Children 4

She has become a most attractive little girl – in looks and personality – some get better and t’others get worse – X is a real whiner – even when cheerful (which isn’t often) she whines – drives her father round the bend.

I was staggered – not to say horrified whilst in the home – as there were two kids one of 15 and another of 16 having babies ( this – apparently – is average) and on the day I was discharged there was a girl of 18 who was having – wait for it – her 4th!!! (She was married).

X’s birthday was great fun. You should have seen him eating his cake – it was really funny. First he picked it all up and screwed and squashed it between his fingers; then with the one remaining whole piece which was about 3″ long he picked it up in the middle and squashed all the middle part hard into his mouth so that lots oozed out of the sides.

Becoming human

[Re child of 4] He’s got quite a sense of humour and has also started to do naughty things – like throwing X’s pyjamas out of the window which makes him much more human. I’d previously felt he was just too good to be true! The children played lots of pretend games while there and since she’s been back we’ve had cows under the bed, piggies in the meat trays that have to be fed half a weetbix every morning and little ghost monsters who have lost mummies and daddies and have to be given a drink of                                                                         milk and then taken home!

X is doing so well recently – I wish you could see him. He’s now spoon-feeding himself and drinking out of a cup alone. (He’ll even put his spoons in his bowl when he’s finished now – the latest manners I’ve taught him, which was very difficult as he likes to keep them to bang on the table!)

She brought the boys over on Friday plus the others who were overlapping for two days. [So, 4 grand-children.] We had quite a good day with a batch of games to be played and scored for an overall prize – not too much competitiveness though: both X and Y are liable to near-tears if they get beaten at anything.

He is quite sweet as far as newborn babies go! Has blackish hair and nothing very outstanding. Neither big nor small – 7 lb 5 oz and medium size nose – his eyes look vaguely Chinese at the moment but I think that’s cos he’s hardly opened them yet being only about 38 hours old!

X’s boys have had their usual calamities – a brick came out of the wall with their help and gashed one just above his eyebrow. The doctor couldn’t stitch it but used special plaster that had to be left on for days and looked pretty gory. The next day she left two of them in the car whilst in the shop and when she came back one was weeping blood and tears – I fear Y must have poked his finger in his eyes. Fortunately it was the whites that were bloody. It was the day of the oldest’s birthday tea and she had to go and sit for an hour in the surgery before the doctor could see him.

He apparently saw MASH whilst in hospital and when we revisited the hospital for his check-up he looked very respectfully at a passing stretcher complete with old lady being wheeled up to the theatre and stage-whispered to me, ‘She’s going up to God, isn’t she’. After much ssshing and after she was out of earshot, I asked him what on earth he meant, and explained that they were called stretchers, and were for people who were too sick to sit up but had to be moved around. ‘Oh no they’re not,’ he said ‘you go on those when you get killed in the war and two men in white coats wheel you up to God. They’re called God’s cars’!! We’ve now sorted this out.

She went by herself to play with a little friend nearby the other day and when she returned I enquired whether she had enjoyed herself. ‘Oh yes, but she was a bit shiny when I got there’. I asked her what she meant and she replied, ‘Well, she hid behind her mummy and wouldn’t come out for a little bit.’

The little one has started the hiding-under-the-table-with-the-sugar-basin phase. T’other day I caught her trying to squeeze into the bottom shelf of the fridge with caramel yogurt and a spoon, and a couple of days later I caught her sitting in the rubbish box with her back to me tucking into the remaining half of X’s birthday chocolate.

What some do for fun

“We can concentrate on our training… we start at 8 a.m. day one and partner rides about 60 kms to where I am waiting and I run 23 kms over a mountain range. Then we sleep. Day 2 partner kayaks 67 kms down a river and I ride 70 kms. We’ll be tired at the end of it!!”

“We went to see this really funny movie called ‘Crocodile Dundee’, which is about this guy who lives in the Australian outback, and this female New York reporter comes to him because his leg had been bitten off, and he crawled to the hospital, and she wanted a story. Anyway, it ended up him coming to New York, where some really funny things happened, e.g. this robber stole this woman’s purse and ran off with it in the street, but Crocodile Dundee picked up a tin from the woman’s dropped grocery bag and threw 20 metres to hit the robber on the head. Anyway it was a choice film.”

“… 80 of her friends came [to the 21st party] – I was most impressed that none of the 80 smoked. Without exception they were all into rock-climbing or tramping or diving or … other disgustingly healthy pursuits!”

“We have been visiting friends. They spend about 3 months in the old goldfields prospecting. They stay in Tarnagulla which is a town of about 100 now but was approx. 70,000 during the gold rush. The trees have grown back and it is v. peaceful with the birdsong… [re postcard photo of Great Ocean Road] There are now only 8 apostles left. One crumbled into the sea, captured by amateur video, quite recently.”

gone fishing

“They had a little boat and the weather was good… One snag for him was that she caught lots of fish including two big ones they brought home and are now in the deep freeze, and he only caught 2 trout that weren’t big enough to keep!”

“I’m also playing rugby again this year and Mummy’s paranoid I’m going to get mortally injured. So much for family support!”

“… a man came in the other day who was 199 kg!! and he went bungee jumping! – they had to give him 2 bungee cords because one would have snapped.”

“The weekend was really fun, we played games the first evening, lazed around and played beach cricket the next morning, had a few deep and meaningful discussions interspersed with racing around the sand-dunes, games in the afternoon, dinner, then a bonfire on the beach for a large portion of the evening while we talked about direction and our lives and roasted marshmallows. (We ate the marshmallows, not talked about them!)”

campfire

People can be difficult

After a time my acquaintance gave up his job and took a market garden, taking his son into partnership. I gather he and his son quarrelled about money and other things (the son called him senile, so I suppose was wanting to introduce new methods which his father didn’t approve of) so they parted and sadly are not yet reconciled.”

I must go off now and support her while she has an old relation to coffee and a chat. The lady is a horror; lame with arthritis which she can’t help, deaf which she can’t help, but self-interested to a degree and the rest of the world can go hang – which perhaps she could do something about…”

People can be difficult
People can be difficult

I’ve had a reply from him about the book. As expected, he objects to my book being published at all, but he didn’t give me specific information on what parts he considers to be libellous…”

We are flying out on Saturday… X is going on Thursday. We are a bit upset as flying is very expensive and she is driving – much cheaper – only two days beforehand. We are sure there is no other reason than she could have thought that we could have gone together [but didn’t]…”

The first two weeks my Bridge partner patiently explained to me where I had gone wrong whenever I went down and shouldn’t have done: but this last week, he eventually got very fed up and said with some heat, ‘I didn’t think much of the way you played that – or the board before for that matter’ – which did wonders for my self-confidence over the remainder of the evening, as you can imagine!”

Re unasked for comments from someone who recently took up graphology: I was delighted she diagnosed you unfavourably too – and it made me giggle to myself to remember how old and ill I promptly felt. I don’t know how I shall manage to do a sufficiently legible scrawl this year to avoid too drastic a verdict again…”

It’s the taking part that counts

the Bridge players where someone has gone wrong
Of sense bereft

“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
  • One quick look is worth two finesses(!)