Monday 26 April

At 1.45am. a little voice: “Grandma, dinosaur!!” I had prised the pterodactyl out of Adam’s hand as I went to bed, thinking it was a bit spiky to cuddle, Peter Rabbit being infinitely better, but oh no, only the dinosaur would do. Uncle Mark, I blame you.

Even the Oddbox of fruit and vegetables was spurned this morning. Normally it is a source of great entertainment, especially the “tatoes”, which are greeted with hysterical excitement. Not today. Not even the dog could get a look in.

We went for a walk and saw the new West Ealing station, built in honour of Crossrail. Now I am beginning to wonder if it will be such a riproaring success as fewer people are commuting. The new station is spectacular, the old one was a tiny place perched on a bridge. This is all glass and metal, shiny tiles, spacious……..with more staff than passengers. Opposite is a very fine Royal Mail building.

I tried to find out more about it but failed so far. It is still in use. Outside was a blocked off stamp machine. Who remembers those? You threw in half a crown or some such and got a little book of stamps.

Back at home I watered the very dry garden. And produced the smell known as petrichor, a word which I only recently learned. It is the earthy smell which arises from water being sprayed on very parched ground. I always like it, it makes me think of summer. Squirrels have been excavating the sweet pea seeds. You turn your back for a moment, and nature is revealed in tooth and claw.

My mother particularly this song. She herself sang alto in a choir, and I guess Kathleen Ferrier was the heroine for all altos of that era. I first heard it on the wireless (!) as a child and it still makes me tingle.

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