From Peckham to Eigg

Monday 14th May

This is Mick, Jacky’s husband. He was somewhat abrupt at first because I insisted that one of the burners on the 2 burner gas hob and grill was dangerous. I had turned it off but there was gas leaking into the room. Not knowing what it was, I had unplugged the gas sensor, but the smell was clear enough. He found that the knob was faulty, but I still feel it should not have been possible to have gas escaping when there was no flame.

Anyway, we got chatting: In 1985, living in a flat in Peckham, they had been browsing houses for sale in Exchange and Mart – the seventies version of Ebay – seen this place for £20k with 100 acres and a 5 star view, and were clearly sold on the idea before they got here. He’s evidently a couple of years younger than me, but even with a full head of hair he did not seem well, so I asked how he was managing: fine until 2 years ago when he got prostate cancer. He chose radio-therapy against surgery, but claims the doctors did far too much damage to unaffected organs which has left him crippled and needing regular blood transfusions. We had a laugh comparing the experience of having a prostate biopsy – all that fingering and probing up the anus – but I felt desperately sorry for him, and very thankful that I still have my health.

This of course is what this trip is all about – gather ye rosebuds while ye may, or at least gather ye lenses and photograph them – the rosebuds that is. This is why I have been steadily reducing my capital and seeking out places and experiences like this. All it needs is a bad fall, or any one item from the large menu of disabling afflictions available to the elderly, and my mobility could come to a grinding halt. However, plenty of exercise and good food is the best protection available against most of them, so it’s quite possible I may find myself still fit enough at 95, but with no money.

I keep thinking that this year was when the unfolding of our climatic destiny that I predicted in my book “The Vandervelde Documents” began with a cold winter and a very hot summer. We got the cold winter, and even in Wales we’ve had two hot spells already.Perhaps it wasn’t such a daft book after all. 

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