Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Sunday, 24 February 2013
On a hot, Summer afternoon in 1972, I was invited to tea at Mr and Mrs Ham's house in Charlcombe, where the old man and his wife grew organic vegetables for the local whole-food store in town. They just grew vegetables in any case, as they had been doing in the fertile valley since the war.
Mr Ham - then about 75 years old - would trundle down the hill in his Morris 1000 van, park outside 'Harvest', and unload his boxes, bemused at the collection of hippies that off-loaded them, but - presumably - pleased that his produce was appreciated and sold to the public as - like I said - it had been since WW2.
The tea-party was on a Sunday, and Mr Ham sat in the chair in his garden as his wife brought out tea and fresh cakes, and we sat and made conversation as we drank and ate them.
A precociously beautiful young girl came running across the lawn, and perched herself on old Mr Ham's lap. I guess she was only about 7 or 8 years old, but she was about the height of a 16 year-old, and Mr Ham stroked her hair, saying - almost to himself - "Isn't she beautiful? Isn't she lovely?"
Someone told me that this beautiful child was Kevin Ayers's daughter, who we all seemed to be baby-sitiing that afternoon.
I never met Kevin Ayers himself, but I really liked his music. Something came through with his music, and I have never forgotten it, despite never having listened to it again since the 1970s.