Sunday, April 20, 2008

Tuesday 27th December 1938

Angel wouldn’t get up. Her eyes glittered mischievously and she hung, protesting, onto the bedclothes. I pulled her feet out and tickled the soles with a hairbrush. It was unavailing. When I returned from the bathroom, she was asleep again. I awoke her just before going downstairs. I apologised for my wife’s lateness. Mrs Nixon said, “I heard you both laughing this morning, trying to pull each other out of bed!”
“I was trying to get her out of bed but I couldn’t, although I took the hairbrush to her.” “She’d feel that, if you used the bristles” said Mr Nixon, solemn and twinkling. “Actually, I did use the bristles!”

Left Kinnersley Court about 11 o’clock. A clear, dry, sunny day. “Where shall we go?” we looked around us. Sudden hills loomed to the west. “Let’s go to the Malverns!” We did. Slinky B slunk up through Great Malvern and around the hills – in top gear! Lunch at the British Camp Hotel. I, unconventionally, had bacon and egg.

We climbed to the Camp. Steep green terraces of hill rose far beyond what I, in yesterday’s mist, thought to be the top. Wind roared at us. We went down the slope beyond. Heard hunting cries far off. And then nearer. Saw distant horses and dogs. Began to run towards higher ground. “Look! The fox!” cried Angel. There it was, furtive looking, only twenty paces away! I rushed clumsily to the hill’s crest.
Straggling hounds, noses down, loped by. One pink-coated horseman arrived.
The hunt wound around the base of the hills. Horsemen warily following. We saw dogs, horses and men go carefully down steep hillsides. Horsemen taking a hedge in full flight. And others who went round… The fox got away. He deserved it!

Left the Malverns behind us. Drove on and on. Upton on Severn, Pershore, Evesham, Broadway. Broadway, the famous, fashionable Cotswold village. Search for digs as the light failed. The Broadway Hotel was full, but there was accommodation in the annexe. (“An outhouse or something” I vaguely mis-named it, to the horrified Angel when I returned to her, in the car.) The “Annexe” proved to be a 15th century house across a village green. Delightful blending of old and modern! Central heating. A bedroom at the top of the house, with beams, a quaint port hole window high up, old timber, hot and cold water, a deep soft carpet, a low rail-less bed, carefully shaded electric lights.

Tea at old style St. Patrick’s Tea House, where there were numerous cats. Feeling hungry I had bacon and egg – for the third time today! Angel (sport!) came with me into the games room of a low pub. Only woman there. Bar billiards and rifle shooting.

Back in the warm bedroom and alone. Angel lay stretched out like a cat on the low divan-like bed, looking unfathomably at me whilst I wrote. Lazily she stretched out her hand and signed the postcard I’d written for her. The valet bought a hot water bottle. I went down to post the letters, along the road. She sat in the deep, lower window, curtains drawn behind her. I looked up and waved as I saw her. The bedroom was marvellously warm.


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