An English Walk

See the previous Letters from England post for the photos described here. I tried to match them to that letter, but may have used some that went with this letter, or there may have been some overlap. I really don’t know.

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June 22, 1989

Family,

Today I got my first taste of real English weather in quite a while. It’s been overcast and cool all day. Yesterday and today are my day and a half off this week. I work tonight at 5:30. Yesterday I took most of the day off. I couldn’t go anywhere because the trains weren’t running due to the strike. I did walk about 3 miles out to the country. It was nice. Speaking of that, let’s get right to the pictures.

#1 is an example of what I saw on my walk. It was a very clear day–hot too, up around 30 C (90ish). The horizon is supposed to be the coast. I’ll send more landscape pictures later. Photo

#2 is the “hotel” room I stayed in for the first four nights. There were five of us in there. A bunch from the east and me. During my four days there were 2 from Princeton, 1 from George Washington, a Yale person or two, and I don’t know where there others were from. As you can see, it was a pretty nice place–the only room in the hotel with a TV and “private” bathroom. Not bad for £11 a night – or maybe it was, I don’t know.

#3 & #4 are my room at the Dog & Bear. Not bad for free. The ceiling is just about 6 ft. high and it kind of slants toward the middle–due, I guess, to  almost 400 yrs of settling. I don’t know a shower, but I’ve adapted. Mom, note the hoes in the closet.

#5 is the bar behind which I work. That’s the assistant manager washing glasses. A pretty nice place–Rob & Sheila–the managers–keep the riff-raff out.

#6 of course is for R.S. Kent is very agriculturally oriented–as you can see in photo #1. This is on the main street leading into town oops, village. Lenham is not a town but a village. I’ve had that pointed out to me several times. I’m told that John Deere are common here. Anyhow this is the first one I saw.

And #7 is for I. Just and example of how yard-art can beautify one’s home. This house is also along the main street. There are some really nice 15th century houses here–and some pretty rose gardens. I’ll send these later also. That’s part one of the pictorial tour of Lenham.

Thanks for the letter and the Calvin strips. I saw Chang win the open & I heard about the fight. But the basketball was news to me. I wouldn’t mind being kept up on how the Royals are doing. I’ve sent an example of the baseball news from one of the major paper.

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Cricket is big here. I am slowly starting to get a grip on the game. itself, but I have a hard time getting real enthusiastic about it.

I ran some numbers through V’s calculator and here’s what i came up with. If I work for 3 months or less I don’t pay tax. I do pay 9% health insurance, but not the additional 25%. It works out that I receive the same amount of money for 4 months work as I do for 3. The end of three months from my arrival (84 days) is August 29th. If I work past that I pay tax. I could work longer and then tour, but by then it would b e winter time. What I’m thinking right now is to work all 84 days. Then set out tramping around Britain for about a month. Then head over to Germany. I’m still planning things out, but those are my jumbled thoughts at this moment. Any suggestions might be helpful.

Here’s a  wish list–things I would like you to send: the two hats from Uncle Ed (I got a call from him last week about 6:30 in the morning, just wanted to see how things were going–you’ll have to be careful about who you give my number to. By the way. If you do plan to call, the best times would be around 9:30 am your time–the bar closes from 3-5:30. At that time I would be finished cleaning up & would be east lunch. Or after 5:30 pm. the bar closes at 11:00 pm–again, I would be getting things finished up then–closes at 10:30 on Sunday.) Anyhow–the 2 hats, some of the neater paper match books. I showed them on from the Hyatt & they – R & M (asst mngr) said they could hang them up or something if they had more–they thought it was neat. And a bell with Ike or or Abilene or Kansas or something. Before my arrival in Lenham, the hotel had been booked for this week, so I have been moved in with the cook & her two kids. I noticed last night that she had several bells in a case in her living room & thought that would be a neat thank you gift for putting up with me for a week. And something with Mickey Mouse on it. I was talking to a girl who said she would like to go to America to get something with Mickey Mouse on it as all she had close to that was a picture of her boy friend. These are tow of the nicer people I’ve met. Nothing outstanding about them–just neat people. The hats are for John & Peter, two regulars. Both have been to the state and are sort of “Yankophiles.” I’ve seen both of them in similar head gear from America. They are also pretty good guys. (John was thrown out of the country as an undesirable. He had a 3-week holiday passport stamp & stayed 6 months working for the head of the border patrol in West Texas before being deported.) That’s about enough for now. See you later.

Love

Matt

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