JOAN OF ARC

We were watching a programme the other night on Joan of Arc and I reflected that it is very rare for me to entirely espouse the English point of view. Then I figured out why I was so hostile to her. It’s the God question.

Joan of Arc, whether you admire her or not, was an extraordinary person, who as a teenage girl declared that God had sent her with a message for the king of France. She was sent to take charge of his army and to fight the English. God would be on their side; she would drive the English out of France, and he then the Dauphin, would duly be crowned king of France in their traditional place for coronations which was Rheims Cathedral. He had been unable to be crowned at Rheims (the French equivalent of Scone (pronounced Scoon) in Scotland as it was in the hands of the English.)

God knows the English have a habit of going where they have no business, and the fact that I share their view of Joan does not imply any sympathy for their cause in France.

But I have the greatest suspicion of people to whom God has entrusted a mission, (allegedly, generally by themselves) especially one which requires other people to carry out this mission as well. I think such people are either deluded or charlatans. I think personally that Joan of Arc made it all up – that she was both attention seeking and delusional. Why should she (or indeed anyone) have a hot line to God? Why should she be in charge of the army when she had no military experience? France (at that time) was partly under English occupation. Her visions were proved to be in error and she (God’s own woman of high destiny according to her) fell into the hands of the English and was burnt at the stake as an heretic, the English not being magnanimous in victory.   She certainly had ‘bottle’ but she lacked the guile ad strategic planning and caution necessary to be a military success.   Her chief talent seemed to be in self publicity.   She was a celebrity in her day

Incidentally in these cases where the Virgin Mary has allegedly appeared to some peasant girl, she never has anything in the least novel, or interesting or news-worthy to say, but just repeats such platitudes as might occur to an uneducated person. I am not so unspiritual as to deny that mystical experiences do exist. However, I firmly believe that these experiences are for the see-er of the vision alone, and he should not attempt to subvert other people to his vision. Neither do I agree with the medical profession which tends to the view that these experiences represent a brain malfunction, an aspect of disease (though they may do in some cases.) Every person who dreams a dream, or sees a vision, has to integrate that experience into their psyche, however best they can, or dismiss it as of no account. But it’s a problem for them alone.

I completely disapprove of the habit of mankind of declaring people to be saints. Who are we to say? Our own behaviour falls so far short that I doubt if we could recognise a saint (supposing such a thing exists.)

The whole thing reminds me of the woman who in a dream was being chased by her psychiatrist. She kept running and running in increasing terror until eventually she was backed into a corner and in despair said over her shoulder to her pursuer: What are you going to do to me? Lady, he replied. It’s your dream.

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new words

PROROGATION

I love it when a new word arrives in our language. Well, the word I have in mind is not exactly new. Genuinely new words are generally born of modern technology, and here I have to confess that even when given an easy words explanation suitable for persons of low intellect, I have only a very vague idea of what it actually means.

Let’s take SatNav for example. I know it’s a shortened form of Satellite Navigation. This is, I would suggest, A Good Thing. I don’t know how we’d find our way about London without it. You put in your desired destination and it produces a map with yourself on it, and you follow your route on the map on the real road and it gets you to where you want to go. (Sometimes.) Ours once led us onto a dirt track in the middle of a field of cabbages, with a rusting shed nearby and announced, You have reached your destination. John (and Rory) are extremely reliable on the time and place of a meeting. If they say they will be, let us say at 98 Clontarf Road, Dublin on 26 August at 3 pm, then they will be sliding silently into place at 2. 59 pm. The downside of this is extreme stress if they are going to be late. John is also extremely reluctant to ask for directions. He seems to regard it as a point of honour that he shouldn’t. However, here there was no alternative. We quit the cabbage field and enquired in the next village. He came back all smiles. We were in Portugal, not Spain, and it was an hour earlier than we had thought, and the hotel where we were meeting Anne Hall and her mother was just down the road, on the right.

However, I digress. Returning to the word SatNav; I don’t know whether I’m rendering it correctly; if it should be hyphenated, or spelt differently. But who cares, it’s not a ‘real’ word.

