England 40 Years Ago — December 6, 1981

When Mrs. Wilson (owner of this house) came for coffee, she asked if we’d celebrated Thanksgiving. She’d seen a cookery programme (English spelling) on TV on which a turkey was done and a discussion of our holiday took place. She laughed and told of one Thanksgiving she and her husband spent in the US on business. Mr. Wilson accepted two invitations that day, one for lunch and one for dinner. When she heard what he’d done, she was aghast, knowing our Thanksgiving equals their Christmas Day feast. The lunch was with friends who excused them from over eating, but they partook of both.

She expounded on the “trimmings” they have with turkey for Christmas dinner here. One must have slices of ham, bacon rolls and chipolata sausages. Creamed onions, Brussels sprouts, stuffing, bread sauce, and individual mincemeat tarts are also obligatory. I think our Thanksgiving meal is easier!

Kate was home two days in a row feeling sick. (I’ve learned to be careful in the use of that word. English people mean “throwing up” for “sick”. The word for not feeling well is “ill.”) Kate would turn white and moan, but nothing happened. Jennifer said Catherine had felt that way last weekend, even feeling giddy and light-headed. Must be a weird bug.

Only in England – playing Christmas carols and making holiday cookies, we could look at fresh roses from our garden we’d put on the counter! Catherine, Lisa and Kate helped me make Norwegian Christmas cookies, Berlinerkranser.

John was able to buy a Christmas tree cut this past week! The one we had last year was miserable, needles falling before it was brought into the house. This one has to last longer because we’ll put it up before we fly to Germany on the 17th. We plan to return on Boxing Day (Dec. 26), meeting John’s parents at the airport.

Lisa went to a friend’s birthday party – a dinner from 6 – 9 p.m. She said they had a lovely fried chicken dinner and they played some marvelously different games. The house is an old Victorian mansion divided into three homes, but the rooms are tremendously large. Lise’s friend has her room on the 4th floor.

Today we went to church at St. Paul’s, the first time I’ve been there since the Royal Wedding, though the others went once before. It was a lovely service with a great sermon. The preacher said the second Sunday in Advent is Bible Sunday; that must be the Anglican version. John made it through the whole service with $ in the back of the church, though the little one did not fall asleep this time. I could never manage $ like his father does. On the other hand, I doubt John would put up with him in the supermarket!

John kindly dropped me off at the Tower of London so that I could see the crown jewels, only it was closed. This year the Tower and the Jewel House will not be open from November to March. Luckily he hadn’t disappeared and we were able to make other plans. We went to the Zoo instead.

John $ went to that zoo with the Brownworths last summer, but he didn’t tell us much about it. Meanwhile he’s learned many names of animals from books and got quite excited at seeing the giraffes and monkeys. We nearly keeled over laughing when he imitated the sounds of the frisky sea lions. Other people looked at us and couldn’t stop grinning.

[There were no photos to go with this letter, probably, because I knew we’d be traveling to interesting places later in the month.]

13 thoughts on “England 40 Years Ago — December 6, 1981

  1. Anne, your letters paint a vivid picture of your time in England all those years ago and wow, I’m impressed with your busy life! It must have been amazing to sit in St Paul’s for a sermon but a pity about the Tower of London being shut. Did you have a chance to go another time. I hope so, the jewels are stunning!

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