‘And they retired to a little cottage in the country, with roses round the door, to enjoy some well-earned peace and quiet…’
Only it’s not really like that at all. Admittedly we no longer have to get up at some unearthly hour, and many of the chores and responsibilities are in theory ones we have chosen to take on, but our days are pretty full and we do not spend much time – as yet – warming our slippers by the fire, or indeed on Winster Main Street for that matter..
Recently we witnessed some drama when a car self-combusted on Winster Main Street not far from where ours was parked. Another car was quickly set alight too, and the house nearby was badly scorched with the windows all broken. It seemed to take the fire engines some time to arrive but once they did it was impressive to see them tackle the conflagration so efficiently although it took a considerable while to bring it fully under control. (Needless to say, having seen at first hand the damage – and damage at speed – that a fire can wreak we arranged next day to have a couple of extinguishers fitted in our house, and a fire blanket for the kitchen…)
Less dramatic excitement perhaps, but tension-inducing nevertheless, was my rather rashly having agreed to judge the Parwich Horticultural Show Kitchen and Cookery section. I had not expected anything like the quantity of entries, in I think eleven categories, all of which had to be tasted and judged be me alone. I was glad I did not have the Great British Bake-Off cameras watching my tasting every morsel: Jams, Jellies, Curds, Chutneys, Breads, Scones sweet and savoury, Biscuits ditto, Fruit Tarts, Savoury Quiches… Judge’s decision was final, but there were no queries and the whole atmosphere of the show very friendly and relaxed. Many of the entries were auctioned off for local village charities, and the winning Victoria Sponge apparently fetched £31!
Since then we have had five wonderfully peaceful and stress-free days on the Norfolk Broads with Colin and Erica, some very dear, long-standing friends (note, I am shying off any repetition of the adjective ‘old’ as of course that does not feel appropriate). Why go abroad, indeed? Our Broads holidays have for us the perfect ingredients for a perfect holiday: beautiful scenery, super-comfortable boats, 3mph speed limit, pretty waterside villages and pubs, excellent food, plenty of wine and first and foremost, really good friends to enjoy it all with. We rely heavily on John’s excellent steering skills to avert any potential disasters. He did avoid several.
And we have been down to London, several times, which has been a lovely opportunity to see Ruthie and Sam-n-Nick-n-Nell. Nell, although actually born 21/2 months ago is technically, calculating from her due date on 20th September, just over one month old and doing very well indeed. In fact, in her ballet tutu given her by hr great granny Molly (Sam’s grandma) she looks positively chubby and thoroughly huggable but maybe not yet quite the obvious Royal ballet shape.
And throughout all this time we have had our builders,Shaun and Tony Marshall, working away very efficiently and quietly, fuelled by interminable cups of tea, creating successfully out of a very small space – along with a lot of dust – a downstairs cloakroom. We are really delighted with the result.
The downside is that once again, we find ourselves having to reorganise and almost inevitably, declutter again, with ‘our’ Janet’s invaluable help. Will it never end? Great gritting of teeth as more piles go off to charity shops, and our what-we-can’t-bear-yet-to-shed pile in our good friends Sue and Chris’s empty barn, grows steadily larger.
I end this little report with a final triumph of fun and excitement which has left us bubbling all day: yesterday’s treat/reward was a trip to the Northern Light cinema in Wirksworth to see the live screening of the Royal Ballet’s Alice in Wonderland. The colour, the spectacle and sheer joy of this exuberant fusion of modern and classical ballet was an absolute delight and we have immediately booked to see the encore in Derby this weekend. Please see it if you possibly can.