Vie de château

Marie-Christine, Blois, France

D-Day Monday

To make it short, not much time, we will be busy on Friday. Rob has his second injection in Amboise at ten in the morning. A medical reason to drive more than ten kilometers away from home despite lockdown. We have to fill a form, tick the box "medical care", a laissez-passer in case we meet a team of gendarmes. And in the afternoon I have an emergency consultation with a new dentist. 

The weekend will be busy with a big tidying up. "Les Américains débarquent" - the Americans are landing -, the French always say this when expecting visitors from the USA, as a reference to D-Day - a sense of impending disruption. In 1945 the French discovered chewing-gum and jazz, now we have to discover "woke" culture and quinoa. The gap exists in beliefs and attitudes, despite the fact that one may think it the same "western" Americanized culture. There are certainly some surprising differences. 

Benoît, Justine and baby Flora now nine months old, are arriving on Monday from California.

We have acquired all the needed baby equipment second hand from the secretaries I work with. If you want something, "un bon plan" - a good opportunity - ask a medical secretary (or a nurse). They are the secret masters of the world. I am sure they will be able to find a second-hand space rocket if you need it. 

It's going to be a big change for us after more than a year with no guest coming into our house. We will be five together suddenly. 

We are so used to our seclusive routine: 

• distortion of time: feeling that time is expanding too much, what is not done today may be done tomorrow. An exception this week, I had a tooth problem and my dentist retired a year ago. It was so difficult to find an appointment, there is such a shortage of dentists. A newly settled Croatian dentist agreed to see me. Successive health ministers who reduced the number of students in Dental Studies continuously over the last 30 years were probably thinking that in 2020 human beings wouldn't have teeth anymore?

• no hierarchy of actions: the gradual feeling that there is nothing more important than any other thing. Except for cooking, and shopping for food, and the regular schedule of three meals a day.


• lack of variety in human company, no way to see friends, a calm that borders on vagueness. Unless you are in a big city, most friends live further than the allowed ten kilometers away. What's App and telephone calls have their limits. We miss real life. Perhaps next week we will slightly regret the "interior" freedom of our forced retreat into our own thoughts and each other's exclusive company.


We are expecting a very special day: meeting for the first time our granddaughter Flora, seeing our son and his wife again for the first time since July 2019. There will surely be some tears of joy and relief. 


Here is a serendipitous picture of spring by the Loire.


Burlingham blog

Mary Fisher, Norfolk UK

The word meltdown springs to mind as Boris, no longer able to obfuscate his way out of yet another disaster, seethes in Parliament, unable to deal with a situation of his own making. Personally I don’t give a fig about what he did or didn’t say about the John Lewis furnishings he jettisoned. But I do mind if taxpayers have footed some £2.6M on a media room that was then abandoned. Boris’ former chief strategist, Dominic Cummings, dished the dirt on his ex-boss which smacked of schadenfreude. Cummings is turning into Boris’ nemesis.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, President Biden turns into Robin Hood and takes from the rich to give to the poor on the grounds that “trickle-down economics has never worked”. Well said Mr President. Perhaps you could enlighten our PM.  


Second Covid vaccination yesterday. All done in six minutes. The amazing organisation behind this; a mix of NHS staff and volunteers working so well together. I am truly grateful. The latest statistics suggest that a person gets 65% protection after one dose and 95% after two. Booster shots are being lined up for later this year. I will definitely be in the queue.


I am convinced that I spend more time choosing a pair of shoes than I did buying my last three homes. You get a feeling about somewhere. I think it took all of ten seconds with the house I am selling. We drove up to view the house, looked at a field of ripe barley across the road and that was it. We were smitten. It didn’t seem to matter that the house was a wreck inside. A similar thing happened with the home I am buying. I stepped through the door and just knew that I would like to live there. On visiting again this week, I find cupboards, five walk in cupboards. I really don’t recall these when I viewed the house. How unobservant. Perfect for stowing things away… no need to have a spare room just for keeping all the things you don’t need every day. The sellers are drowning in packing boxes. Maybe this is the upshot of walk-in cupboards.


