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2008 - September 19th - Friday

JH sent a risqué birthday card to Ralph insomuch as it could be misconstrued as an un-birthday-like message:- in other words, an Athena Postcard of an angry-looking hippo who was waving his watch to-and-fro to hypnotise Ralph – this portrait being entitled ‘A Hippo-Natist’.  The previous day, JH had phoned the Skinners’ Croyde Bay apartment extension number at about 10.15am but there was no reply, so hopefully they had kept to their plan of going for a trip on the bus – using their senior citizens’ bus passes of course – to Ilfracombe:- lovely sunshine had made the day just right for a view of the Devon Countryside with someone else taking the strain of driving.


2008 - October 6th - Monday


JH sent a card to the Skinners to ‘mark’ this momentous anniversary!  The card was a pretty floral picture and not a ‘Hippo Natist’ card:- JH explained that she had never had any regrets but had experienced the ‘adventure of a lifetime’.  Also, JH said that she would be coming up to Greenwich on Sunday, 16 November 2008, after all to attend Chris Orton’s Concert at the Early Music Festival, and that she hoped to rendezvous with the Skinners for lunch.  At 2.00pm, JH posted the card in Plympton, after having her swim, and lunch at the Community Centre.

At 5.30 pm, Kathy phoned JH!  JH was very pleased to receive this call, as she had not heard from Kathy and Ralph since she had seen them at Croyde Bay; furthermore she had left the message on the in-house phone, sent an email, and sent the OTT birthday card to Ralph!  Kathy had rung up to let JH know that they were off to Italy the following day!  JH had quite forgotten about this planned trip, although Kathy had explained that she did, in fact, have lots of prizes – of trips here there and everywhere - which she had won.  JH did not quite grasp whether these winnings were due to Kathy’s allegiance to the Daily Mail, or prizes she had received after entering competitions from ‘elsewhere’ – perhaps postal offers; furthermore she did tell JH that one of Ralph’s friends had said that ‘. . . this was all a con!’ but, nothing daunted, Kathy and Ralph were off on their first prize trip to ‘give it a try’.


Kathy told JH something of their itinerary, but JH did not take it all in; we had further discussions about JH’s lack of wanderlust but, apparently, Kathy has some prizes of holidays in little old England: anyway, all of us will wait and see how they get on during this trip.  JH did mention to Kathy that Ann and Walter were presently in Spain but JH could not recollect where – without searching out Ann’s last letter.
Kathy said that she was feeling much better – she certainly sounded it, and said that the D&V had gone, and she had finished her antibiotics, ie, flagyl – so JH was confident that Kathy was really better, and so much less negative about everything.  Kathy had not been swimming yet, but was somewhat peeved that the Health Club had continued to deduct a monthly subscription from her account, even though she had told them she would not be able to use their facilities for some weeks and so would not expect to pay during that period: she will expect a refund! 

JH regaled Kathy with the story of the lost coat – as an example of her forgetfulness (having forgotten about their proposed trip), and forgetting that she had told the Skinners the story already!  JH said that she had been in touch with Heather, the Chairman (NOT a Chair) of the SRP Branch, who has a friend who works at the School for the Deaf – where JH left her coat – but JH is really beginning to think that the coat found (described as a black tatty anorak by Sheilah, the Branch Secretary) was not her coat at all.  Oh Dear!  [Addendum: about 6 months later, Heather's friend was moving offices and asked 'whose coat is this hanging in my office?'  JH's coat was eventually handed back to her; however . . . in the meanwhile, JH had bought another coat - actually a riding Mac - from Eggesford Garden Centre.  In due course JH took her old coat down to a charity shop {after removing all her hippo brooches}, as it was too small in any case - and had been before she lost it!]

Ralph called out to say that he was still speaking to JH, in spite of the OTT birthday card!  JH told the Skinners that she had dispatched another card to them that morning – but she did not explain her reason for doing so; JH asked if they might receive their post before they left to go to Dover to catch the coach – which Kathy thought was a possibility.  JH remarked that she had sent an email to them about 2 weeks ago, but Kathy explained that they were, again, having trouble with their computer, which had been taken away again by ‘a man who can’ (this computer breakdown obviously explained why JH had not got an electronic reply).  In any event, Kathy had taken the opportunity to get up-to-date with accessing her emails on the computer available for her use at Croyde Bay.

JH did explain that she had mentioned, on the ‘mystery’ card, that she would be coming up to Greenwich to attend the Concert on Sunday, 16th November, after all.  However, on being informed that Ralph’s date for his knee replacement was 10th November, JH said that she realised the Skinners would not be able to meet her, but Kathy quickly said that she could do the driving!

Tuesday 6th October 2009: the Fourth Anniversary of JH's offer - on which JH signs herself off!