If there is one adjective I would use to describe January then it is unpredictable. And I’m not talking weather as that has shown no surprises. It is the diversity of activities and the occasional jokers which life brandishes which have served to make the opening weeks of 2015 interesting, and yes enjoyable.
Setting foot outside The Old Workshop late on Thursday night we proceeded to empty the car, boil the kettle for tea and then set about opening the accumulated mail. So many cards, past their sell-by-date, but reading the greetings was a heart-warming experience nonetheless. We know some nice people.
On Friday I visited Mum at Chestnuts then boarded a train for Hackney. I got a cheap ticket with an upgrade to First Class and arrived at tea-time. I spent the weekend getting involved in the family activities which culminated in a Karate birthday party for Ruby on Sunday afternoon. That evening an exhausted Ems took an early night and Dan and I occupied a sofa each and watched The Hobbit : The Battle of the Five Armies. How I love these films. I am not normally ‘into’ fantasy literature or film but Tolkien stole my heart in my 20s and forever has held onto it. On Monday morning I escaped to Dorset;)
And then there was a week of catching up with my anchors: dentist, hairdresser, book group, bridge, a WK day for Mum, supper with the lovely Dukes. Those fixtures which are the framework around which I hang the extras, life’s baubles.
Talking of baubles, on the morning after big storms and high seas Nick walks Chesil Beach and brings me one home. After a heavy dose of meteo this bit of coast is a magnet for Nick. He hopes for fish boxes, the lost tackle of other fishermen anything useful really. What he brings back for me is hardly useful but a delight.
In amongst a tangle of seaweed, fishing line and other detritus he spies a sea fan. Sea fans, more properly known as Gorgonians, or indeed sessile colonial cnidarians (same family as sea anemones) are closely related to corals. Individual tiny polyps form colonies that are normally erect, flattened, branching, and reminiscent of a fan. Others may be whiplike, bushy, or even encrusting. A colony can be several feet high and across but only a few inches thick. They may be brightly coloured, often purple, red, or yellow. My fan is about 20cm wide and is still quite pinky when Nick brings it back. Drying sea fans bleaches the colour, sadly, as all the fleshy polyps die. There is nothing to be done, once a sea fan has been uprooted from the sea floor in deepish water, you cannot replant it!
A soiree chez Hunter is another bauble, arriving at 7 in the evening we drink their wine libations, ad lib, nibble some savoury fancies and eventually tuck into supper at 11. Along the way we have had quality time with the Upcotts, the Hammersleys who are always good value. On Sunday we pub lunch with Ry and Ted, CJ having flown to OZ for a week’s work.
This the week in which we will bid farewell to the mortal remains of cousin Miles, one of 31 Edwards first cousins of which my husband is one. All the Light siblings converge for this event, enjoying a birthday tea for Jenny at Maiden Newton a couple of days before. This is also the week in which the charming Barry Farncombe will travel from Battersea to TOW for a day’s bridge tuition. At the end of this day, if we thought Bridge was just a bit tricky to learn beforehand, we now know there is a way to go before we can consider ourselves licensed to play. In the evening cousin Joy arrived to stay overnight and we hosted supper for my bridge partners and their other halves.
After the funeral I need to drive to Godalming for two days of Ted-care. (Whilst I am Godalming I receive an email from Jenny with a magic bit of writing, her thoughts on the funeral ) Ted is a very easy child to care for and feed. He is organised and loving……………. On the morning of the mother’s return I leave Ry and Ted to welcome her and pile into my trusty vehicle and head for Oxfordshire.