Due to Confusing But Boring Domestic Circumstances, OH and I ended up having a quintessentially British lunchtime picnic in the rain today. We had cold sausages and roast potatoes and tomatoes and a cup of tea each, sat in the car as the windows misted up.
It brought back memories of every single family holiday I have ever had, stored away since the 1970s. We were missing my mother’s slightly tatty raffia shopping basket with the green handles and the orange thermos flask and my father grumbling at being shut in a Singer Gazelle with three female humans of various sizes that he was perpetually bewildered about being connected to … but apart from that, there we were.
So. We ate the sausages and drank the tea. And then we went for a very short, slow walk from the car park to the Wellington Monument. It was gloriously autumnal and the rain somehow made it even more atmospheric. My paternal Grandmother and her family were from Wellington and Granny used to walk up to the Monument on a Sunday afternoon with some of her large family. There were five girls and two boys. Granny was the second to youngest and had to leave school a year early in 1908,when she was twelve, to help with the new baby.
The Monument was started in 1817 to commemorate the Duke Of Wellington and his victory at Waterloo. He took the name of the town at random, because it was the closest available to Wellesley, his family name.
He never visited it and the townspeople seemed disproportionately flattered by his association with them; but not enough to fund the project properly after the initial burst of enthusiasm had passed. It is apparently the tallest three sided obelisk in the world. It is also falling down and needs extensive repairs, which the National Trust are undertaking. It’s dangerous to get close to it – this isn’t a new thing, as I can remember my Grandmother telling me that when she was young, you were allowed to climb up the steps inside and look out of the window at the top; but a young girl was killed falling down the steps and it was stopped.
I took some some damp pictures of autumnal fecundity. It was an unexpected journey in to the past and I feel wistful, so I thought I would share.