Jackie drove me to New Milton today for me to begin the first stage of my journey to Nottingham to visit Louisa, Errol, Jessica, and Imogen for a couple of days.
The day dawned well, and the rose Compassion flourished aloft.
The next five and a half hours were spent travelling. The first leg was from New Milton to Waterloo. Whilst waiting for the train we were entertained by a recorded message featuring the voice of Will Greenwood, former England rugby international warning us that because of the World Cup match this afternoon the train would be very crowded.
So it was. I was probably one of the last to secure a seat. At Woking, the guard announced that the at-seat trolley service was stuck in the centre of the train because of all the standing passengers.
After struggling on first the Jubilee then the Victoria line tube trains, doing my best to avoid lethal wheelie bags, I found it impossible to locate my reserved seat on the Nottingham train at St Pancras. This, according to the guard, was the fault of ‘this foreign built rubbish’, whose electronic system had broken down. I did eventually track down my allocated seat which was alongside a stack of luggage that kept falling down on me.
I spent the journey stacking and re-stacking this lot as extractions and additions were made by other passengers, mostly young ladies who couldn’t lift them.
As for the various body parts that were squeezed between the heap and my face, let’s just not go there. It could have been worse. Possibly.
Errol picked me up from Nottingham railway station. As soon as I arrived at the Thompson home, the two girls dragged me into the garden, just before Louisa put a mug of coffee in my hand. This was to watch their gymnastics show, performed on the trampoline.
The garden plot that we had laid out on 16th June 2013 has matured nicely.
In particular, the rose, Grace, is flourishing.
Back in 1965, after Vivien had died, I decided to make my own cook books from recipes cut out of newpapers. Jessica was to keep the book and pass it on to Louisa. One of the first entries was for Chocolate Surprise Pudding by Katie Stewart. This was to prove a great favourite with all the children in turn. After fifty years the browned paper is still legible, despite its splashes of chocolate sauce.
Jessica, aged eight, and six year old Imogen, unaided, made one of these puddings this evening. Jessica was able to read the print. I would almost have been proud of the result myself.