This morning, as we were beset by a howling gale, while Jackie continued scraping grouting smeared all over the tiles of the downstairs lavatory, I further reflected on yesterday’s portrait. She was working on the wall the other side of the mirror.
I delved into my random negatives and scanned ten from the mid-1970s to 1981.
This photograph of me in what Jessica’s Aunt Elspeth called my Duke of Buckingham period was, I think, taken in Horse and Dolphin Yard, Soho in July 1974. Jessica was certainly the photographer. How my trousers came to require their extensive patching is told in ‘Death Of The Brown Velvet Suit’. I was so attached to the garment I could not bear to throw it away. The suit was kaput, but Jessica, with constant patching, kept the trousers going for some time.
Whilst in Soho, we, unfortunately, kept a parakeet called Charlie. The misfortune was the bird’s, not ours, for it was a friendly soul but clearly wasn’t happy, and lost all its tail feathers. One day, towards the end of the ’70s, Jessica heard a radio appeal from or on behalf of Johnny Savile, recreations officer for Springfield Hospital in Tooting. One of the facilities afforded for the psychiatric patients was an aviary. Someone had freed all the avian residents and the staff were seeking replacements. Charlie was duly delivered to Johnny, and it is to be hoped he was happier in his new home. It may or may not be coincidental that Morden Park is now blessed with a fine flock of parakeets.
By mid afternoon the rain had stopped and the wind reduced enough for us to plan to tackle the garden again. Just as we were about to begin we lost all electrical power. By a process of elimination I established that one particular fuse marked ‘sockets’ had tripped the whole system. We then at least had lighting, and some power. The trouble was that there were four switches similarly marked, and nothing to show which was which.
The fridge/freezer Jackie had filled up yesterday was not working. Neither was our home hub or my computer.
It was definitely time to call for an electrician. This I did. Benjamin Renouf, of Abre Electrical, who I phoned using his mobile number, was without his tools, but this very pleasant and calming young man came to see if he could establish the problem. He tried all the obvious solutions, but needed to return with test equipment. He had to go home for his daughter’s ninth birthday party, but will visit again in the morning.
In the meantime, the fridge/freezer, our laptops, my iMac and the home hub are connected by extension leads to the cooker point on the kitchen wall. That is the essentials of human existence taken care of
We dined early this evening, on Ashleigh fish and chips, before joining Giles and Jean for a jazz evening at Milford on Sea Community Centre. I will report on that tomorrow.