Judith entertains me to coffee but looks ill because she has fallen foul of her dentist earlier this week, and her wisdom teeth had been extracted on my birthday, of all days.
Old photographs and her cat were the principal subjects discussed at great length.
I went home for a non-existent lunch with Mama, who is in a foul mood. (Dad is still on his back under the car all covered in motor oil). Mum's mood worsens and the combined effects of her miserable face and the film 'South Pacific' didn't do much for morale. But at 5 o'clock, as if by magic, the film was interrupted by a news flash and a smiling Richard Baker announces that Princess Anne is expecting a baby in November. Joyous news indeed. For such an announcement to come on Helen Malin's birthday is fate indeed. I believe we have a bet on Princess Anne's maternity dates. Fancy. The Queen a grandmama! Good Old Captain Phillips. I was beginning to doubt his masculinity somewhat. Three cheers for them all.
John and Maria come up at 6.30 for ten minutes. John's car is also knackered. Even as I write this I can hear Mama blowing her mind over her fish pie in the kitchen.
Devouring my (fish) pie I decided to remain in front of the television tonight and not to venture out to the pub, as tradition demands. Yes, your eyes are not deceiving you. My decision has nothing to do with Princess Anne's good news either. I am not clad in my Union Jack underpants and clutching my postcard of Anne and Mark's wedding. My decision was due to the BBC. Yes, a tv series about slavery that's brought the USA to a stand still - called 'Roots'. The household is in great holiday furore. Not a morsel of food or drink in the place because you know what mother's are like when it comes to leaving grub kicking around in the fridge for more than 24 hours with no one in the house to eat it? Dust is flying from suitcases, windjammers, thermos flasks, cotton nappies, &c.
Mum discusses stopping at a pub for lunch tomorrow. "What about the baby?" I ask. "Oh, we're bona fide friends". Eh? "Well", continued mother yawning "JPH has small bona fides". Too much for me is all that.
By 11 we're watching a film starring Twiggy - Mama and Papa having retired to bed. Princess Grace and Bing Crosby are on the other channel in that smashing epic they usually put on at Christmas - 'High Society'. What this film has in common with the birth or death of Jesus Christ I simply don't know.