I am glad to see everything turning out so well for Jill. To get first prize in a dressmaking competition is a
terrific achievement and I'm feeling very proud of her. To start with, of course, Amy went round giving everyone the
impression that Jill had won a fortune, not to mention a cruise or two. However, the prize turned out to be an electric
sewing machine and a tailor's dummy and we all came back down to earth with a bump. One thing I must ask her to do is
to turn up my new curtains. Now Hugh's so much better, I think we'll soon be able to get back to the cottage.
But first, there's several little jobs I'd like to see done. The curtain material is beautiful ... a red-wine coloured
satin and really heavy. It should, by rights, have cost a fortune but I got it from one of those back street bits-and-pieces
shops and although not exactly cheap, I think I got off pretty lightly. While I was in the place, I just couldn't
resist buying a pair of 'elephant' book-ends for Hugh. They're made of onyx and I think possibly, quite old. Anyway,
I know how Hugh likes that sort of thing and after a little bargaining, they only cost me eight pounds fifty.
A bit of glamour and excitement for a change. A well known pop group (whose name I have sworn not to mention) are
with us for two days. Naturally, I was a little apprehensive about it to start with, after all the things one hears
about travelling bands. My faith, however, is now restored. A nicer bunch of lads you couldn't wish to meet and
they kept us entertained for hours last night with their stories and chatter. Mind you, it is a hard grind and for many
of them, not very well paid. Being 'on the road' though, must be a life all of its own. Even so, I must say I
think I personally would have preferred the more sedate circus or fairground tours of yesteryear to madly dashing up and down
the motorways of Great Britian.
This really seems to be the week for frightening stories. Hard on the heels of the flu epidemic comes the possibility
of rabies. I heard on the radio today that the disease is becoming a big problem abroad and the only reason it hasn't
reached us yet is because we're surrounded by water. Unfortunately, it seems that many people coming into this
country are being very silly and hiding their pets as they go through customes in order to escape the six months quarantine.
I know six months is a long time to wait, but surely the consequences of avoiding it are quite dreadful. Before long
we'll be back to those black old days when it wasn't safe for small children to play with dogs.
I had a phone call from Diane, this afternoon. She seems to be enjoying herself on her uncle's farm - or should
I say, market garden - and to be quite honest, I couldn't find it in my heart to begrudge her a minute of it. The combination
of hard work and fresh air must be nature's number one tonic. That's not to say, of course, that I don't miss having
her around the Motel. Good staff are always hard to find and I wouldn't willingly have seen Diane leave us for all the
tea in China. But then, if Hugh's suggestion of turning her uncle's farm into a market garden comes up trumps, Crossroads
may yet benefit from the move. From our point of view, (and from just about anyone else's too, I would imagine) food
prices have become almost impossible to keep up with. Therefore, what could be better than an arrangement whereby we
have cheaper and fresher food direct from the grwoer and in return, we help them get on their feet. Of course,
they'll probably have to rely on the good old bank manager to get them over the first hurdle, but I've always found that with
good ideas and reasonable security, banks are only too ready to assist.
Talking of good, I had a fine old time this evening. Much against my better judgement, a few days ago I was pushed
into helping Jill run a kid's party. Well, tonight was the night and talk about all go. It only lasted three
hours but at the end of it I felt as though I'd been through a food mixer. There seemed to be jelly and blancmange everywhere
- on the walls, under the cushions and I kept thinking to myself that surely sixteen children shouldn't really be making that
much noise. But there's something so charmingly innocent in thei eager young faces and I must admit that I felt the
odd pang or two as memories came flooding back over the years, not so long ago, when Sandy and Jill were having their first
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