‘Follow Grandpa. He Knows The Forest’

BenchThe day was changeable, but better than predicted.

ImogenThis was a relief, for Louisa, Errol, Jessica, and Imogen came for the weekend.

JessicaAs soon as they arrived the two girls were into their princess dresses (see post of 16th February).

Louisa, Jessica and Imogen

Then they were off to explore the garden, which would not have been possible had we had the predicted rain.

Louisa, Errol, Jessica and Imogen and poniesAfter lunch I took the family on a pony hunt.  Louisa drove us to Football Green where we parked because fortunately the area was full of ponies.  Louisa, Errol, Jessica (and Imogen, and ponyThis was a result, which was more than could be said for Manchester City who were beaten by lowly Wigan Athletic in the F.A. Cup Final match that took place later.  Perhaps incongruously, there was a cricket match going on there.

The streams and fallen trees held the interest longer than the ponies, possibly because of a brief moment of excitement. Jessica, Imogen and pony Jessica decided to closer investigate a pony chomping away at the bank of a stream by the roadside.  As she approached, the animal leapt up the bank with a thud and shook itself dry.  We then wandered into the forest in search of good climbing trees, of which there were a considerable number.  Yet another use was found for fallen trunks and their knobbly branches. Louisa and Jessica With a certain amount of help, Jessica and Imogen were adept climbers. Louisa, Jessica and Imogen climbing (2) At one point my younger granddaughter decided she had something in her Wellie, so she sat down on the fallen steed and shook it out. Louisa and Imogen Sometimes she had to be helped down.  Readers of my last few posts in particular may be amused at the quote of the day.  When it came to return to the road, Louisa said: ‘Follow Grandpa. He knows the forest’.

Back home we had an albeit belated Easter Egg hunt.  This created great excitement.  Imogen doesn’t like chocolate, so she gives her spoils to her sister.  It is evidence that she prefers the search to the result that when it was all over she insisted the little eggs should be hidden again.  And again…and again.

Jessica and Imogen

Then it was time to settle down to drawing, at which both the children are very talented. Jessica's rainbow Jessica made one for me and took it away to add some rather significant detail.  There had to be raindrops if there was a rainbow and sun.

Louisa, Jessica and Imogen blowing bubbles

Before bed, blowing bubbles and an adventure in our young neighbour Eleanor’s den, by the bench in the corner, were enjoyed.

The children dined rather earlier than the adults, who waited until after the bedtime stories read by their mother.  The stories continued while the grown-ups ate Jackie’s cottage pie followed by rice pudding and/or profiteroles.  We were entertained by hilarious giggling from their bedroom while Jessica read to Imogen.  Louisa and I drank Oyster Bay merlot 2011; Jackie and Errol drank Stella; the children’s hi-jinks had nothing to do with alcohol.

P’tang Yang Kipperbang

Dresses 2.13For 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.

Ford approach 2.13All Saints from footpath (3) 2.13This 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.

Spring bulbs in churchyard 2.13Snowdrops around gravestone 2.13There 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.  Tess serving up 2.13As 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.