I needed to move a surplus bookcase this week. It is eight foot long and has been kept on the landing. It had obviously been moved up the stairs so surely it could come down the same way. Unable to ask for help from a neighbour or friend under current Covid restrictions, my son and I tackled the task together. We tried flipping it over the banisters. We turned the bookcase on its side. Whatever we did, the bookcase was too long. The whole removal was turning into a slapstick. Finally, a moment of inspiration. Using a fire-escape double window on the landing, we pushed the windows open, put a ladder outside and slowly pushed the bookcase out of the window to slide it down the ladder. It worked like clockwork. I am easily pleased.


Thin air

John Mole, St Albans



They come to mind

so distant now


and take our memory

by surprise.


Casting no shadow

their sudden brilliance


is love’s return

in its own good time.


Released at last

from an anxious burden,


the weight of darkness

and dismay,


they shine for us 

on troubled waters


yet keep their distance

as we wake


From rural New York

Sandy Connors, USA

Tonight the back door is shut against the chilly rain, the thermostat back up, and the wood stove doing its best to make us all feel comfy and cheerful. We need the rain, or the gardens do, so I’m not really grumbling, but as I’ve finished the last two engravings for the next book my thoughts are immersed in the garden ~ two or three new rose bushes to arrive, where to put them, what shall I plant around them, when to go to the nursery to buy my annual herbs, and the wonderful variegated pelargoniums I like so much, shall I buy another euphorbia, and so on. I’ve put down the ‘moo-doo’ compost and found that Charlie, the 1 1/2 year old corgi, finds it very tasty ~ so in he tromps through my knot garden looking for ‘treats’ where the most delicate spring bulbs are coming up! Not willing to give up I went to the farm store to get some ‘Repels All’ granules to sprinkle around the perimeter and edges of some of the other beds already dressed. Supposedly not harmful to people and pets ~ fingers crossed he will at least be repelled along with the woodchucks, squirrels, mice and other critters. He is the one I worry about, little devil!


I’m reading Tim Pears first book after so enjoying his West Country Trilogy which I am finding much slower to engage with, but it also got wonderful reviews so I am plugging along. St. Jude’s just posted a wonderful linocut by Melvyn Evans called ‘North Sea’ ~ oh, I’d love to get one ~ along with some other much admired British artists like Mark Hearld ~ to liven up a room or two ~ but there is hardly any room left. I’d have to retire some of my old faithfuls and start anew ~ a lovely fantasy. There are also artists books which are easier to make room for, of course, and I have quite a few of those as well.


Not much has changed outwardly in the comings and goings around here in rural New York, but everyone agrees inwardly the feeling is so much more hopeful, and outings are being planned with a pleasure denied us last year.  The outside world news is heartbreaking regards to India and others where the virus is spreading again. Here in the US the verdict in the George Floyd murder case was such a relief, but killings of people of color still happen almost every week ~ will the world ever be a place of sanctuary for all living beings?


Hello to everyone ~ hoping we shall have a good weekend!


Thoughts from the Suffolk coast

Harris G, Suffolk

The very slow reopening of our social life continues... 


A trip out to a couple of garden centres and antiques shops on Wednesday. Realised how much I have missed looking around shops and mooching about. Did not spend a lot - the price of plants really has shot up - but it is so nice just to be out of the house and seeing things face-to-face. I feel there’s lots of “covid anxiety” in my neck of the woods - and generally people seem very compliant with the rules of social distancing, mask wearing and hand gels etc. One man I saw wandering the aisles of a shop without a mask was at pains to explain to everyone that he was exempt due to recent cataract surgery. Who would have thought - even two years ago - that we might one day have to behave in this way? That just going out in to shops and mixing with others could carry so much risk?


Like lots of people, since the start of the pandemic, I have used online stores more than ever before. For some items - it has been great - with excellent delivery times, well packaged orders and the pleasure of a parcel arriving on the doorstep!  But waiting times can be long where demand is high, and expensive phone calls to monitor the progress of an order can be infuriating. I was in a telephone queue for nearly twenty minutes recently - trying to get through to a person about an order made back in January. All the time I was subjected to the refrain “your call is important to us and we know that you are waiting”. There’s something ironic about this - in a world where instant gratification is evermore expected, actually speaking with another human being seems to be getting more difficult. For some companies - the Corona virus outbreak has become the answer to every enquiry! How many times do I need to hear a robotic voice saying to me “since we are currently working with reduced staff, why not download our new app where most questions are answered in seconds” or “that due to the Corona virus pandemic, we are prioritising the needs of our vulnerable clients” etc etc. Oh I shouldn’t be so negative. Moan, moan, grumble, grumble. I know lots of people are having a very hard time.


