23 April 2011-St George’s Day
Our patron saint’s day. Sadly not celebrated universally as is St Andrew’s Day in Scotland and St Patrick’s Day in Ireland. Shame on us. However, I was delighted to readÂ the following inÂ What’s – In and around Uttlesford Â St Georges Day celebration in Saffron Walden. Starts 2Â pm at the Castle. Music and celebration will follow the Dragon down to the Market Place for a world peace song (this event starts at the Rising Sun pub in Castle Headingham at 11Â am and finishes in London at 8 PM with a live music and dance. St Georges Day happens this year to fall on the Easter weekend but this is not always the case as Easter is a movable feast. It also happens to be the date that our greatest author and poet, William Shakespeare died. Although it cannot be verified decisively many people think that he was also born on 23 April.
Today Smiler and Kimberly came after lunch and to spend the night with us. It was great to see them. The fine weather continued and I was able to sit outside for an hour or so with my shirt off in the sunshine. We all had tea in the garden before I was taken back into the study and ‘the young’ went for a short walk across fields. Dear Kimberly provided the supper, which was absolutely delicious and, just as important, relieved ‘my lovely’ of just one more chore.
The other little family, Chloe and co. are in Alice’s house, Bwlch Uchaf, (literally Upper Pass) in the foothills of Snowdonia, North Wales. I’m glad to say that they are experiencing a rare bout of fine weather as, my experience, over the last 50 years or so, is that it rains a great deal in Wales-and, by heavens, when it rains it rains with a vengeance- but there is nowhere more beautiful when the sun is shining. They have coincided with the lambing season and I’m glad to hear that the children have become friendly with the next generation of farmers who are now running the old family estate of Llanfendigaid and are actually helping to bottle feed the new born lambs. Sadly I can no longer visit Bwlch Uchaf as there is a very steep flight of steps up to the front door and other steps on the ground floor which would require ramping. In any event, even if we overcame those obstacles, we have none of our special lifting equipment there which makes life bearable at this end.
Continuing my reminiscences about Easters past, I recall one year being in Cooper Pedy, in Southern Australia. If I tell you that it was 1000 Miles North of Woomera, from whence the Australians tested and fired their areospace rockets, you can believe why is known affectionately as ‘the Bugger All’. Anyway we were in Cooper Pedy, at Easter, on an opal mining expedition (but that’s another story). Most of the miners, many of whom were refugees from justice, lived in caves, underground or carved into the hillside. There were only two sets of buildings above ground and they were occupied by two different families, who nine years earlier, had fallen out and had since refused to speak to each other.
On this particular Easter some missionaries came to take an Easter service at the request of one of the families, one of the lady missionaries playing a foot operated organ. We were invited to the service and happily accepted. However, the moment the poor lady started pumping her foot pedal, and playing the first hymn, the other family turned on their gramophone, opened their windows and play their music as loudly as they could in order to disrupt the service. How crazy is that? Two families living hundreds of miles from their nearest neighbour, who loathed each other so much that they couldn’t even bear the other family having an Easter service. Not exactly in the true spirit of the Easter message!