We met by the weir, where the stream tumbles under the Mill Road bridge. It was a lovely day for a reunion meal. To the east, the Chilterns in summer haze, embraced thousands of acres of Aylesbury vale; to the south, a mile away, Oxfordshire farm land: dairy fields yellow with buttercups. And in the pub garden, where we met, great, hollow, pollarded willows. I have mentioned this place before https://lleweton.wordpress.com/2011/07/03/heart-of-england/
This was a meeting with friends from our Finchley days, which I mentioned briefly in my post of last Saturday. Those who have read Mrs Llew’s site ‘The Fanshawe Flyer’ may recognise them http://www.fanshawe-flyer.co.uk/ .They are ‘Lord and Lady Dollis’ and the ‘Greatest Living Fund’ raiser, veterans all of us of great campaigns to fight off developers’ threats to the leafy London borough which we loved. We knew each other when our children were very young and before one of them, indeed, was born. Now they are all grown up and graduated and long moved on. How we rushed around. What comradeship there was.
And still is, as we enjoyed the views and (some of us) wondered at the agility of a small boy who clambered down the steep stream bank and paddled in the stream, bent low, searching for something, his hands exploring the flowing current: a trout, maybe?
And we went for a walk, or at least some of us did. Others with the assistance of Lord D’s car made it to the church, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shabbington quite lovely in the sunlight, near a stile to a footpath across a field of cattle which led back to the pub. Two of us could not possibly have got over that stile. That’s a difference which 40 years makes.
And so we look back and I wonder and hope: and I pray that the lives of all us, those we have known, those now dead who remain utterly alive in our dreams, those who have had reason to dislike us and those who have been our foes, and our families will be blessed, made whole, renewed and reconciled at this Whitsuntide.