We spent a pleasant evening in their house in the company of their daughter and son-in-law whose children had been put to bed in ‘Grandma’s bed’.
Jeremy had promised to show us the photographs he had taken during their holiday in Iceland. He gave an excellent talk with it and I would certainly feel tempted to visit this island, if somebody invited me. Jeremy’s wife had prepared some excellent cakes and apart from seeing the photographs we had a good conversation.
Their son-in-law had just finished his Ph.D. and asked about his thesis indulged himself in quite long talk. His thesis was concerned with an autobiography of the 19th century. What is interesting about such a work, I wondered. What are the merits of autobiography in general ? He said, it gave a picture of the time, the main point of interest for him. We could unfortunately not pursue this train of thought, but changed to a more general subject, education.
Jeremy’s daughter, a scientist who like Aldous teaches at the University, she had studied at a better university herself, was very critical of the way students are made to learn nowadays. She said they were ‘force-fed’ at her workplace and didn’t like it. We passed on to their own children’s education, their eldest child having reached school age. Which school to send him to? In the end they had settled on the one in the neighbouring village. A few miles away from their home, true, but the school had appealed to them. They would have to take him there and collect him, that was the trouble. They were both working, they couldn’t buy a house otherwize … However, she was hoping, looking sideways at her mother, that they would find support …
I could see what she meant. Non-working mothers like hers can be very useful. At home all the time. A car at her disposal. Why shouldn’t she do this little job for her daughter! She had done a lot for her already. She could pick up the little boy after school, couldn’t she?
Jeremy’s wife visibly didn’t like the idea too much, because, she said with a smile, the school was just a bit too far away … If it was a bit nearer … It isn’t all that far, her daughter answered back. The subject was dropped.
The evening passed pleasantly and quickly. Eventually, Jeremy’s daughter sent her husband upstairs for the children, it was time to go home. He went good-humouredly and we heard him call ‘help’ a little later. His wife went to assist him. When they came downstairs with the little mites, she announced that ‘Grandma’s bed is a bit damp, not much’. Grandma smiled, while Grandpa raised his eyebrows slightly.
We got out of the way quickly, our car was blocking theirs, thanking them for a lovely evening.