Memo To Self


Memo to self:

‘Never shop at Tesco’s late on a Friday morning. Remember. Because of the congestion, you will never be able to move faster than a plod. Especially when you have driven a short distance having cleared ice from the car windows, you will find that you are wearing too many layers for the oppressive atmosphere. The trolley could pass as a dodgem car. Other drivers will mostly be too old or infirm to be granted a licence; except, that is, for the toddler in the store-supplied pedal vehicle towing his Grandma’s basket on wheels. Facing an oncoming loader stacked with products for filling shelves will be like attempting to avoid an out of control container vehicle. Deft footwork will be required to avoid lasting bruises.

Especially if you are tagging along in a junior mate’s capacity, and you are unfamiliar with the layout you will not feel you are much use. When dispatched to collect specific items, at first you will need to find the relevant aisle. Even if you then find the right brand, you will probably bring the wrong size or the wrong amount back to the Caterer in Chief, and have to retrace your steps to return and replace the item. That is after you have managed to find your lady with her trolley in any one of the countless number of avenues of shelves.’

In case anyone thinks I exaggerate, when faced with an oncoming wheeled tower with apparently no driver, I, at one point, had to choose which elderly woman’s loaded trolley to treat as a bumping car. Fortunately, there was a staff member pushing the container, around which she peered, and applied her brakes. At that moment the toddler pedalled around the corner. The employee  had the good humour to be amused when I asked if her employers had trained her on the dodgems.

This afternoon I scanned another batch of negatives from May 1986. Some of these have appeared in earlier posts, but were made from prints of which I thought I had lost the negatives.

I believe this first group was taken at Tooting Common, where Sam and Louisa enjoyed climbing frames, sandwiches, and ice creams. Would gravel be permitted under these structures in our safety-conscious era today, I wonder? I am not sure whether the bicycle was Louisa’s birthday present.

Our first clematis Montana was grown at our home in Gracedale Road,

barefoot on the concrete back steps of which Sam, admired by his sister, undertakes an important piece of carpentry.

Perhaps Jessica took this photograph of me at a party somewhere.

This evening we dined at Lymington’s Lal Quilla, where we received the usual friendly and efficient service with first class food. My main meal was prawn Ceylon; Jackie’s was chicken bhuna; and we shared Kashmira pilau rice, garlic naan, and sag bahji. We both drank Kingfisher.

A Mirror Image

Jackie planting Aloha In erecting a climbing frame for the juvenile roses, Aaron completed his invaluable contribution to their playground. The top bar was the stair rail; the posts had been found lying about in the undergrowth; we bought the retaining spikes. Jackie couldn’t wait to plant the Aloha. Jackie drove us to Mat and Tess’s new home in Upper Dicker, for lunch. Becky and Ian arrived before us. August in our popular holiday area meant that the journey took three hours. After enjoying a splendid lunch and spending a most enjoyable family afternoon together, the return journey occupied half an hour less. 2438442_167b58d2Village Shop rear Our son and his wife are in the process of buying The Village Shop, which I have featured several times, the spacious flat above it, and a two story outbuilding. Tess has been running this shop for some years now. This surprisingly spacious building, approximately 350 years old, is steeped in history, and full of character. SaladSausages and chops We lunched on the garden table. As always, Tess catered admirably, providing an array of salads to accompany Mat’s proficient barbecuing of sausages and lamb chops. Various beverages were also consumed, and excellent coffee accompanied the DIY desserts. Desserts

The DIY aspect of this was to assemble your own selection from the choices on offer.

We were rather plagued with wasps. These fearsome little creatures swarmed over the table, some drowning themselves in the beer and wine, others escaping from the glasses.Wasp in glass

Occasionally those we fished out of our drinks would shake themselves dry and crawl off in staggered zigzags.

Sunlight through wineglass

Sunlight played tricks, making me think I was seeing one of the insects reflected on my napkin.

With the addition of nectarine juices to traces of wine, my lips became increasingly attractive to the vespas. I am firmly of the opinion that if you don’t disturb wasps, they won’t sting you. Therefore, when they choose to crawl on me, I leave them to it, grit my teeth, try not to emit the smell of fear, and hope for the best. Having two of them trample across your bottom lip, tests your resolve to the limit.

So it was today. I was reasonably courageous until I began to feel a pricking sensation. I wasn’t being stung, but it was getting a little uncomfortable. I eventually realised that one of the creatures was drilling into my lip in search of the source of the tempting juices. At that point I welcomed the attentions of Matthew and Jackie and their wafted serviettes.

Mat, Tess & Scooby

Mat and Tess borrowed Scooby for a family photograph

Matthew and Becky 5.75 03

that turned out to be almost a mirror image of one of Mat and Becky taken in Soho in May 1975.

Behind Mat and Tess is their additional building.

Little Black Sambo

Steady, heavy, rain, with ever increasing momentum, teemed from a dirty white sky throughout the day.

We deemed this excellent for the garden but not conducive to gardening, so we drove out to Ace Reclamation at West Parley, where we bought a wrought iron arch and two stately armchairs which will be delivered next week. Close to this architectural salvage outlet lies that village’s garden centre where we bought five new climbing roses which have stayed in the car.

I spent the afternoon locating and scanning more of the prints Elizabeth has returned to me. This task is becoming more difficult as I don’t have the negatives and have to plough through photograph albums looking for gaps. I managed to place four from May 1986 and one from 1987.