The word that is new to me (and should you be familiar with it, I bow low before your superior education) is PROROGUE. It’s apparently how Boris is going to emasculate parliament so he can get a No Deal Exit.

We were in a potting shed in Nyman’s gardens where they sell second hand books for £1 each. I spotted a book by one Adrian Room entitled Dictionary of Confusing Words and Meanings and fell on it with geeky pleasure.

Here on the first page is prorogation, along with abolition and dissolution. Abolition is the strongest and was applied to things generally held to be wrong, such as slavery and hanging. Dissolution was the taking apart of something (permanently) so a dissolution of parliament, or Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries. Prorogation is the discontinuing of parliamentary sittings without an actual dissolution. It is a perilous undertaking; persons who have attempted it in the past include Charles I, and Cromwell with his wonderful quote: I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, consider ye might be mistaken. They didn’t think so then and they don’t now. When Jo Swinton, latest leader of the Lib-dems and as annoying a wee gynaff as you could hope to see – we’re going to get mighty sick of the sound of her voice – says she’ll fight with everything she’s got (I don’t think we need worry – it’s not a lot!) to prevent us from leaving Europe, I wonder how she’s got the nerve to call herself a democrat.

Perhaps she thinks (another useful entry in the book) she has refuted the arguments against following the referendum’s vote. But she hasn’t of course. She has only rebutted them.

Lots of fascinating things we can consider and discuss. What do you mean, you’d rather be in parliament​?,

PROROGATION

I love it when a new word arrives in our language. Well, the word I have in mind is not exactly new. Genuinely new words are generally born of modern technology, and here I have to confess that even when given an easy words explanation suitable for persons of low intellect, I have only a very vague idea of what it actually means.

Let’s take SatNav for example. I know it’s a shortened form of Satellite Navigation. This is, I would suggest, A Good Thing. I don’t know how we’d find our way about London without it. You put in your desired destination and it produces a map with yourself on it, and you follow your route on the map on the real road and it gets you to where you want to go. (Sometimes.) Ours once led us onto a dirt track in the middle of a field of cabbages, with a rusting shed nearby and announced, You have reached your destination. John (and Rory) are extremely reliable on the time and place of a meeting. If they say they will be, let us say at 98 Clontarf Road, Dublin on 26 August at 3 pm, then they will be sliding silently into place at 2. 59 pm. The downside of this is extreme stress if they are going to be late. John is also extremely reluctant to ask for directions. He seems to regard it as a point of honour that he shouldn’t. However, here there was no alternative. We quit the cabbage field and enquired in the next village. He came back all smiles. We were in Portugal, not Spain, and it was an hour earlier than we had thought, and the hotel where we were meeting Anne Hall and her mother was just down the road, on the right.

However, I digress. Returning to the word SatNav; I don’t know whether I’m rendering it correctly; if it should be hyphenated, or spelt differently. But who cares, it’s not a ‘real’ word.

The word that is new to me (and should you be familiar with it, I bow low before your superior education) is PROROGUE. It’s apparently how Boris is going to emasculate parliament so he can get a No Deal Exit.

We were in a potting shed in Nyman’s gardens where they sell second hand books for £1 each. I spotted a book by one Adrian Room entitled Dictionary of Confusing Words and Meanings and fell on it with geeky pleasure.

Here on the first page is prorogation, along with abolition and dissolution. Abolition is the strongest and was applied to things generally held to be wrong, such as slavery and hanging. Dissolution was the taking apart of something (permanently) so a dissolution of parliament, or Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries. Prorogation is the discontinuing of parliamentary sittings without an actual dissolution. It is a perilous undertaking; persons who have attempted it in the past include Charles I, and Cromwell with his wonderful quote: I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, consider ye might be mistaken. They didn’t think so then and they don’t now. When Jo Swinton, latest leader of the Lib-dems and as annoying a wee gynaff as you could hope to see – we’re going to get mighty sick of the sound of her voice – says she’ll fight with everything she’s got (I don’t think we need worry – it’s not a lot!) to prevent us from leaving Europe, I wonder how she’s got the nerve to call herself a democrat.

