… I’m not back there yet. Largely because of the lengthy afternoon naps I have, which may last anything up to an hour and which are making Tilly very happy because we are having Quality Time stretched out on the sofa under a blanket together.
I am awake in the mornings and evenings however, and today we went to a Special Party. This is held annually to celebrate the birthday of Lord Bruin, who has been her constant companion since her first Christmas, 90 years ago. It is always a splendid party. She is an artist, she lives in about the most beautiful setting you could imagine, in an old water mill. Her studio is on the top floor from which she has wonderful views of the Waveney Valley. The real guests are the bears but one is invited to accompany them; they have their own party upstairs, with competitions. Ro’s bear Edboes won the Most Loved Bear prize a few years ago. The rest of us have delicious food and lots to drink downstairs, except for the awarding of the prizes.
You think I’m making this up? I swear I’m not. It is all true. She invites all her friends including all the people whom she knows and who help her, such as her local butcher, greengrocer (Al), windowcleaner, gardener etc. Al couldn’t go as the shop was open, but Dilly, the children, the Sage and I went. Squiffany behaved beautifully, chatting politely to people (mainly to introduce her brother and her teddy bear, whom she thought a little young to go upstairs). Afterwards, I popped in to the shop for some veggies. Al was looking a bit tired. “It’s been frantic” he said, “like the week before Christmas. I didn’t think I’d be very busy.”
My present, which so excited me, was – were – a splendid folding pruning saw (600, on the left) with a vicious blade and matching secateurs for small hands furthermore, which I thought was a particularly nice touch. My sister, hearing me enthuse, said that she would not have welcomed such a practical and outdoorsy gift. Of course, this is the point – if you are going to give a useful gift, it has to be absolutely spot-on or it is dull at best, insulting at worst. “He didn’t blunt the edges” observed Ro. “He must think you are growing up.” And indeed, he has been known to remove new knives from my bloody fingers and dull the blade because he can’t bear the sight any longer.
The other present, with which I was also just too thrilled, was half of a pair of L*w*s*o*t cutlery; that is, a fork. He bought the knife for himself. Now, do not think for one moment that this was a selfish act of retention, it was more significant than any eternity ring – it was a Sign. “We can never split up now” I said. “We can’t divide the knife and fork after 240 years.”
I should perhaps explain, by the way, that the handles are made from L’t porcelain and the blade and prongs from steel. They were made about 1765, which is fairly early in the life of the factory. They are not undamaged and have been repaired, but we don’t care at all about this as they are very rare and lovely.
My sister went home today and El and Phil left to visit his parents. So it will be quiet here tonight. Except from my usual carousing, of course.