Tonight Phil and I decided that we wanted to go out to dinner. There was nothing to eat in the house, and so we wanted to go out, early, for a meal. This was at almost 5:00 pm. The Red Lion had stopped serving at 4:00, so we walked down to the Swan, and they were dark and closed. We had to drive to the next town to get something to eat.
This is living in rural England. In the US, land of convenience, it is hard to imagine. There are supermarkets where you can shop twenty-four hours a day. You can go out and eat in a restaurant at 11:00 pm on a Sunday night. It is different here.
We talked about many things. We talked about being married. We talked about irrevocable things that happen in life, things that cannot be changed or circumvented. We talked about being happy even in those circumstances, despite the things that life happens to throw at us. I have changed, living here – at least, I hope that I have.
It comforts me, to be surrounded by so much that is old. By history. By old churches and alms houses and very old dwellings and land that has been worked the same way for centuries…it gives me a reassurance that things go on. That perhaps there is a purpose to everything, and that perhaps we are a part of time.
In a country where so much is new, you have to take everything on faith. Bad things happen, such as the disaster that happened to my sister. Young, married, finally bearing the child that she had struggled to have and wanted so badly…and then struck down by some impossible disease that paralysed her. For ever. Not much chance of recovery. Terribly, impossibly unfair, if you are your own island, apart from time. Apart from history, adrift by yourself. Bearable, perhaps, just perhaps, if you are a part of something else, and you know that everything goes on…and we are not islands but a part of the river itself. Does that make any sense? Perhaps it’s the wine. But I want to believe it.
Even though I changed my life greatly by coming here, I was in danger of having the same life…exchanging my time for money, like a child giving up pearls in exchange for pennies. I want to be part of something deeper, I want to really live. I want to hope. without feeling naive. I want to believe.