Easter Lunch.

April 4, 2010

Today I made two round trips to Mother’s. One to pick her up, one to return her home. Destination was Brother’s for Easter Lunch.

This was the first time that my nieces had seen Mother without her sister (their Great Aunt) for such a meal. But I took a photo of my maternal grandmother, their great grandmother, of the same name as the elder niece, found in the house clearing. The inscription is dated 19/4/23; almost 87 years ago, a fact that the girls were amazed at. There was some debate as to whether anyone (other than sister-in-law, obviously) took after her. The picture frame was very fragile, and I was impressed by the care the two children took over it.

It turns out the children like card games more than their mother, so I was roped into a game of contract bridge(!) Well, a demonstration game; I became dummy, but as brother was called away, I took his place, but played the game fully open so the girls could see the point. My original partner (elder niece) went down two tricks to her sister (my god-daughter) and me (playing their daddy’s hand) – I was trying to play fair, but the lay of the cards made the original bid unwinnable. Bidding is as much a mystery to me as to them, but I could explain how to play the cards. Apparently brother and his wife were giggling, listening in as I was trying to explain how the two opponents should play their games…

But Sister-in-law told me brother was already tired of house clearing, (which is not much of a surprise…) and would skip anything; for the increase in value of the house empty would dwarf the price of anything sold. I agree with this point, but it means if I like something, I’ll have to extract it immediately. Like that sewing machine I restored to working order. A similar one failed to sell on ebay for £25. Yet it is such an elegant, antique (in the ture sence), working model, it seems a crime to consign it to a skip…Knowing, as I now do, the mechanisms of this machine and the mechanical Singer machines, I know which is better.

Also, the sight of my “new” MB disappointed. Clearly not W124 fans, sister in law no longer demands a spin. It really does not help that her brother is a millionaire banker, and my brother earns many multiples of my salary as a civil servant. At least Mother likes it.

I popped into Aunt’s tonight, partly to replace a blown bulb (we keep a light on all the time). We had discussed earlier in the day what the architect of the two isolated semi-detached houses must have been on when he drew up the plans in the early ’30s. It is most bizarre, tiny high ceilinged rooms, and then to add insult, an awful ’70’s extension which throws much of the house into gloom. I also found the wiring to be even more eccentric than I supposed, for a switch outside the kitchen switched off the landing light, but not the hallway light, Why have the only switch for a light on a different level?

When I say I “popped in”, this is clearly not my MB’s favourate job. The old girl refused to change down unless forced (and I don’t mean kick-down) when climbing the steep hills to Aunt’s, which reminds me of the 1970’s and family’s first visit to Devon in an automatic 850cc Mini; and how we almost had to get out and push. The old girl is not that desperate, but does hate the steep hills of the Chilterns in this area. Mind you, they are steep, in parts, and I mean comparison with Porlock Hill steep, they would not be thought wimps. Two of the hills still retain emergency escape lanes in case the brakes fail (off, rather than on, which is now the case for large vehicles).

But in Aunt’s I looked around, and I thought, no, for all my desire for a house, I cannot see me being comfortable in this house. For a start, I know exactly where in the house Aunt died. True I live in London,where it is never really quiet, as it would be here, but the silence was not a comfortable one for me. Parent’s house is equally quiet, but I don’t have that uncomfortable feeling there – but I grew up there.