From now on, please presume we have company if the letter is delayed. Not too many weeks ago someone was sure half of us were in hospital when the letter didn’t arrive on time. I had planned to write last night, but during dinner, John C. got this funny look, pushed back from the table, said he was afraid he was going to be sick and to please excuse him while he took a nap. So, instead of calmly writing here, I cleaned up the kitchen, entertained Gerhard (college friend), and got the children to bed. John felt much better when I woke him to change into pajamas. Must have been a quick virus. Now back to the beginning of the previous week.
Last week was Holiday Club at St. Mary’s. It’s similar to Bible School in the mornings, but includes the whole parish for that plus games in the afternoons and two special evenings. Kate (8) determined she would go, thinking neighbor Mary Anne might go with her. Mary Anne didn’t go, but Kate went right ahead! I went with her to find her group the first morning, and she did fine! The morning sessions were from 10:15 to 12. Lisa disdained to go. She’s determined not to enjoy anything here.
Monday afternoon we went to Priory Park for the afternoon games. Lisa and Kate joined in, and I went window shopping in town. They played all sorts of games, and I rather think Lisa didn’t like it because it was all strange to her and she couldn’t beat everyone else. That lasted each afternoon from 2:30 to 4. Tuesday afternoon we went down to watch Hunt the Hairy. What fun most of the children had! They filled squeeze bottles with water and hunted for the specially dressed young leaders to chase and squirt. The Hairys were drenched from head to toe before a halt was called. It was like watching something in a movie to see all these children – must have been 100 – 200 there – swirling over the green lawns like waves on the beach as they chased the Hairys. Lisa and Kate didn’t join in, but we had a good time watching. Afterwards there was something at the church itself called Sizzle the Sausage, which I think was a cook-out. Kate didn’t want to go by herself and I had to fix dinner for the rest of us. One other afternoon we went to watch the goings on, this time a team game of youngsters against leaders.
It seemed so odd for a church group to use public land until it dawned on me that they don’t have separation of church and state here. I don’t know where the funds came for the Holiday Club, but all youngsters in the parish were invited – meaning all residents in this town, I guess. Kate came home with a few pictures she’d drawn, but they don’t have elaborate things to do as with Concordia publications.
Kate went every morning, which was the time they acted out Bible stories and sang songs – the more Christian part of the week. We had meant to take her to the park Saturday afternoon but forgot about it. Sunday, yesterday, they had a family service at church, and she enjoyed that because they had a sword drill right in church and sang songs she’d become familiar with during the week. I was so proud of her for over-coming her shyness and entering into things. As you can imagine, our week was hectic getting her there and running errands in the allotted time. It’s nice not to have such restrictions today.
One morning Lise and I went to the freezer center and stocked up on a freezer full of meat. I bought a quart jar of mayonnaise there. You’ll never guess the cheapest brand I’ve seen here – Hellmann’s!!! I am trying to get as much food in the house as possible to save trips the rest of the week. Went to Co-op four times and the freezer center twice.
Thursday Clewes began cleaning out the pool at the bottom of the garden. The children asked him to, and he finally did it. What an awful job! He cut down a big bush or so, cut back stinging nettles, and dragged broken glass and the bottom of a bird bath from the murky depths. Yuck! The girls were interested in helping and really pitched in Friday. They scrubbed the sides which were slimy green and the bottom which was slate gray. The whole thing was beige when they got through! They hauled bucket after bucket of water down there. John asked about gold fish, but the man said not to get any until the middle of this week while the chemicals settled out of the water.
Friday Lisa began working on the pool before Clewes came. She caught three frogs and a newt, put them in a bucket, and left them on the front stoop. At my protest, her reply was, “They’re my GUARD FROGS!” With a daughter’s imagination like that, what chance does a mother have?
Saturday John was out shopping with the girls, and I knew I must wash my hair before Gerhard arrived. The problem was what to do with John $. Finally I hit on a good solution. I put him in his room with toys, closed all the doors except those allowing a path from his room to the shower room at the other end of the house. I could tell from the shower where he was by the sound of the toys. He was closer when I heard a truck thump and racing down the hall when I could hear a musical push toy. Then I could hear his talking sounds and spoke to him. In a minute he got so quiet I couldn’t imagine where he was. When a boy gets quiet, it’s time to be suspicious. I shut off the water, turned and looked down, and there just visible below the shower curtain were two little hands happily splashing in the water at my feet.
Gerhard arrived at least an hour before we expected him. He called from the railroad station, so we had time to change clothes quickly before John drove to get him. Luckily it was a beautiful day and I had gotten all my laundry dry for a change before we did a load for him. He and John hung it out while I cooked dinner. We sat up quite late and had a nice visit.
Yesterday we went to St. Mary’s, had sandwiches for lunch, and set out for the vicinity of Tunbridge Wells. We walked through the ruins of Scotney Castle and all about the lovely gardens. The Castle was very old; when the Hussey family inherited it in the 18th century, they decided they’d rather look at a castle than live in one. They built a huge stone home on the hilltop, and for the romantic effect, demolished much of the castle to make it into an instant ruin! In those days ruins were considered romantic, more so than an old building well preserved.
We came home for dinner as described in the first paragraph, and Gerhard went in by train with John this morning. Today I’ve been trying to ready the house and ourselves for the arrival of my brother and his family tomorrow morning. Their plane is due in at Gatwick at 8 a.m.