A Week with Edward

Our week in Devon draws to a close so Nick and I must head north and west.  We call in at our home at Winterborne  K to deposit field gear, laundry, foodstuffs that we will not need for our onward journey.  We are due in Godalming late afternoon to collect young Ted from school to take him home.  His parents are abroad for a spell and Nick and I are in charge.  We have fixed a supper party at our old house for close and dear friends from our early days in Godalming.  Fortunately COOK is able to supply all the necessaries for a meal and there is a lively exchange of views on our current reading matter and of course, even livelier debate over the fiasco, furore and utter confusion that surrounds what will happen next after the disastrous Leave vote in June.  It is a bit sad that some of our number who were Remainers are now becoming the Resigned.  Not me though.

Saturday arrives and Ted wakes us early.  Today we are going to go to Portsmouth to climb the Spinnaker Tower and visit the Victory.  We finally get away late morning, drive to Gunwharf Quay and park.  I had forgotten how compact and comprehensive the shopping complex there is.  Everything cheek by jowl and I think it would make a great destination for our future French guests as an alternative to London.  The Spinnaker Tower is not busy so we work our way up through the floors.  Once again I teeter across the glass floor, the conflict in my mind being rampant.   A bit of my brain tells me that the glass is strong and will surely hold, but the other bit of my brain looks down to ground level and freaks.  In the end I make my way across looking straight ahead with my arms outstretched as if I am on a tightrope.  At ground level we repair to Giraffe and have a lunch.

After we head for the Historic Dockyard and after a bit of reluctance on Nick’s part to pay for the full monty, we buy tickets to cover all attractions and then discover that this ticket is actually a one year season ticket which makes it very good value.  We walk on down to the Victory and tour over it.  So much more of the vessel has been restored since I last visited it, I think with Sam and Joel when they were smaller.  In addition to walking round the decks where the action took place, you can now go down to the lower levels where the crew, ate, relaxed, slept.  A guide answered some of our questions.  He said the ship had to be provisioned to allow for six months at sea.  Supplies might be brought to the ship whilst she was at sea in service, but you could not count on it.  In fact Victory’s longest spell at sea was more than two years.

Adjacent to the Victory is the Mary Rose Museum.  The ship captured the world’s imagination when she was raised from the Solent in 1982. Her dramatic story is revealed in full inside the purpose-built, award-winning £27million Museum, which opened its doors to visitors in May 2013.  It certainly captured my imagination.  One of the new things that was introduced to the Museum when it was reopened in July 2016 after additional work was a series of tableaux of life-sized projections of the crew, populating the ship so that visitors can see what life was like on board a busy Tudor Warship. We were all much taken by the museum and the story it tells.

We wrapped up Ted’s visit with a pootle round the pool in front of the Action Stations complex.  There Ted steered a small boat with an electric motor round a course of floating obstacles with aplomb.

Refinding the car we then drove to Winterborne K where we supped and watched the first half of The Fellowship of the Ring.  In the morning we finished the video and then spent four good hours ranging around Monkey World which Ted knows well.  He loves wildlife and is knowledgeable.  He speaks with great pleasure about his experiences on safari at the Madikwe Game Park, the animals he sees, the twice-daily drives with his friend Michael the Ranger.  He has a particular fondness for primates and Orang Utans in particular.  He takes us round the complex, he knows about individual animals and I get a chance to revisit my friend Jethro the White-faced Saki Monkey.  I saw him not long ago when I visited Monkey World with Anne and Noe.  There is something about his features and they way they are set within a face of white fur that gives him a thoroughly worried expression.  It verges on sad and as I stare at his face I find myself wondering just what emotions he might be experiencing as he returns my stare, often with his pink tongue hanging out 🙂 .  He is definitely my favourite primate.

jethro

On Sunday evening I must drive back to Godalming ready for a school week where I will be helping out to give ‘nanny’ care since the departure of Demi.  I manage to fit in lunch with Lis and Charles at their home.  On Friday I drop Ted at school then head down to Dorset where I will sleep in my own bed for one night before flying up to Hackney to see Lola and Ruby perform in a Variety show.

 

And Shall there be Ormers and Tripe for Lunch?

