Friday, June 30, 2006

STRIDING EDGE 
SKELWITH BRIDGE 
BLEA TARN PASS 
THE BOWDER STONE  Posted by Picasa
CLOSER

Story contd.

The first time I climbed Helvellyn with Mum and Dad and Evan we had stared, awestruck from the summit at Striding Edge – a razor’s edge path with airy drops on either side. Dad said we wouldn’t be using that route – it was too dangerous. Now with Alec and Jamie it was our route for the morning although even they said it wouldn’t be on if it were foggy or there was a high wind. We left Patterdale and had a long hard slog up to the Edge. Once on it - as long as you concentrated and were careful - it wasn’t too bad, with views of Red Tarn to the right and the summit of Helvellyn ahead. The last bit was a rough scramble and we managed to miss the Gough Memorial where the body of Charles Gough was found in 1803. He had been killed by a rock fall and three months later he was found with his dog still guarding his remains.

By the time we were descending Dolly Wagon it was tea-time. Each day from 3pm onwards we would be twitchy. Was this the day we were going to fail to find a tea-place? We were worse than a bunch of old ladies (I’m allowed to say that!) To cut down on weight we hadn’t bothered with pack lunches and hadn’t eaten since breakfast. We were in luck and stuffed ourselves silly. The Hostel was run very efficiently by two ex- army chaps. After supper we ambled round Grasmere ending up at The Traveller’s Rest. Then had to race cross country to be back in time for curfew.

Since my visit to Oxbridge Jamie and I had got in the habit of giving each other a dispassionate kiss at bed-time - the kind that I would give the family. This night Jamie kissed me and I knew I’d been kissed. He then told me I was scared stiff of men. This was news to me but I was confused – trying not to enjoy the moment and be loyal to Andrew. Both Ginny and I were experiencing that heightened awareness that being removed from the stresses and strains of working with very sick children with its inevitable tragedies can bring. The beautiful carefree environment we were in only served to make the experience surreal. Neither Alec nor Ginny were romantically involved with each other but we both felt utterly safe as if in the care of two older brothers. Now things were getting complicated and each day Jamie and I were slowly but inexorably getting too close for comfort. I wrote to Andrew.

The next couple of days we relaxed more - walking round Elterwater and Blea Tarn, Dungeon Ghyll and the Langdales - where Sarah and I had climbed three years earlier. Jamie and I did a lot of loitering on little stone bridges staring into the mesmerising water looking for fish and being enveloped by a growing sweetness that was hard to resist.

We left Elterwater and walked over Hard Knott Pass and Wrynose Pass. I found an Irish tweed flat cap which Jamie coveted and there was much bargaining with biscuits and chocolate as barter. We began to get punch drunk walking endlessly with our rucksacks and were all feeling high spirited. That night we were going to visit some old climbing friends of Alec. They were distinguished climbers – he had been on the reserve team for Everest and his first wife had been killed in an avalanche. They now ran a pub in Boot and Ginny and I decided it was time to put on our glad rags
and show the boys why dresses and pearls were not just a waste of space.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

BREAK

BREAK

Off on a short break.  Back on Friday.  Don’t go anywhere.

Monday, June 26, 2006

CHARACTERS TO DATE

CHARACTERS TO DATE

PAT           Student nurse.

MADDIE   Pat’s sister

EVAN         Pat’s brother

ANDREW    Naval officer who has proposed to Pat

JAMIE          Oxbridge undergrad who Pat met through her sister.

LIAM             Jamie’s brother who used to go out with Maddie and is still a friend.

PAUL             Maddie’s husband.

AUNTIE JANET     Pat’s mother’s sister.  Now living in the States.

UNCLE BILL      Pat’s dad’s brother – her favourite uncle – now deceased.

SARAH            An old friend      of Pats and the family.

GINNY           A nursing friend- about to go on holiday with Pat.

ANNIE             An old nursing friend who left to do Fevers.

THE MILLER FAMILY   Pat nursed the son David.  His parents are Hector and        Maria.  His sisters Hannah and Carmela.

