The whole family was here for lunch, that is, eleven of us. Splendid. Ro and the Sage did a fair bit of the cooking while I was at church. Zerlina had a nap after lunch and then Squiffany read books to her. She read The Very Hungry Caterpillaar several times; she knows it by heart. Then they sat and chuckled and chattered to each other. I wondered which would, as time goes by, be the one to lead the other furthest* astray – maybe they’ll just egg each other on.
Phil cycled over – 22 miles. It took him about an hour and a quarter. I think, if I were to try such a thing it would take me double the time, plus several long stops, preferably at roadside hostelries. I haven’t been on my bike for a few days in fact, apart from just round the village, as I’m still recovering from my laryngitis of last week and I cough a lot. I feel better today, at any rate.
We didn’t have the rain that was forecast for East Angular. Al and Dilly bought a tent last week and, of course, the children were keen to try it out. Since it would pretty well fill their lawn, giving barely enough room for the guy ropes, they put it up on our lawn (which is still not a large one). They slept out there for two nights except Al, who knew he would have a busy day on Saturday and opted out for Friday night. It went well, apparently, and they were warm, although “aren’t there a lot of different birds in the dawn chorus?” said Dilly. Most intrusive is the cock pheasant, whose loud call is always followed by claps of his wings. At least we don’t have a cockerel at present. We have more than 40 bantams at present, so we won’t replace the one who was taken by a fox (he defended his wives, who were all saved) for a while until the numbers go down naturally – some of the girls are 5 or more years old; they all live a natural lifespan unless a vulpine nocturnal visit robs them of it. They are laying very well at present and Al sells several dozen eggs a week (80p per half dozen). They eat the lettuces etc that he has to throw out, so they have their reward. Cycling down the drive is a charming experience – there are pheasants and chickens strolling across my path, rabbits on the field and usually a pair of partridges taking fright and flight. If I go slowly, the pheasants and bantams don’t panic and gently bustle away.
* I realise I should use the comparative rather than the superlative, but it isn’t ‘right’.