I’m not sick of fish yet but would die of surprise if I saw a green leafy vegetable on my plate. With so many plants growing freely around it always surprises me no green vegetables are planted.
Flatting helps one appreciate food at home all the more! It’s not that we can’t cook, because we both do pretty well in that department, but – us poor students – at home there’s nice food, one doesn’t have to work hard to jolly it up.
Here we are in the damp Scottish mists – now I know why they make so much whisky and weave so much – they need to in order to survive the damp. I feel like a fungus already.
Today I made my Christmas cakes. Rather late in the piece, I’m afraid, however they are done. I have two to give away and one to keep. I also made some shortbread from an untried recipe which is rather disappointing. I am putting a piece of it out of its misery as I write this. [For Christmas] I am having a duck galantine which I will cook in the morning, or the night before, and some salads. I don’t want to have to cook, then eat, a roast if it is hot.
I sat with another volunteer at lunch and she spent the whole time telling me how wonderful her microwave was and how quickly it did everything. I think I am too old to bother, and perhaps it isn’t really necessary for one person alone, as the cooking doesn’t take long anyhow, and the sound of making sauces and so on in it leaves me cold. I expect it would be good for you when you come in late from work, but the outlay would take a lot of saving on electricity! I was delighted when somebody else joined us as she proclaimed that meat didn’t taste as good done in one, and she didn’t think it all that wonderful.
“This place is much like an open prison – full of dotty confused people – luckily I get taken out quite a lot. Nearly all the carers and nurses here are nice and just one or two sadists.”
“… the carol singers form only at Christmas and go to various elderly people’s homes in the fortnight before Christmas. This has been rewarding and depressing. Today we went to a dementia wing, to entertain the residents. Half of our audience appeared to be asleep, but the other half really seemed to enjoy it, and were quite attentive. I hope they did, as it must be very boring for them many days.”
“…heard from X today and we are rather glad to hear that he plans to give up the estate – although it is lovely and proved an immense interest for him I do think perhaps it will shortly be a bit much – if he is getting as old as we are as quickly, if you see what I mean!”
“I nearly settled on a Help the Aged flat at X but fortunately they had all gone by the time I got around to writing, as I then began to feel better and couldn’t imagine why I wanted nothing at all to do and a warden to summon when in extremis!”
“Everything seems to happen! I am now in X Nursing Home… Forgive me for not writing – all happened so quickly – I will get in touch – please don’t forget me.”
“We’ve enjoyed ourselves very much here, though yesterday we felt a bit stuffed with Bridge (there are lessons in the a.m. and playing sessions both afternoon and evening). We did all three, with disastrous effects on our evening score so we took a day off… Actually we relented in the afternoon and played half a session to fill in for a pair who were playing till the first call for their plane came. We weren’t very satisfactory substitutes as on the very last hand I made a bad miscalculation over the number of Aces and Kings partner had and put her into a slam call which went down 800 points and cost them a place in the event I fear.”
And from the partner:
“We spent the most difficult Trivial Pursuit afternoon – I think I knew one answer and felt more and more inadequate – and more so when we played Bridge… Wish we’d done what we originally intended and just played Bridge in the evening – we played as badly as usual; it was sad we came 5th the first night and gradually went lower and lower – we’re so much better when we’re canny and don’t get carried away! I think we’ll have to take up tiddlywinks.
Letter ends with a seasonal comment:
“I thought the Queen could have been more positive, and said the East were being more friendly – rather than ‘less unfriendly’! Princess Anne looked amazingly Edwardian – which didn’t go with her swashbuckling walk. How I’d hate to be Royalty.”
Family advice to Bridge beginners:
There’s many a man walking the Embankment who forgot to draw out all the trumps
If of sense you are bereft, place the cards upon your left
“…I am so glad you went to town literally on your wardrobe (not that I thought it needed this consideration and that remark might have been put better!) What I meant was that a day pushing round London and getting yourself one or two necessities before embarking on the journey must have been refreshing despite the crowds, after the dreary end of term affairs with your clients – you must have been thankful to see the back of them for a short week or two. Now I have just reread this paragraph and it sounds as though you sailed up the road sitting on the bloody wardrobe – too much food yesterday maybe and it has dulled the brain…
“Quite amusing on Christmas Eve taking the library trolley round to the few patients in over the holiday… There was a ‘Drop in’ for the volunteers for 3 hours – at which I failed to drop as I was busy babysitting… Much to my relief I may say as I find jollities like that very embarrassing and hard work. Had the usual huge collection of cards from people I see every week and never dream of sending one to – I try to train them not to bother but it doesn’t work! Such a silly waste of effort and money but very kind of them…”