Imperial Woman, the last Empress of ChinaShe arrived soon after 10am having set off at dawn to avoid the Easter crowds ~ so good to see her ~ with flowers and simnel cake and an iced bun from Botham's ! A busy morning as the Sainsbury's delivery had come just before 10 o'clock, and Ellen and then Barbara and earlier John Gaunt had taken the other sitting room curtain down for the wash ~ it's clean and dry and ready to be hung back again if I can grab a passing fellow, TALL fellow ! These curtains are brilliant ~ Kate and I bought them in Middlesborough a few days after I'd moved in ~ for the best part of thirty years they've been washed twice a year and here they are as good as new ! Incredible !
Mary came down with a dish of her excellent shepherd's pie and a little jug of gravy ~ she makes very good gravy ~ how kind ~ that's supper taken care of . . .
Later ~ John tells me he and Bev were out on the yard very late recently when a figure came up the path, stopped at my door and apparently came in ~ when Bev's back I'llask the two of them to tell me again exactly what they saw ~ for once there were TWO witnesses ~ John has got his head screwed on all right, but he says it had to be a ghost ~ that makes two at least ! More on this when I get the full story from the pair of them. . . right ~ it seems Bev and John were sitting on her sofa quite late one night with the curtains open when someone walked past up the yard ~ as it was so late they listned for the click of the gate at the top of the steps but as there was no click Bev opened her door to see where the man was ~ by his size and bulk they felt sure it was indeed a man. There were no lights on in my house so I was obviously in bed but nevertheless the figure seemed to stand at my door and disappear inside ~ THIS HAD TO BE A GHOST ~ for once there were TWO witnesses ~ Kate suggests it might perhaps be HENRY FREEMAN Whitby's famous lifeboat man, who is known from the Census returns of 1881 to have lived in this house for several years, as tenant not owner. So now I have two ghosts. Curiouser and curiouser !
John came in and hung the second curtain back up in the sitting room. Bev came in for a chat. Kate rang and Georgie and I still haven't started on my Easter egg ~ flowers galore downstairs ~ my usual Sunday evening telethon : Songs of Praise, News, Country File, Antiques Road Show ~ tidied the kitchen before settling down with this other Pearl S Buck novel, Imperial Woman, the story of the last Empress of China ~ fascinating !
Bank Holiday Monday : in spite of the holiday, Sue came and changed my sheets, bless her, ready for the laundry in the morning. ntil I saw the photo of the kitchen table (at top) it had not struck me how battered it looks ~ the legs and drawer ~ I have to admit that this is the state it was in when the widow of the vicar of Burbage, Buxton, gave it to me all those years ago as we were about to start life in the old School House, Eccles, Norfolk ~ I had taken the chiuldren to Bristol for Christmas leaving Howard to cope with the move ~ he travelled down to Norfolk in the Removal van I seem to remember, collecting the kitchen table from Burbage Vicarage en route ~ William would be born in July and he is coming up to 55 and the table was a good fifty years old already ~ it had been made for the vicar and his wife at the time of their marriage before the First War ! So I guess that makes it am amtique ~ never mind that, it has been one of the best things I've ever owned ~ for years there were six of us sitting round it at every meal ~ two children at each side, Howard at one end and me near the stove or (in Quarry Road where we had a breakfast room) near the kitchen ~ and it was wonderful for family games, board games ~ and for homework ~ and from Quarry Road it moved with us to the North View terrace where it practically filled the whole kitchen ~ and now I have it all to myself here in this old Whitby kitchen, pushed against the wall now and half covered in stuff. And over all these years I have never got round to stripping and painting the legs and frame and drawer ~ and now I never wil.
[I wrote more about the kitchen table in the first blog :see www.joypeach.com page 10, more table talk which must mean it is also mentioned in the preceding entries~ yes, see pages 7 and 8 as well.]
Later ~ 9pm ~ it gets chilly in the evening still ~ I've got the heating on ~ in the morning I go to Whitby Hospital for xray on my painful right hip ~ I've ordered a Good Neighbours car but I hope I can manage to get down the yard ~ I am so pathetic ~ Mary brought me another piece of smoked fish ~ only £1.50 and it makes two good meals ~ earlier I'd sorted out the veg drawer in the fridge and made a pan of soup with onion, garlic, sweet red pepper,a spudand a handful of runner beans so that was a tasty healthy supper. Dan's birthday on Wednesday and he'll be 22 ~ Agi's on Thursday and she'll be fifty !! She says se's loved longer in the UK than in her native Hungary. The Turkish president won the referendum which allows him to stay in power for another twelve years ~ he recently sacked journalists, lawyers, judges and teachers, anyone who questioned his right to rule ~ many professional opponents are imprisoned ~ among other plans he is re-instating the death penalty ~ and he sees himself as a European !
The Pearl Buck book is fascinating and horrifying set in the imperial palace and told through the life of a concubine ~ my stars !! Sexual slavery in luxury setting !