ALEC        Undergrad friend of Jamie’s’ about to go on holiday with Pat, Jamie and Ginny to the: Lake District.

THE AUNTS     The maiden ladies – Eileen, Jean and Marion who brought up Maddie from the age of six.
The rocky outcrop where Mum and Evan's ashes are scattered, from the other side of Lake Ennerdale  Posted by Picasa
Granddad as a young man 
Granddad after his stroke 
Mum  
A water colour of Lake Ennerdale Mum's ashes and my darling brother Evan's ashes were scattered on the rocky outcrop on the right and then we did a circular of the lake. RIP  Posted by Picasa
BACK TO THE LAKE

Story contd.

The Lake District has always been special to my family. Granddad had been born in Cleator Moor and spent his happiest hours round Ennerdale Lake. We had had magical holidays, as children, camping by Lake Windermere and I used to cry every time on the way home. Later in life my mother made me promise to scatter her ashes round Ennerdale Lake to be near her beloved father. In the event she died at my sister’s house in Portugal (her main domain was the States) and Maddie thought she should be scattered there. However Mum’s wishes prevailed – fortunately- as Maddie later sold her house in Portugal.

Ginny and I were travelling by bus and were to meet Jamie and Alec at the Youth Hostel. We were tickled pink when we caught a glimpse of them striding past our bus at Lancaster bus station. They looked like Greek gods and – like the silly young girls we were - we cowered down in our seats so they wouldn’t spot us. We saw them again in Kendal, hitch- hiking – their preferred mode of travelling.

At the Hostel Ginny and I chatted to everyone we met and then sunbathed in a field where we could spot the boy’s approach. Our meeting went off smoothly and the shyness soon wore off. The weather was heavenly and after supper we did our duties – washing up- and went for a walk in the fields. Alec annoyed a bull which gave chase and, inadvertently Ginny kicked my left eye as we both scrabbled over the wall. No great harm done and we sat and chatted in the evening sun. I wrote, as promised to Andrew.

The moment of truth came the next day when Ginny and I staggered when we attempted to put the rucksacks on our backs. The boys were brilliant – Jamie taking charge – and said we should take out what wasn’t absolutely necessary and this would be put in my rucksack which we would leave in Ambleside Bus Station. The light stuff would be put in Ginny’s rucksack and carried in turn by us girls. Any extraneous stuff which we wanted (like my diary) the boys would put in theirs.
Were they not true gentlemen? Yes I am ashamed but it was truly a different age.

We blessed them later – when we were struggling up Red Screes in a heat-wave. We had cherries, peaches, crisps and packed lunches but no water and the heat had dried up the streams. We had a treacherous descent down the other side with the tantalising sight of the Kirkstone Pass Inn which we prayed would be open.

It was and we celebrated with ice cream, milk and cider. We were very thirsty. As we weaved our way (the girls somewhat unsteadily} towards Patterdale we came upon Brother’s Water and sobered up with a refreshing swim. An icy swim! We stopped at a farm and scrounged some milk and then forgot it. Food and drink became paramount and the diary records we had raspberries and custard at supper. Our excuse was we had had years of going without the more delicious eats and had a lot of catching up to do. We repaired to the White Lion where, no doubt more cider was consumed. We had become a close-knit unit of four and both Jamie and Alec had proved themselves to be ideal climbing companions.
I wrote to Andrew.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Horror of horrors! Mistakenly in the last but one paragraph I said David instead of ANDREW.
It is my worst nightmare and I am sooooo sorry and I shall kneel on peas for the rest of the day.

4:37 PM
BREATHING SPACE

Story contd.

I knew I was going to miss Andrew whilst he was on leave but it was good to have some breathing space. On a sudden whim I phoned to tell him the Millers were taking me home to see Mum and Dad and that all was well which succeeded in mystifying him even more. Oh hell!