Perhaps she thinks (another useful entry in the book) she has refuted the arguments against following the referendum’s vote. But she hasn’t of course. She has only rebutted them.

Lots of fascinating things we can consider and discuss. What do you mean, you’d rather be in parliament​?,

PROROGATION

I love it when a new word arrives in our language. Well, the word I have in mind is not exactly new. Genuinely new words are generally born of modern technology, and here I have to confess that even when given an easy words explanation suitable for persons of low intellect, I have only a very vague idea of what it actually means.

Let’s take SatNav for example. I know it’s a shortened form of Satellite Navigation. This is, I would suggest, A Good Thing. I don’t know how we’d find our way about London without it. You put in your desired destination and it produces a map with yourself on it, and you follow your route on the map on the real road and it gets you to where you want to go. (Sometimes.) Ours once led us onto a dirt track in the middle of a field of cabbages, with a rusting shed nearby and announced, You have reached your destination. John (and Rory) are extremely reliable on the time and place of a meeting. If they say they will be, let us say at 98 Clontarf Road, Dublin on 26 August at 3 pm, then they will be sliding silently into place at 2. 59 pm. The downside of this is extreme stress if they are going to be late. John is also extremely reluctant to ask for directions. He seems to regard it as a point of honour that he shouldn’t. However, here there was no alternative. We quit the cabbage field and enquired in the next village. He came back all smiles. We were in Portugal, not Spain, and it was an hour earlier than we had thought, and the hotel where we were meeting Anne Hall and her mother was just down the road, on the right.

However, I digress. Returning to the word SatNav; I don’t know whether I’m rendering it correctly; if it should be hyphenated, or spelt differently. But who cares, it’s not a ‘real’ word.

The word that is new to me (and should you be familiar with it, I bow low before your superior education) is PROROGUE. It’s apparently how Boris is going to emasculate parliament so he can get a No Deal Exit.

We were in a potting shed in Nyman’s gardens where they sell second hand books for £1 each. I spotted a book by one Adrian Room entitled Dictionary of Confusing Words and Meanings and fell on it with geeky pleasure.

Here on the first page is prorogation, along with abolition and dissolution. Abolition is the strongest and was applied to things generally held to be wrong, such as slavery and hanging. Dissolution was the taking apart of something (permanently) so a dissolution of parliament, or Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries. Prorogation is the discontinuing of parliamentary sittings without an actual dissolution. It is a perilous undertaking; persons who have attempted it in the past include Charles I, and Cromwell with his wonderful quote: I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, consider ye might be mistaken. They didn’t think so then and they don’t now. When Jo Swinton, latest leader of the Lib-dems and as annoying a wee gynaff as you could hope to see – we’re going to get mighty sick of the sound of her voice – says she’ll fight with everything she’s got (I don’t think we need worry – it’s not a lot!) to prevent us from leaving Europe, I wonder how she’s got the nerve to call herself a democrat.

Perhaps she thinks (another useful entry in the book) she has refuted the arguments against following the referendum’s vote. But she hasn’t of course. She has only rebutted them.

Lots of fascinating things we can consider and discuss. What do you mean, you’d rather be in parliament​?,

PROROGATION

I love it when a new word arrives in our language. Well, the word I have in mind is not exactly new. Genuinely new words are generally born of modern technology, and here I have to confess that even when given an easy words explanation suitable for persons of low intellect, I have only a very vague idea of what it actually means.

