Letters home, 2000, Dec 13

13 Dec 2000

Finished work today, we’ll be on the plane tomorrow.

There’s a plane stuck on the runway and lots of flights have been delayed, but that’s life. Every now and then the train you are on will just stop on the tracks and the usual joke is that the driver has seen a leaf on the track and he’s gone out to sweep it off. The standing excuse for trains being late is for either leaves or snow on the track. In 150 years of British Rail they still haven’t come up with a cure for either. I suppose it’s the same for planes, not for leaves or snow, but some pathetic excuse that will hide the real story of someone’s incompetence.

Never mind, neither rain nor tornado can stop us now! We have had lots of cards wishing us well and about a dozen phone calls from friends and family. Jenny Pugh has rung, as has John Tearle, Clarice, Thelma, and Roland.  Pam and Tom took us to dinner and Liz and John Stredwick made us a beautiful dinner in their lovely Goff’s Oak home. Ivor and Iris will be looking after our car and I have insured mine so he can drive it, and then again for Elizabeth Marshall who’s coming to see us for a couple of weeks as soon as we get back. Here, it’s illegal to drive a car without the basic insurance.

Elaine made some Afghans for her work and for mine and they went down a treat. It’s also traditional here to give a Christmas card to one’s fellow workers, so I found some really good cards (20 for GBP2) and they were quite impressed with my cards. I got them from the Saturday market. So a card and an Afghan each for all 20 of them really got them talking at work. They also hadn’t tasted Afghans before and they were pretty envious that Elaine and I would be on the beach in summer for Christmas. I promised to show them my new tan when I got back. They are a very nice group of people and it’s a pleasure to work with them.

We have spent an hour or two touring St Albans looking at the decorated houses and we are sure that there are lots more than last year, many with Christmas trees outside their back door beautifully lit and lots of houses with brightly lit windows flashing with coloured fairy lights. It’s dark at 4:30pm so there is plenty of evening before 10:00pm (when most people switch them off) to show off one’s own lights and to go around town admiring the efforts of others.

But now it’s homeward. We’ll see you soon.

Lots of love

Ewart and Elaine