Jackie and I began the day on grandparent duties (see post of 28th. August), so Sam and Holly could have a lie-in.  They had, after all, kept him quiet since 5 a.m.  Elizabeth soon joined us for great aunt duties, whereupon Adam’s Transformer robot made way for robots in an i-pad game Malachi had shown her how to download.  Jackie and I had given my grandson chocolate coated crunchy pieces and pink and white ice cream.  Since he considered this wasn’t really breakfast he had cereal with his parents a bit later.

Not being very interested in helping us move the compost heap into the bins, Malachi went on a squirrel hunt with his Mum.  The little family set off for London just before lunch.

Elizabeth and I then went foraging in the garage loft for off-cuts of wood with which to supplement the garden materials to complete the compost bins.  Mum came to lunch and assisted in measuring the placement of stakes in the construction with dexterous application of her walking stick.  Jackie had bought the stakes in Haskins garden centre.

Whilst watching our robin diving into the recently exposed juicy bits of the older compost, and scuttling off with spoils, I was reminded of our Newark plumber.  This chirpy little fellow was a keen fisherman.  An excellent craftsman who was both skilled and reliable, he had, some years before, recovered from prostate cancer.  Very proud of this, he once insisted on undoing his trousers, reaching inside, and pulling out his colostomy bag to show Jessica and me.  He believed our compost bins contained the best bait worms in the town, and regularly raided them to keep himself supplied for his trips to the river.

In the late afternoon Jackie drove me to Shelly and Ron’s where we also met Helen and Bill.  Their home in Walkford is reached by a pleasant journey through The New Forest.  We were treated to high tea of tasty sandwiches prepared by Shelly; an excellent spicy fruit cake baked by Helen; and strawberries with clotted cream.  Helen told us about the German dough with which she had made the cake.  Apparently it reproduces itself so that you can make cake after cake from the same original material.  It operates much in the same way as a ginger beer factory.  Helen described her race to get ahead of the dough before the cakes completely took over the freezer.

After this we watched a DVD of the South Anglia Savoy Players production of Ruddigore, which won the Buxton International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival competition this year. Ruddigore 9.12 We were all agreed that it was no surprise that this flawlessly polished performance was the winner.  It was hard to believe this was an amateur performance.  Our particular interest was that among the cast were Jackie’s cousin Pat O’Connell and his daughter Olivia.  It seemed to us that, for his comic turn, Pat received the greatest applause at the end.  There were some splendid voices among the cast.  I had experienced Pat’s work in directing the Godalming Operatic Society, but had not seen him on stage before.

Finally, I am indebted to Elizabeth for identifying yesterday’s butterfly as a comma.

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