This morning we went driveabout. At New Milton we paid the car tax for a year, bought me some new sandals, and some curry spices; then at Ringwood I examined a magnetic picture frame at Wessex photographic, and placed an order for a larger one, and Jackie bought a keep for the recently fitted door to the master suite.
After lunch Jackie continued transforming our garden whilst I wrote a story. These unusual aquilegias were not visible last year because they were completely overgrown.
WordPress awards, it seems, are like buses. None come along for ages, then two or three arrive together. Having just received two awards in two days, the third has dropped into my mailbox. When Robin of Robin’s Real Life invited me to participate in Five Photos – Five Stories and described me as one of her favourite storytellers, this was my third bus.
Robin’s own delightfully romantic story prompted me to begin my daily quintet with a tale, snippets of which will have been gleaned by readers who have followed me for a while. It is now time to put it all together, and add relevant detail. I hope I can live up to the billing.
In March 1968, two and a half years after the death of Vivien, my first wife, Jackie and I were married. Nine months later, our son Matthew was born. This second marriage was to last a little less than four years. So distressing was the ending that it took each of us seven years to wed other spouses. Jessica, whom I married in 1980, was herself to die in July 2007.
Tess then came into the picture. Tess is Matthew’s lovely wife. In December 2008 she held a surprise 40th Birthday Party for the son Jackie and I shared. On other such special occasions a choice had clearly been made about which of us, who had not met for years, to invite. This time we were both to be at the event in The Plough at Upper Dicker.
With some trepidation I travelled down on the train, walked from the station, duly arrived, and surprised our son. Jackie, however, was absent. I circulated, chatting among the other guests, most of whom I knew well. My wandering through the bars took me past the door to the car park. It was then I did a double take.
The solid door was lit by a small, head height, window, perhaps 50 cm. square. There, neatly framed, in three-quarters profile, was my previous father-in-law, Don Rivett. But, this could not be. Don had died many years earlier.
The door opened, and in walked Jackie.
We conversed a little, then joined separate groups, but somehow or other, often found the groups merging. When Sam was the last to leave one particular table and we found ourselves alone, what now seems obvious began to dawn on me.
By the summer of 2010 Jackie and I had moved into a flat together, the proceeds of sale of our first marital home providing most of the funds necessary to buy our current house.
For the requested photograph, I have chosen one from a set of negatives I took in August 2010, and scanned today. To borrow the words William Shakespeare put into the mouth of Dimitius Enobarbus when describing Cleopatra: ‘Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale her infinite variety’. Jackie is not the reincarnation of Don, but she is of the muse of my youth.
After that it seems a bit mundane to return to the starling family, but we did spend some time watching as both parents, now more courageous, combined to cater for clamouring chicks.
The trot along the roof top became more urgent; the drop from the corner, and dash into the cave, less hesitant.
Meat and vegetable samosas and a paratha were added to Jackie’s delicious chicken jalfrezi and pilau rice for our evening meal. We both drank Kingfisher.