Monday, 23 September 2019

Upward path

upward path
I did not know
the path to heaven
was paved with so many
wicked intentions,
Had I but guessed -
heard a warning bell -
I might have picked
the road to hell.
Ann's poem sums up much of what we all feel. It is so tempting  just to jump ship and leave behind the expectations of conformity and common sense. So often the 'right' path is filled with obstructive people making life miserable, and I sometimes wish I had given myself over to the teachings of Epicurus and pursued pleasure and self-indulgence. But we are where we are, and go on day by day taking what is thrown at us by uncaring fate.

Last week we were invited to dinner with Edwin and his friend in Cambridge. He is from Brazil and a vivacious, intelligent person with a magnificent command of English, and who cooked some traditional food which was among the best we have tasted! They will now come to us at the weekend for a traditional vegetarian English Sunday dinner. Meanwhile, Edwin started his first day as a lecturer at UEA in Norwich, having to get up before dawn to catch the train there. Among his students is a Professor of Geography who has chosen to take an additional degree in English Lit for a bit of relaxation!

North Sea Observatory
We spent the weekend driving to the Motorhome exhibition in Lincolnshire, but were disappointed that there were only a few second-hand vans, all pricey and in uncertain condition. We sat in one for a quiet rest, but another visitor joined us and began telling us how she was widowed suddenly ten years ago. Her husband left no money, but then her mother died leaving her an inheritance that she spent on a camper van, and has been travelling in them ever since. She gave some practical advice too, telling us how one van she had bought had a leaking radiator, another a bald tyre, and a third had the engine blow up. "You have to be careful to get them checked properly," was her concluding advice.

We stayed at the smart  Petwood Hotel. It was used by the 617 Dambusters squadren during the war, and the officers' mess is still intact as a museum filled with mementos and pieces of equipment from that time, with several paintings of the raids.

Ann at the Romany Museum
On Sunday we visited Chapel-St-Leonards, to follow the footsteps of  "On Chapel Sands: My Mother and Other Missing Persons" by Laura Cumming. A remarkable biography that is both mystery and detective story. The area is much changed since her mother's childhood time, with many caravan and chalet parks, and the North Sea Observatory which puzzled me, as I wondered how anyone could construct an observatory in such a low-lying and misty area. It turned out to be just a tearoom with a view, but a magnificent modern design for all of that. We then turned for Anderby Creek, a quiet unspoilt stretch of coast with a Cloud Bar - a type of Cloud Observatory, with concrete sculptures of clouds and a few mirrors to view the sky without craning ones neck. Finally home via the Romany Museum at Spalding, a real eye-opener to a way of life usually unseen with many finely restored Gypsy caravans and photographs. The founder's daughter even made us coffee and brought it to us while we watched the video by her father.

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