September 8, 2003 (From my journal)
I’ve said I’ll write what comes to me. It has to be uncritical or there will be nothing. I feel nevertheless that I have something to say. Since I last wrote I have had two more hernia operations and have hardly ridden my bike into the country. Tonight was different. Back along the Phoenix Trail (the old railway) , the first time for months. Glorious, golden September evening, cows suckling their young. It has been a very hot, dry summer and the pastures are golden too. Surprised the cows can find anything to graze on. I sat on the wall over the stream at Towersey. Many rabbits in the mown field. Rabbit holes along the old railway track. Some corn poppies still in bloom. Small, hard, ripening blackberries everywhere. There still seems to be a tradition of blackberrying around here. Daisy, an old lady born and bred in Thame, now in her eighties I think, whom I drive home from the day centre, said that when she was young the children used to go out collecting mushrooms and blackberries at this time of year. They sold them to their neighbours and their mother put the money into a jar on the mantelpiece. When the time for Thame Show came Daisy’s mum shared the money among the children to spend. Christmases were fun too, said Daisy, with her mother hiding the Christmas tree in the outside lavatory until Christmas Eve. They were very happy times. In Nelson Street there was a poultry market and the building which is now a theatre was then a chapel.