Sunday, 9 March 2014


I didn't get up and do my canal walk yesterday. Instead I went into town to return and renew some Westminster library books, since I won't be working in Westminster any more and may not have them on me next time I wander through on the way elsewhere.

Today I went to Streatham Cemetery (which is in Tooting, just to be contrary) and later Kew.

The cemetery is looking nice, although some of the trees came down in the high winds and rain we've had and have damaged a few gravestones. We (that is to say the Friends of Streatham Cemetery, of which I am a very lax member who doesn't even go to meetings, but does occasionally sell tea and cake on open days) have finally got the back gate fixed, and hopefully will eventually be able to persuade Wandsworth Council there is a call for it to be opened most of the day (at the moment it will only be open when the friends are seeing to the beehives, which is only a couple of hours a day, and obviously that limits how much local people can rely on it being open).

There's a real need, because it's a green space in an area where a lot of people don't have gardens, and it's safer as well - kids can come in and practice cycling before going on the proper roads, and it's a pleasant short cut to the bus route, instead of going a mile out of your way along quite busy streets. So if the council can be persuaded and the custodian hold a duplicate key and open it up during daylight hours it would be a big plus.

Kew was also good but the orchid exhibition was terribly crowded. My youngest aunt and I went to see that specifically, breaking her general rule that you should never go to see any exhibition in its last or first week because it's always terribly crowded. Also £10.90 for tea in a paper cup and 2 slices of cake is daylight robbery, even when I'm not the one forking out for it (and of course we were breaking my general rule of never buying food in tourist traps. See post on Paris). My treat next time, when we will hopefully have The Boy (my cousins 4 year old) with us again.

Which sort of segues me on to schools. When I first went to school I was 5 and 3 months. Not the eldest child but not the youngest. I'm not exaggerating when I say I was the only child able to read at all, and that because my mother had taught me.  The Boy is 4 years and 9 months, started school in September, and is already expected to read 3 letter words. Not his mother's expectation (although she's doing her best to ensure it now it's flagged up) - the school's.

He's at a private school - because his father wanted it and is paying fees, but it's still quite odd, isn't it, that he's expected to be reading 6 months before many of my contemporaries had checked out the alphabet?

At least he's not on the terrible billy blue hat, johnny yellow hat books his mother was on at first though. I remember thinking I'd never have bothered to learn to read myself if they'd tried to get me interested in that tripe.

Mr Men, that's what you need, and Snoopy, and the Puffin.. hmm, I think I feel a trip to the Waterstones website coming on.

Also, here is a photo I took of the Kew shop:

I was wondering - are orchids meant to be hung upside down to grow?

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