Editor’s note: Huge congratulations to Rick on completing 100 articles in this beautiful series – what a massive achievement! You’ve taken all your readers on this exciting adventure with you and your Gran since January 2017. This series has formed such an important record in the history of Chandler’s Ford. We love these stories. Thank you for your contribution, your perseverance, and your hard work – you’ve brought us so much joy every Sunday morning with Forty Years in Chandler’s Ford – a Journal by Joan Adelaide Goater. Thank You.
New binoculars; a fine pullover; to the Ballet; a Foundation Stone is laid; sub-standard blood; slamming doors; smudged ink; the curse of crude oil; a louse-hunt; peace at The Lake; a tame Stoat and relaxing with Ovaltine.
“Yesterday was Ricky’s fifth birthday”, Gran writes on the third day of January:
…and he starts school next week. He does not want to and is very reluctant but I hope he will soon settle down happily. I should hate him to be unhappy – he is such a merry little soul.
Yes, I remember – I locked myself in the bathroom when the fateful morning arrived!
Peg Eagle, Hazel Bidmead and Gran had watched birds together at Dibden Bay – a place that has become very popular with them as a birding destination – on the 2nd. It is often the case on these outings that Gran fails to see a particular bird well enough to clinch its identification, and this happens when a “probable” Grey Phalarope flies up at their feet. On the 5th though, she has news that will at last give her a significant advantage:
…today has brought me the fulfilment of the one material desire I have possessed for a long time! Barry wrote to say that he had secured for me, at a sale, “a handsome pair of binoculars”, worth from thirty-five to forty pounds, for ten guineas, and will bring them down this week. I sent the cash by return post and hope, by the weekend, to really possess my own really good binoculars. I can scarcely believe it!
Barry and the binoculars arrive next day, and the first thing Gran observes through them is the Moon, marvelling at the clarity of its craters. And a few weeks later, after watching a Grey Heron through them, she says, “These glasses have made bird-watching a real joy to me instead of the rather frustrating occupation it used to be at times”.