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Deuteronomy 312/84: 'Freedom' Begins ... Week 1 to April 4th .....

…. and this is Easter Week with Maundy Money in the post again from HM The Queen ….. we looked back to what was afoot in 2020 as the first Lockdown just got into its stride …. it was certainly not a time for the hope or optimism we now have this year … writing in the Daily Telegraph this week the former Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, reminds us it is essentially a Christian festival of joy and hope for the future whilst the present incumbent has a message for sharing wealth more evenly across society here we go …..
Heat wave in Milton welcomes end of Lockdown! It was always going to be a significant day, Monday March 29th. Covid19 Regulations forthwith permit two households to meet outdoors other than as chance might dictate during exercising. So as had been well harbingered a barbecue was prepared at 12.30pm for the household from The Manor hosted by us The Lodgers. It was a splendid reawakening of Avril's catering skills and the prissy barbecue device did not disappoint after its hibernation. The occasion was marked by draining a bottle of Cava and the consumption of substantial burgers. No Aussie beetroot was included but the legendary Taylor's Mustard of Newport Pagnell, in date, was available. Henry and Elliot, now of course on three weeks vacation after 1.5 weeks back f2f at Wellingborough, received their individual M&Ms entitlement of 6. [Talk about the Rule of 6!] Chocolate Brownies had also been especially prepared by the Chef which included a hidden wee Egg.

Freedom Day 2 saw most welcome Travellers - no less than 150 miles each way in Mathew's spanking new silver grey Skoda. They left at 8am and arrived catching me out on a Blindwells ZOOM from 10.30 - but I was unmissed in the excitements. It was the Ilkley muster with news of front line Primary School teaching and Online Nottingham University studies; Kathryn and Frankie looked well on it and were more than up to the challenge of Inaugural Raising of The Lodge Gazebo. Fresh croissants were available with coffee and luncheon was either Veggie Quiche or Pork Pie all taken with fine salads and non-alcoholic drinks. Taylor's mustard was again available but beetroot chutney seemed the preference. Dessert was Clementine Hot Cross Bun Pudding with Lemon Curd and Birds Custard. The fine weather continued all day with temperatures reaching 25C for report when Bryan and Anne called from Canada with their news. Their and Joan's second jabs are all scheduled this week before Easter.
Day Three quiet: Spot of Gardening and Shopping. Maureen from Ilkley had kindly sent Avril a basket of flowering Peace Lilies, Kalanchoes, Mini Roses and Variegated Ivy. So my role for the big day April 1st was the go hunting for Budding Irises and a Mauve-ish bouquet at which, with the help of Tesco, I was successful - bringing Arum Lilies, Roses, Chrysanthemums and Eucalyptus Leaves. [I also made ready for the Easter Stir Fry, one of Avril's favourites for her birthday supper after tea at The Manor House.] The sun continued to shine ….

April 1st is the Birthday of course. It's a busy Freedom Week as Avril celebrates as do we all. Myriad callers … Carol and Sylvia and Marian and the letterbox a flutter as cards dropped through … The Manor House agreed to provide tea and some good tucker - a Gluten Free Pear Brownie Cake! For a happy gift there was also a pair of distinguished warmer slippers and some flowers - incidentally the same selection as I myself had given! Mathew and family had already brought gifts which are pictured including a customised photo-jigsaw from Australia - no beetroots visible; and Kathryn's craftwork hangs at the Porch! My 'other' gift was two books - Life in the 1940s and Life in the 1950s. Grandchildren agog at how we even survived!