Two nights later the three of us set off and Hector had us in stitches trying to work the wind-screen wipers with his nose. I wondered how they would all get on and what they would think of our small cramped house compared to their beautiful home. Dad was a factory hand and Hector was a Jewish solicitor. I need not have worried. Both Dad and Hector were wags and they entertained each other and us all with their stories and antics. Mum had laid out a table of goodies and we munched and laughed the night away. I had a quick word with Mum in the kitchen about the proposal and as usual she calmed me down with her -
‘Don’t worry. Just see what happens.’

All too soon it was time to go and we sang in the car all the way to the Millers. Hector was going to drive me to hospital, as it was so late and I was surprised to hear Maria ask meekly if she could come too. The women in our family would have taken it for granted that they could do as they pleased. Hector said yes and we all laughed when Maria said she must first take her corsets off. Like my mother she was cuddly and curvy.

The next fortnight passed pleasantly playing lots of tennis – with Evan at home and girls at hospital. One night I cut and set four nurses hair (they were very trusting) and plucked beetle- browed Bella’s eyebrows. The medical ward I was on was very demanding and stressful and it was good to totally relax with girly time.

Andrew behaved impeccably – one post card, a silver card to celebrate our six month anniversary arriving on the precise date and a letter – loving and not at all hectoring.
Jamie wrote sounding deflated. He had nearly finished schools (exams) just had three six hour Practicals on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. And he expects us to be able to cook. At least Mrs Miller had taught me how to make delicious tomato omelettes.

David – back at base - phoned and we arranged to meet for the last time before my hols. We saw ‘Passport to Pimlico’ which was very amusing and we had a happy day. Relationships are like a see-saw – rarely perfectly balanced – one or the other up in the air and the other feet touching the ground – the latter in control. I seemed to be in control just now. He had bought me some Chanel No 5 perfume but had forgotten to bring it. I promised to write often and to phone as soon as we were back.

At home the next day I went swimming with Dad in Jack Lodge and finished packing. Next stop my beautiful Lake District. YIPEE!
HOLIDAY REQUIREMENTS

Story contd.

A Burgan is a rucksack. The Albatross is a hard-backed poetry book and I see we still had to use identity cards. Some of you hardier climbers may raise your eyebrows at pearls and such but a girl likes to be prepared. I could point out that I have learnt that less is more.
But I’d be lying
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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

 
P and Granddad at Lytham St Annes
 
Ginny who was going on holiday with P and Jamie - Blackpool Tower Posted by Picasa
 
Maddie with her baby
 
Evan's girl friend - also a nurse Posted by Picasa
 
Three little faces peeping round the door
 
\Margaret who liked me to braid her hair Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Monday, June 19, 2006

AFTER THE BALL

Story contd.



“The past is a different country, they do things differently there”

L P Hartley

‘Will you marry me Pat?’ Andrew repeated.

I tried to pull myself together. I just hadn’t seen this coming. Part of me was amazed and thrilled that someone as gorgeous as Andrew would want to spend the rest of his life with me – that’s what marriage meant to most of us – but part of me wished he hadn’t chosen this particular time. This was our 23rd date since we met in January. We had talked endlessly about our feelings, agreeing that we were physically drawn to each other; Andrew had said he thought he was in love with me but didn’t understand me. That made two of us.

For my part I loved being with him – it was all very light –hearted. Sometimes I found him unreliable when he said he would phone at a particular time and then didn’t and the letter he promised didn’t arrive but I had learnt to accept it as part of his persona. I had thought we were both content to let our relationship develop organically and just enjoy the ride.

“Andrew I have to finish my training – it’s another two years.’

I felt passionately about this. I had been shocked when Maddie, who was gifted both academically and artistically and had won a place at the most prestigious Art School, had packed it all in to marry Paul.

‘I understand – I want you to finish your training. We don’t have to get married right away – say about Christmas but I need to know before I go on leave “ I gasped – that was a week away “or at any rate before you go on holiday.”

Was that what this was all about - my climbing holiday with Ginny, Jamie and Jamie’s friend Alec? I had been open about this from the start and recently he had asked if he ought to be worried about it and I said no. Now I was getting worried. Only this week I had had a letter from Jamie with our itinerary and he had booked all the hostels for the four of us.

