26 June 2011
As forecast today was a real heat wave. I went into the garden in my electric wheelchair wearing my shorts and even sat in the sun for half an hour without my shirt. I cannot overdo the sun these days as I find I have far less tolerance for it than I did when I was really fit. 56 years ago, when I was living in Aden -then a British Protectorate, now part of the Yemen-when all of my friends and colleagues were sleeping off the heat of the afternoon sun in their air-conditioned bedrooms, I used to lie on the flat roof of my apartment in temperatures up to 100Â°F, I couldn’t stand the air conditioning. Talk about ‘Mad dogs of Englishmen out in the midday sun ‘),However, a small dose of vitamins D will no doubt have done me a great deal of good.
We had our good friends Lucy and Julian Critchlow to lunch. They could not have chosen a more perfect day, the hottest day of the year so far. Of course, we had lunch in the garden and then back into the shade in the afternoon. A very relaxing day for all of us, particularly Lucy and Julian who both work extremely hard and I’m sure were glad of the timeout from their daily toil. Julian, very generously bought a fine bottle of champagne. I am getting rather embarrassed by the fact that almost everyone who comes to see me seems to have to feel constrained to bring something with them. Certainly one better than the traditional bunch of grapes when one is in hospital but really unnecessarily generous in my present state. That is not to say that the odd bottle of champagne is not always a welcome gift.
Today was the occasion of the annual Clavering Show and, in a last-minute rush around the garden, ‘my lovely’ found half a dozen beautiful blooms to submit in the rose category. The problem is that everything is earlier this year and most of the roses were past their best. However,. she was delighted to learn that she had, for the third year running, won second prize for her single rose. The Â£2 prize was, of course, offered to Peter, the gardener, who gallantly refused to take the money.
I had a catch up call from my darling Chloe whilst dad and the boys were in their garden having a barbecue. She told me that little Lara had won the academic prize for her year. This means that all three of them, in their turn have achieved this degree of excellence in their primary school although, Lara actually beat the boys inasmuch as she got there in her first year. Fred, has clearly settled down in his ‘big school’, achieving all A’s or ‘starred A’s in his end of term examinations. Not to be outdone, Sebastien, the middle 10-year-old, won the mathematics prize with 27 out of a maximum of 28 marks in his end of term examination.
We are extremely fortunate in having such bright little grandchildren but I put much of this down to the efforts of their parents in the early year’s helping them to get started on reading and writing but by no means pressuring them irin any way, in fact, almost the opposite. This was exactly the point I was trying to make to the Prime Minister about mentoring. Giving youngsters the right start in life is desperately important and has absolutely nothing to do with so-called poverty, just caring parents who are prepared to spend a little time with their children, in the early, days instead of plonking them down in front of the television.