At first I didn’t believe it but Thursday’s multiple sightings confirmed my first impressions – the swallows are back. I saw half a dozen or so swooping across the fields and the river as Molly and I trudged our way around the Edgecote estate. No enquiries yet concerning the accommodation we usually make available to them in the garage but I’m sure the estate agents will be bringing some prospective tenants around shortly.
It looks like Spring is going to come after all!
All told we’ve had a pretty decent week – we had some lovely sunny afternoons towards the end of the week along with the occasional fine, sunny start to the day.
Certainly the neighbourhood cats are enjoying the fine weather. Yesterday morning I glanced out the bedroom window into the back garden. There, comfortably resplendent lay two of the neighbourhood cats reclining peacefully in two spots of early morning sunshine in our back garden. One, the feral neighbourhood ginger tom was resting contentedly at the edge of one of the borders and one of the neighbours’ black cats was sleeping peacefully on top of the fence.
In days gone by no cat or other wild creature would venture near our garden (apart from the rat who lives quite comfortably off the proceeds of our compost heap) for fear of being torn limb from limb by any of the ferocious man-eating golden retrievers that have occupied this patch. Molly, unfortunately, has always allowed herself to be bullied by the neighbourhood cats but she would at least have alerted us to their presence and the sheer exuberance of her barking was generally enough to ensure the cats left the premises. Now, I think the cats have worked out that she’s so visually impaired and aurally challenged that she probably doesn’t know they’re there and even if she does she’s in no sort of shape to do anything about it!
Ms Playchute has also been “enjoying” the finer weather we’ve enjoyed at the end of the week by beginning to beat the garden into submission. She pruned, she weeded and she swept. One of the tasks I was delighted to see her undertaking was the pruning and tying back of the roses in the front garden. For a few weeks, at least, I won’t be flayed and shredded as I mow the front lawn.
On Friday Penelope went into town to do a bit of shopping for a “do” we were hosting on Saturday. Mid-afternoon, I suppose it was, she phoned to tell me that her purse had been nicked, she had a stack of shopping for which she was unable to pay and also she had no money to pay for the car park and hence wasn’t even able to get home! What a pain! I confirmed that I would happily come and get her but that I was going to ring round the various credit card companies to get her cards cancelled post-haste.
Fortunately, it took me a while to track down the “lost or stolen card” numbers for the various cards so I had not yet, in fact, contacted the first credit card company when she rang back to say that her purse had been found – she must have dropped it somewhere or it slipped out of her bag and some kind soul had handed it in. Much relief all round!
The “do” for which she was shopping we held last night. We had a few friends over for dinner and marked an occasion that actually took place in early February but the marking of which we’ve only just been able to arrange.
The event itself took place on the afternoon of Thursday 6 February. As it happens, Ben was visiting so we announced that we would be taking him on a mystery tour that afternoon. Bemused, he agreed to accompany us and off we went to Northampton where, in the very posh setting of the County Council Chamber I swore allegiance to Queen and country and became a British citizen.
So, it’s only taken me forty years of living in the UK to get round to it but in future, at least, I won’t have to carry all my previous passports so that the immigration officials can confirm my right to enter the country. I will miss the “VIPP” which they stamp in my US passport whenever I return to this country (I’ve always maintained that it stands for “Very Important Person, Possibly”; in fact, it stands for “Visa in Previous Passport”) but I will not miss spending an hour or so standing in the “odds and sods” queue every time I come through immigration.
Sorry if your invitation to this very special function never arrived. Naturally, the press were all over the occasion, especially those such as the Daily Mail who regularly denounce the “benefit scroungers” and the “feckless foreigners” who flood the country intending to take advantage of the UK’s generous benefits culture. You can download your copy of the invitation here and you can also download and keep a souvenir copy of the Daily Mail’s front page covering the event here.
We’re off to the States next week visiting my folks so there may or may not be any posting next week. In the meantime . . .
Love to you all,