Spoiler Alert


We were both reprieved from gardening duties this morning by the rain.

I scanned a few more colour slides from 1981/2.

Sam in hammock 8.81

Here Sam enjoys swinging in a hammock at the Drapers’ home in Meldreth near Royston in Cambridgeshire. This was August 1981.

Matthew, Becky, and snowman 12.81

In December that year we had a rare heavy fall of snow in Gracedale Road, Furzedown, South London. Matthew and Becky made the best of it. That was probably the only time in their childhoods that it was possible to create such a magnificent snowman.

Sam 12.81

Another Cambridgeshire venue was the home of Nigel and Judy Pearson at Pastures farmhouse in Caxton. At a Christmas party there, Sam tucked into his first pheasant. I remember biting a piece of shot. This was also the first time I had sampled such fare.

In September 1982 we spent a couple of weeks at the Vachettes’ chateau at Fontaine in Normandy.

Arnoux, Marie- Helene, Jessica, M. et Mme. Vachette 9.82

This is the garden in which Jessica basks in a deckchair with Arnoux, Marie-Helene, and the Vachette parents. As can be seen by the colour of the grass this was a very hot autumn.

Jessica 9.82

Lying at Jessica’s feet

Louisa 9.82 2Louisa 9.82 1

is Louisa in her carrycot;

Sam 9.82

while Sam enjoys the toys she will soon grow into.

This afternoon the sun shone, not only here in Downton, but also in Wimbledon where a tense Gentlemen’s Final took place. I watched it on television.

Andy Murray, trophy, and wife

I will not reveal the winner, but his wife looks on.

Afterwards I wandered around the garden, doing some sporadic dead-heading, whilst Jackie watered some more hanging baskets


Petunias, mimuluses, lobelia, geraniums, owlPetunias 2

containing petunias, mimuluses and lobelia.

Urn, petunias, begonias, bidens,

She also slaked the the thirst of this urn containing petunias, trailing geraniums, and bidens, with penstemons at the side,

Rose Garden

suspended in the Rose Garden.

Hydrangea, geraniums, poppies, pansies, verbena bonarensis

The hydrangea at the corner of Elizabeth’s Bed is thriving;

Clematises, lilies, dahlias, fuchsia, solanum

as are the lilies and clematises in the New Bed;


and the hebes are coming into bloom.

This evening we dined on Mister Chatty Man’s Hordle Chinese Take Away. Jackie drank a blend of Hoegaarden and Bavaria non-alcoholic beer, while I consumed more of the Carignan Vieilles Vignes.


  1. I was watching the Tennis also Derrick.. 🙂 loved every minute of it.. for the last 2 weeks 🙂 Your photo’s are lovely and those were the days Winter was Winter with snow! .. Your garden is looking so colourful..
    Sending thoughts your way

  2. Of course I am presently shouting Allez les bleus …. if they win it will end a perfect sporting day for me and I will limp to bed a happy girl 🙂

      1. Sometimes the perfect day is not meant to be …. I feel sad for France – but hope they will find the strength to hausser les épaules and move on. Well done Portugal, of course … one must always be galant.

  3. You’re both better! Hurray! Hoegaarden and Bavaria non-alcoholic beer, and Carignan Vieilles Vignes 😉
    I’ll catch up on the highlights of the match as I couldn’t watch live. Congratulations UK!

  4. You must be enjoying going through these photos so much, Derek. I know it’s something I always enjoy. How many do you have?

    1. Thanks very much, Val. I’m not sure how many, but there are thousands – negatives, slides, and now digital, covering a lifetime. A few prints from 1942 onwards; slides and negs from the early 60s.

  5. Oh what a fabulous snowman! Even here in the north, we don’t always get a snow fall good enough to build such an impressive sculpture – always great fun though 🙂

  6. As always we love seeing pictures of your garden but now we are getting greedy and would like a panoramic shot. We just want to see what the whole garden looks like in one picture. Would that be possible?

    1. Thank you for asking, Mostly. It isn’t really possible. I have posted several views, like the one in this post: https://derrickjknight.com/2015/07/17/bunting/ from upstairs windows, but there is no vantage point that will take it all in, and we can’t see the 75′ long back drive which, as you know, is all planted up. Several people have asked for a video tour, so I will ask Becky to take me through that next time she visits. 🙂

  7. More cute kids and lovely flowers (I am looking at your posts in the opposite direction LOL). I was a little disappointed at the outcome of the tennis final, but our guy did pretty good just getting there.

  8. It really must be great when you scan those old slides Derrick, and see those captured moments come alive in your memory from so long ago.
    Those family pictures will be treasured for generations to come.

  9. I so remember that December. After four years in Europe I was flying back to Australia on a one-week charter flight via Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur (it was cheap . . . very cheap). My very dear friend could not come to Heathrow to see me off, as the black ice was too dangerous for driving up from Margate. Then the plane in front of us skidded sideways on the tarmac and ploughed into a snowdrift. We were five hours waiting for the runway to be cleared, all the time inside the aircraft, as the pilot was ever hopeful of a quick getaway. In the end, the hostesses had to start the in-flight meal service even though we hadn’t gone anywhere. Then when we did take off, the turbulence was so bad that the miniature drink bottles were flying off the trolley, hitting the ceiling, and coming back down again like missiles. Once we hit such a deep air pocket that we dropped for hundreds of feet and then slammed down as if we had hit concrete. By the time we were flying over the mountains of Afghanistan, I had resolved not to use the life jacket if we went down. I figured, “when your time is up, your time is up”. I had no intention of being stuck on the top of a mountain with a broken body waiting for rescue. And here I am, happy and healthy still, after all these years. . . . and you have sparked all that memory with a snowmen and those beautiful photos of childhood innocence 🙂 well done. What wonderful memories to preserve.

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