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January 16, 2007 > Across the Pond

Across the Pond

A very happy New Year to all my friends "Across the Pond". Just like Newarkers on this side of the Atlantic you're probably well settled into 2007.....without the constant rain and gales we're currently experiencing. Although the roads are hazardous and the guttering's leaking, it's really cosy to curl up by the fireside listening to the wind whistling around outside.

I've done the dreaded job of taking down the Xmas decorations, forcing myself to pack them away carefully, knowing I'll regret it next year if I don't. All too soon I'll be cursing tree lights that don't won't light and wondering what goes where....I know this from bitter experience.

Christmas was the predicted wonderful whirl of fun, games and food, with just a few minor disasters thrown in for good measure. Georgia's dolls' house arrived as a 'flat pack' a few days before the 25th; I spilt candle wax on the carpet, then, remembering what I'd successfully done to remove wax from a table cloth, I decided to iron absorbent paper over it. One burnt hole in a carpet later I realised this was a bad decision. The door of a previously well behaved cupboard fell off, and young Thomas came out of the bathroom saying, "Are blue bubbles supposed to be coming out of the cistern?"

Soon Christmas had merged into New Year. With barely time to draw breath, there we were again, eating, drinking and wearing the party hats from the leftover crackers. With the New Year came the January Sales. Shops were packed again with crowds, this time eagerly pursuing a bargain (me looking at carpets!) Shop assistants are admirably polite- particularly as they hardly seem to have had any holiday at all.

In Newark today I walked across the magnificent cobbled market place- so impressive now the market stalls are regularly cleared away. At the post office I bought a sheet of 'Beatles' stamps- essential for someone who grew up with their music and saw them perform live....twice.

Wandering through and past several shops, exchanging pleasantries on the way, I hovered around the olives in the excellent award winning delicatessen. Olives stuffed with almonds, olives stuffed with garlic- yum! "And could I have just a sliver of that cheese you describe as "Fantastic?" And it was...although I did notice some quizzical looks from Newarkers as I passed among them with my delicious but pungent package!

Entering the lift to the car park, pushing my trolley full of groceries, I pondered what a friendly little place Newark is. It's not everywhere in this little island of ours that people actually look pleased to see you; enjoy a conversation and genuinely want to help with old-fashioned politeness.

On the way home, I bought a train ticket to join daughter Lucy in London for a trip to the theatre. This is normally a fast straightforward journey, but this time there is 'work on the line', which means we start with a bus ride to Grantham, then pick the train up there. "Ever so simple" assures the railway booking officer. Well we'll see about that. Mustn't have negative thoughts but....I'll let you know next time!

Take care, my Newark friends and best wishes for 2007.

P.S. I finished the 'flat pack' dolls' house with hours to spare. Felt quite proud of the little Regency style dwelling, which left Georgia 5 and cousin Bethany 7, open mouthed, especially after reading the accompanying letter from 'Father Christmas'!

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