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The kitchen may have looked neat and tidy when we finished yesterday’s decluttering. Now we have to rid ourselves of the piles in the library. We may not pass on the stool in the top right hand corner of the vertical picture. We’ll probably keep the wine for lubrication. The A-Z book in the bottom right of that image is one in which I feature as Mordred. Beneath the clock in the landscape photograph is a flyer for ‘The Magnificent Seven’. Book piles are those which Richard eased off the shelves when fitting the duct for the extractor fan. They will be returned when access is clear.
This afternoon I watched the Six Nations rugby match between Ireland and Scotland and most of that between England and France.
This evening Mat, Tess, Poppy, Flo and Dillon came to stay. Jackie drove to Hordle Chinese Take Away for our delicious evening meal. Mr Chan and another customer opined that she was buying too much. They were wrong. The containers were cleared. Beers, wines, and soft drinks were imbibed.
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This is the owl our offspring gave Jackie for her birthday.
Clearly this splendid sculpture needed a plinth on which to perch. Fortunately I had noticed one in the very dealership from which we had purchased yesterday’s troughs. So back we went to Molly’s Den and bought it.
Much more can be found in this emporium: chairs, table and settings;
recordings old and new;
figurines to every taste;
bears, of course;
boxes of possibly dubious provenance;
headscarfs on mannequins;
fairly optimistically priced peeling and faded fairground signs;
and bright copper artefacts, to select a few.
On our return home, a cluster of ponies gathered outside The Rising Sun at Wootton. Were they perhaps waiting for lunch to be served?
Rats continue to enter our garden from the empty and unkempt North Breeze next door. Perhaps that is the reason that Jackie wasted no time in allocating a place for the barn owl’s plinth beside the patio. I expect that benign looking predator appears rather different to a rodent.
Later, Jackie continued weeding and planting, while I fed this year’s compost pile and emptied the last of the matured one onto the Palm Bed.
This evening we dined on Jackie’s bountiful beef casserole served with abundant boiled potatoes. She drank Peroni while I finished the madiran.
Helen came over this morning to help with the packing. As we had run out of boxes we drove out to Morrisons, too early for any yet to have been available. A very helpful young woman who was filling shelves went ‘out the back’ to seek some out for us. Unfortunately the last of yesterday’s had already been baled up, so she had asked her colleagues to save some for us, suggesting we called back at about four o’clock.
When Jackie’s sister arrived we loaded her car with previously filled boxes of our more fragile or precious items. We followed her to Poulner where Bill assisted the rest of us to sore all these in their garden shed, which had been cleared for the purpose.
Penyards added another viewing for this afternoon. That made three. The first didn’t take long. A few minutes after the interested couple and Robert, the agent, had left, Robert returned to tell me the other two visits would not take place. This was because the flat had been let. I asked him what that meant. He replied that the couple who had just left had paid the deposit on the phone.
Whilst Jackie and I were reeling from this sudden about turn, I received a call from the young woman whose, shall we say, lack of clarity in the first place had set the ball rolling. She offered a sincere apology for putting us through such stress and for being ‘not clear enough’. I reminded her that she had said she had told me about the ‘subject to contract and references’ provision when in fact she hadn’t. She was not in the office at that moment, and consequently calling from a mobile phone, but promised to go in early to send me an e-mail at 8.30 a.m. in the morning. I reminded her that she had promised an e-mail before, and I would very much like to receive this one. She took responsibility for the fiasco. I said her manager should share it. He too had made me promises he had not honoured, and he was ultimately in charge. Had Mr Davis listened to the recordings of our conversations he must have known I was telling the truth and should have adhered to the new agreement. I accepted the young woman’s apology, but regretted that this call had not been made before the flat was re-let.
At 4 p.m. we returned to Morrisons. There, a very pleasant young man named Karl, came out with one of their extra large trolleys loaded with a dozen banana boxes. He cheerfully towed them out to our car whilst Jackie took our trolley back to the rack. Had I remembered where our Modus was, Karl’s journey would have been less circuitous, and he and I may have reached our destination before Jackie did.
After taking the containers home and unloading them, Jackie drove us back to Poulner. She went off with Helen for an hour and I stayed with Bill, during which time we watched rugby, chatted, and listened to stunning recordings of Rachel Eales singing. After this we all dined at a Thai restaurant in Ringwood whose name I can’t remember. It was excellent and we had an enjoyable and stimulating evening.
We did watch Bill Nighy in ‘Turks & Caicos’ last night. It was some kind of spy drama, neither thrilling nor intriguing. Nighy was convincing as a burnt-out civil servant doubling up as an MI5 agent in cahoots with Christopher Walken’s cunning and unscrupulous CIA man. A competent Helena Bonham-Carter wheedled incriminating information out of one of those BBC actors whose handsome face you know but can’t quite place the name. I don’t think I ever understood the plot enough to have lost it, but that didn’t matter because Bill explained it all in the end. He whose name I cannot remember was, I think, a mandarin of sorts in cahoots with the Prime Minister working to stash away a figurative pot of gold for his retirement. The idea was that they would con this out of a bunch of murderous American villains, one of whom was killed by Winona Ryder, scarily playing an emotionally damaged woman they were all abusing. She took a shine to our Bill, which was quite helpful to him, although he wouldn’t have dreamed of taking advantage of her. Ralph Fiennes was the PM. He made a brief, silently smiling, appearance ‘through a glass darkly’. In fairness to the anonymous actor, we looked him up. And naturally, when we discovered he was Rupert Graves, we said: ‘Of course’.
Nighy is capable of complex emotional portrayal. He has a most expressive face which was really the one watchable element that stopped me turning off the TV.
With that cast, directed by David Hare, in a film he had also written, we wondered whether we were the ones who were out of kilter. It is still on BBC iPlayer. Should you decide to see it for yourself perhaps you will let us know.
Minstead’s ever-changing cloudscapes enthralled me, as always, this morning as I walked down to the village shop and back. The artist is the sun, now shrouded, now peeking from behind its scudding veils. The bones of the still unclad trees were silhouetted against the shifting skies of deep blue, white, and various shades of grey.
Magnolias are coming into bloom in the village. Oz and Polly’s white one offers a fine display decorating the left fork from Seamans Lane. Pink is the colour of another in a cottage garden opposite The Trusty Servant Inn.
Making up the last of the Safestore boxes for us to fill this afternoon, I reflected on my experiences of such containers. These particular items have already been used to move Jackie and me twice, and Becky and her family once. They are still sturdy enough for one more tour of service. I was amused to see that one still bore the tissue paper that served as the wrapping for Danni’s huge present last year.
Jackie has done a grand job of scavenging cardboard fruit boxes from Morrison’s supermarket. So helpful were the staff that one man was eager to extract the last few melons from one carton so she could take it away. These containers reminded me of the far more robust Chinese Boxes of Soho.
Later, as the sun subsided in the west of our garden, the eastern sky became an indigo water-colour wash with just one cloud reflecting the fading glow from the other side.
We are expecting Elizabeth and Danni shortly. When they arrive we will all go to The Plough Inn at Tiptoe for an evening meal.