guest arrival

I’ve had some really interesting guests this year, including a vicar who loved doing needlepoint, a couple who live on a canal boat, a birthday card designer, a retired bank manager. The one I remember most is the helicopter pilot. I really thought it was a wind-up when, before he came, he telephoned to ask how he could recognise the house from the air, so I was pretty taken aback when I saw a helicopter circling round! He actually landed right next to my greenhouse, which was pretty alarming because I had visions of all the glass being blown out.

When you mentioned X on your card, I felt a real pang. Does she wear her brocaded evening gowns for couriering jobs I wonder? or the Chanel-type suits. I imagine the latter would be more practical.

We had old X to tea last Sunday – still driving her car at 84 or some such, and as lively as ever, though getting gradually more dogmatic, and ‘a character’. She must be a sore trial to the vicar, judging by some of the things she said she had told him about his parish! We didn’t go to the meeting which was held to approve the extension to the back of the church in addition to the new hall, and a consequent increase in the money owed – because we thought we would not be able to resist the temptation to be violently critical. But X went and gave them a piece of her mind to the same effect! She stayed talking hard from about three until after six.

What she means I think is that she hates socialising especially entertaining and now she’s getting so she doesn’t even like family gatherings with several age groups very much.

I have met X [well-known personage mentioned to her in a letter], as I am quite friendly with his sister who lives down here now. She, too, can talk (!) but is a lovely kindly person. I wish she wouldn’t mention X quite so much though!

[Re acquaintance with definite OCD] I must say I’d go more than ‘strange’ if anyone tried to remove any of my pet belongings – I’d be looking for the largest sharpest knife PDQ. Is he treatable?


As usual at 7.15 with us arriving and getting organised we started worrying that no one would come – but then half an hour later we worried if we had enough food/drinks.

It’s the village party tonight… As the noise is so terrific it doesn’t matter much who is there – conversation is all but impossible.

tiddly speaker

The old boy patron of the society (who opened the Exhibition) had obviously been wined and dined too well by X – was so embarrassing – really quite tiddly.



If you want to come you can have the camp bed here but I know that only a night or two is possible without me suddenly going mad. Such a creature of habit am I too.

… and then we had afternoon tea at the Vicarage for a select few – ugh – but it wasn’t too ghastly and I just survived. ‘Being social’ is just NOT my strong point – but then you know that.

She made a super rich cake and put it where the dog can’t reach it. X moved it to a place that was a gift to the dog who ate about 1/8 of it but wait – after nearly giving up with rage – she made another and filled it with layers of cream and put cherries soaked in brandy on top and put a throw-over over and SHUT doors … sudden scream from X – the dog got in and had pulled cover off bring the cake to edge of table – spoiling top cream only…

She would be very happy for X to come and stay there – she is quite firm that he would be more comfortable and better fed there and I rather agree! She has ‘turning out of her room’ down to a fine art… she is worried about putting Y out of his routine of sitting in the armchair in the kitchen and watching TV… He finds it hard to admit that he is older. Oh dear, what a mouldy old lot I make us out, but we really are rather dull and set in our ways and I do feel two or three days would tell X all he needs to know about our insular views. Old memories are all very well but when the names are all missing the conversation tends to be ‘Oh, of course you know who I mean – dear old so-and-so with the wife’ and the audience has to guess until we get the right person or all give up in disgust!

[After a memorial service] X had got a bun fight ready at the house which was for the family, relations, friends and village people who remembered him. So it was all a bit mixed as the village method of having a tea is to take their cup and plate and pile the latter with all the grub it will hold and then retreat to the available chairs and bad luck to those who come later – which inevitably would be the relations and friends!

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