Derrick 5.86

I am not sure who took this one of me at Jessica’s Aunt Elspeth’s 70th Birthday Party in May, at her home in Rugby. On my left wrist is a stopwatch, the purpose of which will become apparent in the final picture today.

In ‘Does This Remind You Of Anyone?’ , I have described, and featured other photographs from, a trip to a recreation ground in Tooting that same month.

Sam 5.86 2

Here, Sam looks a little unsure about whether he will make it across the climbing frame. He may remember better, but I seem to remember rescuing him.

Jessica, Louisa, Sam 5.86

Louisa points something out to Jessica, whilst holding onto her mandatory ice cream.

Mum, Louisa, Sam 5.86

It was probably on the evening of Louisa’s fourth birthday party, on 24th May, that Sam reads to my Mum, his Grandma, whilst Louisa is engrossed in ‘Little Black Sambo’.

Louisa is reading one of her mother’s favourite childhood stories, which Jessica read with altered names. This children’s book, first published by Grant Richards in 1899, was written and illustrated by Helen Bannerman. Criticism of the work began as early as 1932. The word ‘Sambo’ came to be deemed a racial slur, and Bannerman’s illustrations derogatory caricatures. As a result, both text and illustrations have undergone considerable revision.

I only read the book once, so I have resorted to Wikipedia for the plot.  “Sambo”, we are told, “is a South Indian boy who lives with his father and mother, named Black Jumbo and Black Mumbo, respectively. Sambo encounters four hungry tigers, and surrenders his colourful new clothes, shoes, and umbrella so they will not eat him. The tigers are vain and each thinks he is better dressed than the others. They chase each other around a tree until they are reduced to a pool of melted butter. Sambo then recovers his clothes and his mother, Black Mumbo, makes pancakes out of the butter………..

In 1996, noted illustrator Fred Marcellino observed that the story itself contained no racist overtones and produced a re-illustrated version, The Story of Little Babaji, which changes the characters’ names but otherwise leaves the text unmodified. This version was a best-seller.”

Derrick 26.1.87

The final print in today’s batch was made by Mike Nicholson on 26th January 1987. I may look hot and bothered, but the the Fareham 10 mile road race I ran in aid of my nephew, Adam’s day nursery, was competed in sub-zero temperatures, which is probably why, according to my watch, I managed it in 64 minutes.

Chinese meal

This evening we dined on Jackie’s chicken in black bean sauce, stir-fried vegetable noodles, and rice noodles. We both drank Tsingtao beer. Hordle Chinese Take Away has to look to its laurels.

Does This Remind You Of Anyone?

10533096_10152557157745428_7566417720161208596_n When, yesterday evening, Louisa posted pictures on Facebook of her daughters Jessica and Imogen on a swing, she tagged Sam and me asking us if they reminded us of anyone. This, of course, meant herself. Louisa was a daredevil on any form of climbing or swinging apparatus. It is hardly surprising, really, that she recently completed The Three Peaks Challenge. Louisa & Sam 5.86Louisa 5.86I well remember her on a climbing frame in Tooting in the 1980s. Here she is with her older brother Sam, around the time of her fourth birthday, in May 1986, first gleefully scaling the ramp, then in the process of swinging around the bar.Sam 5.86 Sam, enjoying his lunch on high, would appear to be affecting an air of nonchalance. I took these photographs on a trip, with their mother, Jessica, to a recreation ground in Tooting. It was a sunny day and we all had ice creams. This morning, while Jackie endlessly watered the scorching plants, I finished transporting from the kitchen garden the remaining slabs of stone for her working path, and laid them in place. All but the last three. She shifted those. Bay tree rootsJackie walking by her pathMy first task in this process had been to dig out the roots of a veritable copse of young bay trees that Jackie had cut down some time ago. We decided that the setting of the stones securely in place could wait until tomorrow. This thoroughfare links the head gardener’s potting and general maintenance area through the new shrubbery with what will continue to be called the shady path, even though the overgrown bushes that kept light from it have now been much reduced. The sunlight on the plants by which Jackie is walking in the picture, never reached them when we first came. The decking area is in the middle distance. Thinking it really should have been placed for the evening sun’s western glow, we were puzzled because we didn’t enjoy any. Not until we applied our saw and loppers in earnest did we do so.
Butterfly shelterInsect hotelFor my birthday, three weeks ago now, Luci and Wolf gave me a butterfly shelter and an insect hotel, two very thoughtful presents for the garden. Today, with guidance from she who knows about these things, I located each of them in a suitable position. Twigs needed to be inserted into the green-roofed butterfly shelter; and wheat straw, by September, is required for the hotel. Apparently green lacewings will be attracted by the red door, and different species of bee will choose to crawl through holes of varying diameters in the top section.
Early this evening I repeated yesterday’s walk.Thistle seedsThistle seeds blowing in windThistle seeds caught on web Thistles have run to seed. The strong breeze was tearing some from their moorings. A no doubt disappointed spider, perhaps mistaking them for tasty insects, caught a few of them in its web.
SilageDown the track I discovered the silage, which is clearly the source of the strong aroma that sometimes overpowers the scent of petunias and other sweet-smelling flowers in the garden. The lorry delivering it had dropped some along the way, so I was able to scoop up some dry straw for the hopefully hibernating guests of the insect hotel.
There was choice on the Old Post House menu this evening. Mine was delicious chilli con carne (recipe) with wild rice and peas; Jackie’s was pork rib rack in chilli sauce with mashed potatoes and vegetables. We both chose fruit crumble and custard for dessert, I drank more Wolf Blass, and Jackie, her customary Hoegaarden.