I can’t help thinking that in today’s climate I would possibly by now have slept with one of them or both of them and things might have been clearer and certainly a lot less tense.

My head whirled, the idea of combining marriage with the concentrated mental and physical training we were undergoing was beyond my ken. Somehow I had to convince him but at this moment Mary and Bill returned to the car and we set off again.

“You’ll have to guide me Pat” Bill shouted.

We drove on – my mind racing round and round and my lips returning Andrew’s kisses.

“For God’s sake you two! Concentrate!”

Somehow we had ended up on Victoria Station.

It was very late by the time we reached the Millers and I was thankful I had a key. We said a hasty goodbye – Andrew promising to phone the next day and I crept up to my room.

The lovely thing about staying with the Millers was being wakened by the children in the morning; three little faces would peep round the door -

“Can we come in Pat?”

-and they would leap on the bed and I would make up stories. No time for that this morning; it was all hands to the pump to prepare for the party. It was a beautiful day and soon the garden was swarming with adults and their children and there wasn’t a moment to think about anything.

After the last guests had left and the children were in bed. Hector poured us all a drink and Maria asked me about the dance. I told them about the fun bits but waited until Maria and I were alone to tell her about Andrew’s proposal. She sensed I was in a bit of turmoil and said she and Hector were going to drive me home on my first night off so I could chat to Mum. I realised that was just what I needed and gave her a grateful hug.

By the time I got back to hospital I was very tired. Mum rang and it was lovely to hear her voice. I told her the Millers were bringing me over next week. Andrew – true to his word, had phoned twice and got me the third time. He was very sweet and understanding and we arranged to meet during the week. Then I had to get down to copying up lectures.

When Andrew and I met I was late and we were both a bit down. We went to see ‘The Kissing Bandit’ which was execrable and we couldn’t talk so abandoned it and discussed the situation. He said he had to know before my holiday but finally agreed that I couldn’t just say yes or no. He wanted me to continue my career and I couldn’t visualise doing both. Somehow we found ourselves talking about furniture and laughed with relief that we had got back our light-heartedness. We laughed even more when Andrew mentioned he was Roman Catholic. Remembering how Dad had reacted when he found Gran and me walking back from her church I had a ‘West Side Story’ moment. I told him to have a great leave and not to think about our problems.

“Like hell!” he said.

Friday, June 16, 2006

A BURNING QUESTION

Story contd.

It had been a hectic day: off duty at 1.45pm and then took two buses to the Millers to leave my overnight stuff. The next day, Sunday, was to be Maria’s birthday. She was having a big party and I would be able to help. After an afternoon of playing with the children Hector gave me a lift back to hospital and with the help of a couple of chums I got ready for the dance

I couldn’t help giggling when Andrew and Bill arrived – not only was the car an old banger it was tiny. Mary and I squashed ourselves in the back seat and even if our transport was humble I think we all looked the bee’s knees. It was a beautiful June evening with one of the lurid sunsets that Manchester was famous for and it felt deliciously decadent to be setting off at that time of night.

When we reached the base two ratings darted forward to open the doors to find there were no handles. By now any nervousness was dissipated with gales of laughter. The d├ęcor was magical and there was a fountain and three bands. There was a tremendous buzz everywhere and after my first ever gin and tonic I was dancing on air. I remember one moment in the ladies cloakroom – fragrant with fresh roses and a girl in a white dress was talking to an older woman. Apparently it was mother and daughter and the girl was wearing her wedding dress as an evening gown and needed to be reassured that she looked great. I wondered if being a naval wife meant you were constantly being checked to see if you measured up. I wouldn’t like that at all I decided.

Mary and Bill seemed to be enjoying themselves. I hoped she wasn’t going to get squiffy (inebriated) with all the hospitality but decided as she was older then me she would have enough sense not to. The food was superb and demonstrated how brilliant the navy were at this sort of thing. At some stage Andrew introduced me to the captain who was sweet and patted my hand. I suppose it was the equivalent of me introducing someone to Matron – so naturally one would want it to go well. Andrew seemed ecstatic and as the evening flew by, I knew how Eliza Dolittle felt when she sang ‘I could have danced all night.’

