Today was my first trip outside sinceÂ 16 November, when I last went to the golf club. Â Dr Julian Critchlow, my good friend and joint literary executor and his his solicitor partner, and also my good friend, Simon Tolson and wife Charlotte, all drove up from London to very kindly give me lunch at Jamie Oliver’s dad’s pub, The Cricketers, next door. Julian’s partner, Lucy, who get on very well with Alice, was also supposed to come but sadly was in bed with a fever. My other joint literary executor, a solicitor and poet extraordinaire, James Snowdon Barnett joined us from Newbury, Hampshire Â and’ my lovely’ made up the numbers.
I was wheel-chaired to the pub which is probably just as well as we had an elegant sufficiency of champagne and wine and one great advantage about being in a wheelchair is you cannot fault flat on your face!
It was a very jolly lunch and the food was excellent and. Jamie had been inspired to write a Betjeman-esque poem about his visit today. (Reproduced below) .Â It was inspired by an event which happened some years ago. A gang of us who, since time immemorial, have occupied the front row left of the Warner Stand at Lord’s, started meeting for a Christmas lunch in Paddington. You can imagine they were rather liquid affairs. On this particular occasion, around four o’clock, I decided I’d had enough as the boys were then beginning to get stuck into the port. I went to Paddington Station and got on the Circle line. The carriage was warm and comfortable and I nodded off only to wake up having been around the entire Circle line once and ending up five stops past Liverpool Street where I needed to get off. You can imagine the boys didn’t let me forget that for some time and it was the memory of this journey with no end (being on the Circle line) and the fact that our nearest railway station is called Audley End which prompted James to write the following?.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â At Audley End
For my very good friend, Professor D. Mark Cato. (My emphasis)
I ignore Ugley and its Ugly Green
Little and Great Chesterford hold nothing for me
I have traversed through Catmore End
and those other Ends at Shaffonhoe and Duddenoe
But for me there remains only Frog End
So near (mere hairâ€™s breadth from Shepreth)
Snow End, Green End, Mill End, Wood End,
and even (may I add) Catmore End
tread little on my sorely traversed soles
Are there no ends to Ends?
Having written that Jamie reminded me that this was our 39th. year of friendship. The 25th. I recorded on an engraved glass as follows:
As we grow older
And pleasures are harder to obtain
We should savour more
Those few who thankfully remain
It was lovely to see Charlotte again with Simon and they were both on extremely good form. They went off after lunch and Julian, who always enjoys a good cigar, came back to the house where we were allowed to smoke by an open window in the breakfast room. All in all a very happy day.
.After a telephone call, in the earlier part of the day, with dear Jo (Sassons), my MND coordinator-having returned to work two days week after having her baby-she suggested increasing my nightly Difenac painkillers to two 75 m.g plus two 500 mg. Panalgesics. This seemed to do the trick and dull the pain of my stiff joints so I got a good night’s sleep.