England 40 Years Ago — March 4, 1981

Lisa was accepted by Dunottar School. We hope it won’t make any difference that we won’t be living on this street; the headmistress had almost promised to accept her even if her common exam papers weren’t up to par for her age group. In talking to Miss Kinman (hesdmistress of the present school) this week, we were told Lisa did very well on the exams. One of her best marks was in French!!

I thought to ask someone where the name Dunotter came from and was told it is the name of a castle in Scotland.

John and I went again to see the house we’re supposed to be getting. This time Mr. Wilson was there, as well as his wife. Both are delightful people. We found that he is a patent attorney and frequently flies to the US on business. Sounds interesting. They discussed a few things with us and then left us to wander around on our own. John was mentally rearranging the living room, and I was organizing the kitchen in my mind. We do hope everything goes smoothly. Just this morning we got the rental agreement in the mail and didn’t agree with it! Someone from the estate agent’s office called to tell us to disregard it because the Wilson’s solicitor had not been given the correct facts. I’ll say! They even had the name wrong.

One day I shopped for a dishwasher. Officially they do not “do” portable dishwashers here! The third store I went to said they could sell a reliably stable trolley to put under a regular dishwasher. The fourth store discovered one company that sells them with casters.

Lisa had a school outing to see The Prince and the Puppets in Croydon. They went via coach and got back at exactly the time they’d predicted.

Both John and I were able to go to the conference set up with Kate’s teacher. They have one conference during the year with all the parents. Lisa’s is scheduled (did you pronounce that right?) several weeks hence. Mrs. Fitzhugh (she spells it with a capital haich and pronounces it Fitz-ooo) said Kate seems to understand all the principles of maths, but is so terribly slow to work out problems. Her ideas for compositions are good, but she has trouble writing them out because she is so slow in writing. We were reassured that she works hard and does not daydream. What more can one ask?

I bought some Gooderstone carrots. Hope they taste better than stones! They look like slender carrots from home — normal ones here are terribly short and thick, though surprisingly, rarely woody.

John $ got his oral polio vaccine. The normal schedule here is to give three D.P.T. plus polio at 6, 8 and 12 months. We had to wait for a while, and at first $ was shy of meeting smaller children and babies. Didn’t take him long to get used to them and begin to run up and down the narrow hall.

Thank you for several replies about the yellow ribbons used in relation to the hostages. That’s the easiest research job I’ve ever carried out! The New Zealand woman who had asked me was glad to know what it was all about.

I’m always a little apprehensive when Mr. Wolters, the agent, has an appointment to come here. He’s never been anything but nice — better start that again because I can see I’m going to get into trouble ending it. He’s always been kindness itself. This time he came in with a tin, handed it to me, and said his wife had made us some Welsh cakes!!! I’d sent some sourdough bread and muffins home with him at previous visits. I was so surprised that she, whom we’ve never met, would do something like that. We know she is not well and is waiting to go into hospital. The Welsh cakes have the texture of cold biscuits — appear to be rolled out, cut, baked on a griddle, and sugared. Delicious. Mrs. Wolters came from Wales, so I presume these are authentic.

Kate has now had her first group violin lesson after school. The school arranged for a music shop to deliver the instruments to school, so all we had to do was sign the papers and pay for the hire of it. She is so enthusiastic and has done her bow exercises without being reminded. Lisa had requested flute lessons, but they are having difficulty getting a teacher. Miss Kinman said the flute is so popular these days that there just aren’t many good teachers free.

$ has done very well with a two-handed cup with no trainer lid, even the first day! Readiness has a lot to do with learning, doesn’t it?

Picking up a crying baby in the dark can become quite a shock. $ cried, I picked him up, then turned on the light to check his bottom. It was his top he needed changed — there was blood all over one blanket and his sleeper. He must have fallen against something because there was a hole in his gum. I laid him on his back, played with him until the bleeding stopped, and put him back to bed minus his favorite blanket. The trick was to turn out the light before he realized he was minus anything special. Got it washed and dried before he woke the next morning.

John and I had signed up to sing Messiah at St. Mary’s on Good Friday. Last night was the first rehearsal. We had tried unsuccessfully to get the edition they requested — makes it so much easier if the director can refer to page numbers. When we walked in the church, there was Tony L. loaning copies of the correct edition from the library! We can use these until the performance, but of course, can’t mark them.

I enjoyed the running chatter of the director — he is really witty. He can request the same thing five different ways! The practice goes from 7:15 to 10:15. I sat by red-headed Audrey Taylor who is interested in Tudor history, mainly economic and political history of that period. I believe I heard her right — said her husband is 22 years older than she is!! Wow!!

John talked to a man who works for Aramco and comes from Boise, Idaho. Other men in the choir were former boy choir members who had trained at St. Mary’s. They think the present choir is not worked hard enough; in their day they had rehearsals 6 days a week! One of them has a fantastic tenor voice.

We rushed home to find the phone ringing, Lisa tired, and Kate dead to the world on the couch. It’s good there are a limited number of these evenings planned.

Today (Saturday) has been an unhurried day. John and Lisa ran some errands, both girls went to Marianne’s to play for a while, and now we are enjoying being inside because there is quite a wind blowing the fine rain. It’s cozy to look out at the miserable weather and know we don’t have to go out again.

Can’t think of any more news at the moment. Hope all of you are fine.

11 thoughts on “England 40 Years Ago — March 4, 1981

    1. I would like to have had baby food in jars, sliced pickles, the cereal Cheerios, and canned cranberry sauce. Golly! That’s all food. I was the one who shopped for all the food, though.

      Warm Cultural Hugs

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  1. I watched a class online where the man pronounced it as shed and not the sk sound every time he said scheduled. Drove me insane! Is that how they say it there? I will stick to my mews and meows, thank you. Maybe little John dreamt he was having a fight and won!

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  2. I love the details in your letters. The carrot part reminded me of the year we tried growing carrots when we lived near a river. they came out about an two inches long and super wide 🙂 Too much clay for them to grow down. We did raised beds the next year to avoid that.

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  3. It’s amazing that people who speak the same language as us, that the pronunciations are so diverse … no different than living in Canada and then moving over here I guess. “Schedule” always did make me grin when I heard the Brits pronounce it this way. I follow a few UK bloggers and their words for foods and other idioms they use often has me Googling up a storm. One called a treat “hob knobs” and they were Digestives, just a plain sweetmeal cookie that the UK has and we had them in Canada as well.

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