We took a break from recording and drove into Southwold, where we shopped and walked around and shivered a bit and bought a hot cross bun. Among other things. Lots of nice little shops with nice little things.

Nothing says "avant garde" like a 45-year-old cultural reference:

Went over to the church . . .

When you're short on stone, there's always rock:

Obligatory bone yard with lichen-dotted slabs and barely-isible names. But they're down there.


There was a fellow who asked if we’d like to know a few things. Sure! Always keen to pick up some local knowledge, and besides, he might not have had anyone ask today. Ordinary Friday, off-season, not many tourists. Do the fellow a favor and let him unroll his spiel.


About fifteen minutes past the history of the cross donated by Halie Sallassee, he directed us to the carvings in the benches where the upper-class schoolboys sat in the 17th century, and started explaining what all the carvings meant. He saw a meaning and a pattern in all of them, infusing some inscrutable things with deep meaning and historical significance, and by the time we left Daughter said she felt as if she’d been stuffed into a Dan Browne novel. It was very strange.

But she got to ring the bell!

On the way back Astrid decided to take a back way that involved going past an absolutely ancient manor, now occupied by a family that does supplies bricks and old wood, and new wood, I suppose, to people overhauling their old homes. Everyone in the village is doing some sort of renovation, it seems; there are builders’ vans parked all along The Street.

This place . . . well, imagine a gothic horror story that also has a guy in a leather mask running at you with a chain saw, and while he doesn't speak, he doesn't speak in an English accent:

And here we learned the phrase “Meaner than a junkyard peacock.”

Well, not mean. They didn’t charge us. But they made strange mournful sounds that indicated they might have preferred a more aesthetically pleasing setting. Oh, one more thing: the owners had built a Tudor gate a few years ago, just because.

They tossed us the keys and we went up narrow circular staircases that made you think "it would be impossible to have a sword fight here."

Dinner at the Bell, then back for the last night. You can hear the sea from the back yard, and scour the sky for stars.

And that was it. Went inside to arrange the suitcase items and sleep.









Astrid drove us to London, a nice change from getting up at 6 AM and enduring a nerve-racking ride to Heathrow. I booked an extra day in London so we didn’t have to rush, could linger a bit in Kensington (her old neighborhood) and so Daughter could see friends, if the opportunity arose. It was a clear shot down, if any British road could be described as such: the one-and-a-half-lane road we took out of Walbers was the same road that turned into a two-lane road, then a four-lane divided highway that was as close to an American freeway as you’ll find.

Because there is no highway straight into town, we had to approach by all sorts of crab-wise moves. Oh, we complain about what freeways do to cities, but you have to experience the joy of moving through dense urban areas for an hour, realizing this would be ten minutes in an American city, to appreciate the interstates blasting through the urban core. It was several levels of insanity, partly because nothing’s marked.

Kensington was lovely. That’s Kingsley Amis’ old house! Sir Thomas Beecham lived there. And so on.

It's a delightful neighborhood, and I'm sure everything costs a billion pounds. I mean they've probably subdivided this smokestack into a dozen flats.

Then it was into the city to our hotel, a 20 minute walk from the COVID testing place. It had the feel of an inner-city VD clinic, not that I’d know. Two pokes up the schnoz, out you go, results in half an hour. We walked back in a pleasant state of ignorance, not knowing if we’d be able to fly out or have to return to Suffolk to live in the little house.

I mean, there are worse fates.

LATER: Checked my email at Cafe Nero, heart thumping.

Whew. Negative.

Now we find a place to have dinner, then it’s the Prince of Wales Feathers for a pint. 


“I think the water turned itself on,” Natalie said. She opened the bathroom door, noting that she expected to see a leprous old lady in the tub. What she was saw was something else: water pouring from the ceiling.


Never good, that. Water ought not run from ceiling apertures designed for other purposes. We heard water running upstairs, as though someone had drawn a bath, and then gone to sleep. Might have been the case - we never did find out. I called the front desk to explain that water was pouring out of the fixtures in the ceiling, and they might want to give it a look. They moved us to another room, and while it was a bit larger, it was also so harshly lit in its own way that the beds looked like mortuary slabs.

Well, a bed’s a bed. Went to sleep at woke at 6:30.

We got to Heathrow with plenty of time to spare, because we beat all the lines by showing up a little ahead of everyone else. Had a toastie and the last Cafe Nero. After the gate was called it was time to experience the peculiar part of the English airport experience, or at least here: you have your passport and boarding papers checked as you enter the departure lounge, after which you’re supposed to stay put. No wandering off to the loo, now. 

Note: everyone in the room was fully vaccinated and had presented a negative test from the last 24 hours before getting past the baggage drop. And everyone was required to have a mask.

Unless of course you were eating or drinking, so if you wished, you could pull down your mask and hold a bottle of water and no one would complain. Then again, no one cared. There was one fellow wearing no mask at all. No official came up and insisted that he raise shields.

So right now I’m halfway over the Atlantic, having finished the green curry supper. And so to sleep.

LATER There was no sleep. Not much. Landed at 3, which was 9 PM to us, and said goodbye to Natalie outside the airport. Sigh. But at least we did it, again, and it was damned near perfect, and the Peg Lynch Podcast is closer than ever to its conclusion.

One night I took a picture of the shed where Alex has his studio:


I called up the astronomy app to see which stars were overhead.

But of course.




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