Let’s take SatNav for example. I know it’s a shortened form of Satellite Navigation. This is, I would suggest, A Good Thing. I don’t know how we’d find our way about London without it. You put in your desired destination and it produces a map with yourself on it, and you follow your route on the map on the real road and it gets you to where you want to go. (Sometimes.) Ours once led us onto a dirt track in the middle of a field of cabbages, with a rusting shed nearby and announced, You have reached your destination. John (and Rory) are extremely reliable on the time and place of a meeting. If they say they will be, let us say at 98 Clontarf Road, Dublin on 26 August at 3 pm, then they will be sliding silently into place at 2. 59 pm. The downside of this is extreme stress if they are going to be late. John is also extremely reluctant to ask for directions. He seems to regard it as a point of honour that he shouldn’t. However, here there was no alternative. We quit the cabbage field and enquired in the next village. He came back all smiles. We were in Portugal, not Spain, and it was an hour earlier than we had thought, and the hotel where we were meeting Anne Hall and her mother was just down the road, on the right.

However, I digress. Returning to the word SatNav; I don’t know whether I’m rendering it correctly; if it should be hyphenated, or spelt differently. But who cares, it’s not a ‘real’ word.

The word that is new to me (and should you be familiar with it, I bow low before your superior education) is PROROGUE. It’s apparently how Boris is going to emasculate parliament so he can get a No Deal Exit.

We were in a potting shed in Nyman’s gardens where they sell second hand books for £1 each. I spotted a book by one Adrian Room entitled Dictionary of Confusing Words and Meanings and fell on it with geeky pleasure.

Here on the first page is prorogation, along with abolition and dissolution. Abolition is the strongest and was applied to things generally held to be wrong, such as slavery and hanging. Dissolution was the taking apart of something (permanently) so a dissolution of parliament, or Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries. Prorogation is the discontinuing of parliamentary sittings without an actual dissolution. It is a perilous undertaking; persons who have attempted it in the past include Charles I, and Cromwell with his wonderful quote: I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, consider ye might be mistaken. They didn’t think so then and they don’t now. When Jo Swinton, latest leader of the Lib-dems and as annoying a wee gynaff as you could hope to see – we’re going to get mighty sick of the sound of her voice – says she’ll fight with everything she’s got (I don’t think we need worry – it’s not a lot!) to prevent us from leaving Europe, I wonder how she’s got the nerve to call herself a democrat.

Perhaps she thinks (another useful entry in the book) she has refuted the arguments against following the referendum’s vote. But she hasn’t of course. She has only rebutted them.

Lots of fascinating things we can consider and discuss. What do you mean, you’d rather be in parliament​?,

IS BORIS OUR MAN?

IS BORIS OUR MAN?

There is generally a honeymoon period between an incoming Prime Minister and the country, even for one who has bypassed the proper entry process (Boris, Gordon Brown, Theresa May.) They have arrived at the doors of No.10 by whatever method, and we wish them good fortune. This halcyon period does not last very long.

I find Boris interesting but quite difficult to understand. His obvious cleverness in his speech and wit is underwritten by a strategic cunning. In the recent ‘election’ he did not play to us, the country – which he would have to do to win a general election – but then he didn’t have to. He made his appeal to the Tory supporters, who were the only people voting – and this strategy paid off. I don’t understand why he plays the fool so much. We know he isn’t one; so who is he setting out to deceive?

I find myself surprisingly tolerant of Boris’s lapses from grace. He will not be brought down by irregularities in his personal life: we don’t expect anything else. (Whenever John Major dons the mantle of wise elder statesman and pontificates on some issue or other, I remind myself that this is the man who was stupid enough to have an affair with Edwina Curry, and the lack of taste displayed thereby.)

Boris has written a book on Winston Churchill and is known to be an admirer, which I find rather worrying. Churchill was wrong about absolutely everything – except for the one thing that really mattered. He was steadfast in his implacable opposition to Hitler and used his considerable powers of persuasion to steady the nerves of the British (we will fight them on the beaches; we will never surrender; etc.). For his unstinting service to our cause, and for his capacity to go on believing we would ultimately prevail, and to speak that part in his lion’s roar] we forgave him all his faults and took him for our hero. It really did seem to be a case of cometh the hour, cometh the man.

So here we stand, on our beaches, looking towards Europe. The hour has come upon us, but I am by no means certain Boris is our man. However, this a national emergency, so some sacrifices are required.

