Yesterday was another trip down memory lane - what a maudlin old biddy I am becoming.
I went down to London to see my niece (actually the niece of the philandering husband) and her adorable baby Matilda. This dear little baby is 'something else'. She is 7 months old, all smiles and so cute, I just love her. She is like a wise little old woman, so sharp and an absolute joy.
S and R, her husband, live in East Dulwich - they both work at King's College Hospital, Denmark Hill, which is where my two daughters were born. The husband and I lived in Dulwich for five years before we moved out of London - so my heartstrings were well and truly tugged as we sped through Dulwich Village yesterday, past the Crown and Greyhound where we used to sit in the garden with the girls, past Dulwich Park where I used to take them to feed the ducks. We were lucky to buy our first house in 1971, and then came the first property boom so we sold 18 months later for twice the purchase price, and bought a wreck of an Edwardian terrace house. We split it asunder, and I can still smell the dust, and the chemical smell of the preservative used to rid it of woodworm, dry rot, etc. It was absolute chaos. I was expecting the senior daughter at the time, and the house was never going to be ready in time for the birth.
We ended up living with friends in Glebe Place, off the King's Road, from whence I departed to give birth to S. After I left hospital, I had to go to Warwickshire to my family - a homeless little family!
I have the most happy memories of our life then. S was quickly followed by H, 18 months later, so I had my hands full. Life was definitely simpler, I did not have a car, and used to walk into Dulwich Village with the pram, one inside and the other sitting on the top, to do my shopping every day. I always remember that in those days you shopped seasonally, and now autumn is approaching, I remember the piles of melons, corn on the cob with its silks hanging down, blackberries, rosy apples and piles of pears. It is such a shame that there are so few greengrocers left - buying from a supermarket is just not the same. We then walked on to the park, as I said, to feed the ducks. There was also a little park with slides and swings at the end of our road, and the girls spent many a happy hour there. Friends would come for lunch with their offspring regularly, and life was such fun. Most weekends we went away to the country, to friends, to family in Warwickshire and Norfolk, we could not afford holidays, so the English beach was the answer. Life was definitely simpler, and I think, less stressful.
When I arrived home last night, I felt immeasurably sad. I have so many happy memories, but they are tinged with such a sense of inadequacy, I suppose. Why was the life we had never enough, why was I never enough? I feel that it is a tragedy for my husband to get to this stage of his life and all he has worked towards has vanished in a puff of smoke. He has lied and cheated his way through a 44 year relationship. lost the respect of his family and most of our friends, for what? A tired-looking, serial marriage-wrecker who, according even to her friends, has lost her looks. And - he is forced to spend time socially with a group of people about whom he never had a good word to say in the past. Not a good result for anyone concerned.
1 day ago