Surlingham (2004-02-06 - 1:06 p.m.)
I haven't updated this thing in ages! It's mostly because of lack of internet time - I do have access here, but someone else is paying for it and I feel bad about hogging the computer when it's not in an internet cafe.
Anyway, I'm in Surlingham, a tiny village (well, around 700 people so maybe not so tiny!) near Norwich, north and east of London. I'm staying with Peter and Diane Ferrey, relatives (albeit distantly) of my grandfather. I arrived here by coach on Monday afternoon from London.
Peter and Diane are absolutely amazing. I'd been corresponding with them for the last year or so, after having met them during my England trip with dad last October. Peter sends delightful letters and is one of the only people I know who will write back regularly! They have been far too kind to me, taking extremely good care of me (I have a bit of a nasty cough, for which they're dosing me with "cough mixture") and we've had some lovely conversations. Peter has kept all the letters he wrote to his mother over the years he was overseas, and there are bundles of them. And we all know there's nothing I like better than snooping through other peoples' lives! It's remarkable to be able to see those post-war years through the eyes of someone who lived them, described as it happened.
On Wednesday we went to a funeral in a village a bit south, in Suffolk. It was for M. M. Kaye (also known as Mollie Hamilton, which confused me: apparently the full name is Mary Margaret Kaye Hamilton), who is an author and whom Peter knew from his time in India. It was a lovely service (despite the fact that I knew no one) and I got to see the inside of Mollie's house at the reception. Gorgeous - these old, old houses with wooden beams exposed. Apparently a very common style of house in Suffolk, mostly immensely old. Then Peter treated us to a real Cream Tea at the Swan, an ancient and beautiful inn. Loads of clotted cream and jam, and absolutely delicious scones! The food defied description. And I think I've had more tea in the last week than the last two years of my life (which is really saying something)
A bit of a damper was put on the early part of the week, partly because of my cough but mostly because I managed to have my wallet stolen (or lost) when I got off the coach. It normally wouldn't have happened, but the string on it had broken and I had it in my pocket rather than around my neck. Quite upsetting, to say the least. I was quite disgusted with myself, and thought "I may as well go straight into academia - I seem to have enough trouble with the real world". Anyway, they did find it outside the coach, and someone turned it in with documents intact (but sans cash). However, having it back has made my life much more pleasant.
It's really quite a different world out here. I went for a walk through Surlingham today - really quite an unfairly picturesqe village. The grass is green, even in February, and I saw some snowdrops blooming! I think I like this climate, despite the rain. It's strange to me, with all these tiny little curvy roads. Nothing seems to run straight, and there's not quite room for two cars to pass in many places. And of course Peter goes zooming along them at what seems like an excessive rate of speed - although I'm sure it's really quite slow. I asked him about it and he says he'd really rather drive on these roads, as they're much less boring than the straightaways. Which I suppose is true.
I also saw some swans today (so there, Steph!) and some strange long-horned shaggy cattle feeding out on the Broads.
All in all I'm really enjoying this little respite in the country, and it's great having people look after me and feed me! I can't believe I left Canada just over a week ago - it seems like ages.
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