At first the car wouldn’t start but the ratings – laughing their heads - off pushed us until it did. Somewhere on the East Lancs road Andrew and I were sitting in the back seat bumpily trying to kiss when the car lurched to a halt. Bill and Mary vanished into the darkness. I turned to Andrew aghast.

‘I don’t know Mary very well but I never thought she was that sort of girl.’ I felt worried and responsible

‘Its OK Pat. I asked Bill to give us some time alone.’

I looked at him in the gloom – suddenly stone cold sober.’

‘Will you marry me?’

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

THE MISSING PHOTOS

THE MISSING PHOTOS

When my father died in 1990 aged 85 I made a photo album of him to assuage the sadness.  The other day, burrowing in a cupboard I found it and what I thought were missing photos.  This photo was taken outside their house in 1922 and Dad second from left was 17 – he was the second youngest.  My two favourites were the one on Dad’s left and Uncle Bill far right.

.  There was a sister but she died young and Grandma died when I was a little girl.  Mum said she thought she could have gypsy blood in her and I remember her always dressed in black shiny material with dangling ear-rings.  The word ‘bombazine’ always reminds me of her and the scratchy horse hair furniture she had.

It must have been hard keeping seven boys so well turned out and Dad said he always remembered the vice-like grip on his head as she wiped their faces clean. All of them were soldiers in WW1 or WW2 except Dad who ran away to join up and was whisked back by Grandma.  He could only have been thirteen.
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Monday, June 12, 2006

  Posted by Picasa
HAPPY DAYS

Story contd.

The Captain and Officers of HMS ----- request the pleasure of your company at
A Dance

It didn’t start till 9pm with ‘Carriages at 1am’ so the logistics were going to be difficult but I couldn’t resist a challenge and decided to accept. If I were going to be scrutinised I’d better not let the side down.

This was a very happy time. Mum and Dad treated me more like an adult and we enjoyed spending time together – relishing our walks and trips to the local flea-pit and amateur dramatics. Gran could be moody and Maddie had a few emotional outbursts – but these soon blew over. The work on the wards was rewarding and satisfying and my reports were good. The camaraderie both on and off the wards gave life an added zest

It was lovely getting letters from the children one had nursed and a regular was David Miller – the little Jewish boy who was sad I couldn’t marry him. His parents Maria and Hector invited me to visit them one Friday. Maria met me in town and we went to Hector’s office (he was a solicitor) and met all the staff. Hector then drove us home where the children were being looked after by their nanny. Because it was Friday night it was their special evening of Shabbat and at dinner there were candles and wine and Hector wore a skull cap and recited from a religious book. It was a beautiful ceremony and I felt privileged to be there.

Maria was like a surrogate mother and wanted to know what was happening on planet Pat. When I told her about the dance she said I must spend the night with them as it was too late to turn up at the hospital and too far to go home. I warned her it would be very late but she said not to worry and gave me a key. One problem solved.

Then Andrew said his friend Bill had an old banger and he and Andrew would come and pick me up and deliver me to the Millers after the dance with the proviso that I found a partner for Bill. Easier said than done. It didn’t help that I had never met Bill and all my close friends were either unavailable or reluctant to go on a blind date. Eventually Mary – a quiet studious girl in the set above me agreed to go. Now the only problem was what to wear.

As far as shoes, gloves, jewellery and evening hand bags were concerned I had endless choice from friends keen to help. The dress was going to be made by a trusted dress-maker from home. She copied a gorgeous gown from a Vogue photograph. We decided that ‘hair up’ would add a little sophistication and practiced by sweeping it up and to one side which had the added benefit of covering an ear which I swear was larger than the other. Home Sister, however, objected, even though I pointed out it was well off my collar.

‘It is inappropriate for duty nurse. Change it!’

Make up was just a dusting of Helena Rubenstein silk powder, a touch of Tangee lipstick and Elizabeth Arden’s Blue Grass perfume.

