Eleven varieties of apple are picked, but many are “fallers”; rare plants at Hatchet Pond; a Stork at the Potter’s Heron; a historic entomological visit to Ireland; “like mother like daughter”; please not another war; Gran enjoys shopping, and will the rain ever end?
There is much work to be done in the Park Road garden as the wet summer of 1950 progresses, and Gran picks Early River plums there on July 21st, the day before what she notes, is “an uneventful day for my forty-sixth birthday”. Nevertheless, she does receive at least one present on the day:
…it is now raining again. But I mean to enjoy a few moments with “Corduroy” by Adrian Bell, and I can look forward to more pleasure when I read his “By-road”, given me today by Jock.
A few days later she picks four pounds of Loganberries – she is making a lot of jam with them at the moment – but more heavy rain curtails the fruit-gathering, forcing her into the greenhouse where she weeds tomato plants, and she writes (at long last giving us the proper name of the place where she works):
The Goldcrests today were chattering in the pine trees edging the lane, Common Road, which runs along the side of Pinewood Gardens – the correct name of the garden where I work.
And it seems that she refers to it thus from now on. That same day, in the afternoon, it was still drizzling enough:
…to spoil the Speech Day Celebrations at Sherborne House School [they had to take place indoors instead of in the garden], where both Barry and Jane made their first acquaintance with the mysteries of learning. Nevertheless, the entertainment was as enjoyable as ever…The spontaneous enjoyment of these happy children gives immeasurable beauty to life.
July has been the wettest for forty years, and August, Gran, says on the 2nd, “continued to follow its bad example”. Barry left for Ireland the following afternoon, “after leaving me full instructions for the care of three hundred and eight caterpillars!” and, maintaining her tradition of pilgrimage to the downs on Adrian’s birthday, she sits there a long time, watching the rain-delayed harvest at the foot of St. Catherine’s Hill. Only a single field is stooked so far, and Gran is fascinated, watching tractors pulling carts loaded with full sacks, and two reapers working a field back and forth, “the cut corn pouring out of it into a straight line behind…”
Gran picks Gladstone apples and Czar plums on August 8th, “this latter job rendered less enjoyable by the many bees which were more trouble than wasps on the fruit.” Throughout the month, through September to early October, fruit picking at the Pinewood garden, and the packing of it for commercial and private use, takes much time. Some blackberries are taken to Eastleigh; others, as well as gooseberries, loganberries, plums, and tomatoes, are bottled for use at The Ridge, much to Gran’s aesthetic satisfaction, as the vari-coloured jars are lined up on her shelves. There has been a huge crop of apples, and Gran, sometimes with Dad, picks Grenadiers, Worcester Pearmains, Ben’s Reds, James Grieves, Green Blenheims, Warner’s Kings, Cox’s Orange Pippins, American Mothers, Maltsters, Russets and Lanes, many of which are “fallers” after severe gales, and no good for keeping.
…I enjoyed tremendously a programme on the wireless in which Richard Dimbleby travelled down the Thames in a motor-launch from Richmond to Hampton Court, calling observers from several places which I have learned to know and love…The Star and Garter Home…Teddington Lock…Canbury Gardens…the barge-walk, and Hampton Court itself…
She hopes in her heart, that wherever Adrian may be, perhaps he too, has heard the same programme, as he would have done in 1946, “when I had a list of all the programmes which interested him and we used to listen together then”. The next day:
I went to Winchester to try for two favourite gramophone records, “Angels guard thee”, sung by Richard Crooks, and “Thème Slave varié Act I” from “Coppelia”, by Delibes, but I was unlucky and had to order both. Nevertheless they will be a treat to anticipate.
I, myself, am amazed that there was a record player in the house – it seems so out of character for her to use such a modern contraption! She cycles with a friend from Ampfield, to the New Forest on the 10th, observing on the way, the venue at which the wedding reception of daughter Jane, would one day be held:
I was intrigued with the model over the porch of the Potter’s Heron and wondered whether it was supposed to have any connection with the name or whether it was only there to look beautiful! At all events it is a Stork and not a Heron, even to the white plumage and black-tipped tail!
Once in the Forest, they stop at Hatchet Pond but spend less time there than Gran wants, because time is passing and they have planned to get to Buckler’s Hard before they eat lunch. But:
…I was already desperately hungry. I felt I should never get there and later hunger got the better of me and I surreptitiously ate biscuits en route (and was accused of cheating but I did not care!).
They meet Mr Knowleton of the Southampton Natural History Society who tells them that that morning he had found Malaxis paludosa (Bog Orchid), now named Hammarbya paludosa at Hatchet Pond so they return there and hunt for it, but without success. Nevertheless, Gran plans to visit again for this rare plant, which would be new for her list, in the near future and anyway, finds four other plants which are new to her but which she cannot name for sure. So, “I am sending them to Kew for certain identification”.
