England 40 Years Ago — April 26, 1981

We arrived in Cornwall this afternoon (April 25). The drive down was peaceful thanks to John’s good driving and $’s lack of crying. When $ looked tired, we put him in the front seat and he almost instantly fell asleep. After resting, he contentedly played with his trucks and stood balancing on the hump in the back. [As I remember it, there were no seat belts in the back seat.]

The weather has been weird. Yesterday there was lots of snow in the north, cutting off many villages. In Cornwall (very south of England) we saw snow on the ground, drove under a warm sun and then through a fierce storm of snow, rain and wind.

We were all eager to see the moor. At first we weren’t sure we were on the moor – didn’t know what to expect. The hills are fairly steep, no trees grow there, and it is bleak.

This slide was named Exmoor in Cornwall.

Many areas we saw are being upgraded – stones removed, tough grasses replaced with good grass, and drainage ditches dug. We were very surprised at the number of homes and farms there. We thought no one lived on the moor. Mostly there are sheep and cows grazing on the better lands.

This was not labeled Exmoor, but the scene has sheep and farms.
Our rented cottage in Cornwall

Last Monday (April 20) before leaving on vacation, Kate and I went for an exploratory drive while John and Lisa kept the sleeping $. We drove to Godstone on fast roads and came home on little tiny twisty roads, some only one car wide. Many were not marked at all, so we did get quite lost. I was having fun, but Kate wanted to hurry home. She said she had a headache and wanted to get home to take care of $. She said, “If we don’t hurry, John might starve to death!”

Catherine from next door, Lisa, Kate and I played a new game I made up – the churchyard game. You go armed with pencils and paper to look for various things. I liked the name “Violet Bashford” best of those we saw. We also played a new version of tag. “IT” had to hold to the old carriage with John $ in it while chasing the others in the confined boundaries of the back parking area behind Churchfield. The little boy loved all the noise and movement.

This week $ danced to music, with perhaps some coaching in disco technique from Lisa.

I was chatting to the owner of the village hardware store about his recent trip to Miami when he told me an American was approaching the shop. She is Mrs. Faulkner – has lived all over the US but was last in LA where their family owns a home. Don’t know what her husband does, but she says they may be in Walton several more years.

Philippa from next door spent a night with us. Both she and Kate had wanted company during their holidays, and this seemed to satisfy them. Philippa is a joy to have around – she’s adaptable, loves to play with $, can make peace between Lisa and Kate and has a face that can light up a room with a smile.

$ is beginning to talk. He can say “ ..isa” and “..ate” and often says a form of “thank you” when handed something. This is going to be a fun stage.

$ ran away from home for the first time. He was angry with me for preventing his throwing stones into the frog pond. He stumped off down the drive, broke into a run and disappeared down the footpath to the next street. Kate rode after him on her bike and I ran on foot. He’s leading us a merry chase, indeed!

Photo taken in September, but appropriate here. $ is peering into the frog pond. Mr. Clewes covered the pond with a screen to protect the toddler.

One day it looked as if $ were conducting a test for strength and durability of toilet paper. We found him dunking a whole unwound roll in the john. We would have loved to wipe the smile off his face, but felt the TP had been subjected to enough already.

Lisa continues to use her loving term for her brother – Beezoo. She decided she should be Beezette and Kate, Beezo. She asked what I should be, and I replied I would very soon be Beeserk!