Tuesday, July 04, 2006



April, April,
Laugh thy girlish laughter,
Then the moment after,
Weep thy girlish tears.

Sir William Watson 1858-1935

July 2006   I rang Ginny last night – I wondered how much she remembered of our time in the Lakes.  For years she and I completely lost touch with each other.  Then I got a phone call from an advertising agency I used to work for.  They had re-issued an ad I had done years ago and some old friend had seen it and wanted my address.  They - quite rightly refused, but promised to pass her details on to me.  In the event it turned out to be a girl I used to play with when I visited Gran. She still lived in the north so we arranged the next time we visited our cottage in Yorkshire, we would meet.  Incidentally she was one of Gran’s babies and shared my Christian name – much to Gran’s disgust.

We had a pleasant dinner together and I told her of my quest to find my old friend Ginny.
“Oh!” she said “They used to live in the next street.”  I nearly choked on my dessert and begged her to tell me where they lived now.  She didn’t know but knew a friend whose friend would surely know.  Before we had finished coffee I was talking to Ginny’s boyfriend – now her husband of many years – and then Ginny herself.  That was a night to remember and we had some happy reunions.

Sadly Ginny is now widowed and I have lost my foothold in the north so we see each other rarely but talk often.  She told me she remembered clearly Alec teaching us to scree run down Great Gable – digging our heels in the sliding scree and zigzagging from side to side.  I laughed when she said.
“I still do it Pat.  Down our lane.”

Examining the past can be an uncomfortable experience, Ginny was a straight talker and I needed her take on it.
“Ginny you know I was involved with Andrew before the holiday.  Did I behave badly?”
Ginny was adamant.
“Not at all Pat!  You behaved perfectly naturally.  Jamie was always the one.  It was meant to be.”  
Thank you Ginny.

July 1949
We were excited about meeting these famous friends of Alec.  Both of us had pretty dresses, were burnished by the sun and were bubbling with laughter and anticipation. Even the boys had made an effort and looked unusually spruce. We ambled along the lane in the evening sun and saw in the distance a gaggle of boy scouts.  One – a little fat boy in baggy shorts – was intent on scratching his bum.  This amused us all but Ginny and I started that awful helpless giggling which persists the more you try to control it.  I could hear my mother’s voice in my ear.

“There’ll be tears before bed-time!”

As we neared the inn a man recognised Jamie and said there was a telegram for him in the pub.  All laughter gone we entered the pub to be greeted by people with very serious faces.  Silently Alec’s friend handed over the telegram to Jamie, and I propelled him to a bench to sit down.  As he opened it and read it he sat very still – the proprietor got him a brandy and we waited for him to tell us what was wrong.


AndrewM said...

Flippin' 'eck! Sounds like trouble at t'mill.

PI said...

andrewm: you'd better believe it! Sorry about the results.

Guyana-Gyal said...

Sounds like something sad.

The Jamaicans say, "Chicken merry, hawk deh near." The chicken is merry but the hawk is nearby.

PI said...

Yes GG - that sounds about right.

R. Sherman said...

You never disappoint.


PI said...

Randall: as I say to MTL - please don't tempt fate.


Oh boy! Yer've done it again. Rest of the evening wonderin' now!

OldHorsetailSnake said...

Uh, oh. What now?

Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

Doesn't sound good. It's disconcerting how suddenly the world can change with a telegram or a phone call.

PI said...

Hoss and 4d: patience is a virtue - possess it if you can - seldom found in woman and never in a man. All revealed on Friday

PI said...

Sam: true. We never rush to answer the phone. We've had some shockers in our time.