Monday March 26th
Saturday afternoon saw us at an adventure area in Kent, with three young nieces and their parents, plus 17 other children, all energetically doing an assault course, firing vegetable-paints at targets, running a complicated tyre-carrying relay race and making rafts out of crates and plastic barrels and floating them perilously across a pond with team members on board. Don't bother to ask if Auntie Joanna fell in - of course she did, but this didn't stop me, or the others who got similarly soaked and muddied, from enjoying a hearty tea...however, once back at the house with a glass of wine and a log fire and a change of clothes, I found that cosy exhaustion was gradually overwhelming me...
...and on Sunday morning we had to get up early to get to Mass (in quite the most hideous church I've ever visited, which is saying a good deal. It was built c. 1977, had a messy, "cardboard" feel, the tabernacle placed weirdly and bleakly to the rear, an entrance area littered with notices and posters of the type that look busy but which remain largely unread,and a general air of fussy incoherence).
Then on to a point-to-point, something which I haven't attended for years. I hadn't realised that despite the official anti-hunting laws, and the general aboliton of the traditional farming-based rural way of living, there is still a sense of life in country activities. Lots of commercial support: tents selling (expensive) smart clothing, wellies, barbour jackets etc; stalls offering everything from game pie and Pimms to burgers-n-chips; a roundabout and bouncy castle or two; arts-and-crafts tents with v. expensive furniture and rocking-horses....and at the heart of it the horses and the races and the huntsmen in traditional ultra-elegance. I don't want to get into the pro-and anti-hunting debate (I'm a townie, brought up in suburbia)so won't be publishing any comments on the subject (endless debates elsewhere). I merely note what I saw at the point-to-point and must add that after a traditional picnic, wandering round the displays and stalls, watching the races, and lots of chat with family-and-friends, I eventually succumed to slumber in a comfortable picnic chair, wearing two waterproof jackets and a pair of thick socks (it was a pleasant day, but cold).