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Mrs. Monk's Would-be Diary, should have been written by Mrs. Monk, since she is the "Writer" in the family.
However, since she is a writer only in the conceptual sense, I have undertaken to fill these pages on her behalf.
If not by her, these pages will certainly be about her, and other important matters of the day

Leslie Monk, the long suffering.

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23-May 2004

Map Reading and The Baroness

I am sorry to report that Mrs Monk does conform to female stereotypical shortcomings in the map-reading department.

I am not wishing to go down to the gender minefield, but let's just say that the woman in my life, Mrs Monk., could not navigate her arse to her elbow.

And does she admit to this shortcoming? Does she heck.

We were on the way to Sissinghurst, a beautiful country house with a beautiful garden, and more importantly, a very acceptable Sunday lunch. I was driving and Mrs Monk was the dozing passenger.

There is only one road to Sissinghurst, the A 229, but Mrs Monk. told me to take the A228, and she backed this up by pointing knowledgeably at a map in the National Trust Guide Book

We took this road for 30 minutes and I felt obliged to make frequent gentle inquiries.

"Are you sure that this is the right road?" I asked. "Yes, I am sure," she said, pointing some more.

My theory is that when Mrs Monk. looks at a map, what she actually sees are little tiny cartoon characters, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Snoopy, and Popeye, and they are all making faces at her.

"Are you sure that this is the right road?" I ask. "Would you like me to stop and look at the map?"

"No," she said emphatically pointing some more.

In fact, when I did eventually stop, I discovered the awful truth, that the A228 did not even appear on the map.

Mrs Monk does not actually admit to this but I think that her logic was that the A229 is close enough to the A228, numerically that .......yes.

In fact we had been driving for 40 minutes away from Sissinghurst and eventually we became lost.

In due course Mrs Monk. admitted to her mistake in the following way: She threw the map at me and said, "If you are so are so fucking clever, you read the map and get me to Sissinghurst, I am hungry, I want my lunch.

That was something of a challenge since we were lost just off a road that is not on the map she just threw at me.

We did not get to Sissinghurst but we did get to a nice open garden where we paid £3 to buy this ticket to see a rather too beautiful garden surrounding an ancient crooked manor house, so well kept and perfectly quaint that we wondered if we had happened upon a Disney Film set. It was in fact a private home and naturally we were keen  to gaze into the windows where we expected to see Micky Mouse peering back at us from inside.

In the garden was a tennis court, a swimming pool and gypsy caravan.

The all important lunch would be served in a converted Oust House. But then we discovered that they were not serving lunch but only serving tea and cake: sponge cake, fruit cake, apple cake, ginger cake, and cheese cake.

In another barn 4 ladies were selling plant cuttings and seedlings. One lady was set apart from the others and by her regal demeanour and cut glass accent. We felt that this must be the baroness of the manor, mucking in with her staff.

"Now do you all have enough cake?", I heard her say.


11-June 2005

Satelight Navigation

We made our way to a birthday party in West London. Caroline Keen was 40 and she arranged a nice celebration in a French restaurant in Marlow, West London. 40 guests.

In consideration of our capacity for drinking red wine, we were driven to the restaurant in new family size Keen Nissan complete with impressive Satelight Navigation. Husband Jeff Keen was driving but satelight navigation seemed to be taking us away from Marlow. Caroline was charged with navigating the navigation system from passenger seat alongside demanding driver in the driving seat. Many buttons were pushed. Refined, calm, unpeterbed, computer-generated voice insisted on directing us elsewhere. We were amused in the back seats but a “domestic” was brewing in the two front seats.

We were on our way to Luton Airport.

In due course the satelight navigation manual was passed to back seats and we were invited to solve the problem. They were desperate.

We pretended to leaf the manual meaningfully, but in due course the problem was solved by other forces that I can’t explain.

Tasty dinner was served. Lucky Marlow.

After dinner speeches by Jeff and Caroline gushed with love and sentiment about each other and apparently they spoke with no reference to a manual or devine instruction.

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