Tuesday, 19 July 2011

A Small Pause

I haven’t managed to keep my blog going and finish writing my dissertation, but hopefully I’ll get in a few more posts before I leave England, closing the chapter on my amazing year in Norwich.

I’m now about half way through my visit to Hampshire with Pip, Selina and the kids and it’s been the usual whirlwind round of dinner parties, picnics, pub lunches and walks in the fields with Padstowe. I’ll feel sad when I say goodbye to them on Thursday, as I'm not sure when I'll see them all again.

At the start of my break, last Wednesday, Nancy and I got on the train at Norwich and made our way down to Basingstoke where Selina met us. As usual, a fabulous dinner was produced – homemade cream of tomato soup with basil, followed by chicken marengo, roast potatoes and kale fresh from the garden, and some very decent bottles of wine. The next day, Selina drove me and Nancy to friend and artist Anna Pugh’s place about an hour away, and we spent the afternoon looking at Anna’s finely drawn and brightly coloured prints, mostly celebrations of the English countryside http://www.annapugh.com/, going for lunch in the local pub, and walking through the fields with her rescued greyhound, Flick. Selina and I then left Nancy with Anna, where she stayed the night before heading back to Norwich. We then drove to Hove for a visit with Selina’s mother. She’s going to be joining Selina for a week’s summer school at Marlborough, something I was invited to do, but I just couldn’t justify the cost, given I’m going to Edinburgh on August 4th for two days. Pip and I are driving to Marlborough this evening to have dinner with Selina and other friends who are taking courses like Qi Gong, Tai Chi, and life drawing.

On Saturday, the Geddes boys held a big “Wield Olympics” which was an impressive day and evening of raucous competitive games with about forty of their friends. Everyone was decked out in costumes from various countries and each team was responsible for bringing the food from that particular region. Luckily, the rain held back for most of the day – we’re having the same unsettled weather as Vancouver and it's not feeling like summer.

The next day, P&S’s friend Jean prepared a magnificent lunch of smoked salmon, quail eggs, asparagus salad, bread and wine, and oat cookies, which we ate alongside a canal near Hungerford, watching the canal boats making their way through the locks. Again, I took photos but don’t have my camera connection to upload them to my laptop. I’ll post them at the end of the weekend.

This coming Saturday, Nancy and I are renting a car and driving to Nottingham for a visit with her old friend Chris. Once back in Norwich, I’m going to add the finishing touches to my dissertation and submit it. I must admit I’m afraid to let it go, but know I must. I remember taking flying lessons near Walnut Creek in California back in the late 80s, and when it came time for me to land the plane by myself for the first time, I resisted, until my instructor said if I didn’t land soon, we’d run out of gas. I wish I had that kind of impetus facing me right now. Once I submit, I’ll try and relax. While I’ve had a fabulous time in Hampshire, awareness of that final commitment is always there in the back of my mind. The trip to Edinburgh on August 4-5 to see the Royal Military Tattoo will be my celebration to myself.

And then it’s back to Vancouver after almost a year away. I feel like the astronauts must feel after they’ve had a long spell at the International Space Station. Re-entry is going to be a bit of a mental adjustment. Still, I’m excited about going home and seeing all the wonderful people I’m lucky enough to know in my life.

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