Farewells

I’ve come down with a cold today. As I’ve got the 24 trip back to Perth tomorrow and Wednesday, I decided that going into the London for the planned workshop was NOT a good idea. So stayed at Elly’s and was very quiet. Finished off some writing, and had a slow walk on the shady track around Fleet Pond. It’s been good getting to know the area where Elly lives, especially Fleet Pond. So many creatures – squirrels, Canadian geese who migrate here to mate and make babies for the summer (see pictures), the resident heron (after whom the local very nice pub is named – see picture), terns which also migrate here, swans (white! – see picture), coots, and many other birds which I don’t know, the local dogs being walked, the resident trout or pike in the stream…

It was nice to have the time to say farewell, this morning, tonight when Elly and I walked around the lake again while the roast was cooking, and I’ll go around the other way tomorrow in preparation for my plane flights.

Cricket & Friends & Tea

Today Elly and I battled through motorway standstills due to a horrid crash (see sign above) to get to Bath for her cricket match. We sat on a hill overlooking Bath with got a welcome breeze in the sultry heat.

Firstly I chatted with Hannah’s (fellow cricket player) delightful parents from Wales, and was duly shown the photos from Hannah’s recent marriage to Richard. Then my meeting with another Richard (L) was at 2pm. He came to the ground, where his daughter used to play cricket, and we spent a couple of hours chatting, sharing life stories and where we could work together on my leadership program.

Elly’s team got the opposition out for 81, then got their runs fairly quickly, ending with Elly not out for about 40. Then we went on the Bath Cricket Club and watched the men’s match there for a while before making our way home. Via Stonehenge which is recovering from the 39,000 people who camped around it for last week’s summer solstice! Nice to say goodbye with only a few people there:-)

Home to Elly’s for a late dinner and bed.

This is what Richard (L) emailed me later about Elwyn’s batting:

I have a very clear image of her whacking the ball in a way that was beautifully elegant.”

Shopping with Elly

Elly and I went shopping this morning with a shopping list that was something like this: Food , Flange for light fitting (so she could replace the broken light shade in the spare room with a new one), fan (because it was an unseasonal 25-28 degrees C here), shower screen (because her old one was falling apart and very mouldy), pin-up board (so she could keep track of her paperwork), folding chairs (so I would have something to sit on for tomorrow’s cricket match and she and Robin will take them camping), possibly a dishwasher.

So we got it all, and Elly saw a dishwasher that was a VERY good buy. Here she is with it unpacked in her kitchen (with the able assistance of her friend Tricia)!

Note the bottle of Pims in the foreground – I got her that yesterday because it’s Wimbledon season and apparently you are supposed to have Pims, strawberries and cream which she and Tricia shared later on (over Wimbledon on TV of course).

Covering Trees – covering ourselves

This is actually a tree on the Queen’s Walk on the south bank of the Thames River in London.

I’m not sure what the tree did to be covered up in this obscene way but there you go…

But I suppose we do that to ourselves, when I think about it!

And strangely enough, my mobile was stolen from my handbag while I was taking this photo…

So when I met with my friend and colleague, Anne, after this she lent me her phone so I could let Elly and Rob know!

Anne and I enjoyed a delightful lunch at the Tate Gallery, then a wander around the exhibition of a Danish painter. Interesting to do this with someone who is so conversant in art as an expression of human-ness:-)

Wicked!

Last night Elly and I met in London’s Victoria Train Station after her work, went a got a tapas dinner @ a Spanish restaurant where the waiters don’t speak much English, bought some fun clothes for Tom and Thea at M&S, then arrived at the amazingly fanciful Apollo Victoria Theatre. I think there were more children than adults but that meant that the audience was more open than usual. and laughed and cheered a lot.

What an amazing musical “Wicked!” is! It takes the 2 witches from the Wizard of Oz and tells their stories from their early 20s, tracing the choices they made to grow and get to where they were in the Wizard of Oz. The 2 leads actors who played the witches were very strong and also good singers. The costumes and props (see the dragon and the curtain that’s a map, for example) were so well done too.

All in all a great night, which we had plenty of time to talk about as we took the train then Elwyn’s car through a traffic jam to get home around the witching hour (aka midnight).

End of the Day

Elwyn came home with very tired eyes today – she’d had a hard day at work and as usual not only pulled everyone together but also got all her own work done too. She wanted to go for a walk around Fleet Pond when she got home, which we did, then went on to the Heron on the Lake for a drink  (Pims for Elly ‘cos it’s summer) and nice dinner in the balmy summer evening light – a special event in UK!

Also I think relieved that I’d finally met Robin AND his Mum…

Zena on the Thames

Today I took the train from Fleet to Waterloo Station, walked along the Queen’s Walk by the Thames where I saw these fish around the lamp post, and met Zena Mitton by the Millenium Bridge (south end). She took me further along the Walk to the refectory at Southwark Cathedral, and we enjoyed 2 cups of tea each while sharing stories of ourselves, our children and life in general.

A delightful way to meet a lovely lady – and I can see a lot of her in Robin.

Solstice & New Moon in Peak District

Slept in this morning, then I took Meggie for a walk so Elly and Robin could sleep in some more. Fortunately she was very well-behaved apart from the doggy doing next to the church door.

Slow chat and brunch (which Robin cooked really nicely). Then off for a walk along another part of the River Dove – Dovedale where the Dovedale Dash happens, which Robin described as we walked. Lovely walk through to little old village of Milldale and back. Robin had a drink from the fresh water spring in a cave, and walked across the river while Elly and I crossed on the stones – Meggie swam to meet him! We were blessed to see not one but TWO of the rare little dipper birds AND a trout!

Icecreams, then drove to Ilam to see the old hall there – now YHA. Lovely building – very open and light.

Meeting Robin

2 trains from B’rum through Derby I arrived in the small town of Belper. Elly drove up in her blue Astra and drove us to Robin’s parents’ weekender in Ashbourne.

Dog Meg was at the door first of course, then there was Robin, much the same as when we’d met him on iChat. Warm and welcoming:-) Dropped my bags then we walked into Ashbourne to look around. There was a street festival, including some acts from Oz – Mr Spin and Skate Naked (see pic). Had lunch at the Florist Cafe, then back to the house and got ready for a walk from Hartington where we bought some yummy cheese. LONG walk with Meg straining at the lead (see pic) along the River Dove’s Wolfescote Dale and Biggin Dale. Drinks at a lovely old building with a YHA with some of our cheese.

Robin cooked us a beautiful barbecue – even Rob would have been impressed!

Then said good night to this lovely couple:-)

B’rum

At 1pm today, my train (which would continue on through to Aberdeen) pulled into Birmingham New Street station. I was in Birmingham to meet someone at the Rotary International Convention there. I thought that lots of people were getting off the train but their number was nothing to the queue waiting to climb on board! And what a huge station. This was my first time here and I quickly realised what a huge, dark city it is.

The taxi ride past tiny flats and houses crowded with people of many nationalities, all poor, including many Muslims, showed me the other side of British life only too clearly. Yet the Pakistani taxi driver was very positive. Knowing a number of languages he’d looked at many others and had discovered that the word “taxi” is the same in all languages.

The last taxi driver of the day was from Bangladesh. He was so passionate about finding a better way for his people to be that I gave what help I could with ideas and contacts.

In darkness there is always light…