Posted by Tania Kindersley.
At very long last, eight days later than promised, THE VITAL PART ARRIVED. You have no idea how good it feels to type that. The story is too long and convoluted to relate at length, because you have lives to live and it would be too many paragraphs of rant for your good minds. In brief: I managed to break my power cable. (I have a hideous talent for breaking machinery: cars, telephones, computers. When I was young I had so much magnetism in my skin that my watches would stop and start of their own volition. Perhaps that has something to do with it. Or perhaps I am just a klutz.) Anyway, the nice man at Dell promised to send a new one at once. He seemed very kind and sincere. You know the rest: watching and waiting like a penitent at the gate. In the meantime, I had to go back to my old computer, which I broke in the summer by pouring water on the keyboard. This rendered the L key inoperative; also the shift keys, the return key, the apostrophe and the semi-colon.
'How very ironic,' said Sarah, when I told her this. She knows that the semi-colon is my favourite punctuation mark; it is like a sister to me.
That is why the posts were so scratchy in the last ten days. I could not do paragraphs. I could not do formatting. I could not make things look elegant. I could not write the word elegant. I had no idea how much I loved and needed the twelfth letter of the alphabet until I could not use it. I could not write luminous, or luxuriate, or liminal, or legible, or legitimate, or lovely, or little, or Lester Piggott, or lazy, or larch, or lawful, or lute, or least, or lest, or lust, or laminate. I could not write the word LOVE. It almost killed me. I kept thinking of the line in the song about you don't know what you've got till it's gone.
I could get all furious about the rank inefficiency of the Dell organisation and bash on about that. That was my plan. That'll learn 'em, I thought. But the truth is I am so madly grateful to have my ability to type restored to me, and I am so in love with my rejuvenated machine that I can think no dark thoughts. I am all in the light, another word I have not been able to use.
Along with the light, there is a shadow of sadness. Another of the great old people has gone. The mothers and fathers of the friends of my youth are slowly leaving; that tremendous generation that could remember the war, that knew about stoicism and make do and mend, that lived under rationing and the spectre of the cold war and mutually assured destruction. I think they were a great generation. I feel a little sentimental about them just now. There is another funeral to go to. This particular one was a truly remarkable woman, and she will leave a gaping space behind her.
Today's photographs are dedicated to that great tribe of women who were brought up never to leave the house without a hat:
By Henry Clarke, Kurt Hutton and Norman Parkinson.