Poor old Boris Johnson for one - he seems to have been having a very hard time of it all. Lately the newspapers and TV news just won’t leave him alone. And it is painful. That flat in Downing Street must have been such a trial before the redecoration. It seems mean to query a small £30,000 bill. I wonder if they’re making him pay for the removal and repair of non-fireproof cladding? Oh and talk about taking words out of context - they’re accusing him of making some crass and callous comments about stacking dead bodies high rather than have another lockdown. Who could think that he is the type of fellow to talk so carelessly? It does seem cruel. The mantle of prime minister must weigh very heavily on an earnest chap like Boris. I wonder if he gets breakfast in bed brought to him by the mother of his youngest child (is it child number six? Or seven?)? Porridge is good to keep you going on a tough day, Boris. 


On that note... I’ve had my porridge so it’s time for me to face another day - tackling the ground elder and the rock hard earth in my garden... No rain here for weeks. Sunshine again today but still very chilly. 


Take care and stay safe xx


View from the top of the hill

Linzy Lyne, Pateley Bridge

It was great news last week to see that our lovely Journal has had some excellent publicity, thanks to the wonderful efforts of Margaret and Sheila, well done and great photos! I loved the sonnet you “rescued from the bonfire” Peter!


It's been a relatively quiet week on the farm. Our new hens are settling in after a bit of squabbling with the seven original residents of the barn, who all stopped laying as soon as the newbies moved in. Order is more or less restored now and production has picked up, prompting much speculation about which egg has been laid by which hen. While we were suffering from a dearth of eggs in the barn a female pheasant was busy laying her eggs in the garden (see photo). She apparently never intended to sit on the nest, however, so we have removed the eggs and boiled them, leaving them as clues for the new hens about where to lay, preferably in the nesting boxes and not at the top of the haystack. Richard is enjoying collecting the eggs now that he isn't suffering daily disappointment!


A pair of ducks who were proudly parading along the lane with ten ducklings last week were seen with only three the other day and yesterday alas there were none, nature no doubt having taken its course, which is always so sad. The temporary reprieve from farm traffic has allowed the hares free rein on the yard and a really huge one has been seen several times streaking past the front of the house. I doubt if I'll ever manage to get a photo for Wildlife Photographer of the Year.


In the news, Boris has provided plenty of scope for amusing headlines, like “painted into a corner” and “interior resign”, but the less amusing side to the recent accusations of sleaze is the realisation that the Prime Minister is ultimately responsible for adjudicating on his own ministerial conduct. This can't be right, there has to be accountability. His refusal to answer direct questions from the opposition in Parliament is unacceptable and if he really said he'd “rather see the bodies piling up than go into another lockdown” he should face the music. You can just imagine him saying it, that's the thing. He's happy to take all the credit for the NHS's success with the vaccination programme, while refusing to initiate an enquiry into the initial handling of the crisis, it just reeks of cover-up.


The news from India is dreadful and I can't bear to watch what's happening. In light of India having manufactured much of the vaccine supply, it is appalling to see their suffering. You can only think it is again a failure of government. We had the Cheltenham Festival, America had its political rallies and failure to lock down and wear masks, and India had its political rallies and religious festivals. The ability of society to get it wrong seems endless. My daughter-in-law's family are in lock down in Phnom Penh, seemingly because some female escorts who had been allowed into Cambodia (presumably for the benefit of wealthy men) were allowed out of quarantine early when their guards were bribed, starting a new wave of the pandemic in a country which had seemed to have it under control up to that point. Greed, sleaze and downright stupidity have fuelled events everywhere. It seems inappropriate to be pleased with ourselves now that we have mostly been vaccinated, when we see what's happening elsewhere and the main reason for our good fortune is that we bought up so many doses before other countries. Just the usual British elbowing to the front of the queue.

However, people are not going to change their behaviour. We are generally optimistic here and looking forward to taking the grandchildren up to the moors on Sunday to give my daughter and her husband some precious time together on their anniversary. My son has been successful in his application for a new job in Sydney and the sun is shining. The gardeners are mowing the grass in preparation for the campers arriving for the holiday weekend. I finished “Isaac Newton” by James Gleick, which was a great read and have started a book about a meeting between Spinoza and Leibnitz, which is very interesting as characters I read about in “Isaac Newton” keep popping up. Coincidentally the grandchildren have just been learning about Newton's Laws of Motion. Our book sale finished with a last flurry of packaging on Monday (see photo). Onwards and upwards.


