England 40 Years Ago — January 24, 1982

Only in England! I was waiting in the car for Lisa to get out of school and idly watching several moving men unload a van. My interest perked up when an older couple drove up and the young new owners came out to greet them. The man was wearing a tie!!! His wife looked smart, too, though dressed in slacks and a pretty smock top. I couldn’t believe they were in the middle of a move and looking so spiffy.

Our warming trend brought more than a thaw – the birds are trilling merrily. You’d think spring had arrived.

John had occasion to enter $’s room after he’d been put to bed. John described him as being like a mother hen sitting on her eggs – the blanket was in its usual place completely covering his head, and he was lying on an armful of matchbox toys. [That almost sounds like a bed of nails to me.]

I went to visit Paula at her home for a short while one morning. She looks good and is getting excited about bringing Nicholas home in a few weeks. [He was born with spina bifida and had to stay in the hospital much longer than Paula.] The nursery she’s fixed up is more exciting than our three had – cute wallpaper, new light fixture, shining cot, new blankets, toys, books and a wardrobe full of new little clothes.

John was told to stay home during the rail strike this past week. Again, the action stopped all trains for two week days and seriously disrupted things the other days. It was fun having John home. He drove the girls to school both days, had time to visit with me in the mornings, and was working on the phone all afternoon while I was fetching the girls. He finds this strike a nuisance because there are many things he wants to get cleared up before he leaves.

Office alcove in our bedroom

Today we went to St. Mary’s in Reigate for the first time in months. $ fell asleep during the service and didn’t give his dad any trouble. We took a half hour drive after the service to kill time before going to the Hull’s house for Sunday lunch. They served a joint, roast potatoes, leeks from their freezer, fresh sprouts from their garden, lemon mousse, and rhubarb crumble. After an hour’s walk on the common, we came back for tea.

When the discussion at the table centered on travel, I asked Gillian where she’d like to go. She said she’d never been to the Lake District, would like to see that, and has a great desire to walk on Hadrian’s Wall. John H responded to that question with enthusiasm mentioning Africa, Chile, Brazil, South East Asia and six weeks in the sun in California. Gillian then said, “If you’re talking about TRAVEL, I’d choose New Zealand.”

Lisa had her friend from Micklefield and Dunottar come spend a few hours Saturday. Yasmine is one of the top students and so very pleasant. She has been kind to pay attention to Kate, too. The three of them got along remarkably well. We did miss seeing any of the neighbors who live under the same roof this weekend; I think this is only the second or third weekend we’ve not seen one or another of them since we moved here almost a year ago.

This has been a rather uneventful week. Sorry I couldn’t find more to write about.

20 thoughts on “England 40 Years Ago — January 24, 1982

  1. I love the ordinary letter days, too. The “home office” is interesting now that so many have home offices and work from home! I also recognized the crucifix on the wall! I have that same one. It was a gift from my best friend after a trip when we stayed with her grandmother, and I commented on it feeling strange to sleep under a crucifix at first, but then after a while, I felt comforted and safe. It is still on my wall some 28 years later.

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  2. Anne, what is aboring about a tale from your family. I enjoyed it. A to Gillian’s wish to go to Lake District, I would highly recommend it. I lived near for many years and we often drove up there.



    1. I hope Gillian was able to visit the Lake District some time in the last 40 years. Her daughter (in England) has recently talked to my daughter (in Denmark), but that subject did not come up.

      I think the old letters from England will show that we went to the area and loved it. I haven’t looked ahead to see what is coming. Thanks for telling me that you lived near there. I will think of you in the past, driving in that lovely scenery.


    1. I didn’t think anything about how people reacted to my letters, because they were mostly non-writers. My mother wrote me once a week, and I really appreciated that.

      The highest honor I ever had was my mother telling me she used my letters as a program for her book club.


  3. I was touched by the mention of spina bifida. They seem to have made great advances with its treatment. I did know a woman about the same age as Paula’s daughter who had not had the advantage of modern intervention. It is a tough diagnosis.

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  4. I really love reading these posts of an England from long ago. Each time I visit I find it is so different to the England in which I grew up. Thanks for your posts


    1. England was marvelous. I wonder what I would notice if I went back. The pace of life might be different. I wonder if the people have changed. Americans are no longer as friendly and kind as they used to be. They turn everything into politics and want to wrangle about them. Note: this does not apply to our wonderful neighbors or people at church.


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