Tag Archives: England

Some Pictures from Lenham

Family

Saturday 8th [June, 1989]. Got your letter today. Just finished the crossword–got it all done. Between the rail strikes in London and Sundays, it is difficult for a letter to take less than 7-8 days between Abilene and Lenham. First I’ll answer some of your question, then if I do anything worthwhile tomorrow or Sunday I’ll tell you about those. The bar is pretty busy–particularly on the weekends. But some afternoons it is very slow–just a few customers. Many people drink Lager–beer like at home–or Bitter–warmer, darker, flatter, and supposedly tastier. They aren’t too bad but I understand it takes some getting used to. There is also cider. And many people mix their bars with each other–Light & Bitter, a half pint of Bitter in a pint glass and an open bottle fo Light Ale (ale & bitter same thing)–with lemonade–Lager Chandy (Chanty?), half Lager half lemonade–and with whatever else they can think of–1/2 pint of Guinness 1/2 pint sweet cider. But they also drink Gin & Tonics, Bacardi & Cokes, etc., as well as fruit juices & Cokes. I don’t really get tips, but people do buy me drinks–which I save up & have after 11:00. The English have this “stupid” tradition (quoting an Englishman) of buying everyone in their group a drink, then the next person gets the next one, etc. Tom, the Englishman quoted above, and I would both rather sit & talk with our friends and buy our own drinks. Tom and  man named Bob–both about 60–got into a friendly discussion one very unbusy afternoon. And it reminded me of a K & V reunion in the year 2026. Tom – K & Bob – V. Bob is the first & only person I have yet talked to who did not hate Margaret Thatcher. Tom is fun to talk too–you know how some people are just easier to relate to than others.

You know language was much more of a problem than I thought it would be. Now–a month later I am beginning to understand most of them. However, people come in who are from up north and often they have to repeat their order a couple of times–slowly.

Sunday afternoon.

I am enjoying my afternoon, watching Becker & Edberg. I missed the first two sets. Thanks very much for the phone call. Great to hear from you. I am getting used to the long hours. And am feeling more & more at home. Had roast beef for Sunday Diner today, along with veg–peas & cauliflower, potatoes, Yorkshire pudding & cheese cake–not bad, huh?

Had a great thunderstorm here Thursday night–right out on the square. Since then it’s been drizzly and overcast. I told the Hedges that if I was here Christmas time, you all would be as well. they said great! Don’t worry about me not getting to see all I came to see. I have all kinds of time.

More answers–After landing in Gatewick, getting my luggage etc, I went to get my passport stamped. Where will you be staying? What will you be doing? How much money do you have? Do you have a return ticket? You will purchase that here then? After that I just walked through customs. I slowed, but they said don’t stop unless requested to do so, so I passed right through. I talked to a guy here that was stopped–he’s English & was traveling somewhere in Europe–and forced to have is butt opened & searched. That or wait there ’til he had to crap. I would have waited.

Let’s do some pictures now. This is the last of what I’ve had developed so far. Some of them are pretty bad. #1 is the hotel–just like the brochure. The door on the right–your right [who else’s?]–goes into the bar. The other into the restaurant.

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#2–pretty obvious, but I thought it was a neat sign. (Bear bating–now that was entertainment.)

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#3–also obvious, but I was amused.

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#4 is part of the church cemetery–the same church as in the other picture. Big stones.

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#5 is sheep. These were on the same land as Tom Baker’s (Dr Who) house.

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#6–Tom’s house & hop house.

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#7–part of my walk–in the distance you can see a cross. That cross is just outside Lenham. It is a war memorial. It was first done in the 20’s for WWI. Then it was covered up so German pilots couldn’t use it to tell where they were. After WWII it was uncovered again.

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#8–the same cross. You may not be able to tell, but the road sign has been shot with a shot gun–people are people.

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#9–English country side on my walk.

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#10–Just outside Lenham. Doesn’t remind me much of England. Kent is a real pretty area.

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#11–More of Kent. Again, in the distance is supposed to be the coast. I like this picture.

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I like the horse one too. The next two stink.

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#12 is a view from my room in London.

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#13 is the train station at Canterbury. Why I took these two pictures, I do not know. [I’m sure a few pints had nothing to do with it.]

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The rest of the roll had photos from the evening at Warren & Phylis’s & one of Sadie.