Stay safe everyone and enjoy the weekend, wherever you may be.


Photos: Pheasant eggs in the garden / Hens' eggs in a basket / Last flurry of packaging



Words from Wood Lane

Susan Neave, Beverley

Good to see that news of the Journal is spreading - lovely picture of Margaret and Sheila! April seems to have come and gone in the blink of an eye. Managed to do some tidying up in the garden this week, and had coffee with various friends, although not at any outdoor cafes. Haven't put my winter coat away yet. On the news front, after months of practically nothing but Covid, there now seems to be a surfeit of other topics, with Boris's shenanigans heading the list. Apart from the refurbishment of No. 10, there is the unfortunate remark about seeing bodies piling up being preferable to another lockdown. In India that is exactly what is happening.


A friend has just signed up for the different vaccines trial. She was due to have her second AstraZenecka one at the beginning of May, but instead has been given one of three alternative types, although she won't know which one until the trial ends. She was a bit shocked when they took enough blood to fill six small test tubes at her first appointment!


Tomorrow morning I'm going to start using the market again on a regular basis. Apparently all the usual stalls are now back, including a couple selling plants. Small steps back to a sort of normality.


Rural Norfolk

Chris Gates, Norfolk UK

Interested- and relieved - to hear the UK has secured another 60 million doses of Pfizer for our Autumn Boosters, the number suggesting it could be given to everyone. This is the first time I’ve heard it’s OK to mix and match vaccines, though a while back there was the suggestion there may be an advantage, a sort of hybrid vigour. But, and yet but... if that’s so good, why don’t existing Pfizer ‘clients’ get a dose of something else? After all, at a reputed £15 a pop (we get a discount for investing early on) it’s a lot more expensive than ‘home grown’ Oxford/AZ for boosters.

At the same time, a potential shortage of vaccine means that the youngest cohort, the 18-40’s, will now no longer be ‘finished off’ by the end of June - and the previous, later date of end July will once more come into play. This is a considerable embarrassment to the organisers but apparently stems partly from the earlier spat over supply within Europe, plus - though this is yet to be ratified by Public Health England - it’s proposed the Oxford AZ shouldn’t be given to the 25-40’s for fear of clotting, as already agreed for 18-25’s. By narrowing the choice of vaccine, we’ve created a shortage.

But this is curious, a supply oddity: in the early days the British Government ordered and took credit for ordering a fairly staggering 457 million doses of vaccines from various sources to spread our bets. Hurrah!

The UK population 18+ is 54,760,000. About 10% are reckoned not to want vaccinating - let’s say that’s a net 50 mill that do want a jab.

So, we order 457 million and can’t jab 50?


Splendid headline from The Mail re the ongoing kerfuffle about just how the No 10 decorations were paid for (as if we care): “Boris painted into a corner”. He now faces four differently convened inquiries into this non-event.


May has something of a special place in my heart - it’s such a hopeful month, light evenings and early mornings, warmer days, the freshness of the emerging vegetation. The swallows are about in greater numbers and our cherry tree reliably sees May in with a wonderful display.

It also causes a pang or two: my late father had an elder sister called May who he was particularly fond of, and he would get a touch emotional about her early death from cancer, during The War, when he was away and unable to comfort her.

More happily, from a time when I studied such things, there’s portraits by local artist Alfred Munnings of “Cousin May”. She featured in some of his early artwork for Caley’s chocolate - also local - and one poster pictures her joyous, on a swing- there used to be an example in The Guildhall, Norwich. 

“The cousin had dark eyes, beautiful arms and was a flirt” said Munnings, with a hint of dribble. And sold a lot of choc.

Then there’s “ne’re cast a clout til May is out”
What’s that all about then?
May the month?
May the hedgerow plant?
And why clout?

Other than to conveniently rhyme with ‘about’, who ever heard reference to a spit or clod of earth as clout? We were told at school it was to do with preparing the soil - but then we were simple Country Folk. 

It could be ‘don’t shed your winter woolies til the end of May’. This requires you to believe ‘clout’ is ‘cloth’ as in ‘clootie dumpling’, a Scotch delicacy of a boiled pudding wrapped in cloth.

