My brother Paul would have been 71 years old today. My father Philip would have been 104 years old. I still miss them even though it's eight years since Paul died and thirty nine years since Dad departed. In 1984, our Ian's due date was also August 5th but he hung on eight more days...
Yesterday I was in Nottinghamshire. I drove out beyond Mansfield on the Newark road, bringing Silver Clint to rest in the charming village of Epperstone. When I strolled away on my planned walking route he was already chatting with a bronze-coloured Mini called Miss Foo-Foo. "No funny stuff Clint!" I called back over my shoulder.
|The Lauels - house in Epperstone|
How lovely was that rolling countryside and the day was becoming hot again. The fields were cracked and there was not a drop of water in Thurgarton Beck. Up to Bankfield Farm and then along the long straight track that leads to the village of Thurgarton. I saw a microlight landing on Bankfield's little airfield and then by Hill Farm I noticed a bench with a little plaque on it. It read, ""IN MEMORY OF THE ANIMALS WHO SUFFERED ON THIS SITE FOR OUR BENEFIT". I was puzzled.
However, as I continued down the hill to Thurgarton I met a very old man with very long eyebrow hairs. They were clustering up against the windows of his spectacles like fronds in an aquarium. I asked him about the bench and he explained that there had once been an animal testing laboratory close by - run by the Boots pharmaceutical company. It had been shut down because of pressure from the Animal Liberation Front and growing public distaste for animal experimentation. We chatted for a while and after shaking hands we continued upon our divergent walks.
In Thurgarton there was a cricket match in progress but I had to press on and didn't even have time for a refreshing drink in "The Red Lion". The main aim of my journey was to spend a couple of hours in the nearby town of Southwell and the long walk was just a preliminary to that visit.
However, back in Epperstone, I finally submitted to my Saharan thirst and sank a pint of bitter shandy in "The Cross Keys". This welcome liquid descended so rapidly that it hardly had time to hit the sides of my gullet. I shall blog about Southwell tomorrow.