Monday, July [June?] 10th. Today I went to Deal. Saw the two castles on the post card. Deal castle is pretty much empty except for a couple of displays. But I think I enjoyed it as much as I did Walmer Castle. Deal was built by Henry VIII. It is right on the coast. Built for defense, but used only once during a civil war. It was fun wandering around the tunnels beneath the castle. I got a little lost at one point, but eventually wandered out.

 

Then we–Brett went with me–walked down the coast to Walmer Castle. Still lived in by the Queen Mother sometimes, so much of it was closed off. But the castle garden was real nice.

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The beach was alright–but as you may or may not be able to tell, it’s not sand, it’s smooth stone. Daytona is a little nicer. But it was still nice to sit and watch the ocean.

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As for the banking situation, I got an account at the National Westminster Bank in London through the BUNAC agency. there is a Nat West bank right across the square, so I just deposit it there. I should receive some checks in the mail soon. After 3 paydays–paid in cash–taxes already paid–I have £120 in the bank and £80 to deposit tomorrow. I figure every week of work is at least a week of eventual travel, minus the cost of a back pack and sleeping bag. I go the pre-Racy wedding letter today. [I don’t know what this is.]

If I get so fed up with this job that I can’t take it I will do something else. But as of now I am content. The pay is good, as are the accommodations & food & people. And I am feeling more & more at home. There is a lot to do and I have a lot of time to do it. The weather today was mostly overcast & cloudy, but the sun did come out for awhile. In the near future I am going to try to get to France, London, and to Leeds Castle to play some golf. We’ll see. Thanks again for the letters & stuff, and for the calls. See you later.

Love

Matt

 

An Innocent Abroad

After graduating from Kansas State, I obtained a work permit, and flew to England. There I found work at a hotel pub for a few months, then traveled around Europe some. It was amazing of course and I’d recommend it to everyone. This letter is a lesson in “Life can be great even if you don’t do all you planned.” Of all my plans listed in this letter from early on at the hotel, most didn’t happen. (I’ve listed those below.) And I still had a great time.

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Thursday 15th [June 1989]

Family, thanks for the letter.  I’ll see if I can’t give you a run down on what’s going on.  Right now I’m on my afternoon break. A typical day starts about 9:00 am with setting up the bar, cleaning a little bit, etc. then there is breakfast. This morning I had egg, bacon, toast & juice. The bar opens at 11:00 am. I tend the bar, keep things clean, pick up, etc. At 3 in the afternoon the bar closes until 5:30. During this time there is a little clean up, lunch–today cottage pie & vegetables, then about 1 1/2 hour break. At 5:30 it’s back to the bar til 11:00 pm–closing time. And usually done cleaning up before 12:00 pm. I get Wednesday off and Thurs am or Tues pm off also–not sure which one yet (neither this week). Yesterday I went to Canterbury with Rob–the manager. Went through the cathedral and then a little Chaucer thing. It was neat. The city itself is very touristy–like a giant shopping mall.  But the cathedral was good.  That evening I watched the film Becket on Rob & Sheila’s VCR–about Thomas Becket and his murder in the Canterbury Cathedral. In a couple of weeks we may go to France for a day or so.  Also I’ve been invited to go golfing at Leeds Castle sometime, and to a cricket game, and to the local church. I’m going to see if I can’t work out church next Sunday morning.

Rob and Sheila are nice people.  They and the rest of the staff have made an effort to make me feel at home. (Rob told me yesterday that if I find a girl while I’m here, she will have to pass Sheila’s approval.) I’m making L120 a week I think. That will be about L80 after taxes. I receive free room, board, and laundry facilities as well. I can’t think of anything I need yet. I bought a tape player.  Also–w pair of black pants, 2 white shirts, and some black socks for work. I am already making plans for travel after I am done working. I’m not sure ho long I will last working over here. It seems to me if you are going to have to put up with England, you ought to be doing something fun–not working. But I will put up with it at least a couple of months–perhaps then I will move on to to something else. Also I will look for BBC stuff. Right now I feel like I should stay awhile, as they are training me and putting up with my screw-ups. I haven’t written anything in my book yet.  Don’t know what to write–don’t want to fill it up with crap. I’ll write more when I know more.  See you later.

Love,

Matt

[I did not: go to France with my boss, play any golf in England, attend a cricket game, go to church across the street, find a girl there, find work at the BBC, or write much more than crap in that blank journal.]