A Quiet Day in Clarks Yard
Good heavens ! What a day ! Having done the ironing and the chores, I was just about to start something useful up here when Barbara came round for one of our lively chats, and then Christina appeared just back from Vancouver for eight weeks ~ so good to see her ~ it will be two years I think since she moved over there where she had lived and worked for thirty years and had kept her flat in case she decided to go back permanently ~ I miss her ~ a lot of people do ~ in my case I miss her CREAM CAKES ! Every few weeks she's ring to say she'd be round next morning and while I provided the coffee, she would bring us luscious things like custard slices or meringues or cream doughnuts ! She is coming properly this Thursday stopoping at Botham's our wonderful family baker en route !! Steve the Postie popped in for a minute before the others left at which point Ellen turned up ~ I save kitchen peelings etc for her compost bin and just now as the blue bells start to fade I suggested she should weed out a bagful whenever she is around ~ they make good compost being lovely and moist ~ John used to take bagfuls up to his compost bin at this time of year. And while Ellen was chatting, a fellow came in looking for Beverley at number 5 but she doesn't move in properly till the end of the month ~ I'm afraid I didn't recognise him though he assured me that he regularly brought people for tarot readings. Barbara had brought along a tube of German mustard, sent from our friends Willi and Vera who used to rent a cottage in the yard every year ~ in fact, they'd sent one for me and three others for her to distribute among the old gang ~ on the strength of this, I quickly put a slice of cheese on toast in the oven, the bread spread with mustard before adding grated cheese ~ and then KEITH our wonderful plumber arrived to fix the lower loo which broke down on Wednesday night but he was away himself ~ a rusty strip of metal had snapped off and Keith fixed it in no time and was going to charge me £5 !!! Until reluctantly he accepted £10 !! Most tradesmen would charge £50 before they'd set foot in the door.
Quite a morning, what !! And there were painters busy at number 7 and scaffolders on the roof of number 3 and Simon came up from Crystal's House at the bottom and told me some hair raising stories including this : that some years ago the man of the house who was a sailor came home with a darling little monkey which of course eventually grew into a man-sized specimen and although he was house trained and tame with the family, one night when they had a visitor there, the ape bit him, maybe even took his finger off ~ so the two men took him up the yard and shoved the poor thing into a rain barrel and drowned it and buried it up there in what is now Mary & Tom's garden !! Glory be ! An old woman who had lived in that house as a child told Simon the story ~ she said there were three generations in the house, in three rooms, that is ~ 8 or 9 of them, right ~ and this not in the dark days of yore but within her life time. From census returns, we know that in nearly all of these three-roomed cottages (hovels, really) there would be 10, 11, 12 ~ and very often one room of the three would be sublet as well !! And now look at them, the ones on this side of the yard, the ones that were spared in the slum clearances are now bijour residences, thoroughly desirable holiday lets ~ apart from Keynsham House at the top, and number 5 and mine !
Mary & Tom call it Keynsham House because that's where she came from, Keynsham between Bristol and Bath ~ Rita and Rachel and Eleanor and I used to cycle that way sometimes for a picnic by the river ~ and David's wife Alison came from the Bristol area ~ Pensford, I thought she said ~ odd that !
Right ~ nuff of this rubbish ~ time for an hour with poor Tess of the d'Urbervilles before NewsNight.
Wednesday 18th 4pm : Well, the jolly bath lift arrived as promised though only ordered at 8.30 last night ~ and when Mark arrived he soon got it upstairs and had it installed ~ he got on it first to give me a demonstration, and then I had a go, a DRY RUN, and sure enough it is dead easy to operate ~ I'll have a try tonight. Perhaps Georgie will decide to get one herself as with her damned Parkinson's she is already finding it difficult getting in and out, bless her. Can scarcely believe that this brand new model was going for £210 instead of the usual £500+ ~ no more fear of getting stuck in the bath and having to SOS for help !
Spent morning on corrections of this preposterous FUNERAL PLAN for my old friend in Winchester ~ as no-one other than the chap taking the service is ever going to see it, read it WHY such pernickety instructions about trivialities such as underlinings and spaces between verses of all these poems ~ I must never undertake such a task again, it's nearly driven me mad, and much of the selected quotations make no sense ! Grrrr !! At least that's it, finished, printed and packed up for posting ! If I didn't know the old darling, I'd say it was a document of sheer vanity : "How intellectual, how academic I was (as it is all read out over his coffin when the day comes and probably in Winchester Cathedral !).)
Now I'm worn out so will see how I fare in the bath before I get supper ~ the occupational therapist, Mark Jenkins who advised me about bathing aids and then came to install it for me, is very interested in all the Mysteries and I said I'd do him a tarot reading when he has time ~ his wife is practically blind and has been since the age of 13 ~ some genetic condition ~ but still a) trained as ans b) works in physiotherapy ~ marvellous !
Later ~ 8.30pm : YES ~ it worked a treat ! Praise the Lord ~ no more worries about getting stuck in the bath ~ now I think I should be able to keep going a while yet !