I babysat last night so that Dilly and Al could go to the first in a course of classes about beekeeping. Al in particular has come back full of enthusiasm. Next week, they will have a chance to be dressed up in beekeeper’s kit and do whatever you do with a hive. They asked if we’d mind if they want to start a hive – not at all, of course, I’d be interested too. There is plenty of room and we’ve fields all around, the nearest house is a couple of hundred yards away so we wouldn’t scare the neighbours either.
While I was cooking, the Sage went to babysit for a few minutes. Squiffany appeared at the bedroom door (she can turn the handle, so there is a child gate in the doorway) and called out. The Sage went and firmly told her to go to bed and stay there – she was so startled that she went, and not another sound was heard. This morning, her mother asked her if she remembered it. “Yes” she said, “I wanted Pugsley’s music to be turned on.” Mm, yes, and a few minutes later she would have wanted her potty or a drink of water. Grandpa will be asked to babysit again, I suspect, whether or not Al and Dilly are going out.
I offered to take over the shop for a week or two in June, but Al has (entirely politely) decided against it. He points out that this is a time when lots of home-grown produce is being brought into the shop and he really needs to be there, to negotiate prices etc. Today, broad beans and gooseberries came in. One of the boxes of gooseberries was sold within minutes, to someone wanting to make jam. My mother-in-law used to make quantities of gooseberry jelly, which was delicious and the most beautiful colour. I usually make strawberry jam, quince jelly and marmalade; sometimes blackberry jelly. I like pips, so I’d be happy to make jam of the blackberries, but I’m in a family minority. One year, I made hedgerow jam – blackberries, sloes, crab apples and elderberries – which was lovely, but I ate most of it. The family, while liking the flavour, didn’t appreciate the pips.
Anyway, they asked if I’d have any time in September so I checked my diary and gave them a choice of dates. Dilly didn’t waste time and has booked a holiday the last week of the month. I asked Al where they will be going. “Up North,” he said, “near Cromer.”
Imagine, if you will, the map of Great Britain. Norfolk and Suffolk share the Easternmost bulge that looks like a pig’s bum, without a tail (is the shape of Britain still commonly described as ‘an old woman with a pig?). We are in the middle, though towards the coast. Cromer is on the top north-east corner of the bulge. Only a complete East Anglian could call Cromer ‘up north’!