Sunday, November 13, 2011

Remembrance Sunday.

Today has been a beautifully warm and sunny day - what a contrast with many Remembrance Sundays; so often it is grey, rainy and very cold - the sort of weather that makes us think of those poor young men in the trenches in both the terrible World Wars. They were soaked to the skin, often sick, always hungry and in fear for their lives, with no hope of home comforts, and so many of them never to see home again. It never fails to make me cry. The poems of Wilfred Owem are so explicit in describing the suffering those men and boys endured - and I find it all the more amazing that he could actually write poetry about it - one thinks of poetry generally as refined somehow, lifting the soul and casting a kind of spell over the world. But in his case, the dreadful conditions and the suffering are all too clear:

" Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge..
..Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots,
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame, all blind."

This from "Dulce et Decorum Est", for me the most moving of his poems which tells so clearly what horror War was, and is. God help us when we think that men still go to war, fight and kill each other. I'm tempted to say, "For what?" Yet I know that those brave (and not so brave) men believed in what they were doing - at least until the horror and futility of it overwhelmed them. Or until it killed them. But I'm afraid it will never make sense to me.

On a brighter note, Daughter, Grandson and I whizzed off to the Car Boot Sale at the Marina this morning. It was the most perfect day, and we pottered, bought a few things, shared a bacon sarnie and generally enjoyed the sunshine. Then we came back here to sit in the sun - at least Daughter sat in the sun while and Grandson played with the boys next door and I finished off the outstanding gardening jobs. I have dug over the new vegetable bed, moved the herbacious plants to their new homes and replanted all the spring bulbs which had been displaced. Fantastic. I've even planted a few raspberry canes, and the purple sprouting broccoli plants given to me by my Aristocratic BF. I'm planning a couple of rows of potatoes,some parsnips, spinach and carrots, and then some salad crops, like radish and lettuce or mixed leaves. I'm also going to fill a pot with nasturtiums (we can eat the leaves, flowers and seeds) and plant sweet peas (inedible but gorgeous) on some trellis along the back of the rows. It's a nice plan, and I only hope I can make it work.

Monday, November 7, 2011

First Birthday Beano...

As I walked this morning, the sea was flat and grey, covered by a grey blanket of sky. A moist and misty Monday morning (jolly good alliteration, I think!) which reminded me of one of my truly terrible jokes which used to make the children groan: "Tomorrow will be Muggy, followed by Tue-gy, We-gy, Thur-gy and Fri-gy." I know, dreadful, but it used to make us laugh. Actually, the joke originated from Bob Monkhouse, years ago, and he did have some awful jokes...

Enough of that, what I really wanted to tell you was how Beanie's Christening and First Birthday Party went. Yesterday morning we all drove to the pictureque little church of St Peter in Upper Beeding for the ceremony, which was part of the normal morning service. I must say that I have never been to an "Anglican high church" service before. It was all greek to me - I didn't know any of the responses and so couldn't really get into the swing of it. I sang the hymns though - at least the ones I knew, and enjoyed the sight of Beanie crawling very fast up to the altar and getting in on the act. The actual baptism itself was lovely and Beanie seemed to enjoy it. Afterwards we all had coffee in the church hall before driving back for the festivities at home. Lovely Downstairs Neighbour had organised food and drinks (despite having a stomach bug the day before and no sleep for about a week). I made jellies and did a few sausage rolls, another friend made some perfect cup cakes and LDN (excuse the abbreviation) had managed to produce a gorgeous Birthday cake, iced with a little boat on the top and some candles. Loads of her family were there, plus the usual suspects, friendwise, so it was a very jolly gathering, and Beanie resolutely refused to sleep in case he might miss some of the fun! Of course it's not actually his Birthday until tomorrow (8th), so we have to have another little gathering to sing Happy Birthday again and actually cut the cake. I'm looking forward to that.

Had a gorgeous cup of hot chocolate with another BBF this morning, in our new Patisserie Valerie in Hove. Poor BBF is having a horrible time recently because her husband is very ill. I try and see her once a week to cheer her up a bit, but I don't know how much good it does! She is looking very thin and worried (naturally enough). Patisserie Valerie is a huge temptation; the pastries and fruit tarts are just divine, and I noticed this morning that they had those little Portuguese custard tarts I love so much. Next time I'm definitely having one; just don't mention the diet...