Thursday, September 20, 2007
All I want for Christmas is a Mercedes Benz
You know, I really don't like bumming rides with people. If they are not traveling my way, I don't want them to have to go out of their way, is what it is. I guess it's a holdover from childhood. So, here we are in this beautiful country of England. It is so green, I am told. I wouldn't know, I have only seen it from the train. I love the train. But it is hard to find a place to live just traveling by train. I know, I know, you guys have been doing it for years, but you don't understand. We are born with steering wheels in our hands and I felt as though mine had must been surgically detached. I felt deprived. So, I announced to Mac (Wallace to his family, WTHF) that we should check out the want ads for a car. Surprisingly, he agreed. We had been in the country for over a week now and one of the men WTHF worked with was taking us to see a couple of houses that had become available for rent. He kept asking us, you're sure you don't want to live in base housing? I was standing behind him shaking my head so hard I think I dislocated a disc. WTHF got the point. "No, no...she's determined to live on the Economy, so lets go see a couple of these houses. Two were in High Wycombe and one in Beaconsfield. We went to see the houses in High Wycombe and they were fine, really. But then I saw the house in Beaconsfield and fell in love. It was a two story brick with a detached garage, laundry room on back of the garage...but I could deal with that. It had large leaded glass windows, a lovely little front porch with night blooming Jasmine growing up the pointed brick. The foyer led to the living room and dining rooms on the right, the kitchen straight ahead and the stairs led up to three bedrooms and a lovely bathroom. Under the stairs was the powder room, I had never had a powder room before, and I tell you this, if I could transport that house by thought right now, I'd been living in it still. Brenda and Mark were living in it at the time, and the house wouldn't be available to move into until December 15th. Just when I had convinced myself that we'd not have a tree or decorations that year, the possibilities were endless. Our new address would hopefully be Orchard Cottage on Cherry Tree Lane, and it was aptly named. The curve of the lane was lined with cherry trees, although not in bloom at the time, in fact, not even in leaf...We had to drive to the Lake District to meet the owner and sign a lease. She was an American who had married a European and now a widow, had settled in Beaconsfield for a time. She worked for the RAF and had to move when she received a promotion, so was at this time renting the house till she could retire. Lucky us. The back garden was rather large, and had a "wendy house" which Brenda and Mark were using as a shed. A Wendy House is a play house for children, named for Peter Pan's Wendy. It had a green house, and I tell you I thought I had died and gone to heaven. The rent wasn't outrageous, in fact less than the two we had looked at in High Wycombe. We found that the children, who were settled in school at West Ruislip, would still be attending the same school, so all was well. We had a house. Now all we needed was a car. The second weekend we took the train into London and just walked about looking at the shops and getting a feel for the city. We stopped in at a pub and got a light lunch, I had a glass of sherry with mine, WTHF had a Guinness, the boys a shandy. You know I think we had lived there two years before I realized that shandy's were lemonade and ale. We picked up a paper and read the want ads, looking for a car. The first thing we found out about the papers in England was a few of them had what was termed a "page 3". On page 3 was a barely clothed young lady, always a different one. Michael, our youngest, was the one who announced at breakfast in the hotel the first morning, "hey Mom, there's a naked lady in my newspaper." To say I was shocked is to understate the situation, to say the least. But anyway, we found an ad for a Mercedes Benz, 10 years old, only driven on Sunday's by a little old lady from Pasadena. Well, not really, but that is what the ad indicated. Gently used. The car was lovely, the price was right and we purchased it and a map. After all, we now had to find our way back to Eastcote and our hotel. Good thing I was a navigator in a past life, or we'd still be trying to find that darned hotel! More adventures will be forthcoming. I promise.