What We Didn’t Do


Today Jackie and I both suffered a bit of a relapse on the cold front, so we just spent a day indoors.

We had been intending to go to Wroughton where Paul, Danni, and Thea were running a 10K race in aid of Prospect Hospice in memory of Chris. Five hours driving was clearly out of the question for Jackie, so we thought we might manage two of the other events for the day instead. One was the final day of Margery’s exhibition, ‘Hanging Around’, from which would go on to visit Mum on her birthday. We did neither.

The first thing we didn’t do was gardening. Aaron and Sean of A.P. Maintenance did, however, complete their work on the grizelinia hedge and filled a trailer with cuttings which they took to the dump. A further pile of logs has been retained for another of their customers. These young men are ace recyclers, performing community services such as this.

Aaron and Goliath moth

Aaron’s kind and gentle nature is also apparent in this photograph of a Goliath moth he thought we would like to see. The creature is perched on an index finger of his strong, scarred hand.


This afternoon, the race over, Danni sent me an image on a Facebook chat bearing the caption ‘We didn’t think you’d make it?’ It was good to be missed, but nice that my doppelgänger stood in for me.

Frances, Elizabeth, Danni, Adam, Fiona, Paul, Thea, Andy, James and Jasper

Paul then e-mailed me this photograph of the assembled company. From left to right on the rear sofa we have niece Fiona, sister Elizabeth, great nephew Jasper, and nephew Adam; in front we have great nephew James, sister-in-law Frances, nephew-in-law Paul, niece Danni, nephew-in-law Andy, and niece-in-law Thea. Well done the runners in what I gather was an uphill course.

Derrick 26.1.87

I cannot resist posting this photograph 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 Adam’s day nursery, when he was not much older than the son he holds on his lap today, was competed in sub-zero temperatures, which is probably why, according to my watch, I managed it in 64 minutes.

Margery’s exhibition is moving on to Southampton City Art Gallery next spring, so, unless it stays on the walls of the Clarke home for a while, we will be able to see it then.

Finally, I settled for phoning Mum, who sounded so much brighter than she had just over a week ago when we last visited her.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s luscious lamb jalfrezi; spicy cauliflower bahji; and colourful onion and red pepper rice. I drank Doom Bar.

Waiting For A Table


Today, Jackie drove us to Frances’s home in Wroughton, near Swindon and back.

Frances's garden 1Frances's garden 2Frances and Jackie

We sat and talked in her garden, where

Trug and tools

her trug and its contents had clearly been put to good use.

Bluebell Walk workforce

 Prospect Hospice where Chris died two years ago, has a Bluebell Walk which is undergoing a cleaning process at the moment. This is a paved path funded by the purchase of bricks and stones bearing the names of people who spent there last days in this peaceful final care home.

Chris Knight paver

Our sister-in-law drove us there to show us Chris’s paver. She and the family had gone for the tasteful, simple, option.

Back at The Mountings Frances gave us a welcome lunch of pasties and chips.


Afterwards, in the garden, I watched sparrows on the bird feeders, which tended to become a little crowded.

Sparrow 2

As in all the best restaurants, it was necessary to queue for a table;

Sparrow 1

then the more fortunate visitors had one to themselves.

This evening Jackie and I dined on her excellent chilli con carne with rice and peas, followed by vanilla ice cream. I drank more of the Fleurie and Jackie didn’t.