Monday, 27 January 2020

A week of mixed fortunes

A little out of order, the previous Sunday was strange. We went to St Ives, intending to eat at the Dolphin Hotel overlooking the river, but after heavy rain the surrounding fields and carpark where deeply flooded, so we had to go round and park in the town to walk across the old bridge. We got there just after 3pm, but all the food had already been cleared and the place was deserted. Other hotels in the town were too full to find a table, so we went to an old haunt from our boating days, the Lazy Otter which generally serves all day and is never full, but it was closed for refurbishing, so we moved on to the Five Miles From Anywhere, but this was packed and rowdy even at 4pm, for they were holding a dirty shirt contest. We moved on to Finally we cut our losses and made for the Cadogan Inn near Bury St Edmunds.

In the middle of the meal, the phone went and it was our sister-in-law, Chris, to say her brother had died suddenly. She and Richard phoned him as they were leaving for a w/e in Wales, but getting no reply she insisted they turn round to check on him. He was only 65 and has lived alone since his partner died, so they used their key to get in and found him lying on the settee, still warm. He had been quite well, even going to a Wassail evening that week to celebrate some new apple trees, so the death had to be reported to the coroner and they are still waiting to hear when the body can be released. Our meal was terrible anyway, with no decent vegetarian options, and that call put a final damper on a fruitless day.

Step Children
I have done my best as a step-mum
to go gently on my way,
never stepped on the toes of real mum
or had over much to say.
As the months have turned into years,
the children have since grown,
they have shown me much love and kindness
sometimes even more than my own.
They say blood is thicker than water,
and that you can't get blood from a stone,
but love is tasted in sorrow
and love is what my step children have shown.
On the domestic front, we had a take-away supper party on Friday with friends, with fish-'n-chips as the chosen menu. It makes for a simple supper which all enjoy, with minimum preparation (just put out plates and cutlery). Drinks flowed freely, and the talk followed, speculating about the Chinese flu and putting the world to rights as we all love to do.

Saturday was Burns' Night, and Ann arranged a wonderful Burns' Night supper to honour her Scottish heritage. Ann carried in the  vegetarian haggis on a silver platter while we had bagpipes music blaring out from Siri, and I read the poem Address to a Haggis. We then each had to read a poem of our choice, then a quiz followed. First prize was a bottle of Timorous Beastie whisky. To my annoyance, Edwin won! but it was well deserved - he'd been swotting up on the Bard all afternoon. Later, he did allow me to sample a dram.
Edwin shows his spirit

In Clare walking the dogs, the woodpecker was again hammering his song invisible in the trees above, but across the river a female woodpecker was attracted enough to fly across and perch upright on one of the fence posts to listen critically. She gave a thumbs down and flew off, leaving her forlorn lover to hammer alone.

On a more cheerful note, another wonderful poem from Ann, I have had another paper accepted for a journal called Galaxy, and today came a remarkably well-written letter from grandson Luke. He has just won a school physics project for the British Physics Olympiad, and will be advanced to take part in the National  6th-form finals, with a chance to present at the Royal Society. Good luck Luke!

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