September 27th 1981

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 0
Celebrating Rob’s birthday

Today was Rob’s birthday, so we serenaded him with the traditional chorus from the warmth of our sleeping bags.  Then, when we finally crawled out, we lit a fire, partly to use up some surplus wood + cones – we still had a mountain of the latter left – + partly to be able to have tea + toast, + so have a decent final breakfast.  Great, it was, especially since Rob was able to produce some honey.  (No, he’s not a bee.)  Charlotte appeared then with the tractor + trailer, so we were able to load our belongings onto that, + take it down to the cabin – a big help. 

The cabin was really excellent, better in fact than our cursory inspection had indicated.  There were sheets + blankets for the bed, the fridge (modern) + the washing machine (antiquated) both worked, there was a terrific little wood stove, a nice big table, chairs, plates, cutlery, pots + pans.  We had great fun playing house, unloading our food into the cupboards, our clothes into drawers.  We then drove down to the store to buy some more food.  We were planning a special meal for Rob, so we bought some steak.  However, we also went a bit mad on other things, + somehow managed to spend a small fortune – it was crazy really, because as we commented, we already had more food than we had at Grange Road.  We lit the fire upon return, but it proved very difficult to get the stove hot enough, so we really had to stoke the stove up, + load it up with wood.  That worked, eventually, but also had the effect of making the cabin really hot.  Rob, proving increasingly useful, fixed the 8-track in the car – terrific.

A great evening – we listened to our radio, had a few beers, ate a great meal.  Just as we had hoped, it was a big pleasant surprise for Rob, especially the big bottle of wine.  We played cards before the meal – that was fun – + managed to get pretty drunk, especially since we also had cocoa with a large measure of rum.  Rob had a small piece of cake with a candle in it, sent over by Mrs K when she discovered it was Rob’s birthday.  We then played the briefest possible game of Blind Man’s Buff.  A real good birthday party.

All in all, a most positive change, with the ability to play house.  Grange Road, by the way, was the street we lived in in Plaistow, East London, for the nine months or so before we left.

Made all the better, of course, by the presence of Rob, a most cheery companion.  We have, I regret to say, lost touch since.  We saw him and his (then) new wife, Annie, twice on our return, to the best of my knowledge: once in their farm in Norfolk, and once when they turned up pretty much out of the blue.  But nothing for many years.  I did try to track him down recently, to let him know about this blog, but with no success.

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