a climbing rose Altissimo, already in situ, on the border of the projected rose garden, when we arrived, thrives;
as does the overwintered diascia (no, Mr. WordPress, not disco), aptly named Apple blossom;
and a multitude of the more normally hued foxgloves.
Here is my final offering in the Five Photos – Five Stories series:
The 2nd of January 1997 was bitterly cold day. Louisa and I were not even sure the trains would be running when we set of from Lindum House in Newark-on-Trent to Amity Grove in South London. But nothing was going to stop us. We had an excited hour and a half on the intercity train to Kings Cross; the usual cramped crush on the Underground to Waterloo; then, through Vauxhall, Clapham Junction, Earlsfield, and Wimbledon, to Raynes Park. Speeding up Amity Grove to number 76 we eagerly rattled on the front door, equally keenly answered by Becky who introduced us to her sleeping daughter, Florence, born on 23rd December 1996.
Louisa tenderly cradled her new niece. I, of course, had to wait my turn.
‘Hang on a minute’, do I hear you think? ‘Who, then, is Auntie Walisa?’. Well, you see, Flo’s cousin Oliver, born to Heidi and Michael a year to the day before this little baby, took a while to be able to say his auntie’s name.
This was also the last time Jackie and I were to meet before the ‘Reincarnation‘.
For our return journey, Louisa and I had quite a wait on a freezing Raynes Park Station platform. Our bones were chilled, but our hearts were warmed.
Late this afternoon Jackie drove us to Redhill, a suburb of Bournemouth, for a visit to her great nephew Billy’s first birthday party. The adults sat inside whilst a number of children played in the garden. The birthday boy himself was peacefully asleep on his maternal grandmother’s lap when we arrived. When he awoke he did his best not to become overwhelmed by the gathered host, and, as is very common, seemed more interested in the wrapping than in his presents. Next year will, no doubt, be rather different.
Helen sent this photograph the following day. Pirates of the Caribbean is playing in the background, and we were issued with eye patches. Get it?
Afterwards Jackie and I dined at a packed Lal Quilla in Lymington. My choice of meal was lamb Ceylon with special fried rice; Jackie’s was chicken sag with mixed fried rice. We shared an egg paratha and both drank Kingfisher. Service, ambience, and food were as good as usual, except that I must remember that their lamb is not the best option.