Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Welcome home my poor darling - welcome home!

Of course the really super thing about this particular week is Sybil coming home tomorrow. I cannot pretend that it has not been an anxious time while she has been away, and a sorrow to me – so beastly unfair.

After the dreadful business of her divorce from the odious Arkwright, she was so marvelously positive and brave. She went through a time of being just a teeny bit unhinged naturally enough; how would you feel if your own husband dragged you through the courts and had you branded as an unfit mother? Henry took her himself out to The Priory for a little rest – they have such lovely gardens there, don’t they; just the thing for someone who has come unstuck for a moment. Sybil saw such a nice person there who thought she could benefit from a more structured approach, and suggested she might like to stay for a while – so she did, and it was simply marvelous I must say. Sybil seemed so calm and rational when she came home, and I think she enjoyed her regular trips out there on a Thursday afternoon.

One always feels so proud of one’s children when they are not content simply to exist as mere barnacles freeloading their way through an indolent life: and I thought Sybil’s herb project was just the thing for her – I mean, everyone one knows of the therapeutic power of herbs.

The fabulous face creams and bath oil preparations she made were too heavenly; and I just loved having those rows and rows of lavender bushes, as well as the field of roses she planted just beyond the lake. Things were going so well and Henry was delighted to have a few greenhouses built for her beyond the rose field there, and more than happy to have electricity laid on so that she could germinate her seedlings and regulate the growth of some of her exotic plants. Naturally we didn’t interfere – it was Sybil’s own special project and she was so happy and excited about it all.

She had special blinds fitted in her greenhouses, because her plants needed periods of light and periods of complete darkness, and whenever I went wandering down there to smell the glorious fragrance of her roses I was amazed to see the wonderful leafy growth in the greenhouses – her plants were almost as tall as me, tremendous frondy things!

And poor Sybil did work so very hard. Every evening she would be looking things up on the internet, and she used to come home laden with bottles of plant feed, and her friends were forever coming round with bags of horse manure – they all took such an interest in what she was doing.

It was all just lovely: so positive and natural and productive. I really do think the police interfere with things far more than ever they need to in this country. I mean haven’t they got terrible murders to be solving? What about all these people who attack completely innocent individuals in the supermarket queue, and stick knives in their friends on the way home from school? But no – apparently things like that are beyond prevention and the Force is better occupied lurking in a side road to spot motorists going through an amber light or, as in this case, harmless women who like to garden a little bit on the wild side.

The worst thing of all – I mean we had absolutely no idea, I was just thrilled to see poor Sybil so purposeful and happy once again – was that it turns out it was somebody from the chapel who put through an anonymous telephone call to the police station! And my dear, before we knew it the whole place was alive with dogs and uniformed officers carrying flashlights – it was awfully late at night, so inconsiderate! And the drive looked like a gravel pit in the making by the time they’d all gone away.

All of them were so grim, taking notes and firing questions at us – none of them would take a cup of tea or a biscuit. There was a man walking up and down our terrace muttering ‘rubber duckie rubber duckie’ terribly earnestly into his walkie-talkie thing – and I don’t know if Ponty didn’t make matters rather worse by laughing. Just nerves, I expect.

My poor mother thought the worst thing was having DRUGS BUST AT BROCKHYRST PLACE – POLICE SEIZE 100 CANNABIS PLANTS on the publicity hoardings at the newsagent, with a photograph of Sybil being driven away in a Black Maria on the front page of the Daily Mail. Henry and I didn’t see it – we always take the Telegraph.

Then came all the waiting and the terrible ordeal at Lewes and even now I shudder to recall the day. I thank God it is all behind us now, and eight months after that awful day Sybil is coming home again. I am just so, so happy that she will be back with us tomorrow.

We were not sure what to do about the greenhouses. Henry thought she might like to have another go with tomatoes in the spring.

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