Just a quickie to let you know we did get moved. We had a beautiful sunny day — most unusual for this time of year. The weather and the men couldn’t have been nicer.
This past week I brought Mr. Clewes over here to see the garden. He noticed that the people behind us have a garden where not a blade of grass is out of place. Wouldn’t you know that’s where the owners of this house live?
Twice during an otherwise sunny day this past week, there was a mixture of snow and rain. After one episode I said to a sulky Kate, “Look! The sun is out again.” She grumbled, “No! I don’t want to look on the bright side.”
Earlier in the week I came over several times to bring things to this house and do some unpacking of things already here. You should have seen me measuring a possible space for a dishwasher with John $’s help. He thinks the bendable metal is the greatest.
Both John and I went to school for the conference night for the older grades. All Lisa’s teachers say she is working at form level or above, but from the various things they said we don’t think she is exerting herself one little bit. She admitted the next day that she isn’t working more than she has to because she doesn’t want to. Grrrrr!
John and I have picked up a phrase that we’ve taken a fancy to. Here, instead of straightening things out or getting things settled, you sort them out. If you are muddled about something, you “sort yourself out” to remedy the problem.
The men came to pack for us on Thursday. I thought they’d do the china and crystal and thought nothing more about it. There were two who came, and they expected to put in several hours. I had to run around the house to separate rooms with them to point out what pictures and furnishings were to go and what was to stay. While they did other rooms, I organized the kitchen things by getting all the pots and utensils we’d need for the next two meals in one spot. I gave them sandwiches for lunch; they worked a little more, and then left.
Friday the same two men loaded everything into the van and pulled from the attic all the things of the owners that we’d stored. They pulled out about 12:30. We checked the house, stopped for sandwiches at the bakery, and came to this house. We waited and waited for the van and wondered what had happened to them. Finally they came with two more men they’d gone to pick up and they made short work of the unloading. We put $ in his stroller to watch the unloading and directed where everything was to go. They also unpacked! I was available when the china was done and was able to tell them where to put it. All the rest of the kitchen equipment was stuffed in drawers and cupboards. They did it in a logical manner, but not exactly where I wanted things. After they left at 5, I pulled everything out and re-stowed it. At the same time, John was re-doing all the books in the living room. We made a start on our bedroom and John’s room.
Gillian (neighbor across the street) had so kindly invited the girls to spend the night at her house and even insisted on picking them up from school!!! That left our minds completely free to concentrate on moving. I don’t know what state I’d be in now if I’d had to answer a thousand questions along with everything else. Gillian said she met some friends at Micklefield. Her daughter Caroline went there until just two years ago. We planned to get the girls Saturday morning, but Gillian insisted we come dressed in our work clothes at lunch time and have a meal with them! Nothing could have been kinder! We ate in the kitchen and had a lovely meal of beef and mushroom stew, leeks from their garden, mashed potatoes, green beans, and for dessert a choice of jelly (jello), applesauce, or fruit salad followed by coffee. It was so good to know we’d had a nourishing meal and I wouldn’t have to do more than get out sandwich materials for a later meal. Bless her!
I saw something in Gillian’s kitchen and couldn’t resist asking her about it. It was a funny ceramic thing, rather tall, but with the opening curved, rather like a curved pipe. She said it is a salt pig. It’s the only thing in which she can keep salt so that it doesn’t cake up. They are supposed to be readily available, so I’ll be looking for one. I never saw anything quite like it. [We still use the one we bought. This photo was taken in 2021.]
Shortly before the moving men left, Jennifer [neighbor who with her husband owns the other half of our rented house] came over to invite us over for a cup of tea. John said I needed a rest more than he did, so he kept $. I had a delightful time chatting with them. $ had fun climbing up and down the levels of steps in the moving van. The men left, $ went to bed, and we began to “sort things out.”
Today the girls and I walked to St. Peter’s for the 11 o’clock service advertised on their board in the front of the church. We wondered what was going on when we saw so many cars quietly parked and only four or five people waiting to go into the building. The board, we were told, was about 15 years old. The newer one had been taken down to be repainted with the new rector’s name. The hymn we were hearing was the end of the service we thought we were headed for. For years the main service has been at 10. Now we know. The man who gave us the information advised us to buy a parish magazine inside. Then he slipped in, handed us one, and refused to let us pay for it!
After dinner John went to Redhill for Bach’s St. Matthew Passion. He said it was glorious. The congregation got to sing all the chorales. There was even a tea break in the middle, and the people brought out their thermoses. He felt satisfied that he had truly worshiped.
This afternoon we cleaned up the old carriage we’ve lugged around with us and outfitted it with the stroller seat. We walked through the little village to the duck pond and down one footpath. This is going to be another facet of English life. A brisk walk of two minutes brings us within sight, sound, and smell of cows! We hear no traffic tucked back off the high street, and I doubt there is much, anyway. This may be the type of place where everyone knows everyone else. The shopping will be easy – small grocery, fruiterer, butcher, post office, two gift shops, hardware, dispensing chemist, blacksmith, luncheonette, two pubs and three or four antique shops are just around the corner. Don’t think I’ll buy anything at the blacksmith’s. This is so different from the traffic choked streets of Redhill and Reigate.
Our girls have still not met the girls we share the house with. I found out their names – Georgina, 15; Katherine, 12; and Philipa, 9. Don’t feel we can invite them in here until the entrance is free of its mountain of boxes.
The house is old, don’t know how old, but the ceilings are quite high and the walls thick. We haven’t learned how things sound – I heard Kate calling me, and I had to search all over the house to find her. Turned out she was in the next room to begin with. We can’t hear $ crying if we are downstairs.
The girls have a week and a half of school till the end of term. Then comes a month off. One week of that will be spent in Cornwall.