And so I wish Boris, the Prime Minister every success.

HOW MANY SWALLOWS MAKE A SUMMER

HOW MANY SWALLOWS MAKE A SUMMER?

I have always loved the swallow. It is such a beautiful bird – not showy but elegant with the navy blue sheen of its back, its creamy white belly and its red throat.

I grew up in country places, and in the late spring we would watch anxiously for their return. When eventually they would arrive, they would swoop and hover about the outbuildings, calling to one another (and to us, it seemed) their delight that things were much as they had left them.

I have many lovely memories of them. When we lived beside the Forth, there was a track behind our house that after rain would have watery puddles and I came out early one morning and a swarm of swallows rose up around the dog and me from where they had been gathering mud from these puddles to make their nests. One of the years when I had a nursing baby, I would rise abut 6 am to feed the baby. In that year only, swallows nested under the roof of our house, and my opening the curtain would arouse the baby birds who would cry for food too. I would sit by the window and feed my baby and watch the parents fly in to their nest and count myself blessed; that my house pullulated with life.

Then we would watch the baby birds being fed, and eventually fledge. There was usually one last little one left solitary in the by now disintegrating nest who had to be encouraged by the parents who would hover near him, their beaks full of insects but would not deliver them to him until in desperation he leaned out too far – and flew!

Eventually the senior birds would start to congregate on the telephone wires and you would know that another summer was over. One day you would go out and they would just be gone. I never saw them leave. Then there would just be that season’s fledglings, fattening up for their long journey, and we would eventually be saying to them, You must leave us now; and they in turn would be gone.

When we later flew to Africa – and it is a very long way even with the assistance of an aeroplane, – we were thrilled to see ‘our’ swallows there.

But this year, I have seen no swallows. Not in Sussex, nor in Surrey, nor in the Cotswolds. It can’t be England without swallows. Week after week passes and I grow despondent.   Who cares if we lose Europe? But swallows matter.

Later:   Then we come on holiday to the CotswoldS, and we go to Lechlade, glorious, lovely, magical Lechlade, (may it prosper) standing at the source of the Thames (allegedly). I sit by myself watching the river go by while John undertakes some errand. I love rivers. If you sit beside them long enough, everything eventually passes by. I am watching a flotilla of swans, some 40 or 50 strong, with only one small family of 4 cygnets swimming in a straight line between their parents. Then a mother duck comes into view surrounded by 9 tiny day old ducklings. Finally a tall woman in a wet suit walks to the riverside. With her long red hair hanging down her back she could model for Boudicca. She launches what appears to be a wooden log onto the water, nimbly climbs on it, stands up and with the aid of one paddle she glides away, for all the world as if she walked on water. A shadow passes over her. Then another. Then I hear a chattering. These shadows are swallows! It is a joyous moment.

When we get to the campsite, there is a nest with 5 alert little faces nesting above a light at the door to the cafe. They fledge while we are there. And when we get home, we find a whole colony under the roof at Wakehurst, which has been there for about 400 years and has probably hosted swallows for all of that time.

But never the less, it is my impression that there are fewer than there used to be. It only needs swallows to be absent for a couple of seasons and you have lost them, for they return to where they were born.

Losing Europe would not be good, but it could be endured, whereas losing our swallows would be a grievous calamity.

MISSING THE MAITRE D’

COLLECTIONS OF STUFF

I’ve often reflected that a good Maitre de (front of house manager) is irreplaceable in a hotel or

restaurant, although the better he is, the less he will appear to be necessary. I’ve seen some very bad ones in my time: one who rejoiced in the name of Homer and appeared to have the sole duty of being everyone’s friend; a red-headed youth in Glasgow who when I said to him, That was a very nice meal and the service was good (to which he should have replied, We are happy to be of service, madam) instead muttered, Och aye, while not looking at me.

