November 2nd, 2013



My godmother was on of the few jolly adults in my constrained '50s childhood- and I loved her very much. I hadn't seen her in 40 years and was afraid of finding her diminished, but she has hardly changed at all.  She's greyer and thinner and she walks with sticks; otherwise she's the same person. Imagine a woman of 93 with the effervescence of Olivia Coleman or (if your memory goes back that far) Joyce Grenfell- who doesn't wear glasses, isn't in the least bit deaf, takes no medication of any kind and is willing and able to talk about Paul O'Grady and selfies. I'm as much in awe as I ever was, perhaps more so.


November 5th came early this year. In Winbury yesterday, I think that's the name of the place (we drove through on our way to see my godmother)  they were constructing a huge bonfire on the village green with a view to burning it today. And last night we were sitting peacefully watching Autumnwatch when there was a bang and a rumble and a burst of crimson light. I went out and stood in the rain and watched. Our very rich neighbours must have spent a fortune on the display- and we were getting at least a good a view of it as they were.  It was exhilarating- the bangs very loud- and ricocheting- smack, smack,smack, smack, smack- off any number of nearby surfaces, and the star-bursts filling a third of the sky.

P.S. Winbury? What was I thinking? I took a look at the map and the place is called Newick.