It all started 100 years ago … part 2

It’s just occurred to me that I took a photo of Carol’s grave in the churchyard, a few miles from here, that I visited with Rhonda and Victoria last year. So devoted was her daughter to everything English that her ashes – or half of them, anyway, had to be brought back here and interred, along with those of her husband. The snap I took isn’t very clear so I’ll have to go back and look again at some time. But she died in 1981 at the age of 77.

Dan and Sheila had a passion for antiques. Their enthusiasm surmounted even Russell’s and he was an avid collector. They couldn’t go past an antique shop without going in and they couldn’t leave until they’d looked at everything. They bought a huge amount of stuff, including a lot of duplicates. I’ve still got a couple of creamware teapots in my dining room, that Russell bought for them (they’d asked him to and they’d have paid him back) but which they didn’t visit again to pick up and we never got to Georgia to deliver them.

Sheila is completely unworldly. She’s very interested, still, in what’s going on in the world and in all sorts of historical subjects, particularly British history and especially royalty, old houses and old things – not wars or inventions, unless there was a connection to antiques. Otherwise, nothing. She had no idea what to do with a baby and I suspect that Carol had to help a lot. I love Sheila dearly and hadn’t realised how difficult she was, and Dan when he was alive, until I visited Danny and Rhonda. That they spoke freely to me, whilst knowing and respecting that I loved Dan and Sheila was something that brought us together. We aren’t blood relatives at all, but we decided that we were close enough to feel as if we are.

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