the sitting room window ~ sparkling clean with clean nets

Howard's 85th birthday

Mother's dear little vase ~ one of the treasures Daddy brought her from his time in Sweden

A usedul morning ~ Sue came and cleaned the sitting room window and put up clean net curtains ~ such a blessing ~ and next week she will come an extra morning and clean the high shelf in the kitchen which is absolutely filthy ~ it isn't that I'm a slut ~ the Aga creates dust at a frightening rate ~ even a week after I've cleaned the whirligig and everything hanging from it, it is already covered in dust !   Though I have to admit, I have only ever had a go at the high shelf a couple of times a year ~ reaching it involves the step ladder and standing on the table but maybe I should have kepy an eye on it and cleaned it every few weeks but me thinks life is really too short ~ in any case, I am the only one who knows how filthy it is ~ other than the odd passing giant !

This dear little vase came to me after Mum went into Castle House Care Home when Nancy and Helen emptied her bungalow ~ it was one of her real treasures, one of the things Daddy brought her when he was working in Sweden ~ it is thick heavy Swedish glass, scarcely 3" tall,  and perfect to take a rose bud, a posy of primroses ~ she did not have many treasures, bless her ~ perhaps she counted all of us as treasures ~ I do remember her occasionally wearing a very delicate set of necklace and ear rings in filigre silver with turquoise stones ~ I expect Mary has them as she is the only one of the four of us who might wear them ~ dear old Mummy ~ I hope she was happy in her busy life with seven of us and  all her writing and broadcasting and teaching and public speaking ~ I don't think we appreciated her enough ~ oh, and then Granny Proctor came to live with us from Scunthorpe and she was an added burden ~ no matter what efforts Mum made to be loving and welcoming, she met with nothing but criticism ~ "Poor George !" was her constant cry, as if he (her darling son) had had no hand in it !   Thinking back, Mother was a saint about her mother-in-law, and it went on for years !   I'm glad this little Swedish vaser came to me.

Thursday morning : gorgeous again ~ I long to be able to hang the washing out as in days of yore but there's no way I could carry it across to the line or peg it up ~ never mind, it dries quite well in front of the Aga overnight though it does not have that special smell of fresh air and sunshine.

Tomorrow someone is coming from the Heart Shop to collect a bag of stuff ~ I will also give them the pad I bought from Amazon whish is designed as cushion for garden seat or bench ~ I'd hoped it would boost the sagging sofa but quite unsuitable ~ no way can I carry it down from the attic so perhaps Tom would help ~ they might even like it for their garden seat.

Another episode of "The Royal House of Windsor" which is quite fascinating filling in a good deal of information behind the official story ~ in fact, it's a wonder Ch/4 are allowed to air it while so many of the main characters are still with us.   The Kindle book I'm reading is interesting about apple farming in 19th century Ohio.   I do wish I wasn't feeling so frail nowadays ~ the slightest activity wears me out.   Had a good chat with John down in Wells ~ he was speaking of coming over to Whitby again next time he is visiting his family in York, but last night admitted that at 85 he is really past it, the journey to York and the bus ride on from there ~ that's sad ~ since Rachel died (some twenty years ago) John and I have become really good friends.

Howard's birthday yesterday ~ he too is 85 ~ it was on his 21st birthday that our story began ~ his mother had sent him a birthday cake and using that as an excuse, he came over to Leighton (my hall of resience at Beckett Park Teacher Training College) to offer me a slice and invite me out for a walk ~ he was my first boyfriend and I think I was his first girlfriend though he liked to boast of all his previous conquests (in a jokey way) ~ this was during our first year at coillege and THAT WAS IT ~ having qualified (me by the skin of my teeth) we found teaching posts in the Rugby area ~ Howard in a Sec Mod and me out at Monks Kirby village primary which quickly taught me that I was not, definitely not, cut out for teaching ~ never mind KEEPING the children quiet, I scarcely ever GOT THEM QUIET.  In spite of my best afforts, well-prepared lessons, somehow within minutes all hell would break loose with kids hanging out of windows, dangling from the lights, tipping desks over and starting punch-ups ~ and I seemed utterly incapable of doing anything about it.   In the end the Chief Education Officer sent for me : "I see from your application form that you started out as a domestic servant ...  (a kitchen maid at Eton College, and themn an au pair in Switzerlamd) ... well I strongly suggest you go back to domestic service," and he sacked me on the spot !   Talk about humiliation !   But in effect I took his advice, married Howard and spent the next twenty-odd years in "domestic service" of a kind !   But not to worry ~ we got our four lovely childtren out of it, though Richard buggered off after University and I haven't seen him or heard from him since, but for all that until that dreaded red head came along, he was a good lad and as far as I was aware, happy with his lot, with his family.