Christmas is hectic; Gran blesses the neighbours; the “opposite wood – now occupied; new furnishings for The Ridge; the Festival Ballet in Southampton; an awful lot of marmalade; “science never produced such wonders”; Mistle Thrush observations; a go to to London, and one thing to sit up for.
Christmas 1957 is approaching and Gran expects a full house, with Jane coming residence from Nottingham, and the family also on account of arrive from Mill Hill. Arrangements are made with the Hockridges for Barry, Jock, Julian and Ricky to spend the nights subsequent door. Jane arrives on December 19th:
I expected Jane house late this evening but once I reached house at half-past six, there she was, cooking herself a meal! She had been capable of catch the via practice in any case. It was raining barely when she went again to Winchester for the rest of her luggage, and it was late once we ultimately retired.
On the following day:
…as we have been having tea, Barry and the family arrived. It was grand to see all of them again, and the way the little boys have grown! Julian tells us he starts faculty on January seventh, and all of us acquired Christmas cards at the moment that he had colored and in which he had written his identify and Ricky’s. It seems fairly unimaginable.
Clear though it is that Gran loves the household’s presence, she writes the subsequent day that it was somewhat nosy and hectic. “If only I were not so deadly tired”, she says. “But everyone is being very helpful and Mother [recently unwell] is able to come downstairs for a little while each day now. Julian and Ricky are delightful”.
There isn’t any let up on Christmas Eve – “What a day”, Gran writes:
I scarcely sat down, even to eat and truthfully can’t keep in mind once I last ate a full meal. I’m so tired I can solely pray that I final out over Christmas… All day was spent cooking for tomorrow and, in the evening, dressing the Christmas Tree and putting up the decorations. Barry iced the cake. He had taken Julian to his valuable Shawford Downs this morning [to watch trains], and Ricky had been to our Lake again [to feed swans]. Throughout a quite late tea Ricky pointed out Winter Moths on the window and referred to as them by identify too. And this at three years of age!
She additionally notes “Barry has decided, after much deliberation, not to accept the post at Canford. I trust that this is the right decision, as I feel it is”.
On Christmas Day, Barry and Jane go together with Gran to Early Service at Compton, while Julian and I, with Mum, examine our full stockings at the Hockridges, where we had spent the night time. Essential presents are opened after breakfast at The Ridge, “amidst squeals of delight from Julian and Ricky”. Only one current is described: “an Irish linen teacloth from Fin, with Irish scenes in colour all over it…” given to Gran.
I seem to have been fairly talkative in a barely cloying method, Gran recording that “Dr White, who is Julian’s Godfather, came in to see us all, and was followed later by Brother, of whom Ricky observed, “It was good to see Uncle Norris again!”” and, after the normal Christmas dinner, “again Ricky expressed the sentiments of all, “What a lovely family we are”, for there were 4 generations represented on the desk.
Christmas dinner was all the time a fairly brown meal – but enlivened with these green gadgets. Picture by Richard Hemmer by way of Flickr.
Gran sums up the day:
The afternoon was cold, grey and misty but we loved seeing the Queen (on the subsequent door Television), ship her Christmas message to her family of Commonwealth topics… Two very completely happy however exceedingly tired little boys ultimately went next door to mattress, and how I blessed Ken and Jean Hockridge for making attainable our fantastic household Christmas. Everyone, especially Jane, helped me tremendously to make this present day a completely satisfied and memorable one… I came upstairs ultimately virtually exhausted however as completely satisfied as attainable and I feel all the family loved this Christmas Day as much as any we now have recognized.
Life returns to a less hectic norm for Gran on December 28th, when the family departs, by practice, for Mill Hill. “But oh! how I shall miss them!”, she says.
I’m left wondering why it was that the Hockridges, subsequent door, “made possible our wonderful family Christmas” by making beds obtainable, when the other grandparents, simply across the nook in Kingsway might in all probability have put us up.
As Gran completes her notes for the day, late on January 2nd, she is mentally transported back to the awful occasions witnessed by her era: “A fire warning has just rent the air – the long, mournful wail as of the wartime air-raid siren, which still chills the heart and checks the breath. May God grant that war never makes such necessary again”.
