Coping with the Snow

Twilight Lawns plc.

Norbury-sur-Mer,

December, 2010

Dear all,

To those kind persons who have written to us and called us on the telephone during the last few days of inclement weather. Thank you so much for the offers of food parcels and help during these awful conditions with which we have had to endure.

The Residents and Staff of Twilight Lawns are made of sterner stuff than many may think. This is nothing new to us. Many of our girls will be able to tell harrowing stories concerning the snowstorms, blizzards and ghastly freezing conditions that they had gone through in the winter of 1947. Even we who were at Twilight Lawns during that awful season can remember incidents, some amusing, and some downright dangerous, that we had experienced.

We remember with pride the weekend when, in the December of 1947, Hermione and Louise, (with the nominal help of some of the Little Sisters of Selective Charity) took the Brownies Pack from Saint Theresa-the-Confused, Carshalton, on a three day hike and camping experience. They returned, having been lost in storms and snowdrifts, after some considerable time. But thanks to Hermione’s guiding hand and some good luck, most returned, having lost only a couple of the Brownies, and a silly little Novice; who apparently wasn’t cut out for Holy Orders anyway. We heard that subsequently, one or two of the Brownies lost some fingers and toes through frostbite; but that was to be expected.

In relation to this year’s snow troubles, we have learned to become quite self-sufficient, and our Dear Maude has organised foraging parties and they are, as I write this, digging up root vegetables in three counties. Cook and her helper, Sharon, have unearthed loads of tinned Corned Beef and Onions which were laid down at the conclusion of The Great War. Apparently Ordnance Stores under General Haig had overstocked, supposing that the War would stretch into the early Twenties.

Maude does her stuff.   Bringing the morning paper for Matron.
Maude does her stuff. Bringing the morning paper for Matron.

So we won’t starve, and although the local pharmacy hasn’t been able to deliver enough of our medications as we would like, there are ample amounts of Senna Pod to make the tea for which Nurse Smythe is famous, and for those residents who start to become more silly and needy than usual, we ladle a good dose of cooking sherry or Spanish brandy down their throats and pack them off to bed and lock them in their rooms till they quieten down or it thaws… whichever comes first.

In fact, we have put expertise and shovels and spades to good use; so much so that our Local County Council have gratefully received the help of a small contingent of the more Burly Girls from the Queen Alexandra Annexe; who have done wonders gritting and salting the highways and byways of our area.

Our dear matron, Mrs Plantagenet-Featheringstonehaugh, was called away to the Villa in Plantagenet sur la Plage, Vallauris, France at the outset of the inclement weather, but has telephones us once or twice with words of encouragement. She should, weather permitting, be rejoining us in the Spring.

Yours etc.,

Beryl Pugh (Secretary)

A message from Matron

It seems to be a very smart, or fashionable, nowadays, instead of a card, to send all sorts of details of the comings and goings of one’s family.

One has received several of these from friends and relations and mere acquaintances and one has been regaled with details of Births, Deaths and Marriages of a plethora of people one has neither heard of, nor likely to want to.

One feels that if the names one is swamped with are not constantly in the Court Circular, then one would prefer not to have to indulge.

However, one feels that one must move with the times, and in consequence, as I am recuperating in my little Villa in Plantagenet sur la Plage, Vallauris, France, Nurse Smythe has been designated gatherer of information relating to the happenings of our Little Family here at Twilight Lawns plc.

H Plantagenet-Featheringstonehaugh (Matron)

Ghastly Prendy is probably hibernating here.
Ghastly Prendy is probably hibernating here.

Ghastly Prendy & the Gazebo

Report by Maude

A lovely picture of the Gazebo taken earlier this week.

Old Mrs Prendergast (Ghastly Prendy, as she is known by the other residents) went out there to bring in one of Raj’s Black Orpington Chickens, and didn’t return. It’s possible the old dear is still out there, but it’s too cold for man or beast, so she’ll have to stay out there until it thaws or she comes in of her own accord.

Sometimes there’s a little group of the other residents who will stand for hours on end, looking out of the long windows in the Queen Alexandra Day Room and Recreation Area, watching to see if there is any movement out there.

Raj, the Gardener’s Lad, is taking bets on whether she’ll return. The bets are heavily in favour of her getting out by the New Year. She’s a feisty old bird.

Raj and the Chickens

Report by Samir

(Charlotte, our old reiable Charabanc disappeared for a while and it was thought that she had been stolen)

Im gonna egsplain what happined. My cus raj, he tooked his chickens for a ride in da charabang cos dey was lookin a bit pail an he fought dey wood like a change of seenery so he tooked dem to see da studants at da house of commies an den traflalgar square but de chickens was shouting and being silly an dey got arrested but raj new dis bloke what was a judge an he letted them of wiv a warnin and dat dey have to stay in house arrest like dat lady in birmingham or burmra or whatever it is innit.

Cissie and the Snow Plough

Report by the Three Gertrudes

Cissie heard that Raj and the Chickens were being “bottled” by the Police in Parliament Square, during the Student Riots. She commandeered a passing snow plough and drove to rescue the lad and his Black Orpingtons. By this time, Raj had escaped and left the chickens to their own devices. Cissie arrived just in time to see a group of pigeons giving the Black Orpingtons a hard time. Basically they were coming on to them and being very suggestive,

But Cissie did a deal with a very accommodating Policeman and, as Samir pointed out, the chickens are back at Twilight Lawns, but are under house arrest.

Raj, however, hasn’t turned up yet.

More by this Author


Comments 24 comments

Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 6 years ago from St. Louis

Twilight: I love reading the comings and goings of the staff and residents of Twilight Lawns plc. Love the image of the burly girls "gritting and salting the highways and byways.." Not to mention ladling a good dose of cooking sherry down their throats. Ha! I really must read all the gems on your site!


