Monday, 12 February 2018


Yesterday found us in Thaxted again where we experienced bright wintry sun, hail, snow and ice. I think everyone is ready for spring now. I got chatting to the lovely woman in the flower shop in Highgate village who told me she’d had a surprising run on tulips. “People are fed up with winter.” She explained.

We had a very lovely time in Thaxted. I hadn’t seen the parents since Christmas, so it was fabulous to be back in front of an open fire, putting the world to rights. At one point we were talking about my Dad’s work as a WEA lecturer. WEA stands for the Workers’ Educational Association, and it was set up so that older people could continue to challenge and educate themselves, within their own communities, by attending lectures on a smorgasbord of subjects by visiting specialists. My Dad is an historian and lectures on a variety of things including the hell-raising, Boudicca. His work takes him around Suffolk, Rural Essex and Cambridgeshire, and, therefore, those who attend his lectures tend to be old, white and middle class. Imagine his surprise, therefore, when he was sent on a course to spot the early warning signs of people who have been radicalised! I just love the idea of a 90 year old Grannie thinking “If I’m gonna go and blow up some infidels, I better learn terrorism Boudicca-style!”’

We had a lengthy discussion about the amazing recent advances in medical science. Apparently there’s work being done in the field of cancer which could save my generation. That would be nice. We’ve been forgotten by everyone else! We talked about other diseases. They’re kicking HIV to touch. The conversation, however, ended in hysterical laughter when my Mum chipped in with: “and there was something about Alzheimer’s... but I can’t remember what it was...”

We were visited by my cousin Simon’s daughter and step daughter in the late evening. They were taking a very early flight to Badapest from Stansted, so came to stay the night with my parents because they live so close to the airport. I’ve always been highly fond of both girls. They’re such witty, well-mannered, well-bought up people, and their relationship with each other is inspiring. They are so close. They’re now 22 and 23. How many step sisters would be so fond of each other that they decide to go on holiday together as adults?

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