SUNDAY, June 23, 11:03 PM

Where was I last? Right: about to leave. Well, obviously, we left. Uneventful flight except for the extraordinary event that is flying, getting from here to there in short time. Too short. I really wish it took more time, so you could sleep. As it is, you stay up for the supper (Chicken curry, small salad, cheese and crackers, pudding) and then try to sleep. They wake you for breakfast, which you don’t feel you’ve earned at all. I haven’t done anything! I haven’t exerted myself or slept enough to earn this egg sandwich with pesto! But you eat it anyway; it’s something to do.

I got about two and a half hours, punctuated by waking with the certainty that I was paralyzed. This happened when flying to France years ago. Landed:

Breezy customs, easy luggage, then a restorative cup of coffee before we totakeok the next leg. This would be the Elizabeth Line to Liverpool Street Station, or the Lizzy Whizzer as I dubbed it. One hour. Up into the station from the depths, to the ticket booth. I don’t know how quite to ask for the ticket I need, so I say:

“We are going to Darsham, so we need a ticket to Norwich, except we change at Ipswich for the train to Lowestoft.”

The ticket agent nods and smiles and knows exactly what I mean, and produces the proper ticket in a trice. The train is already here! The track is posted! We board.

The journey below. About the Ipswich Switch: you get off, lug your luggage up the stairs and over the tracks, so you can get on the Lowestoft local, which is probably already there and will wait no more than a minute

At the lonely train station at Darsham, Astrid picks us up for the last leg of the Plain - Train - Automobile jaunt, and by three . . .

At the end there I sort of biden off into incoherence, because I'm so damned tired. We are so knackered speech and socialization is difficult. Can I nap? I can nap. Hit the the pillow in the Huut and I am out for two hours. Then UP! Time for the pub!

Dinner at the Anchor, where I am welcomed back by the owner and the waiter, a half pint of the local IPA and a fine dinner. The Gang! Denis, of course, is clowning.


Dinner at the Anchor, where I am welcomed back by the owner and the waiter, a half pint of the local IPA and a fine dinner. The Gang! Denis, of course, is clowning.

Walking home down the High Street in the dark with the grand compliment of stars above, nightcap, and sleep . . . hoping, against all knowledge of how these things go, that I do not wake at Four.

And so to bed.








Woke at four.

Couldn’t tell if it was jet lag or the millions of birds outside - seagulls and pigeons and mourning doves and probably ostriches and terns and budgerigars and God knows what else. When next I looked at the clock it was five, and I knew I’d slept because I’d dreamed that they’d installed a strange railway in England based on the Harry Potter books. A thin rail placed about two yards above ground; people straddled the rail and held on to a moving part and were carried along. Looked silly, but I suppose it was an attempt to do a real Quiddich or whatever that's called.

Looked at the clock again: six. Well, we’re getting close to the time where I can give up - but surely I’d slept? Looked at the clock again: 9:30. I had not succumbed to jet lag, really. I’d made it through the hard part. Threw back the shades and washed and walked out into a brilliant English morning, ready for eggs and streaky bacon.

Astrid and I practiced our show after breakfast, then I took a walk. I paused at the small disused church.

I was interested in these names, which I’d never noticed before. Or had, and forgotten.

Etheridge, a little binging revealed, goes down in the local records as the head of the Walberswick Peace Committee, formed during WW1 for the purpose of preventing another. Pity about how that all worked out. Of the Ellises I know not. Yet.

In the afternoon, over to Southwold.




To remind you: it’s the touristy beach down to the north, across the river. You can take the ferry, which costs a pound, and is no more than a rowboat with a sturdy youth whose family has been doing this forever, and there’s usually a dog standing in the prow.

Astrid had a dentist’s appointment, so Natalie and I wandered around, poking into shops to see if there was anything that would go in the suitcase. She found some toffee that came with a silver hammer - a group project for work, where everyone could crack at the toffee to break off a piece. They had a lot of vintage-brand candy. Including, of course, the Romney Kendal Mint Cake.

The website is not helpful.

Mr Sam. T. Clarke, the great grandfather of the present Managing Director, Mr John Barron, started production of Romney’s Kendal Mint Cake in 1918 after being medically discharged during the First World War

Unable to obtain supplies of Kendal Mint Cake, he sought out and purchased an old recipe and started a confectionery manufacturing business.

Thus far we have no Romneys and no Kendals. But Kendal is a town where a man named Piper invented the Mint Cake - of course, by accident. Where does Romney come into this? Ah:

The company name ‘George Romney Ltd.’ was chosen as a result of Kendal’s association with the famous portrait painter, as well as the fact that the family home was on Romney Road.

George Romney (26 December  1734 – 15 November 1802) was an English portrait painter. He was the most fashionable artist of his day, painting many leading society figures – including his artistic muse, Emma Hamilton, mistress of Lord Nelson.

Mind you, the shop is just down the street from the Lord Nelson pub. And before you go off to the internet to answer the question “Gee, I only know about the American Romneys, the guy who wanted to be president, wonder if there’s any connection,” the answer is yes.

I found the Obligatory England Trip Mug:

  And what, you ask, is that?

Well, we were at the Royal Navy Lifeboat Institution store, a very British charity that raises money for lifeboats. They do search and rescue, among, I assume, other things. Sort of like firemen for the sea. I imagine that the little boys in America who are keen for firemen and trucks and the like would be very interested in these, and they’re no doubt an object of fascination for British children as well. Memorize all the different classes! Dream of the day you ride a hover boat!

I asked the nice old lady at the cash register what the numbers meant, and she said, and I quote, “what?”

Another nice lady, not quite as advanced in age, explained that the numbers referred to the Southwold lifeboat. Well, six pounds for the mug, I’ll take it. The shop was absolutely crammed with RNLI merchandise, from day planners that complete lists of the tides - a good thing to know - and various holidays in the nations nearby, in case you had to know that someone was celebrating Kingendae in Denmark or something. Don’t know if you could make there in the D class vessel if someone was in peril, but there had to be a reason for the list.

We finished at Adnam’s, where I thought we would check in on the graphic design of the new products. This is what I love about having a daughter in the Graphics / Advertising business: I can say “let’s go see if there’s new label designs,” and she’s of a mind to do exactly that.

As I have noted here before, Adnam’s has this great old sturdy style, fresh and traditional. Look at this gem:

You know what you’re getting.


And of course the famous Ghost Ship, the label of which is a bit too piratey, but intriguing.

Or rather was too piratety.


They’re going through a brand refresh. It is not to my tastes.

Here's the new style, and the old:

Daughter said they look as if they’re going for a younger audience, and they look like romance paperbacks, so maybe a younger female audience as well. I went over to the sampling area and engaged a clerk who’d been there for years, and asked when the labels had changed. Last spring. I expressed my disappointment and insisted that they must hold, at least, to Old Ale, for England’s sake, and he said he thought it was a bit boring.

Fie! England will be lost when the last of these labels is gone, I tell you.

No, I hadn’t been sampling.

We found Astrid and drove back to Walbers, whereupon another nap was enjoyed. I did some show work, looking for music cues - I neglected to bring a thumb drive with my library of 800 1950s radio music cues, CAN YOU BELIEVE IT, but of course that’s what cloud backup is for. Found the right one (used the edited-down 80 cue library) and then set about writing something else, which is, in fact, this. Daughter now across the table enjoying a Ghost and some citrus-tinged Ghost Ship branded crisps; an Indian meal awaits in half an hour.

Show work, you say? Oh, we'll get to that. Current mood: everything that bedeviled before has fallen away.