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