I didn’t tell Mum until it was a fait accompli. I didn’t want any nonsense from Paul sticking his oar in. He had already made a few snide remarks about Jamie when he heard about the projected Lake District holiday but Dad seemed to have learnt his lesson and ignored it, thank goodness.

So much excitement, so much to look forward to. It’s true what they say: ‘Smile and the world smiles with you…

Friday, June 09, 2006

HOME AND AWAY

Story contd.

Back home the first thing I did was write to Jamie (MTL) and thank him for the wonderful time he had given me and all the little gifts. Goodness knows how he managed it as a penniless undergrad but I was strongly discouraged from querying it, or attempting to ‘go dutch’.

As usual Andrew hadn’t written but I talked to Mum and she suggested I phone him. As a result we met in Manchester, had dinner and went to a flick. I did try to persuade him not to be so lavish but my words fell on empty ears. How times have changed – (but not my man!) As the weather got warmer we would try to arrange a whole day together and visit the deer in Dunham Park and then have boiled eggs at ‘The Swan with Two Nicks’. Considering we both had rigid off-duty systems, had to rely on others to convey messages and Andrew was a lousy letter writer we saw a great deal of each other. On the other hand, Jamie was an excellent letter writer and he sent snaps of our time together so on my bed-side locker I had two photographs – one of Andrew and one of Jamie.

The home front was very busy; Gran was back ruling the roost, Evan was commuting from home and Maddie, Paul and the baby had left Oxbridge and moved in with the aunts who now had a roomy house with a garden. Whenever I was home they would be up for lunch or supper and whilst it was great to see the baby I missed quiet times with Mum and Dad.

In Hospital our block sessions had bonded us as a group and there was lovely spirit of camaraderie. There was always someone to go shopping with, practice hair styles, share chocolate with, talk and day dream and generally do lots of girly things together. We all did much more letter writing in those days and it was a dull day that we had no letters in our pigeon hole.

I was quite open with Andrew and Jamie about the fact I was seeing them both. Jamie had mentioned that he planned to go climbing in the Lake District in the summer and wondered if I would like to join him. Would I? The thought of meandering round my favourite place with someone so experienced was an opportunity not to be missed. But I warned him I may have some opposition from the parents. At last on a rare day I had them to myself when we were walking over the hills and broached the subject. Eventually they agreed provided that it wasn’t just the two of us and that we Youth Hostelled.

>a href=”www.yha.org.uk/Types_of_Accommodation/ Activities/History_and_Heritage.html - “>here/a>

Ginny and I had often talked of trying to get time off together – perhaps she would make up our party especially as both our parents had met and liked each other. I didn’t think Jamie would have any difficulty finding an extra bod.

Then Andrew started to talk of a big Naval Ball they were having in June. He was helping to organise it and asked if I would like to go. I got the feeling that this would be some sort of test. I knew there was a lot of snobbery in the RN; Andrew had already told me that I would be acceptable because I was a student nurse in training but not if I was an assistant nurse and I thought ‘B----cks’ to that!’

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

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P and Evan with our first perch Lakes 1939
 
Mum, Dad, P and Evan in Blackpool ? 1936 Posted by Picasa
 

Evan,my younger brother used to faint at the sight of blood - very inconvenient as he was always in the wars. On his first motor bike he and his girl friend collided with a sheep. The girl friend had a grazed knee - Evan took one look and keeled over. Someone sent for an ambulance and the ambulance men carted Evan off to hospital and left the girl friend with the bike Posted by Picasa

Monday, June 05, 2006

FEELINGS

Story contd.

Author’s note: MTL is JAMIE (MTL) - with the proviso that at this stage in the story Pat does not know that he is her true love.

