The Goose That Didn't Stir

It’s a hive of activity in the garden today. All the riparian neighbours who live adjacent to the Mill Stream got together to clear the fallen trees, bushes and other debris that have accumulated there over the past couple of years. I wasn’t able to help as I’m still not allowed to do any lifting or major physical work so could only watch the ’workers’. The Canada goose that decided to build her nest on our garden point totally ignored the sound of three or four chainsaws and everything else that was going on right under her nose. But with a polite request from me she reluctantly lifted herself up to show me her seven eggs.

The Mayor of Henley, Jeni Wood, held her spring charity luncheon at the Bell in Hurley last Wednesday. It proved to be quite a lavish affair. I was invited by Annie Hill who hosted a table as the event coincided with Vince’s birthday. The Bell, an old coaching Inn, boasts a wonderful barn, which is where the lunch was held. Among the guests was Olympic medal winner, Debbie Flood, who gave a really uplifting speech about her career and imparted much sound advice to aspiring young rowing hopefuls.

Each table was given the name of a flower – it being a spring affair. ours was called Snowdrop, but Martin, the cartoonist, changed it to Edelwiess in honour of Vince’s hit recording. Everyone on our table – which included Rolf and Alwen Harris, Ian McCorquodale and Bryony Brind, signed it, and it ended up being the prize for the game ‘Heads and Tails’. This game seems to have become a tradition at almost all of the larger Henley Charitable affairs. Here’s Vince with Jeni and Rolf.

Spring is blossoming all over. On one of my daily walks by the river I noticed this beautiful blossom tree right by the lock.

And in the garden the Magnolia Stellata I planted many years ago to blossom at the same time of the year to commemorate the death of my friend Susie is now in full bloom a brightly shining white in the morning sunshine.

It won’t be long before the boats once more come out on the river. My little clinker built wooden dingy, Marsh Midget, was leaking so much at the end of last season that I decided to have it properly repaired over the winter (at great expense, I might add). Trevor the boatman is working on it and you can see the work that has been done so far on her bottom. To twist the mahogany  boards into the right shape is a real art.

But on the other side of the boat the rotten planks have been cut away in readiness for the new ones. I’ve set a deadline of Easter for the job to be finished but am not holding my breath that this will be achieved. Anyway I’m still not sure whether I’ll be able to row by that time. As I have an appointment with Mr Ladas, the lung surgeon, in London next Wednesday perhaps he will be able to let me know the score then.

Yesterday Val took me to the Henley Bowling Club’s opening evening. I signed up for four of the events, so come May 2nd should be bowling once again. As the coaches told me last year that I tended to do everything too fast maybe the fact that I will, by necessity, have to take it a bit easier, will improve my game.

Tomorrow is the ‘Handing-in Day’ at the Royal Academy in London. I’m entering my ‘Les Tres Heures’ painting and the pencil drawing I’ve entitled ‘Le Derriere de Joceline’.