The Openreach/BT engineer came early this morning. He had established that there was nothing wrong with the cabinet mentioned yesterday, but that our screw terminals were incompatible with broadband. He clipped them and fitted a new phone socket with a built-in filter.
This delayed the start of our journey to Sanderstead for Emily’s 21st birthday lunch. Given that we also encountered a three car collision on the M3 Jackie did very well to drive Flo and me there in time to reach Michael and his family’s home before the birthday granddaughter’s arrival from Nottingham.
While we were waiting with the other party members Alice proudly showed us the excellent birthday cake, made by Heidi, of which she had shared in the decoration. It was good to catch up with them both, with Oliver; and with Heidi’s parents Joan and Werner, and her siblings Cath, Chris and John and their partners and children. John was also celebrating his fiftieth birthday, so he was later given a cake proclaiming that fact. Jackie and I were handed coffee soon after our arrival. Oblivious as to whether or not we had finished it Michael forcibly relieved us of our mugs so we could all drink a bubbly toast on Emily’s arrival with her boyfriend Sam. Splendid party buffet food was provided. After this, all we needed on our return home was a slice of pizza and salad.
Item number 75 in Elizabeth’s ‘Derrick through the ages’ series features me holding Emily who is dressed appropriately for her first Christmas. Naturally I made her a card adorned with this photograph taken by Heidi in 1963. In this picture, her mother stands beside her as Emily holds up my creation. Yes, believe it or not it is the mother on the left.
We left in mid afternoon so the family could get ready for a trip to the theatre to watch ‘Phantom of The Opera’. A nostalgic drink was planned to take place in the De Hems pub on the corner of Macclesfield Street where fifteen year old Michael had been Space Invaders champion. No doubt they will also have a look at the exterior of our old flat at 2 Horse and Dolphin Yard. I suppose it was natural that, when all this was being discussed I was prevailed upon to recount various Soho stories such as ‘Rabbits on the Roof’ and the slashed football. Well, there were some people who hadn’t heard them before, and Emily, Oliver, and Alice never tire of them. Or, I suppose, they may just be humouring me.
On 30th June 2008 Becky sent me a photograph of Flo standing under the street name of our yard. She had taken her daughter on a similar visit back in time.
Mist rose from the fields on our way home, reminding me of the French dawn described in my ‘On The Road’ post.
P.S. The Horse and Dolphin Yard picture has been censored and therefore removed.