A bit more than a fortnight, most of which I was away for.
First it was to my parents’ in Witham, Essex for a week. Most days I went out for long walks around different parts of town. In retrospect I realise how little of the place I knew while growing up there. But I guess, as a kid, why would you go somewhere unless you had a friend there, or some other reason to go?
I also walked around a new housing development ready to hate it but… I can see why people might like it. Unlike the neighbouring 1970s(?) houses, the new ones look superficially different to each other, in an attempt to create the illusion of a village that’s grown organically. It’s quiet, has a couple of large ponds (sorry, a pond and a “retention basin”), a path through a small patch of woodland, a couple of playgrounds, a shop, and plenty of space for parking. The houses are expensive and not huge but [looks around] here we all are.
One day I went into London and had a lovely time flaneuring around with a friend who happened to be in the country, including stopping briefly inside a couple of pubs. It was both wonderful to sit and chat in a pub and very strange. My mind and body can’t square the fact there’s a killer pandemic at large, with all the people sitting in pubs and restaurants like nothing unusual’s happening.
§ Me and Mary, who’d been working in London, then both traveled to Walton-on-the-Naze for a long weekend in an AirBnB on the coast.
When we lived in London, going away somewhere with fresh air, open space, and a quiet place to read was high on the list of requirements for a holiday. Now that we’re fortunate enough to live somewhere with fresh air, open space, and quiet places to read… maybe that’s not what I want from a holiday now? Or not every time?
It was nice to be back and see the town and surroundings, and to catch up with a couple of friends, but after a while we were both ready to get home, it having been a longer trip away than initially planned, and so returned a day early. It’s nice to be home.
Before we left we did have time for an evening meal with my in-laws’ family at Wivenhoe House Hotel which was tasty. A proper meal in a proper restaurant! See comment above about the weirdness of this kind of thing. It feels like (hopefully) we got in just under the wire.
The wait staff, who I think are studying Hotel Management and Hospitality, were friendly and attentive but I felt quite old when hearing their many responses of “no worries” whenever asked or thanked for something. It’s a perfectly common phrase but in the context of a smart country hotel restaurant it sounded odder to these increasingly-middle-aged ears than it would coming from the staff of a city centre bar.
It can’t be long until I start writing to newspapers about the decline in young peoples’ use of English. Help me.
§ I’ve now finished watching the first season of Schitt’s Creek and it was not bad, although towards the end my finger was exploring Netflix’s controls for playing it at a faster speed. I’m looking forward to not being at all disappointed at how amazing it is from season two onwards, as everyone promised.