Annie Dove came round yesterday afternoon with her delightful son, Nick ~ the second of their four children ~ was recently retired after a career in the Police ~ enormously attractive and well over 6' tall ~ it was a pleasure to meet him. Chris and Annie are hoping to move in next fortnight ~ the sale has been held up over eight months while the council investigated their right to a small patch of their territory which had originally been the site of the wash house and for which there were no deeds, no recoed of ownership ~ bless them, they are both old and frail ~ he is 90 ~ and to be strung along like this since September could easily have finished them off. It reminds me of the problem I had over my small patch of garden which the council claimed I did not own ~ either I must pay £30 rent p.a. or buy the ground ~ my dear old friend Walter happened to be here (from Chichester) while all this was going on and insisted on buying it for me @ £400 ! This led to similar action on the council's part demanding £400 per cottage ~ at that point we got the Gazette involved and the Council finally backed off. I've got the cutting about it somewhere ~ each small garden is the site of a cottage that was demolished in the slum clearance of the forties ~ no deeds have ever been discovered for any of them !
Spring is here, folks ~ glorious sunshine and quite warm enough to sit out on the bench with a mug of tea. Peter and Margaret are here at number 7 ~ and visitors in Crystal's house ~ it is such a pleasure when the yard is full and busy.
Dillon, John's handsome son, popped in with his friend Theo ~ they are up here from Chesterfield for the weekend ~ Theo intends to be a writer so I gave him the Big Lecture ~ the only way to achieve his goal is to set down and bloody write ! Too many people have airy-fairy ideas ~ "I want to be a writer" ~ really half of them want to become famous, appear on telly, BUT they can't seem to get down to any actual writing ~ there were people at Swanwick, our Writers Summer School who would explain that they intended to become witers, get published and all IF ONLY THEY COULD THINK WHAT TO WRITE ABOUT !! Please ! A real writer is bursting to "celebrate her life and preserve it." (as somebody said)
Sunday evening : 8.30pm ~ had a couple of leeks in the salad drawer at bottom of fridge intending to make leeks au gratin but even in five days they seemed to have deteriorated so chucked them out and had boiled egg for supper ~ while I was at it, sorted fridge out and sponged it down ~ must use leeks more quickly in future. A word with Georgie, had a bath, watched TV News and carried on reading this Palestinian Family Saga until Country File at 7pm ~ they were in Sussex on the South Downs which made me think of Peggy and Furlongs and out camp beside the dry dew pond above Furlongs all of 68 years ago ! We took our bikes, Rita, Rachel and I, sending them on ahead by rail ~ and we took far too much stuff all packed in a large tin trunk ~ quite ridiculous ~ Rachel's mother was to blame for this ~ among other things we had to take a rolling pin and pastry board ! For Heaven's sake ~ a PASTRY BOARD ! Aunt Helen (as we called her) could not contemplate a Sunday without an apple pie ~ even high up on the South Downs in a raging gale ~ I guess as a vicar's wife, this was the unquestioned pattern of Sunday dinner ~ my mother, by contrast, felt campers should whittle everything down to what they could carry on their backs, including tent and bed rolls. Not to worry, having dragged all our stuff up onto the hillside above Peggy's cottage in a hand cart borrowed from Glynde station, and dragged it back again, we had a jolly good fortnight the three of us, our tents pitched round the dry dewpond and our fire in the middle of it on lovely smooth dry slabs of stone.
For me, that was my last holiday ~ from fifteen on I always managed to get a holiday job as a mother's help ~ one year in Devon, and two years running on the Pembroke coast ~ OK and always with nice families ~ I think Nancy went one year after I was married. Of course, it was during or just after the war and people did not have holidays the way they do today, expecting at least one a year if not more. The three different families I went with were all posh enough to have a holiday cottage for their personal use.