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 6 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Thank you, Christoph. And may I say that it is so lovely when you come round for afternoon tea at Twilight Lawns. Matron happened to see you and Mr Sticky chatting to Nurse Smythe the other day and asked “who that attractive fellow might be”. I’m not sure to which of you she was referring, but she expressed a desire that both of you should pop around for an Amontillado some evening.

I’ve heard that when she is feeling a little poorly, she lies in a darkened room and Maude reads her passages from “The Crusty Curmudgeon”; that always cheers her up.


Candie V profile image

Candie V 6 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

I'd send ya a care package of brandy if I could! Make a cup of tea for me - make it a double! I'm bundling up for another snow storm here too - shoot I'm outta rum for my hot buttered rum! Nuts!

Kudo's to Maude - it's hard to look fashionable in such conditions! Tell her to be careful! Have the residents knit sweaters for the chickens. They don't fare well in the cold!

“The Crusty Curmudgeon” always picks me up too!


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 6 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Thanks for dropping by, Candie. Draw up a chair and let's warm ourselves before the open fire. Thanks for your interest in Raj's chickens. I think Maude is going to organise a knitting bee so that they'll be warm for the winter. I hope Black Orpingtons are colour blind... there are some very strange combinations of coloured wools in those baskets.

Yes. Christoph is a great read. He is so capable in so many styles.


Candie V profile image

Candie V 6 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

I've never seen a Black Orpington. Only the Buff variety. I think a lovely argyle pattern should suit them nicely. Maybe cables?

Christoph is indeed! Adore him to pieces!


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 6 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Raj's Auntie is knitting using a lovely Punjabi pattern for the Black Orpington Girls. They should look lovely. She's using wool that she bought in the NWFP (that was), so they should stay warm.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 6 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

They were expendable. Goodness knows there were enough Brownies and Old Dears to go around. And if we ran short, there were always other retirement homes we could invade and make up our quotas. Thanks for calling in. You're always welcome.


Gertrude Jacobs-Creek 5 years ago

Christoph - what you don't realise is that those burly girls brew their own wine - a rather delicate conconction, personally stamped by Hilda's feet! Knicker elastic was found in the bottle that was kindly sent to me by Samir (Raj's cousin - he works in the the garden of Twilight and cares for the Black Orpingtons).

But dearest Twilight: I do wonder though, whether the lost Brownies in the last snow escapade where ever found?? It does worry me terribly!


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Hi Jan. Thanks for your concern. No, I don't think the lost Brownie ever turned up. Maybe lived rough for a while. But don't worry; they did a recruitment campaign and the numbers were soon up.


Candie V profile image

Candie V 5 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

Looking forward to seeing the chickens in their finery! And I'm having another hot-buttered rum in honor of your fine weather!

Thrilled to hear about the Brownies! Would love a bottle of the wine (sans elastic) - does it go with mulling spices well?


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Don't believe a word that Miss Jacobs-Creek says about the wine or anything else for that matter. The Old Bird wouldn't know the truth if she fell over it. She lives in a little fantasy world and nobody has dared to question anything she has ever said or done. You see, she's absolutely loaded with cash and nobody is going to dare criticise her on the off-chance that she cuts them out of her will. I have a feeling that she will most probably take it to the grave with her. She wants to be buried in the family jewels; gorgeous emeralds that Czar Nicholas II gave her for "services rendered".

And before you even consider it; I have already bought my shovel and I'll be waiting.


just_curious 5 years ago

A beautiful story. So delightfully British. Thanks for sharing it.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Thanks, Just Curious, for dropping by and reading my scribbles. It's a long time since this has seen the light of day.

Please call again. You are always welcome.


Shinkicker profile image

Shinkicker 5 years ago from Scotland

Those Brownies sure are hard. Makes Britain great :-) Thanks for a funny Hub


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Where would we be in the order of things, my friend, without the Maudes and the Grey Owls and Brownie Packs. That's what gave us Empire!!!

(Sings) "Rule Britannia, tra la la".

Thanks for the visit all the way from the Antipodes.


Sunnie Day 5 years ago

Ian,

I have missed this whole part of your writing. I am so happy to have found it. I love those type of chickens. So glad they did not freeze.

Want to read more about Twilight lawns :)

Sunnie


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

I hope you really enjoy visiting Twilight Lawns plc, Sunnie. Be careful when you arrive at the front gate. Mrs Eulalia Hawkins can be a bit fierce if she thinks someone hasn't been invited and have just strolled in.

http://twilightlawnsplc.co.uk/


Sunnie Day 5 years ago

Ian,

I understand, just please cue her that Sunnie has come from Texas and will be there for a short visit. I won't wear my boots!

Sunnie


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

I did warn you!


Sunnie Day 5 years ago

lol..okay I will be very careful..


Becky 5 years ago

I just found this and read it for the first time. My son walked in and asked what I was snickering over. I think it was the bloomer elastic in the wine. Very amusing.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Glad you liked it, Becky. This is a very early piece. I loved writing it, and it made me laugh. I love those old birds.

Thank for you support, my friend.


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 2 years ago from Canada

Hello Lawns, thanks so much for your contribution to my Christmas song Question, it is lovely. I couldn't reply directly because the mods have removed my question (and all the responses) but better still I found you here in this fun seasonal piece. Happy New Year from across the pond! Hope you are well and warm...


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 2 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Hello, my dear friend.

By coincidence, I had been looking for your e-mail address when I stumbled across your Question.

I wanted to send you a Christmas greeting, but not on HP, but I am damned if I can find it (and damned if I can't, probably).

If you happen to find it, because we corresponded in the past, could you send it to me?

Mwah!

Ian

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