‘I’m Sorry About The Chip’

This afternoon, we set off on a series of visits in and around West End.

Bee on Daffodil 1

In order to prepare for the first, to Margery and Paul at Bitterne, I gathered up the before and after albums of the work on our garden, and made a random selection of close-up prints of the flowers and insects, in order to discuss my contribution to the next The First Gallery exhibition.

We spent quite some time with these friends, and John, who was also visiting. I left the albums and photographs with them, for further discussion nearer the exhibition planned for 1st April, co-incidentally exactly two years since we moved into Downton.

From there, we went on to Mum’s in West End, where we chatted for a while. I have already mentioned how our mother is preparing for the future by labelling all the belongings she has been given by us all in the past, so that we receive them when she dies. She has also begun to pre-empt this event by handing out items in advance. Today she presented us with a box of bubble-wrapped goodies.

Vase, teapot, mug, dish

There is a hand-painted vase bought for her by Jackie; a cut-glass silver-rimmed dish given by Jessica; and a Chinese teapot and lidded mug from Jessica and me. ‘I’m sorry about the chip’, said my apologetic parent. There was a chip in the lid of the drinking vessel. I replied that since she has owned each one of these treasures for at least forty years, she could consider herself excused.

From Mum’s we drove to Elizabeth’s. My sister followed us to Brockenhurst, where the three of us dined at Dynasty. In keeping with our intention to eat more lentils, we shared a side dish of dhal and vegetables. My main course was fish jalfrezi. Jackie and I drank Kingfisher, and Elizabeth drank a Chilean merlot. Despite the fact that the restaurant was packed out, we received the usual warm welcome and friendly service.


  1. My Aunt Gene, who died last June, did exactly the same thing, plus labeled things she just wanted people to have. Pick up much of anything in the house and it had someone’s name underneath on a sticker. All in all, not a bad idea.

  2. You may be interested to know that the Chinese writing on the teapot and mug says 萬壽無疆 ‘ten thousand longevity no end’ . Note that we have a word for ten thousand: 萬 so instead of using two characters i.e. ten 十 and thousand 千, we say 萬。 I imagine these were birthday presents, wishing the recipient a long life.

  3. Best of luck with the exhibition setup, Derrick. I am sure we’ll be updated with highlights from the opening? That tea set is a treasure. The pattern is beautiful. The chip makes it more endearing. ?

  4. My in-laws are being to do the same thing. It feels a bit odd to receive these items while they help to pack them and then watch us take them away. I suppose being in their 90’s they want to be certain everything goes where it’s suppose to.

  5. Best wishes with the April Exhibition Derrick. Lovely gifts from your Mum ~ it’s a special gesture that she was able to give them to you in person.

  6. Oh, your mum is so sweet. It was fascinating to read in the comments what the Chinese writings on the teapot say. I guess this teapot is going to stay with your family for a good while 🙂

  7. I enjoyed reading your post Derrick, you mention West End and it always conjures up images of a London I have seen depicted in post war movies, the other reason is your Mums idea of labeling items or giving away in advance, I am seeing in my family, it is a sad but beautiful sentiment.

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