I have spent a few days away seeing an old friend and his family. I have been visiting their family home since the mid-70s and it’s the house I have been most to over the lengthiest period. The House has had to adjust the passing of the parents, the father bought if from the Estate after the war, and both are now buried in the churchyard adjacent to the house.
It’s a large L-shaped residence in pink stone with beautiful gardens and grounds and for a townie like me represented a welcome introduction to the delights of the countryside and the very different values and practices of rural life. We often reminisce of my escapades there. How once the key to the Church dropped into my car vent never to be found and in the words of one villager “You have deprived the locals of worship!”
I was there for a few days, my last visit being the funeral of the mother who had passed away aged 100. She was a spirited little Scottish lady with whom I always enjoyed a warm relationship and indeed that extended through to all the members of the family, being godfather to my friend’s son.
I would not call my friend secretive but he tends to operate on a ‘need to know’ basis. He suggested on Wednesday early evening that I might be interested in seeing some combine harvesters. I said yes slightly concerned I might miss the start of the England game.
In fact my friend had masterminded rather an enterprising project.
He bought some land from the Ministry of Defence which was a RAF airfield and developed a solar farm. It is a reserve for wild birds and locals can walk there, albeit not the most immediate locals, the inhabitants of a category C prison that is adjacent to the land.
The area is of some historical significance as an important a airbase for the RAF and one of the sites of an army extensive manoeuvre of the red army against the blue.
One army was commanded by Field Marshal Grierson the other by Earl Haig.
Through the use of aerial reconnaissance Grierson’s’s army was the triumphant one. It took some 3 years from 1912.
Grierson, who enjoyed his food, died before the the start of World War One and might have proved a more enterprising and successful commander than Haig.
I could hear some cheering from the prison block from which I assumed they were meeting to watch the England match.
Happily we two were back for the start but my build up to it must have been one of the more unusual but certainly interesting ones.