Orlaigh’s Dad

One of the consequences of each member of a couple working flat out for almost three months on house and garden, is that ironing tends to fall off. In fact ours has been piled so high that it was in danger of falling to the floor. It is possible to dispense with putting a crease into sheets or T-shirts, but I like my handkerchiefs pressed and folded, and although we have such a stock of cotton and linen napkins as to last a month or so, something really hand to be done. Leaving the head gardener to much more pressing and creative garden maintenance tasks, I spent the morning ‘dashing away with a smoothing iron’, as the 19th century traditional English folk song would have it.

White gladioli have emerged recently in the flower beds. A pineapple plant has forced its way through a crevice in the brickwork against the back wall of the house, up which a clematis Niobe, planted by Jackie, is making its ascent.

This afternoon I ambled down to The Spar shop. The hedgerows of Downton lane are now enlivened by red hot pokers, and by a very pretty little variety of convolvulus which is decorated by a ring of purple dots.

Early this evening I amused myself by scanning and trying to identify a batch of colour negatives from 1982. Louisa unwittingly helped me identify the year, which was that of her birth.

This was an interesting and varied set. There were some rather abstract pictures, like those of lichen and rust stains on a wall,

sheep in a misty landscape, and the mass of shaggy hair in one picture of Orlaigh – sorry, I mean Sam’s cousin, Tim Draper.

It was Paul Herbert who noticed the similarity between yesterday’s picture of Sam on Michael’s Yamaha bike, and my granddaughter.

Two more photographs from this set reinforce the impression. It is the one of Sam leaning comfortably against his mother and his sister, yet to be born, that establishes that it was taken, at the Drapers’ home in Meldreth, shortly before his second birthday, pretty much the same age as his daughter is now.

Unfortunately, after this evening’s dinner, there is no more sausage casserole left, because we finished it. There was still rather a lot, so we dispensed with pudding. Jackie drank her customary Hoegaarden and I had some more of the pinot noir.


  1. Dashing away with a smoothing iron. My mother would love this post. She was a fan of handkerchiefs and cloth napkins at the table, while I have always preferred paper for both. It’s fun to glimpse your garden at this stage. <3

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