England 40 Years Ago — May 24, 1981

This has been sick week – nothing bad, just colds. Kate stayed home from school Monday and Lisa, Tuesday.

At the hairdresser’s I heard about the “rag and bone” man. They were saying the man passes with his cart several times a month ringing a bell. He will take such things as cookers, old TV’s and appliances. Some he might repair and resell, others he would sell for scrap. The dustman will take nothing more than normal household rubbish.

I was invited to Jackie F’s for coffee to meet a couple of other Americans. Margaret R’s husband works with the same company as Jackie’s; their son is 21 months with another baby on the way. Also there was a Tennessee girl!!! She grew up in Knoxville. The “e” in her name is long – Marketta S. She thinks the name is Indian, but doesn’t know how her mother came up with it. Marketta’s husband is the national sales manager for Wilson sporting goods. Their children are Erika 7, and Harrison 3. Marketta herself reminds me a little of Eleanor E – tall, thin, lovely long brown hair and brown eyes. Her accent was a little hard to adjust to! It’s been a long time since I’ve met any new Southerners (as opposed to family who sound familiar).

Thursday was a difficult day starting with a crash. I was turning out of our street taking John to the station when a motorcycle flew around the blind corner and hit me. Our car is so long that he was bound to make contact. The young boy hurt his arm, but seemed to think he was OK otherwise. We took him to his home in Tadworth. Later John went with me to Epsom to report the accident to the police. The rules here are to clear the streets after a crash, exchange addresses, and report to the police within 24 hours if there has been any bodily injury. We were all shook up and said very little in the car. When the boy got out, he thanked us for bringing him home!!! The policeman was very kind, but did explain that any time a car is coming out at a junction, the fault lies with that car no matter what happens on the main road.

I went on to drive the girls to school that morning; the only damage to the car is a big dent just before the front wheel that broke the turning indicator. I find I’m not leery of driving except at that junction – now roll down the window and listen before proceeding! So ends a 22-year stretch of no crashes.

I finally saw a sign pointing to the antique market in Reigate. It has been closed because the building it was in is being demolished. It is now in the basement of a chemist shop. There are a few stalls open, but there isn’t nearly the array of things there was before.

As I parked my car in the car park, I saw a little old lady searching the ground. She came up to me to ask me to help her find her keys. They had dropped between the shift stick and bucket seat, and I found them within two minutes. She thanked me profusely and said she hoped someone would help me some time. I said I was glad to be of assistance and could find things easily because that is my main job in life at home.

Catherine (next door) spent the night with Lisa. She’s fun for me to talk to.

John $ was enjoying seeing Kate in the tub having a bath. He suddenly decided she needed the company of her towel, so he dumped it in with her. Grrr!

This morning Kate and I went to church around the corner; John and Lisa are going for Evensong this evening. Tomorrow is a bank holiday, and the neighbors in the other half of our house are coming here for dinner.

13 thoughts on “England 40 Years Ago — May 24, 1981

  1. I think you were very brave to drive in a country where they drive on the other side of the road! I would have had more than one accident. Glad no one was seriously hurt.

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    1. I never went back to the states while we lived there, so I made driving adjustments only twice. Oddly, I never had a problem in England, but when we moved back, I found myself driving on the wrong side of the road for a few seconds. Luckily, there was no one around early in the morning, and I got back where I belonged.

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  2. The young man who ran into you was fortunate he wasn’t seriously injured. I doubt I could adjust to driving in England…I drove while living in Greece and Germany. We never made it to England. Your description of time spent there sounds so lovely…enticing. You’re an excellent writer and I will enjoy following you. Thanks!

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    1. Driving on a different side of the road in England was okay, because I didn’t drive in any other country at the time. It’s the switching that might catch you off guard. Thanks for reading about our time in England.

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