Good Friday was quiet again... … and the weather deteriorated. Forecasts are all telling of below zero and the grass had a hoar frost as we awoke.... temperatures with an icy blast coming from the polar areas ….
Easter Saturday was for Eggs and Simnel Cake makers. I'd been fretting for a fortnight to get Julian, the family's big marzipan eater, to make a Simnel Cake for Easter. He failed but Laura did us proud with a dozen cupcake style as we took Eggs to the Big House including the two Fabergιs I had stock piled from Museums Collection. Three went to the granddaughters in Ilkley! We gained two rabbits to add to kind gifts from Carol and Sylvia. But then it was off on our Easter Mystery Tour - no, not an Egg Hunt, a fruitless hunt for Banbury Cakes in Banbury no less and a visit to Aldi in Lactodorum to purchase well advertised Greek White Assyrtiko wine and our Sunday lunch - no, not rabbit, lamb. It was a great excursion and the sun shone despite the forecasts. News from Edmonton was that the three oldies had been invited to a splendid Saturday Easter Turkey Lunch at Christopher's apartment and the sun had shone on his patio so that had added even more to the occasion.

Sunday was Oakham Day. It started with two boiled eggs for breakfast! Then we had wanted to head north to see Pamela who's having more than her share of ailments; but after phone calls aplenty it was adjusted 3.30 to Amanda and Nick with his bubble mother Julie next door to the Noel Arms. It was a great visit with all the right social distancing for a cup of tea ….. and Pamela called on the video phone. Amanda and Nick have their first booked wedding in August for 120 guests and an early 12 people family holiday in Sardinia if they get the green light! Just like Julian and Laura they feel the urge to quit the country. Nick is now reconciled to a Big Brexit Family Party with Dover Soles OK if they are fished on the English side of the La Manche.

So as can be easily imagined we got home too late for Sunday lunch; and Edmonton phoned at 7/8pm with all the latest including more Oilers victories on the ice. So we had home topped pizza for supper and some of that Greek white wine. Many happy memories of Cyprus and mainland Pelion not to mention Australia. Then it was Line of Duty on tv. A murder yes, but a quiet end to a great first week of Freedom with no less than five 'garden' parties of six or less outdoors as they say! It was good to learn from our Grandparental WhatsApp that Sunday lunch did arrive in Ilkley and that Maureen was with them in their bubble; and all was good in Edmonton!
…. and so to business! 'Community Enterprise' Chat! Well then, First Freedom Day started at 9.30am with a chat on the phone with Douglas Westwater of Community Enterprise Scotland. His job was to interrogate me on our Adapt and Thrive application for £75,000 towards the Covid19 Recovery of the Battle Trust - in the newly leased Town Hall and on the newly realised Digital Dimension. He's now knocked it into better shape and reduced the ask to £45,000, and it will then go to the Assessors to determine whether not not we get a result. Second along was Zooming with Hargreaves at Blindwells to get the Red Box finalised and to get Gareth rolling with some visuals. Seemed to go well with the intriguing news that Hargreaves are planning a quarterly NewsLetter at the site and we'll have the opportunity to feed in Heritage News items as it goes along - if we get access to the PR company he's intending to use for the task. Three street names have seemingly arrived unexpectedly so the agreed discussions with Sharon Saunders and Douglas Proudfoot only two weeks ago seem not to be happening nor the use of the Gaelic! Arran crafted a goodly list which I sent off smartly to the individual at ELC who is seemingly responsible. ELC's Town Hall Decision Making Grinds to a Halt? Our own Heads of Agreement re Prestonpans Town Hall evidently require referral to higher authority than our present discussants so doubt was cast over agreeing to a May 1st Start Date. By Friday I had myself immersed in PSG's Application for support as we reopen the Town Hall with a first draft at form filling …. We'll see how all these run next week when work resumes at ELC …..
Time to check out the Spring Gardens too. For Good Friday after a breakfast with a hot cross bun I turned attention to the flowers in the garden. The weather has become rather cold again after the heat wave Monday/ Tuesday and the magnolia could well see a touch of fatal frost.... but there was much to capture on camera. The magnolia's coming out just as a frost is threatened; there's forsythia aplenty and tulips; the heather's very proud as is Avril's blackthorn …… and yes, not least the prolific Anemones Blanda and Snake's Head Fritillaries.

Published Date: March 29th 2021

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