Wiltshire And The West End

Steady rain fell most of the day, so I scanned some more colour slides for posterity. The more observant readers will note that I have converted three to black and white images.

Matthew and Becky, Candles 19.12.79

19th December 1979 was Matthew’s eleventh birthday. Being the generous soul he is, he allowed Becky to blow out his cake candles. I had to be quick to take this shot because these flickering flames were my only source of light.

Just before Christmas Jessica, Michael and I took a trip to Jessica’s parents in Wiltshire.

Standing Stone 12.79

This standing stone must have been photographed at Avebury,

Jessica and Piper silhouette 12.79

above which Jessica and Piper romped on the hillside.

Matthew and Becky feeding pigeons 12.79

Mat and Becky always enjoyed a trip to Trafalgar Square. In December 1979 you were still welcome to feed the birds with crusts of bread,

George IV equestrian statue

which, like the rooks foraging in the turf beneath our New Forest ponies, tried their luck around the sculptured hoofs of King George IV’s horse.

Jessica and Michael 12.79 2

Lord Nelson’s memorial square is a very short walk from what was our flat in Horse and Dolphin Yard, in the doorway of which beam Jessica and Michael.

This Mews Yard lay off Macclesfield Street, between Gerard Street and Shaftesbury Avenue leading to

Piccadilly Circus 1.80Christmas lights 1.80 1

Piccadilly Circus, photographed in January 1980.

Jackie has abandoned me this evening for a trip to Surrey and a meal with her good friend, Pauline, which they have both been looking forward to. I therefore dined alone on fried eggs, bacon, potatoes, and carrots, with toast. I have never tried the orange vegetables with a fry-up before. They add a certain pleasant piquancy.

If A Tree Falls In A Forest……

This morning was a low-key one of rather subdued recovery from yesterday’s party. We drank coffee, ate toast, and played Scrabble.

In mid afternoon we lunched on what was surplus to requirements at yesterday’s lunch. By this time we were four: Elizabeth, Danni, Jackie, and me.  Afterwards Jackie drove me home and we settled down to a relaxing late afternoon and evening.

Almost.

Janice & Michael 8.64My cousin Jane, nee Janice Booker, has lived in America since she was a young woman, and I have not seen her since. The last time I saw Jane was when we were probably still in our twenties when she was on a visit from The States, and Jackie and I took her out to a pancake house. When a limp, thin, flattened object with a smattering of sweet liquid was presented on a plate, she said: ‘That’s not a pancake’. You see, they do things differently in America.

I have, for some years, intended to e-mail her a copy of a photograph I took of her holding my son Michael in August 1964. Jacqueline has now provided me with the address, and I sent it across the Atlantic in a trice. It then occurred to me that it would make a good next picture in the ‘posterity’ series, and I began to draft today’s post. I got as far as ‘subdued’ in the first line when we had a power cut.

These are really quite a nuisance, especially as electricity is our only power source. I lit some candles, only spilling about a dozen matches on the carpet and burning just a couple of fingers.

After a while we decided to go for a drive as far as Downton and back, possibly via Bertie’s in Lyndhurst, in the unlikely event that that fish and chip shop should be open on a Sunday evening. The idea was to see whether this hiatus in power extended beyond our building and whether Downton was similarly affected. We very quickly established that there was no supply in Minstead, but that the dearth did not extend beyond our village.

Bertie’s was closed, so we thought we’d try Goodies in Totton. This meant driving back close to home, so we thought we’d check on the state of play en route. Our power was back on so we decided to stay in.

Pondering a rather deep philosophical question, I sat down to write my post, at least as far as the evening meal. I turned on the computer, brought up WordPress, sat with my hands poised over the keyboard ………  and we had another cut.

It is quite possible that Jackie and I both uttered expletives at this point. I relit the candles, found the torch, and the lights came on again. And I tried once more.  I trust that in the circumstances I will be forgiven the shortage of photographs today. Hopefully my beautiful cousin will make up for it.

Now. Whilst we were driving out to Downton did the lights all come on in Minstead?  Or was Castle Malwood Lodge back on stream only as we approached it? We had been out for about an hour and had not been there to see. Did the windows glow with light after five minutes or fifty? And as we weren’t there was it of any consequence to us?

And how did The Beegees know that ‘the lights all went out in Massachusetts’? (YouTube it).

This rather nonsensical musing put me in mind of the poser mentioned above: ‘If a tree falls in a forest and no-one is around to hear it does it make a sound?’. This is apparently an exercise in thought raising questions about observation, perception, and knowledge of reality.

I guess we could just ask our neighbours.

In the meantime, I am going to attempt to knock up some scrambled egg on toast and post this missive before the next cut.

P.S. Jackie got to the kitchen, the eggs, and the toaster, first.

Knight & Colbourne Candles

Jackie, for the second time in two days, drove us to Southampton Parkway to collect Alison who had come for a brief visit.  The M27/A31 going west was almost at a standstill with people pouring in from other parts of the country to take advantage of what seemed to be the first real day of summer.  Deciding to avoid the motorway on our return, our driver took a different route that was still busy enough to turn a twenty minute journey into one lasting an hour.

Eleanor and Henry are a couple of resourceful young folk who occupy different parts of the Lodge.  Two days ago they developed a car cleaning project.  As there are seventeen flats, all of which often also have visitors, this could be quite lucrative for our ten and nine year old neighbours.  We had actually been asked for the names and numbers of the most likely punters.  This afternoon they sought Jackie’s advice on how they could expand their empire.  I was invited to join in the discussion.  It had occured to them that some people might like their shopping done at the village shop, but as this was a good twenty minutes walk away it needed careful co-ordination.  They offered the opinion that most residents of the building, ‘not you of course’, were quite old and therefore likely to require such a service.  Given that there is only one couple who are marginally older, I suppose we should have been flattered.

It was Eleanor who had tolerated the attention of Jessica and Imogen who had been so smitten on their recent visit (see 12th May post).  I told the children that Jessica and Imogen’s Mum had, when she was not much older than Eleanor, gone into business with her friend Matthew.  They had made and sold candles.  Eleanor wasn’t really into candle making.

Louisa and Matthew Colbourne, great friends still, had been very like Eleanor and Henry.  Ever resourceful, inseparable, and immensely loyal, what began as a sale of refreshments in the garage developed into an established company, with a bank account, producing hand-crafted candles.  Their parents had to dragoon their friends into the garden to purchase curled up sandwiches and luke-warm orange squash, but the candles sold themselves.  They really were quite good.  It was a proud Dad who took Louisa and her business partner, in their very early teens, into the bank in Newark to open their official company account.  Like all candles, it eventually fizzled out, but it was very exciting while it lasted.

Back lawn, Castle Malwood Lodge

It was quite late in the afternoon today when I set off to walk the two fords Q.  Starting with the back lawn of the Lodge garden, the early evening sun lent a gorgeous light to the landscape. Running Hill Midges appeared to be floating on the beams, and long shadows produced dramatic affects. Hedgerow Hedgerows chirruped and sang, for all the world as if they were flocks of joyful birds.  Hedgerow 2

For the first time this year my sandals came out and my feet went into them.

On my return we were joined by Eleanor’s parents, David and Nicky.  We had a drink together before they repaired to their barbecue and we came inside to consume Jackie’s chicken jalfrezi (recipe) with her savoury rice which has really taken off.  I drank Blason des Papes Chateuneuf du Pape 2011 with this.

Field and branch

I had met Nicky before when I had had the temerity to offer her running tips as our paths had crossed twice when I was on a walk and she was on a run.  She had told me later that I had been very helpful, which was a relief, but I hadn’t connected her with her daughter.