Friday, 23 April 2010
(1) Earlier in the week I set off into town for the Narrative Space Conference dinner, I was expecting to be home about midnight. My son was driving and I had a cab booked for the journey home, so I had not taken my car keys (with my door key on the ring). I had taken the door jey off and put it in my pocket separately. (2) Thinking I had forgotten to take my keys, Marea left the french windows unlocked (something we never do) so I could let myself in. (3) Just before Christmas, a friend of ours delivered a load of very large logs which I have not yet cut up (see pic).
(4) The field opposite our house has been sold and the undergrowth, including some small trees, is being cleared.
Anyway, after a pretty good evening and an enjoyable meal, I drew up in the cab and was surprised to see Marea still up, drinking a brandy. "You'll never believe what's happened to me" she said.
Her story was that she had gone to bed some time earlier and, at about 11pm, heard banging and shouting in the back garden. Getting up and putting on her dressing gown, she went downstairs to find a man in the dining room. Not a burglar, but an angry, swearing, shouting man, almost unintelligible in his anger. Marea couldn't understand what he was asying and became concerned that he would become as violent as his obscene language. Eventually, it came out that he was accusing us of stealing 'his wood' - presumably the wood he had cut while clearing the field opposite. Marea assured him that we wouldn't do such a thing and that, indeed, we had been given the logs.
Eventually, she got him out of the house and he went back down the garden to the car parking area where the logs were stored. After a few minutes, he came back and said "I owe you an apology. Those aren't my logs; the cut is different and they are bigger." Marea berated him and told him he couldn't just burst into someone's house, whatever his grievance might be, and that he must learn to control his violent temper. (Marea's a strong, confident woman - I dread to think what might have happened with a younger, less experienced women or girl).
Two things worry me about this occurrence: the first is that I suspect that had I been present, he might have been tempted to physical violence, though he would not attack a woman. The second is that he lives in our road somewhere. We don't know who he is.
Friday, 16 April 2010
About a year or so before, I had started my new job at the University Department of Museum Studies, where we had 20 students, 2 lecturing staff, a secretary, and a technician – me. It was like a family in itself and I think the students were almost as excited as we were. And we had moved into our first house (we’d had flats, but never been owner-occupiers; almost like being grown up), a Co-operative movement built terrace in the middle of a short row of 6 with a shared (defunct) water pump in the middle.
The young family - with a rather disgruntled Ben, ready for bed
Marea’s mum and dad bought us a pram – HCB (high carriage built). A beautiful thing, but rather difficult to get up and down the steep steps up to the front door. How we loved that house, and constantly opened it to groups of friends and acquaintances. We weren’t especially well off financially, but had lots of friends - we were rich!
Ben in the HCB pram in the back yard
Ben - angelic, or what?
The house came with a long garden. You can only see about two thirds of it here; the lower section was a typical cottage garden crammed with flowers, but the top was my pride and joy – where I grew fresh vegetables and fruit. We bought an extra large freezer for all the produce, salted beans, made bread and, of course, wine. It all seems half a world away. It’s certainly over half a lifetime away.
Both sets of parents are now gone and Ben is grown into a (not quite so) young man, and like his younger brother, Toby, a son to be proud of. Both are seen here organising and cooking for Marea’s 60th birthday fusion BBQ. I know they don’t read this blog, so they won’t be embarrassed.
Friday, 9 April 2010
What's slightly unusual this year is that, because the daffodils are so late, we've gor the tulips out at the same time - it's an ill wind that blows nobody good.
In fact there's blossom bursting out all over the University...
Though I have to say, I think this is a bit lurid!
Down by the School of Museum Studies, the cherry blossom is out.
And, if you look carefully, you can just see that the Magnolia is about to strut its stuff.
Monday, 5 April 2010
Looks like it's going to be a full season.