7/4/89

We got up at 8 and went through the normal ritual of the day, that is, cleaning, morning session, break, and evening session.  We spent our afternoon break going for a walk up the road, across the fields, along a public footpath, talking to groups of horses and ponies along the way, then back round through the woods by little country lanes.  The pub was very busy in the evening.

5/4/89

APRIL 5th

Since 1986, when I first heard the song april 5th, from the album The Colour of Spring by British post-punk, synth-pop band Talk Talk, I have always written its lyrics as my diary entry for this day. Although April 5th is actually autumn in the Southern Hemisphere, during the three years we spent in England, April 5th was always in spring, as Mark Hollis, the song’s composer, had intended.

HERE SHE COMES
SILENT IN HER SOUND
HERE SHE COMES
FRESH UPON THE GROUND
COME GENTLE SPRING
COME AT WINTER’S END
GONE IS THE PALLOR FROM A PROMISE THAT’S NATURE’S GIFT

WAITING FOR THE COLOUR OF SPRING
LET ME BREATHE
LET ME BREATHE THE COLOUR OF SPRING.

HERE SHE COMES
LAUGHTER IN HER KISS
HERE SHE COMES
SHAME UPON HERE KISS

COME WANTON SPRING, COME
FOR BIRTH YOU LIVE
YOUTH TAKES ITS BOW BEFORE THE SUMMER THE SEASONS BRING

WAITING FOR THE COLOUR OF SPRING
LET ME BREATHE…

SPRING

4/4/89

THE PUB

The Woodman stands on the outskirts of the village of Wormley West End.  The surrounding countryside is typically English: narrow lanes, wooded hills, hedge-rowed fields, horses, & quaint cottages and manors. We started at 8:30 a.m. & Ray & I re-stocked the shelves while Linda vacuumed and cleaned both bars.  We had a break from 10 till 11 when the pub opens. Ray gave me a training run on the computerized tools and I pulled my first pint of McMullens Country Bitter¹.

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The Woodman, Wormley West-end, Herts.

It wasn’t a busy day and we got through to closing time at 2:30. Ray took Linda and I down to Cheshunt and we did some shopping there and in Hoddesdon, a 20 minute bus trip away.  It was bitterly cold with sleet and rain and we caught ataxi back to the pub in time for the evening session, 5:30 till 11. That session wasn’t too busy either and at 10 Linda came out for a lesson on the tills and her first taste of pints pulling in an English pub.

By the time we had cleaned up it was nearly 12. It had taken till about 11:30 to kick out the last of the locals, most of whom are simple-minded country folk², and we went upstairs and fell into bed exhausted.

¹McMullens of Hertford is a long-established, family-owned brewery founded in 1827 in the town of Hertford, the capital town of Hertfordshire. NB as of 2019, McMullens no longer owns The Woodman, which is now known at The Woodman and Olive, a daft mish-mash of names if you ask me!
²Stay tuned to read about just how badly-behaved some of these rustics really were!
 

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Aerogramme Home from Linda.

 

 

 

 

3/4/89

Shifting House

We got up at about 9:00 & packed up all our gear then wandered up the road in the biting wind to cash a Travellers cheque and get some cream scones for morning tea.  We said goodbye to Sue and caught a taxi up to the station. A couple of people gave us a return ticket to Paddington that they didn’t need and that enabled us to get all the way to Liverpool Street.  It was hard work lugging our gear in and out of the tube stations especially for me with my cold clogging up my lungs, and if it had been rush hour we probably couldn’t have done it. We caught the train out to Broxbourne¹ and Ray² picked us up at the station and took us to The Woodman³ .  We spent the rest of the day unpacking and getting settled in.

¹ Broxbourne is a town on the north-east outskirts of London in the county of Hertfordshire.
² Ray and Joan Reeve were the managers of the pub where whe would be working.
³ The Woodman is a 17th century coaching inn located in the village of Wormley West-end, a few miles west of Broxbourne.

1/4/89

We spent the day sitting around at the flat except for a trip down to Safeway to stock up on a few vittles.  Murray and Lynn came around at about 1:30 and we went down to the George for a drink and a yarn with a couple of true-blue Cockneys, Mike & Steve,  “know-what-I-mean!” In the evening the four of us went to the pictures and saw The Accused starring Jodie Foster. Went back to the disco bar of the George but the volume of the band and the appalling amount of smoke in the air, sent us home after about an hour. Bernie and Sue arrived home at about 5:30 and they had had a great trip through Scotland and Wales.