Coping with the Snow
To those kind persons who have written to us and called us on the telephone during the last few days of inclement weather. Thank you so much for the offers of food parcels and help during these awful conditions with which we have had to endure.
The Residents and Staff of Twilight Lawns are made of sterner stuff than many may think. This is nothing new to us. Many of our girls will be able to tell harrowing stories concerning the snowstorms, blizzards and ghastly freezing conditions that they had gone through in the winter of 1947. Even we who were at Twilight Lawns during that awful season can remember incidents, some amusing, and some downright dangerous, that we had experienced.
We remember with pride the weekend when, in the December of 1947, Hermione and Louise, (with the nominal help of some of The Little Sisters of Selective Charity) took the Brownies Pack from Saint Theresa-the-Confused, Carshalton, on a three day hike and camping experience. They returned, having been lost in storms and snowdrifts, after some considerable time. But thanks to Hermione’s guiding hand and some good luck, most returned, having lost only a couple of the Brownies, and a silly little Novice; who apparently wasn’t cut out for Holy Orders anyway. We heard that subsequently, one or two of the Brownies lost some fingers and toes through frostbite; but that was to be expected.
In relation to this year’s snow troubles, we have learned to become quite self-sufficient, and our Dear Maude has organised foraging parties and they are, as I write this, digging up root vegetables in three counties. Cook and her helper, Sharon, have unearthed loads of tinned Corned Beef and Onions which were laid down at the conclusion of The Great War. Apparently Ordnance Stores under General Haig had overstocked, supposing that the War would stretch into the early Twenties.
So we won’t starve, and although the local pharmacy hasn’t been able to deliver enough of our medications as we would like, there are ample amounts of Senna Pod to make the tea for which Nurse Smythe is famous, and for those residents who start to become more silly and needy than usual, we ladle a good dose of cooking sherry or Spanish brandy down their throats and pack them off to bed and lock them in their rooms till they quieten down or it thaws… whichever comes first.
In fact, we have put expertise and shovels and spades to good use; so much so that our Local County Council have gratefully received the help of a small contingent of the more Burly Girls from the Queen Alexandra Annexe; who have done wonders gritting and salting the highways and byways of our area.
Our dear Matron, Mrs Plantagenet-Featheringstonehaugh, was called away to the Villa in Plantagenet sur la Plage, Vallauris, France at the outset of the inclement weather, but has telephoned us once or twice with words of encouragement. She should, weather permitting, be rejoining us in the Spring.
Beryl Pugh (Secretary)
‘The Twilight Lawns Chronicles’ by Ian Dorking-Clark
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