You may be forgiven for imagining that there can be no more new plants emerging in our garden. On the other hand, you may anticipate many more. Today I offer:
colourful purple chives which sit well among the flaming heucheras;
this unidentified peach rose;
the rambling geranium Azure Rush, which makes good ground cover;
This morning I sprayed herbicide on the fresh weeds coming up on the back drive. This gave me the confidence, later, to walk to the postbox on Christchurch Road, and possibly to continue across the field to as far as the wood. I took one look at how overgrown the footpath has become, thought better of it, and returned to Old Post House. Just think, if this were in the 1960s, I would not have needed to walk anywhere.
Now it is time for the second of my Five Photos – Five Stories.
You may know by now that during the nineteen Newark years I commuted to Kings Cross. This sometimes meant that I had a little time to kill. On one such occasion, about 1994, when I had given up wandering about outside the station fending off a persistent ‘working girl’, and decided to sit inside until departure time, I received a phone call from Sam.
Jessica’s and my son, knowing there would be a photo kiosk in the station, asked me to take a couple of photographs in the booth, for a school project he was engaged in.
And Sam was such a truthful boy.
Anyone who has used these photographic facilities will know that first of all you have to adjust the seat so you don’t take a shot of your torso. You then must try to smile in time with the flash, which is anyway inclined to catch you by surprise and give you scary, startled, eyes. You probably will need several attempts.
I had plenty of time, so I persevered.
A day or two later, our son wandered into my study where I was engrossed in working out the three-dimensional crossword I was compiling to fit into Mike Kindred’s grids.
‘Sign that, Dad’ he said, thrusting a folded sheet of paper onto my manuscript pages. He knew I would trust him, and probably not ask what it was about. I didn’t ask, and duly complied.
Jessica, scarcely more devious than Sam, decided, for my birthday, to take me out on a surprise trip somewhere down the A3. As she drove us into the Surrey countryside, I found myself wondering which National Trust House, had an event on.
I hadn’t noticed what was in the boot of the car.
On Jessica drove, into Sussex. I began to smell some sort of a rat when I spotted the airplane symbols on the road signs. Was there any attraction near Gatwick? Not that I could think of.
When we arrived at the airport, I turned to a smiling Jessica, and asked what we were doing there. I didn’t have a passport. ‘Oh yes you have’, she cried, brandishing the updated one I had carelessly allowed to lapse.
A weekend in Paris ensued.
It was Becky who provided the photograph, taken, I think that December, on another invasion of my sanctuary.
This evening Jackie and I dined on her superb chicken jalfrezi, with pilau rice and egg paratha. She drank Hoegaarden, whilst my choice was Doom Bar,