Friday, October 15, 2010

Sevenoaks

Today we packed up our bags and said goodbye to Badger and "life in the cut." We took a taxi to hinckley where we caught the train to Leicester, then transferred to a train to San Pancras in London, then transferred to a train to Bromley South and finally transferred to a train to Borough Green and Wrotham. We are staying tonight at the Bull Inn in Wrotham (pronounced "root ham") We dragged the suitcases at least a couple of km from the station to the Inn - following the route set in our sat nav.

Wrotham is a village near Sevenoaks where I lived in the late 1940s and where Tish was born. We did not live right in Sevenoaks but in Bessels Green which seems to be part of "greater Sevenoaks" but is/was a separate village. I still vaguely remember Bessels Green and we have Bobby and Jessica's photos of the brick house, the garden, and the small ornamental pond. I seem to remember Bobby and Jessica hacking at the overgrown garden (let go during the War) and chasing a rat around the garden with a spade when we first moved in. I also remember the famous story of John falling into the pond. His explanation: "I heard a splash and it was me."

So today, after we got ourselves set up at the Bull Inn, we took the #308 bus to Bessels Green. We had hoped to visit Mrs. Kaye Roffey whose husband, Dr. Roffey, had been Bobby's partner in a medical practice before we moved to Canada in 1949. However, not being sure we would make it, we had not let her know we were coming. She lives in a very lovely elegant seniors residence called "Sunrise Senior Living" and we did make it there. We were welcomed by the woman at reception and sent up to Mrs. Roffey's room. Unfortunately she did not answer her door and did not seem to be at the singsong that was going on in the main entrance area. So - the buses being fairly infrequent - we had to leave without seeing her. We will send her a "cyclamen pot" tomorrow from the Sevenoaks Florist.

The interesting thing was that Mrs. Roffey had said in a Christmas card to Bobby and Jessica that the seniors residence where she lives was built where our house used to be. So, of course there was no sign of the house, garden and pond. But the field I remember as being across the road from the house was still there and so was the bus stop where I remember running to meet Selma who was arriving for a visit. However, on the other side of the "bucolic" field was a really busy motorway with cars rushing past.

We took the bus back to the Bull Inn and had a topnotch dinner. The person who seems to be the owner of the Inn is a Sicilian and went around greeting everyone in Italian. While we were waiting for our meal (sitting by the lovely warm coal fire) he gave us a guide book to Sicily to look at. When we said we were from "near Vancouver" he said he had been to Vancouver on a P and O ship. Interestingly, the taxi driver this morning said he had lived in Toront0 and the receptionist at the seniors centre had lived in Michigan and often visited Niagara, Ontario.

When we checked our email tonight we had note from Enterprise wondering where the car was. Oops, we knew we had returned it a week ago by mistake to Nuneaton instead of Hinckley (about 3 miles apart) but thought all was OK. We emailed back explaining the situation and hope all is well.

Reading update: A few days ago I finally finished the book "Digging to America" that we found by the stile on the Jurassic Coast. It was one of those books you hate to end because you will miss the characters. However, I am now well into "The Eagle of the Ninth" which seems to give a wonderful description of life in Roman Britain. Mike is reading "The Plot" about a piece of land in England. He says it is also a wonderful book.

Sounds like things are heating up a bit in the pub downstairs. However, we do have earplugs and we have slept through a Mexican Fiesta and a Mexican Wedding - so no worries. Tomorrow we go to Canterbury by train.

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