While we were in the Cotswolds we visited the National Trust’s house in Snowshill Manor with Joanna and family. We look it up for location and accessibility. It has a long cart with seats in it, pulled by a tractor. So we set off. It is not particularly easy to find, nor is parking very plentiful. As soon as we disembark from our cars, we see a sign that baldly announces, buggy transportation cancelled. A sign points to a rough looking track disappearing round a corner and announces, 15 minutes walk. I decide to attempt it with John and my walker but it soon becomes apparent that the person who measured the walk was wearing 7 league boots. In addition the path which is rough and difficult to push vehicles along goes up and down steep hills. I notice that people with quite mild difficulties – an elderly gentleman with a stick; a lady pushing a twin pram; a young man carrying a large, complaining child – are becoming quite distressed. John decides I will never make it there and back and leaving me to go with Joanna, returns (up hill and down dale) to the car for the wheelchair.

We rest, wheezing, on the small terrace before the house. Tickets are timed, and ours is for 4 pm. It is currently 2.30 pm. We send Lawrence in to use his friendly Glaswegian charm to persuade them to admit us earlier. He is successful and when John has taken his inhaler and rested for 5 minutes we seek admittance. The welcoming steward has eyes of the oddest colour I have ever seen; they are a deep, bight turquoise. He says to me, Now you have to remember, Madam, that everything in this house was hand-made. I am not quite sure why he is telling me this.

The house presents a classical exterior to the terrace (although windows to the right of the door are a slightly different design to those on the left). But once within you realise that the classical exterior is fraudulent and has been tacked on to the side wall of a mediaeval house which still stands in all its huddled disorder, In addition the house is not furnished really; it is stuffed with random ‘collections.’ I can see no unifying pattern to these hoardings; if the gentleman fancied them, he bought them, lots of them whatever they were; and you could not say that his purchases exhibited any great taste.

There are models of ships, some of great size (these are in every room.) There are Oriental cabinets, which in a Japanese house would be displayed in solitary splendour in an otherwise almost empty room but here are stuffed in great quantities (not very wabi sabi) into small poky irregular shaped rooms. There are uniforms like the terracotta army, but complete with accessories and made of metal. There are dolls and doll-houses. As with the boat models, vast numbers od very noisy clocks chimed at all the wrong times. There are penny-farthings with a little dog attached to the picnic but with a built in toolkit. There were musical instruments in a room which appeared to have been a kitchen.

Had we enjoyed our visit the reception guide asked, looking slantwise at us through the turquoise eyes. I realised why he had stated at the outset that these artefacts were all hand made. He knew they were trash. (More considered view: they weren’t all trash, and some of them were OK but one was left with the impression that this ‘hobby’ was an indication of a disturbed mind.) I replied that it was amazing what could be done and he graciously suggested that we did not return up hill and down dale. He would open a gate off the terrace and John could bring our car to there.

We were quite taken aback that he had not made anyone aware he had that option. John pulled himself together and accepted the kind offer.

We then went off at quite a trot to collapse into the car before someone countermanded his offer; we had a light refreshment and headed out for home.

Returning to the maitre d’. The staff at Snowshill Manor were kind and helpful. In the end, they gave us very assistance at their disposal. However they need to provide better access; it is not OK to blithely announce that the buggy service is ‘OFF’. And the attraction of Snowshill is the loveliness of the entire village, how one beautiful house after another sits peacefully in this glorious valley. They should make an exotic garden there, and build a really fine tearoom and shop, plus an adequate car park.

As for the motley collections – I’d recommend they throw them out.

I would not recommend you visit Snowshill just at the moment and when you do go, nake sure you are wearing boots, carrying inhalers, and have a loudspeaker to summon assistance when you get lost!

HOLIDAYING AT HOME

We’ve just had a lovely caravan holiday in the Cotswolds with our daughters and their families.

In the past we were frequently fortunate with our holiday weather, but slightly less so in recent years. However this time our famous luck did not dessert us and the entire fortnight was one stretch of glorious sunshine, clear blue skies, warm, just wonderful. We are all as brown as berries.

