For some time now Jackie has been collecting toys, books, and dressing up material for visits from grandchildren. She has now taken this a stage further. Buying such as Disney Princess dresses in various stages of use and abuse from her favourite charity shops, she has washed, ironed, mended, and added flouncy petticoats and sequins to the originals. Now they are nine. They are too good to dump in the dressing up box, and must be hung up.
This morning I walked the two fords ampersand, amending its shape by walking up the footpath past All Saints churchyard. The track alternated between a quagmire and a clear gravel river bed. The last time I took this path the two horses in the adjacent field were grazing in a blizzard.
There was such an array of spring bulbs emerging in the graveyard that I was almost afraid to walk in it. Careful as I was, it was almost impossible not to tread on any. Snowdrops and crocuses were in bloom, while daffodils were coming into their own. They provided a thick pile carpet of a white, golden yellow, and purple abstract design on an emerald ground. Treetrunks and gravestones were festooned with these harbingers of spring.
After a light lunch Jackie drove us to Mat and Tess’s in Upper Dicker where we, together with Becky, Flo and Ian, joined our son and daughter-in-law for a belated Christmas celebration. Tess had been ill at the end of December. We exchanged presents and pulled Flo’s crackers. Matthew couldn’t resist tossing a packet of Jacob’s Cream Crackers onto the table to save me going to the other room for the party type. As always we enjoyed good family time with a deal of hilarity. Tess, a superb cook, produced an excellent tagine and couscous meal. Somehow the meat dish was always full. Her homemade Christmas cake, still moist, was to follow. Whilst I had been in France there was a repeat showing of P’tang Yang Kipperbang on Channel 4. This was a wonderful film about adolescent yearning set against a cricket commentary from the legendary John Arlott, originally shown on that channel’s second night in 1982. Whenever it is repeated it is a must for family viewing because Mat and Becky, along with many of their classmates, were extras in the film. We were entertained by renditions of their respective performances. Mat in particular came in for a certain amount of parody. It seems that he took his acting role seriously, but that wasn’t wholly appreciated at the time.
An interesting issue of historical accuracy was raised during the filming. The production was set in that post-war period before there were any black and Asian children in Wimbledon. Those young people were therefore unable to appear in the film. Given that those who did appear in the film were given a fee, £5 per scene, I do hope those who were excluded were similarly compensated.