The card-making factory put the final touches to the process of preparation for the Open Studio today. One design we had forgotten to use was produced in three different formats; My chief administrator completed her cataloguing; and created a display board which looks pretty impressive to me. She has earned the privilege of selecting some of her own favourites. The tally is 188 cards from 78 individual designs. And the tip of the supply iceberg hasn’t even been chipped.
For a break after lunch we drove to check out a house in Bransgore. Next door there is a vacant lot which once clearly held another house. On the fence is posted a notice advertising a planning application for building a replacement house. This, I understand, is now the only housebuilding that can take place in the National Park. Maybe it has a bearing on why the attractive 1930s bungalow on offer is within our expected price range.
On the road between Bolderwood and Emery Down, we passed the Portuguese Fireplace, the plaque accompanying which I will let tell its story:
Our meal was actually a product tasting session sampling the offerings of those popular German brothers, Lidl and Aldi. The two companies’ Chinese spare ribs were both very tasty and full of meat. It was, nevertheless, surprisingly easy to reach agreement that Lidl scores on the grounds of slightly more tender protein and less harsh sauce. Wild rice complemented the dish. I drank La Patrie Cahors 2011.
Yesterday, I wrote of my Grandpa Hunter, the photographer, and my Dad, the walker. Dad’s walking was, I believe, a matter of necessity. Grandpa’s photography, like mine, was a burning interest. He was also a long distance runner, as was I during the 80s and 90s. If Grandpa passed on his interests genetically, so did he the hair. Both Mum and I began to sprout white locks in our twenties, and we both still have it.
In August 1964, almost exactly twenty one years after George Henry Hunter took photograph number 26 in the ‘through the ages’ series, I took one of him and Dad in my grandparents’ garden in Staines. He had, of course, also taken yesterday’s number 25 which featured Dad holding me, probably on the same day.
Grandma and Grandpa did usually keep a live woolly white terrier, but I don’t think the one I am stroking in today’s picture was real. The real ones didn’t have black ears. Had I studied this one before before yesterday’s, I would have been in no doubt about where we were. The tomato plants offer the clue. Grandpa always grew tomatoes. He was particularly proud of those he grew in Staines. They were massive, yet still full of flavour. He had brought the seeds back from Italy, and saved some every year, nurturing his crop as Jackie nurtures her pots today.
In 1964 Annie and George Henry Hunter had lived in Staines for a while. I am not sure how long, but, whilst they were having their bungalow built they lived with us for six months and shared my bedroom. I was young enough to have been thrown into a paralysing panic when we had the intruder.
There was I, snugly tucked up, and presumably asleep, when disturbed by the repetitive greeting: ‘He……..low; he….low…..’. Petrified, I thought I should answer it. ‘Hello’, I squeaked. Neither the greeting nor its rhythm ceased.
Like a small child or a monkey that thinks it can’t be seen if it puts its hands over its own eyes, I thought there was a possibility I would be neither seen nor heard if I hid under the blankets. The sound continued until I fell asleep.
In the morning I couldn’t wait to tell Mum about the man in the bedroom who wouldn’t stop saying ‘hello’. ‘Don’t be silly’, said Mum. ‘That was Grandpa snoring.’
Incidentally, the Evans family were a little parsimonious when it came to Christian names. Annie Hunter, nee Evans, was only given one. Our mother, Jean Knight, nee Hunter, was blessed with carrying on the tradition. There it stopped, because my sisters have two each. Dad’s family had a different practise. He and his ten siblings each had two or three, the first listed one not necessarily being the one used in real life. The idea was that you could string them together in the way they sounded best, and use your favourite. Thus Dad, christened Douglas Michael, was always known as Michael. Just think how famous he could have been. And Catherine Zeta Jones could have been my stepmother. I owe my first name to Uncle Derrick, whose baptismal certificate reads Marcus Derrick. Just think, with a different preference I could have been Marcus. And playing around like this with the initials MD/DM was just perverse. My Auntie Gwen (see eponymous post of 3rd July last year) was registered as Ellen Beatrice Gwendolen. It undoubtedly flows, but which one would you pick? I’m only joking, Grandma and Grandpa Knight, should you have access to this.