8/16 Friday, Sidmouth
After breakfast and shower F and I sat in lounge and read (me till about 1:00) Then at 2:00 I left to walk into town while F slept all day. Bought the remaining presents I had to, did research in PO about phoning home, then sat or walked by the beach ’till 5:15, – made it home by 6:00. Incredible dinner, I stuffed myself to an extreme. Soup, bread, main course w/ potatos, green beans, ratatoue, then lemon meirange pie and cheese & crackers and then coffee in the lounge with other house guests (two older woman; the hard of hearing, laughing and good-natured one & the large talkative inquisitive one, and the man (all Irish and all good friends). Watch TV and talked with them for a while. Saw 50 minutes of a Blondie video which made both of us want to buy the album. At 11:00 I tried to call home. The lady was most helpful and she even dialed for me. Found myself talking to Lori. Then until 12:00 I had whiskey & cheese in the lounge with older folk. They made me a drink to take up to Frank who didn’t want it – so I drank it!
And that’s all I wrote. The next entry reads, “8/17 Sat. Sidmouth => London”. Rereading this last entry, it’s hard for me to imagine a more perfect day. Spend half the day reading, then walk around town, down to the beach, be served a fantastic meal, and hang out with “older folk” watching Blondie videos. Why would we ever want to leave?
I’m listening to Eat to the Beat while I write this; what a great album. No excuse for not already owning it in 1985! The “laughing and good natured” old woman was very funny. Her friends were teasing her while we watched Blondie. “Do you like that, Dottie?”, they’d ask. She’d nod with great certainty, “oh yes, yes.” I don’t know if she could hear the TV or what they were asking her. But it was such a comfortable scene. In my mind it was a pretty small sitting room, color TV in the corner, and the five us, all friends since childhood, enjoying a very simple evening.
In 1985 was it really necessary to “research” how to make an international phone call? No doubt it was because I was afraid to ask “the lady” how to do it, but then she ended up dialing for me anyway. Not sure what my cousin Lori was doing at our house. I remember that one of the last presents I bought was a tiny Ebenezer Scrooge thimble for my father.
In the 25 years I’ve been romanticizing this trip, I’ve downplayed how Frank was either coming down with a bad cold or recovering from cold. I hope the good parts of the trip — like this last evening in Strawbs country — are what he remembers the most, too. We needed the rest, and in a way I’m glad we had an excuse to slow down. On one of my trips into town I bought Frank a huge container of salt so he could gargle. Because his sleep was so restless, I made up a song and sang myself to sleep. Seriously. The song I wrote went like this:
Mary was a lonesome child
As lonesome as can be
Mary was a lonesome child
She was all I ever needed
There were several verses. They got married in a lonesome church, had a lonesome child, and finally, “then she died and I was alone. She was all I ever needed”. Very sad! But I still remember the melody and think of this song when I have trouble sleeping.
The next morning it was time to say goodbye to Strawbs country. Apparently I didn’t feel a need to write any more journal entries. Maybe it was all I needed.