Saturday, December 14
As we walked to the pub this morning, the lane echoed with laughter. The girls had decided to take the wheelbarrow, to bring back the heavy sewing machine they are borrowing, but on the way there they insisted Martin and Stephen should take it in turns to give them a ride. With lots of shrieks and yelps first Anna then Jane each had a go, collapsing into the barrow, their legs sticking out, looking most ungainly. But I declined, as I was carrying a basket with potted meat and two pheasants.
When it’s dry we can cut across the fields and hop over the stiles, but we couldn’t very well do that with a wheelbarrow, so we walked up the lane to the main road, noticing how heavy with berries the holly is this year. That means a hard winter, Martin said, but I think it’s another sign that it was a good summer as everything fruited well in the end.
We exchanged our goods for eggs and vegetables at the pub and also trout. I was surprised to find them at this time of year, but they’ve come from the well stocked fish ponds the other side of the village. It will make a welcome change for our supper tonight and will be easy to cook.
But there was less happy news too. David Henderson, chairman of the Parish Council, told us that he and his wife Stella now have a lodger, a young friend from Guildford, who arrived during the week. He cycled all the way, bringing only a few possessions but no food at all. He told them the town is no longer safe. He has not seen his neighbours for some time and suspects they may have perished, waiting in their homes for the crisis to be resolved. The only people he’s seen were those breaking into houses and shops searching for anything to eat. Stephen was with us when we heard this, but Jane and Anna were being shown how to use the sewing machine and I don’t want them to know.
And now, the girls have set up a sewing table in the sitting room and are happily learning how to use it. My hens tried harder today and laid three eggs.