This is always tough. We come to be fond of the places we “dwell”. We experience their shortcomings, but so far, all of those have been overcome by of all of the “longcomings”. (Writers have a lot of leeway in their use of words…right?) And when it comes down to it, the places are nice, but the people make the memories.
We have been in Canterbury for a month. Glen will correct me because I think we are short a day or two, but that kind of accuracy just isn’t my thing ;-). I really didn’t have many expectations for Canterbury. It was never on my “must do” list and I didn’t do a lot of research in its selection or before our arrival. I find that sometimes this methodology allows for many pleasant surprises! (You may be thinking that it’s crackers that we would spend so much time and money in a place that we haven’t given a lot of thought to…but hey…you only live once!)
Here in Canterbury, our cozy (or cosy since we are in England) little house was just right. The steep stairs did give me pause as we entered for the first time. They are literally 2′ from the entry door that barely opens without banging into the bottom step. One person enters and has to step aside while the other enters and closes the door. It’s a bit of a dance. Once we got our technique for safely going up and down the carpeted (and slippery) stairs, they didn’t worry me…much. I’d say that neither of has ever fallen, but that might be tempting fate as we have a few more ups and downs before we leave tomorrow.
We figured out the European washing machine (the dryer was broken) and we loved hanging our clothes in the garden to dry. I didn’t blush to brightly when our neighbor Olivier cut through our garden with my knickers blowing in the wind.
I might have thought that the pub across the street and the pedestrian thoroughfare nature of Ivy Lane would have been a nuisance, but weirdly, unexpectedly, happily…I have loved the life that the “traffic” brought into our home. We’ve learned to ignore or just enjoy the noise of the neighbor’s comings and goings (including Olivier). We’ve also gotten used to being able to see directly into the second story windows of the houses across the lane. That’s been a bit weird for this suburbanite! Oh…that also means that we have to pay attention because if we can see in their windows…
The Two Sawyers had a weekly Trivia Night. (Did you know that a “sawyer” was someone who sawed trees? Me, neither.) Since it’s summer, we had our windows open at night and so did the pub. The MC uses a microphone so every Thursday we have had the pleasure of “participating” from home. I could hear some of the questions and quickly learned that there’s no way I could have competed because all the questions were Great Britain factoids and I’m no British expert! It was fun to hear the laughter throughout the night and they were always respectful of the neighbors and ended promptly at 10:00 pm. Also, a few times they had a band on the weekend. One night I enjoyed the music so much that I went over and tipped the band!
As we come to our last days here, I find myself feeling a bit blue. I always do wherever we are…even Walnut Creek. Rather than rushing around to do all of the things I missed, I return to the places that I especially enjoyed. They aren’t usually the tourist places, but the places I’ve found through my wanderings. These last few days have found me wandering along the River Stour path, sitting in the Westgate gardens, visiting the cemetery at St. Martin’s and then today I returned to the medieval streets of the town center. I looked around, listened to the sounds and just took in their joy of the space and let myself feel the sadness and gratitude of our impending departure.
I have saved the best for last though. I had the good luck of getting to go for a walk with David and Judy again today. David and I headed over promptly at 10:15 and then the three of us headed off through the neighborhood again.
This time, Judy took us through a different footpath out to a field that had an oast. (See post from the other day, but these are buildings used to dry the hops for ale.) We had a lovely walk on the MOST gorgeous sunny day.
I got to hear about a few of their mutual friends and some of their family member’s doings. They lamented the lack of any government in England right now without a prime minister. (They reported that Boris has been vacationing on their dime while he finishes his time.) They were keen to talk about recent events in the American legislature. They are fully aware of the recent “referendum” in Kansas and are quite hopeful for us. (David’s word.)
David told me a bit about a couple of our neighbors and the history of some of the inhabitants of his house built in 1631. There’s another house down the street that was built in the 1400s!
And YES!!! We cut through the hospital on the path again and this time… I took photos!
We ended our walk with a glass (or two) of white wine in Judy’s garden. It’s such a civil way to end a week. And yes, I found myself feeling sad as I gave a final good bye hug (and European two cheek kiss-What COVID?!) to Judy.
Today David picked us up at 6:55 am to give us a ride to the train station. He insisted. What a lovely gentleman with a twinkle in his eye and an occasional snark in his voice. When we had him over for a glass of wine last week, he noticed that I checked my Apple watch a couple times because it buzzed my wrist. This newfangled watch is a mystery to him. The second time he caught me looking he said, “Is there somewhere you have to be?” Busted. Glen was quite amused. David is not afraid to speak his mind. He reminded me multiple times to give him our address so that he could send us a postcard. He keeps in touch with many of his former students from around the world so I have no doubt that we will hear from him. And I’m looking forward to it.
AND despite my current blues, I’m so excited for our next stop! Saturday (today) we leave via the Eurostar and head to Paris to meet Blair!!! She’s already in the air on her flight! And don’t tell her, but she’s turning 30 on Sunday. How can that be?! Can’t wait to celebrate in the City of Light.