Before I was reunited with Jackie, my life was much simpler. My belongings were only in three different places. In particular, clothes, books, other personal items, and the furnishing for one room resided in The Firs. The idea was that I would spend half my time there and half in my house in Sigoules in the Dordogne area of France. Then Jackie and I began to share a home again and we furnished another flat, eventually relocating to Minstead, just twenty minutes drive from Elizabeth’s. We were happy, especially if we were to continue maintaining my sister’s garden, to leave our belongings in her care.
Then came Danni. My niece is to return to her family home for a while and would rather like her old room back. Today, therefore, was spent moving us out. Beforehand, Elizabeth gave us lunch, we had a look at the garden, and Jackie tended to the plants in the greenhouse. The tete-a-tete daffodils were just one of the varieties of bulb Jackie had planted last autumn. It was very pleasing to see they, among others, had survived our long winter.
Late in the afternoon, two car loads of books, clothes, and other belongings left The Firs in convoy and sped to Castle Malwood Lodge. It was a race against the rain. We just got the last of the books inside before thunder, lightning, hailstones, and rain struck. This was such a storm that when we set off afterwards to Lyndhurst for a meal at Passage To India we were puzzled as to what was the white stuff in strips on the road, that is the part not under water. It turned out to be hail, that, in the restaurant car park, still lay thick and crunchy underfoot. We enjoyed the usual top quality meal at this establishment, accompanied by Kingfisher.
This has been a long, very wet winter, not particularly good for roses. In 1974, however, the season was much more clement. That year was during a previous period of unsettled rented accommodation. Then Jessica, Michael, and I lived in a house belonging to The Peel Institute, a boys’ club in Lloyd Baker Street in Islington. It was our home on condition that I performed not very onerous caretaking duties in the clubhouse. The Lloyd Baker Estate is a very trendy area in which to live. For us, it was short-term, pending the refurbishment of the very elegant house. We enjoyed a beautiful garden which I was happy to maintain. On Christmas Day 1974 I picked a bunch of fresh, vibrant roses. I still have the colour slide of Jessica’s photograph to prove it. Unfortunately I cannot, this evening, get my slide scanner to work properly, so I can only reproduce the substandard early version which is all that Elizabeth had to work with in producing number 6 of ‘Derrick through the ages’. If I manage to solve the problem I will replace the photograph in this post.
P.S. The problem is solved, but I’ll keep this as it is – it is part of the day.