Still on the theme of memories, it seems. Mrs Llew and I have been reading her diaries of our life and the life of our family for 2002. I looked up my journal for this month 10 years ago …
February 15, 2002
By bike with old friend J. to Long Crendon, Cuddington, Haddenham, Towersey and back to town. We were often alone on the road. J. repaired bike chain as bullocks looked on. Green patchwork of undulating land across to distant Chilterns. Snowdrops by wayside. Thatched Cuddington pub has the massive walls and brown decor of age. Table near fireplace, which was the size of a box room, was reserved, as it turned out, for domino players. Three cheers for loyalty, Fullers beer superb. I thought duck and bacon open sandwich OK though short on bread. J. thought they weren’t worth £5 each. How lovely is this English countryside. May God preserve it from the forces of Tabset (i.e. urban nanny state Labour-voting bossyboots). Bucks and Oxon seem to know how to look after themselves. Wonderful artificial ponds formed from brook through small valley below Long Crendon church. Wanted to plunge into them and swim. Seemed to be part of the grounds of what looked like the old vicarage. Carpet of snowdrops on slope to water. Many well tended graves, some very recent, poignant in this green paradise.
February 6, 2002
High winds, great purple clouds but the landscape and verges radiant in sunlight. Cycled to Aston Sandford church. A small, weatherbeaten gravestone caught my eye. Spring flowers grew under it and the grave was recently tended. I discerned the date ‘88 on it and at first thought the grave was over 100 years old. Then I realised that it was the grave of a two- year-old child who had died in 1988. Left there since Christmas was a teddy bear made of artificial pine needles. He had fallen on to his nose. I leant him upright against the stone.. Clumps of daffodils ready to bloom about the churchyard.
On to the railway station to check the car parking fees. Fresh young cow parsley carpeting the verges; juicy spinach-like cuckoo pint leaves springing up; cows in field they had turned into a sea of mud. Several fields of sheep. Back into town by way of the wool staplers. Many of the water meadows were flooded reflecting the blue of the sky.