The Chianti bottles fresh washed ready to be hung back up on kitchen window frame

back in situ ~ thanks to Big John

Dull again and quite chilly ~ I am so slow at everything these days and after doing just a few chores such as washing up breakfast things I need to sit down to recover.   I've discovered a chip has been knocked off Kate's red desk ~ I must seal it up with blue tack or maybe sticking plaster before damage gets any worse ~ I got the desk for Kate when we moved to North View after our divorce ~ I think it came from that wacky London store whose name escapes me ~ it has lasted well though seems to be cracking up now ~ scarcely surprising after forty years ~ HABITAT, that's it ~ don't think it still exists but in those days it was THE PLACE for furnishings and colourful modern stuff ~ Kate hoped to get it back when I'm done with it but it may not be worth it as it begins cracking and peeling ~ Diana cleaned the kitchen window the other day and  took down these old Chianti bottles to be washed and I have not managed to hang them up again ~ I need a tall man ~ ah-ha Lesley's John might do it for me ~ he's well over 6'  ~ I'll see if I can catch him before they go ~ I no longer dare stand on a chair to reach across the draining board.  YES ~ bless him ~ at 6'4" John could reach the hook on window frame, no problem ~ find I cannot download pictures from camera as have to establish my identity and cannot see the questions ~ WHY ? for God's sake ~ nobody else is using this computer  ~ I'll try again in a mo ~ see if coffee would help !

Later ~ and the Chianti bottles back in situ ~ golly they have hung there for years ~ YEARS !   Don't know whether Chianti bottles still have straw protection ~ I could check ...  glorious  Mendelssohn disk playing as I type . . . time for a bath before I start getting supper ~ funny thing, but I don't like going up for a bath after dark though the attic is bright and cheerful with large windows and colourful walls ~ the stairwell and landings  are painted white, the bathroom in soft lilac, the box room in lime green and the big bedroom in sky blue  ~ not in the least spooky ~ I always try to have a bath before gerring supper, before dark ~ quite ridiculous but there you go !  Anyway I've managed it today ~ still gloriously sunny ~ I looked up Chianti bottles on Google and there seems to be a flourishing market for bottles like mine with straw protection ~ they certainly are attractive ~ as for Kate's red desk, when we moved up here she was still a student with no fixed abode so it settled in with me but I'm afraid she hasn't forgiven me and now the poor old thing is cracking up ~ I patched up the problem with sticking plaster which seems to be working ~ she'll get it in the end, poor girl ~ "My mother stole my Habitat desk . . ."

Saturday morning ~ Sainsbury's delivery so fridge bursting with goodies ~ Lesley gave me a load of stuff as they left for home ~ including a good helping of chicken which I had for my supper ~ how kind ~ it's always a busy morning the day the delivery comes as it means tidying out the fridge and freezer and putting everything away ~ well stocked for another week ~ without this I'd have to keep asking people "Can you bring me a loaf, some milk, some eggs . . ." which would be a frightful nuisance ~ this way I am totally independent and can enjoy friends without asking favours of them.  The aggs Lesley gave me seem enormous ~ four of them, four enormous hard-boiled eggs 

Monday morning ~ Sue was here to change my sheets for the laundry tomorrow ~ such a help ~ feeling a bit frail again but have seen to the washing and tidied the fridge before sitting reading in my sunny edroom for an hour ~ Kate told me it is Rosie's birthday ~ Rosie has been Howard's partner since poor Marge died ~ they are picking Georgie up to go for a pub lunch though with all her Parkinson's problems Georgie probably won't be able to eat anything ~ oh dear.

CRICKET ~  Suddenly thinking of Howard's cricketing days ~ he joined the cricket club in Buxton and so enjoyed it ~ thinking back I'm afraid I may not always have been supportive or suitably appreciative ~ and then there was the summer in Lustleigh, Devone - this was the idyllic village where we had lived before the War and to which we were evacuated during the War ~

It was the year my Richard had just turne one, and Georgie would be born on Boxing Day that Mother rented a rather grand house in Lustleigh with room for  family and friends who came and went ~ I seem to remember we spent the whole of August there ~  Howard was particularly pleased to become a temporary member of Lustleigh Cricket Club ~ Peggy joined the house party at one stage with Victoria and Angus  and there was someone known as the Healthy Green Grocer who slept in his van in the yard ~ the house had a huge garden and a gardener who would bring fresh fruit and veg and salad stuff to the kitchen door every morning ~ I think a house keeper and cleaner  were kept on by the owner ~ we had trips on the local steam train to Teignmouth and Dawlish, and picnics on the moor ~ I think Mum enjoyed being in that grand house partly because the owner had been a frightful snob ~ Lustleigh was hanging on to its pre-war attitude ~ like the setting for a Miss Marples murder ~ when we lived there, while Daddy was away in Sweden much of the year, some of the local gentry were dreadfully snooty about Mother, especially as David then about four years old would inform everybody "I am David Driver, and this my sister Joy Stoker "    He was mad on railways and with the steam engine chugging up and down to Moreton Hampstead all day long he was blissfully happy ~ I'll attach Peggy's picture of the Lustleigh train.   But back to that frightfully snobby woman, Mother told me how once there was a children's tea party at this posh house, but when she arrived with the two of us, David and me, the hostess exclaimed in horror that as we had come without a nanny  she could not join the other mothers but must be confined to the nursery with a dozen small children and their nursemaids ~ I can't actually remember how the story ended but I hope Mummy declined with dignityand took us home for tea ~ such snobberyu !   I think the memory of this snub gave her a particular sense of satisfaction especially as the son of the house had become a drug addict and the dreadful house owner was now reduced to letting her home to summer visitors ~ for Mother,this must have added a delicious piquancy to that summer in Lustleigh.   Of course this was way back in the thirties and doubt things are very different there today.

One last word about Lustleigh ~ having lived there in the thirties, we were all evacuated back there during the Bristol Blitz to Mapstone, a farm house that had been turned into a small boarding school by Jill Salmon and her friend whose name I have forgotten ~ David and I were at Mapstone where Stephen and Nancy eventually joined us from a nursery in the village ~ Mother who was teaching at Bristol Cathedral School would come down henever she could ~  David was eventually taken back to sit the Grammar School entrance exam which is where his great friend Lloyd Caddick came into the story.   Lordy ~ how I do witter on ~ but fear not, my eye sight is so poor I cannot go on for much longer.


Kate's red desk ~ all of forty years old and looking its age

the Peggy Angus picture of Lustleigh railway ~ recently included in a retrospective at the Eastbourne Art Gallery of Peggy's work, and left by David to his daughter Jane.