September - two weeks since lift-off!
Good Lord! I mean Heavens to Betsy! What a reception in only two weeks. I am astounded and very happy with all your friendly messages, full of good wishes and kind words of happy memories and much laughter. There’s one BUT: Daniel from Yorkshire hopes to meet me in Heaven. Thanks Daniel, but there’s no rush! I have no plans to go anywhere at the moment, not even to Liverpool, Italy, America or China, though I thank you all for your kind invitations – I’ll be in touch if I’m coming your way.
I’m too busy at home to go away. I plan to tell you about some of my doings and the doings of old pals like Elisabeth Sladen, John Leeson, Mary Tamm and Louise Jameson. Louise came to lunch the other day looking wonderful after her holiday in France. We talked of old times and laughed. We walked in the woods, Louise and I and Poppy the lurcher. She was amused by my wigwams. Louise I mean, not Poppy. I think I’m up to seven wigwams so far.
The reception of Hornets’ Nest has been favourable. We opened at HMV in Oxford Street. Here I am, signing an autograph for one young fellow.
It was all very friendly. Another lad called Henry asked if I had any jelly babies. I told him I had hoped someone might bring some. And whoosh – Henry disappeared while I carried on meeting the children of the children who first watched me so long ago. And towards the end of the session – much handshaking etc – I was feeling very hungry, when whoosh! Henry arrived back with a large box of jelly babies. He’d run all the way to Hyde Park Corner, I think. I thanked him and he kindly autographed the box. Thanks again Henry. I also did about 12 radio interviews for Hornets' Nest. On the train home I ate some of Henry’s jelly babies and offered them around. One man ate seven.
The other day I was at a do in the Strand with Mary Tamm and Rula Lenska. Howls of laughter. They are both so clever, so witty. At the slightest prompting they burst into song. And in several languages. They both knew Françoise Hardy and sang together in French. Rula taught me a word or two of Polish and Mary did a snatch of Vera Lynn. It was a hoot and the Fans were ecstatic and so was I.
And so back home to tell Sue how complimentary everyone had been about the website, and back to my job for the last few days of clearing up in the woods. A huge, very old ash tree had blown down. A pal – a wonderful countryman and most fastidious worker – cut up both trees in one morning. An awful lot of firewood is now neatly piled there. Ash is said to be the best firewood of all and burns well even when green and hornbeam is as hard as oak.
So it’s my job to cut up the hundreds of branches and burn them. I just love bonfires. Poppy sniffs about, reading the wood news with her nose. The fallen timbers gave her some new smells and she forgot about cat food for a while. Funny things going on in the kitchen. Bella the kitten wants the dog food and Poppy wants the cat food. Cat food is not good for dogs. Do you know why?
In the public woods near me a man lost his dog and 3 minutes after asking me if I’d seen a fat Jack Russell, we were joined by a distraught woman who had also lost her dog. “She’s a Lion Dog” she told me, “a little white Lion Dog and her name is Edith”. “Edith?” said the Jack Russell man, that’s an unusual name for a Lion Dog”. The white lion lady bridled and asked: “and your Jack Russell – what’s he called? And did you say he was fat?” “Hello” said the man looking at me. I thought that was odd since we’d been talking for about five minutes. But I said “Hello” just to be sociable. “Hello” said the Lion Dog lady. So I said “Hello” to her as well. “No, no” said the fat Jack Russell – I’m not saying hello, Hello is my dog’s name. And so we fanned out and combed the woods crying “Hello!” “Edith!” “Edith!” “Hello!”