Life hasn't been easy .. either for my mother or me .. and the episode of my being banned, together with the withdrawl of her lemon drink, has definitely 'taken the wind out of her sails' .. she's weaker and introspective - it's very sad. Life is sent to try us .. but this is taking me to my limits - however I cannot collapse or give in and have to maintain a steady heart and attitude to all around me: another rather large learning curve - in the meaning of love ...
A fantastic lady - aged 91 - whose husband met my father during the war in Italy .. and who recommended my school in Oxford to my parents - as Harold was housemaster & taught history at his school, also in Oxford, ... sent up two lovely pictures of her tiny hamlet, down a dead end lane (the sea at the bottom!) .. of the valley covered in snow - quite a lot by the looks of it. Snow in Cornwall, other than on the Moors, is quite unusual .. it's a "warm" climate. My mother was suitably impressed and remembered where Joan's cottage is .. it's called Rose Cottage.
The other was of a wonderful light pink camellia in full bloom against her cottage ... again my mother knew its name - I didn't have to remind her .. !! Joan and Harold hold many memories for me .. and I wished I'd spent more time with them .. and learnt from their wisdom.
Joan tells a wonderful story of my first holiday away from home, when, aged 3, I stayed with them & their niece .. who's a month younger than me; and the first morning when these two little girls tottered down stairs .. no doubt in awe of all around us .. lovely tiny cottage "Huggins Cottage", everything beautifully and tenderly arranged - Joan was fantastic at decoration and home making & still is ... well - I got a shock!! The first thing we had to do was say "good morning" to the solid fuel heater?! had the world gone mad??!! So she stood us in front of the heater .. and said to us both .. now Hilary & Jane .. you must say good morning to Sydney ... well, of course, Jane her neice dutifully complied ... this one just said "No" .. I was three - what a ridiculous thing to have to do .. it was a heater .. not a person .. this three year old was a lawyer's daughter & that definitely didn't need a good morning from me!! I was adamant, I gather .. Joan gave up the unequal struggle!
Their cottage, Rose Cottage, in Cornwall is idyllic .. it is fabulous .. whitewashed stone, repaired dry stone walls, a valley field converted into a vista of a garden, full of colourful shrubs, wonderful climbing plants and trees - spreading out from the scented rambling roses surrounding the house ... & at this time of year .. all the masses of bulbs Joan planted will be shooting up ready for the start of spring and a summer of brilliant cornucopia of scents, colours and just plain luxury of outside leafy green peace .... I've often just thought of wanting to lie there on the sunny grass .. listening to the sounds of the woods, the sea breezes, the insects buzzing around and the birds singing happily in the woodlands and garden around.
Harold had the last say .. he'd bought a magnificent pair of large iron gates - about 12 foot tall and 12 foot wide - and had them painted slate grey ... like the roof of the cottage ... and they were very carefully, I might say, positioned at the edge of the smallish patio .. & through which we passed to get out into the valley garden ... Harold said they are my folly!! I'd better add .. that Joan too is a fantastic gardener .. and they both had such vision and exuded so much life .. - wouldn't it be wonderful to be able to emulate this type of joy for an explosion of ideas and thoughts throughout our lives?