The Beaulieu Road Station area is on their route. Gran writes:
The Beaulieu Road Pony Sale had taken place today and a few buyers and their animals were still about. As we cycled up the rough track on to the road a lad of gypsy type shouted at me, “ You oughter buy one o’ these missis, they’m easier to manage!” I didn’t agree but thought it prudent to keep my ideas to myself!
Much of my tiredness vanished on finding a letter from Barry awaiting me, for it contained the exciting news that the object of their trip to Ireland had been achieved – the establishment of the presence of a moth new to the British List [Dad adds here, quite rightly, “…and Irish List – to avoid risk of offence to anyone in Ireland”] Luceria virens [now dubbed the Burren Green Calamia tridens]…Barry prophesises the greatest furore of all time at the South London Exhibition in October when their news is made known.
Gran is dispirited on the 13th. Barry’s birthday is the next day, and it is the first that he will have spent away from home. Her thoughts turn to the state of the world which he and Jane will inherit, and events in Korea will have been in the news:
The shadow of another war hangs heavily upon me and, cowardly I know, I would rather die now than try to live through another one. It is a ghastly and unforgivable sin that Man should ravage God’s lovely world with the hideousness of war and an insult to the mind that God gave him…yet he dares to destroy mothers’ sons, children born of the anguish of a woman’s body, which, nevertheless, is incomparable with the agony of her soul during wartime.
And she renders up this prayer:
Oh God in Heaven, let not Man destroy thy lovely world and crush the souls of them that love thee, and it. I want it for a heritage of beauty for my children and children everywhere, not as a place of suffering and sorrow for them…it is so very beautiful…
The mail on Dad’s birthday arrives when Gran is out, and on her return:
I found a tin containing fourteen more caterpillars to add to my family…I do not know what they are, but they are repulsive-looking, skinny green ones, feeding upon Groundsel.
Of these, she writes later in the week, saying that she fed “Barry’s family”, separating the Groundsel feeders as several were dead and that she had a vague memory of Barry mentioning “cannibalistic tendencies”, and he may have been referring to the contents of this expected parcel which was supposed to have arrived before he left for Ireland.
Another birthday lifts her mood on the 15th and she notes that “a bright, happy event to record today is the birth this morning of another Princess of England, daughter and second child of Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh”.
My other future Grandmother, living at 99 Kingsway, receives her first direct mention in the journal at this time, Gran writing that “Jock’s mother” gave her an Elephant Hawk pupa (rescued while still a caterpillar, from the MacNoe family’s cat) for Barry. This Kentish lady, who died in 1966, and whose maiden name was Shersby, was always known to me as “Nanna” and I did not learn until today that her name was Edith, she apparently, though, being referred to, as “Dot” because of her small size.
Dad returns on August 20th, having thoroughly enjoyed his holiday, and tells his mother that he:
…found the Irish extremely kind. They were very interested in the ”bug-hunting” activities of the entomological party and there was usually an audience of between twenty and thirty people round their lamps at night. Some of them had walked five miles to see them. They referred to all butterflies and moths as “floys”, and asked them, “Are you the gentlemen who catch the floys?” Barry brought me a wild Maidenhair Fern…which I hope will grow here.
Dad tells me, “It did. It and its offspring survived for many years. Mother used to put them in their pots outside during the summer and brought them in for the winter.
The chief matter of interest to record today is the letter received from Kew with reference to the specimens I had sent up which I found at Hatchet Pond on August 10th. Five of these are new to our Hampshire list and the most exciting is Illecebrum verticillatum (said by Bentham and Hooker to only be found in Britain in Devonshire, Cornwall and the Channel Islands).
This plant goes by the lovely English name of Coral-necklace. Gran’s other four “finds” were Common Chamomile, Strawberry Clover, Allseed and Water Purslane – all rather nice plants to discover one’s-self for the first time, and the last mentioned, also called “Hampshire Purslane” is to be found only in the New Forest, in the UK.
Gran gives a little more information on some of the Irish expedition members, writing that one, Hugh Robinson (whom we have already met), and currently staying at another house in Hiltingbury Road, discovered there, under the eves, a Hornet’s nest and brought five of these insects to The Ridge for Barry. Dad took these to London, on a visit to Eric Classey, who is:
…another of the Entomologists recently returned from Ireland…as he is co-proprietor of the firm Watkins and Doncaster, that old-established shop in the Strand, which caters for all Natural History needs. Barry is staying the night with Eric to see his moth collection.
Gran does not write often about fungi – usually noting only when the Fly Agarics appear in the garden – but this year she records:
Those unpleasant fungi, the odious-smelling Stinkhorns have appeared again on the front bank of the next-door house, and their offensive odour strikes one from some distance. It is quite unmistakable, being very reminiscent of something long dead.
