Spring has sprung magnificently here in the UK and the skies are blue and the buds are growing, flowers are peeping out from once dry branches and everyone is smiling. We arrived home from the Easter weekend to find that in the South East where we live there had been winds up to 110 mph…..pretty strong! And we had no idea at all because where we had been staying in the Midlands had been the most glorious weather you could imagine but all was well, apart from a few pots that had blown over and garden furniture halfway up the garden, everything was fine. We had pondered on the way home why the bridge that leads to Kent and Dover had been shut and there had been reports of delays and traffic jams……then we realised that the winds had caused havoc, the Queen Elizabeth Bridge is very high and very long, not the place you want to be in a high wind!
The sky had been amazing as we approached home, an all weather sky……some dark and stormy, other patches of bright blue and to the left wispy clouds drifting across a sky so blue you had to screw up your eyes……….Incredible.
Then I was back at the wonderful steam fair on Tuesday evening….it was an opportunity to see more of the fair as I worked from 4 8pm, not the busiest time but for me an opportunity to chat to the folk who work on the fair and travel constantly from county to county in England from March to October, a long time to be travelling and putting up the fair and dismantling it at the end, tough work but everyone I spoke to loved the life. Most had been born into it and their families before them had operated the fair. Many of the rides dated back to the late 1800’s and were stunning, painted by hand carefully and precisely every colour as bright as could be, lovingly restored every time there was a chip or a scratch. The beautiful lettering was all done by the owner who also gave classes on lettering during the period of November to March……something I would be very interested to do!
My last shift over and the next task was our American visitors arriving the next day. Have we got enough food, will they be comfortable, is everything clean and tidy for first impressions, have we got enough food….the list goes on, we all do it, I am sure and it always turns out to be fine, it is always that initial worry that something has been forgotten.
And so to the airport on Wednesday morning, a few holdups where at one point they are widening the road GRRRR! It has to be done but causes chaos meantime, but we arrived with time to spare and watched the arrivals with interest. I love to people watch and if you have ever stood at the arrivals gate and watched people greeting each other you will know what I mean. The
young man home from travels, tanned and thin being greeted by parents, the baby seen for the first time, tears and hugs, whole families who have not been home for some time, drivers holding high cards with names on and the stiff greeting when their passenger approaches, children running into the arms of a much missed grandmother and of course the lovers separated by work or nationality or red tape whatever the reason these are always the best greetings, oblivious to anyone else around they fling themselves into each other’s arms and look deep into each other’s eyes as if not wanting to miss a thing, it is then that I realise I am staring and my eyes are moist……….
Then I spot our friends and I am brought back to the moment.
We chat non stop on the way home answering questions about this and that and soothing screams from the back when a car cuts across us or large lorries lumber by, all on the seemingly wrong side of the road!
Jet lag can be a terrible thing and the body clock always takes a time to adjust itself. By the time we waved them off to Ireland on Saturday, they were refreshed and back to normal and very excited to see relatives and friends and old haunts from years ago.
The one thing I love about visitors is that they allow you to discover your town and surrounding areas again through their eyes. Their wonderment at our houses, the seafront and fishing villages and ancient remains and smaller portions of food that one is not expected to take home if you do not manage to finish, the stores and prices cheaper than in America, pubs and friendly people……….yes, I do love where I live, visitors always remind me of this fact. I did my first recording for talking newspapers on Saturday…….I had no idea this scheme existed until I was asked to take part. The blind in our area, of which there are 3,000, are given the opportunity to subscribe to talking newspapers, all free of charge, and each week they receive a CD or usb stick with the recording of the local newspapers as well as information about all event which are taking place locally. The organisation can provide the machines to listen to the papers and anything else that may be required to access this service. What happens is that we all sit in one room, two readers, the technician who does the recording and a spare in case anything goes wrong. Beforehand any interesting articles will have been carefully cut from the newspaper with date carefully inserted and these are all ready for reading. One reader does the introduction, another the closing. As you approach the end of the article you are reading you raise your hand so the technician knows you are finishing and can stop the recording, there is a prompt for the next
reader and off we go. A very interesting process and one that I think is a worthwhile way to spend some time every so often.
Off to the first birthday party of Harry, the son of an ex student of mine, it was fun and so nice to be invited and keep in touch with these young people who have shaped my career and my life.
The one event that I would have like to attend in Lake Worth was the memorial service for Dean Sherwin, a wonderful man, English by birth but always said, ‘I used to be English’….he loved Lake Worth and contributed much by way of his wit, his wise words, Little Free Library project, wonderful cottages book which will be coming out soon (you must ALL buy it, you will not be disappointed!), sailing, July 4th raft building and so much more….he will be sorely missed! I know that the wonderful residents of Lake Worth will gather round Susan and watch over her as she comes to terms with his loss.
On Wednesday, we will be back at the airport and ready for round two of visitors, this time going further afield to London and Kent, will be enormous fun I am sure and will keep you posted of our travels.
Enjoy the week ahead, it is sure to be filled with laughter and fun I am sure……..