England 40 Years Ago — May 10, 1981

I don’t have much to write this week, since we had a quiet spell after that great holiday in Cornwall. John was home last Monday because it was a bank holiday, and most things were closed. It was so nice to get a few things done around the house with no pressure to go anywhere.

John tried asking for a ruler in the office, but was met with blank stares. What he was told he wanted was a measuring stick.

The car gave us a trying time by refusing to start one morning. John had to walk to the station while I continued working with it. Finally started. Whew! It seems to take several days before extreme moisture works its way into the spark plugs, and then you have to crank and crank away to get it dry.

Barbara C. is one of those who loves children, and I knew I could relax having John $ with me while I was at her home for coffee. Her 3-year-old played so nicely with $, and they have tons of little cars and trucks. John didn’t make a sound the whole time we were there, just played with one toy and then another. We two ladies just sat basking in the sun streaming through the windows and had a long chat.

She spoke of getting over a cold and still having catarrh. I was so glad she put that word in context so I could dope out its meaning. Sounds much nicer than “runny nose”, doesn’t it?

Two days we took Susie S. home from school – she is the 5-year-old daughter of the two doctors who just had a new baby. We were thrilled to see the baby. Took him several blue sweaters Mom had knit for John $. Penny’s eyes lit up at sight of them, because she said she had only pink things after two girls.

Last night the neighbors who share a roof with us had a party to introduce us to some of the people who live in Walton. All of them, with the exception of the rector and the Wilsons (owners of this house), had children the ages of ours. The adults were served elegant finger snacks, and all the children sandwiches. Georgina had helped her mother with the food and over-saw games outside for the children. Suzette Marsh has two daughters at boarding school, one she brought who is Kate’s age, and a 6-month-old boy named Charles whom they preface with “prince”. The couple who live in the house named “The Merlins” explained that it was easier to repaint the sign as it was than to rename the house; they guess the name has to do with the magician. The MacPhersons from Scotland were hard to understand, but brought with them their weekend guest who had just arrived that morning from New York. He sounded like home! The Berrys told funny stories of the training of their pony to pull a trap. It was a delightful party, and so nice to know who belongs in some of the houses I’ve seen here.

We began a game with Kate’s name while on holiday, so will write a few. What happens when Kate leaves office? She abdikates. How do you make her happier? By plakating her. When she’s convalescing, she’s delikate. Her favorite coconut is desikated. How do you talk with Kate — you communkkate, of course. When she’s done something wrong, we adjudikate. When she’s moving fast, we tell of the action in the predikate. Do you think I should stop this and eradikate? When Kate is ill, she is helped by being medikated. She points to things to indikate. If she ever creaks with age, she’ll rustikate. What is the best mode of transportation for her? To skate. When she writes her first book, it will be dedikated. Her vocation must be Katering. For that she’ll move to Katerham. She would never lie, but might prevarikate.