After Charlie’s visit Nick crossed to France and I spent a week at Winterborne K sorting and clearing.  I weeded out papers from the filing cabinets and folders.  I ditched lots of Conference and Meeting Abstracts, reports, correspondence and notes that I just don’t need and nor will anyone else.  I carefully sift out things that I will pass along to Simon Taylor who now holds the post in Conch Soc that I held for twenty years.  I manage to deal with shells awaiting labelling and curation and get a backlog of glass and plastic containers tucked into drawers.  I play some Bridge with my girls.

On Mothers’ Day I drive to Godalming where I am royally spoilt, having dropped boxes of JMBA with Malcolm and Christine Storey to await collection by Ian Smith.  Ryan and Ted are chefs for the day.  I get presents and CJ manages to read Girl on a Train in one sitting.

On Monday morning I commence my nannying duties.  They run a tight ship, them Perrymans, and there are things to remember each day.  Fortunately Demi, the nanny who is on holiday, has drawn up a big flow chart with clouds of information and five sides of exercise book of ancillary notes.

IMG_5832DemiChart IMG_5833DemiNotes

Demi’s crib sheets are extremely helpful and I would have been all at sea without Ted’s timetable and kit requirements day by day.  But I am amused that she reminds me that it is a good idea to make some preparations for Ted’s evening meal before I pick him up from school and then get the meal ready during his session on a computer game.  It is also useful advice to know that I must remember to clean the food off the sides of the dishwasher door and wipe all kitchen worktops with Multisurface cleaner!

During my week in Godge I have lunch with Vikky and with Charles and Lis, the first at the Thai Roof Garden Restaurant in Guildford and the second in the café at the Watts Gallery.  The latter is a good find, the food is delicious and well presented.  Meanwhile Nick is in St Vaast with Andrew, the two men having crossed the Channel for a few days in order to bring the timber for the pergola back to England.  Andrew experiences the best of French hospitality chez Taille.  NickAndrewOystersblog

My most enjoyable sociable occasion whilst in residence at 88 Pep is spent at Hambledon Farm amongst the best of friends.  Charles and Susie have arranged a small supper party with the Charlesworths and Upcotts and Susie’s good friend Cherrie.  We are all avid readers so it’s a kind of book group get-together but we cover lots of other topics, not least the forthcoming Referendum which already is threatening to divide the nation.

At the end of my week I drive back to The Old Workshop, take in a game of Bridge with the girls on Friday night, and drive myself to Poole on Saturday morning Cherbourg-bound.  Arriving in the afternoon I am then plunged into an extended weekend of feasting chez des amis.  Bri and Georgy invite us and the Poulets for supper on Saturday evening when our hostess served us Lapin a la Moutarde.  On Sunday, together with Lorraine and Stephen, we are guests of Miguel and Bibi for a Mexican lunch and what fun that was.  We ate tortilla chips and guacamole with our apero, and then enjoyed a chicken broth with rice and assorted ‘sambals’ to sprinkle over.  So healthy and so delicious.   The authentic guacamole would be lovely to eat up as a single course.  We have another lunch date on Monday when we are the guests of Dede and Francoise Burnouf, along with the Tailles, and both their neighbouring couples, who we already know from previous events at their house on the quay. IMG_3495 Dede cooks a lunch, starting with a tasty dish of ormer (‘fished by Dede from the wests Cotentin) and he follows this with Tripes Normands.  In anticipation of a dislike of tripe on the part of Nick and myself, and also Fefe, Dede barbecues some fine magrets de canard on his open hearth.  I do taste the tripe but it is a very poor second to pink-cooked duck breast fillets.

During the lunch conversation is very lively and good-humoured.  Even when the sub-mariner neighbour of F and F launches into a light critique of the English.  I always knew he is an Anglophobe, he has barely been cordial on occasions when we have met chez Taille.  He is probably a misogynist to boot.  Well, that is his loss 🙂  Shame because his wife is lovely and cooked the best tarte aux pommes I have ever eaten, for our dessert.  I even got a doggy bag to bring home.  Our hostess, Francoise, is also lovely and I hope to spend more time with her.