Poor Jackie set off in driving rain, propelled by gales of more than 40 m.p.h,. for her annual camping trip this morning. She and her two sisters will have needed all their Girl Guides experience just to pitch their tent. Even that failed them, for the tent blew across a field and tore. They are now enjoying glamping in a yurt.
In the battered garden a sturdy bluebell, itself sheltered by geranium leaves, props up a drooping tellima saxifrage.
Looking on the bright side, it falls upon me to keep the hanging baskets damp over the next few days. This viola demonstrates that I will be receiving a bit of help from above.
Before taking a cab to Lymington Hospital for a check-up on my hand, I scanned and returned to my photo albums some more of the prints Elizabeth has returned to me.
One of the most memorable moments of this holiday was the return journey. Ann had decided she may have exceeded her tobacco allowance, so Jessica and I carried a quantity of our friend’s cigarettes in our car. We followed Ann and Don off the ferry. They waved as they drove off into the sunset. We were stopped and our yellow Renault was subjected to a full body search
By then Louisa was toddling and drinking from her own indestructible cup. Here she stands, ebullient as ever, displaying her baby teeth, in the carved wooden doorway of this splendid eighteenth century building.
That same year Ann and Don were in the throes of refurbishing an old cottage on the Welsh hillside near Cerrigidrudion that was to be their home for nineteen years. We therefore rented a house from a neighbour so we could again spend some time with them.
For me, the joy of holidaying all together with the four youngest children was always memorable. Matthew and Sam clearly shared this, as the delighted little brother was plonked on the back of a nonchalant cow too busy chomping the grass to notice.
By mid afternoon, as I waited for my taxi, the rain had stopped, and the sun had emerged, but the wind persisted. Bees do not leave their nests when it is wet, but one or two intrepid ones battled to hold their own with the gusts, and flitted, inevitably disappointed, from libertia to libertia in an apparently vain search for nectar. The unfortunate creatures couldn’t get a grip.
Galleon Taxis operate an efficient service out of New Milton Station forecourt, but were unable to transport me at my hoped-for time, because it clashed with their school run. I therefore arrived at the hospital with an hour and a half to wait. This did not bother me because I had the poems of Robert Frost for company, when I was not engaged in enjoyable conversation with a gentleman whose wife was being treated. As a keen birder, he advised that the starlings building nests behind the fascia board of our kitchen extension, and the jackdaws dropping their nesting materials down our chimney needed to be dissuaded from doing so. Apparently the starlings don’t use their old homes when they return each year, but just build a new one alongside them; and the jackdaws drop twigs down the chimneys until they become lodged, like a pot-holer negotiating his cave chimney. Then they build the nests.
Incidentally, Galleon, in the list of useful telephone numbers left by our predecessors, appears as Valium, which didn’t really cause me any anxiety.
Jackie has left me a wide range of cooked meals to consume whilst she is away. This evening I settled for a reprise of yesterday’s easy beef stew, resuscitated in the microwave; and another glass of the Madiran.