|Olivia and Ronald Dahl
“Olivia, my eldest daughter, caught measles when she was seven years old. As the illness took its usual course I can remember reading to her often in bed and not feeling particularly alarmed about it. Then one morning, when she was well on the road to recovery, I was sitting on her bed showing her how to fashion little animals out of coloured pipe-cleaners, and when it came to her turn to make one herself, I noticed that her fingers and her mind were not working together and she couldn’t do anything.
‘Are you feeling all right?’ I asked her.
‘I feel all sleepy,’ she said.
In an hour, she was unconscious. In twelve hours she was dead.
The measles had turned into a terrible thing called measles encephalitis and there was nothing the doctors could do to save her. That was…in 1962, but even now, if a child with measles happens to develop the same deadly reaction from measles as Olivia did, there would still be nothing the doctors could do to help her. On the other hand, there is today something that parents can do to make sure that this sort of tragedy does not happen to a child of theirs. They can insist that their child is immunised against measles.
…I dedicated two of my books to Olivia, the first was ‘James and the Giant Peach’. That was when she was still alive. The second was ‘The BFG’, dedicated to her memory after she had died from measles. You will see her name at the beginning of each of these books. And I know how happy she would be if only she could know that her death had helped to save a good deal of illness and death among other children.”
Roald Dahl, 1986
It was deliciously summery yesterday. It was really warm and I’m excited about all the work got done and that I’ll do during all the days of this week. I have all day, every day to work on the yard—this place is going to shine by Friday.
And speaking of shining: Man-oh-man, am I proud of myself, yet again, for conquering an issue with the hot tub. The water sparkles again; it was getting cloudy. But I’ve rectified the every problem and I’m chuffed to be master of a machine.
I reckon it’s because there’s already such a scarcity of water that the courtyard and deck I cleaned so fastidiously Sunday was a mess again Monday morning. I think animals or birds smell water in my eaves troughs and so they dig all the forest detritus out of them to find water, and in doing so, they make a mess. It happened again last night. I also have to fill my fountain all the time; it’s a popular drinking pace for birds.
But I don’t mind at all. I just keep working. There is so much that I can do in the yard, the work will never end; watering alone, is a huge time investment.
My Pineberries, Raspberries and Strawberries are on their way! I got an email yesterday saying so. I’m, of course, thrilled to know that soon my garden will take another step towards becoming all that I envisaged.