And, giving her a little more pleasure than the fungi:
I now have my record of Richard Crooke singing “Angels Guard Thee”, and I was almost moved to tears tonight by his exquisite rendering of this lovely song.
Jane, who had left by train for a holiday in Cornwall in the small hours on August 4th, is recently returned having had a wonderful time. Gran, writing on the night of the 24th, of the bright moon’s white light and the starlight, continues:
…but the starlight remains in my mind, no brighter than the light of excitement which shone from Jane’s blue eyes as she tried to tell me, with assumed nonchalance, that she and her partner had today reached the semi-final of the Girls’ Doubles in the Winchester Tennis Tournament, in which I played twenty-one years ago! What a pleasure it is to me to thus have both sides of me represented in my children – the naturalist in Barry and the sport in Jane, though both are interested in the other’s favourite pastime.
Returning by bike from Winchester on the 25th, she comments on a “new road:
The new road is open at Compton now, and whilst I still deplore the destruction of some of the lovely beech trees I must admit that they have made an attractive fork here, leaving a belt of the trees in the middle. When the scarred chalk cliffs are covered with herbage, it will be even easier to look at, but whether the new, straight road reduces accidents or increases them by encouragement for speeding, remains to be seen.
Gran generally hates shopping, but on September 5th, she writes that this “tedious and exhausting occupation”:
…was made both easy and almost pleasant to me by the courtesy and helpfulness of the shop assistants with whom I came in contact and was able to get exactly what I wanted, my own choice, in the colour I like best, soft cherry-red, shoes, hat and handbag – for special occasions.
She does not say it yet, but soon she has a wedding to go to, and several days later, on the 9th, she enlightens us, pleased that the weather has improved, “as a young niece was getting married today and we went down to Southbourne for the ceremony”. She describes the New Forest as they drive through it, including that “ponies and cows were wandering everywhere and two little grey donkeys walked solemnly out of the entrance to the Royal Hotel at Lyndhurst”. The wedding took place in St. Catherine’s Church, and Gran, typically, describes the flowers, and the dresses of the main participants in some detail. And she adds:
The reception was held at Tuckton Gardens, and from my place at the table I looked out across the river where sailing craft were continually passing to and fro’ and Mallard swam up and down among them.
They drove home at the end of the day through pouring rain. I wonder who “they” were. Was dear old Grampa, never mentioned in this journal, included?
- Forty Years in Chandler’s Ford – a Journal (Part 1)
- Forty Years in Chandler’s Ford – a Journal (Part 2)
- Forty Years in Chandler’s Ford – a Journal (Part 3)
- Forty Years in Chandler’s Ford – a Journal (Part 4)
- Forty Years in Chandler’s Ford – a Journal (Part 5)
- Forty Years in Chandler’s Ford – a Journal (Part 6)
- Forty Years in Chandler’s Ford – a Journal (Part 7)
- Forty Years in Chandler’s Ford – a Journal (Part 8)
- Forty Years in Chandler’s Ford – a Journal (Part 9)
- Forty Years in Chandler’s Ford – a Journal (Part 10)
- Forty Years in Chandler’s Ford – a Journal (Part 11)
- Forty Years in Chandler’s Ford – a Journal (Part 12)
- Forty Years in Chandler’s Ford – a Journal (Part 13)
- Forty Years in Chandler’s Ford – a Journal (Part 14)
- Forty Years in Chandler’s Ford – a Journal (Part 15)
- Forty Years in Chandler’s Ford – a Journal (Part 16)
- Forty Years in Chandler’s Ford – a Journal (Part 17)
- Forty Years in Chandler’s Ford – a Journal (Part 18)
- Forty Years in Chandler’s Ford – a Journal (Part 19)
- Forty Years in Chandler’s Ford – a Journal (Part 20)
- Forty Years in Chandler’s Ford – a Journal (Part 21)
- Forty Years in Chandler’s Ford – a Journal (Part 22)
- Forty Years in Chandler’s Ford – a Journal (Part 23)
- Forty Years in Chandler’s Ford – a Journal (Part 24)
- Forty Years in Chandler’s Ford – a Journal (Part 25)
- Forty Years in Chandler’s Ford – a Journal (Part 26)
- Forty Years in Chandler’s Ford – a Journal (Part 27)
- Forty Years in Chandler’s Ford – a Journal (Part 28)
- Forty Years in Chandler’s Ford – a Journal (Part 29)
- Forty Years in Chandler’s Ford – a Journal (Part 30)
- Forty Years in Chandler’s Ford – a Journal (Part 31)
- Forty Years in Chandler’s Ford – a Journal (Part 32)
- Forty Years in Chandler’s Ford – a Journal (Part 33)
- Forty Years in Chandler’s Ford – a Journal (Part 34)