A Second Message from the Master
A Second Message from the Master
Prince Charles was right when he said in his message of hope, “None of us can say when this will end, but end it will”. The 1918-20 flu pandemic, known as the Spanish Flu, came to an end as did the Asian Flu of 1957 and the Hong Kong Flu of 1968. We will get back to normal as flu history has told us.
Bridget and I are holed up in our new downsizing house, very strange from an ancient timber-framed Kent farmhouse. Will I ever get used to it! Just moved before the lockdown. We have dustsheets as curtains as we can’t go out for non-essential goods. Apart from COVID-19, the potential of killing myself is quite high given each evening I’m standing on a chair trying to hitch sheets over the curtain poles… We left half our furniture behind as these modern boxes will not take large items and we have chests and wrapping everywhere – Christmas present opening has nothing on this. Also, these toy houses have drylined hollow walls with water pipes and electricity cables behind. I have a wall scanner that glows red all time. Hey ho, I can’t wait to bang nails in. What’s worse, it is plumbed with microbore pipes – dreadful stuff. Never buy a house with it! I am certain to rip it out.
The garden is tiny, smaller than a postage stamp. Not to have 12 acres to look after is fabulous. No sitting on a mower all day and spending time cutting hedges – even with help. Now a management company looks after the front garden – lovely. I have to say the new garden behind the house looks like a salvage yard – my empty WBC Hives stacked up (I still have some live at Saltwood Castle), a large Victorian garden roller, empty clay pots, benches, galvanised watering cans (would I ever have plastic!) and all sorts of garden paraphernalia brought down from the big ‘ouse. I only need a pair of scissors to cut the green patch. Although there will be a slight problem of trying to get up again. Now, talking of plastic. This is a plastic house – plastic windows, facia and soffits, guttering and downpipes. No maintenance! The plastic looks ‘orrid and when the spring sun hits the shiny surface there are all manner of creaks as it twists and turns. At least it is a warm house. But there is something unsatisfactory about not having a fireplace. I will install one. The old inglenook was lovely, and I miss it, even though I stood in front of it with my front burning and my back freezing, turning occasionally for a roasting. It was real heat.
The other downsize is the size – it’s a smaller house, but only one less bedroom. Being gated means we can’t hide from each other. At least in the big ‘ouse we could escape. This now presents the third potential for a killing, apart from the chair and a dustsheet, et al. Was it the Master Plumber in the library?
It was necessary in our time of life for a move. It can never be done too soon. It’s like mobility scooters. People always get them too late and wished they had them earlier. Just like Bridget’s mother in St Mawes. But that was a long time ago. The real reason for moving was for me to be within walking distance of a station – now 6mins away – so I could travel up to Livery events and take a tipple or two, without having to drive back. Ironically, I have nothing to go to!
It is reassuring we sold the old ‘ouse to a lovely family, a relative of Past Master Rodney Cartwright. It is a lovely house for a family and not for a couple rattling around like lost souls. At least they can wonder all over the land, ride on mowers and have fun during the lockdown.
We all should have fun during this time of quarantine. Both Bridget and I are having fun unpacking and deciding where our chattels are going. Unfortunately, my collection of jelly moulds has been relegated to the attic – or do these toy houses have lofts? But the decanters are in regular use!
Finally, Past Master Eric Stary has a request. If there are any Liverymen who, through their businesses, presently have unused stocks of personal protective equipment (masks, gloves etc.) please do consider donating them to your nearest NHS Hospital where they will be really welcomed.
All of you take care, be safe. Bridget and I very much look forward to seeing you in the future.
Until the next instalment of everyday country folk.