Have You Heard?

Feeling better again today, but still pretty drowsy, I scanned a batch of 22 unsorted random black and white negatives, and tested my memory in an attempt to date and locate them. I think the images were all produced in 1983.

Derrick & Louisa 1983001

It was probably Jessica who made this picture of Louisa and me in our house in Gracedale Road. The ginger jar on the shelf above my shoulder was one of the spoils from our mudlarking.82388e8f3ec42ef598b97c6e7ae6e37a The large gilt-framed painting above Louisa’s head is ‘Have You Heard’, by Mary Evelina Kindon, which was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1905. Sadly, I no longer had room to hang it when I returned to London, so Michael arranged for its sale at a Bonhams auction in 2009.

Becky & Louisa 1983 001Becky & Louisa 1983 002

It was only this morning that Becky was amusing us with a description of how she would work on the pc at Commonside Trust, whilst simultaneously cradling a teenage client’s infant. The next two shots, as she plays cards whilst nursing Louisa, demonstrate how she perfected the skill.

Matthew through magnifying glassMagnifying glass

Having peered through a magnifying glass all that time ago, Matthew was to give Jackie and me one each for Christmas a couple of years ago.


Sam is engaged in one of his favourite pastimes.

Landscape 1

Landscape 2

These landscapes were probably taken in Surrey on a visit to Polesden Lacey.

Polesden Lacey

Polesden Lacey is an Edwardian house and estate. Located on the North Downs at Great Bookham, near Dorking, Surrey, it is owned and managed by the National Trust and is one of the Trust’s most popular properties. This photograph suggests to me that it was here that Sam lost his soldier. Jessica, Michael, Sam, Louisa, and I travelled quite regularly down the A3 from Gracedale Road to this garden.


Michael, inspired by these visits soon became a life member of the National Trust.

Louisa 1983 002Louisa 1983 04

Here are two of Louisa concentrating on her food in Gracedale Road.

Jessica, Louisa & Sam 1983

Jessica, Louisa, and Sam enjoy a game of ball at the home of Aunt Elspeth in Rugby.

Jessica, Louisa & Sam 1983 002

Jessica’s late. loved, cousin Anthony tends his mother’s garden in the background.


The daffodils suggest this must have been around Louisa’s first birthday.


Finally, can anyone identify this grasping plant?

This evening we dined on Jackie’s superb liver casserole, mashed potato and swede, and crisp carrots, broccoli, and green beans. I drank more of the cabernet sauvignon opened four or five days ago. It was still drinkable. Ian and Jackie drank Hoegaarden, and Becky rose.


I began the day with a brief amble down the lane.


In the bed beyond the kitchen window, the frilly pink poppies have multiplied.

Rose - white rambler

On our back drive, a pennant of white ramblers is now strung from stump to stump down the avenue of dead trees along the Northern side.


Hallmark Builders have finished their work on the entrance to The Spinney, revealing that the purpose of the wall is to contain a letterbox.

While Jackie continued in the garden, Sheila knitted duck puppets.

Sheila knitting 2The Shoebox Appeal, originating in 1992, operates a system of donating gifts, often hand-crafted to needy people in Eastern Europe and in Africa. Sheila contributes with her knitting. When our friend was struggling to thread her wool through the eye of a sewing needle, I was rash enough to mention that I had, as a child, habitually performed this task for my grandmother, I got the job of doing it for Sheila. It took me some time.


If we harvested all the potatoes that emerge among the flower beds, no doubt germinated from composted peelings, we would put the greengrocers out of business. Those that haven’t already succumbed to the supermarkets, that is. Jackie brought in one of the plants, to give our guest a preview of what she was having for dinner.

Salt marshesYoung woman walkingMother, child, dog

This very warm afternoon Jackie took us for a drive along the coast road. From Milford on Sea, where we did a little shopping, We proceeded to Keyhaven, continued along the inviting-looking salt marshes, from which a bridge crosses to Hurst Spit, along the top of which a young woman, her fair hair blowing in the wind, strode purposefully. Visible through the railings of the firm wooden bridge, a mother and child sheltered, with their dog on the sun-warmed shingle. It is to be hoped that enough of the rapidly melting ice-cream found its way into the little boy’s mouth before it welded the tissue wrapped around it to the cone.

Clifftop, crumbled gardens

At Barton on Sea I walked round the side of Sails Coffee Shop and looked out over the air-space that had once carried the ends of gardens in the terrace of which it forms part. Close by is the Beachcomber cafe where Sheila drank a cappuccino and Jackie a diet Coke. Jackie’s excuse for indulging in a slice of rainbow cake was that ‘it had to be seen to be believed’.Rainbow cake

She couldn’t eat it all, so, out of the goodness of my heart, I forced down a couple of colours.

Woman feeding starling

Before that, a young woman offered one of the marauding starlings a slice of cucumber. Had she asked, I could have offered the opinion that, judging by the squirming creatures our parent starlings had carried to the chicks in our roofs, these birds are carnivores. Whether or not that is true this one eschewed the cucumber. Like the ‘Five Little Men in a Flying Saucer’, on a visit to Earth, it took a little look at it, ‘didn’t like the sight of it, and quickly flew away’.

This evening we dined on flavoursome smoked cod, Jackie’s piquant cauliflower cheese, mashed potato, and crisp carrots and green beans, followed by lemon cheesecake from the Co-op. I finished the merlot, Jackie drank Hoegaarden, and Sheila quaffed lemonade.