On the 16th of January 2021, Ziggy just looked at Kate and said, “a long time ago, when I was coming back to my house from nursery, granny and grandpa came and I was super happy!” Ah, those were the times. Wilfred, Margot and Ziggy have all started proper school.
We’ve not travelled this year. Heather and I have made it as far as Southwold with Jo, Ben, Wilfred and Margot, and Centre Parcs Longleat with Kate, Pedro and Ziggy. We’ve done some day trips to Beaulieu and the New Forest. We have our excuses all lined up, of course. We were in lockdown until June. We were awaiting Jo to have her baby in September. (Hurray for Bertie!) So there just wasn’t much by way of opportunity.
We went to see Christina Jackson in Nottingham for a delicious homemade lunch. We spent an afternoon with Pippa Tarrant. We had dinner with Lindsey Scotney and Tony. Ray and Betsy Eisenberg stayed for a few days. We saw Coryn Thompson at Shoreham on Sea for a great lunch. We had various neighbours, a very few at a time, over during lockdown to share nibbles. Lindy Hamilton-Beazely keeps Heather going to Knit and Stitch. Siobhan Quigley and Martin Rands had special birthdays. We’ve been to Christmas at Kew. We’ve done a few things to keep us busy. And we won a lottery – a meal at Tavolino and tickets to The Book of Dust – thanks to the Orange Tree Theatre.
Next year, we are hoping to see Valentina Lallai, our ex-lodger, in Sardinia, attend a party in Toronto (with side trips in Pennsylvania and southern Ontario), and see Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Fingers crossed! We’d also like to fit in the painting of our exterior and an overhaul of our now rather tired garden.
Asides? In November of 2021, Dancho Tanvez has moved in as our new lodger. We’ve known Dancho for many years and we think he will fit in well. Elmo adores him, always a good sign. Jo, Ben and Pedro are all in the same roles but Kate has a new job – and she likes it. Bennet Kopp spent a month or so at the Royal Hospital School and he might not have recovered from it yet! Ziggy hero-worships Bennet.
There’s been sadness too. I’d met John Flowers Senior at FAO Rome in 1976 – I was in awe of his massive handshake, his Bostonian accent and his brain – and we liked his wife, Pam and two kids. Thanks to John Junior for the last goodbye. Jim Purdy from Toronto is gone – we’d shared many happy years with Anne-Marie Jackson and their children. Jim Hayat and I had drifted apart – but it hit me still when his daughter contacted me. And the saddest of all, my brother Bill lost a child, Cameron, at 21 years old. Words escape me, I cannot imagine.
I’d like to recommend a book by Robert D Kaplan, Good American: The Epic Life of Bob Gersony, the U.S. Government’s Greatest Humanitarian. We know Tony Jackson and Rose-Marie who played leading roles in Bob’s life. I am humbled by all of them.
And, yes, I am still loving my Alfa Romeo Giulia Lusso Ti. 🙂
All the best to you,
Heather Brach and John Samuel
ps we’ll be distributing electronically as much as possible and sending to charities