Mrs. Barbe-Baker’s Summer House

Last night and early this morning the only birdsong in the garden was the magpie warning call, a kind of incessant chattering.  There certainly are a lot of them about.  This morning, however, the mother fox and a cub, basking in the sunshine, were definitely the subject of the warning.  Mum was studiously ignoring a magpieContinue reading “Mrs. Barbe-Baker’s Summer House”

Miss Downs

Taking advantage of the beautiful weather I walked up to Wimbledon common just before midday with a couple of books and sat reading by the pond in which I’d sailed my boat as a child.  The bench I had chosen was inscribed IN MEMORY OF DOUGLAS WARD CAMPBELL. As always when passing Wimbledon Library, situatedContinue reading “Miss Downs”

Payback

Last night I finished reading Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’.  This is a book which Judith Munns ‘loves’ and which Rachel Eales studied for GCSE.  In 1960, when I gained my English Literature A Level, five years before the trial of ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’, nothing so explicit would have graced the curriculum.  In her new introductionContinue reading “Payback”

For Kate

As I had not seen them for a few days I had become rather worried about the foxes lately  All, however, must be well because, it being bin collection day, there was, this morning, the usual evidence of their presence all over the front lawn. On this the second successive summery day I set off asContinue reading “For Kate”

The Scent Of A Squirrel

Last night I finished reading the National Trust guide to Chartwell which, as they say, is synonymous with Churchill.  Reading of the country’s reaction to his death took me back to 1965 when I was working for Mobil Shipping Company in a building nicknamed The Pill Box, situated outside Waterloo Station near the end ofContinue reading “The Scent Of A Squirrel”

Rabbits On The Roof

Listening to the squirrels scampering on our roof this morning reminded me of those in the loft of Lindum House in Newark who sounded as if they were wearing hob-nailed boots.  It is amazing how much noise they make.  This also gives me an excuse to tell a Soho story. During the middle years of the 1970s we livedContinue reading “Rabbits On The Roof”

The Chicken Roundabout

In writing of roundabouts yesterday I forgot to mention the other chicken roundabout I know.  This is situated on the A143 between Ditchinham in Norfolk and Bungay in Suffolk where my friend Don lives.  For many years it was home to a variety of feral chickens.  These consisted of many different varieties, some quite exotic. Continue reading “The Chicken Roundabout”

Roundabouts

Jackie and I had another drive into the Surrey countryside today, this time to Ockley for lunch at The King’s Arms where we had honeymooned in 1968. Whilst passing the roundabout just outside Dorking which bears a sculpture of a giant chicken, I was reminded of the roundabouts in France.  Certainly in the area IContinue reading “Roundabouts”

Chartwell

Today we had another family gathering, this time with Michael, Becky, and Matthew and their families.  We went to Winston Churchill’s former home, now a National Trust propery at Chartwell and afterwards to Michael’s for a meal involving starters of barbecued sausages followed by chicken, salads and finally Eton mess. A minor panic was calmed byContinue reading “Chartwell”