I didn’t go out through the hours of daylight in the present day, besides throughout the street to the Publish Office, however Jane and I went for a stroll after dark this night. We walked via our one-time opposite wood, which is now virtually absolutely occupied by houses and bungalows, and found, to our surprise, that it was more silent than when it was woodland. Nothing stirred and not even an owl referred to as, and the only human beings we noticed have been a lady putting out milk bottles at her again door, who appeared to treat our approaching footsteps with each curiosity and apprehension, peering out at us in the darkness, not realizing that to us she was clearly visible in the sunshine from her porch, and a man who emerged from his front door carrying a hurricane lamp. It seemed as if our pricey, familiar woods have been a strange, slightly alarming place to the individuals now residing in them.
We have been extremely amused at the silhouetted image, by way of obscure glass, of a couple, seemingly washing up in the kitchen, however the man was sporting a high-crowned hat, slightly like a cowboy’s!
Gran has informed us earlier that she was relieved when Jean Hockridge’s “woman” came to The Ridge to help clear it when Gran was sick. We study on January fifth that Gran too has a “woman”! This is Mrs Hillier, in my memory from a number of years therefore, all the time known as “Mrs Hilly”:
Simply earlier than darkness fell John Fowler got here with some Anemones and Freesias, for me to make a posy for a little cripple baby who died this week. Mrs Hillier, who comes to assist in the home, requested me to do it for her to ship tomorrow, and to the flowers John brought, I later added Iris stylosa, yellow Jasmine and Laurustinus. It seemed very pretty and suitable for a youngster. Poor little soul – life had given her little apart from the devotion and care of oldsters for whom the guts aches in their loss.
In an apparently uncommon home activity on January 11th, Gran, with Jane, buys new wallpaper and carpet for The Ridge dining-room:
We went first to Portswood where we obtained the wallpaper, and then to Southampton, the place we have been very fortunate and located simply the carpet we needed, deep blue, for half-price in the Gross sales! We also discovered two mushroom coloured rugs, with a trace of blush-pink in them, matching the paint and wallpaper, for the fireside and French windows.
On the afternoon of January 14th, Dad (Barry) arrives from Mill Hill to provide his night speak to the Natural History Society:
After a meal (he had had no dinner) he advised that we should always cycle right down to the river at Brambridge and, in fact, I wanted no second invitation. It was still sunny although the sun was low and its gleaming reflection on the water was too dazzling to be noticed for long at a time. The rising sap in the Dogwoods and Sallows made them glow ruby pink and the tawny reeds have been golden in the sunshine. A mist rose like wisps of smoke over the dykes in the water meadows and the entire area drowsed in peaceable serenity.
They see their first Brambling of the Winter.
“Tawny Reeds golden in the sunshine” Picture by nick ford by way of Flickr.
That night, “Stars were bright” Gran writes, “when we went to the meeting”:
Barry’s speak was on “Some Aspects of the Flora and Fauna of the Bishop’s Dyke Area”, and was, in fact, based mostly on the ecological survey, which he and the boys from Haberdashers’ Faculty have been finishing up for the past three years. It was most fascinating and, with the assistance of diagrams proven on a display, most enlightening, even to me, who has put in a lot of research in the world myself. The speak ended at eight o’clock, since Barry needed to return to London, and I went to the station with him and Brigadier Venning, who kindly took us in his automotive.
She visits Adrian’s mom in Kingston on the following day, recording that on the best way residence by practice, at Alton, she:
…changed from the electrical practice to a Diesel. This lumbered noisily to Medstead and Four Marks, and then stopped in the middle of the nation for about fifteen minutes, with a lot speak and operating back and forth with lanterns!
“This evening was memorable”, Gran writes on January 17th, “I went to the Gaumont Theatre in Southampton to see London’s Festival Ballet in Les Sylphides and Coppellia, and it was wonderful beyond description”. She describes the dancers’ expertise with great feeling – John Gilpin, Michael Hogan, Janet Overton and Natalie Krassovska being “outstanding” in Les Sylphides, and Coppelia, she says, “was colourful and most wonderfully presented, and Marylyn Burr and Louis Godfrey in the leading parts were unbelievably excellent”. A press chopping is positioned between the pages of her journal.
The press slicing.
After a day of marmalade-making on the 20th, she ends her journal entry, describing, as she typically does, the sundown, with: “The last rays touched the Silver Birches opposite here to indescribable beauty and I wondered how long before they are hidden by the shops whose building is now pending”.
