Tuesday 18th August.

Mother’s 88th birthday went very well despite there being lots of potential flashpoints.

We, or rather ma, Basil and me, were supposed to go to the Tilgate curryhouse for lunch with dad fending for himself (dad would probably rather eat out of a dustbin than have money wasted eating out). The idea was ma would not have to cook, but when I got up she was already making enough meatballs to feed four, and had the potatoes ready to boil, and opened a tin tin of beans.

It turned out for the best. Basil took dad for a bloodtest, June came to wish ma happy birthday, and Linda came to clean. Once I’d opened the birthday champagne and we had drunk it, time was getting on, and my offer to cook the meatballs was for the best, and accepted. I added a few more potatoes, used an already opened cook-in sauce, and put the beans away. It was the smallest meal the four of us had ever sat down to! But it worked very well.

In the early evening we did go for the curry. Ma loved it, so it was worth every penny.

Wednesday 19th August.

In the morning I took washing to the laundrette and then pegged it out. Basil picked damsons, tidied up the redcurrants, and let dad ‘help’.

After a ma cooked curry for lunch Basil drove me to Bexleyheath to visit Marion-Jane and her tribe. It was an interesting journey, and a good experience, the only bad thing being mostly the result of google route description. I have just looked at the Travel Direct site, and the description is not only far better, but shows that the google version was plain wrong.

Marion (the name I knew her as at primary school) was home with her two youngest boys, Alex and Oliver, who I think are 11 and 14. Marion took us all to the pub, where there was a bit of showing off and being silly, but the boys did not seem too embarrassed by their mother.

After that we all went to London. Walked from London Bridge Station to St. Paul’s, via Blackfriars Bridge and the Cockpit. We watched the tide going out and saw a lot of little details.

We then got a Routemaster bus 15 to Covent Garden, where we met Marion’s Nick.

We then went to Chinatown and had food at an all you can eat buffet (the Kowloon). It was lovely to eat in nice company, but I hated the place; and the others felt that way as well by the end. To be fair all you can eat buffets are never going to be my thing, and this one may be as good and bad as all the others round there, and I was getting very tired; but still a place where I think everything but the food was horrible.

We then walked back to Aldwych, where Nick had parked and he drove us back to their place. I was so tired I refused an offer of a stop at a good pub.

I really nice, and very different, day.