England 40 Years Ago — April 5, 1981

Did I write about going to church last week? John and Lisa had gone to St. Mary’s for communion, and Kate and I to St. Peter’s for Evensong and sermon. We didn’t want to be late, so ended up being the first there. As we walked in, the man was standing in the aisle ringing the bell to call the worshipers and reached for the prayer books without missing a stroke. Kate wanted to sit in the very first pew, but I insisted that I’d rather sit halfway back so that we’d have someone to follow as to when to sit, stand, or kneel. The congregation behaved as so many do in the States – back fills up first. Wouldn’t you know no one sat in front of us? I had to keep my head turned slightly to see what to do!

Monday John, $, and I did the inventory of Tymberly with Mr. Wolters. It was a trying time. Mr. Wolters counted every fork, every doorknob, every vase. He was entirely correct to do it that way, but it took forever. The inventory for that house is a book, well filled. We did the initial inventory for Churchfield in half an hour, and it is only two pages.

Lisa came home asking about the spelling of “draft” – it is “draught” here, but pronounced draft. Can you imagine playing a game of draughts (checkers) in the same room with a draughtsman who is trying to eliminate draughts from under the door? Boggles my mind. John said they use “draught” in shipping, but it rhymes with “ought”. He’s right, it ought.

There is nothing like moving to change your view of things. In Stony Brook I mainly faced East; in Reigate, North; in Walton, South. The position referred to is that which faces the kitchen sink.

I tried the little butcher shop down the lane and found his meat to be good. He said he likes New York; spent a month with a friend in Hauppague!!! Small world!

April Fool’s Day behaved as you might expect – rain when we don’t need it. I had to use Liquid Paper on “need”. Couldn’t let you see that this typewriter first wrote it “kneed”.

I waited at Micklefield for Mr. Clewes, but because of the weather I can’t blame him for not coming. Went on to Co-op in Redhill, back to Walton to put away the groceries, to Reigate for a hair cut, to Walton, to Reigate to pick up the girls, and home. Then I fed $ and made Brownies for the girls to take to school the next day.

The last day of each term is only half a day. There is very little accomplished – they have an assembly to give out awards and at break time they have the eagerly awaited “feast”. Everyone shares all kinds of candies and cakes that they are forbidden to bring on all other days. Normally they are allowed to take only biscuits or fruit. All the children came racing out of school in high spirits, and I wonder how many mothers faced tummy aches later. Luckily, we didn’t.

The first day of freedom, Lisa slept late, and Kate went with $ and me shopping. Later the girls played in the garden with Georgina and Catherine (two of the girls next door). $ loved the freedom to chase Frizbees and taste delicious looking rocks.

Philipa, Kate, John $, and Lise in the back garden

Kate’s complaint whilst practicing her violin – “My hands are soggy!” It would be hard to play the violin with soggy hands, wouldn’t it? She and I finally decided she meant greasy.

Yesterday Jeremy (rental manager) took out one cabinet unit in the kitchen to prepare for the insertion of the dishwasher. I can hardly wait!

Today Lisa and I are going to St. Mary’s for the morning service. Kate and John will go to St. Peter’s for Evensong.

22 thoughts on “England 40 Years Ago — April 5, 1981

  1. I loved how you described wanting to sit behind someone so you could follow along….Brings back memories of the first wedding I went to in a catholic church…so different than what I was used to.

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  2. I love hearing about the daily little things that need explaining and just how your life was in this new place. So much fun reading these and seeing $ grow up from baby to toddler!

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  3. As I started reading, I thought 40 years ago was not so long, and yet it other ways it sure was. 40 years ago my kids were 8, 6 and 5 and I was single (Div) would have been lost without my mom. Loved the details of daily life and speech. Thanks for sharing. Blessings, Michele

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      1. I spent a short time, 9 months in Spain. My husband was stationed in Rota. Our second child was only 5 weeks old when he left and we stayed behind until June. I traveled to Spain along with a newborn, a toddler and two diaper bags. Fortunately he was able to fly back with me to get me settled before he had to take off for sea duty.

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  4. Anne, the peculiarities of the English language are endless and looks like you had fun learning all about ‘draught’! A word I’ve never considered before as it just is! Oh, I’ve been to exercise classes where I’ve ended up in front and had to constantly look behind me to see what I was supposed to be doing. Not good for the neck at all. Ahh … I love the photos of your young one helping out in the cabinet – hope you took a tea break as he headed in there!

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    1. I’m sure I take many silly American words for granted. You would notice them, though. That would be uncomfortable to be in front of everyone in exercise class. I’m sure young John emptied that cabinet for a long time if I went upstairs to get the camera. In those days cameras were too large to fit in a pocket. Thanks for being with me in England.

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  5. The spelling and pronunciation differences make me smile. I have a few fellow bloggers who are from the UK and they often use the term “whilst” instead of “while” and the first time I saw it spelled like that I recalled using it as well in school in Canada as we learned Oxford English. I like the ruddy cheeks of $ – they match his snazzy pants. He is helping you organize well. 🙂 My mom told me stories of when I was young and watching Romper Room and they’d say to ask mom for a pot or a pan from the cupboard and the kid was supposed to clang the lid against the pot/pan or take a spoon to a pot and make as much noise as you can. My mom told me years later she didn’t understand what possessed the producers to let kids make all that noise and drive their moms up the wall.

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      1. I can remember running around the house with the pots and pans. We had neighbors kiddy corner from our house who used to go out on their front porch with pots and pans and bang them loudly every New Year’s Eve … never heard of such a thing and it could wake up the dead … the four of them did that at the stroke of midnight. So every New Year’s Eve, my mom would say “guess the neighbors are going to make a racket like you did in your Romper Room days.”

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  6. When our children were little, we used to go to Saturday night service, which was very lightly attended. I used to have to sneak peeks at other parishioners to see when the appropriate times to stand/sit/kneel were.

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