Whatevs, here’s an undressed one, taking a chance:



Greetings from the far south

Mark Waller, Pretoria, South Africa

The heartrending news from India of the massive surge in Covid infections and mushrooming death toll is stoking anxiety here in South Africa and other parts of the continent that we may be in for a similar sudden new wave of the disease. More virulent variants of Covid could be on the way. It’s becoming clear that any ideas of national exceptionalism to do with greater levels of immunity are nonsense. 


While it’s great that people in quite a few parts of the world are getting vaccinated, I can’t help feeling that such progress leads to a false sense of security. We’re used to getting annual flu jabs and to the idea that this is necessary because the flu virus constantly changes. But it doesn’t get more lethal. It stays about as bad as it’s always been, just different. With Covid, we seem to have something that can change to become more infectious and more destructive to the human body. So right now we’re faced with almost as much uncertainty as we were this time last year. 


It seems that complacency is almost as infectious as Covid. We’re still on lockdown-lite and supposed to wear face masks and keep our distance from one another. But you’d never know it to look around at people. The current short school holiday and the Easter break just before it have prompted a lot more partying, family get-togethers and more people attending things like weddings and funerals. I cast a wary Scrooge-like eye over it all and mutter that it will all end badly. 


We’ve been warned a lot by the police about keeping safe on the roads when out driving. If this were only about dodging drunk drivers or keeping within the speed limit it would amount to very little. But there have been more worrying alerts and news stories about the rise in vehicle hijacking and attacks on motorists, who are frequently followed until they are easy prey. Pandemic unemployment has prompted desperate measures by folk willing to go to extremes to get cash.


A few night ago, I drove with the kids, Gracey and Masana, to the local store to buy basics. Afterwards, they wanted me to drive them around a bit, so I took a detour through the back roads of Pretoria North. Gracey and Masana were listening to music on their headphones. They like music and motion. 


It’s hard to tell if you’re being followed or if you’re just going the same way as the car behind you, but I’d had the same car on my tail for quite a while and noticed that it turned when I turned and didn’t try to overtake when I slowed down a few times. It was getting dark so I could only really see its headlights. I didn’t stop at the red 'robots' - SA slang for traffic lights - unless the junctions were busy. No one does at night. 


I was nearing our street but decided to keep going. I cut through a narrow side street that eventually leads back to the main one and sure enough the car behind us did the same. No one would have taken that street unless they were going to stop on it as it isn’t a short cut. I tried to think what to do and then remembered the police advice. 


I headed back to Pretoria North. “Where are we going?,” Gracey asked. I said I just wanted to check something but didn’t say anything else. I drove to the police station and parked outside. The place is all lit up at night like a stadium. The car behind me accelerated and sped off. I watched it turn left at the next robots to join the main traffic flow to town. I spent a few minutes checking emails and other messages on my phone and then drove off. 


There was nothing behind us all the way home. Gracey and Masana were by then fast asleep.



John Underwood, Norfolk

A week ago on Friday we were crossing Breydon Water on our newly acquired boat, moving her from the Southern Broads to the Northern - hence our lack of a journal entry. Almost everybody seems to think that this is the wrong direction to have taken, that the Southern Broads are quieter, and this is true, but dependant upon where you choose to go. We like to hole up in a few favourite out of the way moorings and manage to avoid the crowds by and large. Our crossing was pretty uneventful. One has to consider the tides, and aim to arrive at Yarmouth at slack water, about an hour after low tide, when the tide is neither flowing out to sea, or too strongly up or down the river Bure. We had hung around at Reedham overnight, and moved off in time to arrive at Breydon Water in time for a heart-in-mouth  crossing. In the event, it was rather an anticlimax, although we did see another boat stuck on a mud bank. You would have to be pretty stupid to allow that to happen we thought. The backwaters of Great Yarmouth seemed to go on for a long time before opening into the reedy banks of the Bure, with some seemingly endless marshland to cross, dotted with forlorn abandoned wind pumps. We decided to moor up at Stokesby, heading there at the top of the speed limit, worried that the moorings would be filling up. There were plenty of spaces, and we moored up thankfully, after a long and nervy journey. At this stage of my narrative I would refer you back to last week’s journal entry by Chris Gates, and I hope that he will forgive me if I quote from his entry.

