I cannot imagine ever going to Yorkshire without seeing Alan and Lynne in their house so full of memories. Each time I enter I am back again in the wonderful world of a happy growing family, sport, music, piano, singing, drawing, painting, doing homework in the dining room when the table was not used for meals, and wondering how Lynne coped with so many males around her with their demands and interests, and last but not least wondering how on earth Lynne did all the washing (mountains of football clothes!) , ironing and preparing so many meals. The perfect world to drop Jan into when he was 11 and had to learn English. What an investment that was!
And so I walked through the back door again into the kitchen and saw the famous ‘Office Table and Chair’ next to the telephone in the large entrance hall. It doesn’t ring now to deliver bakery orders but calls from sons, daughter, grandchildren, in-laws and sometimes someone from Berlin! They made us all welcome in their usual friendly way and within a few minutes I noticed how Pam and Barry were talking with them as if they had known each other for years rather than for a few minutes.
Later that evening I had another interesting experience. Although they know I am an atheist I usually go to their church just to see and hear how a group of people communicate with each other. A north of England church gathering is like a social club with more or less rules and rituals and that goes for all religious gatherings. This time it was to celebrate a couple’s 50th wedding anniversary. I wouldn’t have missed it for the moon. It was truly a one-off experience. The atmosphere was happy with lots of humour and jokes. We played some interesting games and won prizes – even I won one! And the food was home made with a variety and quality that would put all the TV chefs to shame. I had left my camera at their house for I didn’t want to be intrusive. What a pity for our hosts would have welcomed more photos.
Next day I talked to Paul in New Zealand then we went out for lunch in village pub offering a carvery. It was excellent. After, we had a lazy drive to Silsden. Tea and chat with Fran and Geoff before they set off on the return journey via the scenic route over Ilkley. Next day Alan and Lynne flew to New Zealand and Australia to see sons No. 3,4,5 and son No. 4’s new son. They are still there as I write this note. No doubt enjoying time with all the family there. These photos were taken in the living room. I have a copy of the photo they are pointing to. Its of the last Bateson Gathering!