We ate together in the early evening, with tables pushed together and ‘about 50 chairs ‘ as the camp manager (exaggerating slightly!) described it. A different family took charge of and provided the evening meal, which was often cooked in our caravan equipment. (The others were in tents.) We ate simple, easy food. We had a leisurely and full breakfast. We had some lunches and coffees out.

It was lovely going out in large groups, but we also split up, sometimes one couple would take all the children. We went out with different combinations of people and also had some quiet days to ourselves. Our friends from Oxford came out and met us for lunch. John’s sister lives nearby so we met her several times, and our children and their families went to dinner at their cousin’s.

The sites were busy at weekends, quieter through the weeks. Our idea of a busy site is ourselves and down the other end of the caravan site, two other families, so our notions of the ideal are never going to be satisfied, but people are friendly and there is always someone to lend a hand with an awning not previously erected, or lend a vital piece of equipment. A little boy climbed into our caravan one day and was absolutely horrified to be met by us instead of his parents, and then became terribly confused and lost, so we had to lead him (only next door) by the hand and explain to him that he had the wrong caravan, but he regarded us with disfavour thereafter!

The Cotswolds are lovely – just one beautiful village after another, small fields, hedgerows full of wild flowers, ancient trees. The source of the Thames is here (allegedly.) There is much to be said in favour of Brits holidaying at home. Our country is beautiful and it is richly diverse (by which I mean its habitat and flora and fauna are very different within a small area.) Our food is good. People speak English. There’s no queuing for taxis, or hanging about at airports. It’s also much cheaper – no air fare or ferry crossing, no expensive foreign insurance. We have history – from Stone Henge and Skara Brae, through mediaeval times when Henry VIII destroyed the monasteries, through the Stewarts when the Church of England was created down to the World Wars and more recent history. We have fantastic architecture.

I recommend the Cotswolds.

THE LITTLE TRUMPET SHOP

 

I haven’t written for a few weeks.   I had nothing to say.

I got a flu like illness which wasn’t in itself too bad but which made me lethargic and rather low in spirit and it’s difficult to write when feeling like this,    The illness, being flu like, lingered for a long time and it is only now after more than a month that I begin to take an interest in things again.   At first I didn’t notice that I hadn’t blogged and then I didn’t care.

Meanwhile the Tory leadership affair has been trundling along.   I think it’s grossly unfair and undemocratic that a handful of Tories get to elect the next Prime Minister and I think parties who elect leaders in these circumstances should be obliged to call a General Election at once.   I don’t object to Boris, but I dislike the smug Hunt,  and I find the dishonourable, promise-breaking., disloyal Gove too  despicable to even dislike.

I’ve  had my eye on Rory Stewart for a long ime, before even he was an MP; I had him tipped as a future Foreign Secretary   I also like that his name is Roderick, as  is our Rory, so h upholds my theory that Rory is a nickname for Roderick in Scotland.   It is too soon for him to run for High Office   He has been out-voted but he has enhanced his profile and gained some experience,    Watch this space.

We went to the RHS Garden at Wisley on Sunday.    They have opened a new larger shop, café and garden centre which are enormous and full of wonderful things.    I bought 8 little lozenge shaped dishes. decorated with cherry blossom    I can put pins, vitamins, my   earrings or rings into them..   There were delphiniums of such intensity of colour that it was painful to look at them for too long.

Finally, William materialises at Robert (his father’s)  elbow..   ‘DAddy’ he says.   ‘I want to go to a little trumpet shop.,’    Robert is slightly surprised   William explains,  I want to buy a little trumpet and learn how to play it.   He rises the imaginary instrument to his lips and prepares to hoot and toot into it, while also performing the fingering.    I suggest they hire one and See how he gets on – better to go with the instrument the child has chosen.

Will it be painful to listen to as he begins?    The violin in the hands of a 5 year old sounds excruciatingly awful.d.    Elisabeth and I sat in the audience once and could hear a clarinetist running through her piece.   Do you think that is Joanna practising, I asked Elisabeth.   No, she replied unkindly.   There’s not enough squeaks and mistakes.

Know that your sins will find you out!