Frodo, my Velcro boy, detached from meOn Saturday evening I drove to Chalfont St Giles to sit with my three younger grandchildren while their parents went out and Barry stayed at home to dog-sit.
Frodo and Jenna keep vigilFrodo, Jenna and Gus took up position at the top of the stairs, there to remain until my return. When I phoned Barry to let him know I'd arrived safely he was unable to reach the phone immediately and consequently Frodo started howling and was soon accompanied by Gus. Frodo has a fine tenor voice and Gus sings baritone so they make a rather pleasing duo. We've never heard Jenna howl but she contributed to the musical episode by barking sharp staccato notes. Buddy continued to sleep – he's heard it all before.
Elliot taught me how to use the remote controls for the television. He and his father are showing an alarming resemblance to Barry in respect of all things technological. Callum, our oldest grandson, seems cast in the same mould, too. The more complex an arrangement may be the happier they all are. Anyway, Elliot guided me through the process, which, I grant, is simple enough once you know how.
As it was the weekend the children were allowed to stay up later. We decided we would watch a film together but gone are the days of a pleasant cartoon or a children's adventure story. Eve was outvoted by her brothers and we watched '2012'. Having established that they were allowed to watch it and it wouldn't give seven-year-old Louis nightmares we settled down to what seemed a very long film. The special effects were tremendous but the story line had a few gaping holes in it as far as credulity was concerned. After an hour or so Eve went off to bed with a book and we watched as 'the world as we know it' erupted and collapsed. Finally a huge tsunami engulfed the earth, almost submerging Mount Everest, and the arks that had been constructed broke free of their anchors and sailed upon the waters that covered the earth and every living thing just as it was reported in Genesis all those centuries ago. Ultimately, it was a new slant on Noah's Ark and the end would have been a good beginning for a film, I thought. Perhaps there will be a sequel – 2013 and all that.
Gareth and Nina arrived home after a good evening out with friends and soon afterwards I set off for home. I left their house at 12:30 on a journey that would normally take 35 to 40 minutes at that time of night. However, I had unplugged the Tom Tom on arrival, thinking it might drain the car battery, and forgot to plug it in again so after a while it stopped speaking to me by which time I had taken a wrong turning. Hastily, I plugged it in again and set it to find a route home. 'Planning a route' took forever but eventually the woman spoke. She sounded rather cross, I thought, as she barked, 'No route planned.' Now I was on my own, going in the wrong direction, towards Central London, rather than west towards home. I drove through some interesting places, constantly surprised by the amount of traffic on the roads, and eventually I picked up some road signs to take me to the M3. Unfortunately, I missed a vital turning and continued my journey through the outer suburbs of London until I reached Sheen and then I relaxed. I knew that once I reached Twickenham I would be on the right road. I reached home at around 2:45. There's no chance of getting into our house unnoticed and a great cacophony greeted me as dogs rushed downstairs to jump all over me and then look expectantly for food. Dogs – they're so obvious!
The next morning we rose bright and early – well, early anyway – to continue preparations for our two younger daughters who were coming for lunch. Barry took the three younger dogs out for a walk to get the tickle out of their toes and I stayed at home to finish off. Susannah and Nick arrived first and gave us wonderful homemade green tomato chutney that Nick had made and a particularly toothsome and stinky cheese they'd bought in a cheese shop in Whitstable the day before.
Nick's green tomato chutney, not quite as full as when it arrived!
Not the remains of the day, but the remains of the cheese!
Then Bethan and her friend arrived and gave us a beautiful bouquet and a fine bottle of wine from their holiday in Sardinia.
The bouquet was full of late summer blooms - absolutely gorgeous!
The wine remained unopened - a treat for another time.
Lunch was late, of course, but the food was a secondary consideration to the stimulating and enjoyable company of our guests. We laughed a lot and that is always so good for the soul. The dogs were rather put out that they were not allowed to join us. Jenna stayed downstairs, though not in the dining room, but the boys were shut out of both the sitting room and the dining room and protested vociferously until they realised shouting would not gain them access. Winston, on the other hand, was welcomed and fussed over by everyone, which he thoroughly appreciated.Everyone left in the late afternoon and the house suddenly seemed empty. The dogs were exhausted by the change in routine and slept soundly. Barry fell asleep in his chair and I went to bed about 8:30 and read for a while and then couldn't sleep. Scenes from '2012' mixed bizarrely with remembered comments and expressions and conversation from lunch. It was a most pleasurable weekend on many levels and today seems pleasantly relaxed in our unusually tidy home!