Travelling to Oxbridge gave me time to think. Was I in love with Andrew? At age eighteen how can you tell? He wasn’t what I had imagined; he was happy go lucky, carefree, not totally reliable – phone calls never came on time (I was anal about appointments) and he lacked a certain gravitas. But I loved being with him and thought about him a great deal. Then there was the physical thing. I can only liken it to when you first lie in the sun after a cold bleak winter. As the sun’s rays hit your skin your body sort of gulps and burgeons with sensual pleasure and makes you (well me) want to sing the Hallelujah Chorus. He was ardent but thoughtful enough to check he wasn’t going too far.

On the other hand up until two months ago Jamie (MTL) was my knight in shining armour – but I hadn’t seen him for a year thanks to Paul – Maddie’s husband. He had persuaded Dad that going to the Commem Ball with Jamie would set me on the primrose path. Maybe I should avoid taking Jamie to Maddie’s house. Jamie was not just a rock climber but a real mountaineer. I used to fantasise that I would never marry anyone until I had climbed with them, when all would become clear – hands as steady as rocks etc.

By the time we reached Oxbridge I was still in a muddle but determined to enjoy the hard earned holiday. Jamie had said he wouldn’t meet me at the station as there would be a reception committee. Actually there was just Gran who was looking after Maddie and we took a taxi to the Girl’s Friendly Society and went to the Cadena for tea then bused to Maddie’s to meet my baby nephew who sucked my cheek and was adorable.

Later when I met Jamie he was just as I had remembered him and he walked me to the GFS. It seemed there had been a mix-up – there was no bed for me and I would have to sleep on a mattress on the floor in a room with three other girls. Needless to say – at that age this was ‘great fun’ and we chatted and had a midnight feast. Next morning one of the girls was leaving so I joined her for a farewell meringue glace and then met Jamie for coffee. We walked by the river and he showed me the college barge. When I turned up at Maddie’s in the afternoon – to my astonishment – Paul told me to ask Jamie round for coffee. Had he remembered that Jamie’s brother Liam was an old boyfriend of Maddie’s? When they did meet – after the initial sparring – they seemed to get on like a house on fire.

It turned out to be the most sociable and enjoyable week ever with the girls at the GFS – meeting Maddie’s friends and a day in London with Gran when we saw all the sights and she showed me London air-port. After her flights to the States to see Auntie Janet she felt she owned it and we giggled when the waiter, at lunch said it was ‘a perfect day for a flight modom.’

As Maddie said ‘Jamie is really pushing the boat out and we saw ‘The Drunkard’ and a splendid production of ‘The White Horse Inn’, the film ‘Scott of the Antarctic’ and had a hilarious lunch and tea at the digs of an undergrad friend. Saw Jamie’s digs which were excellent (my photo was on the mantelpiece) and his landlord said all nurses were bricks. Jamie asked for a dispassionate kiss as I would give the family. One night in his digs he spilt cider on my white blouse but I managed to sponge it off without any impropriety. There were many long walks by the river and it became increasingly difficult to get back to the GFS by 10.30 – locking up time.

Everybody liked Jamie and Gran invited him up north. We had spent a lot of time together – he was a really sweet boy/man – three years older than me and I was no nearer solving the dilemma.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

WHO'S WHO.

A recent comment from jack made me aware that some of you may be confused. Mea culpa! Throughout the story I call MTL (my true love) MTL or Jamie, although at this stage he is just an Oxbridge undergrad I have met through my sister Maddie and who I am about to see after a year's correspondence.

Andrew is a naval subbie who I met at our Christmas Ball and to whom I am very attracted. Hope this makes sense. I get confused myself sometimes as I have changed some of the names. Heigh ho!
Amazing what you can see if you cut a hole if the hedge! 
 
This jasmine was given to me some years back, as a small pot plant, by no 1 son. Its fragrance now permeates the downstairs loo. Posted by Picasa
The Exmoor ponies were enjoying the sunshine and the adorable foal was lying asleep until an approaching car disturbed it. Shame! 
 
Can you spot the foal on the left? Posted by Picasa
LOVELY DAY

Yesterday the sun was shining - I had had reassuring news from tne doctor so we went for a drive... 
 
...and had lunch here; lamb's liver,crispy bacon,herby mash and lucious gravy followed by rhubarb crumble. Posted by Picasa