Gran leaves us in little question of her belief in a “Devine Creator” versus the marvel of “evolution by natural selection”, the following day, when she describes certainly one of Peter Scott’s Look programmes, which she watches while babysitting subsequent door:
…a really fantastic film by the German naturalist, Heinz Sielmann, entitled “A Summer Meadow”. On this we noticed the flowers unfolding on a dewy morning and the varied bugs related to them. We have been also shown the marvellous phenomena of caterpillars truly pupating, and the right butterfly emerging. How anyone can doubt the existence of a Supreme Creator I can’t imagine. Science alone never produced such wonders.
January 25th brings to 50 kilos the quantity of marmalade Gran has made this season and she or he can also be busy knitting:
…a baby’s shawl for Jill Brewster. Three weeks ago I began it, being with out knitting to do, and was accused of being untimely! A letter from Jill herself yesterday, nevertheless, advised me it might be needed in September. I have to be psychic! It’s an exquisite pattern and wonderful to do.
On the following day, Gran observes the exercise of birds at her feeder in the backyard:
An unusual customer to the bread and cheese put out for our birds as we speak was a Mistle Thrush and I’ve never before been capable of observe one, with the naked eye, at such shut quarters. He was just outdoors the kitchen window and I noted that, whilst he would permit none of the bigger birds, resembling Blackbirds and Music Thrushes, to strategy while he fed, he paid no attention to the smaller fry, and a cheeky Coletit ate his fill with out interference, virtually underneath his nice companion’s beak.
The Mistle Thrush – it’s typically onerous to get a good view of these flighty birds. Image by Mark Hope by way of Flickr.
Gran plans to attend the annual B.E.N.A. Exhibition in London on the primary day of February, so the day before, she catches an early practice to Waterloo, and thence to Mill Hill for the night time, however not before making good use of her time in the Metropolis:
I went to Regent Road to satisfy a very previous good friend, my first in Chandler’s Ford, who had moved away many years ago now. We had organized to satisfy on the primary entrance to Dickens and Jones, and right here, being early as typical, I waited for about half an hour. I didn’t find this tedious for I used to be most watching the cosmopolitan crowd… the self-conscious well dressed ladies and women of all ages, the eccentric, typically unkempt and grubby-looking students, the Teddy-boys, belligerent and resentful, with exaggerated hair-dos, the businessmen, pompous and essential, the foreigners and the tourists, country-folk, like me, up for the day, and the poorer city-dwellers, most of whom, even when not shabbily dressed, wore an unhealthy pallor and seemed as if they wanted a good dose of pure recent air!
When Hylda Malcolm appeared she seemed a lot as she all the time had, and we went up to the lounge in Dickens and Jones, the place we chatted about our youngsters and newly-acquired grand-children… Later we walked by way of Liberty’s well-known shop after which went to the Tea Centre for tea…
Hylda and I parted at about half-past five when she noticed me onto the platform at Piccadilly Circus for the practice to Russell Square, from whence, later, I walked to the St Martin’s Theatre in Cambridge Circus to see “Odd Man In”, a clever comedy with only three characters in it. I enjoyed it immensely.
She reaches Mill Hill East station late, not far in need of midnight, the place she finds Barry ready for her. And she or he is up early, next morning, enjoying Snakes and Ladders with Julian before she and Barry take the Underground for central London, to satisfy brother Norris at Waterloo, and to attend the Exhibition.
This recreation and Ludo have been the preferred board games of our childhoods. Picture by antifixus21 by way of Flickr.
The Exhibition is described in some element, and in glowing phrases, however Gran is probably most excited there by the promise, given by Mr and Mrs Kimmins, to point out her Lizard Orchids in Kent, subsequent July, and in addition a promise by, Mr Cashmore, of some stamps for her collection, depicting flowers. Afterwards, she catches the half-past six practice from Waterloo to Southampton, there will get the bus to Chandler’s Ford, and arrives house tired. She ends her notes for the day:
I was now nearing exhaustion and beginning a dangerous head, however I referred to as in next door for my key and Jean insisted on making me a cup of tea, while Ken relieved me of my coat and introduced a footstool to rest my legs. What good Samaritans they are to make certain, and the way very pleasant it was to be taken care of in this manner after a tiring two days!
One thing to sit up for in July. Picture by Bjorn S… by way of Flickr.