptop failing to work during his speech, Ron’s recorder battery chose more or less the same moment to run out of juice.  Never mind, we were able to relive the event with pleasure.

Just as, when with my siblings we reminisce about our past days, when the three sisters and their menfolk get together stories of their childhood and parents are recounted.  It has been very gratifying for me to return to a family which had accepted me more recently just as they did so many years ago.

Many of the tales told on these occasions occurred during the almost four decades that I was out of contact with them.  However, I knew the late Mum and Dad Rivett so well for seven years that even the later stories have meaning for me.  I have warm memories of the couple I was proud to call my in-laws. Mum R, & Michael 9.67Michael & Dad R 10.67 Mum was an excellent and genuinely kind carer and Dad a talented and amusing entertainer.  When in March 1968 Jackie and I went to 'Fred' 5.67Ockley for our four day honeymoon, it was this couple who cared for my son Michael.  I found it difficult to leave him for the first time, but knew he would be in very good hands.

There were lots of examples today of Don Rivett’s jokes.  I wonder if any of the others remember ‘Fred’.  You never knew what he would dream up next.  This flowerpot man just appeared in the garden of their home at Westbrook one day in May 1967.

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