Simple Christmas gifts; valuing our treasures; extinct species; a kindly flower-seller; prayers for the Queen on tour; it snows – and Julian falls in it; communication in the 1950s and a couple of nice books.
Late October 1953 and Gran’s thoughts are turning to Christmas. On the 23rd she gathers material for making presents:
I collected some twigs, acorns, seeds, bark, lichen and such, with which to make Christmas novelties and my invalid [probably her disabled friend in Southampton] assiduously stuck the acorns back into their cups for me… a little Seccotine ensuring that they would not fall out again. The next step will be to paint them.
And two days later, feeling ill, and the weather stormy, she writes:
The afternoon appeared more hopeful and I had promised to go to Farley Mount with Jill Fowler to look for suitable pieces for painting and arranging for Christmas decorations. At dinner-time I had almost wished it would remain wet for I felt decidedly unwell, but Jill, noting the uncertainty of the weather, had brought the van, so I was spared the effort of cycling and, in the end, thoroughly enjoyed the outing. The Autumn colouring was at its beautiful best…the farmhouse on the corner of the Farley-Sparsholt road presented its usual charming appearance, clothed in tumbling red creepers, and I noticed that the Ivy on the grey wall opposite was in full bloom.
Gran and Jill collect “all manner of specimens” including lichen-covered bark, larch cones, beech-mast and the dry seed-heads of Carline Thistles. A couple of days later Gran cycles into Eastleigh to buy “paint, candles, frosting and other sundries towards my Christmas novelties…” and nearby, along Hiltingbury Road, she gathers some sprays of beech leaves “to be set in glycerine for the Winter”. It appears that although some of Gran’s creations are to be given as presents or used as decorations at home, others are to be sold, as late next month she records that I “delivered two of my Christmas arrangements to purchasers”.