“End of the week and the first of the outdoor pub lunches: by the river at the Ferry, Stokesby. We’re with our ‘bubble’ Marjie and Black Shed David. I have my default pub lunch of ham, eggs and chips, deciding that low-carb can be put on hold as this is A Celebration. So, suitably sanctioned, I compound the felony and wash it down with carb-saturated Adnams bitter.”


All I can say is “SNAP” . We had an early supper at the Ferry, Stokesby, we both had ham, eggs and chips, and washed it down with Adnams bitter. (Hurrah!) Our first outdoor pub meal for a long while too. 

Sorry to have missed you! 


We passed under Acle bridge, which we have crossed in the car dozens of times, and decided to press on to one of our favourite moorings near to our Stalham base for an extra night on the water, before heading to our new covered mooring. This was the last and very stressful part of our maiden voyage, as we had to negotiate the boat into a small mooring space in between two larger and much more expensive craft - and manoeuvring at slow speed in reverse in a cramped space is not easy in an unfamiliar boat. In the end we cut the motor and tugged on the nearby boats to ease our way in. 

And relax…



Corona Diary

Annabel, A village in North Norfolk

Ist May 2021 and its still freezing and has been chucking it down.


Awful scenes in India. Dreadful government run by horrible Narendra Modi. I would be arrested in India for saying that. So many deaths, no oxygen and now a black market is emerging in anything and everything related and the price has sky rocketed for oxygen, hospital beds etc etc. People literally dying in cars or on pavements and in the back of taxis outside hospitals. Around 400,000 new cases a day. The system has completely failed.

The sikhs amongst other private groups are volunteering, dishing out oxygen, going around the houses and picking up bodies at enormous risk to them selves. Where ever there’s a crises there are sikhs not far away helping in one way or another. I love the sikhs.


Fires everywhere and wood running out for the pyres, flower beds being recycled as cremation sites. Funerals without families saying farewell. Terribly sad and heart breaking to watch.

There is a very good piece by Arundhuti Roy in The Guardian online on 28th April. She tells of the extent of the failure and corruption and the criminal behaviour going on there. Terrifying.


Here it is getting better and better with the infection rate dropping 40% in the last week. The British government sent out 200 ventilators to India. That will do it!


This week it has been the cash for cushion row and general sleaze post Dom’s outburst the other day. It’s quite easy to spend that sort of money if you’re decorating with expensive things and bespoke fabrics and wallpapers and British made furniture which is not made in China in huge quantities out of crap materials paying poor wages. 


I could do it quite easily given my Duchess tendencies and the funds but it shows an arrogance on his part to think he’s going to be there long enough to get his money’s worth and in my mind a total waste of money as he can’t take it with him. We’ve got some lovely blankets and cushions at Verandah that he could have chucked on the sofas. Otherwise, embrace the pink! 

He could easily have done something lovely for 30 grand and he wouldn’t have got into all this trouble. In my experience John Lewis has been invaluable as they have kept going over the last year or so. The problem he has is that he hasn’t got any money and has Duchess tendencies and keeping up with the la-di-dahs as well.  

Anyway I’m bored now. Give me a call next time Boris. 


They’d be a bit pissed of if he has to resign and leave all the lovely wall paper behind that may very well be the cause of his down fall. A catastrophe! It’s like an upper class version of rock, paper scissors.

What he should do is turn it around and say he is supporting British manufacturers and crafts people and give us a lovely tour of how the other half live. A show case of what British craft is. Boris supports British!

I’ve had a bad wrist for months and months with an inflamed tendon and have been wearing a stretchy support for the best part of a year. Last week I brought some logs in and dropped a log from a height bang on the lump of swollen tendon and it was absolute agony. Since then, though it’s still really painful it feels slightly better and like it might get better which it didn’t pre log incident. Is this a new cure to slam it with a piece of heavy wood?

Line up for my new treatments of log therapy.


I’m very late with my piece as usual so not enough time to tell you about the seeds in the green house or my lack of success in the painting department or the downfall of an actor overnight for for being a sex pest.


Oh yes, a major piece of news that I meant to tell you about. There’s a new baby in the family, my great niece Allegra was born on Wednesday and very pretty she is too. I was hoping she’d be born on Thursday as she would have been Earnie’s twin and could have been called Earnesta. It was his birthday and he was 7. He had lots of presents and I made scones and he had a special fairy cake and a new squeaky pony.


Anyway, bye for now,

Love Annabel xxx